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DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

Dear Readers, Dear Reader, I’m reading a book about a spy who worked for the American government and attempted to sell secrets to Libya and other countries. I don’t usually read non-fiction books; I read enough newspapers and magazines to get my “real-life” knowledge. Books, for me, are more for relaxation. But this book caught my eye: The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. With a title like that, who could resist? The book is interesting, but what’s most notable about the main character is that he, like other spies, has a reason for turning rogue. And his reason is not ideological. He simply needs money. Working for the government, on a government salary, cannot keep up with the demands of a growing family. Instead of curtailing his spending or asking his wife to help out with the finances, he decides to sell American secrets. Because his impetus for being a traitor is nothing personal against the US, there are red lines that he doesn’t cross; some American secrets he understands are too valu-

Contents COMMUNITY Around the Community


NEWS Global


Israel 5 National 7 That's Odd


FEATURE Fidel Castro - The End of a Dictator 24 After Pearl Harbor, This Mail Plane had a New Mission - Find the Attackers 32

able to give over to the enemy. He sifts through information and attempts to turn over documents, but none of those documents are too damaging, he proposes. The book details what he does to obtain the traitorous information: the trips and smuggles of documents, the lies he has to tell, the flights overseas, and the codes he conceives to obscure any trace back. And it’s all because he needs money. I ‘m curious to know if, on a much lesser level, we ever do something that goes against our principles in our endeavor to complete a task that we’re so desperate to accomplish. It could be on a really simple scale: rushing to get to the bus stop on time for our children so we push past the people around us in the supermarket. Or maybe we block someone’s driveway because we just need to drop something small off at someone’s house. It’s not stealing trade secrets, but it’s abandoning certain standards and ideals that we should be valuing. As Jewish people, we are always held to higher standards. An example that comes to mind is Israel – always held to the highest of standards and at no compromise Israel always adheres to them. With this in mind, it’s imperative that we hold onto our ideals and standards tightly; our actions are constantly scrutinized and are representative of our nation’s actions as a whole. Last week, a story circulated about the Jewish Sol Werdiger and the South Korean ambassador to the UN. It was said that because of the impressive actions of Werdiger’s company, the UN ambassador – whose daughter interned at the company – abstained from voting against Israel at the UN. We are all ambassadors of Israel and the Jewish nation. We need to hold fast to our principles, values and ideals. Wishing you a wonderful week, Shoshana

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Dina Tzur


Shoshana Soroka COPY EDITOR

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DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

The Week In News The Week In News

UN Apologizes but Does Not Admit its Faults

Last week, UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon apologized to Haiti for the UN’s role in the country’s cholera epidemic which sickened 753,000 and killed 9,300, noting that it did not do enough to help the poor country. Moon’s apology, while welcomed by some as “an important day for the UN,” did not address the accusations that UN peacekeepers actually caused the outbreak – the worst in the world – by dumping a full truckload of human waste into Haiti’s major river, the Artibonite. Subsequent investigations determined that UN peacekeepers continued to dump their wastewater into vital water sources in Haiti. The UN’s original response to the epidemic was to commission a study in 2011 which determined that the outbreak “was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individuals,” thus exonerating the organization. While the authors of that study have since changed their opinion, Moon continues to reference that report. The UN has gone so far as to invoke its immunity as Haitians have come forward with lawsuits against the organization. “Our clients have lost breadwinners and gone into debt to pay for funeral costs,” Beatrice Lindstrom, an attorney representing Haitians, said. The United States has already contributed over $100 million to Haiti. The UN is now asking its member states to pony up an additional $200 million to help solve the never-ending crisis.

Trump’s Phone Calls: Political Blunders? Donald Trump got himself elected with his brash talk and thumbing his nose

at some of the country’s most delicate relationships, particularly the one with China. During the election campaign, Trump accused the superpower of currency manipulation, land grabbing and taking advantage of the U.S.’s naiveté. But when he spoke with the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Wen on the phone last week, he may have stepped on a global land mine. Since 1949, when Mao’s Communists took over control of Taiwan, the U.S. has been forced to share a very peculiar relationship with the state. America does have a strong relationship with Taiwan and provides it with “defensive” weapons, but in deference to China, its relationship is labeled as “unofficial” and the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan’s so-called independence. In 1979, the U.S. released a proclamation that “the Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” Trump’s call with President Tsai, which implicitly recognized her sovereignty, is bound to anger China. “The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions,” Evan Medeiros, former Asia director at the White House National Security Council, said. “Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for U.S.-China relations.” The question remains if Trump actually knew the implications of his phone call, or if it was the result of his ignorance on the matter. One of his top advisors, John Bolton, is a vocal advocate of embracing Taiwan. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has insisted it was merely a congratulatory call. On Tuesday, Taiwan’s President Tsai echoed the sentiment. “Of course I have to stress that one phone call does not mean a policy shift,” Tsai told American journalists in Taipei. “The phone call was a way for us to express our respect for the U.S. election as well as congratulate President-elect Trump on his win.” Trump also seemed to step right in the middle of another foreign policy disaster when he told the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he is “ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems,” which the Pakistanis interpret to mean that he supports their side of the Kashmir conflict with India. He added, “You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.” The U.S. has also had a history with Pakistan harboring terrorists, namely the infamous Osama bin Laden, so relations between the United States and Pakistan have been strained.

Qatar is the Wealthiest Nation

The world keeps getting smaller by the day as globalization removes geographical boundaries from the international business environment. But just because we are closer to each other technologically, that doesn’t mean that wealth is evenly distributed. By measuring a country’s Gross Net Income (GNI), which includes money made by a country through investments abroad, as opposed to the classic measurement of GDP, economists are able to get a better picture of the true wealth of countries. What this means in English is that the investment an entrepreneur makes in a foreign country – say a New Yorker who buys a building in Stockholm – can be included in the measurement of wealth of the U.S., as the New Yorker receives a check in the mail every month from Sweden. And it goes without saying that the more developed a country is and the more wealth its citizens possess, the more they are able to spread their interests across the world and reap economic benefits. Indeed, North America, which contains only 4.6% of the world’s population, holds 26.5% of the world’s wealth. Populous South Asia, which is home to 23.7% of the world, has only 3.6% of the entire wealth of the world. Oil-rich countries in the Middle East such as Qatar (number 1 in the world) and export-driven countries such as the U.S. (number 9 in the world) are the primary beneficiaries of the new economy. Qatar is the wealthiest nation in the world with a GNI per capita of $129,076.58 and a GDP of $321.69 billion in 2015. The second wealthiest nation is Macao SAR, China, Asia’s gambling capital. Singapore, Kuwait and Norway round out the top five wealthiest nations in the world, according to their GNI.

Dachau Gate Found This week, police in southwestern Norway recovered a part of a gate that once stood at the entrance of Dachau’s concentration camp in Germany. The iron

black gate bears the grim inscription “Arbeit macht frei” and was stolen more than two years ago. Dachau, the first concentration camp in Nazi Germany, opened in 1933, just after Adolf Hitler assumed power. Over the 12 years it operated, it housed over 188,000 prisoners and was the site of forced labor, inhumane medical experiments, at least 31,000 deaths and mass corpse cremations.

U.S. forces liberated the camp in 1945, but Germany eventually opened it to the public for observation, as it remains to this day. The 220-pound gate was stolen from under guard watch in 2014; a replica gate was installed in 2015. The gate was found in the city of Bergen, in southwest Norway, a police spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse. “It was found in the open air,” she related. “You can tell that it’s been outside but it’s in good condition.” The original gate will promptly be returned to the Dachau memorial following a judicial review. “I congratulate the security authorities on their transnational success,” said Karl Freller, Director of the Bavarian Memorial Foundation. “It is a great relief to me that this piece of original evidence of the Nazis’ cynicism and contempt for humankind has been recovered.”

Merkel: Ban the Burqa

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled support for a nationwide ban on full-face veils worn mainly by Muslim women. As she looks to beat back challenges from her right and win a fourth four-year term as chancellor, Merkel, who had previously opposed a burqa ban, told the Christian Democratic Union conference that prohibiting the veil was essential to stopping the development of “parallel societies.” She said such veils were “not appropriate.” “In communication between people, which is of course essential to our living together, we have to show our faces,”

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The Week In News said Merkel, who faces opposition from the far right after leading the charge to accept nearly a million mostly Muslim asylum-seekers in 2015. “So the full veil should be forbidden wherever legally possible.” Merkel’s about-face on the full-face veil swiftly drew pushback from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We believe everyone should be free to wear the clothing of their choice and that laws targeting the tiny minority of Muslim women who wear face coverings are an expression of increasing Islamophobia in Europe,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. “Freedom is about making personal choices, not having a decision imposed on individuals by the state. Growing anti-Muslim bigotry should be repudiated, not pandered to.” Merkel has previously walked a political tightrope, expressing her desire to have women not wear burqas in an effort to allow integration, but also hesitating to support a legislative rule forbidding the garment. Germany is only the latest country to consider a burqa ban and comes on the heels of the Dutch Parliament voting on November 30 to ban face veils in its country, though the Senate must approve the measure for the Netherlands ban to take effect. France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland and Italy also have forms of the ban already in place. A majority of Germans support a full ban on burqas in the country.

Massive Mosaic Revealed in Yericho

The mosaic floor of a long forgotten palace from the 8th century C.E. is bringing the eyes of the art world to Yericho. On the floor of Hisham’s Palace, seven million individual tiles – each less that one square centimeter in size – are woven together in an intricate pattern that almost defies belief. For many years the work of art remained hidden, but the 9,688 square foot

masterpiece has now been revealed and will be put on public display in 2018. The mosaic was first found by archeologists Dimitri Baramki and Robert Hamilton in 1935. They had it covered with sand to prevent erosion. Now, following a three month excavation process, the tile floor is fully restored and set to become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the West Bank. “I have visited the place so many times with family and with friends,” says local tourist Rania Fahoum. “I have never seen it so beautiful. The mosaic adds colors and beauty to the place and gave me the feeling that there is still much to discover in this historical palace.” The palace was built by Caliph Hisham bin Abed el-Malik in the mid-8th century C.E. The site was used as a winter resort until it was destroyed in an earthquake just a few years after it was built. The mosaic is on the floor of the ancient bathhouse.

The KGB’s Vicious Campaign Against Israel

It’s well-known that the Soviets viewed Israel and Zionism as a massive threat and sought to eliminate the country and the movement’s influence around the world. Recently revealed documents highlight the details of how the KGB went about infiltrating certain Zionist organizations in the 1970s in attempts to undermine them. The mission was called Operation Simon and its primary target was the World Jewish Congress (WJC). In February 1972, the KGB’s agent, a man called Chub, was easily able to gain access to the WJC headquarters in Paris and photocopy thousands of pages of organizational material which included names of its supporters and subscribers to its newspapers – close to 25,000 people in all. The Soviets used this information to set up the WJC’s members by sending them fake documents to the addresses they now had on file which alleged that these people, along with the WJC, embezzled large amounts of money from a fictitious organization, the Union of Young Zionists. A man who worked in an executive role in the WJC in Paris during those years said: “It was clear to us that someone was meddling in our affairs. Suddenly, we began receiving feedback from numerous

supporters, friends, and donors demanding answers, some using harsh words. They wanted to know what had happened to their donations. We realized we were subject to a serious campaign of disinformation. The rumors, the accusations, the stories about theft – all caused us great harm. There was a sharp drop in donations alongside an atmosphere of suspicion. Some suspected the French intelligence, while others suspected the Russians, but the majority really thought it was a competing organization trying to take our place. Those were very unpleasant days.” The Soviets continued to use the stolen information to perpetrate more framing campaigns, including one which implicated the Zionists in the murder of a relative of French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The KGB remained obsessed with the Zionists throughout the Cold War, and later on, Israel was able to uncover over 1,000 agents who spied on the Jewish State during that time. The KGB focused on Nativ, an Israeli intelligence organization that maintained secret contact with Jews living in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War and encouraged immigration to Israel, in particular. The Soviets were also concerned with the close relationship Israel maintained with its archenemy, the United States.

Israeli Ships Being Built By Lebanese and Iranian Company

Last week, an Israeli newspaper ran a story exposing the fact that four Israeli navy ships were being built in a German shipyard that is operated by Abu Dhabi’s MAR and owned by Iskandar Safa, a French businessman of Lebanese descent. The concern is the safety of the Israeli intelligence and combat materials that are being built into the state of the art warships. Lebanon is considered an “enemy state” by Israel and Abu Dhabi does not allow anyone with an Israeli passport to enter the United Arab Emirates. In response to the concerns, the Israeli Defense Secretary has now made clear that no classified materials are at risk because all combat and defense systems on

the ships will be installed in Israel. “The contract to buy protective ships was signed with the German company, with direct involvement of the German government, which is funding a third of the cost of the deal,” the Defense Ministry said. “Prior to the signing of the contracts, the defense establishment’s director of security carried out checks with German government officials to confirm that no classified material from the project will be transferred to any unauthorized body that has not been approved as such. It is important to note that the German shipyard builds only the body of the ships; all of the systems will be installed in Israel.” The 430 million euro deal to construct the four “Saar-6” class warships was made between Israel and ThyssenKrupp, a German company, in 2015. The ships, which are slated for delivery in 2020 to protect Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves, were subcontracted to German Naval Yards Kiel, which was sold to Abu Dhabi MAR in 2011. The contract came under even more intense scrutiny when it was revealed that an Iranian government firm owns a 4.5% stake in ThyssenKrupp. The company is also supplying Israel with the new Dolphin-class submarines.

Mother of Murdered Boy Sues Iran and Syria

Two and a half years after her son was murdered, Rachel Fraenkel will be appearing before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to sue Iran and Syria for $340 million. The kidnapping and murder of her son Naftali, along with his two friends Eyal Yifrach and Gil-Ad Shaer, led to Israel firing upon the Gaza Strip and eventually turned into Operation Protective Edge. Both Iran and Syria are being accused of supporting acts of terrorism carried out by Hamas operatives. Because Naftali was a U.S. citizen, it is possible for Rachel to file the lawsuit. The federal proceedings will also reportedly include proof that Iran and Syria indirectly funded the kidnappings to the tune of NIS 200,000, which was laundered through a charity organization called AlNour, which operates in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses who will be called to the stand


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The Week In News will be able to detail how the kidnapping was planned, how the money was raised, and how the three boys were killed in cold blood. This is not the first case of its kind. Sixyear-old Shira Leibowitz won hundreds of millions of dollars from Iran after being injured by a Jihad terrorist in 2003. After a 1997 Gush Katif bombing injured 19-yearold Shlomo Ben Haim, he was also awarded hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the money, these families will always be living with an empty hole in their hearts.

Deadly Fire in Oakland Kills 36

The fire spread so quickly that it was chaos just trying to get out of the inferno. Survivor Jose Avalos told CNN he was in his loft when he heard someone call for an extinguisher. Before he could get down to offer support, he heard someone say, “Fire! Everyone get out!” He grabbed his dogs and rushed to the front door where he fell into others trying to escape, he said. “By the time I was through the front

doors, I could just see the flames coming and then they just engulfed the front archway of my studio. I looked back and I just saw smoke everywhere. I couldn’t really see anything. Got out of the building and I just saw smoke and then flames coming out the doors and the windows.” Those who survived told of their sense of loss for their friends who they felt were like family.

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On Friday night, a deadly fire claimed the lives of 36 people in one of Oakland’s deadliest building fires on record. The victims were living in the “Ghost Ship,” which some described as a collective for young artists. Leaseholder Derick Ion Almena, the man behind the Ghost Ship, was not in the warehouse when the fire started. After the tragedy, he lamented, “They’re my children. They’re my friends, they’re my family, they’re my loves, they’re my future,” Almena mourned. “What else do I have to say?” As of Tuesday, authorities still did not know the cause of the blaze, but did determine where the origins of the fire began. The warehouse had only two exits and was only blocks away from the fire department. One resident explained that there were fire codes for the building – no smoking allowed inside, no candles allowed to be burnt – although the last inspector to the building was not able to conduct his inspection due to him not being allowed on premises. The warehouse did not have the proper permits to be used as a residence. Around 20-25 artists lived there, desperate to circumvent the area’s high rents. There was a party there on Friday night when the fire started.

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The Week In News Americans blow their budgets mostly on dining out. 25% of people surveyed by the company reported tripping their dining out budget this year, up from 22% last year and more than other categories such as groceries and travel. “It’s easy for our spending habits to get out of whack when we’re pressed for time,” says Luke Vandermillen, vice president, Principal Financial Group. But that doesn’t mean we should all just opt for the Kosher Delight instead of eating healthier. The average person consumes 200 more calories on days he eats out, and by doing simple things like having healthy meals frozen for times when you are in a crunch you can save dollars and pounds. If you’re still craving the ease and special feeling of a night out, try hitting up Groupon for ways to save on the bill or try eating out at times when the restaurant may have a lunch or dinner special. Perhaps all the pennies you save will add up

to being able to employ your own personal chef. Kale and quinoa frittata, anyone?

Fake U.S. Embassy Finally Exposed

A decade-long scam was run in Ghana’s capital city inside a building that flew an American flag and claimed to be a United States Embassy. The State Department has released a statement explaining that in the city of Accra, Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings have been getting

visitors from all over West Africa to come up with up to $6,000 for fake visas and identification papers purportedly from the United States. “The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as to obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement read. Officials shut down the fake embassy after an informant tipped off the Regional Security Office. Investigators were already looking into cases of “address trafficking and fraud plaguing the U.S. Embassy and the region,” according to the statement. The government is not sure how many people, if any, actually entered the United States with what they are calling “fraudulently obtained, legitimate U.S. visas.” The scale of the scheme was very large. Advertisements for the fake papers were plastered to targets on fliers, who were then shuttled in from all over West

Africa. The “customers” were put up in local hotels and then shuttled to the fake embassy, which only operated on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to noon. White Turkish citizens posing as “consulate officers” then issued U.S. work visas, counterfeit visas and false Ghanaian identification papers, such as bank and education records and birth certificates. Several raids took place simultaneously at the embassy and two other satellite locations this week. Counterfeit identity documents, 150 passports from 10 countries, and legitimate and counterfeit visas from the United States, the Schengen area of Europe, India and South Africa were collected. Last January, a similar operation was shut down that had been running for 13 years. In that raid, authorities found 190 passports, three printers, one camera, 75 different rubber stamps, two lamination machines and a laptop.

Dogged Jill Stein Still Calling For Recount

Just a few hours after a Green Party-backed group dropped their state court case to hold recounts in the presidential election, they announced they would begin trying to use federal courts to force a recount in Pennsylvania. “Make no mistake – the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania,” recount campaign lawyer Jonathan Abady said in a statement. “We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans.” He added that the barriers to a recount are very significant and a state court is not as equipped to overcome them as a federal court. Over $7 million have been raised by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to fund recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Stein claims that she is trying to determine if voting machines were hacked to manipulate election results. She does not have any evidence of hacking having taken place. Both Donald Trump and the Republican Party had asked for a dismissal in the state court case. Recounts have already begun in Wisconsin and Michigan. Recounts began on Thursday, while a recount began in Michigan on Monday. Stein announced Penn-

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


The Week In News sylvania’s recount purpose was to ensure “our votes are safe and secure.” The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, has said there is no evidence of any tampering, hacking, or other irregularities in the election results. Official election figures show Trump defeated Clinton by 10,704 votes in Michigan, 68,236 in Pennsylvania and 27,257 in Wisconsin. As of Sunday night, Trump gained 39 votes in the Wisconsin recount after recounting more than 1 million of the nearly 3 million votes. Trump won the election with 306 Electoral College votes; Hillary garnered just 232. 270 are needed to win.

Birkin bag. “Every woman goes for this bag, and it’s hard to get,” Buscemi explains. “We wanted to have that same vibe with the shoe.” He also sells astronomically priced dog leashes and coffee sleeves – everyday items for people who have too much in the bank and too much time on their hands.

Ramen Noodles Make Safer Streets

Sneakers of Gold It’s been only a few months, but Jon Buscemi’s sneakers have been making headlines. The designer’s boutique in downtown Manhattan features five gilded pyramids, homage to the Egyptian pyramids. “Where luxury started,” Buscemi explains. “In Egypt.” But don’t get too enamored with the showcases. It’s the shoes that should be making you do a double take. The largest pyramid in the store houses a pair of diamond-encrusted white sneakers. The price tag? A mere $132,000. Buscemi insists that the price is well worth it. It’s not about the astronomical sum, he says, it’s about the quality of the shoe. According to Ana Andjelic, “Buscemi is an incredibly smart combination of modern and traditional luxury.” She is the senior vice president and global strategy director at Havas LuxHub, a consulting firm specializing in the luxury sector. “Luxury today is less about having money to buy something expensive and more about having taste to know what to buy.” Buscemi concurs. “There are brands out there that are very expensive and the quality just simply isn’t there.” Conclusion? Buy my sneakers. They may be pricey, but if you wear them (and who in their right mind will wear $132K sneakers to a baseball game?) they’ll last for a while. In fact, his store offers free resoling, should those shoes ever need a repair. The diamond-encrusted pair was one of a kind and has been sold already. His other sneakers go for more modest prices, although all hover around the thousand dollars mark. Buscemi’s sneakers come with 18K gold-plated hardware, including a decorative lock, a nod to the classic Hermes

In an effort to get older drivers off the road, police in Japan have been offering seniors a discount on the nation’s classic comfort food: ramen. Last week, Aichi prefecture in central Japan, rolled out the program in which elderly drivers will be provided discounted meals of ramen noodles at 176 outlets of the Sugakiya restaurant chain. Only those who surrender their licenses will be eligible for the 15 percent discount. The initiative comes after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe recently pushed for action to address the rise in driving accidents (some fatal) caused by drivers 74-years of age and older. The overall number of traffic accidents involving drivers aged 75 and up has risen from 7.4 percent to 12.8 percent in the last decade. At the same time, there’s been a nationwide decline in vehicular accidents overall across the country. Japan isn’t the only country that’s considered using food as an incentive to make things safer. In June 2015, a jail in Indiana explored a program that would allow inmates with good behavior records to order pizza and takeout from local restaurants.  And in August, a restaurant in Indianapolis contemplated trading free pizzas for guns handed in off the street. In Japan, officials have also used non-edible incentives to improve street safety. Many drivers can take advantage of similar incentives, including discounts at public baths, barbers and chemists and reduced taxi fares. Perhaps the senior citizens can take advantage of the taxis after eating their ramen and realizing they can no longer drive home.

Pot of Gold

Last week, someone stole something from a vehicle on a busy Manhattan street and no one even noticed. Well, the driver of the truck noticed when he came back to the vehicle and realized that an aluminum bucket full of gold flakes – valued at $1.6 million – was no longer inside the back of his truck. The truck’s back was left wide open when the driver walked away. The thief got a workout when he stole the pot of gold; the pail weighed around 86 pounds. During the robbery, the thief is seen in surveillance footage about to walk past the truck, seeing the loot, and then struggling to steal it away. But no one noticed anything was awry. In fact, two men were conversing right near the robbery and didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. Don’t they know: if you see something, you say something?

Race director Thierry Rouillard admitted. “It’s the worst nightmare for a race director. I love what I do and want everyone to be happy. That was her first half marathon. That was her first trail run. She learned the hard way.” Kitcher ran over 16 miles before the park’s department located her in the reserve around 7:30 p.m. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles. “I’m going to send her a gift package with racing stuff. A finisher’s medal and award for the longest trail hog half marathon in the history of the event,” Rouillard joked. Kitcher seems to be determined to finish a more conventional half-marathon another time. “There’s the Sarasota Half Marathon on March 19th. I already have that in my head. Everybody keeps telling me no more races, I said I’m lucky this one’s on the street.” And perhaps a working GPS would help as well.

Beard of Bees

Longest HalfMarathon

It was going to be Melissa Kitcher’s first half-marathon and she was pumped. Sadly, though, it took her many hours to complete her run. You see, Kitcher got a bit lost running the Trail Hog Half Marathon on Sunday at the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Wow how do people run these trails?’ I can’t even walk them. When I hit the power lines I said, ‘Yes, I’m definitely way off course. I’m lost.’” How did she get so lost? Kitcher said there was no marking to properly direct her. “The website says you’re supposed to be on jeep trails. So when I came out there was a jeep trail and I figured that was the path I needed to be on,” explained Kitcher. She ended up six to seven miles off course with no working phone.

For years, Mohamed Hagras has had a sweet hobby. The engineer-turned-beekeeper competitively wears what he calls a “Beard of Bees.” To attract the swarms of insects to his face, he has a box containing their queen’s hormones strapped to his chin. The 31-year-old may be a glutton for pain, but he grows his sticky beard to educate fellow Egyptians about the usefulness of bees. “The goal is to show that bees are not aggressive,” he told Reuters at his farm in Shibin El Kom. “On the contrary, they are helpful and produce things that help humans and agriculture.” Despite Hagras competing numerous times, the current record holder is a Chinese beekeeper who covered his entire body with more than a million bees – a combined weight of more than 240 pounds – in 2015. Hagras says that aside from the honey and pollen that bees are known for, people have come to his farm to get stung by bees to cure various diseases. I can’t bee-lieve it.


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

Hebrew Academy Gratitude Project Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach has long been known for its academic success and sense of community service. As the first school in the nation to require community service for high school graduation, through the incorporation of a student created community service program many years ago, program creator and Hebrew Academy alumni, Jill Simon Smith was awarded a Point of Light by President George Bush. The tradition she began, continues throughout the school today. Each year Hebrew Academy students are educated about the needs in their community and are encouraged to look outside of themselves to help those who are less fortunate. Annually, new community service opportunities are created so Hebrew Academy students can experience the act of giving back to the community first hand. Canned food drives for the Kosher Food Bank, hair donations to Locks of Love, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering to be a buddy for The Friendship Circle, are just a few of the many community service projects Hebrew Academy students commit to annually.

This year, with the help of several parent volunteers, Hebrew Academy added a new program to its elementary school division to provide a greater awareness of the homeless population in the south In front of Miami Rescue Mission Florida region. introduced Gratitude Month to the eleThe program began with the introduction of a Gratitude mentary student body, presented details Month theme during a school assem- about the 4th and 5th grade trip to Caring bly, followed by students learning about House, and kicked-off the creation of the homelessness from former homeless res- Wall of Gratitude. -Lian Marcos, from the Caring House idents, and then students participated in a visited our school with one of their rehacanned food drive to build a Wall of Gratbilitated homeless residents who will be itude. The cans were delivered by fourth shared their testimony for 20 minutes each and fifth grade students to Caring House in grades K through 5, followed by quesan affiliate of the Miami Rescue Mission tion and answer sessions. just in time for Thanksgiving. -Canned Food Drive and building of a Wall of Gratitude in the school. The program included: -4th and 5th grade students took a -School Psychologist Reena Rabovsky field trip to the Caring House at Miami

Hebrew Academy students visit Caring House

Rescue Mission. Hebrew Academy is 69 years old and is the oldest orthodox Jewish day school south of Baltimore, serving students from birth through grade 12, that inspires each student to improve the world through the lens of Torah and academic excellence. For more information about this community service program, please contact elementary principal, Debbie Hamburg at 305-532-6421 ext. 125 or at dhamburg@ For more information about Caring House and the Miami Rescue Mission please visit:

Hillel Day School of Boca Raton’s

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Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton is a modern Orthodox Jewish day school offering programs for ages two through 8th grade.


21011 95th Avenue S., Boca Raton, FL 33428 561-470-5000

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


Around the Community

B&P Kicks Off the Season With First Icon Event

Meryl and Ron Gallatin

The new season has begun for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s Business and Professional (B &P) Division’s Lewis Katz Industry Icon Series with a successful (and packed!) morning event on October 28. An array of professionals and entrepreneurs gathered in Zinman Hall on the Federation campus. They enjoyed this opportunity for local professionals to grow their businesses, broaden

Ben Gene, Ralph Behmoiras, Franklin Homer

Doron Abrahami, Lewis Greenberg

their networks and do good in the world by helping others through our Federation.

Rep. Ted Deutch and his wife, Jill.

Securities Market) and Targeted Stock.

The presenting speaker for this first installment was pioneering businessman, Ron Gallatin. The former Managing Director of Lehman Brothers Inc., Mr. Gallatin was responsible for a series of financial innovations, most notably Zero Coupon Treasury Receipts, Money Market Preferred Stock (and the resulting Auction Rate

The Lewis Katz Industry Icon Series connects a diverse group of professionals and entrepreneurs to help build business and the community.

There were many new as well as familiar faces at the event, which also saw the debut of new B&P Division Chairs Gregory Gefen and Tracy Kawa. This year’s Industry Icon Chairs are Lauren Cohen and Jeff Shavitz. The event also welcomed special guests U.S.

Greg Gefen, Tracy Kawa, Jeff Shavitz

For more information, contact Sonni Simon at 561.852.3128 or Sonnis@bocafed. org.

Over 700 Guests Served at Annual Thanksgiving Day Banquet 300 plus Volunteers Utilized at JFS & JCC Partnered Event Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) in partnership with Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center (Levis JCC) warmly welcomed over 700 local residents, who would otherwise have been alone, to enjoy a festive Thanksgiving meal. The annual banquet, generously sponsored by Edith & Martin Stein and Etta & Raymond Zimmerman, included a luncheon with sufficient food to provide attendees with a take home portion

for another meal served by volunteers and goody bags for each guest. Over 300 volunteers assisted in making this event happen.   For more information on JFS’ Food & Financial Assistance Programs like Meals on Wheels or JFS’ Senior Services Programs please contact 561.852.3333 or 

JFS Addresses Potential “Senior Tsunami” By Offering Free Senior Companion Training Workshop on December 12th & 13th “Florida’s senior population is expected to double to 9.7 million by the year 2030,” stated Danielle Hartman, President and CEO of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS). “With nearly 5 million residents aged 60 or older, Florida currently ranks first in the nation in the percentage of seniors in this age bracket. Palm Beach County ranks second in the state as the most populous county with residents aged 60 or older. As a result, we are about to experience a ‘senior tsunami’ with many seniors needing home care to continue aging in place – enabling seniors to maintain their quality of life while they continue to live at home — safely and with dignity.” In order to address the rising demand for senior companions, JFS, through their Career & Employment Services and in

Lucille Rivlin with companion Diane Brumby

partnership with JFS at Home, an independent home health care agency affiliated with JFS, is offering a free, two-day seminar. The Senior Companion Training Workshop will be held December 12th – 13th at their offices located at 21300 Ruth & Baron Coleman Boulevard (on the campus of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County) in Boca Raton. Companions help the elderly with daily tasks allowing seniors to remain indepen-

dent. Companions assist with non-medical related services like shopping and running errands, transportation, meal preparation and laundry. In many cases the companion relationship provides seniors with much needed socialization which reduces the feelings of isolation. The Workshop will cover important topics including understanding the role that the companion plays for the senior client and their family, confidentiality requirements, an overview of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and appropriate client boundaries. Participants in the training will be presented with the opportunity to be considered for companion positions with JFS at Home. Although the Workshop is free, registration is required as space is limited.

Please contact 561.852.5057 or email to register or for additional information. Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, career & employment services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information about JFS call 561-852-3333. Learn more at


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016



DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County Announces $10 million Gift from Leon and Toby Cooperman State-of-the-Art Senior Living Complex at the Federation Named in Their Honor The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County President and CEO, Matthew C. Levin, has announced a magnanimous endowment gift of $10 million from Boca Raton residents and philanthropists Toby and Leon Cooperman. Mr. Cooperman is a Forbes 400 Member, Founder and Chairman of Omega Advisors, Inc. and Former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He and Mrs. Cooperman are prominent benefactors to an array of Jewish causes, as well as to human and health care services, education and health research. They have maintained their residence in St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton for nearly 20 years, and became full-time Florida residents in 2011. “Toby and Leon’s vision and generosity have raised the bar with their shining example of extraordinary compassion and commitment to our Jewish community and our people,” said Anne Jacobson, Federation Board Chair. “We are grateful for their confidence in our Federation’s 37-year record of galvanizing this community to provide resources for vital programs and services when and where they are most needed. The Cooperman endowment through our Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation will have tremendous impact today, and be part of their legacy for generations to come. We are honored that they have chosen our community as their home.” “This transformative gift to our community will provide significant income to meet vital Jewish needs locally, in Israel and overseas, through our Federation’s Annual Campaigns,” said Matthew C.

Leon and Toby Cooperman

Levin, Federation President and CEO. “We are proud to be among the distinguished institutions through which Toby and Leon, renowned longtime leaders in Jewish philanthropy, have invested in the Jewish people. They have taken their place as the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s single largest Annual Campaign donor, and as members of our prestigious Ketubah Society for cumulative giving.” Revenue generated by the Cooperman gift will also provide considerable ongoing support to PJ Library® of South Palm Beach County. Among the Coopermans’ many contributions to ensure future Jewish generations, they have been instrumental in bringing this renowned Jewish family outreach and engagement program to the local community. In honor of the couple’s generosity

Sara Raskind, RN BSN CLC, is a Registered Nurse specializing in maternal child health and a Certified Lactation Counselor.

and commitment to South Palm Beach County, the new 650,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art luxury Continuing Care Retirement Community, for 450 seniors on 23.5 acres of the 100-acre Federation campus, has been named the Toby and Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences of Boca Raton. “Sinai Residences offers its fortunate residents the most enriching senior lifestyle in the most beautiful setting, and we are proud to give our names to such a wonderful asset for our community,” said Leon. “Of course, we are delighted that our gift will help our Federation provide assistance to those in need now and in the future.” As a planned Life Care community, Sinai Residences guarantees access to a seamless, top quality continuum of care, with 234 independent living apartment homes, 48 assisted living apartments, 60 skilled nursing suites and 24 memory support studio suites. Seniors enjoy a blend of luxurious amenities and services amid independence and privacy, including hospitality, recreational, religious and social services, cultural and academic pursuits, fitness programs, and gourmet dining amid all the Federation’s multigenerational campus has to offer. “We are delighted to name Sinai Residences for such beloved neighbors and foremost philanthropists,” said Wes Finch, Chair of the Board of Managers that governs Sinai Residences. “Just as Sinai Residences is committed to caring for people as needed today and into their futures, the Cooperman gift will help our Federation sustain our community now and in the future.” The names of Leon and Toby Cooperman are well-known by many Jewish, education, human services and medical nonprofits throughout the country. Proud of their heritage, they often cite their Jewish upbringing as the basis of their philanthropy by quoting the Talmud, “A man’s net worth is measured not by what he earns, but rather what he gives away.” The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County joins an array of major Cooperman beneficiaries including, in New Jersey, the Cooperman College Scholars Program, Cooperman Family Fund for a Jewish Future and St. Barnabas Hospital. They are also prominent supporters of their alma maters in New York

City: Hunter College, where they met, and Columbia University, where Leon earned his MBA. Leon and Toby are signers of the Giving Pledge, initiated by Warren Buffett in “an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy.” And last year, Leon was inducted into the Horatio Alger Society for having overcome his humble beginnings to achieve success on Wall Street and for his commitment to philanthropy and higher education. “The fact that Toby and I are even candidates to make the Giving Pledge is a testimony to the American Dream, and we have a moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American Dream by sharing our financial success,” said Leon, whose parents emigrated from Poland and raised him in a small apartment in the Bronx where he attended public schools. “My father was a plumber who worked six days a week. His example shaped my work ethic and he showed me how to treat people.” “While I worked hard, I must say I had more than my share of good luck,” said Leon.” He joined Goldman Sachs the day after receiving his Columbia MBA, with “a National Defense Education Act Student Loan to repay, no money in the bank and a six month old child to support.” After 25 years of service, Leon Cooperman retired in 1991 from his positions as general partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in order to organize Omega. After raising their two sons, Toby worked for 35 years as a learning specialist, consultant and school administrator on behalf of neurologically impaired children. Learn more about the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and the Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation at For more information about living opportunities at the Toby and Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences of Boca Raton, visit

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


Around the Community

OU Advocacy Launches Petition Urging Trump to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem The OU Advocacy Center, the public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, has launched a petition on asking President-Elect Donald Trump to act upon his pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- Israel’s capital city -- soon after Mr. Trump takes office. Congress ratified this policy and action long ago, passing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. It became law under President Bill Clinton. The Act stipulates that Jerusalem be recognized by the United States as the capital of Israel, remain undivided and that the U.S. Embassy be relocated to Jerusalem.

Since that time, every president has signed a national security waiver, delaying the move. Last week President Obama signed such a waiver and it will be in effect until June, 2017. During the election campaign, Donald Trump stated: “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.  And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the State of Israel.” The petition being launched today addressed to Mr. Trump states:  “Early in your presidency will be a fitting, if overdue, time for you, President-Elect Trump, to relocate the American Embassy in Isra-

reunification of Jerusalem. “We strongly urge President-Elect Trump to commemorate this important moment in Jewish history by honoring his commitment to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”

el to the capital of the Jewish state.” OU Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament noted that June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the

Contact Jennifer Packer, Director of Communications at OU Advocacy Center, or 202-513-6489. The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.

Mishnayos Project Launched at YTCTE The annual extracurricular Mishnayos Learning Project for boys in grades 3-5 at the Klurman Elementary School, began this past Sunday, November 27, with a morning of father & son learning and a gala brunch. The event, attended by upwards of 175 people, brought together grandfathers, fathers and talmidim. The feeling in the Beis Medrash was one of excitement, bonding and love for Torah. After chavrusa learning, a joint shiur was delivered by veteran Rebbe, Rabbi

Shlomo Schwartz, in Maseches Ta’anis. Divrei Bracha about the incredible power of limud Mishnayos were delivered by Rabbi Zelig Privalsky, senior member of the North Miami Beach Community Kollel, and father of Toras Emes talmidim. The boys are set to begin three months of voluntary learning, including a Mishmar program and the opportunity to be tested on what they learned by their Rebbeim, parents, and other community leaders.

Boca Raton Synagogue’s All In 4 Education Assists Its Members with Jewish Day School Scholarships During the months leading up to a school year, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Senior Rabbi at Boca Raton Synagogue (BRS), is contacted daily by member families seeking help in order to keep their children in local Jewish schools. Even with the generous tuition assistance offered by the schools, families face the possibility of being financially unable to do so. The tuition crisis is an identified problem that continues to be discussed on national and local levels. However, until a big picture project is developed and achieved, there remains a very real and present need. All In 4 Education, BRS’ Jewish Education Scholarship Fund (JESF), was created in 2012 to assist BRS’ 700 member families by bridging the remaining gap between what a family could reasonably afford and the discounted tuition the schools are able to provide. Local Boca

Raton Jewish day schools are certainly doing their part by collectively awarding over 6 million dollars of tuition assistance each year. The JESF has helped students remain in Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Hebrew Academy Community School, Katz Hillel Day School, Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida, and Torah Academy of Boca Raton. The Fund has grown over the years from assisting 19 families for the 2012-2013 school year to assisting 28 families during the 2015-2016 school year. Rabbi Goldberg firmly stated, “There are legitimate reasons to have to leave a Jewish day school, but money should not be one of them. A formal Jewish education is a necessity, not a luxury, and every Jewish child deserves a chance at one.” The JESF pays the schools directly on behalf of specific children. The fund has zero administration or overhead costs. Ev-

JESF Poker Tournament winner Sruly Landa (left) with runner-up, Rabbi Philip Moskowitz (right)

ery single penny that is donated goes directly towards enabling the community’s children to remain in their school. Rabbi Goldberg also stated, “Helping

the youth of our community is not the job of schools alone or of other parents who happen to have their children in the same school. It is the job, responsibility, and halachic (Jewish law) obligation of each and every one of us alike, whether we have young children at home or are empty nesters. No donation is too small.” As part of JESF’s fundraising campaign, their Annual Poker Tournament was held recently. Over 40 people participated, some attendees played poker and others came to socialize and enjoy delicious food along with single malt scotch and cigars. While this year’s campaign has been successful, the needs continue to outpace the available funds. To find out how you can help All in 4 Education/JESF, contact Linda Gordon at 561.394.0394 or Donations can be made online by visiting (select RDF-JESF from the drop down menu.)


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

En Español

¿Por qué Francia evalúa a los judíos otra vez? Por Michael Freund

La semana pasada, mientras los terroristas palestinos y árabes estaban ocupados incendiando a Israel, Francia decidió unirse a la contienda cometiendo un acto de incautación diplomática contra el Estado judío. En un movimiento tan odioso como hipócrita, el gobierno del presidente francés, François Hollande, decidió convertirse en el primer estado de la Unión Europea en comenzar a hacer cumplir las directrices que distinguen a los negocios judíos del Golán, Judea y Samaria al exigir que sus productos lleven etiquetas especiales de origen. Las autoridades francesas publicaron las directrices en el boletín oficial del gobierno y exigen que los artículos estipulen que “los productos originarios de los Altos del Golán (asentamiento israelí)” o “productos originarios de la Ribera Occidental (asentamiento israelí)”, Destinada simplemente a proporcionar al consumidor más información. Eso, por supuesto, es una tontería completa. Para empezar, el requisito se aplica

sólo a las fábricas propiedad de los judíos, mientras que las empresas palestinas de propiedad musulmana no tendrían sus mercancías etiquetadas de manera similar. En otras palabras, en su raíz, los criterios aplicados por Francia son la identidad religiosa y étnica del fabricante, y estas condiciones se aplican sólo a los seguidores de Moisés y no a los de Mahoma. Si eso no es racista y discriminatorio, ¿cuál es? Además, como señaló correctamente el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Israel, hay muchos otros “territorios disputados” en todo el mundo, pero ni Francia ni la UE están considerando aplicar una política similar en esos casos. Son judíos, y sólo judíos, los que viven en áreas como Judea y Samaria, que serán sometidos a “trato especial” por los franceses. Por lo tanto, no habrá etiquetas especiales para destacar productos chinos fabricados en el Tíbet, artículos rusos fabricados en Crimea o productos españoles

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de Cataluña. Tampoco se verán afectados los productos turcos fabricados en Chipre ocupado, los bienes marroquíes del Sáhara Occidental o las mercancías británicas de las impugnadas Islas Malvinas. Son judíos, y sólo judíos, los que viven en áreas como Judea y Samaria, que serán sometidos a “trato especial” por los franceses. Se trata de una intolerancia antisemita, pura y simple. Agregando a la ironía es que hace apenas un año, a principios de noviembre de 2015, Israel se unió al resto del mundo civilizado y se mostró solidario con Francia, que acababa de soportar una serie de ataques terroristas yihadistas coordinados en las calles De París que dejó 130 muertos inocentes. Miles de israelíes se reunieron para una manifestación en Tel Aviv para mostrar apoyo a la Ciudad de la Luz, sosteniendo letreros que decían “Tel Aviv se alza con París” e incluso cantando el himno nacional mientras el ayuntamiento estaba bañado en tricolores rojos, blancos y azules De la bandera francesa. Ahora, parece que Francia ha decidido devolver el favor mostrando solidaridad con aquellos que buscan la desaparición de Israel. La iniciativa francesa añadirá combustible al fuego del movimiento anti-Israel de Boicot, Desinversión y Sanciones (BDS), así como creará una apertura para que otros países de la UE adopten políticas similares. De manera similar, alentará a los palestinos a continuar en su obstinada negativa a negociar con Israel. Por supuesto, todo esto llega en un momento en que Francia y el resto de Europa están presenciando una oleada de antisemitismo. Y eso es lo que hace el movimiento tan moralmente repugnante y obsceno. Después de todo, ¿han olvidado los franceses lo que sucedió la última vez que decidieron distribuir un “trato especial” a los judíos? En caso de que tengan,

aquí está un rápido recordatorio. En octubre de 1940, el régimen colaborador francés Vichy, que se alió felizmente con la Alemania nazi, aprobó una ley conocida como estatuto judío, que no sólo excluía a judíos de diversas profesiones, sino también “arianización”. Las restricciones continuaron siendo más estrictas y culminaron en uno de los momentos más oscuros de la historia francesa, cuando la policía francesa comenzó a reunir a los judíos en julio de 1942, antes de entregarlos a los nazis para ser enviados a Auschwitz. Entre los arrestados por el francés Vichy estaban Isaac Kottler, primo hermano de mi abuela, y su esposa, Anna. Un periodista y amante de los libros, Isaac se dice que han amasado una gran colección de volúmenes. Aunque había nacido en San Petersburgo en 1902, decidió dejar atrás el caos de Rusia y se estableció en Francia. Cuando mi abuela lo visitó en París antes de la guerra, le mostró su posesión más preciada: un árbol genealógico que se remonta a la expulsión de los judíos de España en 1492. Demostraba que nuestros antepasados​​ habían vivido en Toledo, y trazado el viaje de sus vagabundeos por Europa a travé s de los siglos. Pero eso importaba poco a los alemanes ya sus aliados colaboracionistas franceses, que veían a los judíos como extraterrestres no dignos de vivir en suelo europeo. Las lecciones del pasado deben ser claras: seleccionar a los judíos y etiquetarlos es un movimiento imprudentemente peligroso, que puede abrir una caja de Pandora de odio y furia. Adoptando tal paso, Francia no sólo ha traicionado a Israel, sino que ha dado la espalda a los valores de “libertad, égalité, fraternité” (“libertad, igualdad y fraternidad”) que tan fuertemente afirma defender. El plan francés para etiquetar los productos israelíes del Golán, Judea y Samaria no se puede permitir que se mantenga, y todos debemos elevar nuestras voces en protesta contra este esquema repugnante. Es hora de recordarles un punto muy simple: siete décadas después del Holocausto, Francia y otros gobiernos europeos no tienen derecho a decir a los judíos dónde pueden o no pueden vivir. Especialmente en nuestra patria ancestral.

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


Parsha Perceptions

The Birth of the World’s Oldest Hatred Rabbi Lord Jonathon Sacks

“Go and learn what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father Jacob. Pharaoh made his decree only about the males whereas Laban sought to destroy everything.” This passage from the Haggadah on Pesach - evidently based on this week’s parsha - is extraordinarily difficult to understand. First, it is a commentary on the phrase in Deuteronomy, Arami oved avi. As the overwhelming majority of commentators point out, the meaning of this phrase is “my father was a wandering Aramean”, a reference either to Jacob, who escaped to Aram [Syria, a reference to Haran where Laban lived], or to Abraham, who left Aram in response to God’s call to travel to the land of Canaan. It does not mean “an Aramean [Laban] tried to destroy my father.” Some commentators read it this way, but almost certainly they only do so because of this passage in the Haggadah. Second, nowhere in the parsha do we find that Laban actually tried to destroy Jacob. He deceived him, tried to exploit him, and chased after him when he fled. As he was about to catch up with Jacob, God appeared to him in a dream at night and said: ‘Be very careful not to say anything, good or bad, to Jacob.’ When Laban complains about the fact that Jacob was trying to escape, Jacob replies: “Twenty years now I have worked for you in your estate - fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for some of your flocks. You changed my wages ten times!” All this suggests that Laban behaved outrageously to Jacob, treating him like an unpaid laborer, almost a slave, but not that he tried to “destroy” him - to kill him as Pharaoh tried to kill all male Israelite children. Third, the Haggadah and the seder service of which it is the text, is about how the Egyptians enslaved and practiced slow genocide against the Israelites and how God saved them from slavery and death. Why seek to diminish this whole narrative by saying that, actually, Pharaoh’s decree was not that bad, Laban’s was worse. This seems to make no sense, either in terms of the central theme of the Haggadah or in relation to the actual facts as recorded in the biblical text. How then are we to understand it? Perhaps the answer is this. Laban’s

behavior is the paradigm of anti-Semites through the ages. It was not so much what Laban did that the Haggadah is referring to, but what his behavior gave rise to, in century after century. How so? Laban begins by seeming like a friend. He offers Jacob refuge when he is in flight from Esau who has vowed to kill him. Yet it turns out that his behavior is less generous than self-interested and calculating. Jacob works for him for seven years for Rachel. Then on the wedding night Laban substitutes Leah for Rachel, so that to marry Rachel, Jacob has to work another seven years. When Joseph is born to Rachel, Jacob tries to leave. Laban protests. Jacob works another six years, and then realizes that the situation is untenable. Laban’s sons are accusing him of getting rich at Laban’s expense. Jacob senses that Laban himself is becoming hostile. Rachel and Leah agree, saying, “he treats us like strangers! He has sold us and spent the money!” Jacob realizes that there is nothing he can do or say that will persuade Laban to let him leave. He has no choice but to escape. Laban then pursues him, and were it not for God’s warning the night before he catches up with him, there is little doubt that he would have forced Jacob to return and live out the rest of his life as his unpaid laborer. As he says to Jacob the next day: “The daughters are my daughters! The sons are my sons! The flocks are my flocks! All that you see is mine!” It turns out that everything he had ostensibly given Jacob, in his own mind he had not given at all. Laban treats Jacob as his property, his slave. He is a non-person. In his eyes Jacob has no rights, no independent existence. He has given Jacob his daughters in marriage but still claims that they and their children belong to him, not Jacob. He has given Jacob an agreement as to the animals that will be his as his wages, yet he still insists that “The flocks are my flocks.” What arouses his anger, his rage, is that Jacob maintains his dignity and independence. Faced with an impossible existence as his father-in-law’s slave, Jacob always finds a way of carrying on. Yes he has been cheated of his beloved Rachel, but he

works so that he can marry her too. Yes he has been forced to work for nothing, but he uses his superior knowledge of animal husbandry to propose a deal which will allow him to build flocks of his own that will allow him to maintain what is now a large family. Jacob refuses to be defeated. Hemmed in on all sides, he finds a way out. That is Jacob’s greatness. His methods are not those he would have chosen in other circumstances. He has to outwit an extremely cunning adversary. But Jacob refuses to be defeated, or crushed and demoralized. In a seemingly impossible situation Jacob retains his dignity, independence and freedom. Jacob is no man’s slave. Laban is, in effect, the first anti-Semite. In age after age, Jews sought refuge from those, like Esau, who sought to kill them. The nations who gave them refuge seemed at first to be benefactors. But they demanded a price. They saw, in Jews, people who would make them rich. Wherever Jews went they brought prosperity to their hosts. Yet they refused to be mere chattels. They refused to be owned. They had their own identity and way of life; they insisted on the basic human right to be free. The host society then eventually turned against them. They claimed that Jews were exploiting them rather than what was in fact the case, that they were exploiting the Jews. And when Jews succeeded, they accused them of theft: “The flocks are my flocks! All that you see is mine!” They forgot that Jews had contributed massively to national prosperity. The fact that Jews had salvaged some self-respect, some independence, that they too had prospered, made them not just envious but angry. That was when it became dangerous to be a Jew. Laban was the first to display this syndrome but not the last. It happened again in Egypt after the death of Joseph. It happened under the Greeks and Romans, the Christian and Muslim empires of the Middle Ages, the European nations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and after the Russian Revolution. In her fascinating book World on Fire, Amy Chua argues that ethnic hatred will always be directed by the host society against any conspicuously successful minority. All three conditions must be pres-

ent. The hated group must be a minority or people will fear to attack it. It must be successful or people will not envy it, merely feel contempt for it. It must be conspicuous or people will not notice it. Jews tended to fit all three. That is why they were hated. And it began with Jacob during his stay with Laban. He was a minority, outnumbered by Laban’s family. He was successful, and it was conspicuous: you could see it by looking at his flocks. What the sages are saying in the Haggadah now becomes clear. Pharaoh was a one-time enemy of the Jews, but Laban exists, in one form or another, in age after age. The syndrome still exists today. As Amy Chua notes, Israel in the context of the Middle East is a conspicuously successful minority. It is a small country, a minority; it is successful and it is conspicuously so. Somehow, in a tiny country with few natural resources, it has outshone its neighbors. The result is envy that becomes anger that becomes hate. Where did it begin? With Laban. Put this way, we begin to see Jacob in a new light. Jacob stands for minorities and small nations everywhere. Jacob is the refusal to let large powers crush the few, the weak, the refugee. Jacob refuses to define himself as a slave, someone else’s property. He maintains his inner dignity and freedom. He contributes to other people’s prosperity but he defeats every attempt to be exploited. Jacob is the voice that says: I too am human. I too have rights. I too am free. If Laban is the eternal paradigm of hatred of conspicuously successful minorities, then Jacob is the eternal paradigm of the human capacity to survive the hatred of others. In this strange way Jacob becomes the voice of hope in the conversation of humankind, the living proof that hate never wins the final victory; freedom does. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks served as Britain’s chief rabbi from 1991 to 2013. He was recently named as the 2016 Templeton Prize Laureate. His latest book is Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence.


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

Wednesday, December 14, 8:00PM

Dr. Hillel Abramson Topic: "The Surprising History behind Chanukah: More than Dreidlels and Latkes" Henry (Hillel) Abramson, PhD, a longtime former member of YIBH, serves as Dean of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of many works on Jewish history and thought. Wednesday, December 21, 8:00PM

Rabbi Dr. David Nesenoff Topic: “A Funny Thing Happened to Me at The White House” David Nesenoff, is a renowned speaker, rabbi, publisher, journalist, author, musician and filmmaker. He received his formal education from Yeshiva University and Hebrew University. He was the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Jewish Star newspaper in New York and The Jerusalem Observer in Israel. Dr. Nesenoff literally travels the globe delivering highly sought after messages about Israel and the Jewish people, David's audiences have reviewed his presentation, or one-man show, as “hilarious” “mind-blowing” “uplifting” and “life-changing.”

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The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016

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24 20 1. 2.

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

TJH You gotta be

Centerfold Riddle me this?


Fidel Castro dies and goes to heaven. Before he is judged he meets with a much needed defense lawyer

If your mother is from

who will represent him in front of the heavenly court. As the two sit down to go over some things before the meeting, the lawyer turns to him and says, “Why

Iceland and your father is from Cuba, what are you?

don’t you start at the beginning?” “Okay,” says Fidel, “in the beginning I created heaven and the earth...”

See answer on next page

Wanna Work For The Cia?

For many years, the CIA engaged in numerous plots to kill Fidel Castro. Many of these plots were uncovered in numerous government documents released over the years. Most of them did not get past the planning stage, but some did. All of the following were CIA plans to kill Castro except for one. Can you figure out which one was not one of the plans to kill the despot? 1. POISONOUS CIGARS: In 1960 the CIA tried to have cigars delivered to Castro which were contaminated with a botulinum toxin so potent that a person would die immediately after putting one in his mouth. 2. EXPLODING SEASHELLS: In 1963, the CIA considered whether an exotic seashell, rigged to explode, could be deposited in an area where Castro commonly went skin diving. 3. POISON PEN: In the early 1960s, the CIA attempted to have one of Castro’s close officials prick him with a ballpoint pen rigged with a poisonous hypodermic needle “so fine that the victim would not notice its insertion.” 4. PSYCHODELIC LEADER: According to the 1967 Report of the CIA’s Inspector General, officials discussed a scheme to spray Castro’s broadcasting studio with a chemical which produced effects similar to LSD, which would attempt to make Castro “freak out” and look foolish during a live

television appearance, thus undermining his popularity. 5. POISONOUS ICE CREAM: In 1961 a restaurant worker was supposed to slip a vial of poison into Fidel’s milkshake. Cuban officials found the potion before the plot was carried out. 6. BEARD-OFF: According to a 1975 Senate Intelligence Committee report, the U.S. believed that messing with Castro’s beard would cause him to lose his grip on power because it would show Cubans that Castro was weak and fallible. A scheme was hatched to put thallium salt in his shoes or cigars which Castro would absorb and would cause his hair to fall out. 7.

GWB TRAFFIC: A plan was hatched to cause a traffic buildup on the George Washington Bridge when Castro was in town for the UN General Assembly. The hope was that Castro would be so fed up that he would jump off the bridge. See answer on next page

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015 The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016

Fidel Castro Trivia 1. Which board game did Castro order to be destroyed when he took over power in Cuba? a. Guess Who b. Chess c. Monopoly d. Stratego 2. How many streets in Cuba are named after Fidel Castro? a. 0 b. 170 c. 980 d. 2,473 3. Fidel Castro holds the record for longest speech ever in front of the U.N. How long was it? a. 1 hour and 36 minutes b. 2 hours and 19 minutes c. 3 hours and 17 minutes d. 4 hours and 29 minutes 4. How many U.S. Presidents did Castro outlast? a. 5 b. 9 c. 11 d. 12 5. In what year did Castro stop smoking Cuban cigars? a. 1985

b. 1992 c. 1999 d. 2010 6. Castro claims he survived how many assassination attempts? a. 117 b. 242 c. 370 d. 634 7. In 2006, Forbes magazine estimated Fidel Castro’s net worth at $900 million. Castro denied this and claimed that his monthly salary was: a. $36 b. $1,246 c. $3,900 d. $14,000 Answers: 1. C 2. A – Castro claims that he never wanted to create a cult of personality, therefore no streets, buildings, institutions or localities are named for him. 3. D – Castro’s longest speech on record was in Cuba and lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes in 1986 at the Communist Party Congress in Havana.

4. B 5. A – Castro gave up cigars in 1985. Years later he summed up the harm of smoking tobacco by saying: “The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is to give them to your enemy.” 6. D – Castro claims he survived 634 attempts on his life, mainly masterminded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They involved poison pills, a toxic cigar, exploding mollusks, a chemically tainted diving suit and powder to make his beard fall out so as to undermine his popularity. 7. A – In response to Forbes’ claim, Castro declared: “If they can prove that I have a bank account abroad, with $900 million, with $1 million, $500,000, $100,000 or $1 in it, I will resign,” he declared in a television appearance. Wisdom Key: 5-7 correct: You must be a big fan of the despot…Viva Fidel! 3-4 correct: You earned a knockoff Cuban cigar! 0-2 correct: Perhaps you should read the article in this magazine about Castro…you have some catching up to do.

25 21

Answer to CIA plot: The only plot never considered was to kill him with GWB traffic. But maybe we could use it for other heads of state that we don’t like. Now that’s a good position for Christie in Trump’s White House: head of the “GWB Traffic Study Assassination Department.” Answer to Riddle: An ice cube


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

Health & F tness

Portion Distortion By Cindy Weinberger MS, RD, CDN

Portion distortion is one of the main reasons why 70% of our country is considered overweight or obese. Restaurants and fast food joints serve food that foreigners might view as food on steroids. Try walking into a Tim Horton’s in Canada and order a size medium beverage. You will be outraged when the server passes you a cup that will pass as an XXS in a Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S. Americans have become desensitized to portion sizes and therefore are consuming foods in excess, leading to weight gain and obesity. A review published in the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition showed that when people are presented with larger portions, they consumed more despite hunger levels and body cues. Believe it or not, all foods – even the healthy ones – when eaten in excess will cause weight gain. Thus it is vital, especially when dieting, to be aware of portion sizes. A few shocking portion sizes that will blow your mind: Bagels. Today’s 6-inch bagel has 350 calories. This is 210 more calories than a 3-inch bagel 20 years ago. The proper serving size of a bagel is supposed to be about 2 ounces. A New York bagel is about 6-7 ounces; that’s about 6-7 slices of bread. And that’s before all the butter, cream cheese and mayonnaise-filled tuna. A whole wheat bagel is better in terms of fiber and whole grains but no better in terms of carbs and calories. To stick to the old fashioned and correct 2 ounce serving: start with a half of a bagel and scoop out the inside. At this point, you might as well skip the bagel altogether and go for a high fiber slice of bread! Avocado. Avocado is becoming a staple at the brunch table and although perceived as “healthy,” portions are way out of control. Let’s not forget that avocado is not part of the vegetable family and is actually part of the fat family. While it may be a “healthy fat” it is still a more concentrated source of calories when compared to protein and carbohydrates. The accurate serving size of an avocado is 1/8 of a whole avocado. The main thing to keep in

mind here is that there is a difference between eating healthy and eating to lose weight, and for weight loss you should be sticking to that one-eighth serving size. Next brunch outing, swap your avocado for egg whites. Rice. When dieting, many turn to brown rice and quinoa. However, grains like rice and quinoa may not be as innocent as they appear. The serving size for both rice (whether it be brown or white) and quinoa is ½ cup. This means a bowl of quinoa or rice, which generally has about 2 cups, is 4 times the recommended serving size! The secret is to fill the bowl up with vegetables and add it to the rice/quinoa. Vegetables can be roasted, steamed, and even raw for some added crunch.

Fruit. Because fruits are infamous for their positive health benefits, people often feel they can eat unlimited amounts, even if they’re watching their weight. However, as delicious and undoubtedly nutritious as fruits may be, they do contain a fair amount of carbohydrates and sugar. One serving of fruit is about 15g of carbohydrates. For example, the proper serving size of a banana is only half of a banana. Keep your carbohydrates in check and stick to 2-3 servings of fruit per day.

Muffins. Today’s 5-ounce muffin has 500 calories. That’s 310 calories more than a muffin 20 years ago – and that’s not including all the sugar and added junk. Your best bet is skipping the muffin altogether and opting for a healthier treat, or even just the muffin top. What you can do to Manage Your Portions

Use hand symbols. Not sure what a portion size should be? Make sense of portion sizes by using hand symbols for portions (see diagram). Read food labels. Pay attention to the number of servings contained in the package, then note the calorie and fat content per serving. If, for example, the label on a large muffin indicates that one serving has 250 calories and 10 grams of fat and the muffin contains two servings, then you’ll have eaten 500 calories and 20 grams of fat from that muffin. Often, overeating is

not intentional, and occurs simply because of poor serving size clarification. Split up supersize bags. Supersize bags may be more economical, but they can also enable you to overeat. If you buy huge bags of chips or pretzels, for example, split up the contents into smaller containers or Ziploc bags so you can easily see the proper portion size. Share a meal. Many times the entrée is enough to feed the whole table. Splitting one main course with another person when you go out for a meal is a safe way to control your portion. Eat half or less. If you’re not sharing a meal, eat half of what you’re served and take the rest home for another meal. You might be better off asking for a container right away when your plate comes so that you won’t be tempted to eat the whole thing. Use a smaller plate. At home, serve your meals on smaller plates. Your plate will look full, but you’ll be eating less. Slow down and skip second helpings. Eat one reasonable serving and don’t immediately go back for seconds. Give yourself time to digest and serve yourself more food if you are still hungry.  Cindy Weinberger MS, RD, CDN, is a Master’s level Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist. She graduated CUNY Brooklyn College receiving a Bachelor’s in Science and Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. Her Dietetic Internship was completed under Brooklyn College primarily in Ditmas Park Care Center and Boro Park Center where she developed clinical and education skills to treat patients with comprehensive nutrition care. She is currently a dietitian at Boro Park Center and a private nutrition consultant. She can be reached at

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016

Torah Thought How Using Airplane Mode While on the Ground Can Change Your Life Rabbi Efrem Goldberg A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of davening Mincha with unusually-focused kavana, when I suddenly heard a bas kol, a heavenly voice proclaim, “Message received.”  I was reveling in the news that the combination of my heartfelt expressions of praise, personal requests, and gratitude had in fact been received by the Almighty, when suddenly I heard it again, “Message received.”  At that point I realized it was no heavenly voice; it was someone’s cell phone with an alert set for each text message received.  I must admit that for the rest of that Amidah, I struggled to overcome my resentment and frustration and return to the level of focus and concentration I had previously achieved. A few days before this incident, a friend shared with me an experience at a tragic funeral he had attended.  A young man passed away and throngs came out to pay him kavod acharon, final respect.  As the crowd became silent and the officiating rabbi was about to begin, the

chilling words “You’ve arrived at your destination,” were proclaimed. The person sitting next to my friend immediately commented, “final destination.”  Someone had used a GPS app to direct them to the funeral and had failed to silence his phone, rudely disrupting the beginning of a tragic funeral. Technology has enhanced our lives in countless ways, but it has also compromised and challenged the very foundation of existence, a sense of mindfulness and consciousness in all that we do. A recent study shows that the average person checks his or her phone every six and a half minutes.  Half of teens say they are addicted to their smartphones.  Other research shows that smartphones are actually making us stupid, not smart. Indeed, for super successful people like Warren Buffett, the “flip phone” is making a comeback. In his essay, “Menuchas Ha’Nefesh,” Rav Chaim Friedlander writes, “The truth is, menuchas ha’nefesh, peace of the soul,

is a fundamental and critical attribute upon which all success in every aspect of life rests…A person who is scattered, distracted and fragmented cannot achieve anything fully or in fullness.” We all see the difference between the quality of our conversations, interactions, and experiences on Shabbos when we are liberated from and free of technology, from those that take place during the week, when whatever we are doing is competing with the alerts, notifications, vibrations and sounds that are relentlessly bombarding us. The Zohar (3, 29a) says, “a scholar is called Shabbos.”  R’ Chaim Friedlander explains that it is because the scholar and righteous are able to experience the entire week with the menuchas ha’nefesh, the peacefulness of the mind and soul, that Shabbos provides. I recently spent time in Israel and unlike in the past, I intentionally did not rent a SIM card to power my smartphone.  As a result, I only had access to the usual barrage of emails and texts when I was near Wi-Fi.  That meant every time I davened on the trip, I was entirely disconnected from technology and exclusively connected to my conversation with Hashem.  When I was out with my family, I was entirely immersed in whatever activity or conversation we were having, and utterly inaccessible and disconnected from all others. The experience was enlightening.  My davening, conversations, and experiences were energized and experienced more fully than ever.  When I returned, I was depressed by the thought that I had left my


mindfulness and menuchas ha’nefesh behind.  But then it dawned on me: I didn’t have to leave it behind at all. Each time we fly, we have to put our phones in airplane mode which disables the ability to receive calls or messages or be connected online.  (Although it seems the era of being disconnected while flying is coming to an end, too.) It dawned on me that airplane mode works, even while on the ground. Even if we are unable to switch to a flip-phone, or to turn our phones off, we can disconnect at will.  When we walk into davening or begin a conversation we want to be fully present for, we can form the habit and ritual of switching to airplane mode.  We can have Shabbos during the week and experience menuchas ha’nefesh by simply adjusting one setting when we want to connect to what we are doing. The Chovos H’Levavos writes that he knew a righteous man who used to pray “Ha’Makom yatzileini mipizur ha’nefesh, May God spare me from the scattering of the soul.”  Let us pray that we maximize our use of technology without scattering our souls and that we successfully maintain a sense of mindfulness in a world of mindlessness. Rabbi Goldberg is the Senior Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue.

Psychology Today

The Right to Be Wrong Dr. Yaakov Siegel There is an old truth the busy season for psychologists is holiday time. In the secular world, it is this time of year– fromNovember through January. For us Jews, it occurs in September and April around Succos and Pesach. Either way, the pressure of the holidays and the prospect of spending time with family somehow triggers stress, anxiety and neurosis. Generally, holidays are a time of good cheer, camaraderie and joyful reunion. But there is always one person (often two or three) who rub us the wrong way and that ruins everything. This year it might be politics, religion, or their grating personality. Whatever it is, these people are just so wrong; having them around is plain frustrating and it leaves us feeling terrible. To quote a teacher: “shalom (peace)

comes from accepting the fact that others are different from myself and granting that this is okay. We can get along as soon as I stop trying to convert you over to my way of thinking.” Over the holidays, we inevitably spend time with people who are different from ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that. I voted Hillary, you swear by Trump. Fine! Discord sets in when I try to convince you, show you, enlighten you, change you. Shalom and harmony is when I learn to accept you. One important skill is the ability to grant others the right to be wrong. To just let them be. There are people everywhere who “just do not get it.” They are at the office, in the supermarket, online, at shul and, most troubling of all, in the family. Rela-

tives have a knack of saying and doing all kinds of outlandish, self-centered, overthe-line, offensive and troublesome things to set us off. We are all tolerant people, but some things just cannot be let slide, right? Wrong! As my 6th grade Rebbe, Rabbi Yachnes, used to say , “you have the right to your opinion, but that does not mean your opinion is right!” In other words, you have the right to be wrong. There are many factors that contribute to interpersonal discord and there are strategies to combat each. Perhaps most effective is to avoid labeling others – even in the privacy of our own mind. It is natural to sit at a family dinner with a running commentary in our head: “oy, my brother is so religious, how and why did he get that yeshivish?!” Or “Is she really such a bleeding heart liberal, has she no sense at all?” “He talks like a nerd; she is a total show-off.” Name calling is a dangerous business, and once indulged, the potential is endless. But the result is always the same: illwill, unhappiness and frustration. A wise

woman once said, “the sure-fire way to make yourself miserable is to look down on other people.” There is no way we are getting others to change – especially not by holiday’s end - so judging, labeling and looking down on them will only serve to make us miserable. Instead of scrutinizing and categorizing others, try to accept differences and appreciate variation. After all, it is the spice that gives family its flavor. This holiday season, grant a pardon and gift others the right to be wrong. It’s the right thing to do. Dr. Y. Siegel is a licensed psychologist in private practice. He has held positions in Federal and State institutions providing clinical services and psychological assessment.  He also served as clinical coordinator at an addiction center where he supervised and trained staff.   Dr. Siegel can be reached at 732-8061513 or drsiegel@siegelpsychological. com.


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home


OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Fidel Castro The End of a Dictator BY KEVIN SULLIVAN


he son of a prosperous sugar planter, Fidel Castro took power in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, promising to share his nation’s wealth with its poorest citizens, who had suffered under the corrupt quarter-century dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro, a romantic figure in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots, chomping monstrous cigars through a bushy black beard, became a spiritual beacon for the world’s political far left. In his homeland, Castro was as loathed as he was beloved. He was among the world’s most repressive leaders, a self-appointed president-for-life who banned free speech, freedom of as-

sembly, and a free press and executed or jailed thousands of political opponents. While he dispatched Cuban-educated doctors and Cuban-developed vaccines to the poorest corners of Latin America, Cubans in central Havana found pharmacy shelves empty of medicine, and many lived in apartments in which they used buckets in their kitchens as toilets. With almost theatrical relish, Castro taunted 10 successive U.S. presidents, who viewed the Cuban leader variously as a potential courier of Armageddon, a blowhard nuisance, a dangerous dictator, a fomenter of revolution around Latin America, a serial human

rights abuser, or an irrelevant sideshow who somehow hung on after the collapse of communism almost everywhere else. Castro’s long reign began to unravel on July 31, 2006, when he temporarily transferred power to his 75-yearold brother, Raúl, after undergoing what he described as intestinal surgery. (The precise nature of Castro’s health problems was an official state secret.) The transfer of power came weeks before Castro’s 80th birthday on Aug. 13, and Castro was not seen in public again for nearly four years. He formally resigned on Feb. 19, 2008, in a statement read on national television by a spokesman, ending his

49-year reign and giving George W. Bush the distinction of being the first U.S. president to outlast Castro in power. The National Assembly officially – and unanimously – named Raúl Castro, the longtime head of the Cuban armed forces, as the country’s new president. The move was seen as deeply anticlimactic, because Castro had stage-managed the shift to his brother for the better part of two years. Beginning in the 1960s, the United States maintained a strict trade and diplomatic embargo against Cuba, hoping to drive Castro from power. In 2014, President Obama – the first U.S. pres-

ident elected in the post-Fidel era – announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Havana. During a visit to Cuba in March 2016, Obama met Raúl Castro but made no effort to meet his brother. Fidel Castro later delivered a speech, dismissing Obama’s overtures and denouncing the idea of cooperation with the United States. Fidel was a particular thorn to President John F. Kennedy, who approved the clumsy Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961 by a ragtag group of CIA-trained fighters, which became a humiliating low point of his presidency. To his benefactors in the Kremlin during the height of

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Fidel and his revolutionaries holding up their rifles after Batista’s overthrow

the Cold War, Castro was the useful commander of a communist citadel on the doorstep of the United States. That point was drawn in terrifyingly stark terms during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Castro allowed the Soviets to base on his soil missiles that could carry nuclear warheads to Washington or New York in minutes. The resulting showdown between Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was the closest the world has come to nuclear war. Fidel erected billboards carrying patriotic slogans of the revolution, such as “We will overcome!,” “Toward victory, always!” and “Motherland or death!” Under his reign, Havana eventually became something of a Marxist Disneyland – a shiny, happy veneer over something much uglier. Castro personally ordered the restoration of Old Havana, an architectural gem where tourists can savor $300 boxes of Cuban cigars, some of the world’s best music and sweet Havana Club rum – the proceeds of which went to Castro’s revolution. But just a block behind the restored facades, impoverished Cubans lived in crumbling homes on rationed food. In his later years, Castro enjoyed a resurgence in popularity across much of Latin

Playing baseball in 1964, a favorite national pastime

America, fueled in part by the election of several leaders inspired by his staunch anti-Americanism. In particular, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela viewed Castro as a political beacon and father figure to the Latin American left. Sweetheart oil deals from Chávez, until his death in March 2013,

simple as passing out books on democracy. Many Cubans would not offer criticism of their leader for fear of being overheard by government informants, who lived on practically every block. To indicate Castro, they would tug on an imaginary beard. Other residents accepted him as a simple fact

Fidel with a few of his compatriots in the Cuban jungle, 1957

Biran in eastern Cuba’s Oriente province. His father, Ángel Casftro, was born in Spain and went to Cuba as a soldier in the Spanish army. He became a laborer on a railway owned by the United Fruit Co. Soon he was clearing land for himself in the wilds of Oriente and growing sug-

Other residents accepted him as a simple fact of life, like the tropical humidity – what good would it do to complain? were crucial to Cuba’s ability to survive as its state-dominated economy sputtered. While many Cubans expressed genuine and deep loyalty to Fidel – he was never called “Castro” in his homeland – others clearly feared a leader who imprisoned tens of thousands of his enemies over the years, often on little more than a whim. As he aged, Castro acted more like a man intent on purifying his legacy, returning his revolution to its ideological core, reversing economic openings and stepping up attacks on political dissent. He imprisoned Cubans whose crimes were as

of life, like the tropical humidity – what good would it do to complain? The most pointed condemnations came from Cubans who fled Castro’s rule by the thousands every year. Those with enough money paid for speedboat trips across the Florida Straits, while the poorest attempted the dangerous trip in rickety boats. Some would-be émigrés refitted Cuba’s aging American-made cars and trucks, transforming them into unlikely boats. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born Aug. 13, 1926, at Las Manacas, his family’s plantation in the village of


ar cane, which he sold to the fruit company. In time, Las Manacas comprised 26,000 acres, of which almost 2,000 were owned by the elder Castro. As a child, Fidel Castro was well off but nowhere near as wealthy as some of the boys at the schools to which he was sent, including the prestigious Colegio de Belen, a Jesuit school in Havana. Behind his back, he was sometimes called guajiro, or peasant. In his authoritative 1986 biography of Castro, author Tad Szulc quoted this assessment from Enrique Ovares, an old friend of Fidel’s: “I think that the

worst damage Fidel’s parents did him was to put him in a school of wealthy boys without Fidel being really rich...and more than that without having a social position...I think that this influenced him and he had hatred against society people and moneyed people.” Castro entered the University of Havana in 1945. Perhaps applying his firsthand experience of social and economic inequality, he immersed himself in the legacy of Cuba’s bygone revolutionaries. Since 1898, when the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor sparked the Spanish-American War, the country had often had tumultuous relations with the United States. Castro concluded that casting off U.S. hegemony was more important to Cuba than mere prosperity. He joined the Insurrectional Revolutionary Union, began to carry a pistol and became involved in revolutionary causes in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Castro received his law degree at the University of Havana in 1950 and set up a practice in the capital city. Two years later, he ran for a seat in the Cuban congress on the ticket of the Ortodoxo Party, a reform group. His campaign was cut short on March 10, 1952, when Batis-

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VOICEMAILS …The doctor told us, “Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing a better job than me.” Yes! We listened to him, and we’ll continue our Kollel Chatzos partnership. We will surely see a complete refuah… M. M. G. Lakewood

‫לרפואת אליעזר‬ ‫בן שיינדל לאה‬ ‫בתושח״י‬



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Saddam Hussein with Fidel and Raul Castro during a visit to Cuba in January 1979

ta staged a coup and retook the presidency he first held in the 1940s. Even as a young man, Castro showed a remarkable ability to persuade people to join him in seemingly impossible tasks – such as his wild scheme to take over the army’s Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Castro’s plan was to distribute arms from the barracks to his supporters and overthrow Batista. Castro was not deterred by the fact that the garrison numbered more than 1,000 soldiers and that he fielded only about 120 followers. The July 26, 1953 assault went off with almost comic mismanagement. Without firing a single shot himself, Castro called a retreat. He and most of the others were captured. Through the intercession of a bishop who was a friend of his father, Castro was spared immediate execution and was instead put on trial. Although the court proceeding was held in secret, it gave Castro, who acted as his own attorney, the chance to make what became the most famous speech of his life. It concluded with the

words that became known to generations of Cuban schoolchildren: “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.” Castro was sentenced to 15 years but was released after less than two under an amnesty declared by Batista. He then moved to Mexico City, where he continued his work with a group calling itself the 26th of July Movement, commemorating the date of the Moncada assault, which became known as the opening salvo of the Cuban revolution. On Dec. 2, 1956, Castro and 81 followers returned to Cuba from Mexico aboard a secondhand yacht called “Granma,” whose name was later adopted by the Communist Party newspaper in Cuba. All but 12 in the landing party were killed or captured almost immediately. Castro, his brother Raúl and an Argentine physician, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, escaped into the mountains and began organizing a guerrilla army. In the summer of 1958, Batista launched a major offensive against Castro’s ragtag group. When it failed, it

was clear that Batista’s days in power were numbered. He announced to a few close colleagues at a New Year’s Eve party in 1958 that he was leaving the country, and Castro and his followers triumphantly drove into Havana to take control of the country on Jan. 1, 1959. When Castro took power, he preached democracy and reform. He sought to assuage his critics, insisting that he was not a communist. A wary United States cautiously offered economic aid, which Castro refused. Economic and political relations grew increasingly more difficult, particularly when it became known that the new regime imprisoned thousands of political opponents and executed many others. Within two years, Castro had expropriated $1.8 billion in U.S. property without compensation and turned Cuba into a bastion of Marxism-Leninism. In May 1960, Cuba established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, which was soon supplying most of the island’s petroleum needs, as well as a constant flow of

weapons and other military hardware. The government nationalized U.S. and British oil refineries and U.S.owned banks. In October 1960, the U.S. government imposed an embargo on all trade with the island except for food and medicine. On Jan. 3, 1961, diplomatic relations with the United States were broken. This set the stage for one of Castro’s greatest triumphs: the defeat of the CIA-organized invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs, which U.S. intelligence officials thought would set off a popular revolt against Castro. The invasion by about 1,350 CIA-trained fighters was put down by Cuban military forces, and about 1,200 of the invaders were captured, a huge embarrassment for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The following year, Castro abetted the nuclear confrontation between Washington and Moscow, which ended when Khrushchev agreed to withdraw Soviet-made missiles and promised not to use Cuba as a base for offensive weapons. In return, the United States

pledged not to invade Cuba after what is called the Cuban Missile Crisis and to remove missiles it had stationed in Turkey. For years he lived under the threat of various CIA assassination plots – according to Cuban estimates, he was targeted at least 634 times. He cited U.S. threats to justify a large-scale military buildup, and he tried to export a Cuban-style revolution to countries across Latin America, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia. (Guevara was killed leading an uprising in Bolivia in 1967.) One of Castro’s first economic acts in 1959 was to start an industrialization program. By producing their own steel and other products, Cubans could end their longtime economic dependence on sugar and tobacco. He promised that the standard of living would rise faster than anywhere else in the world. The plans failed, and food rationing began in 1961. In 1968, Castro ordered


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Raising arms with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during a four week visit to Moscow

a “revolutionary offensive” in which 50,000 small businesses were nationalized, causing the economy to grind to a virtual halt. Cuba began to enjoy better times in the 1980s, thanks to huge subsidies from Moscow, which sent cars, food, fuel and fertilizer to keep the island’s economy afloat. But the Soviet Union’s eventual collapse meant calamity for Cuba. In 1990, Castro called for austerity measures. Rationing was increased, and industrial enterprises were cut back or shut down as Cuban workers were shifted to agriculture. At the same time, Castro began to open the door to some elements of private enterprise, legalizing the use of U.S. dollars in Cuba. Small businesses flourished on the streets of Havana, with merchants selling car parts, cigars and more. While technically illegal, private businesses gave unemployed Cubans a bit of income. But years later, he rolled back these policies. The government began to arrest people who used their cars or bicycles as taxis and even shut down small eateries in private homes known as paladares, which had begun in the early 1990s with the government’s approval. Among Castro’s more successful efforts were uni-

Rationing in Cuba

versal health care and the near-eradication of illiteracy throughout Cuba. But Castro’s Cuba remained a place of repression and fear. AIDS patients were confined to sanitariums. Artists and writers were forced to join an official union and told that their work must support the revolution.

April 1980, he opened the port of Mariel to any Cuban wishing to leave. More than 125,000 people – branded as “worms” and “scum” by Castro’s government – took advantage of the highly publicized “boatlift” before it was closed in October of that year. By 1994, economic con-

Welcoming Putin to Cuba in 2000

with other countries seemed to improve. When the United Nations convened for its 50th anniversary in 1995, the Cuban leader delivered a much-anticipated address to the U.N. General Assembly. Without mentioning the United States, he called for “a world without ruthless blockades that cause the

It concluded with the words that became known to generations of Cuban schoolchildren: “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.” The government conducted surveillance on anyone suspected of dissent. In 1965, Castro admitted to holding 20,000 political prisoners. Some foreign observers thought the number might be twice as high. Numerous historians and human rights groups concluded that Castro’s government carried out thousands of political executions. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans simply left, most of them for the United States. At first, travel was legal, but Castro soon imposed restrictions. In

ditions in Cuba were so bad that riots in Havana were followed by another exodus. Thousands fled from the country’s beaches on makeshift rafts; many were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard, and others perished at sea. In February 1996, the Cuban air force shot down two light planes belonging to an exile group in Miami that Havana claimed violated Cuban airspace. President Bill Clinton retaliated by signing the Helms-Burton Act, which further tightened the decades-old embargo. But Castro’s relations


death of men, women and children, youths and elders, like noiseless atom bombs.” After the September 11th attacks, the U.S. government housed suspected terrorists at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which had been in U.S. hands since 1903. The American government pays Cuba $4,085 a year in rent for the 45-square mile naval base. Castro, who had long demanded that the base be returned to Cuban possession, refused to cash the checks the U.S. government sent each month as rent for

Guantanamo. With the advancing years, Castro grew more beleaguered. In 2003, he ordered the arrests of 75 human rights activists, journalists and dissidents who were later convicted on charges of collaborating with the United States to subvert the government. Sentenced to terms of six to 28 years in prison, the dissidents were freed in 2010 and 2011 through the intervention of the Catholic Church. “This is a war against peace and against pacifists,” Oswaldo Payá, a leading dissident, told The Post in 2003. Payá, who said the Cuban government was using Soviet KGB-like tactics to silence dissents, was killed in a July 2012 car crash that his family and human rights groups allege was caused by Cuban government agents. Even as his country crumbled around him, and communist regimes toppled across the globe, Castro remained a true believer in the revolution he had wrought. To the end, and for better or worse, he held true to the maxim he often espoused: “Socialism or death.”

This article was excerpted from a piece from The Washington Post. (c) 2016, The Washington Post


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home



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Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

After Pearl Harbor,

This Mail Plane had a New Mission Find the Attackers BY MICHAEL E. RUANE


tattered Pearl Harbor survivor looks every bit of 78, with weathered skin, rusty bones and the faded “U.S. Navy” emblem the old bird got before the war. Gray from age and years in the service, the veteran of Dec. 7 sits with other World War II antiques, weary and in need of attention. But with the 75th anniversary of the 1941 attack this week, and commemorations scheduled in Hawaii and around the country, this survivor, like most who were there that day, has a story. The ungainly Navy airplane at the National Air and Space Museum’s

Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, is one of the few original U.S. aircraft in existence that flew against the Japanese armada that day. Then painted silver and orange-yellow, with a bright green tail and red trim, it was an unlikely combatant. Designed as a small airliner – a “baby clipper” – it was unarmed and part of a unit called Utility Squadron One, which hauled mail, sailors and Navy photographers around the Hawaiian Islands. It had window curtains and a restroom with porcelain fixtures. Its top speed was just over 100 mph. With Pearl Harbor a scene of

death and devastation that Sunday morning, Plane No. 1063 – its insignia a pelican carrying a mailbag – was ordered to seek out the enemy. For armament, the 28-year-old pilot, Ensign Wesley Hoyt Ruth, and his five-man crew were issued three World War I-era rifles. Their task: Report the location of the six Japanese aircraft carriers, two battleships, assorted escort ships and hundreds of enemy airplanes that had been involved in the attack. “This is going to be a one-way trip,” Ruth later said he thought. But it wasn’t. Seventy-five years later, the

Sikorski JRS-1 amphibian, with its boat hull for the water and big tires for the runway, sits in the Udvar-Hazy Center’s restoration hangar, a venerable witness to the event that helped create modern America. The Pearl Harbor attack, which plunged the United States into World War II, killed an estimated 2,400 Americans, wounded about 1,100, and destroyed ships, planes and facilities. “The fact that [Ruth] got out and got back is . . . absolutely amazing,” Smithsonian museum specialist Pat Robinson said last month. The plane would not have sur-


Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

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Pilot Wesley Hoyt Ruth

vived an encounter with the Japanese fleet, which it did not find, Robinson said in an interview at the center. It was lucky not to have been shot down by jumpy American antiaircraft gunners when it returned to Pearl Harbor, he said. And it was a miracle that it was saved from the postwar scrap heap. “Somewhere . . . someone looking at the log books realized the significance of the airplane, and where it had been,” and alerted the Smithsonian, which retrieved it from military storage, Robinson said. “It’s a huge deal, to have this here,” he said. “It represents American involvement in the Second World War. It was there when it started.”


the airplane has a presence, and the Smithsonian would one day like to restore it. But other historic planes are in line ahead of it. The craft, constructed for the Navy in 1938 at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Conn., is big, with the two huge propeller engines built into the wing above the fuselage, a hatch in the nose where a photographer could stand, and porthole-style windows. Inside it, the curators found an old emergency water purification kit and the rusted keys to a lockbox in the radio compartment. The squadron was based on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor, where the Navy’s doomed battleships were parked. Ruth, the pilot, who later lived in the Washington area and taught at the Bullis School in Potomac, Mary-

A drinking water kit found on the flying boat

land, was in his bachelor’s quarters on the island the morning of the attack. A seasoned aviator, “he could fly anything,” his son, Thomas A. Ruth II, said recently. A native of tiny De Smet, South Dakota, he was having breakfast when the Japanese planes came roaring in. He thought for a moment that it might be a drill, until he saw them dropping bombs. “Then I knew for sure that we were in for trouble,” he said. He would survive the war, but a younger brother, Thomas, who was

fell in and around his car. As the Japanese attack ended, the Americans wanted to locate the fleet from which the enemy planes had come. Ruth was ordered to go find it. “You take the first plane, the JRS,” he said a senior officer told him. He got into the plane with co-pilot Emery C. “Pappy” Geise, 35, radioman Oscar W. Benenfiel Jr., plane captain Amos P. Gallupe and two other sailors, according to the Smithsonian. Before they left, the senior officer presented them with three old

“This is going to be a one-way trip,” Ruth later said he thought.

also a Navy pilot, was shot down and killed in the South Pacific in 1943. In videotaped accounts he gave over the years, Wes Ruth said he grabbed his coat that morning, jumped into his convertible and sped with the top down for the airstrip. “I drove as fast as I could because . . . I was concerned about getting strafed,” he said. As he neared the runway, the battleship USS Arizona had just blown up about a quarter-mile away. Pellets of gunpowder ejected from the blast began to fall from the sky. “It was snowing powder pellets about as large as my finger,” Ruth said in a talk he gave in 2011. They

Springfield rifles for protection. “We would have to shoot through the windows,” Ruth said. He thought the chances of surviving were zero. The brightly colored plane took off and flew north, looking for the enemy. Hours went by. “Every second in the air was fraught with anxiety, apprehension, [and] anger,” a crewman on another search plane recalled, according to Pearl Harbor historian Craig Nelson. “If ever there was a suicide mission, this was one.” Ruth said he flew just beneath the clouds, so he could duck into the

cloud cover if there was trouble. He flew 250 miles to the north but saw nothing. He turned east for 10 miles, then headed back south 250 miles toward Pearl Harbor. Still nothing. Although the enemy fleet was still lurking north of Pearl Harbor, Ruth and his crew made no contact. But then they had to get back to Ford Island without getting shot down by their comrades. Numerous American planes were mistaken for the enemy and shot at by nervous Americans on the ground, according to historians. Again, Ruth and his men were lucky. They arrived unscathed. Following the attack, the plane was moved to a base in California and later handed over to the forerunner of NASA for testing purposes, Robinson said. After that it went into storage until its importance was noticed and it was given to the Smithsonian.


died last year at 101 in Matthews, North Carolina. He was buried in January in Arlington National Cemetery. For his actions at Pearl Harbor, he was given the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest decoration for heroism. “Although contact with the enemy meant almost certain destruction,” his citation reads, Ruth’s courage, airmanship and skill “were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” (c) 2016, The Washington Post

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Political Crossfire

Trump’s Taiwan Call Wasn’t a Blunder. It was Brilliant By Marc A. Thiessen


elax. Breathe. Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan wasn’t a blunder by an inexperienced president-elect unschooled in the niceties of cross-straits diplomacy. It was a deliberate move – and a brilliant one at that. The phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen was reportedly carefully planned, and Trump was fully briefed before the call, according to The Washington Post. It’s not that Trump was unfamiliar with the “Three Communiques” or unaware of the fiction that there is “One China.” Trump knew precisely what he was doing in taking the call. He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president – an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations. The message, as John Bolton correctly put it,

was that “the president of the United States [will] talk to whomever he wants if he thinks it’s in the interest of the United States, and nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to.” Amen to that. And if that message was lost on Beijing, Trump underscored it on Sunday, tweeting: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” He does not need Beijing’s permission to speak to anyone. No more kowtowing in a Trump administration. Trump promised during the campaign that he would take a tougher stand with China, and supporting Taiwan has always been part of his get-tough approach to Beijing. As far

back as 2011, Trump tweeted: “Why is @BarackObama delaying the sale of F-16 aircraft to Taiwan? Wrong message to send to China. #TimeToGetTough.” Indeed, the very idea that Trump could not speak to Taiwan’s president because it would anger Beijing is precisely the kind of weakkneed subservience that Trump promised to eliminate as president. Trump’s call with the Taiwanese president sent a message not only to Beijing, but also to the stripedpants foreign-policy establishment in Washington. It is telling how so many in that establishment immediately assumed Trump had committed an unintended gaffe. “Bottomless pig-ignorance” is how one liberal foreign-policy commentator described Trump’s decision to speak with Tsai. Trump just shocked the world by winning the presidential election, yet they still underestimate him. The irony is that the hyperventilation in Washington has far outpaced the

measured response from Beijing. When American foreign-policy elites are more upset than China, perhaps it’s time for some introspection. The hypocrisy is rank. When President Obama broke with decades of U.S. policy and extended diplomatic recognition to a murderous dictatorship in Cuba, the foreign-policy establishment swooned. Democrats on Capitol Hill praised Obama for taking action that was “long overdue.” Former President Jimmy Carter raved about how Obama had “shown such wisdom,” while the New York Times gushed that Obama was acting “courageously” and “ushering in a transformational era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50 years of hostility between the two nations.” But when Trump broke with decades of U.S. diplomatic practice and had a phone call with the democratically elected leader of Taiwan, he


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was declared a buffoon. Well, if they didn’t like that phone call, his critics may hate what could come next even more. Trump now has an opportunity to do with Taiwan what Obama did with Cuba – normalize relations. There are a number of steps the Trump administration can take to strengthen our military, economic and diplomatic ties with Taiwan. My American Enterprise Institute colleague Derek Scissors has suggested that Trump could negotiate a new free-trade agreement with Taiwan. “Taiwan’s tiny population means there is no jobs threat,” Scissors says, but Taiwan is also the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner. A free-trade agreement would be economically beneficial to both sides and would send a message to friend and foe alike in Asia that, despite Trump’s planned withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United States is not withdrawing from the region. On the military front, Trump

could begin sending general officers to Taipei once again to coordinate with their Taiwanese counterparts and hold joint military exercises. On the diplomatic front, Bolton says the new administration could start “re-

senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business; and ultimately restoring full diplomatic recognition.” Beijing would be wise not to overreact to any overtures Trump

Trump’s call with the Taiwanese president sent a message not only to Beijing, but also to the striped-pants foreign-policy establishment in Washington.

ceiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department; upgrading the status of U.S. representation in Taipei from a private ‘institute’ to an official diplomatic mission; inviting Taiwan’s president to travel officially to America; allowing the most

makes to Taiwan. When China tested President George W. Bush in his first months in office by scrambling fighters and forcing a U.S. EP-3 aircraft to land on the Chinese island of Hainan, its actions backfired. After the incident, Bush approved a $30

billion arms package for Taiwan, announced that Taiwan would be treated as a major non-NATO ally and declared that the United States would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan. His actions not only strengthened U.S. ties with Taiwan but also set the stage for good relations with Beijing throughout his presidency. China does not want to make the same mistake and overplay its hand with Trump. Trump’s call with Taiwan’s president was a smart, calculated move designed to send a clear message: The days of pushing the United States around are over. That may horrify official Washington, but it’s the right message to send. © The Washington Post

Thiessen, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute and former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush, writes a weekly online column for The Post.

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DECEMBER29, 1, 2015 2016 || The The Jewish Jewish Home Home OCTOBER

In The K


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner By Naomi Nachman

Here are some of our family’s favorite chicken recipes. It’s always hard to please everyone in the family but these are our family’s winning dishes.

Orange Salsa Chicken This new chicken recipe is so perfect to feed the family. It’s super quick to make and freezes really well. You can also try it with fish for a parve alternative.

Ingredients 2 whole chickens, cut into quarters 1 cup salsa 1 cup orange jam Zest of an orange (a little less than a tablespoon) 1 (11 oz.) can sliced mandarin oranges

Coke Chicken Teriyaki Chicken I always make a double batch of this and put half of it uncooked in the freezer. When I’m ready to bake it I defrost it in the fridge overnight then bake it up fresh.

Ingredients 3 large onions, sliced 16 pieces chicken (8 tops and 8 bottoms) 4 teaspoons garlic powder 2 cups coke 2 cups ketchup 2 cups apricot jam Salt and pepper

Preparation Preparation Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place chicken pieces in a large baking pan and season with salt and pepper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, orange jam, orange zest and mandarin oranges. Pour over chicken. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a large pan. Lay the chicken on top of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over the chicken. Let it marinade for an hour. Then bake at 375°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered.

Ingredients ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoon silan (date honey) 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or pargiyot

Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with marinade. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until done, depending on thickness.

Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ Yom Tov meals for families and individuals within The Five Towns and neighboring communities, with a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributing editor to this paper and also produces and hosts her own weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A Table for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and private groups throughout the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. In addition, Naomi has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks, magazines as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website, www.theaussiegourmet. com or at (516) 295-9669.



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NOVEMBER 24, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Everything Comes with a Learning Manual – Why Not Our Kids? By Rivki Rosenwald, CLC


s our children struggle with their issues, we as parents struggle as well. It’s not easy being a kid. Children are navigating an unfamiliar world. The good news is they usually have Mommy or Daddy to help them. But, suddenly, as kids reach adolescence, their homing mechanism changes somewhat. They are more compelled cognitively, hormonally and psychologically to find the answers themselves. This is often a daunting task for preteens, teens, and even people in their early twenties. Parents may start to get disoriented because their authority is no longer as influential as it once was. As children reach adolescence and begin their quest for independence, parents need to find their new role and develop patterns of interaction that are effective. Most important, parents need to stay connected. “Most parents do a pretty good job of raising kids,”

says psychologist Laurence Steinberg, a preeminent psychologist in the field of parenting. “But truly effective parenting means not just relying on natural instincts but also knowing what works and why.” It seems to so many people that this is what we are programmed for, to be parents. Therefore, the expectation is that the instincts and wisdom needed for the job will just come to us naturally, almost the way learning to eat does. But did you ever notice that though eating begins pretty naturally, we spend the rest of our lives tweaking and analyzing it? We learn certain foods don’t agree with us. Certain foods energize us while others make us feel sluggish. We are constantly learning more about what is heart-healthy, good or bad for our bodies, or what strengthens our minds. In other words, even though some events seem natural and what we are built to do, there is much room for edu-

cation and improvement. This brings me to the challenges of parenting. We are clearly directed to become parents. However, nowhere does it state that this will come without challenges and the need for enlightenment, perspective, constant growth, and expansion. Steinberg points out that he’s often asked whether what he’s learned as a researcher has helped him to be a better parent. He states, “The answer is of course that it has. It’s like asking a professional chef whether studying cooking made him better in the kitchen. How could it not? Like anything else, good parenting requires knowledge.” Steinberg points out that there is a science to effective parenting and that certain core principles have proved helpful. Will adolescents still struggle and parents still make mistakes? It’s very likely because the journey is affected by many factors along the way. However, improving the way we un-

derstand it, handle it, behave, and connect through it is what will help our children most to get through it. When we seek to understand our kids and stay connected to them we are actually supporting them through their difficult times. One valuable tool is learning to be a good listener and really understanding what that means. This is an integral part of helping your adolescent go through his or her struggles. Most parents cannot actually wrap their heads around the concept that with all their life wisdom, one of the best teaching tools they possess is being able to hold back from sharing their information and to opt to just listen. However, when we truly listen rather than talking, we begin to hear what is going on for our child from their point of view. As Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish point out in their book, How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talk, “There will always be time for you

to get your message across but you have a better chance of being heard, if you start by letting your kids know they’ve been heard.” Hearing them is not just hearing their words but attempting to understand their struggle. This can happen through what they say or even what they do not say. When they are struggling they are sending us information that something is difficult for them. If we are too consumed with our own reaction, we cannot understand their challenge. We need to be able to empathize with their feelings even though we do not condone their behavior. Parents might begin to see behaviors that upset them. A child may begin to party, dress inappropriately, pursue unhealthy behaviors, or reject parents’ religious values. All of these actions are sending a message from their children to them. If, as parents, we choose to criticize the behavior without understanding where it is

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coming from, or what need it is meeting for them, we are not hearing them and very likely they will not hear us when we react. “Parents often see uncooperative behavior as a challenge to their authority. Once we understand that uncooperative behavior is a communication of a child’s unmet need, a hurt, or the response to an adult’s unrealistic expectation, we do not have to take the behavior so personally,” says Pam Leo, parent educator. When we internalize the understanding that a struggle is truly occurring for our children, it helps them feel they are not alone in their difficulty and this keeps them connected to us. Staying connected is a core value of getting our children through their rough

spots. Drs. Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartezell point out in their book, Parenting from The Inside Out, “So often parents don’t listen to the message their child expresses because they are preoccu-

treat them is how we teach them!” Similarly, according to author James Baldwin, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Madraigos offers a parent support group for parents of teens and young adults. The group, led by Rena Kutner and Rivki Rosenwald, provides insight into adolescent development and struggles.

“You have a better chance of being heard if you start by letting your kids know they’ve been heard.”

pied with their own thoughts and feelings.… It’s important to remember that even if your children’s messages don’t immediately make sense to you, they are trying to get their needs met in the best way that they can at that point in time.” As they say, “How we

Gaining education and insight helps strengthen connections and understanding of your child. Formulating appropriate responses help parents role model acceptance and develop the reactions and interactions that will guide their family best through this journey.

The group focuses on offering different perspectives, behavior awareness and modifications, and coping skills that are helpful to parents in feeling supported and more adept at navigating a potentially challenging time. Due to the enthusiastic response and positive feed-


back, Madraigos is expanding the program to provide an opportunity for more parents to benefit as well. A second group will begin on Monday evening, December 5. For more information about our parenting programs please contact Chanie Delman, LCSW, at (516) 3713250 x 107 or email cdel-

Madraigos, a 501c-3 not-forprofit organization, offers a wide array of innovative services and programs geared towards helping teens and young adults overcome life’s everyday challenges one step at a time. Our goal is to provide all of our members with the necessary tools and skills to empower them to live a healthy lifestyle and become the leaders of tomorrow.

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Dating Dialogue

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

Dear Navidaters,

I’m wondering how important the panel feels intelligence is in a relationship. Since you don’t know who I am, I don’t have to be modest. I happen to be pretty smart, always done well in school, very knowledgeable on many subject matters – the type of guy who does great in the game of Trivial Pursuit.

Recently I was set up with Reva. I was immediately smitten by her sweetness, her beauty, her “chein,” her middos – really everything about her is amazing. The only problem is that she’s not very bright. Often, I’ll make a joke or just make some comment and realize that she’s not “getting it.” She’ll look at me with her beautiful eyes, but they seem to gloss right over. I might mention something about politics or basic science and she’ll giggle in her adorable way, but tell me she’s not really all that familiar with what I’m talking about. Even worse, when I try to explain it to her, she doesn’t follow. Frankly, she probably doesn’t have a particularly high I.Q. On the other hand, I feel so good around her. Just sitting together, not even having to talk, feels right. She’s comfortable to be around, not demanding or challenging in any way. I never expected to marry a career woman, so that’s not a problem, since she doesn’t have a career. And I do like the idea of being married to a stay-at-home mom. So again, no problem there. So many of the women I’ve gone out with are so ambitious that I was turned off to that. I would never have to worry about Reva being too ambitious but frankly, she’s not ambitious at all. I would propose in a minute. I feel like I love her. My parents are telling me they are worried that I need someone closer to my level of intellect. I want to believe that I could fulfill my need for intellectual conversation with other people in my life. Do you think I’m deluding myself or should this be a serious red flag?

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 | DECEMBER 1, 2015 2016 OCTOBER 29, The Jewish HomeHome | OCTOBER 29, 20158, 2016 The Florida Jewish | DECEMBER

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The Panel The Rebbetzin Faigie Horowitz, M.S.


agree with your parents. Lack of intellectual compatibility and Reva’s lack of understanding what you are talking about after an explanation are serious matters. Obviously, the “chein” will not hold your interest long enough. A couple needs to share interests and have what to talk about that will engage both of them. It is not always intellectual; sometimes a shared sense of values, personality and mission in some combination works too. But if you see from the get-go that she is rather dim and is going to be a hausfrau with a small range, it is going to be a problem. The giggles indicate lack of maturity, as well. There is a third red flag here. You are smitten by her charm and warmth after a short time and feel like you can propose to her. You feel very comfortable and you “feel like I love her.” It seems that you are enjoying being admired and looking into her beautiful eyes. She has charm and will always look up to you for your brains and accomplishments, which she will never have. Ask yourself: how much worship do you need? Why is it important that you be admired? Have you been put down in your life? Do you need to be number one? Learn to listen to the other person. Have you ever worked closely with someone else? Do you accomplish things only by yourself? Do you always need to control? Sort this out with a professional before you continue to date other young women. You need to learn about yourself and about opening up to a partnership in marriage. This will take time.

The Mother Sarah Schwartz Schreiber, P.A.


here’s an apocryphal story that took place between George Ber-

nard Shaw and a beautiful actress. It goes roughly like this: She: “I think we should marry. With your brains and my beauty, we should produce the most amazing children.” He: “And what if the children are born with my looks and your brains? Disaster!” While staring across a restaurant table at the doe-eyed Reva or taking a leisurely walk with her, IQ may not be uppermost on your mind. Fast forward to married life. Reva, even as a stay-at-home mom, will have to manage the day-to-day intricacies of a household and make intelligent financial and logistical decisions (food, furnishings, clothing budgets). Most importantly, she will be the mother of your children – a most demanding role that challenges the most savvy, efficient, mature women among us. Not to mention, if the kids are as smart as Mom, you may have to do more than your share of homework duty. Have you even tried teaching Common Core math to a first grader? So, to address your question, “How important is intelligence in a relationship,” I defer to the words of Shlomo HaMelech, the most intelligent man ever born, and his liturgical Eishes Chayil: “Sheker hachaein, v’hevel hayofi…” You know the rest.

She needs someone who will love, love, love and cherish her, and you need someone who plays a great game of Trivial Pursuit.

to change her, correct her and get annoyed with her and at her. That would be devastating for the relationship. You will not be able to respect her or love her for who she is. You will not be able to see the chein shining through and that’s not fair. Obviously, you and your family feel that you

are a highly intellectual young man and you need someone on your level. Well, that’s a clear sign that Reva should break things off with you. You shouldn’t go into a marriage focusing on someone’s faults while comparing them to your pluses. You can’t go into a marriage with the notion that you will change her. Please do yourself a favor and end it now. She needs someone who will love, love, love and cherish her and you need someone who plays a great game of Trivial Pursuit. Good luck.

The Single Tova Wein


here is an expression that goes “Beauty fades but brains are

The Dating Mentor Rochel Chafetz, Educator/Mentor


o you have always done well in school. You are very knowledgeable and you are great at Trivial Pursuit. After that description, I would probably warn Reva that she should not continue dating you. You say that she is not bright but she is sweet. She seems to have beautiful middos but I don’t think you will be able to focus on those things after a few months of marriage. I think you will probably continue to focus on your opinion that she is not too bright – whatever that means. And you will continually try

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forever.” Or something like that. Somehow, this line popped into my head when I read your question. Obviously, you are smitten by Reva’s beauty and to be fair, by her sweetness and I’m imagining innocence or naiveté. Those are lovely qualities. But in my experience, they are not qualities that sustain a meaningful relationship for very long. Yes, I know many

men love having a beautiful, dutiful wife at their side. It probably makes them feel better about themselves. But as you go through life, and challenges arise, you want a partner rather than a beauty queen to share your ups and downs with, someone whose opinion you can respect and someone you can feel confident turning to for advice and insight.

You also want a best friend. It’s hard to be best friends with someone who just doesn’t “get it.” It’s frustrating, annoying and makes for impossible dialogue at times. I’m sure Reva is a beautiful individual – both inside and out. But if you pride yourself on your smarts and your family also seems to place intelligence as an important trait and you go forward with this relationship, I believe you will one day – sooner rather

“And what if the children are born with my looks and your brains? Disaster!”

than later – regret the moment you fell under the spell of her beautiful eyes!

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


ntelligence is very important in a relationship…when it is very important to someone in the relationship. I understand that you feel warm and wonderful around the beautiful Reva. And this is no small potatoes. You look forward to seeing her, enjoy the time you spend together, and think you may be falling in love with her. I can completely understand the attraction. She’s gorgeous, she’s warm, she has “chein,” she makes you feel good, she’s giggly… I don’t think these are trivial qualities. She is going to make a man very happy. The question is, can that man be you? People often think of chemistry and attraction as being purely physical. The truth is that two people may have an intellectual or a spiritual chemistry (or attraction) as well. I believe your feelings for Reva extend beyond a physical attraction but your lack of intellectual compatibility may be of concern. The following is a list of qualities I believe are necessary ingredients

to a great marriage. The first is respect. Mutual respect. Will you be able to respect Reva? That includes respecting her decisions, respecting her though she cannot play Trivial Pursuit with you, or partake in intellectual conversations. The second is acceptance. Mutual acceptance. Will you be able to fully accept Reva’s level of intelligence as it is? You will not be able to change her once you are married, and if you move forward with her, it wouldn’t be fair to do that to her. That means no “Oh, come on honey, can you just read this book for me?” and certainly no “You can’t even play a normal game of Trivial Pursuit with me? Are you kidding me?” The third is embracing the other. Mutually embracing each other. Not only do you accept her as she is and she you (which doesn’t seem to be a problem), you embrace her. You tell her how wonderful she is and that you wouldn’t change her for the world. Not only

do you tell her this, but you actually feel it. Deep down in your bones. You may want to consider whether you will eventually feel lonely or isolated with Reva. If the charm of her giggles, beauty and “chein” were to wear off, as charming qualities in a spouse of many years tend to do, when the bills are piled high, a baby or two are crying, or the next presidential election is as absurd as the last, or you read the most interesting article about the Iran Deal…who will you talk to? A marriage is a relationship of lifelong companionship. Make sure you can respect, accept and embrace Reva as your lifelong companion before moving forward. Sincerely, Jennifer

snarkiness in your e-mail. However, if you have a history of rejecting women for not being smart enough or good enough, then you may want to look into that. Some people (not you) ride their intelligence high horse, never making room on the saddle for anyone else.

P.S. One final thought: some people have a snarky attitude about their intelligence and no one is ever smart enough. I am not saying that you are snarky or that I detected

question to the panel anonymously, please email thenavidaters@gmail. com. You can follow The Navidaters on FB and Instagram for dating and rela-

Esther Mann, LCSW and Jennifer Mann, LCSW are licensed, clinical psychotherapists and dating and relationship coaches working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, NY. To set up an appointment, please call 516.224.7779. Press 1 for Esther, 2 for Jennifer. The Navidaters offer Date Debriefing, Dater’s Tool Kit, Engagement Coaching, and of course Dating Coaching. Visit www.thenavidaters. com for more information. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship

tionship advice.

The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

Trump was an entrepreneur and a businessman. He is already a statesman, he is the head of the United States of America, one of the world’s leading countries. Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man. And if [he is] a clever man, then he will fully and quite quickly understand another level of responsibility. We assume that he will be acting from these positions… We are ready for cooperation with the new American administration. - Vladimir Putin, in a Russian TV interview

On Saturday, the hearse carrying Fidel Castro’s remains broke down and had to be pushed. The hearse was being driven by Cuba’s minister of metaphors.

Meanwhile, Trump announced that the CEO of Disney will be advising his transition team. Thanks to him, Trump won’t have to build a wall anymore. He’ll just charge so much for admission that nobody will want to come in. – Jimmy Fallon

– Conan O’Brien

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Ben Carson. Do you remember him? President-elect Donald Trump picked him to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Which is going to be quite a surprise when he finally wakes up. – Jimmy Kimmel

Ben Carson, in case you don’t know, is a former neurosurgeon with no experience in Housing or Urban Development. This is the first time the phrase “Well, it’s not brain surgery” is actually a bad thing.

Once the terrorists of the Middle East are deprived of the land area, the real estate area where they can sleep ... they will wander to other places and they will come here and we have to prepare for that. Remember, these guys, they do not have an iota of what is human rights, believe me. I will not just simply allow my people to be slaughtered for the sake of human rights, that’s [crazy]. - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

- Ibid.




DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


At their dinner together, President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney dined on sautéed frog legs. I don’t know about you, but eating frogs’ legs with Donald Trump sounds like someone lost a bet. – Conan O’Brien

Yesterday Donald Trump sat down to dinner with Mitt Romney at the JeanGeorges French restaurant in the Trump International Hotel… If you are wondering what was on the dinner menu, Romney started by eating his words. Then for the main course he swallowed his pride, dignity, and selfesteem. – James Corden

Trump and Romney last night were dining at a four-star French restaurant called Jean-Georges… And they were joined by Reince Priebus, who is Trump’s chief of staff and not, as you may think, an item on the menu. “Would you care to start with some priebus? It has been lightly reince’d.” – Stephen Colbert

Being Jewish was, and has been, a sort of blueprint on how to live one’s life and how to raise your children. If you use that blueprint, chances are pretty good that they are going to do well and be good people… On some mornings, I’ll even walk the block or so to my shul and lay tefillin. - Now-retired Paul Shaffer, thirty year band leader of “The Late Show with David Letterman,” talking about his love for his Jewish faith at the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto fundraising event

ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country. - Tweet by Donald Trump after the terrorist attack at Ohio State University last week

Our response to this situation matters. If we respond to this situation by casting aspersions on millions of people that adhere to a particular religion or if we increase our suspicion of people who practice a particular religion, we are more likely going to contribute to acts of violence than we are to prevent them. - White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, after the terrorist attack at Ohio State University last week

Probably in some cave somewhere these al-Qaeda people are like, “What do we have to do to get these Americans to realize when we carry out terrorist attacks? Do we need to wear badges? Should we wear al-Qaeda t-shirts?” - Mark Steyn, commenting on the government’s hesitancy to call the Ohio State terrorist attack radical Islamic terrorism

The other big news is that Trump appointed Ben Carson as his secretary of Housing and Urban Development. That means Trump talked with Ben Carson and Al Gore on the same day, which is kind of like popping an Ambien before you watch the Weather Channel. – Jimmy Fallon


The Florida Jewish Home | DECEMBER 8, 2016


Good Hum r

The Laws of Cholent By Jon Kranz

The Jews may be the “Chosen People,” but we also are the “Cholent People.” Technically, Jews are not required to eat cholent, but many do so religiously. In fact, when synagogues give bar- and bat-mitzvah gifts, they really should just hand each kid a pound of meat, a sack of potatoes and a crockpot. Cholent—like your proudly overweight Uncle Stewart—can best be described as “meaty stew.” It falls somewhere between goulash and chili, and usually has an aroma and a flavor that are inversely proportional to its appearance. In fact, some of the best cholent I’ve ever had looked like someone threw up in a bowl. Then again, some of the worst cholent I’ve ever had pretty much tasted like someone threw up in a bowl. The history of cholent remains a bit of a mystery. Some scholars believe that the Yiddish word “cholent” derives from the French words “chaud” (hot) and “lent” (slow). By the way, “hot-slow” sounds more like a lava flow, but that does conjure up pleasant visions of a cholent-filled volcano erupting. Oh, what a delicious disaster that would be! Other scholars contend that cholent was created by a sect of Jews known as the Pharisees (515 B.C.E—70 C.E.) who believed that it is permissible to eat hot food on Shabbat if such food began cooking beforehand. A competing Jewish sect, known as the Sadducees, refused to eat cholent or any hot food on Shabbat, which explains why that sect’s name began with the word “sad.” Anyway, imagine if eating cholent was actually a specific positive commandment, “Thou shalt eat cholent,” or a negative one, “Thou shalt not not eat cholent.” (As an aside: Would a double negative be considered a positive or negative mitz-

vah? Discuss.) Anyway, wouldn’t it be fun to imagine what a theoretical cholent mitzvah would look like and how the rabbis would deal with it? In this halachic hypothetical, let’s assume that the fourth commandment was modified as follows: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy... and on this day, also remember to eat cholent.” Of

tice that you cheaply skimped on the meat. Rabbi Lima ben Chickpea, a/k/a the Beanbam, cautions: Don’t judge a cholent by its pot. The Beanbam also notes that cooking cholent is like having a blowout argument with your spouse: Let both simmer overnight for 12 hours and then, in the morning, come down to the kitchen and tell them how great they look and smell.

Rav Beerbaum then provides the golden rule of cholent: “What is distasteful to you, do not serve to your guest. That is the whole of the cholent, all the rest is commentary.”

course, the term “cholent” is not defined, so let’s further imagine that the Talmud, within a make-believe Mishnah, tells us that since the mitzvah of cholent is found in the fourth commandment, cholent must include four ingredients: meat, potatoes, barley and beans. (Cholent typically begins with this quartet but many people like to add a secret ingredient or two. If the cholent is a hit, the same people proprietarily refuse to divulge the secret, instead claiming that “it must be the pot.” Yeah, right. Whatever.) Now, for further explanation on the laws of cholent, let’s dig a little deeper into rabbinic commentary, Gemara-style. Rabbi Spud Fingerling asks: What is the proper potato-to-meat ratio? Answer: Enough potatoes so that nobody will no-

Rabbi Pinto ben Kidney, a/k/a the Rambean, states that in terms of fulfilling the mitzvah of cholent, anyone who eats cholent on Shabbat is yotzei (in compliance) but anyone who is offered vegan cholent made with only pumpkins and prunes is “justzei”... as in “Just say no!” Rabbi Postramy Salamiveitchik, a/k/a the Salambam, offers the following (sau) sage advice: Cutting up hotdogs and putting them into cholent is commonplace but, for some reason, putting cholent on a hotdog is not. (Conversely, adding hotdog pieces to a bowl of chili is unusual, but a chili dog is not. Go figure.) Rabbi Multy Grayne, a/k/a the Abar(ley)banel, commented that a tasty cholent can help the unmarried find their bash-

ert (soulmate). So if you’re single and about to mingle, bring a pot of cholent with you on your first date. That certainly will leave a lasting impression (one way or another). Rabbi Eaton N. Standon notes that cholent need not be served formally at the table. You may leave it on the kitchen counter and let your vulturous family members and guests have at it. The meal usually is over when the cholent runs out, so for less desirable company, make less cholent. Finally, Rav Brew Beerbaum asks: May beer be added to cholent? Answer: Only if the beer is potato-based, like Spud Light or Yam Adams. Rav Beerbaum then provides the golden rule of cholent: “What is distasteful to you, do not serve to your guest. That is the whole of the cholent, all the rest is commentary; now go and eat.” (Babaloney Talmud, Kishke, 31a.) Bottom line: A passion, yearning or even healthy obsession for cholent is perfectly fine. But, if you go to a coffee shop and order a non-dairy Salted Caramel Mocha Cholent-ccino, then you probably need a cholevention (cholent intervention), led, of course, by your uncle, Meaty Stew. Jon Kranz is an attorney living in Englewood, New Jersey. Send any comments, questions or insults to jkranz285@


DECEMBER 8, 2016 | The Florida Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Political Crossfire

After a Mere 25 Years, the Triumph of the West is Over kThe end of a Cold War, President Ronald Reagan and Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987

By Charles Krauthammer


wenty-five years ago – December 1991 – communism died, the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared. It was the largest breakup of an empire in modern history and not a shot was fired. It was an event of biblical proportions that my generation thought it would never live to see. As Wordsworth famously rhapsodized (about the French Revolution), “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very heaven!” That dawn marked the ultimate triumph of the liberal democratic idea. It promised an era of Western dominance led by a pre-eminent America, the world’s last remaining superpower. And so it was for a decade as the community of democracies expanded, first into Eastern Europe and former Soviet colonies. The U.S. was so dominant that when, on Dec. 31, 1999, it gave up one of the most prized geostrategic assets on the globe – the Panama Canal – no one even noticed. That era is over. The autocracies are back and rising; democracy is on the defensive; the U.S. is in retreat. Look no further than Aleppo. A Western-backed

resistance to a local tyrant -he is backed by a resurgent Russia, an expanding Iran and an array of proxy Shiite militias – is on the brink of annihilation. Russia drops bombs; America issues statements. What better symbol for the end of that heady liberal-democratic historical moment. The West is turn-

dissolved, as our secretary of state repeatedly goes cap in hand to Russia to beg for mercy in Syria. The European Union, the largest democratic club on earth, could itself soon break up as Brexit-like movements spread through the continent. At the same time, its members dash with unseemly haste to reopen

States. The West’s retreat began with Obama, who reacted to (perceived) post-9/11 overreach by abandoning Iraq, offering appeasement (“reset”) to Russia and accommodating Iran. In 2009, he refused even rhetorical support to the popular revolt against the rule of the ayatollahs.

Russia drops bombs; America issues statements.

ing inward and going home, leaving the field to the rising authoritarians – Russia, China and Iran. In France, the conservative party’s newly nominated presidential contender is fashionably conservative and populist and soft on Vladimir Putin. As are several of the newer Eastern Europe democracies – Hungary, Bulgaria, even Poland – themselves showing authoritarian tendencies. And even as Europe tires of the sanctions imposed on Russia for its rape of Ukraine, President Obama’s much touted “isolation” of Russia has ignominiously

economic ties with a tyrannical and aggressive Iran. As for China, the other great challenger to the postCold War order, the administration’s “pivot” has turned into an abject failure. The Philippines has openly defected to the Chinese side. Malaysia then followed. And the rest of our Asian allies are beginning to hedge their bets. When the president of China addressed the Pacific Rim countries in Peru last month, he suggested that China was prepared to pick up the pieces of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now abandoned by both political parties in the United

Donald Trump wants to continue the pullback, though for entirely different reasons. Obama ordered retreat because he’s always felt the U.S. was not good enough for the world, too flawed to have earned the moral right to be the world hegemon. Trump would follow suit, disdaining allies and avoiding conflict, because the world is not good enough for us – undeserving, ungrateful, parasitic foreigners living safely under our protection and off our sacrifices. Time to look after our own American interests. Trump’s is not a new ar-

gument. As the Cold War was ending in 1990, Jeane Kirkpatrick, the quintessential neoconservative, argued that we should now become “a normal country in a normal time.” It was time to give up the 20th-century burden of maintaining world order and of making superhuman exertions on behalf of universal values. Two generations of fighting fascism and communism were quite enough. Had we not earned a restful retirement? At the time, I argued that we had earned it indeed, but a cruel history would not allow us to enjoy it. Repose presupposes a fantasy world in which stability is self-sustaining without the United States. It is not. We would incur not respite but chaos. A quarter-century later, we face the same temptation, but this time under more challenging circumstances. Worldwide jihadism has been added to the fight, and we enjoy nothing like the dominance we exercised over conventional adversaries during our 1990s holiday from history. We may choose repose, but we won’t get it. (c) 2016, The Washington Post Writers Group


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