"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

31 Aug 2012

Parents and children

The braisa in Sanhedrin 71a says that there never was and never will be a Ben Sorer U'Moreh because in order for this wild child to be put to death his parents need to be similar in voice, appearance, and height which simply can't be. Why not? True it is rare but how can the Tanna say so with certainty.

One explanation is that the Torah is teaching us a valuable parenting lesson. Often the parents each have their own agenda and their own set of priorites and fundamental beliefs. This sends the child conflicting signals and conflicting guidance and it leaves the child confused. Surely a child with such an upbringing is capable of misbehaving. His veering from the path is not a sign of internal rot. It is a ramification of poor chinuch for which the death penalty is not warranted.

But if the child has two parents that are on the page, they speak in similar tones, they both show the same appearance by acting in a similar manner to that which they demand of their child, and they both set the same goals and heights that they want their child to reach, and with this beautiful consistent easy to understand chinuch the child still leaves the right path, then there is something seriously wrong with the child in his soul and in his core. A child like that is better off dead.

To this Rebbi Shimon says emphatically, impossible. Every Jew has a pure neshama and if his parents present a united front and set a good example to follow the child will absolutely not behave in this way and therefore Ben Sorer U'Moreh can never exist.

Convention activities

If you click here, you will find a list of events scheduled to take place at the Democratic National Convention starting today, including the Rabinowitz/Dorf Shabbat Dinner.

Atlas Shrugs reports that one event is no longer being listed at the charlotte2012 site but is still being advertised here. Why was the listing for the event removed?

Below is a quote from David Yerushalmi, senior counsel of AFLC, after a judge issued a ruling requiring the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accept an advertisement for its buses.

“Judge Engelmayer deserves praise for his ruling, not only because he authored a 14-page opinion on the very day of the hearing, but also because he has consistently and in the highest traditions of his judicial office applied the law to the facts and preserved for all New Yorkers their liberty to speak on political issues, even when the government, in this case the MTA, wanted to suppress our clients’ speech because it violates the PC-code that Israel may be publicly attacked but not the savages who murder innocent Jewish women and children.”

30 Aug 2012

Five years later

YNET article published in 2007

The first rabbi to be ordained in Germany since the Holocaust is so worried about being identified as a Jew that he often wears a baseball hat over his skull cap. "It's a fact - it isn't smart to display I'm Jewish. This is a problem and we have to face it," German-born Daniel Alter, 47, told Reuters in an interview. He is worried about neo-Nazi attacks and says anti-Semitism in Germany - still tortured by memories of the Holocaust in which Nazis wiped out six million Jews - puts the growth of Jewish communities here at risk.
Continue reading: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3353070,00.html

2012 article

One of the first rabbis ordained in Germany since the Holocaust has been beaten up on a Berlin street, prompting a seminary to advise its students not to wear skullcaps in public.

Daniel Alter, 53, was attacked in front of his young daughter after collecting her from a piano lesson on Tuesday after a young man asked him “Are you a Jew?”, said Berlin police.
The Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, currently training 28 rabbis, said it had boosted security around the building as a result of the attack and was checking mail.

“We have also given guidelines to our students on how to behave so that they do not become victims of such attacks,” the college’s rector Walter Homolka told the Berliner Morgenpost.

“We have advised them not to wear their skullcaps on the street, but to choose something inconspicuous to cover their head with,” he said.
Continue reading: http://www.euronews.com/newswires/1641290-german-jewish-college-shuns-skullcaps-after-attack-on-rabbi/

Red light green light

Oriental Boulevard’s pedestrian-activated stoplight at Ocean Avenue is designed to slow down cars, but it’s also bringing religious Jews trying to cross the Manhattan Beach thoroughfare to a complete halt on the Sabbath, residents claim.

Manhattan Beach residents say religious Jews who go to synagogue each weekend are forbidden by Jewish law to press the button that would turn the flashing yellow signal to a red light — leaving them with only two options: crossing the street against the light or going four blocks out of their way for a stoplight that turns red at regular intervals.
Read full story: http://brooklyndaily.com/stories/2012/35/bn_sabbathstoplight_2012_08_24_bk.html

An excellent upbringing

On Wednesday mornings a group of women from the neighborhood get together and recite Sefer Tehillim and pray for individuals who need a refuah sheleima.

This morning I rang the bell of the woman who hosts the Tehillim get together but no one opened the door. After ringing a second time, I gave up and continued on my way.  I bumped into a friend of mine who told me that she had been contacted by the woman. Apparently, the hostess had to be out of town and she left instructions for her daughter to be home Wednesday morning to open the door. Either the daughter forgot or something else came up - I am not sure what happened.

This evening I received a phone call from the daughter apologizing for not being there. I told my mother what great chinuch the daughter had received and how impressed my friend and I were to receive a phone call from the young girl. My mother replied that it was only natural to behave in such a fashion and she would not have expected anything less. "But I grew up in a different generation," she surmised.

An apology which would have been expected a generation ago was nowadays a sign of excellent upbringing and a rare occurrence. How sad.

29 Aug 2012

Chodesh Elul and Teshuvah

The Shela HaKadosh brings down from tzadikim of previous generations that the Pasuk "Aryeh Shoag Mi Lo Yirah"; when the lion roars who is not afraid, is a Siman for the Yomim Noraim and the Days of Judgement. The word Aryeh has the letters Aleph, Reish, Yud, Hey which represents Elul (Aleph), Rosh HaShana (Reish), Yom Kippur (Yud), and Hoshana Rabba (Hey) the day when our fate is handed out to the Malachim to carry out. The lion's roar of these days is a sign for us to be afraid and do Teshuva.

Teshuva he says is an acronym for the various ways we show our remorse. Tuf - Taanis, fasting; Shin - Sak, wearing a sack cloth; Vuv -VaEfer, ashes; Bais - Bechia, crying; Hey - Hesped, mourning over our aveiros.

The letters of Elul we all know stand for "Ani LeDodi V'Dodi Li"; I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me. The last letters of each of the 4 words is Yud with the numerical equivalent of 40. This represents the 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur that are a special time for Teshuva.

I caught the video below about Teshuva at the Lakewood Scoop.

28 Aug 2012

Judge G. and Judge G.

Judge Goldstone and  Judge Gershon have something in common. Both have surnames that begin with the letter G. Both issued verdicts which pertained to actions taken by the Israeli army. But that is where the similarities end. Judge Goldstone's verdict was welcomed for getting to the truth of what happened in Gaza. In fact, some members of the newly formed Rabbis for Obama organization penned a letter to Richard Goldstone which contained the following excerpt.

As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the Report you authored. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel's quote, "The world stands on three things: justice, truth, and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgment of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates' (Zaccariah 8:16)." We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.

The signatories to the letter affirmed the veracity of his report even though Judge Goldstone wrote in the Washington Post, "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a different document."

Judge Gershon "rejected on Tuesday accusations that Israel was at fault over the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an army bulldozer during a 2003 pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gaza."

I was curious as to how the members of rabbis for Obama and/or signatories to the Goldstone letter would view the verdict. I wasn't diappointed as one of the signatories has already posted, "Today’s verdict is not surprising. It was clear two years ago that the court had no interest in a fair examination of the evidence."

I await the opinions of the rest of those who claim to be interested in justice and truth, (as long as the truth puts Israel in a bad light.) One thing I won't count on is a letter to Judge Gershon affirming the veracity of his verdict authored by the same people who signed the Judge Goldstone letter.

Karl Vick discusses the verdict at TimeWorld.  In the article Vick writes "The Corries (whom, for the record, my wife volunteered to assist)..."

Click here to read his account which, I am sure, will be totally unbiased.


G-d's money

Yonoson Rosenblum has witten an article for Mishpacha Magazine titled Zev Wolfson's Best-Kept Secret. Below are two excepts but it is worthwhile reading the article about the philanthropist who was niftar recently in its entirety.

He was just post–bar mitzvah when, fleeing their native Vilna, the family was exiled by the Soviets to Siberia. Two years later, he carried his dead father on his shoulder in order to ensure he received a Jewish burial in the frozen tundra of Kavkazakhstan, and undertook the support of his mother and younger brother.

He had no doubt where his wealth came from. Upon being introduced to Mr. Wolfson for the first time, the chairman of Merrill Lynch asked him how he had acquired his wealth. “G-d gave it to me,” Zev replied, without hesitation. He felt no need to expand.
He not only believed that G-d had given him his wealth, but that the money belonged to G-d, and was only entrusted to him as long as he used it for G-d’s purposes.
Read full article: http://baltimorejewishlife.com/news/news-detail.php?SECTION_ID=1&ARTICLE_ID=31875

27 Aug 2012

Marriage blessings

On the occasion of his son's wedding, Jeremy Rosen has penned an article titled Kickstarting a Healthy Marriage With an Abundance of Blessings in which he offers a nice explanation for the seven blessings recited under the chupah.

"The opening blessing over wine is how all religious ceremonies are celebrated. It is something special and different, and places it within the world of physical pleasure and joy and the need to be grateful, to thank the Divine.

Then comes the invocation of life, creation. That’s where it all starts, and in this ceremony we are contributing to it. If we have been privileged to be part of the universe, we also have an implicit responsibility to appreciate it, develop it, and protect it.

The apogee of creation is humanity. There follow two blessings that concern humanity. There is the simple fact of life, but there is also a life well and fully lived. One can live a physical life very fully if one is fortunate as well as wise. But without a spiritual dimension there is something lacking. The two blessings celebrate our physical and our spiritual potential–two blessings, with the same “human” message.

Humanity, however, does not exist in a vacuum. One has to find one’s place within a community. The next crucial ingredient of Zion represents our religious and social identities. Simply to be part of the human race is too inchoate and vague. We humans need to live within smaller economic, cultural, and religious subdivisions, to be aware of others beyond our own immediate selves and to be loyal to shared causes and ideal.

These blessings establish one’s position in relation to God and the universe. Then they turn to the most profound and creative relationship of one’s life. The final two blessings specifically refer to the bride and groom. The first blesses “the groom and the bride”. The second blesses “the groom together with the bride”. It is a subtle and intentional distinction that first emphasizes the individuality of each partner, the need to recognize the differences and needs of the other, then in the second blessing uses all the words we have for joy to celebrate the ultimate partnership, which is greater than the sum of the parts, in which the individual is encompassed within the marriage."
Read full article: http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/08/24/kickstarting-a-healthy-marriage-with-an-abundance-of-blessings/

Pertaining to the Olympics

The Algemeiner has posted a latter from Dan Yagudin to Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman.
Continue reading: http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/08/23/a-letter-to-aly-raisman-from-an-idf-soldier/

Tomer Devorah posted about the US flag falling during the Olympic ceremony.

Rabbi Wallerstein discusses what we can learn from an Olympic athlete who fell but the following day she was able to put the incident aside. Even though she fell the day before she could put it out of her mind and try to do her best the next day. It is something for us to learn -facing our failures and turning them into victory, particularly during the month of repentance.

26 Aug 2012

Two tricks

Two Tricks To Help You Avoid Punishment For Your Aveiros

Trick #1 - The gemara in Rosh Hashana says that if you go beyond you character and forfeit your rights in getting angry at people who have cause you to be angry Hashem will forgive you for your aveiros. Every person is judged in Shamayim with the same attitude he shows his fellow man down on earth. Therefore a person who is not "Midakdek" and does not act measure for measure with people will receive the same treatment from Hashem. The Chafetz Chaim uses the idea to explain the enigmatic gemara in Bava Metzia 30 that says Yerushalayim was destroyed because they judged each other to the letter of the law. What about avodah zara in the first Bais HaMikdash and Sinas Chinam in the second? He answers that indeed that was their aveira but had they not dispensed exact judgment down on earth then the heavenly court would have done the same above and forgiven them.

Trick #2 - All our pain is caused by the Satan who constantly prosecutes us before Hashem. Why does Hashem listen to his evil slander about His beloved children, Lashon Hara is assur even if it is true? The answer is that Hashem only listens to lashon hara about those who speak it themselves. If a person does not speak any lashon hara Hashem will not let the Satan dare open his mouth to speak about him. This is incredibly effective. If we refrain from lashon hara we need not beg Hashem not to punish us for our aveiros they are never even brought before him for judgment!

Taanit Tzedek disappears

On Friday I read an article calling for the President to distance himself from Lynn Gottlieb, one of the signatories to a Rabbis for Obama list.

In another article related to the same theme, I read a comment which linked Lynne Gottlieb's name to a Taanit Tzedek - Fast for Gaza initiative. The  Fast for Gaza website  has beens scrubbed from the internet but the list of signatories, including Lynne Gottlieb, can be found here.

Why has the Taanit Tzedek website been scrubbed from the internet?

And why did this pop up as someone associated with the domain name?

I reported about the initiative during the course of the years in which the site urged people to fast on days which were prohibited, according to halacha.

20 Aug 2012

On their own

Alan Caruba opines on "Why Israel Must Attack Iran’s Nuclear Facilities."

Just as the nations in the 1930s tried to ignore the threat of Nazi Germany and sought to appease it, we are living through a similar process as Iran continues its relentless quest for nuclear weapons.

...The Holocaust taught the Israelis that Jews are essentially on their own when threatened anywhere in the world. They have twice destroyed nuclear reactors, first in Iraq in 1981 and second in Syria in 2007. They are not going to stand aside and permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. They are not going to wait on U.S. assurances, particularly from Barack Obama.
Read full article:  http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/48912

Chodesh Elul

Hagaon Rav Moshe Chadash once told over an incident when he was a bochur in Yerushalayim, and he ate a meal by a family during Elul. While he was in the house, he overheard a conversation between the husband and wife, who were the parents of many children. The wife was complaining to her husband that they had finished all the food in the house, and there was no money to purchase additional food. She reminded her husband that there were several people who owed them money, and since the situation in the house was becoming dire, she asked him to approach these people and request their money.

The husband answered, "I'm sure you remember that it is now Chodesh Elul, and we will soon stand by the Yom Hadin. We will request from Hakadosh Boruch Hu that He will grant us a good and blessed year. And with what zechus will we dare to request a good year from Hakadosh Boruch Hu? In Shamayim, they will present all our debts from the past year! And if the debts of the past year are not enough, they will also remind us of old debts from past years. And what will we answer?"
The husband continued, "The only advice I have is that we also will not demand from our debtors that they return the money to us, and we will struggle to continue to live with what we have. Maybe doing this will serve as a defender for us, and will act for us as midah keneged midah. We won't demand what we are owed, despite the great difficulty it will cause us, and maybe there will be hope that in Shamayim they will also have mercy on us and agree to grant us a good year, and not mention our debts."

Rav Moshe Chadash said, "These were the husband's words, and I was awed by the fact that his wife listened to his words and agreed with them! Despite the fact that she had many small children in the house and had no food left to feed them, she was convinced by her husband's words. These were the type of Jews of yesteryear, with their simple emunah!" (Aleinu Leshabeach)

19 Aug 2012

Anti-Semitic discrimination

Lori Lowenthal Marcus reports the following:

After five days of deliberation, a Santa Monica jury announced on Wednesday that Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya committed anti-Semitic discrimination when she uttered her now-famous cry, “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!”
Continue reading: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jury-throws-the-book-at-muslim-hotel-owner-who-threw-jews-out-of-her-pool/2012/08/19/

18 Aug 2012


In this week's haftorah ( Yeshaya 51:12-52:13) Hashem tells the Bnei Yisrael that He will console them. The Yalkut Shimoni says that Avrohom couldn't console them because he called the Bais HaMikdash "Har" a mountain, neither could Yitzchok because he called it a "Sadeh", and neither could Yaakov who called it a "Bayis", house.

Reb Yehonoson Eibshitz explains this enigmatic Medrash and says that Bnei Yisrael couldn't be consoled with a promise of the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash because they were afraid that eventually their aveiros would cause it to be destroyed just like the previous ones. Avrohom's consolation fortelling of the future rebuilding didn't satisfy them. Avrohom referred to the Bais HaMikdash as a mountain and the pasuk says in tehilim "Mi Yaaleh BeHar Hashem...Neki Kapayim...; Who can go onto the mountain of Hashem only people with innocent hands and hearts." In that case they knew the Bais HaMikdash would rise and fall on their purity, not a good thing for them to hear.

Yitzhchok called it a Sadeh, a field which is open to all, including the non-Jews, with whose help it was built, allowing them to stake a claim to it as well. It was this influence of theirs that allowed the Bais HaMikdash to ultimately fall into their murderous and destructive hands. Yaakov called it a house. To enter Hashem's house requires the utmost modesty and humbleness, a level that they were afraid they could not maintain.

Only when Hashem said, "Anochi, Anochi, Hu Minachemchem." Hashem whose building and handiwork survives forever with no preconditions, were the Bnei Yisreal finally consoled.

17 Aug 2012

Soul desires

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes about soul desires in a Torah thought titled The Meat of the Matter.
Click here to read article.
Let's substitute the word "meat" with the word "internet."

16 Aug 2012

A celebration of Torah study

Avi Shafran writes about the mostly positive coverage of the Siyum HaShas.

And then there was a television reporter’s puzzlement at my response to his most basic question about the Siyum: “Could you tell me what’s happening here?”
It was every reporter’s first question that evening, and my stock short answer “A celebration of Torah study” seemed to bewilder him. “What do you mean by ‘study’?” he asked. “And why is it being celebrated?”
He wasn’t being difficult, it was clear. He simply couldn’t wrap his head around the idea of study as anything but the means to an end. One studies to pass a test, he (I think) was thinking, for a diploma, to advance a career. But celebrate study? What was this study meant to lead to?

Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/08/14/what-was-happening-there/
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Dwelling in security

The following Torah thought is by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.

In Deut. 12:10 the Torah promises that we will have rest from our enemies round about us and we will dwell in security. We wonder why we need a double promise. If we have rest from our enemies, doesn’t that also mean that we will have security?
One explanation is that there are two things a nation needs – rest from external enemies, and security from the internal problems that ruffle national stability. If you ask which threat is the greater – external or internal – the answer is “Both!” It’s not only a question for nations. In the microcosm of the local community there is the same dichotomy… and even in the life of the individual.

15 Aug 2012

Leap of faith

Baltimore Jewish Life links to a fascinating article in the Mishpacha Magazine.

If Jerome Bethea’s name is familiar from his ten-year acting career or his high-profile national fitness training programs, today he’s moved into a new realm — taking his own leap of faith together with his wife, Rina, as they have become Orthodox Jews integrated into Baltimore’s frum community. Acting, he says, was always in his blood. What else was genetically imprinted on his soul?
Continue reading: http://baltimorejewishlife.com/news/news-detail.php?SECTION_ID=1&ARTICLE_ID=31398

Finding a job

If you want to have a laugh, click here to read A Wall Street Trader Received This Rainbow-Colored Cover Letter

14 Aug 2012

Career choices

As the new school year is fast approaching with students embarking on their college carrers, two young people approached me this week, nervously asking how one makes a career choice. I recalled an article that I was sent a little while back and am posting it below. Hope you choose the correct career path and make sure you like what you do, because you will be doing it for a long time, hopefully. 

Tools for Selecting Your Ideal Career
There are literally dozens of avenues to take on the road to discovering the ideal career. Vocational tests are one option while personality inventories and old-fashioned experience are others. This article will explore academic and experiential ways to find the job that best suits your aptitudes and interests.

Self Understanding and MBTI

A book entitled Do What You Are has proved a mainstay as a tool for discovering personality type and pursuing the career which complements that particular personality type. The idea behind the book is to help the reader find out how s/he processes information, renders decisions, and interfaces with the larger world such that career decisions can best be made. The reader goes through a questionnaire and some exercises to reveal her Myers-Briggs personality type, of which there are sixteen. Once the reader's personality is revealed through the questionnaire, Do What You Are clues the reader in to the merits and pitfalls of her particular personality type as it relates to career choices.

Career Counselors

Similar to the counseling that takes place in schools or a mental health clinic, career counseling concerns issues related to finding optimal employment or issues of career enhancement. Career counselors look to find the perfect career given the aptitude, experiences, interest, personality, and skills of the consultee. Largely depending on the nation, career counselors can be found either in independent career counseling practices or among career counseling clinics comprised of many career counselors. Ideally a career counselor would match the consultee's desired future salary and job duties with her qualifications, experiences, interests, and skills. A good career counselor will realistically frame these details within the context of the current job environment.

Experimentation and Academia

Especially in today's tough economy, many are either staying in school longer or deciding to hazard graduate school to increase their job prospects. The undergraduate years are actually an ideal time to experiment and free spiritedly chase down your interests via undergraduate open electives. At university, you can attempt to master almost any topic which interests you, from applied mathematics and neuroscience to philosophy and English. Professors, other staff, and university advisers will help channel your passions and skills into the most suitable academic areas.

Be Honest with Yourself

The better you can analyze yourself and your goals, the better your chances are of finding the perfect career. It's important to inquire about the following: what do you want your future salary to be? What are the job prospects in particular fields? Does this career field offer steady employment? How will my family be affected by this decision? Once your goals and prospects are prioritized, you can continue to research specific careers online. In addition, online vocational tests and job listings are constantly available and updated.

The theme throughout this article has been self-honesty when researching and selecting a future career. This theme applies to judging your own personality and prospective career goals to being upfront about what you want out of your next career.

 Derek Greggs enjoys writing about career advice, finance, and home equity mortgages.

The philanthropist

The 5 Towns Jewish Times has an article titled Reb Zev Wolfson OB”M – An Appreciation by Rabbi Yair Hoffman.

He was a man who made a remarkable difference in Klal Yisroel. Reb Zev Wolfson, was a businessman and an exceptional philanthropist, who saw it as his mission to promote Kiruv efforts in this country and beyond. He both launched and supported numerous Kiruv programs that, in this author’s estimation, were responsible for tens of thousands of Torah observant Jewish families today.
Continue reading: http://5tjt.com/reb-zev-wolfson-obm-an-appreciation-by-rabbi-yair-hoffman/

If one reads the coments posted after a VIN article about the philanthropist who was niftar yesterday,
one can get a sense of what one man accomplished. Here are two comments that were posted.

It is impossible to overstate the impact that this gentlemen and his children have had on our communities all over the world. Yehi zichro boruch.

i became frum through an organization he funded. thank you Mr. Wolfson.

His children continue emulating his tireless dedication to Klal Yisrael.

I know his family well. If you have a good memory to share, I'd love to hear from you. I remember one time the family was sitting shiva and as I left their home and opened the door, in walked the Gadol Hador, Rav Moshe Feinstein, z'l.  That memory is indelibly etched in my mind.

13 Aug 2012

Sister cities

The Sacramento city council meeting this Tuesday night is set to be the scene of a hot debate. That’s when it considers whether to adopt as a “sister city” an Israeli town that’s been victim to numerous terrorist rocket attacks from Gaza. The vote was supposed to be pro forma, until pro-Palestinian activists stepped in and are now pressuring council members to reject adopting Ashkelon. The same activists did not protest the Sacramento council’s decision in 2009 to name “Bethlehem, Palestine” as Sacramento’s ninth sister city.
Continue reading: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/pro-palestinian-activists-pressure-sacramento-to-reject-israeli-sister-city-but-bethlehem-palestine-was-ok-in-09/


Sara Yoheved Rigler writes about the power of gratitude.

The 19th century Rabbi Natan of Breslov taught a counter-intuitive formula. He taught that when you face a problem in life, the more you complain about the problem, the longer you perpetuate the problem. On the other hand, when you thank God for everything, including the problem itself, the problem disappears.
Read full article: http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/The-Power-of-Gratitude.html

12 Aug 2012

Check your cars!

This summer I have read about two incidents where parents mistakenly left their children in sweltering hot cars and the consequences were dire.

This afternoon I read about a similar incident where a two-year- old child was left in a car. Someone who saw the girl and feared for her life broke a window and extricated the youngster from the car. Medics who examined her declared her to be in good condition, thank G-d.
Read article in Hebrew: http://anashnews.net/default.aspx?pageid=53&articleID=3124

Yesterday I posted about Fareed Zakaria being suspended from Time and CNN for alleged plagiarism.

In 2005 Mr. Zakaria returned an ADL award and criticized national director Abraham Foxman.

Below is an excerpt from a letter written by Mr. Foxman in response to the journalist's remarks.

I received your letter today and must say I am not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision to return the ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, you accepted in 2005. As someone I greatly respect for engaging in discussion and dialogue with an open mind I would have expected you to reach out to me before coming to judgment.

5 Aug 2012

MeiReishis Hashana

"Einei Hashem Elokecho Bah MeiReishis Hashana Ad Acharis Shanah; The eyes of Hashem are always upon it, from the beginning of the year until year's end." (11:12) The Satmar Rebbi, Zt"l, asks, "Why does the pasuk say by Raishis - 'Hashana', but by 'Acharis' it only says, 'Shanah'?"

He answers, that the nature of people is that in the beginning of a new year, when people are in the Tshuva mode, they say, "This year I will be better. This year I will give more Tzedoka, I will watch my anger, and learn more Torah. This will be THE year!" But when the year passes and he didn't fulfill any of his "New Year Resolutions", he sees that the year, which he thought would be THE year, turned out to be "just another year". The pasuk says, by "Raishis Hashana" - in the beginning he thinks this year will be Hashana - the year, but at the end of the year it's only "Acharis Shanah" - just another year.

We say in the Kedusha of Mussaf, "Hain Goaltie Eschem Acharis KiRaishis; When will I redeem you?" says Hashem, "when 'Acharis KiRaishis' - the end of the year will be like the beginning." When all the promises and resolutions that one makes before Rosh Hashana, will still be in place at the end of the year, that is when the Geula will come!
Read full article: http://revach.net/parshas-hashavua/quick-vort/Parshas-Eikev-Satmar-Rov-The-Beginning-Of-The-Big-Year/2646

Those of have seven hours to spare can click on the link to the Siyum Hashas presentation that Matzav pointed me to this evening.

Great remorse and bad manners

The other day I called a friend of mine and the phone was answered by her eighteen-year-old daughter. When I asked to speak to her mother she told me that her mother wasn't at home. I had called the previous week, looking for a phone number and she hadn't relayed the message to her mother. Expecting her to do the same, I couldn't fathom that she would tell her mother I had called. Instead I asked her when she thought her mother would return.
She answered, "in ten minutes."
"Why couldn't she tell me directly that her mother wasn't at home but was expected within the next quarter of an hour,' I asked myself.
Of course the answer is that many children are not taught the social graces of good phone manners or effective communication.
I thought of the above incident when I read a story about a boy who was taught a lesson by his coaches after he cut in line for a flight.

Click here to read the story and watch a video where he expresses his great remorse to his fellow passengers.

4 Aug 2012

The converso journalist

Doreen Carjaval writes about a Spanish manufacturer of hats whose business is being saved from an unlikely source.

But despite the Spanish economic crisis, the hat company is thriving, thanks to an unlikely revenue base: the sales of thousands of black hats each year to Satmar Hasidic Jews in Jerusalem and Brooklyn.

“They are saving us in the crisis,” said Miguel García Gutiérrez, 35, the managing director of the Roche factory, officially known as Industrias Sombrereras Españolas, which operates in an industrial park in Salteras, about nine miles outside Seville. “We have an important market in Spain for traditional hats, but with the crisis those sales have fallen for the last three years, between 20 and 30 percent. But our exports are rising for hats for Orthodox Jews.”
Read full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/world/europe/black-hats-for-brooklyn-made-to-precise-order-in-spain.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

And for those who missed an article about Ms. Carjaval's background, here goes.

Doreen Carvajal was raised Catholic and had no occasion to question her religious or cultural heritage growing up. Even when she became a journalist (she’s currently a European correspondent for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune) and readers, seeing her byline, wrote to tell her that her last name was a common Sephardic Jewish name, she remained incurious. It took moving to Arcos de la Frontera, an ancient town in Andalusia, Spain, for her to finally confront the likelihood that her ancestors were conversos—that is, Spanish Jews who 600 years ago converted to Christianity rather than face death or exile during the Inquisition.
Read full article: http://www.tabletmag.com/podcasts/107668/reporter-digs-up-converso-past

3 Aug 2012

An apology

Alana Goodman has written an article titled DCCC Apologizes to Adelson for “Untrue” Attacks.

Faced with a threat of a defamtion suit, the DCCC backed off. How about extending defamation suits to those who make their accusations in the guise of questions? Why should journalists be able to get away with a headline such as Did John Doe assassinate President Kennedy?

If a journalist is so convinced that he is writing the truth, he should be brave enough to write "John Doe assassinated President Kennedy." Otherwise, the article should not be printed.

Here are two Torah thoughts on Parshat Vaetchanan. The first is by Rabbi Frand. Click here to read. After reading this article by Rabbi Mansour, I was inspired to perform a mitzva immediately. I went to visit an old age home and put a smile on an octogenarian's face.

Tu b'Av and the numbers

Tu b’Av (named for the date in the Hebrew calendar, the 15th (Tet = 9, Vav = 6; 9+6=15) of the Hebrew month of Av) is one of the lesser known holidays in the Jewish calendar...
...The first mention of Tu b’Av is in the Mishna (Taanit), where it says (attributed to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel), “There were no better days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What they were saying: Young man, consider who you choose (to be your wife).” (Taanit 4:8).

All the daughters of Jerusalem dressed the same so that there was no distinction between rich and poor. Nowadays many parents complain to me how difficult the period of shidduchim is and how much harder it is than years ago. I wish there was a magoc solution and I praise those who are involved in trying to better the situation. May your efforts succeed and may we be zocheh to make many shidduchim, thereby increasing our numbers.

Speaking about numbers, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks writes an excellent Parsha thought about the "fewest of all peoples" in an article titled Numbers Don’t Tell The Story.

Moses warns the Israelites against intermarriage with them, not for racial but for religious reasons: “They will turn your children away from following Me to serve other gods.” Malbim interprets our verse as Moses saying to the Israelites: Don’t justify intermarriage on the grounds that it will increase the number of Jews. God is not interested in numbers.
Read full article: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/numbers-dont-tell-the-story/2012/08/01/

2 Aug 2012

The other

Below is an excerpt from International Religious Freedom Report for 2011 - Executive Summary.

This report also documents a global increase in anti-Semitism, manifested in Holocaust denial, glorification, and relativism; conflating opposition to certain policies of Israel with blatant anti-Semitism; growing nationalistic movements that target “the other;” and traditional forms of anti-Semitism, such as conspiracy theories, acts of desecration and assault, “blood libel,” and cartoons demonizing Jews. In Venezuela, the official media published numerous anti-Semitic statements. In Egypt, anti-Israel sentiment in the media was widespread and sometimes included anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial or glorification. Web sites promoting Holocaust denial operated with Iran's consent. In France, the report documents desecration of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries. Hungary saw the rise in popularity of an openly anti-Semitic party, the Jobbik party. Jewish property was defaced in Ukraine, including a synagogue and several Holocaust monuments. In both Ukraine and the Netherlands, soccer matches were marred by anti-Semitic slogans.
Read report: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm#wrapper

Congressman Allen West aptly describes the liberal side when he opines, "because free speech is only free if you agree with what they say and what they believe."

Ethel C. Fenig writes about My strictly kosher experience at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

Simchas haTorah!!

The following is a description by an individual who uploaded the first video below at the Siyum Hashas this evening.

Simchas hatorah!!!! Jewish unity by dancing after the hadran by the twelfth siyum hashes of the dad yomi. There are 90,000+ jews in this video, from all backgrounds, celebrating the same thing.

The third video below is one in which we can all benefit watching, as we see people being interviewed about the massive traffic jams and the hours spent commuting to the event. Instead of complaining, those interviewed focused on the excitement of the event itself and how it was all worth it, regardless of the traffic.

Spanning generations

A reader writes a heartrending letter to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis about a breakdown in family relations and how it has spanned generations. Click here to read the letter.

KikarHashabat reports about a meeting of leading Sefardi Rabbis who spoke about the need to eliminate quarrels and hatred. They advised spending more time in the study of Torah, loving your neighbor as yourself, increasing donations to charity as well as increasing acts of kindness.

This evening I apologized to someone even though I felt that the other person was more to blame than me. It felt good.

1 Aug 2012

The chicken or the egg?

Israel Matzav reported about a Tom Friedman column in the New York Times.
I should also note that the two paragraphs quoted above could have been written by Stephen Walt. Walt's delusions also include AIPAC as a 'feared arbiter' of who is and who is not pro-Israel.

I decided to compare the wrtings of the two men.
Below is an excerpt from an article published by Stephen Walt on July 30th followed by the Tom Friedman column. Great minds think alike, wouldn't you agree?

In his book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote that the two presidents who did the most to advance Arab-Israeli peace were Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. Carter negotiated the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and Bush 41 led the 1991 Gulf War coalition and assembled the 1992 Madrid Peace Conference. According to Ben-Ami, Carter and Bush made progress on this difficult issue because each was willing "to confront Israel head one and overlook the sensibilities of her friends in America."

The three U.S. statesmen who have done the most to make Israel more secure and accepted in the region all told blunt truths to every Israeli or Arab leader: Jimmy Carter, who helped forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt; Henry Kissinger, who built the post-1973 war disengagement agreements with Syria, Israel and Egypt; and James Baker, who engineered the Madrid peace conference.

Below are two stories in the spirit of "the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" or "Men tracht und G-tt lacht."

Hannah Furness reports the following:

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has got stuck dangling in mid-air while riding a zip wire as part of the London 2012 Olympic celebrations.
Continue reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9444065/Boris-Johnson-gets-stuck-on-zip-wire-carrying-two-Union-flags.html

The Daily Telegraph reports Badminton pairs expelled from London 2012 Olympics after 'match-fixing' scandal.

A gracious apology

The other day Charles Krauthammer wrote the following:

Shortly after 9/11, President George W. Bush received from Prime Minister Tony Blair a bust of Winston Churchill as an expression of British-American solidarity. Bush gave it pride of place in the Oval Office.
In my Friday column about Mitt Romney's trip abroad and U.S. foreign policy, I wrote that Barack Obama "started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office."
Within hours, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer had created something of a bonfire. Citing my statement, he posted a furious blog on the White House website, saying, "Normally we wouldn't address a rumor that's so patently false, but just this morning The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer repeated this ridiculous claim in his column. ... This is 100 percent false. The bust [is] still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room."

Yesterday Mr. Pfeiffer offered an apology to Mr. Krauthammer.

Click here to listen to Mr. Krauthammer's reaction to the apology.