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AISH

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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 11 Feb 2015, 5:57 pm

ISIS and Book Burning
"I see parchment burning, but the letters are soaring free."
by Jeff Jacoby
Book burning is as old as books, and as current as this week's news.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that Islamic State fanatics have ravaged the Central Library of Mosul, the largest repository of learning in that ancient city. Militants smashed the library's locks and overran its collections, removing thousands of volumes on philosophy, science, and law, along with books of poetry and children's stories. Only Islamic texts were left behind.
"These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah," one of the ISIS jihadists announced as the library's holdings were emptied into sacks and loaded onto pickup trucks. "So they will be burned."
There was more book-burning soon afterward, when Islamic State vandals sacked the library at the University of Mosul. "They made a bonfire out of hundreds of books on science and culture, destroying them in front of students," AP reported. Lost in the libricide were newspapers, maps, and texts dating back to the Ottoman Empire. UNESCO, the UN's educational and cultural agency, decried the libraries' torching as "one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history."

"Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people."
Perhaps the most chilling words ever written about book-burning were penned in 1821 by the great German poet Heinrich Heine: Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen – "Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people." Today that axiom is etched on a plaque in Berlin's Bebelplatz, the public square where more than 20,000 books deemed "un-German" and "decadent" were destroyed in a vast Nazi bonfire on the night of May 10, 1933.
Though Heine's words are indelibly associated now with the Holocaust, they have lost none of their grim prescience. Just one day after news emerged of the book-burnings in the Islamic State's so-called "caliphate," the jihadists released a video exulting in the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was burned alive in a metal cage.
There is something uniquely diabolical about setting books on fire, a lust to obliterate that almost ineluctably leads to even more dreadful evils. It is no coincidence that those obsessed with annihilating the physical expression of dangerous thoughts or teachings so often move on to annihilating the people who think or teach them.

"A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it," orders Captain Beatty, the book-hating fire chief in Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's dystopian classic. "Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?"
Books cannot be killed by fire. Books are weapons in the war of ideas.A World War II-era poster printed by the US government shows Nazis burning books.
Yet if the long and heartbreaking history of book-burning teaches anything, it is that books cannot be killed by fire. Pages can be burned, libraries can be reduced to ash, treatises can be found guilty of heresy or sedition and set ablaze. But ideas are not so easily extirpated. Heine's books were among those the Nazis flung on the bonfires in 1933; so were the books of more than 2,000 other authors, including Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, and Franz Kafka. Josef Goebbels assured the enthusiastic crowd that they would "commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past." The books, however, are still alive. It was the Third Reich that went down in flames.

The story of books is the story of books being suppressed – a story of staggering cruelty, and of equally staggering futility. The destruction of Mosul's libraries prompted one Iraqi parliamentarian, Hakim al-Zamili, to compare ISIS to the Mongols who conquered Baghdad in 1258. Then, too, prized works of learning – on history, medicine, astronomy – were demolished. "The only difference is that Mongols threw the books in the Tigris River, while now [ISIS] is burning them," al-Zamili said. "Different method, but same mentality."
The Roman Empire couldn't keep the letters from soaring free. ISIS can't either
Indeed, in their bloodlust and zealotry, the book-burners of ISIS have many antecedents – Crusaders, Mongols, Nazis, Wahhabis, Khmer Rouge. But ISIS too will find that it is easier to slaughter human beings than to destroy ideas.
The Talmud records the death of Chanina ben Teradion, a 2nd-century Jewish sage killed by the Romans for violating a ban on teaching Torah. It was a terrible death: He was wrapped in the scroll from which he had been teaching and set on fire, with wet wool placed on his chest to prolong the agony. His horrified disciples, forced to witness his death, cried out: "Rabbi, what do you see?" He replied: "I see parchment burning, but the letters are soaring free."

Any brute can burn parchment, or ransack a library, or blow up a mosque, or bulldoze cultural treasures. But not even mighty armies can destroy the ideas they embody. The Roman Empire couldn't keep the letters from soaring free. ISIS can't either.
Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe where this article originally appeared.
Published: February 8, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Jan 2015, 11:48 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/7-Inspiring-Jewish-Quotes.html
7 Inspiring Jewish Quotes7 Inspiring Jewish Quotes
I stare at the pile of gear spread out before me in the pre-dawn light. Mittens, glove liners, hand warmers, earphones, neck warmer, two hats, windbreaker… Outside the freezing wind is whipping through the trees’ bare branches. In the glow of the porch light I see that it has begun to snow. “Either you run the day or the day runs you,” I whisper to myself one of my favorite Jim Rohn quotes as I pull on my gear.

Tying my sneakers, I hear the echo of a medley of Rohn quotes in my mind. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. The words get me outside; they propel through the storm. The snow flies into my eyes. For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward. Today, I have won.

Quotes can motivate us to keep moving towards our goals. They can get us out the door. Here are seven insightful Jewish quotes on achieving our goals.
1. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
Sometimes we get stuck in life and it’s hard to see that we keep turning into the same dead end. We need to begin by changing our thoughts if we want to change our lives.

2. “In spirituality, the searching is the finding and the pursuit is the achievement.” Dr. Abraham J. Twerski
It is important for us to strive to accomplish our goals and move towards our destinations. But what really matters is who we become as we search and what we learn as we pursue our dreams.

3. “A person who takes a walk of 100 feet and a person who walks 2,000 miles have one major thing in common. They both need to take a first step before they take a second step.” Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The hardest part of any endeavor is beginning, taking that first step and getting out the door. But we can’t get to the second step before we have the courage to take that first one.

4. “Don’t be afraid of discovering that the ‘real you’ may be different than the ‘current you.’” Rabbi Noah Weinberg, zt”l
We often have pre-conceived notions of who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing. Don’t let your past define you. Don’t let who you were yesterday limit who you can become today. What we know about ourselves is not complete. Be open to seeing different aspects of yourself even if they are at first uncomfortable or unfamiliar to you.

5. “One question is always relevant: How can I use this to move forward?” Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller.
Whatever situation we are experiencing in life, how can I use what I have to grow? How can I use this challenge or relationship or gift to move forward towards my goals?

6. “We have no understanding of the energy that God planted within our souls. Therefore, God has to test us to bring forth those treasures that are buried deep within ourselves and make us unique.” Rebbeztin Esther Jungreis
If we only knew the depths of our potential, we would never want to sleep. If we could only imagine the treasures within us, we would search ceaselessly for them. But God does see the greatness within us and in His infinite kindness, He orchestrates our lives so that we will be forced to use the strengths we cannot see for ourselves.

7. “At the end-point there is nothing but being, no time but the present.” Rabbi Akiva Tatz
We are often so caught up in the past and the future that we fail to see that our real choices are right now. In the present. Who we are in this moment.
Share the quotes that motivate you to get out the door in the comment section below.
Published: January 18, 2015

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Spreading-the-Light.html
Israel vs. the Mob
by Jonah Goldberg
Politics is in large part a numbers game, and Jews are at a numerical disadvantage.
Spreading the Light
For Dovid Winiarz, life was an outpouring of love and joy. His loss leaves a gaping hole in American Jewry.

Earlier this week, Dovid Winiarz was travelling in a treacherous ice storm near Baltimore, when the car hit a patch of black ice and skidded out of control. Four other people in the two-car collision suffered minor injuries; Dovid was killed instantly.
His loss leaves a bereft wife and 10 children, and a gaping hole in American Jewry.
Though he provided financial services by profession, Dovid's every waking moment was focused on bringing more joy into the world and spreading a positive Jewish message.

On the commuter train, he would walk up and down the aisles, passing out hundreds of cards that said: “Keep Smiling." He'd give everyone two cards, saying: "Here’s a smile for you, and one to give someone else.”
As a young man, he founded a successful food pantry in Staten Island, as well as the organization Survival Through Education which connects unaffiliated Jews to their heritage.
Dovid had a boundless love of people, and a deep love of Torah.

Dubbed the "Facebuker Rebbe," his inspiring words reached 13,000 Facebook followers.

"There comes a time when we stop and ask ourselves just why we come to work each day," Dovid wrote. "If you want to love your work, you need to focus on the giving that results from it. Not what you take for yourself but what you give to others. Tomorrow, when you go to work, do not focus on the 90 percent of your income that you need to pay the bills. Instead focus on increasing your productivity so you will have more to give away."

Planting Seeds
We come into this world with a mission, and at the end, the only question is have we fulfilled it.
Dovid Winiarz lived 49 years, the Jewish number of completion.
Travelling on that icy highway, he was en route to an annual Jewish educators' convention, seeking new ways to inspire others.
He was totally dedicated to promoting Judaism, always looking to take it to the next level.
He was a dedicated husband and father of 10. A pillar of the community, with an impeccable reputation.
He lived and breathed the idea that every Jew has infinite precious value.
He displayed a generous outpouring of love that helped others see a God who loves every human being.
His bountiful enthusiasm and warm disposition endeared him to untold thousands.
As for the success of his endeavors, Dovid would say, “Wherever I go, I am going to plant seeds. Hopefully they’ll grow one day. It’s not my job to decide if they grow or not... I just have to plant seeds.”
Dovid planted tens of thousands of seeds.

One can easily imagine someone on that train whose life was changed as a result of the "Keep Smiling" card.
These and other untold stories are written and sealed in the chronicles of Dovid Winiarz, for all eternity. May his memory be for a blessing.
Published: January 20, 2015


http://www.aish.com/f/p/Weak-Processing-Control.html
Weak Processing Control
by Rifka Schonfeld, Director S.O.S (Strategies for Optimum Success)
Why does my child have such a hard time understanding the material?
Glancing out the window as the school bus rolled by, Miriam noticed her daughter, Riki, trudging up the walk with the look of someone carrying the world on her shoulders.
What now? Miriam thought, her stomach tightening. A bad mark on a test? A fight with her best friend? Sixth grade was really turning into the pits for Riki. Never a very good student, Riki’s overall performance had taken a dive. She hated school and did not get along with her teachers.
Miriam sighed as she thought of the tension this situation caused at home. A few nights ago she had been trying to help her daughter study for a social studies test. Riki had no patience to look inside the book for answers; she wanted to be spoon-fed.
“Ma, what colonies were in New England? I have to fill in this map.”
“ Doesn’t it say in the book?”
“No, it just says New England.”
“Riki, the information is right there on the very page you’re looking at.”
“But if you know it, why can’t you tell me? I have no patience to read this whole thing.”
“See if you can find the names of the colonies on your own.”
“ Forget it.” She shoved the map away from her and it fluttered to the floor. “I’ll do the map later. I’ll do the Boston Tea Party first. At least that one I know.”

She turned quickly to the pre-test questions about the Boston Tea Party, brightening up as she related the drama of the colonists who had dressed up like Indians and dumped crates of British tea in the harbor, infuriating the king of England.
But when it came to the questions about why the colonists did such a thing or how they were punished, Riki became deflated.
“I don’t remember learning that. Maybe I was absent,” she said.
So they spent hours reviewing this information. Where in the world was she when all this was being taught, Miriam wondered. Soon it was ten thirty, the younger kids were not yet in bed, and the information was just not sticking. At her wits’ end, Miriam lost herself. “We’re stopping right here!” she barked at her daughter. “Learn to pay attention in class and you won’t have to cram like this before every test!”
Riki jumped up, shouting, “I do pay attention! My teacher is a liar, we never learned this!” Then she burst out crying and ran upstairs.
“If I flunk the test, it’s because you wouldn’t help me,” she sobbed.
Now, watching her daughter’s forlorn profile through the window, Miriam thought, “Riki was once a good, happy kid. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m going to find a way back to that place. There has to be a way.”

The way back to “that place” began with a long overdue screening by an educational psychologist who found Riki to be a child of above- average intelligence with attention deficit symptoms that showed up as “weak processing control.” That diagnosis was the beginning of a new chapter in Riki’s life, as her parents began to finally understand what their daughter was struggling with.

“Processing control” refers to the brain’s ability to select and then distribute data to the relevant brain regions that deal with such functions as language comprehension, visual processing, and the interpretation of social cues.
Children with weak processing control are likely to have shallow concentration. Even when reasonably alert in the classroom, they are not thinking hard or intently enough to register information effectively in the brain. These students often develop only a partial or vague understanding of what is being taught, and their retention is usually poor.
Children with superficial or weak attention control often have problems with short-term memory. They have no patience for fine detail and are highly distractible. They much prefer the big picture or the broad concept.
Riki fit this profile. Her problems with concentration greatly interfered with her ability to stay focused long enough to grasp a piece of information in its entirety. She could relate the drama of the Boston Tea Party, but lost the thread of the story when it came to piecing together cause and effect, and identifying key points in the story’s aftermath.

Missing the Forest for the Trees
On the other hand, children who are highly distractible often focus on trivial or secondary details to the exclusion of important ones. A teacher might tell a class, “Now, look carefully at the next couple of paragraphs and you will discover an important clue to the identity of the mysterious stranger.” Most children will immediately snap to attention and find the clue.
A child like Riki, on the other hand, will focus for a few seconds on the task, and then become distracted by the stranger’s unusual name, or some interesting detail in the illustration at the bottom of the page. By the time she has wrenched her attention away from these details and refocused on the task of finding the clue, the class will have discovered the stranger’s identity.

“I feel so dumb in class,” Riki told me when we met. “I try to cover it up by being the best in sports and being good in singing and dancing. I just want to be a regular kid.”
Like many children affected with attention deficits, Riki was imaginative and artistic. She could draw very well, was adept at arranging flowers and decorating a table beautifully for a celebration. By carefully observing her grandmother, had picked up knitting and crocheting. Because she seemed to have no problem concentrating on activities of this sort, her parents felt that if only she tried harder, she could apply herself similarly to her studies.

This is a mistake many people make. The regions of the brain that deal with tactile and manual skills such as drawing and painting, carpentry, surgery and sewing, are different from those that process visual and auditory data related to conceptual learning. One cannot form expectations about a child’s performance in classroom learning based on his superior abilities in areas involving manual and tactile skills.
In other words, it would be foolish to ask a carpenter, “If you can build a house, why can’t you write a novel?”

Can Parents Make A Difference?
There is a great deal parents can do to give their child tools to compensate for their attentional problems. Some of the following suggestions have been adapted from a lengthy treatment on attention dysfunction by Dr. Mel Levine, in his widely acclaimed Educational Care.
It is vital for a child with distractibility to have a work environment where noise, certain kinds of music, conversation and ringing telephones have been filtered out.

When assisting with homework, parents may need to repeat instructions to a child with attentional dysfunction. Afterwards, have the child repeat what he or she just heard. Most important, maintain good eye contact when giving directions.
Children with superficial processing may read an entire chapter of a book and have no idea what they just read. Encourage such a child to underline, to keep summarizing, to whisper important ideas under their breath, and to have opportunities to discuss what they are reading.
If there is an intellectually superior sibling, that brother or sister should not be allowed to monopolize the conversation at home.

Parents should set limits on passive processing experiences such as watching television, listening to music or playing electronic games. These activities in excess may prevent children from becoming more active thinkers.
Children with a tendency to tune out or daydream excessively need periodic reminders (offered in a low-key manner) to return to reality. A parent might say, “There goes your active mind again. It took off on a tangent. Should we get back to the subject?”
Children with problems maintaining a focus can benefit from being told in advance how long they will have to concentrate. Using a clock or a timer may be an immense help in stretching a child’s attention span in small but steady increments.
Parents should try whenever possible to link subject matter that a child is studying in school with real life experiences or everyday situations. These associations will make dry “inert” material come to life and help to fix the information in the child’s memory.

Often, there is too much parent-child tension for a parent to be able to work productively with a child who has weak processing control. Instead, a tutor, or someone with experience in working with attention problems should be brought into the picture.
When passive processing is only one aspect of a picture of overall attention dysfunction, stimulant medication like Ritalin given under a doctor’s supervision may be helpful.
In Riki’s case, homework sessions lost their negative, tension-filled atmosphere when Riki worked with a family friend. Mother and daughter were gradually able to regain their former close relationship.
Most important, learning about her attention difficulties lessened the shame and guilt she felt for not being a top student. 

She began to show a much greater willingness to invest the extra effort required to manage the challenges facing her.
“As long as I know it’s not my fault,” she told me, “I don’t mind having to try harder than most kids to get a good mark. “As long as my teachers don’t think I’m lazy. Just a regular kid that happens to have a problem.”
Published: January 17, 2015


http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/Telling-the-Story.html
Telling the Story
Bo(Exodus 10:1-13:16)
by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Identity is based on the narrative that links me to the past, guides me in the present, and places on me responsibility for the future

Go to Washington and make a tour of the memorials and you will make a fascinating discovery. Begin at the Lincoln Memorial with its giant statue of the man who braved civil war and presided over the ending of slavery. On one side you will see the Gettysburg Address, that masterpiece of brevity with its invocation of "a new birth of freedom." On the other is the great Second Inaugural with its message of healing: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right..."

Walk down to the Potomac basin and you see the Martin Luther King Memorial with its sixteen quotes from the great fighter for civil rights, among them his 1963 statement, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." And giving its name to the monument as a whole, a sentence from the I have a Dream speech, "Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope."

Continue along the tree-lined avenue bordering the water and you arrive at the Roosevelt Memorial, constructed as a series of six spaces, one for each decade of his public career, each with a passage from one of the defining speeches of the time, most famously, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Lastly, bordering the Basin at its southern edge, is a Greek temple dedicated to the author of the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. Around the dome, are the words he wrote to Benjamin Rush: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Defining the circular space are four panels, each with lengthy quotations from Jefferson's writings, one from the Declaration itself, another beginning, "Almighty God hath created the mind free," and a third "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
Each of these four monuments is built around texts and each tells a story.

Now compare the monuments in London, most conspicuously those in Parliament Square. The memorial to David Lloyd George contains three words: David Lloyd George. The one to Nelson Mandela has two, and the Churchill memorial just one: Churchill. Winston Churchill was a man of words, in his early life a journalist, later a historian, author of almost fifty books. He won the Nobel Prize not for Peace but for Literature. He delivered as many speeches and coined as many unforgettable sentences as Jefferson or Lincoln, Roosevelt or Martin Luther King, but none of his utterances is engraved on the plinth beneath his statue. He is memorialised only by his name.

The difference between the American and British monuments is unmistakable, and the reason is that Britain and the United States have a quite different political and moral culture. England is, or was until recently, a tradition-based society. In such societies, things are as they are because that is how they were "since time immemorial." It is unnecessary to ask why. Those who belong, know. Those who need to ask, show thereby that they don't belong.

American society is different because from the Pilgrim Fathers onward it was based on the concept of covenant as set out in Tanakh, especially in Exodus and Deuteronomy. The early settlers were Puritans, in the Calvinist tradition, the closest Christianity came to basing its politics on the Hebrew Bible. Covenantal societies are not based on tradition. The Puritans, like the Israelites three thousand years earlier, were revolutionaries, attempting to create a new type of society, one unlike Egypt or, in the case of America, England. Michael Walzer called his book on the politics of the seventeenth century Puritans, "the revolution of the saints." They were trying to overthrow the tradition that gave absolute power to kings and maintained established hierarchies of class.

Covenantal societies always represent a conscious new beginning by a group of people dedicated to an ideal. The story of the founders, the journey they made, the obstacles they had to overcome and the vision that drove them are essential elements of a covenantal culture. Retelling the story, handing it on to one's children, and dedicating oneself to continuing the work that earlier generations began, are fundamental to the ethos of such a society. A covenanted nation is not simply there because it is there. It is there to fulfil a moral vision. That is what led G. K. Chesterton to call the United States a nation "with the soul of a church," the only one in the world "founded on a creed" (Chesterton's anti-Semitism prevented him from crediting the true source of America's political philosophy, the Hebrew Bible).

The history of storytelling as an essential part of moral education begins in this week's parsha. It is quite extraordinary how, on the brink of the exodus, Moses three times turns to the future and to the duty of parents to educate their children about the story that was shortly to unfold: "When your children ask you, 'What is this service to you?' you shall answer, 'It is the Passover service to God. He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians, sparing our homes" (Ex. 12:25-27). "On that day, you shall tell your child, 'It is because of this that God acted for me when I left Egypt'" (Ex. 13:8). "Your child may later ask you, 'What is this?' You shall answer him, 'With a show of power, God brought us out of Egypt, the place of slavery' (Ex. 13:14).

This is truly extraordinary. The Israelites have not yet emerged into the dazzling light of freedom. They are still slaves. Yet already Moses is directing their minds to the far horizon of the future and giving them the responsibility of passing on their story to succeeding generations. It is as if Moses were saying: Forget where you came from and why, and you will eventually lose your identity, your continuity and raison d'etre. You will come to think of yourself as the mere member of a nation among nations, one ethnicity among many. Forget the story of freedom and you will eventually lose freedom itself.

Rarely indeed have philosophers written on the importance of story-telling for the moral life. Yet that is how we become the people we are. The great exception among modern philosophers has been Alasdair MacIntyre, who wrote, in his classic After Virtue, "I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question 'Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?'" Deprive children of stories, says MacIntyre, and you leave them "anxious stutterers in their actions as in their words." (1)

No one understood this more clearly than Moses because he knew that without a specific identity it is almost impossible not to lapse into whatever is the current idolatry of the age - rationalism, idealism, nationalism, fascism, communism, postmodernism, relativism, individualism, hedonism or consumerism, to name only the most recent. The alternative, a society based on tradition alone, crumbles as soon as respect for tradition dies, which it always does at some stage or another.

Identity, which is always particular, is based on story, the narrative that links me to the past, guides me in the present, and places on me responsibility for the future. And no story, at least in the West, was more influential than that of the exodus, the memory that the supreme power intervened in history to liberate the supremely powerless, together with the covenant that followed whereby the Israelites bound themselves to God in a promise to create a society that would be the opposite of Egypt, where individuals were respected as the image of God, where one day in seven all hierarchies of power were suspended, and where dignity and justice were accessible to all. We never quite reached that ideal state but we never ceased to travel toward it and believed it was there at journey's end.
"The Jews have always had stories for the rest of us," said the BBC's political correspondent, Andrew Marr. God created man, Elie Wiesel once wrote, because God loves stories. What other cultures have done through systems, Jews have done through stories. And in Judaism, the stories are not engraved in stone on memorials, magnificent though that is. They are told at home, around the table, from parents to children as the gift of the past to the future. That is how story-telling in Judaism was devolved, domesticated and democratised.

Only the most basic elements of morality are universal: "thin" abstractions like justice or liberty that tend to mean different things to different people in different places and times. But if we want our children and our society to be moral, we need a collective story that tells us where we came from and what our task is in the world. The story of the exodus, especially as told on Pesach at the seder table, is always the same yet ever-changing, an almost infinite set of variations on a single set of themes that we all internalise in ways that are unique to us, yet we all share as members of the same historically extended community.

There are stories that ennoble, and others that stultify, leaving us prisoners of ancient grievances or impossible ambitions. The Jewish story is in its way the oldest of all, yet ever young, and we are each a part of it. It tells us who we are and who our ancestors hoped we would be. Story-telling is the great vehicle of moral education. It was the Torah's insight that a people who told their children the story of freedom and its responsibilities that would stay free for as long as humankind lives and breathes and hopes.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Jan 2015, 11:43 am

A Hostage's Terrifying Eyewitness Account
The cashier of the kosher supermarket attacked in Paris recounts her 5-hour nightmare. An Aish.com exclusive.
Zarie is the 22 year old cashier at the kosher supermarket in Paris that was attacked last week. In an exclusive interview with Aish.fr, Aish.com's French site, she recounts the nightmare of being held hostage, her terrifying encounter with the terrorist and the steadfast faith that enabled her to get through this tragedy. Here is her riveting and moving interview.
Aish.fr: Zarie, you work as a cashier at the Hypercacher store in Paris. How did the attack begin?
Zarie: It was between 1 PM and 1:30 PM. A father with his two-year- old child was at my counter when I heard the first gunshot. Yohann Cohen, the young man who works with me, was the first to be hit. He shouted our manager’s name who, wounded, managed to leave the store. I did not realize immediately that this was a real gunshot.
Aish.fr: Were you hurt?
Zarie: No. I heard gunshots and screams then footsteps coming closer. I heard the killer’s voice telling me: "What about you? You're not dead yet? "And then a gunshot towards me.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/A-Hostages-Terrifying-Eyewitness-Account.html



France's Jews: Canary in the Coal Mine
by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein
If France is not safe for Jews, then the very future of Europe: and indeed the civilized world - is in real danger.
The voices proclaiming that France is no longer safe for Jews and that they should, therefore, emigrate are dangerously misguided. If France is not safe for Jews, then the very future of Europe – and indeed the world – is in jeopardy.
History has demonstrated that Jews are the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Just as canaries in a mine die before humans are aware of undetectable toxic gases, such as methane and carbon monoxide, and in dying warn of impending disaster, so is the state of Jews in their societies the test for the safety of the environment there. If the Jews in a particular society are, like the canaries, singing and thriving then all is well. If not, that is an early warning of danger ahead. Sometimes, threats of danger to civilization are not noticed. The miners rely on their canaries, and the world ought to rely on the position of Jews to assess the threat level to civilized society.
In 1933, the danger that Adolf Hitler posed to the world was not yet clear, but when Jews became unsafe in Hitler’s Germany, that was a sign of the toxins of hatred seeping into the world – toxins that tragically went unnoticed until too late, and which eventually engulfed humanity in a war that lead to the death of 60 million people.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Frances-Jews-Canary-in-the-Coal-Mine.html


My Father's Core Values
by Rabbi Shalom Schwartz
My father lived a life of quiet greatness. These are the inspiring lessons I've learned from him.
My father, Frank Schwartz, passed away from this world on Dec. 22, 2014, Kislev 30, 5775. I hadn’t anticipated the penetrating hole that opened next to my heart at the moment of his passing. I believe that the pain is there so I can carry my father with me, until I understand and integrate the meaning of his life with the meaning of my own life, and beyond. This is what his life means to me:
Responsibility: Our father was a pillar, a rock, a reliable and responsible husband, father, son, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His presence gave us confidence. We felt safe and cared for. There was never a doubt that whatever problem arose, Dad would take responsibility. During a family vacation we were playing hockey on a frozen-over section of Georgian Bay and the puck would sometimes miss the net and slide very far out from the shore line. My Dad watched us closely. Suddenly there was a loud cracking sound that echoed. I can still hear my father’s fear- instilling booming voice: “Everyone off the ice! Now!” In seconds the ice had been cleared, and we wondered which had been louder and scarier – the sound of cracking ice or my father’s shout.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/My-Fathers-Core-Values.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 16 Jan 2015, 3:35 pm

5 Jewish Lessons from Unbroken
by Daniella H.
Louie Zamperini and the power of faith.
Reading Unbroken, the amazing story of Louie Zamperini, I was struck by the amount of Jewish values and beliefs the book imparts. Even though Aish.com posted an excellent article about the book last week, I am compelled to share the following lessons I extrapolated from the incredible life of Louie Zamperini.
Belief creates your reality: After the crash landing of their B-24 bomber plane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Louie and his surviving crew members, Phil and Mac floated in two cramped rafts for weeks before reaching land. During that time Louie and Phil constantly believed that they would live through this situation while Mac resigned himself to the reality of their fate. Not surprisingly Louie and Phil survived while Mac succumbed to their unfortunate situation. Belief creates your reality, as the famous Yiddish expression goes, "Tracht gut vet zein gut – Think good and it will be good.”

Faith in God:
Being stuck in the middle of the ocean surrounded by large and hungry circling sharks the three men had no access to food or drinking water. They quickly depleted the meager rations of water in their emergency provisions and were left parched and dying of thirst. Louie and Phil prayed three times to God to send them rain, and each time God answered them and brought the rain down. Louie made a deal with God that he would dedicate his life to Him if He saved them. God wants a relationship with us and prayer is a powerful conduit to that relationship. Oftentimes He creates a lack in our lives in order to generate that relationship.

The Righteous Fall 7 Times:
Louie’s brother Pete tells him throughout the beginning of the book, “If you can take it, you can make it.” Louie overcomes his physical limitations in order to become one of the runners on the American team in the 1936 Olympics. Later in the book Louie is tortured by one of the guards in the prisoner of war camp and yet he refuses to succumb to the torture. He is beaten, punched and degraded and each time he gets up and keeps pushing himself forward. “The righteous fall seven times and get up” (Proverbs, 24:16). It is through these challenges in our lives that we are able to rise to higher levels of growth and they are ultimately what build who we are.

Every Challenge is an Opportunity:
Part of what gave Louie Zamperini his amazing resilience was his perspective on challenges. Situations that others would view as insurmountable he would view as something to overcome and conquer. That fighting spirit is what made him a champion Olympic runner and what helped him survive 47 days at sea and three years as POW subjected to unimaginable abuse. Judaism believes every challenge is an opportunity given by God to get closer to Him and refine our character traits. The Sages teach that "a person is born to struggle," as the Talmud states, "According to the effort is the reward."

Forgiveness:
After Louie is freed from the POW camp and returns to his life back in America he is tormented by nightmares and consumed by revenge toward the guard in the camp who tormented him all those years. Towards the end of the book he makes the decision to forgive his tormentor and from that point forward he never has another nightmare or thinks of revenge again. Forgiveness really benefits us. Everything God causes to happen to us is really for our benefit and ultimately Louie follows through on the promise he made to God on that raft when he was lost at sea: He has a relationship with God which is really what He ultimately wants from us


Does Being Religious Help You Get a Job?
by Eric Brand
In or out of Hollywood, it sure is a good question.
Is being identified as an observant Jew helpful or unhelpful in securing employment? Well, I’ve had a lot of jobs, both before and after I was religious, and I’ve lost a lot of jobs, both before and after I was religious. So I’m either an expert, or you should stop reading this immediately and get back to work.
In case you’re still reading, let’s take a look at some examples from my checkered past working inside and outside Hollywood for an answer.
It’s 20 years ago and my writing partner and I are taking a meeting with one of the biggest producers in Hollywood – a man with a string of successes in movies, television, and music, with a stable of A-list stars. He’s put the word out that he wants to do a show about a Jewish family, and we’re there to pitch him a concept for it. It’s a little hard for us to do the look-‘em-in-the-eye-and-make-‘em-laugh routine that we’ve perfected, since he’s taking this particular meeting from the bathroom.
That’s correct. After the initial hand-shaking and some folks-we-have-in-common pleasantries, we’re a couple of minutes into our pitch and he stands up and walks away, saying over his shoulder, “Keep going, I’ll leave the door open.”
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Does-Being-Religious-Help-You-Get-a-Job.html

Mere days after the brutal terror attacks in Paris that left 17 people dead – 
including four Jews who were murdered in a kosher grocery as they shopped for Shabbat – some public figures are already seeking to blame Jews and Israel for the attacks.
Some of these smears are predictable, coming from marginal individuals who routinely find ways to blame Jews and the Jewish state for all the world’s ills. For instance, one regular contributor to Iranian-backed Press TV wasted little time in writing that Israel “orchestrated” the Paris attacks – and for good measure, ludicrously added that Israel was behind Malaysian airplane crashes, too. The founders of the Free Gaza Movement, which has been endorsed by public figures such as Desmond Tutu, echoed this slander, posting on social media the patently false smear “MOSSAD just hit the Paris offices of Char­lie Hebdo in a clumsy false flag designed to dam­age the accord between Pales­tine and France…”
It seems that some of these lies are drifting from the marginal fringe into mainstream publications.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/mo/Blaming-Jews-for-the-Paris-Attacks.html


The Anti-Semitic Derangement
by Jeff Jacoby
France's Jews are leaving, and that never bodes well for the society driving them out.
Even before last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, the French prime minister was concerned about the continued viability of Jewish life in France. In an interview with The Atlantic prior to the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket massacres, Manuel Valls made a grim prediction:
"If 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure."
His misgivings were far from groundless. An exodus of French Jews is already underway and accelerating rapidly. In 2012, there were just over 1,900 immigrants to Israel from France. The following year nearly 3,400 French Jews emigrated; in 2014 approximately 7,000 left. For the first time ever, France heads the list of countries of origin for immigrants to Israel, and the ministry of immigration absorption expects another 10,000 French Jews to arrive in 2015.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Anti-Semitic-Derangement.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 14 Jan 2015, 9:58 am

#Je Suis Juif
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
I am a Jew. Don’t let the Jews of France stand alone.
Four Jewish hostages were murdered at a kosher grocery store in Paris by a terrorist who had connections to the two men who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo earlier last week. The gunman at the supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes metro station was killed by the police on Friday while his wife escaped, and the Charlie Hebdo gunmen were killed in a separate raid near Paris. After the attack of the newspaper office many people around the world twittered #Je Suis Charlie, I am Charlie Hebdo, and the hashtag rapidly began to trend as everyone expressed outrage for this attack on free speech.

Following the horrific murders at the kosher supermarket, many again took to Twitter urging others to tweet #Je Suis Juif, I am a Jew, to express the same outrage for this attack on religion. But #Je Suis Juif isn’t trending. We, the Jewish people, stand alone. Isn’t freedom of religion just as important as freedom of speech? Isn’t it just as evil and shocking for people to be killed for who they are as it is for what they say? Where are all the Twitter supporters now?

But there were some powerful Tweets that did speak up for the Jewish nation:
Mark Ferguson: We must stand by French Jews as we stood by French cartoonists and police. #JeSuisJuif
Aviva Klompas: The world stood united to defend free expression #JeSuisCharlie. Now it must stand united to defend human life #JeSuisJuif- I am a Jew
Rina Wolfson: So it wasn’t just about cartoons after all. Or is buying kosher bread offensive and provocative too? #JeSuisJuif
Kyle Price: #JeSuisCharlie is trending. #JeSuisAhmed is trending. #JeSuisJuif is not trending. And no one is surprised.
Ben Shapiro: If you tweeted #JeSuisCharlie but won’t tweet #JeSuisJuif today, I think we can all figure out the reason.
David Heyman: I suppose it was perhaps inevitable that the conclusion of #JeSuisCharlie would sadly be #JeSuisJuif

For the first time since World War II, there were no Shabbat services at the Paris Grand Synagogue this past Shabbos. Jewish leaders were told to close their synagogues and Jews all over France were urged to stay home. Mothers and fathers with babies in their arms who had gone to buy food for Shabbos were seen running hysterically out of the supermarket, escorted to safety by heavily armed policemen. Families who have lived in France for generations are wondering how much longer they will be able to remain there. On Saturday hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of France with the signs “Je Suis Charlie” to protest the terrorist attack against free speech. But where were the signs protesting the murder of four innocent Jews?

The Jewish people in France cannot believe that the situation has come to this. They are heartbroken. They are scared. They need to hear our prayers. They need to hear our voices from all over the world: I am a Jew.
I am a Jew. My grandmother said it to the department store Santa Claus when she politely refused his candy cane offer.

I am a Jew. My mother said it when she refused to campaign on Shabbos when she was running for the NY State Supreme Court.
I am a Jew. My seven-year-old son said it to the dentist when the dentist asked why he was wearing a velvet cap on his head.
I am a Jew. I said it to my friend at the gym when she asked me if I heard what was happening in France. I am a Jew, I said, and I started to cry. I am a Jew, and my heart is breaking. And she looked at me and said: I am a Jew too. My heart is also breaking.
I am a Jew who lit candles on Friday night and cried as I saw the images of the fleeing hostages flicker before me in the flames.
I am a Jew who watched my husband walk out the door to go to shul on Shabbos and thought of all the people in France whose synagogues were closed.

I am a Jew who watched my children playing Russian School Room on Shabbos afternoon and asked them what they were doing. It’s a game, they said. In the game the teacher tries to find out who is Jewish in her class by asking questions. Only one of us is the Jew, and the teacher wants to know who it is because it is a crime. “Who taught you that?” I ask. “What kind of game is that?”
“Everyone knows this game,” they tell me, and they go back to playing. I stand a few feet away and listen in. The child playing teacher asks: What is your name? Where are you from? Tell me your mother’s name.
I never played this game as a child. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why are my children, whose great- great grandparents were born in New York playing Russian School Room? Why are my children, who learn in Jewish schools and are part of a beautiful Jewish family, learning at such a young age that they are hated for who they are? That they stand alone for what they believe?

For the people of France and for every Jew in every country, and for Jewish children everywhere, I call out to the world: Je Suis Juif! My voice echoes the cries of those who have come before me, those who have lived and died for Your Name: I am a Jew. I was born a Jew. I live as a Jew. I will die as a Jew. #JeSuisJuif Don’t let the Jews of France stand alone.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Jan 2015, 1:25 am

American Hero Going to Israel
by Yvette Alt Miller
After losing his legs in Afghanistan, Brian Mast is still fighting for his country. And now he's about to fight for Israel.
In September, 2010, Staff Sergeant Brian Mast, a bomb technician in Special Operations Command serving in Afghanistan, lost both his legs and part of one hand in an explosion. The highly decorated veteran – Mast has been awarded numerous medals for Valor, Merit and Sacrifice, including the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal – was suddenly, after 12 years in the US military, unable to continue in active service.
Yet in an exclusive Aish.com interview Mast insists that being wounded was a turning point in his life, rather than an ending. “Since being injured, life has been an absolutely positive journey,” he explains. “From the moment I woke up in Walter Reed hospital I’ve witnessed the great lengths that people will go to help wounded veterans.”
“Since being injured, life has been an absolutely positive journey.”
From hand-made quilt covers to “Warriors to Wall Street” that offers career advice in the financial industry, Mast discovered an endless array of volunteer initiatives channeling their talents to aid others. He was overcome with gratitude. “It made me want to give my own back,” he recalls.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/American-Hero-Going-to-Israel.html


Video: What is Jewish Prayer?
by Mrs. Lori Palatnik
It's not Simon Says. It's talking to God from the heart.
View Video
http://www.aish.com/sp/lal/What-is-Jewish-Prayer.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Jan 2015, 1:16 am

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/The-Paris-Terror-Attack.html
The Paris Terror Attack
by Yvette Alt Miller
A long history of threats and violence, against Charlie Hebdo and other targets, has too often been minimized and ignored.

In the hours after the brutal assault on a newspaper office in the center of France – one of the largest mass attacks on European soil since World War II – the world struggled to understand how such a barbarous assault could have taken place.
On the quiet afternoon of January 7, 2015 three heavily armed men – French police would later identify them as two brothers and a third man, all French nationals, who returned to France after fighting in Syria’s brutal civil war – approached the offices of the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in central Paris. They shot the armed police officer standing guard outside, forced a terrified employee who had just returned from picking up her young child from daycare to enter the office’s entrance code, and unleashed a bloodbath, shooting employees with meticulous, military-style precision. By the time they escaped several minutes later – and after shooting a policeman who confronted them outside - 12 people lay dead and much of France was in shock.
“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons,” said the dazed Editor-in-Chief Girard Biard, who was visiting London and so escaped the massacre. “We are shocked and surprised that something like this could happen in the center of Paris,” echoed Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris. As evening approached, crowds of astonished and grieving people formed spontaneous demonstrations, expressing solidarity with the murdered journalists, and seeking an outlet for their heartache and distress.
Charlie Hebdo would seem an unlikely symbol to unify so many people. The newspaper is aggressively offensive, mocking politicians, the establishment, celebrities and religion. One French friend of mine characterized it as “equal opportunity” offensive. Virtually every group has been the target of its nasty humor at some point, including Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published offensive pictures of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006, sparking protests and riots around the world, Chalie Hebdo reprinted the cartoons – and added some of its own, as well. A 2011 edition was supposedly guest-edited by Mohammed (complete with another offensive cartoon); the current issues’ cover story celebrates a new French novel that many have characterized as an anti-Muslim screed.
The sight of crowds of grieving people reminded me of a premise from a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Chronicle of a Death Foretold. This book tells the story of two brothers who announce their intentions to murder another young man in their town. Even though they repeatedly state their intensions, few believe them. Local officials are convinced they are bluffing and ordinary citizens fail to take them seriously. By the time the violence takes place, the entire town is complicit.
As in this fictional tale, a long history of threats and violence – both against Charlie Hebdo and other targets – has too often been minimized and ignored.
Charlie Hebdo itself is no stranger to violence. On November 2, 2011, just after it announced its “Mohammed-edited” issue, its offices were firebombed. (The attack occurred in the early morning hours and resulted in no casualties.) In 2012, French officials begged the magazine not to publish more offensive Mohammed cartoons. When the magazine insisted on going ahead, France closed embassies, consulates, schools and cultural centers in over a dozen Muslim countries for fear of attack. “We want to laugh at the extremists,” a journalist said at the time, explaining his magazine’s indifference to potential reprisals over its offensive humor.
Editor Stephane Charbonnier, who’d received death threats for years – and was listed as a marked man by an al-Qaeda magazine in 2013 – was living under police protection at the time of his murder. The magazine retained an armed guard by its door and even joked about its status as a target for terror. (A cartoon in the current issue depicts a terrorist saying “Still no attacks in France – wait, we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.”)
The threats were no laughing matter. Like the brothers in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, they announced their intentions loud and clear – and repeatedly – for all to hear.
One came in September 2014, when an Isis tape advised sympathisers around the world: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him.” On November 19, another Isis video, made in French this time, urged sympathisers to target the French: “Terrorize them and do not allow them to sleep due to fear and horror. There are weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit... poison the water and food.... and run them over with your cars....”
In May 2014, four people were murdered in a Jewish museum in Brussels by a French national who had fought for Isis in Syria. On December 21, 2014, 11 people were injured when a man yelling jihadist slogans drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians in the French city of Dijon; two days later, a dozen were injured when another driver ploughed his car into French holiday shoppers in the French town of Nantes. These were not unforeseen events; these acts have been calmly planned, announced and too often, ignored.
Violence is rarely unforeseen. All too often it is not taken seriously enough by civilized people. It can seem bizarre and far-fetched to contemplate people willing to perpetrate horrific acts of violence; it’s much more comforting to tell ourselves that people can’t possibly mean it when they make these threats, that those promising to kill and maim must be exaggerating their evil intentions. As the attack in Paris shows, we ignore these warnings at our peril.
Iran has stated its intention to “wipe Israel off the map.” In January 2015, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told a crowd of supporters of his plans to attack Israel: “We will develop our weapons so that our missiles will reach as far as possible and hit targets at sea, on land, and in the air.” In November 2014, the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, made his intentions clear: “Southern Lebanon is prepared to fight (Israel).... We are not afraid of war...we are a threat to Israel.” Even the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority had its own message to Israel in July 2014, when it took possession of a new type of military equipment. Over images of a man holding a missile launcher, a video intones: “A message to the Israeli government and the Israeli people: Death will reach you from the south to the north.... The KN-103 rocket is on its way toward you.”
It’s tempting to dismiss these and other threats as empty hyperbole. The carnage in Paris unfortunately reminds us that when individuals announce their plans to kill and maim we must take their threats at face value.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 02 Jan 2015, 10:40 am

Jews Don’t Say Happy New Year
What’s the best wish for the new year?
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech         
Ever notice that Jews don’t traditionally wish each other “happy new year”?
Instead we say the Hebrew phrase “shanah tovah” which — in spite of the mistaken translation that appears on almost all greeting cards — has no connection at all to the expression “have a happy new year.”
Shanah tovah conveys the hope for a good year rather than a happy one. And the reason for that distinction contains great significance.


This past January, the Atlantic Monthly had a fascinating article titled There’s More to Life than Being Happy. The author, Emily Esfahani Smith, points out how researchers are beginning to caution against the pursuit of mere happiness. They found that a meaningful life and a happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a "taker" while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a "giver."
"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the author writes.

Happy people get joy from receiving while people leading meaningful lives get joy from giving to others.
She quotes Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of a new study to be published this year in The Journal of Positive Psychology: "Happy people get joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others." In other words, meaning transcends the self while happiness is all about giving the self what it wants.


According to Roy Baumeister, the lead researcher of the study, “What sets human beings apart from animals is not the pursuit of happiness, which occurs all across the natural world, but the pursuit of meaning, which is unique to humans.”
Long before all of these studies, Jews somehow understood this intuitively. Happy is good, but good is better.

To hope for a happy new year is to give primacy to the ideal of a hedonistic culture whose greatest goal is “to have a good time.” To seek a good year however is to recognize the superiority of meaning over the joy of the moment.

The word “good” has special meaning in the Torah. The first time we find it used is in the series of sentences where God, after each day of creation, views his handiwork and proclaims it “good”. More, when God completed his work he saw all that he had done “and behold it was very good.”
What does that mean? In what way was the world good? Surely it was not in any moral sense that it was being praised. The commentators offer a profound insight. The word good indicates that every part of creation fulfilled God’s purpose: it was good because it was what it was meant to be.

That is the deepest meaning of the word good when it is applied to us and to our lives. We are good when we achieve our purpose; our lives are good when they fulfill what they are meant to be.
We know many people of whom it can be said that they had good lives in spite of their having had to endure great unhappiness. Indeed, the truly great chose lives of sacrifice over pleasure and left a legacy of inspiration and achievement that they never could have accomplished had they been solely concerned with personal gratification.

A shanah tovah, a good year, from a spiritual perspective, is far more blessed than a simply happy one.
Meaning Leads to Happiness
A shanah tovah may not emphasize happiness, yet it is the most certain way to ultimately achieve happiness.
Because another powerful idea discovered by contemporary psychologists is that happiness most often is the byproduct of a meaningful life. It’s precisely when we don’t go looking for it and are willing to set it aside in the interest of a loftier goal that we find it unexpectedly landing on us with a force that we never considered possible.

Happiness is the byproduct of a meaningful life.

You would think that acquiring ever more money would make people happier. There are millions of people ready to testify from their own experience that it just isn’t so. But if getting more won’t do it, what will? Social scientists have come to a significant conclusion: while having money doesn’t automatically lead to happiness, giving it away almost always achieves that goal!
The prestigious Science magazine (March, 2008) tells us that new research reveals when individuals dole out money for gifts for friends or charitable donations they get a boost in happiness while those who spend on themselves get no such cheery lift. “We wanted to test our theory that how people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they earn,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. What they discovered was that personal spending had no link with a person’s happiness, while spending on others and charity was significantly related to a boost in happiness.

“Regardless of how much income each person made,” Dunn said, “those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.”
In a fascinating experiment, researchers gave college students a $5 or $20 bill, asking them to spend the money by that evening. Half the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves, and the remaining students were told to spend it on others. Participants who spent the windfall on others — which included toys for siblings and meals eaten with friends — reported feeling happier at the end of the day than those who spent the money on themselves. Spending as little as $5 on other people produced a measurable surge in happiness on a given day, while purchasing supposedly pleasure -gratifying personal items produced almost no change in mood.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that people find giving money away very rewarding,” Aaron Ahuvia, associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, explained. “People spend a lot of money to make their lives feel meaningful, significant and important. When you give away money you are making that same kind of purchase, only you are doing it in a more effective way.” He added, “What you’re really trying to buy is meaning to life.”
Meaning is our ultimate goal; in our pursuit of the “good” life we will discover the reward of true happiness.

So shana tova, may you have a year filled with meaning and purpose. And happiness that will surely follow.
Published: August 31, 2013 
http://www.aish.com/h/hh/rh/theme/Jews-Dont-Say-Happy-New-Year.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Dec 2014, 10:33 pm

Sony's Surrender to Terror
The greatest enemy of civilization is appeasement to evil.
The Sony Corporation just lost over 200 million dollars, but we may have lost something far more precious.
The story just came to a dramatic conclusion as the studio which produced the as yet unreleased movie, “The interview”, threw in the towel. They abandoned all plans for distribution of the film in which they had invested a small fortune. After being hacked by agents of the North Korean government, upset over the story line which mocked their glorious leader Kim Jong, Sony found itself threatened with a 9/11 style attack on moviegoers unless it pulled the plug on the film’s showings. Major movie chains all canceled out of fear for their theaters.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Sonys-Surrender-to-Terror.html


Sony's Capitulation
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Is America letting the terrorists win?
Lots of folks are pondering the implications of the cancelled release of The Interview, Sony's satirical film about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
The saga began this past summer, when North Korea's state-run news agency promised "stern" and "merciless" retaliation if the film were released. In response, Hollywood executives ordered that thousands of images be digitally altered to avoid offending North Korea.
The appeasement did not work. Last month, Sony's computer system was hacked, ostensibly by those operating on behalf of North Korea. When the hackers – citing 9/11 – threatened to attack any theater screening the film, the film's stars canceled a series of promotional appearances and Sony pulled its television advertising. The next day, movie theaters cancelled their distribution agreements.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Sonys-Capitulation.html

Harry Potter and Jewish Values
by Yvette Alt Miller
News of a Jewish wizard at Hogwarts reminded me of 5 Jewish values reflected in the series of books.
It’s official. Astute readers of the Harry Potter series have long suspected Harry’s friend and ally Anthony Goldstein might be Jewish (living at Hogwarts with a kosher meal plan). Now author JK Rowling has confirmed the matter, tweeting a Jewish fan who enquired if there were any Jews in the books: “Anthony Goldstein. Ravenclaw. Jewish wizard.” The next day Ms. Rowling enigmatically suggested the possibility of a minyan at Hogwarts: “Anthony isn’t the first Jewish student, nor is he the only one. I just have reasons for knowing most about him!”
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http://www.aish.com/j/as/Harry-Potter-and-Jewish-Values.html

    
Anorexia and My Need for Perfection
by Kayla Rosen
I had to be the skinniest, the prettiest, and the smartest. Otherwise, I was nothing.
“I felt alone. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed of what I was going through. In my community, eating disorders are seen as a materialistic, self-induced plea for attention and popularity. Especially anorexia. I wanted to hide, to disappear into myself even more. And that just caused me to lose more and more weight, while hating myself for who I had become.”
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Anorexia-and-My-Need-for-Perfection.html

Harvard & SodaStream
by Alan M. Dershowitz
Harvard's president stops an anti-Israel boycott against SodaStream.
The Harvard University Dining Service has been rebuffed in its efforts to join the Boycott Movement against Israel. A group of radical anti-Israel Harvard students and faculty had persuaded the dining service to boycott SodaStream, an Israeli company that manufactures soda machines that produce a product that is both healthy and economical. But Harvard President Drew Faust rebuffed this boycott and decided to investigate the unilateral action of the Harvard University Dining Services.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Harvard--SodaStream.html


Video: Gossip & Capitulation


by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon
Two lessons from the Sony debacle.
VIEW HERE
http://www.aish.com/ci/ss/Gossip--Capitulation.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Dec 2014, 8:44 pm

Obsessed with the Holocaust
by Ruchama King Feuerman
It's crazy, I know, but I often imagine another Holocaust is right around the corner.
Once, when my youngest was going through a miserable teething bout, yelling ad infinitum, crying to no end that piercing baby cry, I randomly thought: What if we were in an underground bunker in Warsaw or Kovno? What if someone had taken us in to hide us? Would my baby and I have been thrown out? Would comrades have smothered her, God forbid? Then I stopped and had to ask myself, Isn’t it weird to be thinking like this?
I ran the obsessive thought past my husband, expecting him to dismiss it, but then he admitted the same idea had crossed his mind.
Is this just a reflex of being Jewish?
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Obsessed-with-the-Holocaust.html

    
My Moment at the Kotel
by Jessie Wilson
God, I want to know what can I get here that I can't get anywhere else?
I sniffled a little as I drove off and left the kids with doting grandparents to meet my husband at the airport where we would embark on our much awaited adventure to Israel, ten long years after our first visit. As I drove to the airport I thought that there were still so many things that could go wrong that would prevent us from leaving. I had to find a place to park somewhere in the city and take a shuttle to the airport, hauling both my husband’s and my own luggage. I had to make it through security not totally sure if I had even brought along the correct paperwork for our paper-less tickets. I had to find my husband somewhere past security, assuming his connecting plane to meet me hadn't gotten delayed.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/My-Moment-at-the-Kotel.html



10 Ways to Make December More Jewish
by Yvette Alt Miller
Helping kids enjoy being Jewish during December: and all year round.
“My daughter is obsessed with all the holiday activities in her school,” a friend recently told me. Another friend confided that her children were begging their Jewish parents to buy a Christmas tree. Each year the “December Dilemma” – the task of guiding our kids through the season of other people’s holidays – gets tougher. How can we balance our children’s enjoyment of the season with pride in being Jewish?
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/10-Ways-to-Make-December-More-Jewish.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sat 06 Dec 2014, 7:03 pm

What Will They Say About You?
by Rabbi Daniel Cohen
What would your children say about you at your funeral?
The story is told of Alfred Nobel, the chemist who invented dynamite. When his brother Ludvig passed away, a French newspaper mistakenly wrote an obituary about Alfred entitled "The Merchant of Death." Shocked that he was viewed as the curator of death, Alfred did some soul searching and decided to leave a different mark on the world by endowing the Nobel Prize with his wealth.
Alfred Nobel had the advantage of seeing his eulogy in print. It was his wake up call and he chose to alter his life and legacy.
We rarely get that kind of preview to hear another person's perception of us at the end of our lives.
In truth, such awakenings abound. How often do we leave a funeral and ask ourselves, "What will they say about me?" 
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http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/What-Will-They-Say-About-You.html



Why I Want a Large Family
by Eliana Cline
The blessing of growing up in a home with many siblings.
“So, do you have kids? How many do you have?”
Working in waspy IT firm, this question was a common ice breaker. Coffee breaks were often spent sharing daily challenges of sleepless nights and debating how to achieve the mythical work-family balance. The three questions were predictable. How many kids do you have? How many do you want? And how many siblings do you have?
The answers, for the most part, were also predictable. Most people had one or two children, and didn’t want more. The director had three girls, but that was only because he wanted a son.
My answer to the third question never failed to raise eyebrows. “You have six siblings?!”
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http://www.aish.com/f/p/Why-I-Want-a-Large-Family.html



Kalman Levine: In Memoriam
by Emuna Braverman
Making the pain personal.
I had a good friend around 33 years ago. I say “had” not because there was any rift between us but circumstances and distance got in the way and we lost touch. There were no hard feelings and the good memories remain – of learning together in Jerusalem, of laughing together in Jerusalem, of the big cookies she always had in the glass jar on her counter, of the sheva brachos she and her then-husband hosted for us.
When we moved to Los Angeles, they had briefly preceded us and we took up residence in their apartment while looking for our own. I was newly expecting and nauseated and…well I’ll spare you the details…but she was a good hostess and a good friend. Like I said we lost touch but we kept the memories.
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http://www.aish.com/f/mom/Kalman-Levine-In-Memoriam.html

    
Do Opposites Attract?
by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc. and Sherry Zimmerman
We've really hit it off, but there are a number of differences that concern me and do not concern her.
Dear Rosie and Sherry,
Recently, I met a beautiful local girl. We hit it off straight away and have started dating, despite a number of differences between us.
For example, she is not religious like I am but claims to be "spiritual". Also, unlike the few past relationships I have had, I see her nowhere near as often as I'd like due to her preference of staying home most nights with her family, but despite her residing extremely close to me. Thirdly, as there is an age difference of several years between us, we have different natures of friends. My friends are adults in their late twenties who want to settle down and focus on creating a home and family. Her friends are mostly young adults who more often than not enjoy going out to dinners and various festivities. We don't mix our circle of friends either.
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http://www.aish.com/d/a/Do-Opposites-Attract.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sat 06 Dec 2014, 6:45 pm

Photos of the Last Remaining Synagogues in the Muslim World
by Hyacinth Mascarenhas

11 beautiful photos of shuls that were once home to thriving Jewish communities.
Faith has long inspired some of the most remarkable architecture around the world.
In Judaism, the synagogue is seen as more than just a physical building: It is a central address and institution for the expression of Jewish identity and traditions, embedded in the social fabric of Jewish communities.
These synagogues were once scattered across the Middle East and North Africa and were home to thriving and flourishing Jewish populations, some dating back to ancient times. Since the creation of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 Six-Day War, however, these numbers have dwindled due to persecution and subsequent emigration, leaving behind only a few thousand Jews in the Arab world. Small clusters of Jews can still be found in Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and Tunisia.
Along with this diaspora, the few remaining synagogues stand as reminders of the once-thriving Jewish populations in Muslim-majority countries and offer us a glimpse into the unique Arab-Jewish identity in the Middle East.
We've compiled a list of some of the most gorgeous synagogues and temples in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, spanning from Iran to Morocco:
1. Eliyahu Hanavi Sephardic, Egypt
The 150-year-old Eliyahu Hanavi Sephardic synagogue in Alexandria, Egypt, is one of the largest synagogues in the Middle East and boasts towering Italian marble columns and seating for more than 700 people, offering us a unique glimpse into what the once-vibrant Jewish community was like in its prime.

2. Ashkenazi Synagogue, Turkey
Designed by Italian architect Gabriel Tedeschi, Ashkenazi Synagogue is located in Istanbul, Turkey, and was opened in 1900 for Jewish immigrants from Poland and Macedonia. The wooden black ark is carved with letters of the Hebrew alphabet and was brought from Kiev. It is also the country's only Ashkenazi synagogue.

3. Slat Alfassiyine, Morocco
Located in Fez, Morocco, one of the world's oldest medieval cities, this 17th-century synagogue was reopened early last year following a two-year restoration project. It is an "eloquent testimony to the spiritual wealth and diversity of the Kingdom of Morocco and its heritage," according to Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane represented King Mohammed VI in an inauguration ceremony marking the completion of a 17th century synagogue restoration project in Fez yesterday.
In 2011, when a new constitution was adapted, the king said that Jewish places of worship throughout Morocco should be restored, even as the Arab spring roared across North Africa.The newly renovated Slat Alfassiyine synagogue in the heart of one of the world’s oldest medieval cities, the country’s cultural and spiritual nucleus, symbolizes how seriously he took that mandate.

4. Shaar Hashomayim, Egypt
One of the largest Jewish temples in Egypt, the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue, which means "Gates of Heaven," was built in 1905. Also known as Adly Street Temple and Ismailiya Temple, the architecture of this synagogue resembles ancient Egyptian temples, and is engraved with lotus flowers and plants on its outer walls.

5. Temple Beth-El, Morocco
Located in Casablanca, Morocco, Temple Beth-El is one of the largest synagogues in the country, and is the religious and social center of the city's Jewish community.

6. Neve Shalom, Turkey
Dating back to the 1930s, Neve Shalom, which means "Oasis of Peace," is Istanbul's largest synagogue. Tragically, it has also been the target of numerous brutal attacks by anti-Jewish extremists in recent decades.

7. Magen Abraham, Lebanon
This building is the last remaining synagogue in Beirut, Lebanon. After the last rabbi departed in 1975, the synagogue suffered severe structural damage during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. However, repairs began in 2009 and the interior has now been restored to its original state, with sky-blue walls and arched windows.

8. El Ghriba, Tunisia
Believed to date back almost 1,900 years, the El Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia, 500 kilometers south of Tunis, is Africa's oldest synagogue. Last year the synagogue hosted hundreds of Jews from Europe, Israel and Africa in a three-day pilgrimage guarded by armed Tunisian police.

9. Zarzis Synagogue, Tunisia
Home to a small Jewish community of around 100 people, this synagogue is located in Zarzis, Tunisia. Built in the early 20th century, the building was once host to a community of about 1,000 people. In 1982 the synagogue was torched shortly after the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and the community's Torah scrolls were destroyed before the building was restored.
Zarzis is home to a Jewish community of around 100 people, all living in the Jewish quarter of the city near the central market.
Many have jewelry shops and run other businesses such as carpentry and the Shimon Haddad and sons general store, the shop sells natural remedies and other miscellaneous products.
The community is served by the Zarzis Synagogue, built in the early 20th century to host the local Jewish community that numbered approximately1000 people at the time.
The synagogue was subject to an arson attack in 1982 that followed the Israeli incursion into Lebanon before it was restored to its original status. Prayers are read in the synagogue every Saturday morning and the synagogue hosts a Yeshiva, a Jewish Torah learning school during the week. The synagogue has a distinctive Andalusian architectural style.

10. Pol-e-Choubi Synagogue, Iran
Iran's population of 75 million includes about 20,000 Jews, the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside Israel. The Pol-e-Choubi synagogue in located in Tehran, Iran.

11. Ben Ezra, Egypt
Located in Old Cairo, the Ben Ezra was not only an important center of prayer and celebration for Jews in Egypt since the 10th century. Often referred to as El-Geniza Synagogue, it was also site of the 19th-century discovery of the Cairo Geniza, considered to be "the most important source for understanding daily religious, communal and intellectual life around the Mediterranean during the medieval period."
According to local legend, the synagogue is said to be built on the exact place where Moses was found near the river shore.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 03 Dec 2014, 12:15 am

On the Question of Palestine
by Ron Prosor
The speech by Israel's ambassador at the UN General Assembly is a cogent overview of modern Israeli history. Share widely.
Speech to the UN General Assembly, November 24, 2014
I stand before the world as a proud representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I stand tall before you knowing that truth and morality are on my side. And yet, I stand here knowing that today in this Assembly, truth will be turned on its head and morality cast aside.
The fact of the matter is that when members of the international community speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fog descends to cloud all logic and moral clarity. The result isn’t realpolitik, its surreal politik.
The world’s unrelenting focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an injustice to tens of millions of victims of tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/On-the-Question-of-Palestine.html


Creating Light during Darkness
by Eliana Cline
4 positive responses when you find yourself submerged in physical or spiritual darkness.
Living in South Africa, we have most 21st century conveniences like high-speed internet, running water and electricity, despite the abhorrent government services and rampant corruption. But recently, due to a gross lack of resource planning and foresight, our national power grid has been unable to provide sufficient electricity for the country. The result is both unplanned and planned load-shedding where power is suspended for hours on end. The resulting darkness is annoying, frustrating and damaging.
Likewise, the Jewish world has been experiencing times of darkness. From the kidnapping and murder of our three boys, to the dozens of soldiers who died in Operation Protective Edge and the most recent Har Nof massacre, our collective psyche is reeling from pain and loss.
We can learn from the varied responses to both situations, when physical light is taken away and when our spiritual world feels dark and gloomy.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Creating-Light-during-Darkness.html


JEWLARIOUS Jewish humor, arts and entertainment
Dedicated in blessed memory of Richard Allen Julis 
who made us laugh and made us better Jews.
Mockingjay Part I
by Mark Papers
For a nation fighting a war, how do they get like minded people in the other parts of the world to support them? It's not the justness of their cause. It's how well they can manipulate the media.
This might not be a secret to most of my readers, but I like movies. What I don’t love is the news.
Of course, some days, trying to not pay attention to the news is like trying to stuff a bouquet of helium balloons into your trunk. Especially with some of the recent stories coming out of Israel.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/j/as/Mockingjay-Part-I.html

JEWLARIOUS
Video: Jtube: Real Time with Bill Maher
by Bill Maher
What makes someone "seem Jewish"?
VIEW HERE
http://www.aish.com/j/jt/Jtube-Real-Time-with-Bill-Maher.html

FUNNY Money Talks
Judy's 10 Commandments for Saving Money
CLICK HERE TO READ
http://www.aish.com/j/fs/48925597.html


    
Video: A Broken Body Isn't a Broken Person
by Janine Shepherd and TED Talks
A former Olympian is forced to rethink the meaning of her life after a crippling accident ends her career.
View Video
CLICK HERE
http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/A-Broken-Body-Isnt-a-Broken-Person.html



Video: Online Dating: Beware
by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon
Does it really lead to marriage?
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
http://www.aish.com/ci/ss/Online-Dating-Beware.html


Video: Our Man on Al Jazeera
by Aish.com staff
Mordechai Kedar: defending Israel in Arabic.
VIEW HERE
http://www.aish.com/v/is/100215459.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Nov 2014, 9:02 pm

Life with Arabs in Jerusalem
by Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith
The Har Nof massacre has stripped away the veneer of security, leaving us feeling vulnerable.
Jerusalem has gotten a bit scarier the last couple of months. Israeli authorities are not  officially calling it the third intifada, but living in our nation’s capital is not as tranquil as it used it to be. After a spate of terror attacks by lone drivers (right around the corner from where I live), the horrific massacre in Har Nof’s largest shul, and two men being stabbed by Arab assailants near Jaffa Gate, (five minutes after I walked by that very spot), fear has gripped the city. It’s just been reported that the Shin Bet foiled a Hamas plot to attack Teddy Stadium. There is a shortage of pepper spray (which my wife and kids now carry) and a greater mistrust toward Arabs living and working in the city due to fears that they may be the next terrorist who goes on a rampage.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Life-with-Arabs-in-Jerusalem.html



Video: The Ferguson Riots: A Non-Political Lesson
by Rabbi Tzvi Sytner
What is the connection between anger and looting?
VIEW CLICK BELOW
http://www.aish.com/ci/s/The-Ferguson-Riots-A-Non-Political-Lesson.html



Video: Responding to the Har Nof Massacre
by Mrs. Lori Palatnik
We may not understand the why, but we do need to know what we are going to do about it.
VIEW CLICK BELOW
http://www.aish.com/sp/lal/Responding-to-the-Har-Nof-Massacre.html


Ambassador for Israel
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
A tribute to Charley Levine, the Israeli-Texan PR giant.
Charley Levine, who passed away in Jerusalem last week at the young age of 62 from an aneurism, was a trailblazing Israeli-American PR professional who for decades was the "go-to" media advisor for a panoply of influencers – from Shimon Peres to Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Waldorf Astoria to Microsoft.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Ambassador-for-Israel.html


Fighting Jihad with Education
by Dr. Shmuel Katz
A guide for the concerned global citizen.
In this time of great danger – with Iran threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation, and jihadists on borders north and south – Israel's efforts to tell its story to the world are simply not taking hold. The classic approach of explanatory "hasbara" has repeatedly failed to break through the clutter of disinformation.
It is time for a new approach – one in which the world understands that they also have “skin in the game.”
The Middle East conflict is not simply "Arab versus Jew." Rather this is a "holy war" being waged by jihadists against all people of good will – Jews, Christians and moderate Muslims.
The key, I believe, is education. Once good people are informed about the facts, we have a much better chance of standing up to evil and achieving our mission of keeping the world free.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Fighting-Jihad-with-Education.html



Calling for Palestinian Forward Thinking
by George Deek
The unique perspective of Israel's vice-ambassador to Norway: an Israeli-Arab.
When I walk in the streets of my home town Jaffa, I am often reminded of the year 1948. The alleys of the old city, the houses in Ajami neighborhood, the fishing nets at the port – they all seem to tell different stories about the year that changed my city forever.
READ AND VIEW HERE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Calling-for-Palestinian-Forward-Thinking.html



Notes from an Ex-Agnostic
by Shoshana
Sometimes believing is seeing.
I was driving down the road one bleak February morning, feeling immersed in a monochromatic world. The gray road snaked its way around a rocky gray hillside. To my left, a large gray river moved sullenly in its path. Gray concrete buildings blended into a sky that was – you guessed it – gray.
And then I asked myself a question: What if God exists?
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Notes_from_an_Ex-Agnostic.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 11:24 pm

Calling for Palestinian Forward Thinking
by George Deek
The unique perspective of Israel's vice-ambassador to Norway: an Israeli-Arab.
When I walk in the streets of my home town Jaffa, I am often reminded of the year 1948. The alleys of the old city, the houses in Ajami neighborhood, the fishing nets at the port – they all seem to tell different stories about the year that changed my city forever.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Calling-for-Palestinian-Forward-Thinking.html



At Home in Jerusalem
by C.B. Gavant
A shiva call reminds me why I live in Jerusalem, despite the fear.
Last night I dreamed that I was in my hometown Baltimore, trying to catch a bus to take me to my destination. The bus pulled up and I realized that it wouldn’t take me there after all. Silly me, I thought in my dream, you don’t take buses in Baltimore. Of course, the city has public transportation, but I’d grown up in suburbia where everyone has a car.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/At-Home-in-Jerusalem.html



Six Ways to Instill Perseverance
by Adina Soclof
Helping kids keep on going, when the going gets tough.
Teaching kids to persevere when things are tough seems to be a huge problem for parents in the modern era. Kids seem to fall apart at the first sign of adversity, and parents are having a hard time moving their kids forward through these everyday challenges.
In order for children to grow into responsible and emotionally-healthy adults, they need a "can-do attitude." Making mistakes, getting stuck and pushing through is an essential part of learning how to cope, gain confidence, grow and finally succeed in life.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/f/p/Six-Ways-to-Instill-Perseverance.html



Groggy Morning Emails
by Emuna Braverman
How my day got ruined by one annoying message.
I woke up early this morning, imagining how productive I would be before the phone started ringing and all the loud demands of the day interrupted my concentration. I no longer have small children at home – you know, the ones with that unerring instinct about when you wake up early, expecting some free (or me) time and get up early as well – so I felt justified in anticipating this quiet time.
But I made a classic mistake. (Is it classic if a result of relatively new technology?!) I checked my emails before beginning to write/think. There was one annoying email in my inbox and my day was thrown off.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/f/mom/Groggy-Morning-Emails.html



Jacob vs. Esau, Part I: The Two Roles
by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld
Unravelling one of the most cryptic episodes of the entire Torah.
The story of Jacob and Esau is one of the most perplexing sagas of the entire Torah. From a young age, Jacob developed into the diligent Torah student, dwelling in the tents of study. Esau, by contrast, is described as an idler and hunter, a man of violence who lived by his might and conquest. Our Sages describe him as a murderer, idolater and womanizer all rolled into one. Reading the opening account of their lives (Genesis 25:27), we would have little question who should be the progenitor of the Jewish people.
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http://www.aish.com/jl/b/eb/kbc/Jacob-vs-Esau-Part-I-The-Two-Roles.html


The Morality Business
by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt
Live and let live is not a Jewish value.
Vayetzei(Genesis 28:10-32:3)
The Morality Business
In this week's Torah portion, Jacob arrives in Haran and meets some shepherds. He notices that they are sitting around chatting and immediately admonishes them: If you are working for someone, then you are being paid to tend that person's sheep, not to sit and talk. And if you are self-employed, you should get on with life. Either way, you shouldn't be sitting around doing nothing.
It turns out that these men were waiting to water their sheep, and could not do so until there were enough of them to remove a rock from over the well. Jacob single-handedly moves the rock and allows them to get on with shepherding.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/tp/b/st/48953861.html

Way #31: Seek The Ultimate Pleasure
by Rabbi Noah Weinberg
Even with lots of money and power, no human being is truly satisfied without the transcendent dimension.
We all have moments of being struck by the awesomeness of life – whether the birth of a baby, a canopy of stars above, a piece of majestic music, or a breathtaking sunset.
These experiences are both energizing and calming at the same time. They enable us to break beyond our own limitations and to merge our (relatively) tiny, insignificant selves with the greater infinite unity.
If God's creation can have such an impact on us, how much more would an experience with the Creator Himself.
Consider someone travelling the world seeking exciting experiences. Now tell him: "In the next room, you can sit down and speak to God Almighty Himself for an entire hour."
Wouldn't that be the ultimate experience?
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http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/48951921.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 23 Nov 2014, 6:49 pm

From the Four Widows
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
In the midst of the most horrific nightmare, these righteous women are reaching out to the Jewish world with a message of hope
.After the horrific attack in the shul in Har Nof last week, I couldn’t sleep for the next few nights. I couldn’t stop thinking about the widows and the orphans. I couldn’t stop thinking of the nightmarish scene of that morning. The chaos, the pain, the sheer shock of the immensity of the loss.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/From-the-Four-Widows.html



Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky: Big Man with a Big Heart
by Rabbi Moshe Cohen
Fighting the terrorists in the Har Nof shul, he undoubtedly saved many people's lives.
Aryeh Kupinsky was a big man with a long, red beard. He towered over almost everyone. But what really made him stand out was that he always had a big smile.
Aryeh was a doer, always in motion. Long legs taking great strides, powerful arms reaching out with great sweeping gestures. And what was Aryeh doing? He was always helping someone. He lived for others. His first thought was never for himself.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Rabbi-Aryeh-Kupinsky-Big-Man-with-a-Big-Heart.html



Rabbi Moshe Twersky: Students Speak
by Rabbi Shlomo Buxbaum and Rabbi Gavriel Friedman
Two Aish rabbis recollect studying with Rabbi Twersky.
Shlomo Buxbaum: Friday Nights with Rabbi Twersky
Rabbi Twersky was brutally murdered on November 18th in an attack on his Synagogue while he was wrapped in Tallis and tefillin and immersed in prayer. His loss is a terrible one for the Jewish people.
Rabbi Twersky reigned from two dynasties.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Rabbi-Moshe-Twersky-Students-Speak.html



The Murder of Zidan Saif
by Jeff Jacoby
The Jewish state's newest hero wasn't Jewish.
By the thousands they streamed to Yanuh-Jat, Israelis of every description making their way on Wednesday to the remote northern Galilee district, where a fallen hero was to be buried with full honors. Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, was there to pay his respects; so were the minister of internal security and the nation's top police commissioner. From around the country, hundreds of black-hatted haredi ("ultra-Orthodox") Jews came on chartered buses, disembarking to join throngs of Arabic-speaking Druze in traditional white turbans, police officers in dress blues, and so many other mourners that even the roofs of nearby homes were crowded with onlookers.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/The-Murder-of-Zidan-Saif.html



(Not So) Ordinary Har Nof
by Ira T. Berkowitz
Har Nof is unremarkable on the outside, but extraordinary from the inside.
I live in Har Nof, a neighborhood on the western edge of Jerusalem, far from the usual hot spots. Har Nof itself is a little dull. It isn’t well-planned and brimming with promise like some of the newer Israeli towns. Nor does it have the character of the older Jerusalem neighborhoods. It isn’t quaint with cobblestone streets like bohemian Nachlaot, nor is it otherworldly and labyrinthine like Meah Shearim. It’s just a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood, about thirty years old, with dozens of clunky, limestone-faced apartment buildings and very little open space
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Not-So-Ordinary-Har-Nof.html



Video: Where Was God During the Har Nof Massacre?
by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon
It's okay to ask this question.
VIEW HERE
http://www.aish.com/ci/ss/Where-Was-God-During-the-Har-Nof-Massacre.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 21 Nov 2014, 8:49 am

Terror in the Synagogue
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
Gaining some perspective on an unfathomable tragedy.
But we can learn to feel the loss the way we should as a nation.
As if the fathers were our own.
As if the orphaned children are ours.
As if the newly widowed wives are our sisters.
Because they are. The Jewish people are one family, and the pain echoes around the world as we mourn this horrific attack.
Pray for those who are injured. Pray for those who have lost loved ones. Every tear, every prayer, every Jew who mourns makes a difference. Because the one thing that is always true about tragedy is that it reminds us how much we all need each other.
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Fighting for Life in Har Nof
by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
When my grandson and son-in-law got caught in the line of fire.
"Mordechai just came home from shul. He said that Arabs came in and are shooting, and that a man with an axe is hitting everyone. Some of the people threw chairs at them, but it didn't help."
My 12-year-old grandson had hit the floor along with everyone else when the bullets began to fly. He was fully aware of what was going on, and what it meant.
He somehow found the courage to let go of his father's hand, crawl towards the exit and break into a run.
Mordechai is blonde, freckled, and a soft-spoken somewhat introverted and studious boy, much like his father, Shmuli. He is not Huck Finn, and the courage he found at those moments were a gift straight from God.
By the time he finished telling Miri what happened, sirens from Hatzalah ambulances, police cars, and Magen David could be heard telling her that there were casualties.
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Rejecting Despair in Har Nof
by Ayalah Haas
Today's attack will not deter my belief in the Almighty's promise.
One would think that I feel a deeper sense of despair over this latest murderous attack against Jewish civilians - which struck just a few minutes’ walk from home.
Yet I do not feel despair. I am certainly not numb to their hatred, nor naïve to our complicated and fragile existence. Yes, today my heart has sunk, and tears are falling. But I do not despair.
Today, I am exactly where I need to be: in the Land the Almighty promised to our forefathers, the Land of Israel. Since I arrived here 13 years ago, one thing has become very clear: Terrorists may not tell me that the Promised Land is theirs to barbarically rule over.
My husband, kids and I pray on a daily basis that each of us merit Divine protection.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 21 Nov 2014, 8:22 am

The Jerusalem Massacre
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Even tragedies have degrees.
Death is a misfortune. Murder is far more horrible to bear. Turned into a massacre, it shocks us into unmitigated grief.


But there was still more to the terrorist attack of this week in Israel. It happened in the holy city of Jerusalem, a place in which we are meant to feel the nearness of God. It took place in a synagogue attended by early-morning worshipers who came only to stand in the presence of the Almighty and worship the Creator of the universe.
It was carried out by those who brought axes, knives and weapons of violence into the house of God.


The victims were in the midst of the silent prayer, reverently reciting words that dream of peace, as well as the hope for a messianic time when all people dwell together in brotherhood and tranquility. They wore the phylacteries, tefillin, signs of God's closeness to our hands and our minds. Garbed in their prayer shawls they were brutally executed by those for whom their very holiness proved provocative.
Could there be anything more horrible than this?


Palestinian Response
Yet we need to weep bitter tears for another tragedy of comparable magnitude. It is the tragedy of the aftermath – the tragedy that illustrates the true horror of a crime that makes us question the right of mankind to call itself civilized.


To start, there was the response of the Arab world with whom we keep being challenged to make peace – as if we were the ones waging wars meant to annihilate us and refusing even to recognize us. No sooner did the news of the massacre become public than the Arab street began to joyously pass out sweets to their children and offer praise for the "glorious martyrs" who carried out the gruesome bloodbath. Murder of innocents needs no justification; when the victims are Jews it is a time for rejoicing.

Abbas warned not to allow Jews to "contaminate" the Temple Mount.
There was the response of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose name rarely appears in the media without the prefix "moderate," who gave the pro forma required regrets to the English-speaking world – while at the same time, to his own people, praising those who carried out the violence against Jews for which he has been loudly agitating these past months.
Abbas also made certain to demand an end to the "Israeli provocations" that he made clear are the cause of all Palestinian uprisings. Just a few days ago he warned that he and fellow Palestinians would not allow Jews to "contaminate" the Temple Mount, adding that allowing Jewish prayer at the site would result in a global "religious war." For the "moderate" Abbas, Jews dare not pray on the Temple Mount – or for that matter in any synagogue – with hope for safety and survival.


There was the response of Tawfik Tirawi, former chief of the Palestinian General Security in the West Bank and a member of Fatah's Central Committee, who told a radio station that the attack was "nothing but a reaction to the recent crimes of the occupation and the settlers in occupied Jerusalem and across the nation."
There was the response of Hamas, with whom humanitarians round the world demonstrated in solidarity this past summer, who in a message published on its official website, Al-Resalah, called the synagogue slaughter "a quality development in fighting the occupation" (i.e. the nonexistent occupation in Gaza) and declared: "We highly value the heroism of its operatives."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack on Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera as "heroic," calling for more attacks of the same sort to "stop the occupation's aggression against Islamic holy places."
There was the response of the media which continued the kind of "balanced reporting" we were treated to this past summer when Israel struggle to defend itself against rocket attacks around the country. BBC led the news with the headline "Jerusalem police fatally shoot two after apparent synagogue attack." The four murdered rabbis were apparently not worthy of mention.
CNN's headline (after first calling it an attack on a "mosque"), "Four Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, Israeli police say," left the reader to wonder whether two Palestinians were also the victims of the attack, giving moral equivalence to the terrorists and their victims.


Waiting in Vain
Far more significantly than all the above was the response from those in the forefront of criticism of Israel; from those urging the boycott of the Jewish state; from those marching in the streets of Europe because of their profound sensitivity to the plight of Palestinians; from those who ostensibly cannot keep silent in the face of injustice.


With the world's silence, the hypocrisy is revealed.

And what was their response? What was their reaction to an unprovoked slaying of rabbis with the words of God on their lips?
We wait – and we wait in vain for any outcry. But now we know. The hypocrisy is clearly revealed. It has never been about compassion for innocent Palestinians. That was merely a camouflage for anti-Semitism. The world's silence is simple. The horrific murders in Jerusalem have stirred no demonstrations, inspired no revulsion, caused no governments to denounce Arab terror.
The aftermath of the carnage makes me weep most of all – to cry for a world that still does not understand that – in failing to properly mourn for murdered Jews – it sows the seeds of its own destruction.
Published: November 18, 2014
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 19 Nov 2014, 10:04 am

My Parents vs. My Own Life
When does, “I have to live my own life” become selfishness?
by Sara Yoheved Rigler         
I loved my parents, but of course I had to live my own life.
My parents were from the “Us Generation.” In that long-ago era, adult children lived at home until they married. They worked, and handed over their earnings to the family coffers. Irving Levinsky, who would become my father, was a pharmacist. He owned a drugstore in Camden, New Jersey. What he made paid the rent and the bills for his Russian immigrant parents, his younger brother Harry, who was in law school, and his two younger sisters, Sadie and Mamie, until they finished college and got married.
Levinsky Family taken during my ashram years 1982Levinsky Family taken during my ashram years (1982)
Both my parents came of age at the onset of the Great Depression. Of course, most young adults were not so selfish as to get married during the Depression. Marriage meant renting your own apartment, buying your own beds and icebox and stove, and ceasing to contribute to the family’s meager income. It was like jumping ship to your own private lifeboat in the middle of a storm, when your job was to keep the Family Ship afloat.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/My-Parents-vs-My-Own-Life.html

10 Years in Siberia
by Leah Abramowitz as told by Rabbi Nachman Kahane
The remarkable story of Eliezer Nanas.
I was working at the Ministry of Religion about 40 years ago as an assistant to the Ministry of Religions, the noted and learned Zerach Wahrhaftig. One day an aide put his head through the door and said, "Come into my office,” he beckoned to us. “There's a man here you have to meet." We went into the adjacent office to see an elderly, slightly bent Jew who had made aliyah from Russia only two days earlier. His name was Eliezer Nanas.
In those days it was highly difficult to get out of Russia; the Cold War was at its height and Jews were severely restricted. Yet this clearly religious Jew had made it and his story was indeed fascinating. It turns out that he tried to observe all the mitzvot, even when it was nearly impossible while living in Moscow. In the end he was apprehended for the sin of attending a heder to teach Judaism to youngsters whose parents were willing to take the risk.
He was sent to Siberia for ten years, a death sentence for most prisoners. 
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/10-Years-in-Siberia.html

The Tree on Fire
by Shlomo Horwitz
Sometimes the most beautiful things are hiding in plain sight.
"Not again," I groaned through clenched teeth, struggling with the lawn mower. My tree was shedding for the umpteenth time this fall. Twigs, branches and leaves surrounded the tree like a moat, impeding my access with the mower.
Never a fan of yard work, I resigned myself with a sigh to the thankless task of cleaning up after my tree, which had made its mark on the walkway and on down to the street. I raked the leaves into piles, gathered the twigs and branches and cut them into smaller pieces so the trash man wouldn't complain.
Don’t think I hate all trees. I love trees, like the way grandparents love grandchildren. They're fun to visit from time to time, just don't ask me to clean them up when they get dirty. In fact, our family loves hiking on forest trails, soaking in the lush greenery and shade of massive trees under a brilliant blue sky.
Shortly after this miserable clean-up, a person I knew from shul who shared our family's love of nature and hiking came to me excitedly with an important bit of tree news. "Shlomo, have you been to Oregon Ridge Park in the last couple of weeks?"
"No. What's happening there?"
"The trees are a gorgeous color right now! I just took the kids!"
READ ARTICLE
http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/The-Tree-on-Fire.html


Divorce and Parenthood
by Sheryl Golding
Divorce is not always rational.
“If you want to learn about Asperger’s,” a friend said to me last year, “you should watch the TV show Parenthood. It’s the most realistic ‘fictional’ portrayal around.” I tuned in and quickly became addicted. And an informal and completely unscientific polling suggests I’m not the only one.
The exploration of the challenges of children with Asperger’s and their parents is fascinating, moving, compelling and even educational. I hope it has increased my compassion; it has definitely increased my understanding.
But this is television after all – and the show wouldn’t work without its myriad of side plots involving the other characters in the family.
One of these, the story of Joel and Julia, has always puzzled me. Stay tuned: you don’t need to have seen the show to get the point. They seemed to have a warm and loving marriage, not perfect but whose is? A few misunderstandings, an inability or unwillingness to talk them through and the next thing you know they’re in separate residences discussing divorce.
READ ARTICLE
http://www.aish.com/f/m/Divorce-and-Parenthood.html


Video: Reach Out for Help
by Rabbi Tzvi Sytner
Don't be afraid to show your weakness in order to let people help.
VIEW VIDEO HERE
http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Reach-Out-for-Help.html

Editor's Pick:    Unprotected
by Judy Gruen
A college campus psychiatrist tells students everything they really need to know about intimacy.
In her long experience as a college campus psychiatrist, Miriam Grossman had treated students with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and broken hearts. Their pain touched Grossman, but as a medical professional, she had learned to leave office concerns at the office -- until she met Brian.
Dr. Miriam GrossmanBrian had come to her for help in quitting his cigarette addiction. But Grossman was alarmed that Brian, openly gay and equally open about his promiscuity, had never been tested for HIV and had no intention to do so. "It's hard to be monogamous," Brian shrugged, adding that he preferred simply not to think about the possible consequences of his lifestyle.
Knowing how dire these consequences could be, Grossman advised Brian to limit his partners and use protection. But when she began to look into what other steps she could do to protect him from himself, she hit a brick wall. Like other doctors, she has the right to report those who may be carriers of a dangerous infectious disease, such as tuberculosis. She has the legal right to hospitalize a suicidal or homicidal patient, even if it is against their will. Yet there was nothing she could do to compel Brian to get tested for HIV or to inform his partners of their risk for developing the virus.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/48943056.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 19 Nov 2014, 9:23 am

Palestinian Red Line

Terror at a Jerusalem synagogue crosses another red line.
The synagogue is a place of intimate communion with God, where we strive to understand God's ultimate perfection and the meaning of our world.

Today that sanctity was desecrated as Jews – in the Holy City of Jerusalem, immersed in morning prayers, adorned in tallit and tefillin – were slaughtered in cold blood by jihadists.

The synagogue held dozens of worshipers at 7 a.m. when the terrorists struck with guns and axes.

This attack hits extremely close to home, as the synagogue attacked was where many Aish alumni and staff pray every morning.

Aish HaTorah's Director of Administration, Rabbi Daniel Schloss, was 10 seconds away from entering the building when he heard shots and saw the wounded running out.

Four murdered men, may the Almighty avenge their blood:

The esteemed Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Twersky, was mentor to Aish senior lecturer Rabbi Gav Friedman.

Rabbi Kalman Levine was born in the United States and the beloved father of 9.

Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, age 43, was also an American citizen.

Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg is the father of Ms. Libby Goldberg, who for years was a mainstay of the Aish Finance Department.

Four widows and 24 orphans are now on one street.

We mourn this grossly horrific act of inhumanity.

Holy War

Perhaps it should not surprise us that terrorists struck our holy place – given that the entire focus of this battle has become Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – the Jews' most holy site.

Forget the fact that the inaugural PLO charter from the 1960s never once mentions Jerusalem, and that it only became a jihadist hotspot once the Jews reunited the Holy City.

Jihadists now realize that Jerusalem – holy to the Jews for 2,000 years before Islam ever existed – is where the big battle is taking place.

That is why Hamas launched a public campaign against Aish HaTorah, whose rooftop panorama overlooking the Western Wall includes a scale model of the Second Holy Temple. It is this very aspect of Aish's mission – to educate people about the Jewish connection to Jerusalem – that so undercuts the Islamist's false revisionist version of history.

It is what PR legend Charley Levine called "Jerusalem Denial Syndrome."

Anyone who doesn't recognize that jihadists are fighting a "holy war," has yet to recognize the true root of this conflict.

Incitement and Tolerance

Israel is sitting on a Mideast powder keg. Iran is charging toward the nuclear goal line. Egypt Syria and Gaza are what Ken Abramowitz calls some of the 10 existential threats to Israel today.

Palestinian leaders have repeatedly inflamed incitement against Israel. Last week, on official Palestinian Authority TV, officials praised recent terrorists for heeding the call that "Jerusalem needs blood to purify itself of Jews."

Even in the wake of this horrific Har Nof synagogue massacre, official PA television showed images of Bethlehem residents handing out candy in support of the attack, and the official Fatah website praised the attack as a "heroic operation."

Living in Israel for 20 years, many red lines have been crossed:

• The incessant rockets and terror at bus stops and cafes.

• The Second Intifada, where friends were murdered by suicide bombers, and bullets whizzed by my house.

• Recent wars with Hamas and Hezbollah, which sent virtually every Israeli resident scrambling to bomb shelters.

I may have somehow "tolerated" all of that.

But today, as mass murder invades the synagogue, a red line has been crossed.

Our hearts wrench at the horror of this attack.

Our love and concern goes out to the victims and their families.

We pray for the recovery of those wounded.

And we pray that soon, our land will be blessed with peace.

This article can be read on-line at: http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Palestinian-Red-Line.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 14 Nov 2014, 12:54 pm

In the Moment
by Emuna Braverman
We are too busy posing and snapping to just savor today.

My friend’s teenage daughter is on a class trip. “All the other girls are posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram – or they’re texting them. You’re not doing any of it,” complained my friend to her child. “I want to see what you’re doing.”
“But mom,” responded the wiser-than-her-years (or peers) adolescent, “I want to be able to focus on what I’m seeing. I want to be able to understand it and enjoy it and not be preoccupied with photographing it and emailing it.”

My friend was taken aback – in a good way. It made her stop and think. I pointed out to her (ever so tactfully) that her daughter’s position has support in a recent study led by Linda Henckel, Ph.D. Her researchers discovered that people remember events less well if they spend them snapping multiple pictures. It prevents them from engaging in the moment.
I would add that it also prevents them from enjoying the moment. In an effort to save them for that elusive and ill-defined phenomenon known as “posterity,” we miss the opportunity for pleasure in the here and now. We are too busy posing and snapping to just savor today.
This is an attitude I have always sympathized with and have adopted personally – to the chagrin of my children and the videoing mothers around me. They anticipate frustration at some future date when, in a fit of nostalgia and in that all too brief moment when all is calm, they will want to watch their third grade Torah play or their fifth grade dance recital.
 I won’t have it (even if I had recorded it, it would be on a video cassette that no one has the ability to watch anymore!).

But they can take pleasure in knowing that I was there – alert and focused only on them – and not on any camera or phone equipment. I wasn’t concerned about the battery dying or fiddling with the on and off switches.
It’s very difficult to be “in the moment.” We’re either obsessing over the past or agonizing about the future. So if I can capture some brief family time – a play, a speech, a concert, a picnic, an afternoon at the beach – where I am present and accounted for, I don’t want to distract myself by trying to capture it on film. I want to just stop - and quietly enjoy. I want to store it up internally, as a memory that I can take with me wherever I go. Maybe I’ll bring my friend’s daughter with me…


The Kindness of Strangers
by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
The pillar of Jewish life is kindness.
Chayei Sarah(Genesis 23:1-25:18)
The Kindness of Strangers
In 1966 an eleven-year-old black boy moved with his parents and family to a white neighbourhood in Washington.(1) Sitting with his two brothers and two sisters on the front step of the house, he waited to see how they would be greeted. They were not. Passers-by turned to look at them but no one gave them a smile or even a glance of recognition. All the fearful stories he had heard about how whites treated blacks seemed to be coming true. Years later, writing about those first days in their new home, he says, "I knew we were not welcome here. I knew we would not be liked here. I knew we would have no friends here. I knew we should not have moved here ..."
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http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/The-Kindness-of-Strangers.html



Way #30: Be Loved By Others
by Rabbi Noah Weinberg
The human desire to be loved is deep and natural. If you give warmth, you'll attract warmth.

Sometimes we have the attitude of, "I don't need anybody else. I can do it alone!"
Ahuv literally means "being beloved." Because whether with family relationships, business partners or friends, the human need to be loved is deep and natural. We need it like oxygen.
Of course, that love has to be earned. King Solomon said: "As water reflects a face, so does a person's heart." In other words, if you project coldness, you will attract coldness; if you give out warmth, you will attract warmth.
When people love you, they want to help you become wise and wealthy. They'll invite you to social functions, and patronize your business. They'll give you good advice – and eagerly accept yours. You will succeed in all areas of life.
What Do You Love About Others?
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http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/48952196.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 14 Nov 2014, 10:07 am

Israel Mourns
by Eli Levine
With tensions rising, the country mourns the tragic murder of two young people in two separate incidents.
Israel is mourning this week for two of its perfectly innocent young people in their 20’s, both of whom were stabbed by terrorists in two separate incidents on Monday.
Dahlia Lemkus, a 26 year old child therapist, was killed while waiting for a bus in Gush Etzion. Another terrorist attack took place that day at a Tel Aviv train station, killing Almog Shiloni, age 20. As they were laid to rest on Tuesday, the pain in Israel was palpable. The murders come on the heels of various similar attacks in the Jerusalem area, in which “loner” terrorists attacked pedestrians with cars, knives, and hand pistols.
Whereas most violence over the last ten years had been limited to the areas surrounding Gaza and the North during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, these attacks are a flashback to the days of the intifada, the Arab uprising, when Israelis lived in constant fear of terrorist attacks on buses, malls and every day destinations. Government officials have said that the recent upsurge in attacks do not indicate a popular uprising. But there is no question that Israelis living in Jerusalem are living with a greater unease.
Dahlia LemkusThe Israeli public has gotten to know the two victims and their families very quickly. Dahlia was known for baking delicious cakes for parties and for helping brides with their make up on their wedding days. Dahlia’s father drives Tekoa’s ambulance as a volunteer, and Dahlia would babysit any children on the occasion that their parents had to rush to the hospital.
“Dahlia did a lot of charity work. A lot. She made beautiful art with oil painting and acrylic,” Liora Bedein, a close friend of Dahlia’s, told Aish.com. “She was a beautiful person. Everyone who knew her knows she just loved to give and do good. She was very special.”
The mother of one of Dahlia’s patients echoed that sentiment. “She was a truly amazing young woman. She made so much progress with the kids,” Avital Trebelsky told Aish.com. “She loved the children as if they were her own.” Dahlia made the 2-hour trip from Tekoa to Sderot on a weekly basis to work with Avital’s 4-year-old daughter with special needs.
Almog ShiloniAlmog Shiloni was a twin. He had been with his girlfriend for two and a half years, and according to his brother, planned to marry her. He was talking to her on the phone when he was stabbed by an Arab terrorist.
Israel’s tight-knit nature breeds a certain identification with the victims. Many Israelis remember standing at that train stop in their army uniform, just like Almog. Those shared experiences make Almog and Dahlia more than a statistic. The Jewish nation is mourning alongside the families. For every murder there is a ripple effect, hurting all of those associated with the victim and the attack.
Statistics, as are often presented in the international media, do not capture that. Statistics cannot put a reader in the shoes of the man who gave the hitchhiking Dahlia the last ride of her life. He dropped her off at the bus stop only a few minutes before the attack. One can only wonder how he feels.
Statistics do not capture the effect on the families of the injured man who attempted to rescue Dahlia. They do not capture the story of the guard who shot Dahlia’s attacker just a minute too late.
The media does not capture the feeling of the community of Tekoa, which is going through this for a second time. Twelve years ago, 14-year-old Koby Mandell was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. He was strikingly similar to Dahlia. They were the same age. Both were children of English speaking immigrants. Both were from Tekoa. Their families know each other. One can only imagine the horror of a community living through that again.
The mood in Gush Etzion, where Tekoa is located, was captured at a Monday night vigil. One resident told Aish.com, “There is crying. There are no chants of ‘death to the terrorist’ or anything like that. It’s sadness.”
Indeed, the recent attacks, all committed with cars and knives, have revealed a certain chink in the armor of Israeli security. It seems that if anyone can be attacked with everyday items, the crisis will be difficult to solve.
It is worth noting, however, that there was heroism displayed on Monday as well. Both attacks were stopped by bystanders, albeit too late. The Tel Aviv attacker was punched in the face by a 50 year old man, while the Gush Etzion attacker was wrestled by one man, and then shot and wounded by a volunteer security guard. While nobody is in the mood to celebrate the heroes who prevented further damage, they are indicative of the strength of a society that looks out for its own.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 11 Nov 2014, 9:47 pm

Campus Mezuzah Attacks
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
At one California college, anti-Semitism repeatedly rears its ugly head.
College is a time of making new friends, expanding horizons, and learning how to get along with others.
For Bryan Turkel, a senior at Claremont McKenna College near Los Angeles, this week was a grim lesson in how U.S. college campuses are falling short of these ideals – especially when it comes to anti-Semitism.
In three separate events this past month, vandals:
tore the Mezuzah off Turkel's dormitory door
pried open a window and stole the Israeli flag from his wall
stole a replacement Mezuzah from his door
Following the first incident, the local Chabad replaced the one mezuzah with 30 mezuzahs – for the dorm rooms of every member of Turkel's AEPi chapter (the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi with 10,000 member students worldwide).
"The proper response to such a situation," says Rabbi Ben Packer of Jerusalem, "is to increase that same Jewish identification that the anti-Semites are trying to blot out."
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Campus-Mezuzah-Attacks.html


Amnesty International's Jewish Problem
by Yvette Alt Miller
The once laudable organization is obsessed with demonizing the Jewish state.
On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Amnesty International released its latest attack on Israel: a highly biased report that accuses the Jewish state of war crimes in its fighting in Gaza over the previous summer. Avoiding the use of the word “terror” in relation to Hamas, and failing to mention the terrorist tunnels Hamas built in order to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks, Amnesty’s report was followed up later in the day with a Tweet from a senior Amnesty official, equating the Jewish state with the terror group ISIS, which has beheaded countless Muslims and Western journalists across Syria and Iraq.
A senior Amnesty official equated the Jewish state with the terror group ISIS.
The report is typical of Amnesty’s highly critical style towards Israel. As Israel responds that Amnesty “serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups” it’s worth asking how such a worthy organization as Amnesty International could have fallen so far, and wound up obsessed with demonizing the Jewish state.
I remember as a child our class writing letters to the USSR, protesting the jailing of Soviet Jews who wanted to immigrate to Israel. We relied on information and names of Jewish prisoners of conscious often provided by Amnesty International. The very term prisoner of conscious was Amnesty’s coinage, and it conveyed the profound injustice facing the refuseniks: Soviet Jews whose petitions to move to Israel had been denied. In those dark days of Soviet repression, it was Amnesty International who detailed the horrendous conditions the prisoners were kept in, and who made sure the world knew their names. Many refuseniks, such as Ida Nudel and Natan Sharansky, today head of Israel’s Jewish Agency, were first identified by Amnesty researchers.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Amnesty-Internationals-Jewish-Problem.html




How to Pay a Proper Shiva Call
by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
Proper etiquette and practical advice.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to keep silent and a time to speak.”
The wisdom in this song is not for the Byrds, it comes from the wisest of all men, King Solomon. While the picture of many shiva homes today filled with people, food, and conversation is anything but silent, the Midrash interprets “the time for silence” as proscribing our behavior when comforting the bereaved. When Job, the very symbol of human suffering, experienced devastating loss, three of his friends came to comfort and console him: “They sat with him on the ground for a period of seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great” (Job, 2:13).
Consolation can be provided with words, but it is communicated even more powerfully through silent companionship, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may feel for the visitor. The acknowledgement of pain and willingness to share it by simply being present is the essence of a shiva call, nichum aveilim. The Talmud in fact states in the name of Rav Pappa, “The reward that comes from visiting the house of a mourner is for one’s silence while there” (Berachos 6b).
Consolation is powerfully communicated through silent companionship, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel for the visitor.
In an article in Jewish Action in the Fall of 2000, Rabbi Edward Davis shares the story of the time he went to get a haircut while visiting London. As he sat down in the chair the barber asked, “Talk or no talk?” The barber was sensitive to Rabbi Davis’s preference and comfort and didn’t impose a conversation on someone who preferred to sit in silent contemplation.
The Code of Jewish Law (y.d. 376:1) mandates that the visitors are not allowed to speak until the mourner speaks first. Essentially, the proper etiquette in a shiva home is to sit with the mourner and through our patient silence offer him or her – talk or no talk?
It is natural to struggle with silence. Sitting silently is intimidating, awkward and uncomfortable. Well-intentioned people therefore sometimes fill the silence by saying things that are in fact insensitive, thoughtless or even hurtful. When people do things like tell the family members about treatments or doctors that may have healed their loved one, or say to someone who has lost a child that at least they have other healthy children, they mean well, but their words are unkind. A woman who lost her father reported a visitor asking her why her mother doesn’t look as perky as usual. An older person who lost his wife shared that someone told him “Speak to me after shiva, I have a great shidduch idea for you.”
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http://www.aish.com/jl/l/dam/How-to-Pay-a-Proper-Shiva-Call.html




Taking the Plunge
by Libby Lazewnik
No one is ever completely ready for life's challenges. So what are you waiting for?
I nearly cried at a bar mitzvah I attended recently.
Heshy, the bar mitzvah boy, was neither friend nor relative – he was a student of my husband's and someone I knew only vaguely. And yet, as he stood at the podium looking so small in his painfully new suit – so vulnerable for a boy about to step into man's estate – my eyes filled.
They filled again as Heshy's grandfather stood up to speak about him. At the love and pride in the old man's voice, my heart came near to breaking. That grandfather knew – as I knew – that the bar mitzvah boy could not be ready for what lay ahead. How could any 13-year-old shoulders, only a short time ago lying peaceful and safe in a cradle under a lovingly crocheted blanket, be fully prepared to bear the responsibility of the Torah and its myriad expectations?
At Water's Edge
Fast-forward a few years, and he'll be standing beneath the chuppah, as women sniffle softly in the audience. They'll sniffle because they know what lies ahead – the indescribable joy of marriage and parenthood, along with the responsibility and apprehension. They'll know that – whatever his age – he is too young to contend with the challenges he will inevitably be called upon to face.
There is sweet, red wine to hearten the new couple at the start of their journey – and to highlight their pleasure at taking on an awesome new responsibility together. If Heshy's heart beats a little faster than usual, it is with excitement and joy as he contemplates a brand-new future, with a brand-new partner to make it shine. The ceremony winds its way to its conclusion, amid shattered glass and cries of "Mazel tov!" And all along, we know – as I knew at Heshy's bar mitzvah – that he is not fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.
The people were afraid. But Nachshon – as scared and unready as the rest of them – took the plunge.
There was someone else who was unprepared. 
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http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Taking_the_Plunge.html




Brittany Maynard's Tragic Death
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
A Jewish perspective on assisted suicide.
Brittany Maynard got her last wish. The beautiful 29-year-old who recently appeared on the cover of People magazine and has been featured in hundreds of news articles took her own life last week in order to avoid the slow deterioration and pain of the debilitating illness with which she had been diagnosed.
As a post on her website said, "Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to die with dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illness. She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland." In a statement, Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy group that had been working closely with Maynard, said she "died as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones."
Maynard was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last January, barely a year after she and her husband were married. After several surgeries, doctors said in April that her brain tumor had returned and gave her about six months to live. She moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of that state's law which allows assisted suicide – one of five states in which the practice is legal.
Maynard is survived by her husband and his family, her mother and stepfather. And in the aftermath of her death the media have reported the remarkable support her life-ending decision seems to have garnered from the public.
It is hard not to feel compassion for this young woman who movingly explained her resolution on CNN.com: “I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms. Having this choice at the end of my life has become incredibly important. It has given me a sense of peace during a tumultuous time that otherwise would be dominated by fear, uncertainty and pain.”
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Brittany-Maynards-Tragic-Death.html




Through the Roof
by Mordechai Schmutter
Today's topic: how to save on home-heating costs.
Today’s topic, now that winter is upon us, is how to save on home-heating costs.
It’s not easy to save money, because no one else is really helpful about it. You sit down and try to make a budget, which you hate to do because it means cutting things you want in favor of things you need. You figure out how many extra jobs you have to take on and how many expenses you have to cut (“Wait. I can’t get a job and stop getting haircuts.”), and somehow you manage to bring ends into the same basic neighborhood, and as soon as you do that, half your expenses go up for no reason at all.
My heating costs are through the roof. And I mean that literally.
Just the other week, for example, your health insurance went up. Great. Does this mean you have better coverage? No. Does this mean they hired more people to make sure the statements you get will at least be accurate? No. You have the same coverage, only now it costs more.
So now you have to figure out a budget – again – because your expenses went up and your income did not, even though you just figured out not ten minutes ago that there’s nothing else you can cut. Plus your house is only getting older and springing more leaks, and so are you, and as soon as you make another budget – Hey, the price of gas went up! Oh, is it better gas? No!
It’s like these places have no respect for budgeting.
And this year – Surprise! Heating costs are through the roof! And I mean it literally. Heat rises, and I’m pretty sure I have holes in my roof. These aren’t major holes – it’s not like I can lie in my attic and count the stars. They’re basically damp spots that show up on the underside of the roof after major rainstorms. But I know enough about homeownership to realize that this is not a good sign, probably.
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http://www.aish.com/j/fs/Through-the-Roof.html



Confessions of a Clutterphile
by Marnie Winston-Macauley
I thought of going on one of those "Hoarding" reality shows, except they'd make me throw out my stuff. And my stuff is important.
I admit it. My “design” preference is “clutter.” I have the only apartment with “Detour” signs to insure that anyone entering, should he/she actually move, won’t trip and break something (a bone, or my “stuff”). I thought of going on one of those “Hoarding” reality shows, except they’d make me throw out my stuff. And my “stuff,” unlike “their” stuff is important.
I have the only apartment with “Detour” signs.
We’re not talking here about 4,000 broken light bulbs, 30 bat wings, or turning aluminum foil into the Unisphere. No. My stuff is valuable. They’re collections.
When people stared at my “stuff” incredulously, I’d say: “We’re writers,” figuring that would give me carte blanche on clutter. I have jotted down critical ideas on gum wrappers, matchbook covers and return envelopes (from the IRS and mortgage company). Then there are five hard copies of everything I wrote, published, might publish, the notes, research. Ten years of Yellow Pages, newspapers, and catalogs from defunct publishers have held a place of honor at the head of the table.
I’ve often wondered where this came from. After all, mom was the queen of the Balabustas, or as liked to call her, The “Lysol Lady.” She wasn’t just tidy. The defense department could enlist her to maintain a “clean room” that would disarm nuclear reactors and render the free world safe from explosion-by-clutter. No speck of shmutz had the temerity, let alone the death wish, to enter her orbit.
Maybe this is why I rebelled against whatever balabusta gene made it to Ellis Island.
Some time ago, instead of counting my day’s calorie intake to put me to sleep, I tried counting how rich I’d be today had we not been “clutter-free.”
How Rich I’d Be If Mama Wasn’t a Balabusta …
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http://www.aish.com/j/fs/Confessions-of-a-Clutterphile.html
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Post  Admin on Mon 10 Nov 2014, 11:02 am

Brittany Maynard’s Tragic Death
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
A Jewish perspective on assisted suicide.
Brittany Maynard got her last wish. The beautiful 29-year-old who recently appeared on the cover of People magazine and has been featured in hundreds of news articles took her own life last week in order to avoid the slow deterioration and pain of the debilitating illness with which she had been diagnosed.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Brittany-Maynards-Tragic-Death.html

    
Rider on the Storm
by Rabbi Chaim Amster
The storm came and suddenly I was being hit with six-foot waves, zero visibility and a sinking kayak.
On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, I decided to join eight other kayakers to practice safety skills and enjoy the serene waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Essex, MD. I was originally planning on staying home to relax because my stress level from work and life were through the roof and I did not have the energy or motivation to go anywhere. Nonetheless, I decided at the last minute to join them, knowing that the waters of the Chesapeake Bay would probably rejuvenate me.
Understanding that a possible storm could be developing, we stayed pretty close to the location we started from, so we could get back quickly if we saw the storm coming. On the Chesapeake Bay, you can always see a storm coming because the visibility on the open water is typically great.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Rider-on-the-Storm.html


IKEA & Peace in the Middle East 
Why does my acquisition keep collapsing, and where’s the warranty?
by Rabbi Berel Wein         
The Swedish furniture maker IKEA made the headlines last week, even though it was an innocent bystander to the war of words between the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his female Swedish counterpart. Reacting to Sweden's recognition of a Palestinian state on the West Bank, Lieberman caustically said that “the Middle East and the Palestinian – Israeli dispute is slightly more complicated than is assembling an IKEA furniture product.”
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/IKEA--Peace-in-the-Middle-East.html


My Grandfather and Kristallnacht
by Gav Cohn
My grandfather woke up that morning in Berlin to see the synagogue engulfed in flames.
Kristallnacht marks the beginning of the end, leading to the destruction of European Jewry. It was a nation-wide pogrom of looting and beatings in which synagogues were destroyed and cemeteries desecrated. It was an event that shattered the hopes of a future for Jews in Germany and Austria, those who could then fled. It was a lot more than crystal that was shattered on that night.
I would like to share my family’s story with you.
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http://www.aish.com/ho/p/My-Grandfather-and-Kristallnacht.html

Living with Courage
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
Alan Lock was going blind. Here's how he fought to get through the darkness.
Alan Lock was slowly going blind. He began his career in the Royal Air Force as a navigation officer and he noticed that towards the ends of his shifts his navigation charts were beginning to look blurry. At first he thought it was just because he was tired, but even after he had slept his eyes continued to ache and shadows began to cloud his vision.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/Living-with-Courage.html

My Son's Bar Mitzvah: My 5 Big Mistakes
by Yvette Alt Miller
Don't sweat the details and make sure you focus on the meaning of the day.
My son’s bar mitzvah was beautiful and we all were so proud, but I realized I made some mistakes. Here are my five biggest blunders and what I’d do differently today.
1. Being detail-obsessed.
For me, it was the centerpieces on the tables during Shabbat lunch. There were plenty of details to organize, but for some reason I got hung up on the flowers. With gorgeous centerpieces, I was sure, the room where we were having Kiddush would look great – without them, I pictured it looking terrible.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/My-Sons-Bar-Mitzvah-My-5-Big-Mistakes.html

    
Suffering and Consolation: A Father's Perspective
by Rabbi Asher Resnick
My daughter's battle with leukemia taught me how to find consolation even in the midst of terrible pain.
In the midst of teaching a series of classes in San Francisco on the topic of suffering, my wife and I received the diagnosis that our daughter Rivka had leukemia – a cancer of the blood system. This began a very long process of dealing with our daughter's illness, beginning when she was two years old and continuing until she passed away at age 14.
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http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Suffering-and-Consolation-A-Fathers-Perspective.html
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Quarantining Ebola
A contemporary lesson from the Torah’s application of quarantine.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech         
A sad but fascinating aspect of the Ebola epidemic is a procedure which has an ancient biblical source, albeit for a decidedly different purpose.

In order to protect their population, the Ebola epidemic is forcing concerned countries to quarantine suspected carriers of this fatal disease. To the question of whether the government can confine people to what is basically house arrest without due process, the law agrees that both states and the federal government have the legal authority to isolate people in their homes or at other locations if they pose a substantial danger to public health.
Historians tell us that the practice of quarantine, as we know it, began during the 14th century in an effort to protect European coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This procedure, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean 40 days.
But its source is much older. In fact it comes from the book of Leviticus. Long before the world knew anything of germs nor understood the concept of sickness being transmitted from person to person, the Torah established rules for the separation of the healthy from the infected. Those afflicted with what the biblical text called metzora were to be sent outside of the camp, isolated from human contact, until diagnosed well enough to return.
Of course the quarantine of the metzora had nothing to do with preventing the spread of physical contamination. Jewish commentators are agreed that the word metzora, almost always incorrectly translated as “leprous,” was used to designate an entirely different disease – not a physical failing but an ethical corrosion, a disease not of the body but one of the spirit.
A metzora was literally a motzi ra – someone who put forth evil: a slanderer, a gossiper, a spreader of malicious rumors and accusations. His sin was social; that is why his punishment was to be removed from society. His speech caused harm to innocents; that is why he needed to be isolated. His words caused lasting wounds; that is why the Kohen (priest), in his role as spiritual doctor, removed him from the opportunity to cause further harm to others by sending him outside of the camp and separating him from all those he could ethically contaminate.
It was an amazing concept that took the idea of infection far beyond the province of modern medicine. In the very first instance of the Torah giving warning of disease transmission, it chose to stress the pollution of the soul above the plagues of the body. Yet in spite of its different focus it opened the gate to the consideration of isolation as a means of protecting the pure from the impure, the healthy from the ailing, and the potential victims from the “carriers” of the tainted.
Some academics have even suggested that the reason for the choice of 40 days for quarantining was adopted to reflect the duration of major biblical events such as the great flood as well as Moses’ stay on Mt. Sinai. (Foundations of public health: history and development. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; 2001).
By acknowledging the biblical source of quarantine in its original context, we can perhaps draw an important lesson from our present fixation with the threat of Ebola. Ebola is indeed deadly. It requires the utmost effort on our part to eliminate it. It justifies quarantine and isolation to prevent its spread. Yet long before the Torah dealt with the fears for our physical health it demanded we be concerned with isolating and quarantining the deadly contagion caused by the cruelty of words coming from our mouths and evil talk given voice by our lips.
Indeed how much more relevant has this become in our day of the internet, the tweet and the twitter, Facebook and the smart phones that have turned gossip and slander into the most voraciously consumed texts of our time.
For our age there is no greater wisdom than the Talmudic proverb that “Slander slays three persons: the speaker, the spoken to, and the one spoken of.”
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