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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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The View From The Beis Medrash

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A More Kosher Library

Councilman David G. Greenfield announced that Brooklyn Public Library officials have agreed to install new Internet filters on all public computers at library branches across the borough.

“This is a great step towards protecting our children and maintaining the safe and welcoming environment that makes our libraries so great,” Greenfield said. “This is an issue that I was personally concerned about as a parent of young children and have heard about from many of my constituents. The new policy balances the need to prevent minors from being subjected to graphic material without censoring library-goers who are using the public computers in an appropriate manner. My thanks to President Linda Johnson and the entire Brooklyn Public Library leadership for addressing this serious issue in a way that considers the needs of everyone and makes our great neighborhood library branches safer for everyone who visits them.”

Preventing an Autopsy in Puerto Rico

Moshe Reed was an American businessman who traveled frequently on business to Puerto Rico. On his last trip earlier this month, while in his hotel room, Reed felt ill and called 911. Despite their efforts, paramedics were unable to save him. But the local law, requiring that an autopsy be performed on a death that occurs outside of a hospital, presented a problem. Puerto Rican officials traced a family connection to Manchester, England. The family in turn contacted the Misaskim office in Manchester, which immediately contacted Misaskim headquarters in New York. This set in motion a series of steps that prevented the autopsy and other measures that are contrary to halacha.

Misaskim officials in Manchester and New York contacted Rabbis Mendel Zarchi and Levi Stein, the Chabad shluchim in Puerto Rico, who were initially unsuccessful in stopping the autopsy. The next step was to get the family in Manchester to designate the rabbis as having power of attorney. The shluchim assisted in identifying the body, but the authorities still wanted to do a “limited autopsy.”

Misaskim officials reached out to well-known community activist Abraham Eisner, who in turn contacted Commissioner Jerome Hauer, the head of Homeland Security in New York State. Hauer reached out to his counterparts as well as the chief of police in Puerto Rico who, after verifying Reed’s medical history and the fact that he died in the hands of paramedics, determined that an autopsy was not necessary in this case.

When the shluchim were notified that the body was ready to be picked up for shipment and burial in England, they encountered a new obstacle. Protocols called for the body to be embalmed. Misaskim in New York then learned that no embalming would be necessary if the body was transferred back to the U.S. mainland. Reed’s remains were indeed shipped to New York and then prepared for shipment to Enland for burial, where again embalming was not necessary. After two weeks of the ongoing drama, the body was brought to Kever Yisroel in Manchester.

A Diamond Kiddush Hashem

A charedi man from Bnei Brak who is employed in the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan noticed a small bag near the diamond exchange as he was leaving one day. The bag contained diamonds worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He took it back to the diamond exchange and handed it over to the appropriate officials along with a detailed description of where he found it.

The following day, a son of one of the merchants turned to officials to explain that sadly, he lost a bag containing diamonds, citing the exact location and type of bag. The diamonds were returned to the rightful owner thanks to the honesty of the Bnei Brak resident, who received a great deal of praise from exchange employees after they learned of the incident.

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