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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘information’

Three Things to Do Before Meeting Your Financial Planner

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Did you know that the most important part of a financial planning meeting occurs even before you set foot inside your financial adviser’s office?

Before you meet for the first time, you need to do your homework. Even the most professional adviser can’t help you if you haven’t done these three things:

1. Make a list of your current income and expenses, as well as future anticipated income and expenses. Then, create a careful inventory of your net assets. Include any property you own, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, savings and pension plans. To make this easier, use these trackers to organize your information.

2. Outline your goals.  Take a realistic look at what you want to accomplish beyond paying your monthly bills.  Do you have large college tuition expenses or wedding bills looming in the future?

When do you wish to retire? All of the various factors that may affect your future goals and desires should be written down before you meet with your financial planner so they can be included in the plan.

3. Buy a box of tissues either for the disappointing news that your aspirations are beyond your means or for the tears of joy when you find that your dreams are within your reach. While meeting with a financial planner can help create order an increased chances of reaching your goals, it shouldn’t bring any surprises.

The more complete your list of net assets, the more thoughtful your goals, and the more realistic your expectations are, the greater the chances of your reaching them… and the better you’ll sleep.

If you’re like me, even the most comfortable eye shades won’t help you fall asleep unless your finances are in order. A financial planner can’t make miracles or predict the future. However, if the clients supply accurate information and realistic goals, together they can create a financial plan to maximize chances of reaching your life goals.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

On The Interface Of Science And Torah Ethics Human Genomics: Scientific Achievement and Ethical Dilemmas

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

“G-d formed man from the earth and breathed into him a living soul.”

The greatest achievement of the biological sciences since that moment in creation has been the Human Genome Project, a massive effort by thousand of biologists, chemists and physicists who isolated and identified the 24,000 genes that Hashem placed in Adam and Eve, and through them in each of their descendents. These genes direct the formation of all our physical and mental attributes. Despite having the same genes, however, we are not all identical. When compared to the genetic make-up of the “reference human,” whose gene sequences were published at the completion of the Human Genome Project, every individual’s genome has about four million variations, some of which predispose to disease or determine response to a specific treatment. “Personal Genomics” is the goal that medical geneticists hope to achieve under which specific treatment for a disease would be determined by studying the whole genome sequence [WGS] of a patient.

The WGS is a non-invasive test requiring only some blood or saliva. Such testing now exists for analyzing fetal DNA from pregnant women. Unlike amniocentesis, which needs fluid removed from the sack (amnion) that surrounds and protects the developing fetus and may cause a spontaneous abortion, these new tests need only a few drops of blood from the mother to isolate fetal DNA, and a swab of the father’s saliva. Three commercial labs launched versions of this test in the past twelve months and last June, researchers at the University of Washington used this non-invasive test to “read” the entire genome of an 18 week fetus.

This magnificent advance in the study of the human genome poses an ethical challenge to all who are guided by Torah law. Even our current primitive ability to study the genetics of a fetus, to determine if it carries the genetic Down’s Syndrome, has resulted in the abortion of 90% of those so identified. Testing 24,000 genes for “normalcy” will surely result in a massive increase in abortions. Current obstetrical practice routinely includes an ultrasound scan of the developing fetus. Under instruction from their liability insurance company to avoid suits for “unlawful birth” doctors must report to parents’ every minor deviation from the idealized norm. If such deviations are reported, worry and fear supplants the joy of pregnancy until, as almost always, a normal, healthy child is born.

What will be the decision of young parents who planned on a family of three children- two of whom are home in bed and one in utero? Why risk the tragedy of a genetically defective child being born? Cancel this one and try again in a few months!

Torah Law is unambiguous! Aborting even the earliest pregnancy violates biblical law. Some who follow the dictates of halacha are misled by the reference in the Talmud to an embryo before 40 days of gestation as “maya b’alma,” which they translate incorrectly as “merely water.” The reference is to the unformed stage of development (like water without form) and is not intended to impugn the embryo’s claim to life. When the health of the mother is endangered, the halacha differentiates between a pre- or post-40 day gestation. The halacha, however, defends the implanted embryo’s claim to life even if it requires transgressing Torah Law, come the Sabbath, to obtain medical care that would prevent the termination of the early pregnancy.

There is another ethical dilemma to evaluate. Is knowledge an absolute good? Must everyone be aware of every potential mishap that may occur because of some genetic flaw harbored in his genome?

Indeed, most would agree that it is better not to know of the presence of a catastrophic gene such as the gene for Huntington’s Disease which destroys the brain by age 50 and for which there is no cure. But there are many who prefer to have a life of simple faith in Hashem knowing that His kindness will protect from all evil. They do not want to know—hence the dilemma. When one member of a family undertakes a WGS study, it reveals information about every other close relative. To tell them the test results imposes the burden of knowledge that they prefer not to bear. To withhold genetic information such as the presence of cancer genes which predispose to the disease prevents them from taking necessary precautions such as frequent medical examination or early pharmacological or radiological intervention that be life saving.

Rabbi Moshe Tendler

Kosher or Not, the Internet Cannot be Stopped

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

In yet another tour-de-force, Mrs. Judy Brown does an excellent job in evaluating the impact of the internet on Orthodox Jewry. I think she has put her finger on exactly what the greatest danger is. It isn’t porn. It is knowledge. Knowledge not generated by the Torah but knowledge generated by the entire world. She calls them gentiles. And characterizes the internet as “Gentiles at the Gates.” But there are plenty of Jews who contribute non Torah – even anti Torah  knowledge to the world wide web.

Mrs. Brown tells the story of one Lakewood family where a daughter was given permission to use the internet for a homework assignment  Long story short, the information she inadvertently encountered eventually led her go “Off The Derech.”

That devastated the family. They threw out their computer after the fact no doubt regretting ever having it. They also cut off all ties to that daughter – who has since left home – fearing the negative influences she would have on her siblings. Obviously the wrong move, but not the subject of this post.

In essence Mrs. Brown seems to be capitulating to Charedi rabbinic leaders desire to rid the community of all internet access. Here is how she puts it:

Technology can trample on this way of life, claim some souls here and there, but the well-shackled mind is ultimately stronger than any knowledge thrown at it. Sacred ignorance has survived the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, democracy, world-changing scientific discoveries and women’s liberation. It has endured two millennia of knowledge and change. It will survive this, too.

The idea of a well-shackled mind being in a superior position to battle going OTD is certainly understandable. But in practice, the mind can no longer stay well-shackled. The internet is not only here to stay. Its ubiquity is increasing by leaps and bounds via the smart phone. No ban in the world has the power to stop it. It is like spitting in the wind.

Nor do I concede that ignorance is in any way sacred.

Surely being ignorant of all the questions and challenges to our faith would serve to keep us devout. But ignorance is being increasingly replaced by the ability to gain instant answers to difficult questions. No longer will a child be scolded for asking a tough question and retreat in shame for even thinking to ask it. If it is unanswered – or worse derided by a parent, Rebbe, or teacher, the internet is right there for the asking with answers galore. Answers that are anything but devout.

So even if ignorance is bliss (or sacred) it is disappearing from the masses like no other time in history. Bright and curious people are going to have these questions and seek answers to them somewhere.

This is nothing like withstanding the winds of enlightenment a couple of centuries ago. Those winds were responsible for many a devout Jew to going off the Derech. The stories of some of the great young minds of the great Yeshivos in Europe becoming heretics are legendary.

But that took diligence. A student had to go out of his way, to a library or to attend a University and buy into the convincing arguments of heretical thought being taught in books and universities there. Being unprepared hashkafically for the challenges encountered, they bought into the arguments and became heretics.

But today, all that is brought into the home in an instant. There is no point in trying to legislate it out of the home. Saying the internet is Assur is more futile than saying college is Assur. All the haranguing in the world will not impact all but the few.

All the bible thumping… all the scare tactics about saving the soul will just not work on vast numbers of Jews. That should be obvious by the fact that internet Asifa  scare tactics haven’t really changed things all that much.

Even if we accept the numbers quoted by Mrs. Brown one in four families inBoroPark- one of the largest enclaves of Charedi Jews in the world – has internet access. Even with filters, it’s virtually impossible to filter out all the information that would lead a child – or even an adult in many cases – into going OTD! Filtering out smut is one thing. Filtering out information that is not strictly Torah based is another. I don’t think it is even possible.

Harry Maryles

Calendar Of Events

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

WHAT: PJ Library Miami, along with Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and the Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC will host a special morning with Ronni Litz Julien. Julien is a nutritionist and author who will present “Think Outside the Lunchbox,” new ideas for feeding healthy food to your kids. A light kosher breakfast will be served.

WHERE: Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

WHEN: Tuesday, October 30 at 9:30 a.m.

CONTACT: For more information or to RSVP e-mail: pjlibrary@jewishmiami.org

* * * * *

WHAT: Author, Doreen Rappaport presents her latest book, Beyond Courage, the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. This is the tale of the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across 11 Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. The presentation is open to the community

WHERE: Dave and Mary Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112 Avenue

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 1:15 p.m.-3 p.m.

COST: No Charge

CONTACT: Marcy Levitt, e-mail mleavitt@alperjcc.org or call 305-9000 ext 268

* * * * *

WHAT: Kesher’s Annual Holiday Shopping Boutique – amazing merchandise all under one roof

WHERE: MAR JCC Gymnasium, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach

WHEN: Thursday, November 1, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

CONTACT: Ilene Weinkle (e-mail IWeinkle@Kesherld.com or call 305-792-7060)

* * * * *

WHAT: The Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the New World Symphony will Present “Inside the Music: Songs of the Holocaust,” a musical celebration of the incredible spirit that kept many alive during the time of the Shoah and a tribute to those who perished.

WHERE: The New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.

CONTACT & COST: Tickets are free of charge and must be reserved in advance. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-673-3331

Shelley Benveniste

Charisma and how to Reach Out and Touch Others

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai, who is currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, presents a piece from Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast discussing charisma and how one can build their charisma and how the information presented here can be used to reach out and touch others.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Crystal Clear As The Waters
Speak In The Manner Of One’s Teacher
(Shabbos 15a)

A mikveh must have, minimally, forty se’ah of water that has gathered in it by natural means. This precludes the use of mayim she’uvin – water that was drawn in a vessel to fill the mikveh. If a significant amount of mayim she’uvin fell into a mikveh before it contained the minimum forty se’ah of naturally-gathered water, all the water in the mikveh is disqualified. The question is: What constitutes a significant amount?

A Dispute Even In Expression

The Gemara cites a mishnah in Eduyos (1:3). Hillel says a hin of drawn water (three kabim) renders the mikveh unfit. Shammai maintains the measure is nine kabim. The Gemara notes Hillel’s unusual usage of the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure (which, the Ravad explains, is the term usually used in mishnayos) and explains that a person is required to speak in the manner of his teachers. Since Hillel was a student of Shemayah and Avtalyon who used the hin measure as opposed to the kab measure, he too used that measure.

Mispronouncing Hebrew

The Rambam (Pirush Hamishnayos, Eduyos, at the beginning, cited by Rabbenu Ovadiyah Mi’Bartenura) offers a unique explanation of the Gemara. He says that Shemayah and Avtalyon were converts who came from a nation where people were unable to properly pronounce the letter “heh.” They would pronounce it as an aleph. Thus, they would pronounce “hin” as “in.” In deference to his teachers, Hillel too would pronounce “hin” as “in.”

No Reason To Copy Mispronunciations

The Vilna Gaon (novella to Shabbos ad loc.) explains the mishnah in a similar fashion but rejects the notion that one is obligated to mimic one’s teacher’s mispronunciation of words. He explains that when the Gemara states that Hillel copied his teachers’ pronunciation, what it means is the following: Shemayah and Avtalyon used to preface the word “hin” with “maleh.” In other words, they used to say “maleh hin” even though saying “maleh” is redundant since, by definition, a hin is always maleh (just like a kab is always maleh which is why Shammai in the Gemara just says “kabim” and not “maleh kabim”).

Concern For A Halachic Misunderstanding

Why, indeed, did Shemayah and Avtalyon say “maleh hin”? Because they were concerned that people might misunderstand them. Since they couldn’t pronounce a “heh” properly, people might think they were saying “ein” – which means “no” – instead of “hin.” People would thus conclude that drawn water does not disqualify a mikveh. By adding the word “maleh,” Shemayah and Avtalyon made clear that they meant to say the word “hin,” not “ein.”

Even though, Hillel, whose pronunciation was fine, had no reason to add the word “maleh,” he did so nevertheless so as not to deviate from his teachers’ manner of speech.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

Man Who Found Majdi Halbi Wants His Reward

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ibrahim Kozli, the man that found the body of missing Druze soldier Majdi Halbi is demanding the NIS 10 million reward that the organization “Born to Be Free” (L’Chofesh Nolad) was offering for information leading to his (and other missing soldiers) being found.

“Born to Be Free” was established as an NGO in 2004 by former military personnel and public figures, with the goal of locating all of Israel’s missing soldiers.

One of their main tools was advertising in Arab countries and territories a NIS 10 million reward for information leading to the finding and return of the missing IDF soldiers.

In 2011, the Israeli government decided to stop funding the NGO, which they had been doing at the cost of NIS 11 million per year. It was decided that the NGO was not bringing in results – information leading to the missing soldiers.

In 2012, the NGO announced that it was shutting down for financial reasons.

This greatly upset the families of the missing soldiers at the time, and the government stated that they were still searching for the missing soldiers using other means.

Related story: Remains of Druze-Israeli Soldier Missing for Seven Years Identified

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/man-who-found-majdi-halbi-wants-his-reward/2012/10/15/

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