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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Adelson to Host Jeb Bush at Jewish Republican Event

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Sheldon Adelson will host a dinner featuring former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the eve of a conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Adelson, the casino magnate seen as a kingmaker in the Republican Party because of his willingness to spend tens of millions of dollars in an election, will host the dinner Thursday night in Las Vegas, where he is headquartered.

Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush and the son of President George H. W. Bush, is said to be considering a presidential run in 2016.

Other likely contenders appearing at the RJC Spring Leadership Meeting include governors Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio.

The RJC event in 2010 was among the first stops for Mitt Romney after he launched his successful bid for the GOP 2012 nomination.

An American Odyssey (Part 8)

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

While in Las Vegas, my wife, Barbara, fed several quarters into a machine that really cleaned us out. She then fed more quarters into another machine that dried all of our clothes.

It was 108 degrees on the streets of Las Vegas, so we spent much of our time either in our car or visiting different hotels, each of which featured an interesting show or tourist area. We took time out to visit Kim Sedway. Kim’s husband, Marvin, a”h,Barbara’s cousin, had been a very well-loved Nevada state senator, and we also visited various state buildings that had been named in his memory.

Dov in Red Rock Canyon

The AAA map program that I had used to plot our travel path listed many scenic byways, and I often chose to travel these roads rather than the super highways. We took a scenic road around Las Vegas to the Red Rock Canyon and viewed the stunning mountain area. On our way back to our motel, we stopped at the Smith Supermarket which featured a large kosher section where we purchased delicious fried chicken and other foods for the next few days.

Our next stop was the Hoover Dam, which was very impressive. It is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere and is more than 725 feet above the Colorado River. It has 17 generators that produce over four billion kilowatts of electricity a year. We drove across the Memorial Bridge and enjoyed the spectacular views that were only available from helicopters before October 2010.

After spending three days in the Las Vegas area and touring nearby sites, we left for California via Death Valley. When we stopped for gas at a Maverick gasoline station before we entered California, we were delighted to find OU-certified yogurt machines with many yummy flavors. We enjoyed the delicious snack and learned that many Maverick service stations have similar facilities. California did not have any Maverick gas stations but, a week later, when we left California again, we used the Gasbuddy App on my brother Avi’s cell phone to find Maverick stations whenever we could.

We entered California and visited Death Valley, the lowest (282 feet below sea level) and hottest (120 degrees in the summer) location in America. It is an area of sand dunes, multicolored rock formations and millions of acres of wilderness. With tourist sites named Furnace Creek, Hells Gate and Stovepipe Wells, you can imagine that we spent most of our time in the air-conditioned van, but it was an interesting experience. The usual time to visit the area is between November and April, but we arrived on July 1.

We had planned our visit to Los Angeles for the first weekend in July and it was therefore very difficult to find Shabbat hospitality. We were very fortunate that Miriam Fishman was able to find us accommodations in the “back house” of Moshe and Chanala Chopp for the three-day weekend and we appreciated the hospitality. The “back house” is a small two-floor guesthouse with a large room on each floor and a kitchenette.

On Friday morning, we toured Los Angeles and visited the Farmers Market, the Pico-Robertson Area, Hollywood and Vine, the Chinese Theatre and walked along the stars in the pavement. Part of our tour took us to visit two of my sister-in-law Martha’s nephews, Ian and Eric Hamlet, at their Volvo Repair Shop. The sad signs of the recession were visible when we passed many streets with closed shops and large for rent signs.

After attending the Young Israel synagogue on Friday night, we joined Miriam and Moshe Fishman for a delicious Shabbos dinner and enjoyed discussing Jewish Geography. After davening at the Shaarei Tefila Shul on Shabbat, we joined our hosts for lunch, Debbie and Yaakov Reichnitz, and enjoyed another delicious meal with interesting conversation.

Up next: Travelling north to Sacramento.

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

An American Odyssey (Part 7)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

We left Santa Fe on our way to visit the Painted Forest and the Petrified Forest in Arizona. Part of our day was spent traveling on the historic Route 66 and we stopped at the state visitor’s center as we entered Arizona. At each state visitor’s center, we stopped to gather information about interesting sites and to request coupon booklets with reduced entry coupons.

The Petrified Forest National Park features one of the largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood in the world. It includes the multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic structures, archaeological sites and displays of age-old fossils, making it a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating science.

The park, like many other attractions, had public tables and benches set up for visiting tourists. We stopped for lunch and finished the cold cuts and fried chicken from our ice chest. When we could not purchase fresh meals, Avi and I ate our La Briute self-heating travel meals or our microwaveable Meal Mart meals. Barbara and Martha preferred tuna, sardines and cottage cheese.

These rest areas often had free Internet service. We used my laptop not only to store tour information and contact our friends and family, but my wife, Barbara, also wrote a daily blog documenting our trip to keep our friends and Israeli family up-to-date with what we did and what we saw. In the mornings, to keep in touch, we usually Skyped our great grandchildren in Israel.

Barbara and Dov Gilor with Hedy and Don Jacobson in Flagstaff, Az

We continued on to the home of our hosts for the evening, Hedy and Don Jacobson, in Flagstaff, Arizona. We enjoy home hospitality because it provides an interesting glimpse into the local Jewish community and we often hear enchanting personal tales of how and why the local residents live where they do and how they keep kosher in a very non-Jewish environment. Cold and impersonal motels may be convenient, but they are not as interesting as the life stories of our many hosts. It is wonderful that even when our hosts are not personally religious, they go out of their way to provide paper and plastic tableware and packaged kosher products for us.

Early the next morning, Barbara and I went for our daily walk and were surprised by the coolness of the weather in Flagstaff. The elevation in Flagstaff is over 7,000 feet and it was very cold that morning in the middle of the summer. It was fortunate that I had the van key so I could retrieve our sweaters and jackets without having to wake Avi or my sister-in-law, Martha.

We left Flagstaff and drove to the Grand Canyon National Park where Avi’s Golden-Age Pass allowed us free admission. We drove the Southern Rim route of this awesome, amazing canyon, and we stopped at various lookout points to take pictures and view the magnificent grandeur of Hashem’s creation. At the visitor’s center, we watched the beautiful movie depicting the history of the canyon and stopped for our picnic lunch at the tables provided for tourists. The Grand Canyon is some 277 miles long and 18 miles wide. At one point the canyon bottom is 2,400 feet above sea level, 4,500 feet below the South Rim and 5,400 feet below the North Rim – making an average depth of almost one mile.

Dov Gilor at the Grand Canyon

We spent most of the day touring and then decided to head straight to Las Vegas, which boasts a growing Jewish community, hoping to find home hospitality there. We weren’t able to, but we did find an inexpensive motel on the strip and spent a few very interesting days in the vicinity.

We enjoyed three of Las Vegas’s kosher restaurants, the Sababa, an Israeli style grille restaurant; the Panini Cafe (chalav Yisrael), a fish and pasta cafe run by Chabad; and Adar Kosher Pizza (chalav Yisrael). We also visited the school, named for Barbara’s cousin, Marvin M. Sedway, who was a Nevada State assemblyman. As we are big gamblers, each family must have dropped about two dollars in the nickel slots and we did watch several free shows and enjoyed the special Las Vegas ambiance. Next stops: the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley.

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Hashem’s Nachas

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It’s lately become a family joke.

During the course of a day, something occurs that touches me. My kids see the wheels turning in my head and ask, teasingly, if I have another idea for one of my columns. It can be a simple kindness, or it can be one of the miracles that Hashem has wrought for us.

We visited my oldest daughter, Rivkie, and her family in England for Pesach. One day, we took some of our grandchildren to a neighboring playground. Eight-year-old Huvi, who has special needs, labored to climb to the top of a steep, winding staircase and called out, “Bubbie, Zaidy, look at me!” I cried tears of joy and expressed my thanks to Hashem for this miracle.

Last year my husband and I spent Sukkos with our son, a Chabad shaliach in Las Vegas. We stayed with a lovely Canadian couple, Ronna and Dave. We saw her again recently when visiting our son. She told me that her finger was swollen, she could not remove her wedding band, and that her finger was turning blue. My husband, a former diamond setter, thought that with the right tool, he could remove the ring. Otherwise she would have to go to the fire department for assistance.

It was Shabbos and she insisted on waiting until after Havdalah to come over. My husband told her that if he heard the right “click” when the tool made contact with the gold, he would be successful; otherwise, he would not continue the process.

Thank God, the combined efforts of my husband and son were successful.

Now permit me to introduce you to “Uncle Bernie.” He is a retired family practitioner who likes to frequent casinos. He is a widower with a wonderful, dry sense of humor. He joined us for Shabbos lunch at my son’s home.

He noted that when he plays cards, he often noticed that the wives stand behind their husbands. He strikes up conversations with the ladies, asking them if they are Jewish. If so, he asks whether they light Shabbos candles. If the response is negative, he asks why they don’t practice this ritual.

Sometimes the silence is so deafening that the offending lady feels that she must defend her decision not to light candles.

Uncle Bernie then makes the following offer: With no strings attached and at his own expense, he will send the woman a priority mail package that would include two candlesticks, candles and the blessing in both Hebrew and English.

To date, Uncle Bernie has mailed about 20 sets. Who knows how many ladies he has encouraged to light Shabbos candles?

We all know about the possibility that mitzvah goreres mitzvah (one good deed could lead to another).

Imagine the odds that the impetus for growth in Yiddishkeit could emanate from a card table!

Finally there’s Lior, whose name means light.

Lior was our waiter at a restaurant we frequented. He looked familiar to me but I could not place him. My son reminded me that when he flew in some boys for a Shabbaton in Crown Heights, Lior ate at our Shabbos table.

Lior’s family emigrated from Israel. As he became more and more observant, he tried not to make waves. One day he joined his parents for dinner in a non-kosher restaurant. Lior chose whatever foods he thought were more in keeping with kashrut, and removed a kippah and a plastic cutlery set from his pocket. When his father saw how hard his son was trying to keep kosher, he realized with painful clarity that he could no longer make his son struggle with his Yiddishkeit.

The family is now strictly kosher.

These are just a few examples of how each of us can touch one another and perhaps affect changes for the good, demonstrating to Hashem that we are worthy of the best gift of all: the geulah.

Hashem, please make it happen now!

Mother Knows Best

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I am just a small-town girl whose aspirations never included the notion of traveling to exotic places. I dreamed of getting married, raising a family, and living near my parents and in-laws.

Well, as the popular Yiddish saying goes, man plans and Hashem laughs. As a young married woman, my husband and I lived in England during his tour of duty as an Air Force chaplain. Not an exotic location to be sure, and the dialects were similar. However, I spent a lot of time writing letters to loved ones (no faxes or e-mails in those days). I needed to connect with those near and dear to me. The loneliness was acute.

Upon our return to civilian life, we settled in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where I had the privilege of raising our children in the neighborhood of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Chabad is synonymous with kiruv, reaching out to unaffiliated Jews. I love that concept. We believe that regardless of one’s religious background, it is our Yiddishe neshamah that unites all Jews.

As the children grew, so did their wonder at where they would go on shlichus (outreach) once they finished Beis Medrash or Seminary.

Personally, I was too enthralled with the miracle of being blessed with children to even think about the day that my children would leave the nest to venture to some far- off place. Frankly, I firmly pushed the possibility out of my mind.

The years passed, and my son, Chaim Ozer, decided to become a shaliach (emissary). It was hard for me to accept the reality that he would leave for a far-off destination. I expressed my feelings to him for the whole year preceding his assignment.

At that time, my mother was quite ill. I was visiting her in the hospital when we received a call from our son. He instructed us to call a particular rabbi to find out where he was being sent on shlichus. I should have realized at the time that it was strange that he could not divulge his assignment to us, but I was too concerned about my mother’s condition to think clearly.

The rabbi was very excited to inform me that Chaim Ozer was going to be sent to a certain country, one I had expressly forbidden. I was adamant. He would not go! I knew that the Rebbe would not agree to any assignment if the parents did not give their consent.

I informed the rosh hayeshiva that I had every confidence that he would find a more suitable destination for Chaim Ozer.

A few days later we learned that he would be going to Hungary. That was fine with me.

Chaim Ozer’s year of shlichus was very successful and he was asked to return the following year. He was only 20 years old at the time, but he had made a good impression on the young rabbi and rebbetzin there.

In fact, although it was too early for our son to consider marriage, they were convinced that Chaim Ozer was the perfect match for the young rebbetzin’s sister.

We knew nothing about this scenario, as it was put on the back burner for several years until the appropriate time.

It turned out to be a wonderful idea.

For the past few years, Chaim Ozer and Racheli have been on shlichus in Las Vegas, Nevada, raising a lovely family that includes little Raizy, who is named for my beloved mother.

It would seem that Hashem concurred that “mother knows best” after all!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/mother-knows-best/2011/08/03/

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