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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘LIFE’

Life + 31 Years to Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Murderer

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Yishai Schlissel, who murdered teenage girl Shira Banki and attempted to murder others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade last August, to life in prison with an additional 31 years. The court also fined Schlissel about $530,000 as reparations to the Banki family and to the rest of Schlissel’s victims.

Judges Nava Ben-Or, Arnon Darel and Rafi Yaakovi wrote in their sentence: “We are dealing with a man who does not recognize a human before him, a cruel, dangerous and heartless man. A man for whom the Judaism of darchey noam-pleasant paths and roads of peace, which teaches that man—every man—is beloved because he was created in the Image [of God], is foreign.” Instead, the judges wrote, the defendant views himself as “He who kills and gives life, in the name of principles he appointed himself to enforce.” The judges ruled that “this dangerous man may no longer roam the streets of Jerusalem or anywhere else.”

The judges also wrote that “in his few days of freedom between arrests, the defendant extinguished the life of a young woman who was so life loving, Shira Banki z”l who was about 16 when she dies… He did not see her as a human being at all, he did not care a hoot whose body would absorb his knife.”

Schlissel’s sentence is comprised of a life sentence for the premeditated murder, 30 year for his six convictions of attempted murder counts and inflicting injury under aggravated conditions, and one additional year which is the suspended sentence for his previous sentence.

The judges were severely critical of police for failing to learn the lesson from the 2005 Gay Pride parade in which Schlissel had been arrested for attempted murder. They blamed police for failing to stop him from carrying out the same crime only a month after his release from serving ten years for the attempted murders.

The judges also criticized the legislator for failing to provide police with the legal authority to follow and supervise dangerous criminals who have served out their sentence.


An Artist’s Life

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The glass sculptures and artwork of acclaimed international-artist Jeremy Langford grace hotel lobbies, synagogues, office buildings and religious sites. But it would seem that his greatest creation is a work in progress – himself. Langford has reinvented himself so many times and in so many ways one would be hard pressed to fit him into any mold.

Saltsman-061716-Jeremy-LangfordLangford’s most well-known work is the glass sculptures in the Kotel tunnels, but his creations grace Kever Rachel and the ohalim of the Rambam, Shmuel HaNavi and David HaMelech as well as secular locations like Trump Towers in Miami and various buildings in New York. His current project is a donor wall of stone in the City of David, depicting Jewish history from the time of David HaMelech to the Second Temple period.

Chain of Generations, depicting Jewish history from the Matriarchs and Patriarchs to the present day, and situated in the Kotel Tunnels, is his greatest work both in size (40 feet high and weighing 15 metric tons), depth, and in ambition. It’s also his favorite work and garnered the 2008 Thea award, bestowed by the Disney Corporation on projects whose achievement has been determined to be of “outstanding” quality.

Very holy work for a man who grew up in a Dutch-English family that was “Secular LeMehadrin.” Langford says he always felt there was something more, something beyond physicality, and he went looking for it. He found it as a student of Kaballah under the guidance of Rav Baruch Ashlag zt”l. After Rav Ashlag’s death, he founded the Ashlag Heritage Foundation.

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Though the native of Brighton is a serious artist and deep Kabbalist, Langford has an easy air about him and a sense of humor that sets his blue eyes twinkling. He is a believer in natural medicine and founded a floatation center, Galim, with his late wife, Yael, who had been a neuroscientist. His daughter Naomi, a naturopath who also coaches underprivileged youth in Rehovot, currently runs it.

“Neurofeedback and floatation [in an isolation tank] helps people relax,” he says. “Artists better access their creativity and children with ADD and ADHD reach calmer states without drugs.”

Besides Naomi, Langford’s other four children are also very accomplished in their fields. His son, Boaz is a cave researcher who recently unearthed coins from the Bar Kochva revolt. Racheli is a neuroscientist specializing in resuscitation and clinical death. She also founded JFriends, a non-profit in the UK to bring Jewish singles together for Shabbat meals and other social events. David runs a high-end glazing company and set up an organization for humanitarian aid based on similar work he did during his army service, and Ruta, an artist and architect, works in his studio in Ramat Gan. Langford himself has just turned sixty and married his second wife, Tamara, six months ago.


Young Israel of Cedarhurst

When still a child, Langford was curious to see what would happen if he dropped some glass in a kiln. Someone saw his early experiments with glass and suggested he apprentice. He did, but after a while, frustrated with limitations, he developed his own techniques and has been creating unique and beautiful designs ever since.

Interestingly, his family history reads like a who’s who in entertainment. His grandfather was a royal entertainer at the court of Edward VII. His father, Barry Langford, worked with Tom Jones and the Beatles and developed Israeli television as an advisor from the BBC when he made aliyah in the 1970s. When Langford walked into his father’s home for the first time sporting a kippah perched precariously on his Afro (this was the ‘70s), his father was in rehearsal with a rock band. The music stopped, literally, the drummer dropped his drumsticks and his sister wouldn’t talk to him for a week.

Rosally Saltsman

Holocaust As A Lesson For Life

Friday, June 17th, 2016

In our May 27th issue we featured an article about an 8th grade class in Tom’s River, New Jersey that studied Professor Livia Bitton Jackson’s memoir as part of its Language Arts curriculum. When their studies were over, the students had some comments and questions for Professor Jackson, which she graciously agreed to respond to.


LBJ-061716-BridgesIzabella Brodbeck: The Holocaust can be told in more than 1,000 words, but Livia’s memoir tells “1,000 years.”

Professor Jackson: The 1,000 years reflected my sense of the enormity of the Holocaust experience and the history of Jewish suffering. The words were in response to the German woman’s question as to my age at the time of liberation by US troops. She thought I was “60, or 61…” When I told her I was 14, she walked away in shock, leaving me to think that I was indeed 14 but I had suffered and lived 1,000 years.

Katelyn Bajcic: Reading the story makes you thankful for what you have now.

PJ: One of the significant lessons that can be derived from the Holocaust, a story of extreme privation is gratitude for all we are granted in our daily existence.

Jenna Aldellizzi: How were you able to trust in mankind after surviving?

PJ: A survivor would have been justified in loosing faith in mankind, yet I was aware that the horrors of Holocaust were caused by the Germans and their collaborators, not by mankind. And not all Germans were evil. Many were unaware of what was going on and some of those who were even helped Jews. One must not generalize but look at people as individuals.

Emily Robinson: Was there ever a time when you might have wanted to give up on saving yourself and your mother? If you had known about the heinous personalities of the Nazis and the German people, would you have trusted the one officer, Pista, with your poems?

PJ: Never! I felt I had to keep fighting for every day, every moment. For tomorrow. For life. Especially for my mother’s life. To return home. To bring her home.

Emily, Pista was a Hungarian soldier, not a German. But I would have trusted him anyway. He had a kind face.

Mrs. Trent: Did you ever get back any of the writing you had done before the war?LBJ-061716-Elli

PJ: No. All was lost. I do not have a single page of my former writing.

Edgar Lemus: How hard was it to adapt back to society after being isolated for so many years?

PJ: Yes, it was a difficult and gradual process. I described it in two books, sequels to I Have Lived A Thousand Years: My Bridges Of Hope and Hello, America. In those books the reader can experience how we coped post-Holocaust.

Ryan Hueston: When you were taken into Auschwitz, was there anyone other than your mother you could trust at the level of a family member?

PJ: On arrival in Auschwitz we met my Aunt Celia, my mother’s younger sister and two cousins, daughters of my father’s sister. But we were soon separated from them, and never saw them again. I had no one to share with or trust on that level.

LBJ-061716-Thousand-YearsVictoria Jackson: How did you view the Nazis during the Holocaust and how do you view them now? Is the resentment still living inside you?

PJ: During the Holocaust I dreaded the Germans. We all feared them as they treated us cruelly, often shooting at us or sending any of us to the gas chambers at a moment’s whim.

After the Holocaust I returned to Germany at the invitation of the German government for commemoration ceremonies of our liberation by the Americans. During these visits, in 1995, in 2005 and in 2015, I met a number of Germans and their families and became convinced that they truly regretted what their grandparents did. I made lasting friendships in Germany. My total outlook has changed.

This is the final lesson of the Holocaust: it cannot happen again! The Germans are no longer our enemies, and we Jews are no longer helpless victims. We have our own state, Israel, an outstanding member of the family of nations.

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

Life Chronicles

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I find myself in a very depressing situation, one I can’t seem to find a way out of and it is coloring every moment of my life.  I am not a newly-wed and by no means new to the trials and day-to-day issues that stress a marriage.  I had always viewed my marriage as one that would last a lifetime and withstand any challenge, however, I am not so sure about that any longer.  In fact, I am, at this writing entertaining divorce; staying has become way too painful and I hate what it is doing to the children.

We were always a wonderful couple, my husband and I; our marriage was the envy of our friends and family.  We were happy and content and the happiness grew with the arrival of each of our nine children, k”ah.  I was always the one to whom my friends would turn when they were experiencing dips and lulls in their own marriages, just as the men would turn to my husband on how to approach their wives when things were rocky at home.  And so, life went on until we were readying to make plans for our first-born triplets bar mitzvahs.  My in-laws, who have always been rather meddlesome and pushy, feeling they had a right to this because my husband worked for his father, insisted on a huge Shabbos kiddush, a lavish lunch after in the shul for all family and friends and then, as if this wasn’t enough, a Sunday evening gala, complete with band, flowers and entertainment.  This was not what we had in mind.  But my husband, being the son that he is, allowed himself to be worn down by their badgering. This caused arguments between us and it only got worse as we finalized the events.  It broke my heart that he wouldn’t stand with me on what we both, originally had decided to do for our three boys. We ended up with garish, tacky and tasteless three days of waste and gluttony. And a divide that only grew with time.

When our daughter’s bas mitzvah came up a little over a year and a half after the bar mitzvahs, I was so glad that her school forbade evening affairs and thought there would be no heartache over this event.  I was wrong.  My father-in-law presented the menahel of her school with a large donation in exchange for the school’s allowing my daughter to have a mini-wedding for her bat mitzvah.  And again, my husband shot down any opposition I had and took their side.

At this point, there was no turning back to what had once been a happy and cohesive union between us, as there was nothing that remained from it.  My marriage was dead and we were just going through the motions of being a couple.

We no longer discussed anything other than what was absolutely necessary.  My husband left early in the morning and returned from work late at night, after eating somewhere else and going to his shiur.  I filled my days with whatever the children needed, the house demanded and anything that would keep my mind and hands busy so my heart wouldn’t hurt so much.  I came to the realization that I was non-existent to my husband and that his life was complete, my place in it having been filled by his parents and siblings along with our children.  I try to understand where and when this began to happen.  Did it start with the bar mitzvahs?  Or was something amiss well before these events and only came to light because of them?

Mrs. Bluth, I don’t think I can take much more of this mental torture and deadly silence at the Shabbos table.  I know my children love their father and he is a good and loving parent to them, so, to leave and end the marriage at this stage in their young lives would be terribly cruel.  But I don’t think I can go on any longer, living alone in a dead marriage just to keep up appearances.

Please give me some idea of what can be done?



Dear Friend,

How sad that a marriage that began so beautifully, with so much love and happiness, has turned into a ghost story, in which two once loving spouses cease to see each other.

You are probably right in your thinking that the problems began before the triple bar mitzvah; in my mind this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Your intrusive in-laws, whom you say you and your husband were able to deal with during your years of contentment prior to the simcha, have actually been an issue from the outset of your union.

If I understand correctly, your husband feels, or has been made to feel, that because his father gives him his paycheck, it also offers his father the added privilege of decision-making and opinion-rendering, so much so that it overrides the wishes of his son and daughter-in-law.  Therein lies the death knell to many young and promising marriages.  But this is only one third of the problem that I get here.

What I have trouble understanding is why your husband had no backbone, or ability to stand up for the decisions that you and he had made together regarding your simcha.  Did you ask your in-laws for monetary assistance to cover the expenses of the bar mitzvahs?  Did your in-laws offer to help out with the cost?

Did you, yourself, confront them when this became a troublesome issue between you and your husband and explain to them that this is causing both of you much angst?  This would have been the way to go back then and perhaps it would have yielded a different outcome.

But that was light years ago and this is now, so let’s see what can be done to remedy and perhaps, recapture your once idyllic home life.

When two people are in a haze of pain that they think the other is responsible for, stagnation sets in and keeps the brain from making the proper choices.  I am also led to believe that you both have off in your private corners, lamenting what has befallen you and not taken any concrete action, such as seeing a counselor or therapist who would guide you in communicating with each other.  My feeling has always been that two people who loved each other enough to marry will recoup that love no matter what interrupted it, if they are willing to work and find it.  Nothing worth having comes easy, and rediscovering what you loved and lost will make it all the more precious.  So, be the bigger one, break the silence and ask your husband to go with you for counseling.  I am hopeful you will find your way back to each other.

To all in-laws out there, please take note:  Our place in the marriages of our children is to “just be there,” close by, as needed or invited.  Our opinions, although valuable and priceless in our minds, should be made available only upon request.  Our visits as well should be upon invitation or preceded by a phone call, and never, ever a pop in on a whim.  Some marriages, especially new and fragile ones, need to maturate with just the two lead players feathering their nest, uninterrupted.

Until some little chicks appear and we’re then called upon to babysit.

Rachel Bluth

What’s The Plan? Getting The Life You Want

Monday, June 6th, 2016

If it is your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first – Mark Twain

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one – Mark Twain

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover – Mark Twain



Mark Twain, the nineteenth century American author of classics such as Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was born Samuel Clemens. He was a prolific writer and highly sought-after public lecturer. He often spoke about procrastination and success – and how the key to success was to begin rather than to wait around and react to what life has thrown your way.

In their new book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy deal with many of the same issues, but approach it in a systematic way. Their basic question is: “How can you achieve the life you want to live?” Don’t we all want to know the answer to that question!

Hyatt and Harkavy begin their book by explaining a term they coined: drift. They explain that we have the tendency to drift or to veer from what our own intentions. It is as if you are out in the ocean and you lose sight of the shore, but do not realize it until you have moved many miles away. This drift can occur in our careers, in our marriages, in our health, or in other arenas that are particularly important to us. Why does this drift happen? The authors ascribe it to four different factors:

It happens when we are unaware. We don’t have a plan for what we want and thus are not even aware of what our goal is.

It happens when we are distracted. We are so focused on one area of our lives that we ignore everything else. For example, you might be building your business and heavily investing your time and energy into that for many years. Then, one day you might turn around and notice that your marriage is struggling because you have not focused on it at all.

It happens when we are overwhelmed. Sometimes in the busy pace of life, we are just struggling to keep up and say we will “get to that when this next project is done” or “I will think about that over the summer.” In reality, those are often just excuses and we don’t ever get to the thing we said we would.

It happens when we are deceived. Sometimes we believe that we cannot do things or make changes. In those cases we might be deceiving ourselves (and we think we can’t change…)


Consequences of drifting:


Expense – Fix your health or fix your marriage.

Lost opportunity – Busy trying to keep up, you can’t take opportunities.

Pain – Hurts not to be in optimal health or your careers is not where you want it to be. Regrets – You are not in the place you want to be.


“Life Planning is the exact opposite of the drift. The drift is about passivity. Life Planning is about proactivity. The drift is about blaming our circumstances or other people. Life Planning is about taking responsibility. The drift is about living without a plan. Life Planning is about having a plan and working it.”

Benjamin Franklin is the first Life Planner we know of. Around 1730, while in his late twenties, he drafted a plan for self-improvement. He listed thirteen essential virtues he wanted to develop in his life – things like temperance, frugality, industry, and humility. He chose one virtue to focus on each week and kept a daily chart to track his progress.

A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long. Yes, that’s right. Not a big, fat, three-ring binder with a hundred pages of detailed plans. No, just a short, written document that you can read with ease on a daily or weekly basis.

It is created by you and for you. It describes how you want to be remembered. It articulates your personal priorities. It provides the specific actions necessary to take you from where you are to where you want to be in every major area of your life.

Three powerful questions: How do I want to be remembered? What matters most?

How can I get from here to where I want to be?

Plan a wedding, plan which car to buy, but who plans their life? The drift – reactive. The plan – proactive.

Life will be different: Clarity – where you want to end up, what the action steps are. Courage – can say yes to what is truly important. Control – go through life feeling out of control, but this allows us to be in control.

Rifka Schonfeld

Life Chronicles

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I am so devastated at this writing, as are many others in my community. I am writing to you not so much for a solution, rather to bring this terrible problem to the forefront and perhaps save someone else’s child.

I just received the news that a neighbor’s son was involved in a horrible car accident and was niftar.  He was driving home from a vort with three friends and they had all been drinking.  Two of the other young men are in critical but guarded condition and the third, who had been sitting in the front seat, without a seat belt on, is not expected to make it. What makes no sense, is that the young man who died, the driver, was not drunk. What made him lose control and hit a tree? We might never know.

My heart breaks for our neighbors, who must now bury their only son and for the other parents who must wait and daven for a good outcome for their sons.

This is the most recent tragedy in a long history of road accidents that our community and neighboring communities have suffered over the last few years and I fear it will not be the last.

Please warn others that before they allow their sons and daughters to get behind the wheel of a car they are sure these kids are mature enough to make the right decisions.  Kids with drug problems or alcohol addiction should not be allowed to drive, period.  It is bad enough when older people are involved in car accidents, do to age, poor judgement or substance abuse but when it happens to eighteen and nineteen year olds, it is devastating!



Dear Friend,

My heart goes out to you, your neighbors who have suffered the tragic loss of a child and to the communities that have experienced so many losses. Your pain is palpable.

Car accidents can happen for any one of a hundred reasons, only two of which you mention.  Aside from substance abuse and immaturity, there is also the possibility that a driver is too tired and his judgement is impaired or he dozes off while driving, or that he is ill which may cause him or her to lose control of the vehicle.  You must also consider that there may have been another vehicle with an erratic driver who may have caused this young man to swerve off the road in order to avoid hitting him.

And then, there’s the addiction that is not documented anywhere, or actually considered an addiction, and that is speed.  Not the kind that is inhaled or ingested, but actual speed that gives the driver, bicyclist or motorcyclist the rush and exhilaration on a stretch of empty road, especially at night.

Speed represents power and power is a strong draw for eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds who experience the thrill of it when they first get behind the wheel of a car.  This often is the first feel of ultimate control and complete independence that they have and the rush is powerful and addictive – and often, deadly.  Not every person is ready to drive when he or she is eighteen.  Maturity and good judgement are things that develop at different times with different people and the legal age at which a young person is judged to be fit to drive may not be a true measure for everyone.  Parents must be honest enough to recognize if their son or daughter is capable of handling the responsibility of driving, and if not, they are obligated to make sure that young person does not get behind the wheel of a car.  A car and a gun are almost the same in that they are weapons that can maim or kill in the hands of the wrong person.  So let’s add speed to the list of recognized addictions that could very well be the cause of so many car accidents where nothing else seems to justify a reason.  And then, there’s Hashem’s Will.


Dear Mrs. Bluth,

This is in regard to the letter about the blind person and his guide dog.  Please note that in two letters sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the Rav Mendel Kasher, who wrote in his Torah Shleima (vol. 15) that it is forbidden to allow a dog in shul, the Rebbe disagrees with him and with the proofs brought to support the thesis.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe concluded as follows (translated from the original Hebrew, words in square brackets have been added by the translator for explanation):

“In such a case [of allowing a blind person’s guide dog to accompany him into shul] there is another special point involved – according to the ruling in Shulchan Aruch Orech Chayim, end of chapter 88, that it [causes] great suffering when everyone gathers [in shul] while they [regarding women, during their periods] have to stand outside (although in the Shulchan Aruch it [refers] only to two weeks in the month, and even then, not for always. which is not the case for a blind person, etc. [for whom forbidding his dog from accompanying him might exclude him from shul permanently].  Of course, it is possible to arrange [his] entry into shul, with the assistance of a human being.  But in the case mentioned in your column, if there is any importance to his coming into [shul] whether it is because or [otherwise it causes] emotional pain or because of the impotence of prayer specifically in a shul) one should seek ways to enable him to enter [with the dog] as is easy to understand.”

These letters are published in volume 18 of the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh (pg. 422 and pg. 455) and are also reproduced in Shulchan Menachem (volume 1, pp. 308 – 310).

In other words, the Rebbe felt strongly that, out of sensitivity for the blind, and to avoid their emotional pain, every effort should be made, within the framework of halacha, to find ways of permitting their guide dogs to accompany them.

D. Goldberg

Dear Friend,

Thank you for taking the time to share an answer that will allow all of Klal Yisroel, including those who are afflicted with blindness, to be mispallel in shul, as is the right of every Jew.

Rachel Bluth

Gay Activists Threaten Gay MK’s Life Ahead of Parade

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

MK Amir Ohana (Likud), the first openly gay rightwing legislator, was assigned a security detail after he had received threats of being attacked during the Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade Friday. Ohana received the information from senior members of the Knesset Guard.

A source in Ohana’s circle told Ynet that just as he has never capitulated to terrorism and threats in the past, he will not cower this time either. The source said: “The knight of the LGBT agenda, who pride themselves on their tolerance, openness and pluralism, should ask themselves how they’ve reached such a situation facing almost the only coalition MK who’s been acting on behalf of the community for so many years, even if he is rightwing.”

Back in February, MK Ohana raised the ire of many in the LGBT community, when he chose to stay out of the Knesset plenum when the coalition voted down pro-gay legislation. The bills that were killed, and that as coalition member Ohana was not permitted to support, included banning the sending of LGBT children to conversion treatment, recognizing single sex families, and same-sex spousal contracts. One Facebook user, Alon-Lee Green, wrote at the time that despite the coalition requirement, MK Ohana should be ashamed of himself for helping to kill a bill he himself had praised. The post received hundreds of shares.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gay-activists-threaten-gay-mks-life-ahead-of-parade/2016/06/03/

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