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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘year’

Southern NCSY Kicks Off Another Year

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Southern NCSY began its 2016-2017 school year with some controlled MADNESS at Ninja Lounge in Miami where over 370 teens rocked a kick-off event. Teens jumped on trampolines, chilled with friends in the lounge, took pics at the photo booth, and had networking opportunities to learn about upcoming NCSY events. Midnight Madness was the first event of the year and it really started things off right.

Jewish teens enjoying Southern NCSY’s Midnight Madness at Ninja Lounge.

Jewish teens enjoying Southern NCSY’s Midnight Madness at Ninja Lounge.


In addition to a successful evening at Ninja Lounge, Southern NCSY offers a wide selection of events, programs, shabbatons, and summer trips. Southern NCSY is especially proud to have hit record numbers in attendance at its weekly Latte and Learn, during which Jewish teenagers from various schools come together once a week to reconnect with their Jewish friends and get a weekly dose of Torah. Each chapter runs its own event. In Hollywood, a record number of over 100 teens gathered at the kosher Dunkin’ Donuts on Sterling Road. NCSY also reports record numbers in Boca Raton, Aventura, and Miami Beach.

Southern NCSY is looking forward to great things this year – new chapters, new programs, and new staff members. It’s never been a better time to be a Jewish teen in Southern NCSY.

To find out about the many programs, events, and opportunities offered by Southern NCSY, visit www.southern.ncsy.org.

Shelley Benveniste

Shiloh Musings: U.S. VP’s are More Than Just Postscripts This Year

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

If you go over the history of the United States, not all that many Vice Presidents took over the Presidency. And during the campaigns, most were forgettable or worse. But this year’s/next month’s American Presidential Elections have an element that rarely if ever seen. Not only is the sum total of the Presidential candidates’ ages higher than ever, 139, but neither has been very open about her/his current health situation. If you have the time and patience to calculate click here for the Wikipedia listings of candidates.

Does this mean that seventy is all that ancient? Gd forbid! But in 2008, Obama, who was all of  47, made John McCain’s age, 72, an election issue.

This year the Americans are choosing between two retirement age candidates, and for that reason, let’s take a quick look at their Veep choices aka running mates.

Like Hillary’s kissing Suha Arafat after her anti-Israel speech filled with lies, the Democratic nominee, Tim Kaine,  is haunted by his boycott of Bibi’s speech to Congress. From my perch here in Shiloh, Israel, I don’t like what I see coming from the Democratic Party.

In all honesty, I know even less about Trump’s Veep,  Mike Pence. Considering that Trump has no congressional experience, I’d think he’d draft someone with a good track record. Remember that JFK never managed to pass his platform, and it was the congressional power house, Lyndon B. Johnson, who got the job done when he assumed the presidency after Kennedy was assassinated. So the information I just read in Wikipedia “During Pence’s twelve years in the House, he introduced 90 bills and resolutions; none became law.[42]” may not be good for Trump.

May Gd save us all…

Batya Medad

Soul Talk – Secrets to a Really Really Happy New Year [audio]

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

There are many concepts connected to the High Holiday’s: Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur that are essential to properly understand in order to make the most of the opportunity of the holidays.

What does it mean that G-d has the book of life and death open during this time? What bad decrees are we trying to avert through mending our ways? What is the power of Repentance, Prayer and Charity giving in revoking these bad decrees?

Join Rabbi David Aaron on Soul Talk to gain a better understanding of essential High Holiday concepts and enter the holidays with clarity and focus.

We welcome your questions and comments. Send us an e-mail at soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com

Soul Talk 02Oct2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

What is There in a Sound That Words Cannot Express — and Why Do We Have this Sound Only Once a Year?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Something strange happens on Rosh Hashana. We spend hours declaring the Divines majesty, using poetic and unique phrases. We refer to Him as the Ultimate King and Mover of this world. We ask Him to strengthen and reinforce His relationship with us and show us His omnipotence.

But the ultimate prayer of this day is a sound that carries no words, and it is the only biblical commandment of the day: the blowing of the shofar.

What is there in a sound that words cannot express? And why do we have this sound only once a year, on Rosh Hashana, when we remind ourselves of the Creation and of the radical new beginning in our lives; when we repent, turn over a new leaf, and recreate ourselves?

The blowing of the shofar proves that we can surpass ourselves. On our own, using our vocal cords, we are unable to produce this sound – a terrifying penetrating resonance. People can scream, howl, and wail, but nothing more than that. Their reach is limited. Alone, they cannot produce a sound that comes close to the piercing and penetrating heavenly voice of the shofar, which can cause human beings to break down, pick themselves up again, and transform into new individuals.

Not even a chazan’s liturgical solo, or an opera singer’s aria can touch us where the shofar’s vibrations do. The shofar carries us to places unreachable by the human word. It ignores walls and other obstacles, simply forging ahead, long after the human sound has come to an end.

The shofar and the human voice are completely different from each other. The shofar, like a knife, tears our hearts open – just as when the Children of Israel encountered the original shofar sound at Sinai, before God introduced the Torah to them. An experience beyond.

No voice can produce this sound or deliver such a powerful resonance. The only way a person can do it is by blowing a not-too-strong puff of breath into a small hole at one end of the shofar, which widens to a larger opening at the other end. This produces a sound of overwhelming power that pierces the heavens.

Suddenly, we are able to reach unreachable heights, when we are humble enough to admit that we cannot do it alone and we need help. But it is we who must activate this help. The shofar will not blow on its own. It needs the human’s puff – our participation and our effort – before it can move mountains.

Whether or not the shofar will blow is up to us, but whether we can reach our own potential will be up to the shofar. Our humility, combined with our capacity to move beyond ourselves, is what makes us exceptional.

This is our great challenge. Will we remain complacent and stagnant, letting the shofar sit in the cupboard, and never daring to go beyond ourselves? Or, will we have the nerve to blow the shofar and produce something more that will move us and the world forward?

Will we leave Judaism where it is, or will we constantly blow new life into it, impelling it to surpass itself and open new horizons?

On Rosh Hashana, when we recall the greatness of G0D and the Creation, the shofar challenges us to dare and go beyond, creating ourselves and Judaism anew. If we don’t respond to the challenge at this crucial hour, the sound will fall flat and die before it reaches its destination.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Woman of the Year 5776: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The January 22, 2013 general elections in Israel marked the emergence of two new parties; one, journalist Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, was yet another attempt to grab the undecided center among Israel’s voters; the other, Habayit Hayehudi, was a coalition of National Religious parties led by hi-tech executive Naftali Bennett and his long-time political ally, a 30-something computer engineer from Tel Aviv named Ayelet Shaked, who stood out as the only secular Jew in an otherwise Orthodox Jewish party. Both parties did well, although Lapid’s party took seven more seats than Bennett’s (19 vs. 12). Both parties also represent new challenges to the current power status quo in Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud leading a right-leaning coalition government over an opposition being led by Labor (a.k.a. Zionist Camp).

At this point in the life of the 20th Knesset, the polls are showing Yesh Atid as the new largest party, siphoning off votes from Likud’s centrist voters and Labor’s more nationalistic supporters, as well as from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party which barely passes the threshold percentage in the polls. At the same time, Likud is also being bitten on its right flank, by Habayit Hayehudi. And, also for the first time, the National Religious leader Naftali Bennett has been speaking openly about his ambition to be Israel’s next prime minister, at the helm of a rightwing, pro-religious, pro-settlements government.

That ambition is a new thing to a party that, since its incarnation as NRP in 1956, has always seen itself as a second banana, always in government, be it with leftwing or rightwing majority parties, but never at the helm. And while Chairman Bennett has been outspoken about his ambition to carve out a new direction for the country in the image of his party’s ideology, another Habayit Hayehudi leader has been giving the nation an idea of how a national religious government would carry out its agenda — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Since the end of the 1990s, it has become clear that Israeli Jews are only going to become more traditional, even religious, and, consequently, the chance for a left-leaning party to receive the largest percentage of the vote will continue to grow dimmer. But while political positions have been given by the voter to rightwing governments, key decisions on issues that are close to the heart of the same rightwing voters have continued to lean to the left. This has been most notable in the liberated territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where evictions of Jewish settlers have been carried out over the past decade and a half by rightwing-led governments, and those same governments have been refusing to implement Israeli civil law in Jewish communities hat have been living under martial law since the 1970s.

This is because the judiciary in Israel has been ruling as a shadow government, unelected and with a leftwing, secular agenda. In addition, Israel has had the most activist supreme court anywhere in the West, a court that has seized for itself powers well outside the norm in countries that uphold the principle of three branches of government. In countless cases, the high court has acted as a legislator, siding with the opposition against a ruling government (the recent vote on exploiting Israel’s natural gas come to mind, when the court torpedoed a government signed contract with US and domestic companies). The judiciary has also had its hand on the executive branch through the Attorney General and the legal counsels who are appointed to every ministry, and who often force the hands of elected officials using the threat of legal action against them.

The appointment of Ayelet Shaked to be the Minster in charge of this judiciary stronghold of the real power in Israeli society was received with a great deal of alarm and trepidation in the leftwing media, which called her “Israel’s Sarah Palin,” and accused her of inciting the mobs against the Supreme Court justices, “as if she were the worst [Internet] talkbacker and not the minister in charge of the holiest holy of every democracy — its separate and independent judiciary.” (Uri Misgav, Haaretz, Aug. 11, 2015).

The attack came in response to the new Justice Minister’s tweet on the same evening the Supreme Court was convening to rule on a law designed to block infiltration of illegal migrants from Africa through Israel’s southern border. Shaked tweeted that the law had already been quashed twice by the court, causing the infiltration, which had been reduced to single digits, to grow to dozens of new border crossings.

“If the law is revoked a third time,” Shaked tweeted, “it would be tantamount to declaring south Tel Aviv an official haven for infiltrators.” She then added that, until the court’s ruling, she would upload every two hours a new video describing the “intolerable life conditions of south Tel Aviv residents,” urging her followers to spread the message.

The court took notice and restricted itself to a few minor corrections, mostly regarding the length of time an illegal migrant could be held in a locked facility until his case is resolved by the Interior Ministry. The court continued to take notice throughout Shaked’s first year in office, and has been noticeably mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary friction with a Justice Minister who is probably the most popular minister in Israel. How popular? In 2013 she was picked by the Knesset Channel as the summer session’s most outstanding MK, and in 2014 as the second most outstanding MK of the winter session. In 2015 the Jerusalem Post ranked her 33rd on its list of the most influential Jews in the world. In 2015 she was ranked by Forbes Israel as the fifth most influential woman in Israel. And in 2016 Lady Globes ranked her second on its list of 50 most influential women.

Most importantly, Minster Shaked has afforded Israelis a view of a nationalist, rightwing politician who can be trusted to run the country’s third most complex system, after Finance and Defense. As Justice Minister, Shaked also chairs the ministerial legislative committee which decides which bills receive the backing of the government. Her role is comparable to that of the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, in terms of influencing the legislative process. And the fact that she has been a competent, creative and resourceful Justice Minister might suggest to people in the secular center and right of center that her and Bennett’s party is worthy of their vote.

Shaked and Bennett are in troubled waters currently, over the fate of Amona, a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria that the Supreme Court has slated for demolition by early December, 2016, over claims to ownership of the land by Arab PA residents. The fact is that no one on the right in Netanyahu’s government believes that Amona could be saved, which Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated openly. Shaked wants to see the residents being relocated to a nearby plot of land, that could turn out to be just as problematic. But both Bennett and Shaked are also interested in advancing new legislation that would compel future claimants to settle for fair market value or comparable land from the Israeli government. At stake are an estimated 4,000 homes, the bulk of which were built as part of a government sponsored settlement program. The Supreme Court has rejected these “arrangement law” initiatives, and the current AG, Avihai Mandelblit, also objects to them, even though he himself is on the record as supporting them in the past.

For now, Shaked and Bennett are under attack by their voters, who cannot believe that a government that is as rightwing as this one would still engage in the forceful removal of Jews from their homes. And the last thing Shaked and Bennet want is to be forced to resign from Netanyahu’s government over this dispute.

Shaked, like Bennett, is a vehement enemy of the two-state solution. But she is also a liberal when it comes to many legislative initiatives. She has fought court activism; she objected to imposing jail sentences on Yeshiva students who refuse to enlist; and she supports a free and open market and reducing state regulations of businesses. She also believes in cutting down on new laws.

Noting that her government legislative committee has processed over the past year and a half no less than 1,500 new legislative proposals, Shaked wrote an op-ed in the right-leaning website Mida, saying that “every time the Knesset puts its faith in a new law intended to serve a worthy cause and solve a social or economic problem, we are, in effect, raising our hands to support a vote of no confidence. … It’s a vote of no confidence in our ability as individuals and as communities to manage ourselves in a good enough manner; it’s a vote of no confidence in the wisdom of the nation and of each person to create and preserve mechanisms that are better than those which are designed artificially by experts; it’s a vote of no confidence in the ability of familial, social and economic communities to run their own lives and strive successfully to reach their goals.”

Spoken like a true, sane Libertarian. And a Libertarian who knows how to combine the principles of freedom with the ideals of nation and Torah — could make one fine prime minister some day. Which is why we believe 5776 was the year of Ayelet Shaked.


Rightwing Paper Crowns Shooting Medic Azaria ‘Man of the Year’

Friday, September 30th, 2016

On Wednesday, Hagai Segal, editor of the right-leaning Makor Rishon, directed at the National Religious public, revealed on Twitter the Friday cover page of his newspaper’s Shabbat supplement Dyokan (Portrait) dedicated to their pick of Man of the Year 5776, with a flattering image of Sgt. Elor Azaria, the medic whose shot that killed a terrorist on the ground at a Hebron check post last Purim Day also appears to have killed a long-held belief that the IDF’s values and priorities were synonymous with those of the Jewish nation in Israel.

“The court will rule on the severity of his action,” says the subheadline on the same cover, “but there’s no doubt that the single bullet he shot at the terrorist ignited the stormiest debate in Israel’s society this year.”

Many readers confuse the meaning of a publication’s Man of the Year pick with an endorsement, even praise of his actions. Segal’s team made certain to convey that they picked Azaria not because they necessarily agree with his shooting of an already “neutralized” terrorist, but because of his strong influence on Israelis — the majority of whom rebelled publicly and in no uncertain terms against a confused military and political leadership that actually considered charging an IDF soldier with murder of an Arab terrorist who had already stabbed another soldier in the neck.

The military prosecution finally gave in to the tide of public rage and settled for a manslaughter indictment, which did not make it or the man at the helm of the defense apparatus, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), more popular in the least. In the end, Ya’alon was ousted, replaced by Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), allowing Prime Minister Netanyahu to kill two birds with one convenient stone, getting rid of an increasingly unpopular (and preachy) defense minister, and adding a crucial coalition partner to give him a safer edge in the Knesset.

Despite the fact that Israelis were preoccupied with the passing of the late Shimon Peres this week, the Segal tweet received its share of boos and applause, much of it revolving around the difference between picking the MOY because he was influential vs. being praiseworthy.

Former Peace Now chief Yariv Oppenheimer tweeted back that he’d pick Hagai Klein, the man who was shot by an Arab terrorist gunman at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, and despite his injury managed to tackle the shooter with his bare hands. Obviously, a brave man worthy of a medal, but few Israelis would recognize his name without Googling it.

There was one tweet suggesting the man of the year award should be given to the B’Tselem cameraman who captured the shooting — which makes sense in a big bang theory kind of way.

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon attacked the choice on it’s merit: “Enough already,” she wrote. “Azaria didn’t ignite a debate. He shot the head of a neutralized terrorist.” She then rebuked Segal’s choice, saying that “choosing him as man of the year sends a clear message to anyone who understands it.” Meaning, obviously, that Azaria wasn’t only influential, he was also right in the eyes of many Israelis, and that in itself is dangerous.

It so happens that another Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv, which hovers around the center-right political zone, on Friday published a column by journalist Ben Kaspit who also picked Azaria as his choice for man of the year. “One shot from Elor Azaria, a simple soldier from the Kfir Brigade, woke up all the sleeping demons in Israel’s society,” Kaspit wrote, adding, “Like it or not, Elor Aazaria was the most influential man of the year 5776.”

We will be revealing our choice for Man of the Year Saturday night. Here’s a hint: she’s not a man. Unless, of course we’ll have one of those editorial brawls today and come up with someone else. Stay tuned.


Preparing Your Child For A Successful School Year

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The new school year has just begun and with it comes a whole host of obstacles and challenges that can hinder your child’s success.

The best way to prepare children for a good year is to sit down with them, in a quiet space, and discuss the expectations, responsibilities and, perhaps, any fears they might have about the coming year. Some children are nervous about getting up on time for the bus, others with keeping up with the homework and some with social expectations. Listen to your children, emphasizing the positive growth they experienced last year, no matter how small, and role-play any potentially challenging scenarios. Remind them that last year came and went, and so will this coming one.

The number one way to avoid many of the typical challenges that could delay a child’s success and growth in the coming years is by utilizing a well-thought out routine. Speak with your child about a typical day, and delegate which of you would be responsible for what. It would be a good idea for him or her to write down or draw a list of the responsibilities. It’s a great memory tool and will ensure a good day in school and at home.

For example, the list could include:

Clean laundry – Parent is responsible for providing clean laundry, child is responsible for laying out his clothes the night before and telling parent if a particular item is needed for the coming day.

Backpack – Child is responsible for bringing home notes to parent, parent signs all the notes, child repacks backpack for next day.

Lunch – Parent will do the shopping, child will help prepare lunch and make sure dirty containers are in the sink every afternoon, etc.

The list should be as extensive as possible and will provide a framework for a child to feel empowered and in control of his daily schedule.


You may have seen the new policy issued by a public school that announced the extension of the school day and less homework. Until our schools implement that policy, we are faced not only with long school days, but plenty of homework to complete afterwards. Afternoons are precious, as the hours seem to disappear before it is time to go to bed.

It is best to avoid playdates during the week so that when a child comes home from school, he can focus on dinner and completing his homework in a quiet, relaxed manner. Ask the child if he would prefer to do homework as soon as he comes home so that he can relax the rest of the evening, or after dinner, when he has had a chance to take a break.


Very little throws a child off his routine than an irregular bedtime. Until the teen years, a typical child needs approximately 11 hours of sleep a night. Making an early bed time a regular habit is the easiest way to avoid any fights about going to bed.


A child who is early to bed is early to rise, and that gives her ample opportunity to eat a hearty breakfast with whole grains and healthy protein. A solid breakfast paired with healthy snacks will help the child avoid indulging in the fast foods most schools call lunch, thereby enabling her to continue focusing on her afternoon classes, instead of falling into a carb-induced coma. For those parents who are courageous enough to avoid school lunches completely, it is best to prepare the fixings the night before, and have your child take the early morning time to pack his lunch box.

There will be times when you and your child will get overwhelmed with the responsibilities of an older grade, but remember as we head into the new year that after finishing a 12-week summer vacation and approaching a month of Jewish holidays, quickly followed by Chanukah, mid-winter vacation, etc., etc., there is hardly any school anyways, and the year will be over, hopefully for the better, before you know it.

Pnina Baim

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/for-the-home/preparing-your-child-for-a-successful-school-year/2016/09/19/

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