Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
Seven days shall you celebrate before Hashem, your God ... and you shall only be joyous (Deuteronomy 16:15).
Many people think of Judaism as being extremely solemn, perhaps not realizing that the essence of Judaism is simchah, joy, and that whatever solemnity there is, is in reality a preparation for joy.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch points to a simple fact. The Torah designates one day each for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the second day of Rosh Hashanah is of Rabbinical origin), whereas Succos, the festival of rejoicing, is of seven days' duration.
The Gaon of Vilna was asked which of the six hundred thirteen mitzvos he considered the most difficult to observe. He answered that it was Succos, because for seven consecutive days a person must be in constant joy. Regardless of what might occur during these days that might make it difficult for a person to feel happy, the mitzvah to rejoice requires him to overcome all obstacles to joy.
The Torah's position is that joy is not simply a spontaneous feeling that accompanies pleasant experiences. Joy requires work: meditation on why a person who is privileged to serve God should rejoice. Joy can be achieved even under adverse circumstances. This is something which is expected not only of great tzaddikim, but also of every Jew.
On Succos we must make the necessary effort to be in constant joy throughout the entire festival, and we should learn therefrom how to generate joy all year round.
Today I shall ... ... try to find ways to bring more joy into my life, and strive to achieve joy even when circumstances are not conducive thereto.
Love Yehuda Lave
Around 13 million documents from Nazi concentration camps posted online
The tracing service, based in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has also changed its name to the Arolsen Archives-International Center on Nazi Persecution. By MARCY OSTER/JTA May 22, 2019
JERUSALEM (JTA) — The International Tracing Service in Germany has published online more than 13 million documents from Nazi concentration camps with information on more than 2.2 million people.
The effort to put the archive online was undertaken in partnership with the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
The tracing service, based in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has also changed its name to the Arolsen Archives-International Center on Nazi Persecution.
The millions of documents, including prisoner cards and death notices, featuring information on Holocaust victims and others persecuted by the Nazi regime, are part of UNESCO's World Documentary Heritage and are a key focus of the collection of the Arolsen Archives. This database is the first of several large collections scheduled to go online in future.
"Our archive bears testimony to the atrocities perpetrated by the National Socialists," Floriane Azoulay, director of the Arolsen Archives, said in a statement. "Soon there won't be any survivors left to tell us about them. That is why it is so important that the original documents can speak to coming generations in their place."
Azoulay said the archive is working with outside groups to improve its search-ability.
As soon as I searched the data base above with my family name, my relatives came up as the only person with that name
My Grandfather, my Aunt and my baby first cousin are the only ones listed, but the rest of the family was murdered as well but they are not listed on the data base.
I researched it as soon as I saw the story on Friday morning and although I have had the information before, It was a shock to see their names.
Most Americans are not aware how morally and intellectually destructive American colleges – and, increasingly, high schools, and even elementary schools – have become. So, they spend tens of thousands after-tax dollars to send their sons and daughters to college.
But today, to send your child to college is to play Russian roulette with their values. There is a good chance your child will return from college alienated from you, from America, from Western civilization and from whatever expression of any Bible-based religion in which you raised your child.
If you think this is in any way an exaggeration, here is some of what has happened on campuses in recent months:
Harvard University fired law professor Ron Sullivan from his position as faculty dean of Winthrop House, a student residential hall, because he was one of Harvey Weinstein's lawyers. (He has since resigned from the Weinstein legal team.) Some female Harvard students said they felt "unsafe" with Sullivan as a faculty dean.
Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law, said the decision "may be the worst violation of academic freedom during my 55-year association with Harvard." Laurence Tribe, also a professor at Harvard Law, said he could not recall a "worse" blunder in his 50 years as a professor there.
Also at Harvard, all-black graduation exercises were initiated. And like most other colleges, Harvard has long allowed an all-black student dorm to exist on campus.
If nothing else, this provides additional proof of the vast difference between liberalism and leftism. That is why liberals such as Dershowitz, Tribe, and numerous liberal writers have condemned Harvard's cowardly capitulation to a few female students. Unfortunately for America, however, most liberals will not confront the fact that they have far more to fear from the left than from the right. Conservatives are not the enemy of liberalism; the left is.
In Minnesota, some students at South St. Paul Secondary petitioned the administration to allow students to wear sashes – stoles – with ethnic and LGBT colors to celebrate their identities. As one student said in leftist English, "I'm able to repurpose what was once an obstacle into a source of energy and pride."
As reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "If they're not allowed to don the sashes, some students have talked about wearing them anyway, said Naomi Gedey, a Black Pride Organization leader. Gedey added that many immigrant students also hope to wear flags of their nations of origin."
Other Minnesota schools already allow students "to don so-called 'identity adornments.'"
Those who still believe that one of the primary purposes of American public (and most private) schools is to Americanize students should know this is no longer the case. On the contrary, most American high schools now celebrate every identity except American identity (which the left brands a euphemism for white supremacy).
Meanwhile, at its commencement next month, the City University of New York will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Al Sharpton. Among the many non-humane activities Sharpton has been involved in was the infamous Tawana Brawley hoax, in which he fabricated a charge that four white men had raped a young black woman named Tawana Brawley.
Sharpton also runs a phony civil rights organization called the National Action Network, which has collected many millions of dollars from corporations in what essentially amounts to an extortion racket that enables those corporations to buy racial peace.
And Sharpton helped stoke the Jew-hatred that sparked black anti-Jewish riots in 1991. In a book published in 2006, Edward S. Shapiro, a Brandeis University historian, described the riot as "the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history."
In Pennsylvania, the Sabold Elementary School in Springfield announced that its principal will no longer say "God bless America" after the Pledge of Allegiance. The school district released a statement two weeks ago stating that the principal saying "God bless America" "violated the law."
And of course, college students across the country are increasingly taught, often from their first day at college, that being male and female is a choice, not a biological fact.
Other than Hillsdale and a handful of other colleges and religious colleges, the American university has become nothing more than a left-wing seminary. Buyer beware.
Flames Destroy Moshav Mevo Modiin, Netanyahu Asks for International Firefighters as Fires Spread in Massive Heat Wave By Hana Levi Julian
Firefighting teams across the country continued on high alert this Thursday as dry weather and high temperatures combined to create the perfect conditions for wildfires – and the flames spread around the Jerusalem Forest, Beit Haggai in the southern Hebron Hills, in Latrun, in Ben Shemen and sadly, in the moshav of Mevo Modiin. At least 20 people were taken to hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the foreign ministry to reach out to friendly nations to request immediate international assistance.
According to a report broadcast by Channel 13television, Ami Eshed, commander of the Central District Firefighting Unit said most of the town of Mevo Modiin has been destroyed by the fires.
Dozens of firefighters, fire trucks were aided by firefighting aircraft trying to control flames raging in various areas around the country. Firefighters worked to put out a fire in an apartment building in Beitar Illit in Judea, where a mother and her children were rescued by first res ponders, and a man was reported to be injured and in fair condition.
In the community of Beit Haggai in the southern Hebron Hills, residents in at least one line of homes were evacuated, with reports of 15 people treated for smoke inhalation in the kibbutz. Military tankers were used to help firefighters battle the blaze, similar to one that broke out a day earlier.
At least one IDF soldier was injured while helping to extinguish a blame in Kibbutz Karmiya near the coastal city of Ashkelon and near Gaza border. The soldier was taken to Barzilai Medical Center for treatment.
The Zikkim Junction in southern Israel was blocked by police due to a fruit grove that was reported to be in flames.
Israel Police report residents of Kibbutz Harel have been evacuated due to a large fire in that area as well; a blaze has also been reported in Mateh Yehuda.
The situation is even more complicated as many families are accustomed to taking field trips, hikes and walks on this day, the Jewish holiday of Lag B'Omer.
But the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority has appealed to the public not to take walks or hike in open areas through Friday due to the high-risk weather. In addition, the Authority warned "in accordance with the instructions of the Firefighting Commission it is forbidden to light fires while these conditions prevail at reserves and parks in Israel."
Brush land and forests around the country caught fire in the heat wave, which reached as high as 44 degrees celsius in the southern city of Be'er Sheva, and up to 48 degrees at the Dead Sea resort area of Ein Bokek, by Thursday afternoon.
Is It Proper…? – To Plan a Vacation In a Location That Doesn't Have a Daily Minyan? By Jewish Press Staff
Generally, I oppose going on vacation to a location where there is no daily minyan. My primary concern, though, goes beyond the loss of praying with a minyan. When a person is away from his religious environment, there is a tendency for him to reduce his level of observance. Unfortunately, many are not strong enough to maintain religious standards when surrounded by others who see their behavior as bizarre.
I used the word "generally," though, since some live high-pressured lives and need to escape for a short time to an isolated spot to reduce the pressure and regain their equilibrium.
— Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani at YU's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
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Rabbi Marc D. Angel
Here are a few things a man must consider when planning a vacation:
Will there be a daily minyan – preferably according to my minhag – in the vacation destination?
Will my wife and children be happy vacationing there? Does my wife have a different preference?
Even if the locale has a daily minyan, is it really a place where I want to spend my vacation? Is it beautiful? Does it provide proper facilities for rest and recreation?
What if my family and I enjoy camping? What if we wish to travel to National Parks or other scenic destinations where we can't be sure of finding a daily minyan? May we travel to various countries where we will surely learn a lot about other cultures and see world famous landmarks, but where no daily minyan may be available?
Each person must make a personal decision. One must weigh the pluses and minuses of each option and then make plans that will be appropriate for oneself and one's family. Whatever decision is reached, please enjoy your vacation – and remember to pray with kavanah and gratitude.
— Rabbi Marc D. Angel, director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
* * * * *
Rabbi Zev Leff
Davening with a minyan is very important; every community is required to establish a minyan and can even fine residents for its upkeep. An individual must travel up to 18 minutes outside his city to daven with a minyan. According to some opinions, he must travel to any location, regardless of distance, inside his city.
If one is traveling and a minyan is within 72 minutes of the direction he is traveling in, he must travel that distance rather than daven alone.
Davening with a minyan is very important because Hashem receives tefillos said in a minyan with extra favor. One also fulfills the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem by answering Kaddish and Kedushah.
According to some, davening with a minyan is not obligatory, but rather a very strong imperative. Others maintain that it is an actual rabbinic obligation.
A person, therefore, should not travel to a place where he won't be able to daven with a minyan. However, if he is traveling for business and will incur a loss of parnassah if he doesn't make the trip or he is traveling for health purposes – which includes needed rest and relaxation away from the strains and pressures of society – not davening with a minyan is permissible according to some.
I personally know very prominent roshei yeshivah and rabbanimwho vacationed in isolated areas for this very reason (see Yad Eliyahu 6; Divrei Malkiel, vol. 5, 109; Shevet Halevi, vol. 6, 26, Teshvos Vehanagos, vol. 3, 63; and Tefilla Kehilchasa, ch. 8 par. 9, note 23 in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach). In such cases, it is best to leave for the vacation after one has davened and before one is obligated to daven the next tefillah (e.g., after Shacharis before Minchah time).
However, to travel to a place without a minyan for pleasure purposes only is not proper.
— Rabbi Zev Leff, rav of Moshav Matisyahu, popular lecturer and educator
* * * * *
Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet
Vacationing is very important. It provides a chance to replenish and offers families the opportunity to spend quality time together. What it is never supposed to do, though, is deplete one's spiritual stature. A vacation from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind should never amount to a vacation from Yiddishkeit.
That said, does one need to vacation only where there is a minyan? Many halachic authorities maintain that doing so is not paramount. If I am in a locale where there is a minyan, though, I am duty-bound to attend it.
The important balance here is to appreciate, on the one hand, the very real need for some timeout, while at the same time be conscious of the fact that this respite is intended to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul. The body needs rest, and the soul needs constant nurturing.
Even in the absence of a minyan, there shouldn't be any compromise of the basics. Davening thrice daily and regular Torah study remain essential.
— Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, popular Lubavitch lecturer, rabbi of London's Mill Hill Synagogue
A new poll shows that Jews are overwhelmingly against Trump. But it also hints at a coming demographic shift that may eventually change the math.
(May 23, 2019 / JNS) The good news for U.S. President Donald Trump coming out of a new poll of Jewish voters is that he shouldn't take their indifference about his pro-Israel policies too personally.
The survey published this week that was conducted by Greenberg Research for the Jewish Electoral Institute tells us a lot of things that we already knew. The vast majority of Jewish voters identify as Democrats and are, when compared to other Americans, disproportionately liberal. They also really, really don't like Trump, with 71 percent disapproving of his presidency and only 29 percent approving of his performance in office.
That may strike Trump and other Republicans as astonishing considering that by any objective standard, Trump has been the most pro-Israel president America has ever had, as his policy shifts on Jerusalem, the U.S. embassy, the Golan Heights, Iran and accountability for the Palestinians have demonstrated.
But if there is one number that you can learn from a deep dive into the survey's findings, it's that only 28 percent of the Jews polled say that support for Israel is one of the most important issues that determine how they vote. That puts it on the bottom of a list of issues presented to them, ranking far below concerns about protecting Medicare and Social Security (the No. 1 issue), health care, gun control, abortion, the Supreme Court, education, taxes and immigration, among others. As the executive summary of the poll summed it up, "Israel is the lowest policy priority for Jewish voters."
Greenberg Research is a liberal Democratic polling firm. That bias was reflected in the wording of some of the questions and the fact that it asked respondents their opinion of "white supremacists and the far right," though didn't ask about left-wing anti-Semitism. Still, the results do seem to reflect the reality of a voting bloc that remains firmly in the pockets of the Democrats.
That only Orthodox and politically conservative Jews consider Israel a priority is not really news. But the poll demonstrates anew that nothing Trump might do for Israel would impact the opinions of Jewish voters much one way or the other. Indeed, the favorable/unfavorable numbers for Trump are almost identical to the breakdown of the Jewish vote in the 2016 election, when 70 percent of Jewish voters backed Hillary Clinton.
That level of partisanship and personal animus for the president is also reflected in Jewish views about anti-Semitism and the security of the Jewish community. The Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shootings are the reason why the survey said that 73 percent of Jews felt less secure than two years ago. Yet a stunning 59 percent agreed with a leading question posed by Greenberg that asked whether Trump "was at least partially responsible" for the attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway. When given a choice of factors that might cause attacks on Jews, the most popular response was "President Trump encouraging ultra-right extremists committing violent attacks." And when asked about the best way to ensure Jewish security, 39 percent thought defeating Trump was the answer. By contrast, only 12 percent thought adding "armed security" at synagogues and Jewish institutions might help.
Trump is a flawed leader, and he is guilty of helping to coarsen our public discourse and holds views about issues like immigration that most Jews find abhorrent. But the belief that he is encouraging those committing violent attacks on synagogues doesn't stand up to scrutiny when you consider that those responsible were deeply opposed to Trump specifically because they considered him too friendly to the Jews. The notion that anti-Semitism was somehow lying dormant until January 2017 and that throwing the most pro-Israel administration to date out of office and replacing it with the party that is prepared to tolerate the likes of BDS supporters and anti-Semites like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) will make Jews safer strains credulity.
In an era of almost unprecedented levels of partisanship, and in which Americans view those with different political views with the same sort of suspicion they once reserved for believers in other religious faiths, it would seem that Jews—who, along with African-Americans are among the most reliable supporters of the Democrats—are also prepared to believe the worst of those on the other side of the political divide. That doesn't give Trump or the Republicans much reason for optimism in 2020 with respect to a Jewish community that seems to subscribe to the "everyone I don't like is Hitler" view of politics.
There is, however, one reason for a sliver of hope for Republicans in the future. Greenberg's summary notes that Jewish millenials are, like other young voters, more inclined to be culturally liberal. Yet the divide in other groups shows that older voters are more conservative and inclined to support Trump. However, in the Jewish population, it's the reverse; even among the non-Orthodox, older Jews are more against the president than the young. Trump's levels of support among Jewish millenials and those under 30 are significantly higher than among those who are older, even if those that back him are still a clear minority.
When you factor in the fact that the Orthodox—a majority of whom back Trump—are the only demographic slice of the community that is actually growing, and that the non-Orthodox population is declining, it's clear that the Democrats advantage among Jews is likely to decline in future elections.
But anyone wondering why the Democrats' toleration of Omar and Tlaib in their ranks hasn't moved the needle in terms of Jewish opinion need look no further than Greenberg's findings about Jewish priorities. When Israel isn't one, then there should be no surprise about the willingness of so many Jews to believe in unsubstantiated allegations about Trump's anti-Semitism and to be indifferent to his Middle East policies.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS—Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
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