Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Q&A: The Holocaust’s Jewish Calendars: Keeping Time Sacred, Making Time Holy and | Israeli Startup Promises Quality Whiskey In Weeks

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

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

I'm writing about Jewish calendar's today and saying Kaddish today so it is appropriate to mention my Grandfather's Yahrzeit (he was a Ukrainian Rabbi that came to America in 1920 and made a life in Chicago for his family was on the 18th. My Mother's Yahrzeit ( a Holocaust survivor who came to America from Germany to make a new life)  is coming up on the 28th.

Love Yehuda Lave

It's 2020...I'm getting older & I still have so many unanswered questions!!!!
I haven't found out who let the dogs out, where's the beef, or how to get to Sesame Street.

Don't know why Dora doesn't just use Google Maps, why all the flavors of fruit loops taste exactly the same, or how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop!!! Why eggs are packaged in a flimsy carton but batteries are secured in plastic that's tough as nails.

What does the fox say or why "abbreviated" is such a long word. Why is there a D in 'fridge' but not in the refrigerator, why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, yet dish-washing liquid is made with real lemons? Or why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections & why do you have to "put your two cents in" but it's only a "penny for your thoughts" where's that extra penny going to???

Why does The Alphabet Song & Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same tune, why did you just try to sing those two previous songs??? And just what exactly is Victoria's secret? and where is Waldo? Can you hear me now?


Q&A: The Holocaust's Jewish Calendars: Keeping Time Sacred, Making Time Holy

Historian Avraham Rosen discusses his groundbreaking new book that holds relevance for all By Yaakov Ort

the story is too long for me to copy, please go to the story on line at


Why and When Did Mourners Start Saying Kaddish Together? By Yehuda Shurpin

nowadays it is common practice that all mourners recite Kaddish together. But this is actually a relatively new phenomenon.

In the past, only one mourner was honored with the task of saying Kaddish. This makes sense, considering that prayers are generally recited either by the entire congregation or by a single individual representing and leading the congregation. Kaddish is no different. The chazzan recites the Kaddish a number of times throughout the prayers, with the congregation answering "amen." "Mourner's Kaddish," which is essentially the mourner acting as the chazzan for that Kaddish, shouldn't be—and indeed wasn't—any different.

Now, what happens when there are multiple mourners, each vying for the coveted honor to say Kaddish in merit of their loved ones? There is much discussion in halachic literature regarding which mourner gets priority to recite the Kaddish, e.g., a mourner during the first seven days (even if the actual shiva was terminated due to a holiday) takes precedence over a mourner in sheloshim (the first thirty days), etc.

Nowadays, while some retain this original custom, in most communities all mourners recite the Kaddish together.1 How and when did this happen?

Avoiding Strife

One of the first to mention the custom to have all mourners recite the Kaddish is Rabbi Yaakov Emden (1697–1776), who writes in his siddur that "with regard to various laws about who takes precedence for Mourner's Kaddish among the Ashkenazim, I will not discuss it, as it is only a custom (and how good and right is the Sephardic custom that if there are many mourners, all merit and recite the Kaddish together, avoiding strife and disagreement) . . ."2 In other words, Rabbi Yaakov Emden felt that it would be wise for Ashkenazim to follow the Sephardic custom of reciting the Kaddish together and thereby avoiding strife.

(To clarify, there is a key difference between Kaddish recited during the prayers and the Mourner's Kaddish. Kaddish recited during the prayers at specific breakpoints such as before Barechu is considered essential for congregational prayers, while the other Kaddeishim, such as the Mourner's Kaddish, is considered custom, which started later on.3)

The Great Cholera Pandemic

The shift in this Ashkenazi custom can also be traced to the devastating cholera pandemic in the 1830s, in which hundreds of thousands of people died. Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761–1838), one of the leading sages and rabbi in Posen at that time, writes:

In the month of Av 5591 [1831] when, due to our many sins, the cholera started here in our city, there were many mourners that needed to recite Kaddish. I enacted that the mourners should all recite the Kaddish together. That is how it was for one complete year. When the year was over, on the first of the month of Av in the year 5592 [1832] and, with the help of G‑d the epidemic subsided, I established that they should no longer recite all of the Kaddeishim together, except for once each day, meaning that they recite together the Kaddish at the conclusion of the Shacharit prayers . . ."4

The Ashkenazic Cacophony

Thus, what was once more of a Sephardic custom started becoming more prevalent in Ashkenazi communities as well.

At the same time, there were many who objected to this custom, for a very practical reason: Unlike Ashkenazim, Sephardic communities are used to praying together aloud in unison. So when it comes to Kaddish, everyone is careful to synchronize the prayer, as they would do with all prayers. When Ashkenazim attempt to recite the prayer together, they aren't careful about synchronizing, causing a cacophony of voices, and there is halachic rule that "two voices or sounds aren't heard [properly] at the same time."5 6

The Main Thing Is Answering Amen

Rabbi Moses Sofer, known as the Chatam Sofer (1762–1839), is of the opinion that the main benefit of Kaddish is not the actual recital of the words; rather, it is the great merit of causing the congregation to respond with "amen" or "yehei shmei rabbah." This being the case, it would seem that only the first mourner to cause the congregation to respond, by either being the loudest or by reaching the responsive part first, would actually receive this merit. It follows that the other mourners would not be accomplishing anything by reciting the Kaddish, as they wouldn't be the cause for the responsive "amen." This would result in Kaddish becoming a competition of who could recite it the loudest or fastest, and should therefore not be recited by multiple people at once.7

One Amen for Many Kadeishim

Despite these objections, the widespread custom in most communities has become that all mourners recite the Kaddish simultaneously.

Many explain that according to halachah, even if one recited "amen" after the first mourner reached the responsive part of Kaddish, as long as the others reach that point within a few seconds,8 that one amen is counted for all of their Kaddeishim.9 Furthermore, although ideally one should hear the actual Kaddish, as long as one is aware of what he is responding to, he can respond with "amen" even if he didn't hear the end.10

At the same time they caution that when many are reciting the Kaddish together, extra care should indeed be taken that all recite it out loud11 together in unison.12

May we merit the day when G‑d will wipe away our tears, and we will once again be united with our loved ones with the coming of Moshiach. May it be speedily in our days!

Footnotes 1.

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 26: 18; Gesher Hachaim, ch. 30.


Siddur Yaavetz, Aleinu v'Kaddish Yotam.


See Shulchan Aruch Harav, Orach Chaim 55:1.


Pesakim u'Takonot R'Akivah Eiger, p. 63.


See, for example, Talmud, Megillah 21b.


See Responsum Binyan Tzion (by the Aruch L'ner) 122.


See Responsum Chatam Sofer, Yoreh De'ah 345/


This time is known as as "toch k'dei dibur," e.g., the time that it takes to say the words שלום עליך רבי, Shalom alecha rebbi, "Peace unto you, my teacher,"


Halochot Ketanot 2:48; Ba'er Ha'itiv on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 55:1.


See Shulchan Aruch Harav, Orach Chaim 56:4.


See Responsum Binyan Tzion 122; Responsum B'tzel Hachachmah 5:135, quoting the Sefer Hamachkim; see, however, Responsum Rav Pe'elim 2:14.


Gesher Hachaim 30:10.

By Yehuda Shurpin

Medical breakthrough of 3D-printed hearts at Tel Aviv University

Billionaire investor James Richman supports first medical breakthrough enabling 3D-printed hearts from Tel Aviv University.

Futurist billionaire investor, James Richman, is part of the growing number of investors who are pouring in millions and backing the research and development of a medical technology breakthrough which has successfully enabled 3D-printed hearts derived from the patient's natural cells.

Having previously linked to backing innovation and artificial intelligence initiatives, his interest and support in the medical technology industry comes as a natural transition, and much welcomed development.

Billionaire investor James Richman joins the growing number of billionaire investors backing the R&D making 3D-printed hearts possible, and potentially cutting the wait times needed for the real thing soon.

Who is James Richman?

He was born in humble circumstances in Smārde of Tukums region, Latvia to technology and psychology savvy parents. He began making money even well before he ran away from home at the age of 16 by initially having odd jobs to owning several successful ventures which eventually led to him setting up his private investment firm where he used his natural skills, often attributed by various sources to his Asperger's syndrome, to scour the globe for the most promising and innovative investments.

While many of his investments are known to have been done in private and through closed-door deals, some of his most prominent investments include Tesla, Facebook and Uber.

His ability to sift through a myriad of deals and information and instinctively read through patterns has allowed him and his sophisticated clients to successfully navigate through the uncertain financial periods, particularly in 2008.

Family offices who have long been aware of his expertise through their trusted networks have recently come out to share how he has been their go-to billionaire in terms of diversifying and protecting their wealth, especially at times of political and financial instability.

Despite his private nature, he has been making headlines due to the growing interest and public nature of his investments. Most recently, Yahoo! News revealed that he and his camp are linked to acquisition talks with the equally discreet Barclays brothers in the sale of some of their assets. The sale comes as the British billionaire brothers empire experiences break up as they are offloading some of their assets, including The Telegraph, The Ritz Hotel, and Spectator.

The Latvian-born investor is also joining the growing number of billionaires pouring his investments in the research and development efforts in a quest to curb the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases.

Sources familiar with the matter reveal that such massive investments by James Richman into the project's R&D efforts will not only help ensure that the required resources and expertise are met, but it will also help increase the project's exposure as a result.

Just days after the news of Richman and Barclays brothers talks, financial pundits and analysts are quick to point out that the banking empire, Barclays (NYSE:BCS), which share the name of the brothers, has experienced a positive shakeup from the said news.

Medical breakthrough: 3D-printed hearts



Researchers from Tel Aviv University successfully create a 3D-printed heart using patient's cells (Video courtesy: Washington Post)

As with other medical research, the project still has a long way to go before further conclusions are made. Also, while similar efforts have been successfully tested in the past, this is the first time that the 3D printed hearts comes directly from the patient, and not from external synthetic sources, which usually cause complications later on.

Scientists have already successfully 3D-printed a sample that used a patient's cells, including one run by Chicago-based startup BioLife4D and Belgium-based firm Materialise which specializes in 3D printing technology.

It is therefore a progress and proof that someday, the process could be used to cure hearts in constructing new ones for transplants.

Growing global cardiovascular disease

In the United States alone, over nearly half of the population suffer from cardiovascular disease. Each one of these patients faces unique personal challenges to manage his or her condition.


3D printed version of a human heart will no longer be a distant reality, thanks to successful breakthrough by researchers in Tel Aviv (Source: Washington Post)

Conditions and causes differ from every patient but the grief is real. In many cases, a patient usually reveals that they feel a numbing sensation creeping on their left shoulder and nape, which is often followed by the left side of the face slowly drooping.

Most of them soon realized that they are having a stroke. In many cases, patients are fortunate enough when it does not turn out to be the life-ending episode. However, some still experience the loss of some of the functions of their limbs, as well as difficulty in speaking as a result.

Doctors point out to a number of factors that often lead to such condition. They often highlight lifestyle, diet, smoking, rest and genes as factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases.

A tremendous first

The senior author of the said research, Professor Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University is ecstatic to share the progress of the project so far and welcomes the much-needed additional funding into the project, "This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers."

A biopsy of the fatty tissue that surrounds the abdominal organs was one of the processes involved in printing the heart. The extracellular matrix linking the cells were separated from the rest of the contents of the tissue.

These cells were programmed by the researchers to act as stem cells. These stem cells had the ability to transform into heart cells. The "ink" came from this material that was processed into a personalized hydrogel.

The initial experiments focused on creating heart patches from the cells and hydrogel. Later, it progressed into printing an entire heart.

The professor of Tel Aviv University's School of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, also disclosed, "At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of a rabbit's heart, but larger human hearts require the same technology."

Such progress is a great improvement in the medical technology field. Before, researchers had been able to print only simple tissues without blood vessels.

As the project requires several stages of research and testing before further developments can come out of it, the additional support from billionaires like James Richman comes as a welcomed news not only by the organization, but also of the industry.

Positive implications

The technology is centered to combat the leading cause of death in the developing world, cardiovascular disease. Heart transplants are the only treatment available for patients who have end-stage heart failure. This further defines the importance of 3D-printing hearts as a developing technology.

Dvir emphasized that using the patient's own cells is key to engineering the organs and tissues to curb the risk of organ rejection during transplants. "The biocompatibility of engineered materials is crucial to eliminating the risk of implant rejection, which jeopardizes the success of these treatments,'' he said.

Ahead of the curve, but with more to go

According to the researchers, they plan to train the hearts to behave like hearts. "The cells need to form a pumping ability; they can currently contract, but we need them to work together."

If Professor Dvir's team is successful, they plan to transplant the 3D printed heart in animal models and, after that, humans.

"Maybe, in ten years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely."

While we may have to wait a bit longer for the real thing, the ongoing progress and developments, growing interest and the news of James Richman being linked to the research does not only cement the project's potential, but also provides the runway needed for it to continue further efforts, and potentially pave the way for us to see the 3D-printed hearts made available our nearest hospital branches sooner.

| Israeli Startup Promises Quality Whiskey In Weeks

What do you look for on the label of a bottle of scotch to determine its quality? Usually, you'll note the number of years the whiskey has been aged; the more the merrier.

That's so 1869, says Matan Edvy, cofounder of Verstill, an Israeli startup that claims to be able to produce top-notch whiskey in weeks, not years.

 "There hasn't been any technological improvement in the way spirits are made for a hundred and fifty years," Edvy explains.

Verstill applies the latest chemical knowhow to distilling alcohol for the modern age.

"The whiskey you drink is about 40% alcohol, 59% water and 1% acid, esters and other molecules," Edvy tells ISRAEL21c.

It's the 1% – comprising about 2,000 different molecules – "that creates the complexity, the flavor and scent."

A short whiskey-making primer: As the temperature outside the barrel changes, the liquid inside expands and contracts, interacting with a charred oak matrix, which extracts wood sugars and aromatic compounds such as vanilla.

Distillers work "by taste and smell, not analytical tests," writes Nick Scarff on the Whiskey Wash website.

Their work is considered an art. Scarff says the "romanticism that surrounds these products … is one reason why the use of technology is seen as a taboo subject for many whiskey drinkers."

Edvy argues that modern technology can create whiskey that tastes as good as the classics, and do it faster and at a lower price.

It may not be an artform, but if Verstill can bring the price of a bottle of scotch down from, say, $60 to $35, what's not to love?

Indeed, quick distilleries are popping up around the world. Belgian Owl's Single Malt Whisky is aged for just four years. Taiwan's Kavalan comes to market in four to six years compared to 15 to 20 years for traditional competitors.

Even experts can't tell the difference, Edvy says.

Frank McHardy, former distillery manager at Bushmills Irish Whiskey, is on Verstill's advisory board. "He told us that what we produce is something he'd expect to find in a warehouse after seven years."

FreshStart prize

Verstill's proprietary "molecular distillery" technology allows operators to easily change up the reaction between the different elements in the barrel.

The company's patent-pending "Versatile still" controls product flavor "by modifying the internal reacting array in the still, and our hyper aging technology is able to accelerate the naturally occurring reactions."

That was enough to capture the judges' attention at the Fresh Start Foodtech Incubator Challenge where Verstill won the top prize in September. The incubator is backed with $285 million from Israeli food giants Tnuva and Tempo along with the Finistere international food and farming investment firm.

Verstill itself has raised $1.3 million from a combination of winery and restaurant owners, private investors "and even a couple of physicists," Edvy adds.

The winery connection is important to Verstill's business model. The company's stills can work with barrels that previously contained other alcohols, such as wine.

That makes adding a whiskey operation to an existing winery a more cost-effective proposition than starting from scratch. Same goes for breweries, where beer barrels can be repurposed to make whiskey.

Glen Hula Israeli Single Malt

Edvy's path to spirit-maker was quite the pivot. He previously was the chief pilot of Urban Aeronautics, which makes a UAV that can evacuate injured soldiers from battlefields where helicopters can't fly.

"But I come from a wine-making family," he says.

Edvy and his father took a year-long course in winemaking at Tel Hai College, then headed to Scotland to learn more about whiskey. "I read every book and went to Scotland again and again to find sources, expertise and equipment."

Edvy invested his own money to build what he says was "a very efficient distillery."

It was meant as a stand alone operation, not a technology for collaboration. But after he joined forces in 2016 with Yechiel Ben Zvi and Ido Maor as cofounders, "we realized that it didn't make sense to build just one."

The company plans to open its own distillery in the northern Galilee, to be called Glen Hula Israeli Single Malt. (Glen is Scottish for "valley;" Israel's Hula Valley is a lush agricultural region including a nature reserve.

The whiskey also will be available through collaborations to be announced in the coming months.

For more information, click here

See you tomorrow bli neder

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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