Thursday, April 30, 2020

Must Causeless Hatred continue to haunt Jewish history? By Victor Sharpe and Yom Hashoah in Halacha & History and Shalom Pollack Father's Obituary and Tribute to children of Holocaust features previously unreleased Shlomo Carlebach recording and Ripped from Today’s headlines-The Torah predicts Inheriting the Land of Israel

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A Hollow Leg

Old Morty Mandelbaum went to the doctor complaining of a terrible pain in his leg.

"I am afraid it's just old age," replied the doctor, "there is nothing we can do about it."

"That can't be," fumed old Morty, "You don't know what you are doing."

"How can you possibly know I am wrong?" countered the doctor.

"Well it's quite obvious," the old man replied, "my other leg is fine, and it's the exact same age!"

Ripped from Today's headlines-The Torah predicts Inheriting the Land of Israel

Ripped from Today's headlines-The Torah predicts Inheriting the Land of Israel

Parsha Kedoshim -one of the two Torah Parshat that will be read this Saturday in the Synagogue (or privately if you are not in Synagogue.)

In Chapter 20 of the book of Leviticus, verse 24, it states:

I promised you: You will inherit their land, since I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the LORD your God who set you apart from the peoples."

This verse will be read from the Torah. What a coincidence we just had the Independence Day of the State yesterday  Yom Ha'atzmaut 2020 in Israel began in the evening of Tuesday, 28 April, and ends in the evening of  Wednesday, 29 April 2020.

Now in the year that the Independence day actually happened, 1948, the parsha of the week was Emor, the following Parsha, but as they say, it was close enough for government work.

Independence Day (Hebrew: יום העצמאות‎ Yom Ha'atzmaut, lit. "Day of Independence") is the national Day of Israel, commemorating the Israel Declaration of Independence in 1948. The day is marked by official and unofficial ceremonies and observances.

Because Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, which corresponded with the Hebrew date of Iyar 5 in that year in that year, Yom Ha'atzmaut was originally celebrated on that date. However, to avoid Sabbath desecration, it may be commemorated one or two days before or after the 5th of Iyar if it falls too close to the Jewish Sabbath Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day is always scheduled for the day preceding Independence Day.

In the Hebrew calendar, days begin in the evening. The next occurrence of Yom Haatzmaut took place yesterday on 28–29 April 2020.

Now that should be the end of the story. The bible predicted our return, we returned, all the Jews should be here and we would have a sweet ending with the Moshiach.

Unfortunately, life isn't that simple. We have a dispute among the Jews as to the religious significance of the State of Israel

    Two basic attitudes towards the religious significance of the State of Israel are prevalent within the contemporary Orthodox community.  The non-Orthodox community thinks about Israel from a secular viewpoint. It appreciates the miracles of the State but doesn't justify it based on the Torah.

The "charedi" (ultra-Orthodox) position contends that we can grant no religious significance to the State, and some even view the State as a negative phenomenon. The second position is the "messianic" approach, which applies to the Jewish State all the words with which Rav Kook zt"l described the State well before its establishment: "The foundation of God's Throne in the world, whose entire desire is that God shall be One and His Name shall be One." 

    Rav Kook lived in extraordinary times and witnessed the striking phenomenon of the Jewish People's national renewal in their ancestral homeland. This amazing turn of events was a complex reality that demanded a complex perspective. Rav Kook's greatness lay in the fact that he did not settle on just one viewpoint regarding the return of the people to Zion; rather, he saw the entire process with all its inherent difficulties and complexities, both the rays of light and the dark shadows. And, indeed, there were plenty of dark shadows.

    Throughout the unfolding process of the Return to Zion, a difficult and painful problem presented itself: those who brought about the process were not Torah observant. It would have been far simpler were the return to the land to have been accompanied by a return to the Torah. Unfortunately, though, this is not what happened. The major personalities of the Zionist movement abandoned, for the most part, the religious lifestyle, and thus the return to Israel involved a rebellion against Jewish tradition and a rejection of Torah and mitzvot.

    Rav Kook's struggle with this dilemma is well-known: he consistently defended the secularists who built the country, insisting that one cannot judge them superficially, according to their actions alone. One must rather probe the general spiritual processes underlying the entire historical development, and thereby arrive at a deeper understanding of the specific spiritual phenomena occurring in those who live during this period.

 Indeed, observance of the general, national Torah is especially difficult, far more difficult than observing the Torah of the individual. For Torah and mitzvot come to purify mankind, and the process of purifying the entire people, as a society that requires national-governmental matters, is much more complicated than the purification of each individual as a specific person. For our obligation is not merely to be holy as individuals, but additionally and especially to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation".

    Pure spirituality returned to its previous level once it had been severed from active national existence. Rav Kook then allows us to share his uncertainty: how do we know when the process of recovery has been completed, when the time to renew our national existence in our land has arrived?

To whom has been revealed the divine secret, to know when the nation and the land have been totally purified from their contamination? ... No one among us knows. Therefore, our eyes look to find the hidden secrets where they can be found - in the vision of the revealed time of redemption, of which our sages said: There is no time when redemption is more revealed [than when the Land of Israel is fruitful], as is stated, "But you, O mountains of Israel, shall yield your produce and bear your fruit for My people Israel, for their return is near." 

Rav Kook was convinced that the corrupt Western culture would collapse after the First World War. The end has finally arrived, he presumed, to the culture of falsehood that was based on trickery and corruption (Orot Ha-milchama, p.15):

    Did Rav Kook ever imagine - was he capable of imagining - that World War I would not be the most horrible of wars? Did it ever occur to him that the culture of bloodshed would not crumble, but would rather continue to thrive? Rav Kook's optimism is the optimism before Auschwitz and Hiroshima. As "dwarves on the shoulders of a giant," we know that the culture of murderers has yet to be eliminated. The time has not yet arrived when a government can be conducted according to the principles of righteousness and honesty. The bloodshed has not spared us even now, in the aftermath of the Holocaust: to this very day, we find ourselves caught in a frightening web of military confrontation, and our enemies continue to wage a bloody battle against us.

    Rav Kook's optimistic vision predicted that as Jewish autonomy develops, so will its moral image. And specifically this development, as we saw earlier, affords the Jewish State its exalted stature and guarantees the correction of past misdeeds. Let us now take an honest look at the society before us today. Does contemporary Israeli society live up to Rav Kook's vision? Can we say about the State of Israel that "theft, robbery, murder and the like are not even heard of?!" The violence, corruption and growing tensions among the various segments of society prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have not reached the ideal state of which Rav Kook dreamt long before the establishment of our State of Israel.

    How can we not thank the Almighty for all the kindness that He has showered upon us? First and foremost, the State of Israel serves as a safe haven for eight million Jews today.. After the nightmare of the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees wandered around the globe, finding a home and refuge only in Israel. The State has contributed an incalculable amount to the restoration of Jewish pride after the devastating chillul Hashem (desecration of God's Name) caused by the Holocaust. Today, too, the State plays an enormous role in the Jewish identity of our brethren throughout the world. For so many of them, the emotional attachment to the State

Are we not obligated to thank the Almighty for His kindness towards us? Unquestionably! And not just on Yom Ha-atzma'ut; each day we must recite Hallel seven times for the wonders and miracles He has performed on our behalf: "I praise you seven times each day!"

    Furthermore, our very existence in Israel comprises the fulfillment of the prophets' visions:

There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares.  Zechariah 8:4-5

Regarding this vision, the prophet declares,

Just as it will seem impossible to the remnant of these people in those days, so shall it also seem impossible to Me, declares the Lord of Hosts. (8:6)

What is it that seems impossible in the eyes of God? What we see with our own eyes each day: elderly people in the streets of Jerusalem! (at least before the Corona when they are stuck inside!) The complete redemption has yet to unfold, and we have yet to be privileged to live in a state that represents "the foundation of the Divine Throne in the world." But we have been privileged to witness the gathering of a large portion of the Jewish People to our homeland, and this phenomenon itself is to be considered the "atchalta de-ge'ula" ("beginning of the redemption").

    Certain characterizing features of the time of redemption have, indeed, appeared. We must sing praises to the Almighty for even this partial redemption, which still lacks the completion of the promise and hope in this time of Corona we deserve full redemption

Must Causeless Hatred continue to haunt Jewish history? By Victor Sharpe

Must Causeless Hatred continue to haunt Jewish history?

By Victor Sharpe

History repeats itself, often catastrophically, when it comes to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

In ancient times, the foreign enemies, whether the armies of Assyria, Babylon or Rome, destroyed Jewish sovereignty and imposed near genocide and expulsion. The mercenary armies of Seleucid Syria nearly destroyed Jewish sovereignty but were defeated by the heroic Maccabees. The Babylonians destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE and the Romans, the Second Temple in 70 CE, but these were external causes of cataclysmic events, so often caused by internal Jewish diviseness..  Now we are seeing "Causeless Hatred" among the Jews themselves, once again ushering in the past national and religious tragedies that are now imperiling modern Israel's very survival.   

The Enemy within:

If we scrutinize the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple, we may well question whether a wound of such hideous proportions was truly Rome's action or, in part, a self-inflicted devastation.  We know that the Jewish population of Judea chafed under a succession of brutal Roman governors and procurators whose sole concern was their own self-enrichment.  They knew nothing of the spirit and religion of the Jewish people.

Therefore, it is no wonder that Jewish discontent and outrage increased under the extravagances and brutality of the Roman procurators, such as – Cumanus, Antonius Felix, Porcius Festus, Lucceius Albinus.  The breaking point came with Gestius Florus, whose horrific excesses against the Jews triggered the Great War against Rome.

An earlier procurator was Pontius Pilate of the Gospel story, as described by Philo of Alexandria.  "Pontius Pilate was a man characterized as corruptible, rapacious, violently abusive and one without judgement, who executed Jews constantly with boundless cruelty. It was as though he had come to Judea with the deliberate intention of provoking the people." He was hardly the fair-minded governor falsely portrayed in the Gospels.

Thus, over the span of some decades, there was growing animosity between the unjust Roman power structure and the ordinary Jews who were also at odds within the community.  This was the first century of the Common Era, when the Jews were bitterly divided into power elites, the peace party and the Zealots, political parties that opposed each other.  

Today in modern Israel, individual politicians ruined the last three general elections with their divisiveness. Even now as the Wuhan virus casts its deadly pall over Israel and the world, the bickering continues.  Many of these politicians have relentlessly imperiled Israel's survival even while the irrational mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran continue ratcheting up their genocidal threats against the Jewish state.

A story in the Talmud tells us that the Second Temple was destroyed over an offense between a grudge-holding socialite and a vindictive curmudgeon named Bar Kamza. Their mutual hate was so intense that one informed on the other to the Romans, thus bringing the wrath of the Empire down upon Jerusalem. 

Whether true or a simple, allegorical theme, it explains the catastrophe that followed because of Jewish internecine strife as a violent feud between the Jewish factions.  Vengefully, they each burned the other's food stores even as the Roman legions were at the gates of Jerusalem, making themselves vulnerable to Rome's destruction. 

The Rabbis call this Sinat Chinam – "Causeless Hatred" – and they credit it with bringing down the ancient Jewish state. It is a stinging indictment of ancient Jews for their infighting and mutual delegitimization that we see being repeated today in modern Israeli politics. 

Civil war between Jews:

Written for both Roman and Jewish audiences, the ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, recorded the horrors of Rome's siege of Jerusalem in his book, "The Jewish War."

"The shouts of those (Jews) who were fighting one another were incessant both by day and night, but the continual lamentations of those who mourned were even more dreadful. Nor was any regard paid by relatives for those who were still alive. Nor was any care taken for the burial of those who were dead. The reason was that everyone despaired about himself."

Consequently God's own sanctuary and symbol of the unbroken Covenant between Israel and God, which had been restored after the return to Zion in the sixth century B.C.E., was needlessly and tragically destroyed. This cast doubt on the very relationship of the people and their Lord. Had God rejected the Covenant with Israel or had the Jews themselves broken the Holy Covenant - by their domestic strife - thus condemning the Jewish people to two thousand dark and terrible years of statelessness in the blood-soaked Diaspora?

Responses to the Destruction:


After the catastrophe of 70 CE, and despite the slaughter of a million or so Jewish men, women and children, the majority of Jewish survivors refused to surrender to the pitiless occupation. With Rome still the dreaded occupying power and the persecutions continuing, they harnessed despair into a force for action to make an all-out effort to restore the Temple. Only, they believed, by rebuilding the sanctuary could they reduce the terrible torment they were enduring and restore life to normal.


The ordinary people were now driven to drastic action. In the years 115 to 117 C.E, there were also widespread rebellions by Diaspora Jewry, especially in Cyprus and Alexandria, which were bloodily suppressed.

Then in 132 C.E., the remaining population of Judea rose up under the leadership of the charismatic Shimon Bar Kochba. But again, the overwhelming might of Rome was brought to bear.

After three years of relative freedom, Bar Kochba and his warriors were eventually defeated. 

The remaining population of Judea was mostly deported, leaving the Jewish people with the loss of national sovereignty, stateless, displaced, and vulnerable to persecution for centuries. But as always, a remnant survived over the centuries as best they could in their land while under a succession of alien occupiers.

Israel: Causeless Hatred yet again?

The wonderful Caroline Glick wrote in her blog of March 22, 2020 what so many of us are still fearing:  


"Amid a global pandemic, the threat of war with Iran and economic collapse, Israel's Blue and White Party is dead set on bringing Netanyahu down—even if it means taking Israel down with him."



    Benny Gantz and the pyromaniacs


The same Causeless Hatred that afflicted the ancient Jews has been evidenced yet again by the Blue and White Party's hatred towards Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, endangering Israel's very survival.


So we had Gantz and his Blue and White Party, with its singular goal of destroying Bibi Netanyahu, willing at one time to form a minority government with Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party and the Labor-Meretz Party, based on the outside support of the Joint Arab List, whose members are virulently anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist, wanting only the total and absolute destruction of the Jewish state.


That the Joint Arab List is allowed to remain spewing their hatred in the Knesset is a testament to Israel's democracy and diversity, albeit a suicidal one. Sadly, America would also allow such freedom to genocidal ingrates. Look at the two Muslim women in Congress… they are willing to destroy the United States.


Had Gantz been successful in forming an Israeli government of the insane, it would torpedo Israel's relations with the United States and likely create a constitutional crisis. It would have also betrayed the Holy Covenant.


It became tragically apparent that Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya'alon, Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak and so many other Bibi haters - including now Israel's leftist Supreme Court - were acting as the vindictive curmudgeons whose behavior, like the Bar Kamza character, was responsible for the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish state in 70 CE.

Indeed, arguably one of the saddest spectacles in Israel's political theater today was the unravelling of former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya'alon, who was so consumed with causeless hatred that he would have allowed the nation to be destroyed or, as Caroline Glick penned, "burn the house down." 

As Martin Sherman wrote in an Arutz Sheva Op-Ed, "Ya'alon was so infused with a desire to inflict vengeance on Netanyahu, that he would rather have collaborated with the anti-Zionist Red-Green Joint Arab List than support a unity government headed by Netanyahu - including a rotation arrangement with his hitherto colleague, Benny Gantz. 

"The Joint List is a faction openly committed to dismantling Israel as a Jewish state. Moreover, some of the Joint List members, such as Mansour Abbas, are publicly calling for introducing Sharia law in Israel, permitting polygamy for its Muslim citizens and lifting the quarantine on the Hamas-ruled Gaza."

History repeats itself and calamity follows. At this writing, the bickering continues and even the long and prayerfully awaited burning desire for Jewish Sovereignty throughout all of our ancestral and Biblical heartland in Judea and Samaria - not just 30% - must wait while Gantz and Bibi endlessly argue back and forth.


As a fervent supporter of the Sovereignty Movement, let me echo the words of their leaders, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar:


"The Sovereignty Movement reacts to reports about the fundamental principles of the coalition that are being negotiated between the Prime Minister and the chairman of the Blue and White party, MK Benny Gantz, regarding the sovereignty issue.


"The outline of application of sovereignty must correspond exclusively to Israeli interests and the Zionist vision and not to the Trump plan that ultimately leads to a Palestinian terrorist state in the heart of our homeland.


"The government of Israel must preserve the historic Land of Israel and not make the Jewish Zionist vision contingent on the position of the European countries regarding which history has proven that their morality does not withstand the challenges of truth. This is the time to be a free sovereign people in our land."


Therefore, will Israel's politicians and the leftist Israeli judiciary yet come to their senses or are we condemned again to ask the question: Must Causeless Hatred continue to haunt Jewish history?


Victor Sharpe is a prolific freelance writer and author of several published books, including a collection of thirteen short stories, titled, The Blue Hour. He is the author of the acclaimed four volumes of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.

Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem and Joe Biden By Paul Gherkin

In March 2010, Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel with the hope of pushing the Palestinians and Israelis towards a peace agreement. A 10-month settlement freeze which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in November 2009 was just drawing to an end with no engagement by the Palestinian Authority over the duration, but Biden was trying to move the parties forward.

Not long after he arrived, Israel announced the advancement of 1,600 homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo which is located north of the 1949 Armistice Lines. In response, Biden scolded Israel, saying "I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem." The statement using "condemn" was shocking, as it is normally only used regarding terrorism. Netanyahu's 10-month freeze also never included any construction in any part of Jerusalem, so the Israeli activity was not surprising.

Further, it is important to understand Ramat Shlomo.


Ramat Shlomo, Jerusalem

Ramat Shlomo is not a vacant plot of land, it is not privately owned by Arabs and it is not located in the middle of Judea and Samara / the West Bank. It is an established Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

  • This "East Jerusalem" neighborhood is located northWEST of Hebrew University which was built in 1925.
  • It is located southWEST of Pisgat Ze'ev, the second largest neighborhood in Jerusalem and just next to Ramat Alon, the largest neighborhood
  • it is located northWEST of the Jewish Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest location
  • It is located just on the other side of Highway 1 from Mobileye, a company which Intel bought for over $15 billion

The population in Ramat Shlomo is mostly ultra-Orthodox, and include Chabad and Litvish communities. The neighborhood has a median age among the youngest in Jerusalem and highest birth rates. Yet from 2006 to 2017, the population of Ramat Shlomo was flat at around 14,700 people. The lack of new homes and flat population growth despite the high birth rates meant that families actually had to leave their neighborhood. The Jerusalem Institute noted "The highest negative migration balance in relation to the size of the neighborhood's population was recorded in Ramat Shlomo."

Things finally turned around in 2018 with 500 new apartments commencing construction, the most in Jerusalem according to the Jerusalem Institute. The neighborhood also had the largest voter turnout for municipal elections in 2018, with 83% of eligible voters, indicating a highly engaged populace.

As the U.S. presidential election season moves into high gear, people will consider Biden's relationship with Israel and the 2010 Ramat Shlomo incident will surely be discussed. It is therefore worth reviewing how Biden's highly critical comments slowed the natural growth of that residential Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem for many years until just recently.

Related First One Through articles:

Time to Define Banning Jews From Living Somewhere as Antisemitic

Joe Biden Stabs a Finger at Israel

"Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem"

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Arabs in Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Subtle Discoloration of History: Shuafat

Related First One Through videos:

Judea and Samaria (music by Foo Fighters)

The Anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

E1: The Battle for Jerusalem (music by The Who)

The 1967 "Borders" (music by The Kinks)

Trump Cites Executive Order Addressing Anti-Semitism in Yom Hashoah Proclamation

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Friday ahead of Yom Hashoah, or Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Tuesday in which the president cited an executive order he signed in December to address current hatred toward Jews.

"Our Nation's annual observance of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, calls on all Americans to pause and reflect on the horrific atrocities committed by the Nazi regime against minority groups and other 'undesirables' in the years leading up to and during World War II," states the proclamation. "Among those murdered in the Holocaust were 6 million Jewish men, women and children who became victims of the Third Reich's unthinkably evil 'Final Solution.' "

Tribute to children of Holocaust features previously unreleased Shlomo Carlebach recording

Poignant tribute to 1.5 million children killed
during World War II.

As we honor the memory of those brutally murdered by the Nazis on Yom Hashoah, Sparks Next presents Mira, featuring previously unreleased audio of the legendary Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. A poignant tribute to the 1.5 million children killed during World War II, Mira was composed by musician and songwriter Cecelia Margules in memory of her maternal aunt Mira who was a beautiful child who loved to sing and dance and brought great joy to her family.

She was taken as a child from the Lodz ghetto together with her family and sent to her death in the gas chambers. The song was originally performed at a 1984 concert by Carlebach at the Brown's Hotel in the Catskills, with Reb Shlomo calling Margules's young niece onto the stage as he sang Mira in memory of the aunt whose name she carried.

Directed and produced by Daniel Finkelman, written and produced by Chaya Greenberg and co-directed by Aharon Orian, Mira spans the decades, weaving an exquisite duet between Reb Shlomo and the incomparable talent of Dudu Fisher. Vintage cinematography by David Orian takes viewers back in time to 1984 with a reenactment of the concert and shows both war-torn and contemporary Lodz through Fisher's eyes. Cast in the role of a witness to history, Fisher sees Mira and her family rounded up by the Gestapo and herded onto a cattle car as they are sent to their untimely deaths at Auschwitz.

"When Shlomo heard Mira's story he wanted to tell it very much and when he did you felt it," said Margules. "The fact that you could still hear him speaking and singing when so much of the tape had been destroyed was an amazing thing."

The number of remaining Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle with every passing year and the coronavirus outbreak has further chipped away at their numbers, making it more important than ever to pass the torch to the next generation.

"More than ever, during these stressful days," said Margules. "We need Shlomo Carlebach's inspiration, his heart and soul as he did in his lifetime, and his innate ability to lift and help a broken spirit"

Shalom Pollack's Father Obiturary

Klal Yisroel has lost one of its most experienced Rebbeim. Rabbi Baruch Pollack
was niftar Motzei Shabbos HaGadol at the age of 92 in Yerushalayim.

Rabbi Pollack had been a 1st
grade Rebbe for over 60 years. He started in Yeshiva of Lubovitch in the Bronx and then taught in
Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn and Yeshiva Mercaz HaTorah (RJJ) in Staten Island. Rabbi
Pollack was extremely beloved by 3 generations of students and their parents.

They appreciated his tremendous devotion and tireless dedication to his "boyalach" as he called them. His excitement for the chumosh and other Torah subjects he taught was contagious. It's no wonder that so many of his
students remember him as being the best Rebbe/teacher they ever had. He had a profound influence on thousands of students and gave the boys a solid basis to love their learning and yiddishkeit.

Rabbi Pollack was born in 1927 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was an orphan from birth(his father died when his
mother was yet pregnant with him). He was called to the Torah as Baruch ben Baruch and used to quip
to the gabbai he got the name backward! After receiving semicha from Rav Hutner in Yeshiva
Chaim Berlin, he and his family moved to East Flatbush where he helped found and was very active in
Rav Asher Zimmerman's Young Israel of Remsen. He was an expert Baal Tokea and on Rosh Hoshana
would go to nearby Brookdale Hospital to blow shofar for the patients. Later, the family moved to
Flatbush where he continued to use his talents as gabbai in Rav Poupko's shul. Anyone who came in
contact with him appreciated his sharp wit and "vertlach" that he enjoyed sharing. In addition, he was the
executive director of Y.I. of Bedford Bay where he ran a Talmud Torah and summer camp.

There too,
he influenced many children to come closer to Torah. Many of his talmidim, from both the yeshivos and
Talmud Torah, are today great mechanchim themselves who have continued in Rabbi Pollack's
footsteps. He lived his final year in the Ramot neighborhood of Yerushalayim and merited burial in Eretz Yisroel. He is survived by his devoted wife of 71 years as well as 3 sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
יהא זכרו ברוך

Yom Hashoah in Halacha & History by Shimshon HaKohen Nadel

The 27th of Nisan is observed in Israel as Yom Hashoah, a memorial day for the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It also commemorates the strength and resistance shown during that period.

But the very establishment of Yom Hashoah was the subject of much discussion and debate, and was historically met with great opposition by some leading rabbinic authorities.

By 1942, the gravity of the tragedy taking place in Europe reached the shores of pre-State Palestine. In response, Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Herzog enlisted the support of leading rabbis to establish a day of mourning, fasting and prayer. Among those he approached was Rabbi Yitzchak Ze'ev Soloveichik, the 'Brisker Rav' also known as 'Rav Velvel,' who had himself only recently escaped from Europe, settling in Jerusalem. Rav Velvel was vehemently opposed to adding a new day of mourning and fasting to the Jewish calendar. He reasoned that it is inappropriate – even prohibited – to create a new day of mourning as we already have a national day of mourning, the 9th of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and other national calamities and tragedies throughout Jewish history.

In his Teshuvot V'hanhagot (2:721), Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch records the fateful meeting between rabbis Herzog and Soloveitchik: Rav Velvel pointed to Would that my Head Were Water, one of the lamentations traditionally recited on the 9th of Av, which describes the destruction of the German communities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz during the First Crusades of 1096. In his lamentation, the author, Kalonymous ben Yehudah of Speyer, writes, "…One may not add a time to [commemorate] destruction and inferno… therefore today [the 9th of Av] I will arouse my grief and lament and wail and cry with bitter soul…" The author singles out the 9th of Av as the day to remember a tragedy that took place in the Rhineland, over 1,000 years after the destruction of the Holy Temple! According to Rav Velvel, "it is explicit that even though holy congregations suffered and met cruel deaths, nevertheless they did not institute days of mourning, rather they pushed them off to the 9th of Av, since it is prohibited to establish new days of mourning."

Other rabbis too would voice similar objections.

When asked about Yom Hashoah, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein responded that it is not permissible to create a new day of mourning (Igrot Moshe, YD 4:57:11), as did Rav Velvel's nephew, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (See Nefesh Harav, p. 197-198).

In an interesting footnote to Israeli history, Prime Minister Menachem Begin would seek to move Yom Hashoah to the 9th of Av following his meeting with Rabbi Soloveitchik in 1977.

Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, the revered Chazon Ish, opposed establishing a fast day to commemorate the Shoah. He explained that we do not have the authority to establish fast days today, as fasts may only be established by the Prophets (Kovetz Igrot 1:97).

But establishing a day of mourning and fasting – in addition to the 9th of Av – is not without precedent. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 580:1) lists days "on which tragedies befell our forefathers, and it is proper to fast on them." Among those listed are tragic events which occurred after the destruction of the Holy Temple.

In response to all of the opposition, Chief Rabbi Herzog pointed to specific communities that had established days of fasting and mourning and even received rabbinic approval (Teshuvot Heichal Yitzchak, Orach Chayim 61). In fact, the communities of Worms and Mainz – the very source for much of the opposition – observed a fast day to commemorate the destruction of their communities during the Crusades! And later, fasts would be established to commemorate the burning of the Talmud in France in 1242 and the Chmielnicki Massacres, which decimated Polish Jewry in the 17th Century (See Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 580:8).

Some argued that while the 9th of Av is indeed our national day of mourning, some tragedies are so devastating – so monumental – they require their own day of commemoration. That would certainly be the case with the Holocaust. The Slonimer Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Noach Berezovsky, for example, was deeply pained that a special day was not established to mourn the tragedies of the Shoah (See his Kuntres Haharugah Alecha).

In the early days of Statehood it was proposed that two(!) days be created to commemorate the Holocaust: One day to commemorate the heroism and bravery, which would coincide with the day the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began, and one day to mourn the tragic events, to be observed on 9th of Av.

But in an attempt to reach a compromise between the secular government and religious community – and in hopes of appeasing some of the opposing rabbis – the Chief Rabbinate established the fast of the 10th of Tevet as Yom Hakaddish Haklali, a day for the recital of Kaddish, the memorial prayer, for those martyrs whose date of death is unknown and those who left no family behind to mourn them. In addition to Kaddish, they decided the day should be observed like a Yahrtzeit, with the lighting of a memorial candle, the recitation of Kel Maleh Rachamim, and the study of Mishna.

Choosing a day to recite Kaddish is also not without precedent. The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 568:20, citing the Maharshal), rules that one who does not know the anniversary of his father's death may choose any day on which to observe the Yahrtzeit.

The choice of the 10th of Tevet was not accidental. By choosing the 10th of Tevet – which commemorates the siege of Jerusalem in 589 BCE by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, one of 'Four Fasts' established by the sages to mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple – the Chief Rabbinate sought to imbue the day with a religious character and quiet those voices who opposed the creation of a 'new' memorial day.

During the first Yom Hakaddish Haklali in December of 1949, the remains of thousands of Jews from the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp near Munich were buried together with desecrated Torah scrolls in Jerusalem, and special prayers were recited for the martyrs.

Following much debate, on September 1, 1951, the Knesset passed a resolution establishing the 27th of Nisan as Yom Hashoah U'mered Haghettot. Later, on April 8, 1959, the Knesset passed a law officially establishing Yom Hazikaron La'shoah Ve'lag'vurah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, as an annual "commemoration of the disaster which the Nazis and their collaborators brought upon the Jewish people and the acts of heroism and revolt performed." The law stipulates that the day be observed by a two-minute silence bringing the entire country to a halt, along with memorial gatherings and commemorative events.

Some rabbinic authorities objected to the choice of the month of Nisan, as some customs of mourning are prohibited the entire month because of the holiday of Passover. In addition, some opposed 'secular' commemorations like sirens and moments of silence – practices they deemed not be 'Jewish.'

But with time, Yom Hashoah was accepted by most of Israeli society as a day of reflection and mourning, and today is widely observed.

Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, who himself had survived the horrors of the Holocaust, defended the establishment of Yom Hashoah. In a preface to one of his responsa, he provides a compelling argument for the observance of such a day: "In my opinion it is proper to establish a special day of mourning and remembrance to remember the rabbis and holy Jews who were murdered, butchered, and burned in the sanctification of God's Holy Name, and to remember on this day the souls of these martyrs. We must do so not just because of the honor due these martyrs alone, but because of future generations that they not forgot what our people lost when the evil, murderous darkness covered over Europe" (Seridei Eish, new edition 1:31).

Watch: IDF soldiers sing 'Ani Maamin' while preparing packages for the elderly

Soldiers from the Sderot yeshiva, Karnei Shomron, and Gush Etzion hold their own Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.

See you tomorrow bli neder We need Moshiach Now

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Breaking News: as of tomorrow Exercise, Sports Restrictions to be Lifted After Independence Day and Have a meaningful Yom Yom Ha'atzmaut under unnecessary (see my blog 2 days ago) under Quarantine and What if People Rise Up Against Coronavirus Lock-downs? Israel Has a Plan and The central theme of Kaddish is magnification and sanctification of G-d's name and Israel's Population Reaches 9.2 Million as It Prepares to Celebrate 72 Years and Social Distancing hurts many!

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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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

Breaking news-Exercise, Sports Restrictions to be Lifted After Independence Day

Good news for Israelis: restrictions on movement will be lifted after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut (Israeli Independence Day) for those who are exercising or involved in sports activities.

Effective Thursday morning, Israelis will be able to move more than 500 meters (about a third of a mile) from their homes when they're engaging in sports activities or exercise.

Organized sports are also to be allowed on condition the "two meter" distance between participants will be observed, as will other hygiene rules.

Cabinet ministers voted this weekend to lift the restrictions immediately but reached a compromise with Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov to delay the effective date until after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut.

Social Distancing hurts many!

Social Distancing is Painful for many!

Not everybody is happy with our new Social Distancing policies

One of my readers sent me her thoughts:

I can think another interpretation for social distancing since I think it has been forced upon us by forces of evil, if you will, is more like "it is not good for man to be alone" idea from Bereshit (Genesis) when God creates Chaya (Eve) as a partner for Adam. I think a lot of people are instinctively feeling this is so true.

Some doctors are even saying that social isolation will make people especially many elderly sicker! Older people thrive from social interaction and stimulation in ways that screen time does not permit.

Being there face to face is just different than face through the screen to face. Touch. Hugs. So much that is lost in a world of social distance and screens. Older people need exercise and sunlight and fresh air which are things that work better when done with other people, even one other person.

Older people have usually accumulated many losses in their lives and the social isolation practices hurt the immune system and do not strengthen it making the older person more susceptible to infection!

Individuals will exercise their bodies, minds, and spirits when with someone else or in groups. Same for eating patterns. Of course, being trapped in some social isolation situation with another or people who don't get along has potential for positive ends but it will take more work. I admit that one.

But still, it probably can be done if people can decide it is necessary to work together since they need to deal with reality. Those truly by themselves really run higher risks in the end. We don't know how long these virus regulations are going to last, do we?

In the recent world before social distancing society was disintegrating as so many people were wanting connection but finding it difficult to really find and establish in a world of alienating technology and societal demands.

We were being programmed for alienation and this awful virus situation may have a benefit of revealing it for what it is a taste of new world tyranny and more alienation. If we can turn this around through common purpose and effort with prayer and reliance upon The One True G-d maybe we can avoid the dark predictions of the birth pangs of the Moshiach period and be redeemed.

Although it seems impossible for Jewish unity at this time, perhaps with G-d's help it will be for with G-d all things are possible.

This year on the Hebrew calendar is 5780 which might mean the twelve tribes, five plus seven is twelve, are entering 8 a world to come of some sort, and the zero may be a symbol of space for how we fill it. The coming year in 5781 might mean that God Who is One will enter actively in the picture. The one is on the right meaning God is Good and that his "Hand" the five, his "left hand" will work to accomplish 7, holy rest, and 8, the world to come.

The secular calendar goes from the war of 2020 which is a balance of forces in the material world between freedom and tyranny, in the spiritual world between good and evil, and a looking back as in hindsight evaluation and lead to 2021 where again God represented by the 1 is on the right claiming victory over the opposing forces in this world.

The two twos add up to four. Four refers to Pesach where the number four is symbolic of so many things. Twenty times two

is forty which is also meaningful for Jews. Think forty years of wandering in the desert, for example. Two minus two is zero which leaves one which is God the beginning and the end. Two divided by two is one which indicates the unity of the Jewish People or of the world with the One God. On that day He shall be one and His Name shall be One. Just impromptu thoughts.

These were my friends' thought's, they are born out by what Doctors are telling us:

How Social Distancing May Hurt People With Chronic Pain

Our society is in the midst of an unprecedented global public health crisis. As social distancing laws become increasingly more stringent, and government-mandated quarantine becomes our "new normal," the next few months will, undoubtedly, take a toll on all of us—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

With that in mind, there is a specific group of the population that is under-represented in the midst of this pandemic—the 100 million Americans (try to figure out how many in the rest of the world to which this applies) who suffer from debilitating chronic pain. While vastly underappreciated, it's not a medical problem that's going away anytime soon. According to Consumer Reports, prescriptions for pain medication have climbed 300 percent in the past decade.

According to the CDC, chronic pain is the number-one cause of long-term disability in the United States. A very common problem especially seen in older adults, it's often associated with other issues, such as depression, insomnia, social isolation, and poor quality of life. In the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, these individuals are at an even higher risk for getting sick, since the CDC also reports that anyone with "serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19."

So, what does this mean for those diagnosed with chronic pain—an already self-isolating condition that doesn't necessarily impact the lungs, but can still have an adverse effect on overall well-being and lead to a compromised immune system?

Here's what we know for sure. A recent study, "The Impact of Social Isolation on Pain Interference," published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, shows just how devastating loneliness and social distancing can be to individuals diagnosed with chronic pain. The research indicated that "patients with higher social isolation scores reported significantly higher levels of pain interference and significantly lower levels of physical function."

Which means now, more than ever, is a critical time for people struggling with chronic pain on a daily basis.

With an uncertain future ahead of us, it's crucial for anyone—whether they struggle with migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or any type of pain—that they double-down on health practices and refrain from letting social isolation worsen their condition.

Children don't understand social distancing:

A Helping Hand

Friday afternoon, 5-year-old Moishie Sherman came in while his parents were setting the table for Shabbos Dinner. Quite surprisingly, Moishie asked if he could help. His mother said, "No, but I appreciate your asking."

Little Moishie responded, "Well, I appreciate you saying no."


Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Under the new way of live, even the world's oldest profession has changed. Now the ladies of the evenings charge to hold their hand, since men are so desperate to have physical contact. Like in previous life where the price was higher without a condom, without the glove costs more.

Israel's Population Reaches 9.2 Million as It Prepares to Celebrate 72 Years

Majority of the country is Jewish, according to official figures, and 21 percent is Arab

Israel s population on the eve of its 72nd Independence Day now numbers 9.19 million, according to figures published Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. .

 The figure is made up of 6.806 million Jews (74 percent of the population) and 1.93 million Arabs (21 percent) and 454,000 people (5 percent) defined as "other."

The Arab population, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, consists of Circassians, Christian Arabs (including Armenians) and Druze. It does not include the Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or East Jerusalem who are not citizens or residents of Israel. However, it does include Jews who live in the West Bank settlements. "Others," according to the statistics bureau, include non-Arab Christians, members of other religions and people for whom no religion is listed, usually immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not registered as Jews.

Israel saw a population increase since last Independence Day of 171,000, or 1.9 percent. During this time 180,000 babies were born, 32,000 people came to live in Israel and 44,000 people died.

The figures do not include citizens of other countries living in Israel, among them asylum seekers.

When Israel was founded, there were 806,000 people in the country. Since the state's establishment 3.3 million immigrants have arrived. In 2030, Israel's population is expected to reach 11.1 million, and in 2040, 13.2 million. On Israel's 100th Independence Day in 2048, the population is predicted to reach 15.2 million.

Israel's population is young. About 28 percent are children 14 and younger, and about 12 percent are 65 and older. By comparison, in other countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average approximately 18 percent of the population are children under the age of 15, and about 17 percent are adults over the age of 65. In Israel, there are nearly 950,000 children up to age 4, and some 50,000 people are age 90 or older.

The data also reveal that 45 percent of the Jewish population in the world lives in Israel, and about 78 percent of the Jews in Israel were born here.

What if People Rise Up Against Coronavirus Lockdowns? Israel Has a Plan

In a document obtained by Haaretz, Israel's National Security Council charts a course of action if coronavirus restrictions lead to civil unrest. They even propose a toast

Yaniv Kubovich

A National Security Council committee handling the coronavirus pandemic has debated the possibility of a popular revolt over growing economic, psychological, and health problems.

In a document obtained by Haaretz, the panel describes a list of possible triggers for unrest against law enforcement, and methods to confront such unrest.

Representatives from the NSC and the military participated in the discussion held two weeks ago that resulted in the document, as well as a group of 30 figures from academic, defense, law enforcement, and government circles. 

The document they produced lays out two scenarios, a "popular revolt" or "large-scale civil unrest," and "a sense of distress that could lead to public resentment or anger."

The first scenario "bears the potential to inflict long-range damage to democracy and Israeli society," according to the document. As for the second option, it states that distress and anger alone "won't cause sweeping social effects, at least in the near term."

The document lays out a list of possible causes for a revolt, based on research conducted by the military's Home Front Command in March, including an online survey. In this poll, 88 percent of respondents said the coronavirus crisis had affected their lives to a great extent or a very great extent. Seventy-five percent said they leave their homes only if they must, while 19 percent said they don't leave their homes at all.

Other potential triggers for unrest include a sense that authorities have lost control, a loss of confidence in the political system and a loss of trust in those issuing orders on behalf of the authorities. The authors also give great weight to economic hardship as a central factor, especially people's inability to pay rent, mortgages, and bills, or to buy food – as well as fears, justified or not, of a food shortage.

They also cite a possible trend toward focusing on a "scapegoat" for the crisis, such as the ultra-Orthodox, Arabs or foreigners; a feeling within a specific population group that they've been neglected by the authorities, such as those in protected housing; a drop in personal security; and the potential for groups or individuals to take law into their own hands.

For all these reasons, the document says, the public could act out against state institutions in a way that could put "democracy and Israeli society" at a long-term risk.

"The entirety of living routines such as work, leisure, [and] social life, have been broken off at once for the vast majority of the public," the document says.

It further states that the fact that "the end of the period of uncertainty is unknown, and the public is exposed to assessments ranging from a few weeks to many months to come" may affect the degree to which the public adheres to instructions and the law.

The document acknowledges how at the first stage of the closure, "consideration of the population's comfort was sidestepped due to a need to curb the outbreak." Now, it says, "with the extension of time spent in social isolation, attention and resources must be drawn to handle the public's distress." It cautions that unless resources are budgeted for citizens' welfare, they may reach a point of popular revolt or uproar.

'Less ammunition, greater compassion'

Also included by the authors is a list of possible solutions for moving toward a resumption of routine life as a way to confront the threat of revolt. Among the proposals is a call to recruit thousands of young people from a cross-section of the population to work at hospitals in jobs that don't require any complex training or to the police's volunteer Civil Guard for "community safety" work, such as visiting the elderly on a daily basis, conducting nightly patrols, distributing food, doing infrastructure work, and preserving public parks.

Another suggestion is setting up "community emergency squads," groups of volunteers with basic emergency training, based on the format used in communities along the Gaza border. The same kinds of groups could operate in cities, where they would be assigned a building or a street, says the document.. The authors also propose that the military work on an awareness campaign to reduce public unrest. Also put forward is the possibility of government ministries establishing a panel responsible for public awareness and measuring public opinion, with the goal of spreading a message of a shared responsibility among all segments of the population.

In addition, the document recommends that Home Front Command officers reinforce efforts in underserved areas to reduce disparities. Another ideat proposed is using associations and aid organizations to help handle people with "greater suspicion of the authorities."

The document floats a demand to change the police's approach toward citizens, under the heading of "changing the consciousness level of law enforcement." It recommends changing the attitudes of the police and the Public Security Ministry, under the slogan of "less ammunition, greater compassion." The writers cite a need "to break out of the enforcement framework. For example, unarmed police can do house visits to elderly people and see to the distribution of food and so forth., and entering a framework of common work, with thousands of police handing out food during Ramadan."

Holidays are cited as particularly sensitive, and the authors recommend encouraging residents to mark these days symbolically within the limits of instructions: "For example, all the neighbors going out onto the balconies and toasting to the holiday; recruitment of artists and celebrities to raise a feeling of community, like performances that can be experienced from balconies (in the style of military troupes that perform before soldiers in wartime); preserving morale among medical teams and their families with packages sent by the public or the state; performances at hospitals; and a YouTube channel like the one made by firefighters during this year's great blazes in Australia, on which medical teams describe their experiences.

The 'how are you' program

With regard to a situation in which the public does not engage in a popular revolt but rather shows "resentment," as described by the document, the authors recommend handling things on an individual basis. The factors likely to create such a problem, the document says, are "loneliness, especially among the elderly and isolated; families and individuals at risk who have lost their permanent frameworks – boarding school pupils sent back to dysfunctional homes, women at risk, pupils in special education programs, the disabled, trauma victims and victims of other psychological disorders; a loss of emotional support resources such as a religious or secular community, religious framework or meetings with friends."

The document points to other factors as well, such as "gaps between local/city authorities working well and those that are weaker, which worsen in time of crisis; personal health concerns that have nothing to do with corona[virus]; families, especially in urban settings, deprived of the ability to breathe in a little air, to enjoy some quiet and some private space; the loss of sources of leisure – nature walks, entertainment, sports," and the lack of access to information.

Among the ideas suggested to overcome these are increasing leisure time as one of the plans for exiting the closure, access to psychological counseling by video via the health maintenance organizations, and short-term couples and family therapy. The authors also mention a program called "How Are You?:" "The main focus of this program is about establishing a framework for Zoom meetings with diverse population and geographic groups."

In addition, the document recommends operating preschool frameworks once a week and organizing hikes with parents and teachers in a nature reserve with clear instructions and supervision.

The council's team also said during their discussion that since the crisis is neither specifically "Jewish" nor "Zionist," it creates a sense of common identity for "all segments of Israeli society," and that they saw this as an opportunity for these groups to grow closer.

"The required tasks are civilian ones in principle and this permits active participation and belonging on the part of all segments of Israeli society," the document says.

The NSC said of the document that "this is an appendix to part of a document containing recommendations presented to the National Security Council by a team of experts headed by Prof. Eli Waxman. During the discussions, several programs drawn up by a number of expert teams were presented."

Holocaust Survivor Never Thought She'd See This

The unbelievable moment Holocaust survivor Lila sees her grandson flying over her home in Israel!

From the arts to Zoom: ToI's subjective look at winners and losers amid COVID-19

Ranging from Amazon to weddings, hairdressing to germaphobia, an interim list of those who are gaining and losing in a locked down world By Shoshanna Solomon

As some countries, including Israel, have started easing restrictions imposed on their citizens in response to the coronavirus pandemic, now may be a good time to try to identify the winners and the losers of the havoc that has befallen the globe.

The death toll and the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to rise, even as unemployment soars, educational and cultural programs wither, and isolation reigns under social distancing regulations.

For the lucky ones, streaming media is consumed as avidly as hand sanitizer is applied.

But with baby steps being taken gingerly toward a resumption of commerce and schooling, The Times of Israel has compiled a preliminary tally of those who have come out ahead, or behind, thanks to the crisis. The list is purely subjective, and only time will tell if there will be others that need to be added.

The winners…

Germaphobes: Yes. Hard to believe, but those neurotic people that used to go around pre-coronavirus disinfecting everything, opening bathroom doors with their elbows and constantly washing their hands have finally been vindicated. The masses of the cheerfully unhygienic are the ones who have been proven wrong.

The internet: Things would have been very different had we not had the internet to help us communicate, work, learn, buy, and stay sane during our social distancing. Online banking and shopping and movie streaming have all become possible due to the strides in internet connectivity over the past almost 30 years.

Zoom Video Communications Inc: The Silicon Valley-based videoconferencing-tech firm is definitely one of the stars of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing for businesses to hold online meetings, schoolchildren to continue classes and families to stay in touch — including joint virtual Passover Seders, funerals and other religious services. Founded by Eric Yuan in 2011 and listed on the Nasdaq a year ago, Zoom has seen its market value skyrocket to some $42 billion, even as the company's user security policies have come under scrutiny.

President Reuven Rivlin meets family members over Zoom as Israelis are under a national lockdown as they celebrate the last day of Passover on April 14, 2020 (Twitter)

Digital health, telemedicine: Traditional healthcare gets a tech boost as robots and technologies are used to remotely monitor patients and find ways to keep the virus under tabs. Tytocare allows physicians to remotely examine patients using stethoscopes, thermometers, and lung monitoring; EarlySense has developed a technology for the real-time delivery of actionable data along with patient data management tools that allow physicians to pinpoint and prevent potentially serious medical situations before they escalate. These technologies and others are set to play major roles in medicine as healthcare and tech continue to merge.

E-commerce retailers, supermarkets: With people were told to hunker down at home to avoid the deadly virus, e-commerce retailers have flourished as consumers turned to online shopping for their needs. Amazon, for example, the world's largest online retailer, could emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, according to Bloomberg. The Seattle-based company, which sells books, household goods and other products through its flagship website, also controls the Whole Foods grocery chain and offers cloud computing and video streaming services. Jeff Bezos, the company's founder and CEO who owns 11% of the US giant, has seen his wealth surge by $24 billion in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reaffirming his position as the world's wealthiest person.

In Israel, the shares of supermarket chains such Victory Supermarket Chain Ltd. jumped 11 percent between February 10 and April 16, while another chain, Freshmarket, rose some 10%, compared to a 21% drop in the TA-125 benchmark index in the period, with demand surging as consumers stockpiled food, toilet paper, eggs and hand gel amid the coronavirus lockdown and ahead of the Passover festival in April.

Israelis shops for groceries at a supermarket in Jerusalem on March 18, 2020 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Tracking techniques: From apps in Singapore to thermal cameras at hospitals and accessing private phone and credit card data, as done by Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency, various methods have come into play to trace our whereabouts and tell us if we have been in touch with a coronavirus-infected person. Once these technologies and tactics have been deployed, how easy will it be to roll them back when the crisis is over?

Delivery, takeout services: With restaurants banned from operating sit-down services due to social distancing restrictions, they have turned to delivery services to cater to customers. The Israeli delivery platform Wolt, for example, has seen a jump in usage and has had to hire hundreds of new couriers.

Toilet paper, wet wipes, disinfectant gels: As a fear of running out of toilet paper spread across the globe and as heightened hygiene requirements upped the demand for hand sanitizers and wet wipes, the manufacturers of these products have seen a jump in production and orders. In Israel, the shares of Albad Massuot Yitzhak, an Israeli maker of wet wipes, surged 65% between February 10 and end of day April 16. Sano-Brunos Enterprises Ltd., a maker of cleaning products, jumped 7%, bringing its 12-month gain to 32%. The TA-125 benchmark index declined 21% in the same period.

A merchant selling alcogel hand sanitizer to passersby in central Jerusalem on March 18, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)

Netflix, streaming services: In self-isolation, streaming services have become the lifeline of many as they binge on television shows to stave off anxiety and boredom. As long as the internet infrastructure holds up, firms of this sort will weather the coronavirus storm quite nicely.

And the losers are…

Social gatherings, hugs and kisses, large weddings and funerals: Big social gatherings, for festivals, happy or sad events, and routine gestures of affection will be among the biggest fatalities of the coronavirus pandemic. Will we ever get back to our normal huggy habits?

Travel, hotels, tour guides, cruise ships: All of these will be hit by the curbs on travel and movement. The more a country benefits from tourism, the more it will feel the pinch — such as Israel, Italy and Spain. Tour guides are seeing their groups canceled and have no idea when their income will resume. Fattal Holdings 1998 Ltd., one of Israel's largest hotel owners, with 38 hotels and 16,700 rooms under management, plunged 66% in the period — compared to a 21% drop in the TA-125 benchmark index. As cruise ships became a Petri dish for the spread of the virus — over 20 have had confirmed cases, the most notorious being the Diamond Princess, where over 700 passengers become infected — will travelers ever want to go aboard again?

Passengers stand on the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, February 12, 2020. (Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP)

Entertainment, concerts, sports events, shopping malls: In Israel, Melisron, the owner of shopping malls including the prestigious Ramat Aviv Mall in Tel Aviv, saw a 44% decline in the February 10-April 16 period. As entertainers and concerts go online — see Andrea Boccelli's YouTube Easter concert from a vacant Duomo in Milan or the "One World: Together At Home" TV special concert that raised millions of dollars to fight the pandemic — will we ever go back to crammed concerts, rowdy sports events and packed movie theaters? What will we miss out, if not?

Illustrative image of hairdressing or haircutting tools (iStock by Getty Images)

Hairdressers, and small businesses in general: The sobbing falafel vendor who pleads to just be able to resume work has become the face of the plight of small businesses in the coronavirus crisis. These businesses are the wheels that keep economies chugging, and yet will bear the biggest brunt of the lockdowns. As women and men worldwide cut and color their own hair, some for the first time ever, will they ever go back to paying for these services?  Many small businesses are destined to fold unless they get credit to tide them over this critical time.

Have a meaningful Yom Yom Ha'atzmaut under unnecessary (see my blog 2 days ago) Quarantine

:Love Yehuda Lave

We need Mashiach now

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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