Wednesday, April 1, 2020

APRIL FOOLS Day (today) HAS BEEN CANCELLED THIS YEAR...Because no made up prank could equal what has already happened. The first transport of Jews to Auschwitz was 997 teenage girls. Few survived. And Israel's Sheba Medical Center named the world's ninth-best hospital and New regulations explained (Mon evening)- Seder alone! and The holy Kotel is closed, no minyans anywhere, in the time of Corona, like in Chanukah times

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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

A Bird Named Moses

A burglar breaks into a house. He starts shining his light around looking for valuables. Some nice things catch his eye, and as he reaches for them, he hears, "G-d is watching you."

Startled, the burglar looks for the speaker. Seeing no one, he keeps putting things in his bag, again, he hears, "G-d is watching you."

This time, he sees a parrot. "Who are you?" the burglar asks.

"Moses," the bird replied.

"Who the heck would name a bird Moses?" the man laughed.

"I dunno," Moses answered, "I guess the same kind of people that would name a Rottweiler King David."

Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Curse of Knowledge: The inability to communicate your ideas because you wrongly assume others have the necessary background to understand what you're talking about.

The first transport of Jews to Auschwitz was 997 teenage girls. Few survived.

These are the people in the picture above.

Edith Friedman Grosman's sister, Lea Friedman, second from right, with other girls from their Slovakian village on Passover circa 1936. Lea died in Auschwitz. (Edith Friedman Grosman)

By Gillian Brockell

World leaders gathered in Poland  to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi-run Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, Edith Friedman Grosman will be far away in Toronto. The energetic 95-year-old, who was on the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz, plans to live-stream the ceremony from home, but only if she feels up to it.

She's already returned to Auschwitz four times, and that's enough.

"I'm glad they're doing something for Auschwitz 75," she told The Washington Post. "But they have to do something in 100 years and 125 years, too."

Friedman Grosman grew up in the village of Hummené, Slovakia, with her parents and older sister, Lea.

Slovakia joined the Axis powers in 1940. Soon, Edith was forced to leave the public high school, and her dad had to sell his glass-cutting business to a Christian, whom he then worked for.

Even amid the Jewish crackdown, it was still a surprise when the town crier announced a new order — all unmarried women 15 and older were to report to the school gymnasium in two weeks.

They were told they would be registering for three months of work in a shoe factory, and that it was their patriotic duty to help in the war effort. But when they showed up to "register," they were strip-searched, loaded into trucks and taken away. Most were teenagers, some were in their twenties, and a handful of mothers in their forties boarded in place of their daughters. None of those mothers would survive.

Over the next few days, Jewish girls were swept up from all the surrounding villages. By the end of the week, Friedman Grosman, then 17, and her sister Lea, 19, were on the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz, arriving by train on March 27, 1942.

But who ordered that first transport? And why take girls?

Documentation is lost to history, but Heather Dune Macadam has a theory. Macadam has spent more than 20 years researching and writing about the girls, and recently published a book about them called "999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz."

"My sense is that it was [Heinrich] Himmler, but the Slovak government was certainly party to it," Macadam told The Post.

Himmler had ordered 999 German women from the Ravensbrück prison to be transferred to Auschwitz to serve as prison guards ahead of the Slovak girls' arrival, she said. And that number — 999 — which may have been an occult obsession of Himmler's, matched the number of girls who were supposed to be on that first Jewish transport. (Macadam found that authorities miscounted; in reality, there were 997.)

The parents, of course, [were] duped," Macadam said. But "this was a patriarchal society, and you're more likely to give up your daughter than your son."

These young women arrived at a pivotal moment in the concentration camp's history. At first, it had been a Nazi prison for Poles of every ethnicity, then for Soviet POW's. By 1942, the Nazis were focusing on gathering up Jews, though they had not yet started their "Final Solution" — mass extermination.

In fact, the girls' real job wasn't to make shoes, but to build the very infrastructure that would convert the camp into a death machine. Over the next year, they were brutally forced to demolish old buildings with their bare hands, empty trash out of frozen lakes and build dozens of new barracks. For clothing, they were given the bloody uniforms of dead Soviet soldiers and a few striped dresses with no undergarments. Their entire bodies were shaved, and their shoes were flat pieces of wood with flimsy cloth ties.

Most of them died that first year — of starvation, disease, beatings, medical experiments and suicide. Friedman Grosman's sister was sent to a gas chamber after she caught typhus. More than 77 years later, her grief is still deep.

"I saw her there almost dead, and the rats were visiting her," Friedman Grosman said through tears. "She was a beautiful girl. And nothing is left over of her."

As the flood of Jewish prisoners arrived, the survivors among that first transport were "promoted" to "easier" jobs, such as moving corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoria, sorting through the piles of clothing, jewelry and luggage taken from the dead, and even typing in SS offices. These jobs came with extra rations that allowed them to survive the war. But surviving also meant watching in horror as their own family members were marched into the gas chambers.

Though Auschwitz was liberated on Jan. 27, 1945, most of the surviving girls weren't there to see it. As Soviet troops approached, they were forced to go on death marches through feet of snow, then were moved to other concentration camps deep in Germany.

Friedman Grosman was sent to the overcrowded Ravensbrück, then to a smaller camp called Retzow. There it was clear to her the Nazis were losing the war. Guards frequently ran for shelter from bombing raids, at which point Friedman Grosman and the other prisoners would raid the kitchens for food. In the spring, on another march to yet another camp, she and 10 other girls fell behind as the sun was setting, when they passed a small shelter. They ran inside, laid on the flat on the ground, and hid for the rest of the night.

When the sun rose the next morning, they realized they were free — and that the shelter where they sought refuge was an apiary full of bees.

It took Friedman Grosman eight weeks to get back to Hummené. Incredibly, both her parents had survived, as had one of her neighbors, a young man named Ladislav Grosman. Friedman Grosman spent three years fighting tuberculosis at a hospital in Switzerland; she and Ladislav were married soon after her release.

They settled in Prague and had a son. Friedman Grosman went back to school for a biology degree, and her husband became a  successful writer. In the 1960s, they left communist Czechoslovakia for Israel; she followed her son to Toronto after her husband's death in 1981.

Like many Holocaust survivors, particularly female survivors, Friedman Grosman didn't talk about the horrors she experienced for a long time, and the significance of the first transport was largely forgotten.

"If you look at a lot of Holocaust timelines, they mention the date the first [Jewish] transport arrived, but they almost never say that it was all young women," Macadam said.

Many female survivors struggled to have children because of the cruelties they were subjected to; plus, other survivors sometimes treated people with "low numbers" tattooed on their arms with suspicion, as though they couldn't have survived that long without doing something unforgivable. Friedman Grosman's number was 1,970.

But, Macadam said, as the women's movement took hold in the 1970s, interest in women's lives has grown over time. The Shoah Foundation has since found 22 women from the first transport who survived the Holocaust; Macadam has interviewed 20 of them; six are still living.

Nowadays, "Edith is a rock star in Slovakia. Everybody adores her," when she returns to teach people about the Holocaust, Macadam said.

At her apartment in Toronto on Saturday, friends brought by so many dishes for Friedman Grosman that she worried she would have to throw food away. In between visits, she told The Post she had one message for the world: "Don't hate. Because hate brings criminality and hate brings death. I saw it, I was there."

The holy Kotel is closed, no minyans anywhere, in the time of Corona, like in Chanukah times

The holy Kotel is closed, no minyans anywhere, in the time of Corona, like in Chanukah times


Here are some of  the new restrictions as of Wednesday morning at 8 AM


  1. No gathering will be allowed in public spaces, including for prayers or weddings. Individuals who pray should do so alone.
  2. At the Western Wall a single minyan (or prayer quorum) of 10 people will be allowed during three daily services, while keeping a distance of 10 meters from each other.

Funerals will be held in open spaces only, attended by up to 20 people.

Brit milah (circumcision) ceremonies will be held with up to 10 people.

Nearly Everyone agrees that the Coronavirus is dangerous. New voices have come out that feel the danger is overblown. The voices have started to come out that it is time to end this misguided social experiment of closing everything down, quarantining the healthy as well as the sick and killing the world's economies costing untold trillions of dollars of damages.

Unfortunately, the current experiment that is being conducted on us by supposedly democratic governments throughout the world has been designed by unelected public health officials; the same officials who failed in their duty to protect us from the virus.

Therefore, we are allowing the unit responsible for government failure to give advice on how to "solve" a problem that is in large part their fault. These officials also seem to have a single goal in mind: reducing the number of individuals who contract the Virus.

Such a single-minded approach is not consistent with an appropriate cost/benefit analysis of the consequences of their proposed actions.

This dangerous interplay between the media and policymakers has been termed an "availability cascade" by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman.

He explains: "An availability cascade is a self-sustaining chain of events which may start from media reports of a relatively minor event and lead up to public panic and large-scale government action. On some occasions, a media story about a risk catches the attention of a segment of the public, which becomes aroused and worried. This emotional reaction becomes a story in itself, prompting additional coverage in the media, which in turn produces greater concern and involvement."The cycle is sometimes sped along deliberately by 'availability entrepreneurs,' individuals or organizations who work to ensure a continuous flow of worrying news. The danger is increasingly exaggerated as the media compete for attention-grabbing headlines. "Scientists and others who try to dampen the increasing fear and revulsion attract little attention, most of it hostile:

 Anyone who claims that the danger is overstated is suspected of association with a 'heinous cover-up.'"The issue becomes politically important because it is on everyone's mind, and the response of the political system is guided by the intensity of public sentiment. The availability cascade has now reset priorities. Other risks, and other ways that public resources could be applied for the public good, all have faded into the background."

Kahneman's description appears to be a perfect fit in describing the surrealistic events that we are experiencing today.

While reducing the number of individuals who contract a virus (which happens to be non-deadly for at least 99% of those who contract it) is a laudable goal, the consequences of government's proposed "cure" for society may be much worse than the consequences of the disease they are trying to prevent.

THE "STRATEGY" of social distancing has been implemented through widespread shutdowns. But what is the actual cost of saving a life under the current strategy? Does this justify shutting down the economy and creating chaos and misery in many human dimensions?

Public health officials, working with an unscrupulous media, have feverishly constructed a false and misleading narrative that conveniently fits their apocalyptic view of a "crisis."

This has compelled politicians, even those who would normally reject draconian measures to stifle economic activity, to engage in the most rapid form of self-inflicted wealth destruction and restriction of economic liberty we have ever witnessed in a free society. These unprecedented and unlawful actions to effectively quarantine healthy people constitute a fundamental assault on our personal and economic freedom.

As it applies to the Jewish people, the virus seems to have spread faster among the Orthodox world that actually goes to synagogue several times a day and is proximate to each other.

Obviously if you don't go to synagogue you are no different than the rest of the non-Jewish population. The first restriction that was recommended was a breakdown of thousands of years of tradition. Don't kiss the Torah or mezuzahs,

No one said a word about this new idea, as it seemed to make sense if the virus was on objects and stayed there. The fact that we have been kissing the Torah for a long time wasn't mentioned.

No one said a word about the fact that in Orthodox synagogues almost universally there are "collectors" that come around each morning and visit every member of the congregation asking for charity. To make matters worse, these collectors use modern technology (cars and buses) to get to every synagogue in the area and spread their germs to EVERY MEMBER of every synagogue since they see them all EVERY Day. No one has come out and mentioned this fact that seems to make synagogues more vulnerable than any other place.

So the synagogues were closed one, two, three with no discussions. Now, most small synagogues membership consists of elderly Jews. Just the facts, Mam, most of the minyan do consist of elderly people. Young people don't like to get out of bed to go to the most important morning minyan where we read the Torah and put on Tefillin.  So synagogues that have never been closed in hundreds of years, closed up one after the other, because as Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says above, the Rabbis didn't want to be accused of not acting fast enough.

The Haredi Rabbis were not quick enough to act and the entire media came down on them, as Kahneman said and had no choice except to change their positions from black to white and close everything.

No one knows what is going on. But common sense has left us. Why should an outdoor minion, where people stand six feet apart, be any more dangerous than being outside? The collectors still come, because no one had the sense to send them away, but I stayed a long way from them. When I came home on the bus from the Minyon, the bus conductor came up to me to check that I had paid my fare. He wasn't wearing a mask and came right into my face and he has been in conduct with every person on every bus as well, just like a collector. But no one is closing the buses.

The health minister just closed all outdoor minyans today just like the synagogues and no one can now say halakhic Kaddish.

As I said in my article yesterday the Talmud says (Sotah page 28 and 29) the world exists because of us saying the Kaddish.

Let's hope for the best without anyone saying it.

Love Yehuda Lave


Israel's Sheba Medical Center named world's ninth best hospital

The hospital, located east of Tel Aviv, is Israel's largest medical facility and cares for approximately 1.6 million people annually. By EYTAN HALON  

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer has been named the ninth best hospital in the world by leading US magazine Newsweek, climbing one place since last year's rankings.The hospital, located east of Tel Aviv, is Israel's largest medical facility and cares for approximately 1.6 million people annually. The hospital is also home to more than one-quarter of all Israeli clinical research.

The weekly magazine cited the hospital's collaborations with biotech and pharmaceutical companies worldwide to develop new drugs and treatments, in addition to research specialities including cardiology, cancer, brain diseases and genetics.The Rochester-based Mayo Clinic led the global rankings for a second year, followed by Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital. Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, also known as Ichilov Hospital, was named the world's 34th leading hospital.Tens of thousands of medical professionals were invited to participate in the survey ranking the world's best hospitals, which also took into account results from patient surveys and other medical performance indicators.Other leading hospitals included Toronto General Hospital, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Johns Hopkins Hospital, University Hospital Zurich and Singapore General Hospital."The selection reflects another year of excellent and advanced medicine, breakthrough research and world-leading innovation," said Sheba Medical Center director-general Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, a former IDF Surgeon General who has headed the hospital since 2016.

"I am happy and proud of each one of our 9,131 dedicated and professional employees who think outside of the box every day. The continued rise in the rankings puts us in line with the world's leading hospitals. As in every situation, and especially today when we are leading the national effort to treat the coronavirus, it is a privilege to provide the Israeli population with the best medicine in the world."Taking to Twitter, President Reuven Rivlin also congratulated the hospital for this achievement."Congratulations to Sheba Medical Center, ranked 9th best hospital in the world," he tweeted."I spoke to Prof. Yitshak Kreiss... and thanked him for their dedicated care of patients with #Coronavid19 in the special isolation unit set up for the purpose."
Sheba Medical Center was tasked with establishing Israel's first facility for the quarantine and treatment of individuals who test positive for the novel coronavirus, and citizens who returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.In addition to the hospital's technologically-advanced Special Hospitalization Isolated Unit, health authorities have also instructed Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon to prepare for the arrival of patients with the virus.

New regulations explained (Mon evening)- Seder alone!

The Israeli public is being asked to celebrate Passover, Easter and Ramadan alone, without their extended families and friends, to help stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rolled out a new set of restrictions Monday evening that were approved by the cabinet overnight. All of the ministers voted for the move apart of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
The new state-of-emergency orders, which will continue to be subject to fines, include that no more than two people from the same family may gather; offices must reduce their in-house workforces to 15% and ensure that workers maintain two meters between themselves; up to 20 people can attend a funeral; up to 10 people can attend a brit milah circumcision ceremony; weddings can have no guests; prayer services cannot take place even in open spaces; people are asked to pray alone.
Netanyahu also referred to the approaching Passover holiday, saying he "wants to avoid family visits on the eve of the holiday. The goal is not to meet people who have been elsewhere, because this is how the disease spreads. You must give up the visit with the son from the North who comes to see the family in the Center or in the South, give up the encounter with the daughter and grandchildren. There is no choice.
"What I said now is also true of the holidays of non-Jewish communities," he said, referring to the upcoming holidays of Easter and Ramadan. "We bless everyone with good holidays, but we will also require them to follow the same guidelines because it saves lives."
"In our battle against coronavirus, we will not spare any effort," he added. "As I have told you from the beginning, it is better to be more stringent than not. Many countries have followed us in this policy."
Netanyahu spoke from his Jerusalem residence on Balfour Street, where he is in isolation, although he, his staff and family tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday despite coming into limited contact with his parliamentary adviser, Rivka Paluch, who contracted the virus. CLICK on here to read more from the Jerusalem Post.

The cabinet on Monday night approved a set of new measures further tightening restrictions on the public amid efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, including a ban on prayer quorums and limits on funerals and Jewish circumcision ceremonies.

The new regulations also place further limitations on work places, seeking to lower the workforce outside homes from 30 percent to 15% of its full capacity, and instructing all those working outside their homes to take their temperature daily before coming in to work.

1. No gathering will be allowed in public spaces, including for prayers or weddings. Individuals who pray should do so alone. At the Western Wall a single minyan (or prayer quorum) of 10 people will be allowed during three daily services, while keeping a distance of 10 meters from each other.

Funerals will be held in open spaces only, attended by up to 20 people.

Brit milah (circumcision) ceremonies will be held with up to 10 people.

2. Before coming in to work, employees will take their temperature and fill in a statement on taking their temperature and a lack of symptoms (body temperature of over 38 degrees celsius, cough, shortness of breath). Employees will come in to work with their filled in forms for the day and the employer must gather them and keep them. If a worker is not employed at a place of business, the statement can be made orally.

3. Non-essential workplaces will enable no more than 10 employees or 15% of the worker roster (whichever is higher) to attend at any given time. Despite this, employers are allowed to raise the number of maximum workers up to 30% (the previous ceiling) if it is essential to maintaining operations, while informing the Economy Ministry.

4. At places of work where workers cannot maintain a distance of two meters from each other, employers will instate other measures to prevent infection.

5. Every employee will be provided with personal equipment as much as possible. Equipment changing hands between people will undergo stringent disinfection before being passed on.

6. Employees will be instructed to maintain strict hygiene practices, including hand-washing.

7. No more than two employees will be allowed in elevators at the workplace at any one time.

8. Computer and communication technology labs are included among places authorized to receive customers in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.

9. Shipping is allowed for all products in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.

The latest rules join those enacted last week, which prohibited people from venturing more than 100 meters from their homes apart from under certain circumstances, including:

2. Stocking up on food, medicine and necessary goods and to receive essential services;

3. Receiving medical care;

4. Donating blood;

5. For legal proceedings;

6. To attend a demonstration;

7. Going to the Knesset;

8. Receiving care in a social work framework;

9. A short walk of no more than 100 meters from one's home either as an individual or with others from the same residence for an undefined "short period of time";

10. Helping a person with a medical problem or other difficulty that requires support, such as old age or physical infirmity;

11. A woman can go to immerse in a mikveh provided that she has coordinated her arrival in advance;

12. Taking children to educational frameworks for those whose parents are essential workers (in accordance with previous orders);

13. Taking children whose parents do not live together from one residence to another;

14. Transferring a child whose sole caregiver is required to leave for an essential purpose. CLICK on here to read more from the Times of Israel.

See you tomorrow bli neder

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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