Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Breaking news: Israelis dodge COVID-19 tracking via airplane mode and prepaid SIMs and How I Survived an Israeli Coronavirus Hotel by David Kilimnick and "Imagine all the World as Gush Katif" and a heartbreaking holocaust story and the lockdown idea was created by a 14-year-old high school Sophmore and G-d doesn't take any chances with our Free choice

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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

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Israelis dodge COVID-19 tracking via airplane mode and prepaid SIMs

Israel has recorded 102,380 coronavirus cases and 834 deaths.


Some Israelis, fearing a quarantine order after unwittingly being near a coronavirus carrier, are rendering themselves untraceable while in public by switching their cellphones to "airplane mode" or using prepaid "burner" SIM cards instead. Such actions are not illegal and, although there is only anecdotal evidence for their prevalence, they drew remonstration from Communication Minister Yoaz Hendel on Sunday.

This is a problem," he told Ynet TV. "Ultimately, we are not a police state. We will not manage to compel the citizens of the State of Israel to keep to the health regulations."The surveillance initially instituted without parliamentary oversight by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been anchored in legislation at the behest of Israel's Supreme Court after it heard challenges by civil liberties groups who worry the mass-surveillance is ripe for abuse. Modeled on a counter-terrorism technology and in force since March, the system back-tracks movements of people who have tested positive for the virus to determine who came within 2 meters (yards) of them for more than 15 minutes while they were infectious.Having been identified by their own cellphone locations, these potential new carriers are then ordered over SMS to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the moment of exposure.Around 80,000 people per week have received such notifications since July 1, according to officials - an economic drag for a country of 9 million.

has detected some 30% of coronavirus cases in Israel. They also acknowledge a false-positive rate of around 16%, sometimes due to a vertical blind-spot in the technology which risks flagging people above or below a coronavirus carrier in a multi-story building. Such instances may be overturned on appeal - a process that can take several days, during which the quarantine is in force. Israel offers a voluntary coronavirus app, HaMagen, whose latest upgrade includes Bluetooth contact-tracing for greater precision. But with users complaining about battery drainage, its market penetration has been far below the 60% required for the state surveillance technology to be dropped, officials say. Israel has recorded 102,380 coronavirus cases and 834 deaths.

A Jewish Husband? G-d always has a backup plan so that we have free choice!

A Jewish Husband? G-d always has a backup plan so that we have free choice!

His kids call her 'Momala': Meet the Jewish husband of Biden's pick for VP, A successful Biden-Harris ticket would make Doug Emhoff the first-ever second gentleman and first Jewish spouse of a US president or VP

Next week will mark six years since Doug Emhoff slammed his foot on a glass alongside Kamala Harris at their courthouse wedding ceremony in Santa Barbara. This year, the couple will likely have to celebrate this anniversary on the campaign trail, after the Democratic Party's presidential nominee Joe Biden tapped Harris to be his running mate on Tuesday. As the first woman of color, first daughter of immigrants, and first Indian American to be on a major party's presidential ticket, Harris' nomination has been hopefully hailed as a prospective laundry list of firsts for the United States' minorities. No one points out that a successful race would also make Harris's husband the first Jewish spouse of a US president or vice president and the first-ever second gentleman.

Of all the nominees, that Biden could have chosen, isn't Ironic that he choose a Black woman with a Jewish husband? No, it was no accident, G-d always has a backup plan, so that we can have free choice. While we have individual free choice, we are playing against the Grand Master who knows what to do whatever our choices. If we go one way, G-d has another way to save the Jewish people. We learn this lesson from the scroll of Esther, the Purim story, in Hebrew is called, "Megillat Esther." "Megillah" comes from the root word meaning, "revelation." The name Esther is related to the Hebrew word for hiddenness. So Megillat Esther suggests "the revelation of hiddenness."

The hiddenness which is revealed on Purim is the hiddenness of G-d's oneness. You see, the oneness of G-d is such that G-d can create a being (us the humans) who has free choice, yet, mysteriously, that free choice cannot oppose G-d's will and plan. It can do other than G-d's will, but it won't in any way interfere with G-d's will and plan.

We see this paradox illustrated throughout the events of the Purim story. The Jews of the Persian Empire are assimilating, (in many ways so are Jews of America now). The evil Haman decides to destroy the Jewish people, and proceeds to execute his plot, making his moves toward the final solution of the Jews. Today there is something called the "squad" in the Congress of today, Four Congresswomen who hope for the death of Israel The irony of the story of Purim, is that everything the evil Haman does to destroy us, destroys him-and saves us. By threatening our existence, Haman indirectly initiates a renewal in the Jews' commitment to Torah, reversing the tide of assimilation which is always the greatest threat to Jewish survival. And Haman digs his own grave, or more accurately, builds his own gallows, for the gallows he had built to hang Mordechai are used for Haman's own execution.

In the Purim story, there are no miraculous interventions, no sea splitting. In fact, G-d's name is not even mentioned in the Book of Esther. This is a tremendous revelation of G-d's oneness. The greatest revelation of G-d's oneness is that G-d does not have to interfere. This is the revelation of hiddenness: that within the natural world, within the free choices of human beings, G-d's plan is being completely fulfilled, step by step.

G-d has written a script, and we are the actors in that drama. The question isn't whether we are going to play our parts, but how we will play our parts-whether consciously and willingly, or obliviously and with resistance. Whether we choose to work for G-d's plan of growth, love, and oneness, or against it, is our choice.

Again, we see this illustrated dramatically in the story of Purim. Esther, who is secretly Jewish, has by a strange set of circumstances married the King of Persia. (Sounds like fate at work?) But soon after, Haman the Prime Minister begins to execute his plot to destroy the Jewish people. So Mordechai, Esther's uncle, says to her: "We've got to save the Jewish people. Perhaps G-d has orchestrated things in this very manner so that you could be queen (or Husband in this cae) and be in a position to save the Jewish people."

But Esther isn't convinced. She tells Mordechai, "You know the rules of the palace. If I go to the king without being invited, he could have me killed!"

To that Mordechai says something bizarre: "If you don't do this, Esther, the salvation of the Jews will come from someplace else."

What kind of argument is that? I mean, if you want to get somebody to do something what method do you use? Guilt! Mordechai should have said to Esther, "If you don't do it, the Jewish people will be destroyed. This will be the end of Jewish history." You are a Jew. ACT!

Instead, he says, "If you don't do it, the Jews will be saved anyway, but you'll lose out on the starring role."

Mordechai was teaching Esther the secret of choice: In terms of G-d's great plan, it doesn't make a difference what you do. But in terms of your own life, it makes all the difference in the world. Do you want to actively, consciously participate in G-d's plan, or not? If you don't sign on, it will still happen. But you'll lose out. You can be the star, or an extra on the set. That's your choice.

And Esther decides to do it. The Jewish people are saved, with Esther in the starring role, because she chose to play her part.

Trump has been the greatest supporter yet of the Jewish people. His Presidency has been even more dramatic, because he comes after eight years of Obama, whose own Minister was a rabid Anti-semite. He sat each Sunday listening to the Anti-semite Minister spew Jewish hatred, and was a product of what he heard. How ironic that his vice-president who helped with Jew-hatred vision is now in the position of maybe becoming President himself. But G-d doesn't take any chances. If this happens, we will have a Jew in the White House, in case needs him. Let's pray for the best

An Aleph Bet Bet

Bubbie Bayla was taking care of the kids for the weekend and she walked by her little granddaughter Rivkah's room one morning to find her standing in the corner, reciting the Hebrew alphabet.

"Aleph, bet, gimmel, dalet…" said Rivkah

"What are you doing?" Bubbie asked.

"My teacher said that we're supposed to daven every day," said Rivkah. "But I can't remember any of the prayers. So I'm just saying all the letters of the aleph-bet, and Hashem can put them together however he thinks best."

Lockdowns Never Again: Sweden Was Right, and We Were Wrong

By William Sullivan, AMER THINKER

In life, we encounter things that may work in theory, but not in practice. Communism is famously one of those things. Time travel is another. With any luck, Americans will soon come to realize that strict social distancing, economic lockdowns, and mask-wearing all belong in that category of supposedly sound ideas that simply don't work in reality.

For evidence, let's look to Sweden. As Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, an ER doctor at a hospital in Stockholm, writes on his blog, "COVID is over in Sweden. People have gone back to their normal lives and barely anyone is getting infected anymore."

Unlike so many other countries, "Sweden never went into complete lockdown," Dr. Kendrick writes. Non-essential businesses remained open, people continued frequenting restaurants, the kids stayed in school, and "very few people have bothered with face masks."

Basically, Sweden did the exact opposite of what most Americans tragically still believe are the necessary requirements to reach the outcome that Sweden has achieved.

He argues what should now be obvious to any rational, thinking person, which is that "the size of the response in most of the world (not including Sweden) has been totally disproportionate to the threat."

Naysayers may point to Sweden's mortality rate to discount its success. But the virus has taken nearly 6,000 people in a country of 10 million, and one which tallies about 100,000 annual deaths each year. Given that 70 percent of those who died with COVID were over the age of 80 and very unhealthy, he argues, "quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway," making COVID a "mere blip in terms of its effect on mortality." And, while Sweden will likely continue to see deaths from COVID, it will likely never see anything close to those numbers again. A large number of deaths can be clearly attributed to a "complete lack of any immunity" to this novel coronavirus.

A few months ago, Dr. Kendrick says that "practically everyone who was tested had COVID," even if the presenting symptom was a "nose bleed" or "stomach pain." Today, he reports that he hasn't seen a COVID patient in over a month, and even when he tests patients with fever or cough, the "tests invariably come back as negative."

To be clear, Sweden's economy is wide open. No one is social distancing or wearing a ridiculous mask. Life is back to normal, and the infection rate is still falling. It's pretty safe to say the population in Sweden has now built some level of immunity to the virus, and all signs indeed point to the pandemic being over in Sweden.

What is the obvious takeaway from this? Perhaps Dr. Kendrick sums it up best, saying that he is "willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up. If that is the case, then there won't have been any point in shutting down in the first place."

In other words, all of the lockdowns will have been meaningless.

But we were assured that the lockdowns, the distancing, the masks, all of it, would absolutely work, because science (Science!) suggested that these are the only things that could work.

But how strong was the scientific evidence to support our government making us lab rats in its experimental and unprecedentedly oppressive response to this virus?

To answer that, we'll look to Alex Berenson, who, in my opinion, is nothing short of a national hero for his honest reporting throughout the pandemic. It often serves as a counterbalance to the panic porn preferred by the media, and I could not more highly recommend following his wonderful Twitter feed. In Part 2 of his book series, Unreported Truths About COVID-19 and Lockdowns, he reminds his leaders that lockdowns, complete with the economic disruption and social distancing required, aren't some tried and true means of slowing the spread of a virus in a pandemic. "The idea of using lockdowns to slow epidemics took off in 2006," Berenson writes. In the aftermath of an avian flu scare in 2005, President Bush "asked for research on slowing epidemics."

I wish what follows was a joke or some conspiracy theory, but it's not. The idea was the brainchild of the 14-year-old daughter of a computer scientist named Robert Glass. She "created a model of the way social distancing might slow the spread of the flu," and this was expanded upon by her father in a "simulation "proving" lockdowns could reduce an influenza epidemic in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people by 90 percent."

In 2007, predicated upon the strength of the simulated results, the CDC issued new guidance to "reduce transmission, from "voluntary isolation of ill adults" to "reducing density in public transit."

This was the moment, according to the New York Times, when Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, or NPIs, became "official US policy," thus presenting the 2020 lockdowns as just an example of long-standing procedures, and totally understandable policymaking.

Berenson explodes that absurd contention:

Crucially, [the 2007 CDC paper] also contained a "Pandemic Severity Index" that included five categories. On the low end, Category 1 represented a normal flu season, which might kill up to 90,000 Americans. On the high end, a Category 5 pandemic, like the Spanish flu, would kill at least 1.8 million Americans.

Based on the CDC's scall, Sars-Cov-2 almost certainly should be classified as a Category 2 epidemic, meaning it will cause between 90,000 and 450,000 deaths. For an epidemic like that, the CDC merely said governments should consider school closures of less than four weeks, along with moderate efforts to reduce contacts among adults, such as telecommuting.

The prospect of closing all retail stores or offices is not even mentioned in the paper, not even for the most severe epidemics. (emphasis added)

In short, it was a high school sophomore who initially dreamt up the modern notion of lockdowns and social distancing. Her computer scientist father then created a compelling simulation involving 10,000 hypothetical people enduring a pandemic, and the CDC applied the hypothesis by creating some new interventions, though even those interventions certainly did not include recommendations for an economic lockdown, stay-at-home orders, or mask mandates.

In other words, the effectiveness of economic and social lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, or mask mandates had all only worked in theory before 2020, but had never been shown to be effective in practice.

But based on the foundation of that little girl and her father's hypothetical experiment and the theory that followed, more than 300 million real Americans in 2020 have endured the economic hardship, social unrest, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and increased substance abuse, suicide, and crime that the lockdowns have produced in reality.

And in terms of the national morale, it couldn't be more obvious that the social fabric is being torn apart.

The very-likely useless rags that people are wearing over their faces serve as a constant reminder to Americans that their neighbors are little more than vectors for disease transmission.

Teachers in America, who often have endured no pay interruption, incredible job security, and inflation-proof pensions, are now telling their communities that they shouldn't be expected to return to their workplace, even as many members of their own communities are praying that they can return to work soon and pay their bills.

Families who have lost loved ones have had to forego funerary services due to social distancing protocol and churches are closed by government decree, obviously liberty-infringing rules that didn't seem to apply when throngs of mourners gathered in churches to honor deceased Democrat John Lewis.

How could we expect this do anything other than sow animus and resentment in our communities across America?

And we are enduring all of this because of a belief that it is theoretically possible to achieve what Sweden has achieved by enduring none of it in reality.

Very likely, America will join Sweden in building immunities and being past COVID-19 sometime in the coming months, though we will have paid a much, much higher price to have achieved that goal. We should all hope and pray that Americans will look back to the public policy reaction to this pandemic and recognize it as the colossal mistake that it has been. And, if we are wise, we will commit to never, ever doing anything like it again.

Rabbi Yisroel Bernath

4d · When a train filled with a large transport of Jewish prisoners arrived at one of the Nazi killing centers, many Polish gentiles came out to watch the latest group as they were taken away. As the disoriented Jews were gathering their possessions to take with them into the camp, a Nazi officer in charge called out to the villagers standing nearby, "Anything these Jews leave behind you may take for yourselves, because for sure they will not be coming back to collect them!"Two Polish women who were standing nearby saw a woman towards the back of the group, wearing a large, heavy, expensive coat. Not waiting for someone else to take the coat before them, they ran to the Jewish woman and knocked her to the ground, grabbed her coat and scurried away.Moving out of sight of the others, they quickly laid the coat down on the ground to divide the spoils of what was hiding inside. Rummaging through the pockets, they giddily discovered gold jewelry, silver candlesticks and other heirlooms. They were thrilled with their find, but as they lifted the coat again, it still seemed heavier than it should. Upon further inspection, they found a secret pocket, and hidden inside the coat was .... a tiny baby girl!Shocked at their discovery, one woman took pity and insisted to the other, "I don't have any children, and I'm too old to give birth now. You take the gold and silver and let me have the baby." The Polish woman took her new "daughter" home to her delighted husband. They raised the Jewish girl as their own, treating her very well, but never telling her anything about her history. The girl excelled in her studies and even became a doctor, working as a pediatrician in a hospital in Poland.When her "mother" passed away many years later, a visitor came to pay her respects. An old woman invited herself in and said to the daughter, "I want you to know that the woman that passed away last week was not your real mother ..." and she proceeded to tell her the whole story. She did not believe her at first, but the old woman insisted."When we found you, you were wearing a beautiful gold pendant with strange writing on it, which must be Hebrew.I am sure that your mother kept the necklace. Go and see for yourself." Indeed, the woman went into her deceased mother's jewelry box and found the necklace just as the elderly lady had described. She was shocked. It was hard to fathom that she had been of Jewish descent, but the proof was right there in her hand. As this was her only link to a previous life, she cherished the necklace. She had it enlarged to fit her neck and wore it every day, although she thought nothing more of her Jewish roots.Some time later, she went on holiday abroad and came across two Jewish boys standing on a main street, trying to interest Jewish passersby to wrap Tefillin on their arms (for males) or accept Shabbos candles to light on Friday afternoon (for females). Seizing the opportunity, she told them her entire story and showed them the necklace. The boys confirmed that a Jewish name was inscribed on the necklace but did not know about her status. They recommended that she write a letter to their mentor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, explaining everything. If anyone would know what to do, it would be him.She took their advice and sent off a letter that very same day. She received a speedy reply saying that it is clear from the facts that she is a Jewish girl and perhaps she would consider using her medical skills in Israel where talented pediatricians were needed. Her curiosity was piqued and she traveled to Israel where she consulted a Rabbinical Court (Beit Din) who declared her Jewish. Soon she was accepted into a hospital to work, and eventually met her husband and raised a family.In August 2001, a terrorist blew up the Sbarro cafe in the center of Jerusalem. The injured were rushed to the hospital where this woman worked. One patient was brought in, an elderly man in a state of shock. He was searching everywhere for his granddaughter who had become separated from him.Asking how she could recognize her, the frantic grandfather gave a description of a gold necklace that she was wearing. Eventually, they finally found her among the injured patients.At the sight of this necklace, the pediatrician froze. She turned to the old man and said, "Where did you buy this necklace?""You can't buy such a necklace," he responded, "I am a goldsmith and I made this necklace. Actually I made two identical pieces for each of my daughters. This is my granddaughter from one of them, and my other daughter did not survive the war."And this is the story of how a Jewish girl, brutally torn away from her mother on a Nazi camp platform almost sixty years ago, was reunited with her father .....Adapted from the book "Heroes of Faith"(H/T @moishe feiglin)

How I Survived an Israeli Coronavirus Hotel

Jul 25, 2020 | by David Kilimnick

How I Survived an Israeli Coronavirus Hotel

I emerged from 14 days in solitude a better Jew.

For those of you who are unaware, anyone entering Israel has to quarantine in an isolated area for two weeks. The Israeli government understandably didn't trust me to quarantine in my apartment which is why they insisted that I go to what is known as a "Corona Hotel." As I have just returned to Israel and am finishing up my quarantine, let me take you on my little journey as to how I made it through my Corona Hotel experience.

They call the hotel "Corona." It didn't feel reassuring that the hotel itself had the virus. To make matters worse I was effectively in solitary confinement. Granted it was in a five star hotel with a bath and movies on demand.

Food Rations Don't Make Jews Happy

I thought I was going to get the famous Israeli hotel breakfast buffet. I thought wrong. Instead, they dropped a bag outside my door. This was worse than being locked up in solitary. At least in solitary they slip the food through a window; they give a bit of service.

Three square meals per day is just not enough for me. I am American. I need at least 8 meals. Maybe more. On the bright side, I have already lost almost fifty pounds.

No Washing Machines

They turned me into a manual laborer. My dirty clothes were unrelenting taskmasters and I was their slave. I felt like I was back in the days of the pyramids, except without the pyramids. And how do you even hand wash clothes? This was not a life skill taught to me at Jewish summer camp.

Lighting Candles is a Social Experience

Because there were concerns about lighting Shabbat candles in our hotel rooms, the organizers had us light candles together on a big table in the lobby. The medical term for this is "Quarantine Shwarantine."

This was my first interaction with other humans who weren't behind plexi-glass. I was relieved to hear that I was not alone in having no idea how to effectively ring out a shirt.

The Minyan

As I was lighting the candles, I heard about a Minyan being organized. I had never felt so thankful for ten men in my life. We couldn't socialize and we had to stand six feet apart but this meant no fighting over the armrest or annoying small talk. I wish my shul was like this.As for the chazzan, he didn't have the greatest voice but there was a silver lining here too in that he was wearing a mask.

Oneg – Delighting in Shabbat

You're supposed to delight in Shabbat, and of course we Jews do that with food. One quarantining congregant brought cake, cashews, peanuts, Coke and herring. One guy really enjoyed it. Once he touched the cashews, they were all his. Big bowls of food are not optimal in pandemics.

When it came to the pound cake, I went in after the first guy. I wasn't that scared. Actually I was, but my fear was drowned out by hunger. I was famished! In life, you have to be brave and take chances. And when it comes to a wet dense pound cake, that's when my bravery shines through.

Ingathering of the Exiles is Motivating

After Shabbat we had a big circle where everybody shared their story. One person came from Cape Town, one from Buenos Aires, one was from New York, one from Thailand, one from France. Each of us had our own journey back to Israel. Each expedition was more intriguing than the next. Mostly we talked about whether there was meal service on the planes and if not what we did to find kosher food. Because we're Jews and we like to eat.

Non-Religious Became Religious

This was the first time in my life that I had ever seen so many people return to Jewish observance. Once the non-religious people realized that they could leave their rooms for Minyan, they were all at shul davening like rabbis.

Stuff I am Left With

In quarantine, you learn a lot about yourself.

I learned that I am fine smelling like bath gel if that's all I have to wash my clothes. I don't like cottage cheese anymore, but that may change after quarantine. I learned how to make going to the hotel reception to pick up milk take twenty minutes, and how to keep a friend on the phone for forty-five minutes when they have to run. I learned that afternoon naps can last five hours, and touching cashews during a pandemic is good way to get yourself a lot of cashews. I learned that when it comes to leaving my room to go to daven, I have the ability to be extremely devout and show up two hours early. I learned that as Jews, we need each other, even if we don't stay far apart.

Minyan saved me. Shabbat saved me. Lighting candles saved me. The comradery that quarantining together as a nation with one religious saved all of us.

Only in Israel do people share their quarantine with other people. Everything beautiful about living in Israel was experienced at the quarantine hotel. A nation reuniting in the hardest of times, distanced in solitude with Jews from all over the world. When you're together there is nothing to fear. And even though we may be separated, we can still be united.

"Imagine all the World as Gush Katif"

On the Anniversary of the Expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif

See you tomorrow bli neder

We need Mosiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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