Monday, September 21, 2020

Breaking news--updated Shutdown rules--travel up to one Kilometer, not 500 meters and Tzom Gedaliah a fast day for some (not if you are over 60) and LA County: BLM is Fine, Rosh Hashana Isn't by Daniel Greenfield and he sum of cultural, free speech, health & economic damage done by the Covid19 caper and 19 Facts You Should Know About Sephardic Jewry By Menachem Posner and Talking with G-d by Rabbi Gil Locks and Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu sends Rosh Hashanah message to worldwide Jewry

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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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Coronavirus High Holiday lockdown rules - everything you need to know

The following restrictions go into effect at 2 p.m. on Friday, September 18:


Restrictions on leaving one's residence:

> One may go out from one's residence up to a distance of 1 kilometer only.

This restriction enables going out into the public sphere, including parks and playgrounds, within this limit.

Exceptions to the 1-kilometer restriction:

* Going to work / IDF base

* Buying medicine, food and essential products and services

* Helping someone in distress

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* Obtaining medical, psychological or complementary care

* Receiving social welfare assistance

* Traveling to the Knesset, a demonstration, judicial proceeding or to donate blood

*Exercising (people must exercise on their own or with people they live with; there is no distance limitation, providing the person the person is traveling to exercise by foot and not by vehicle)

* Attending a funeral or circumcision

* Conducting prayers or blowing the shofar, so long as a permit has been granted by the Religious Services Ministry

* Providing essential treatment or care for animals

* Transferring a minor between parents who do not live together or transferring a minor to the care of another person if a single parent is going out for an essential need

* Going to permitted educational activity (special education, children of essential workers)

* Going to the airport for an overseas flight, up to eight hours before the flight

* People with disabilities in sheltered housing or other residential programs - visiting first-degree relatives or vice versa

* First-degree relatives of fallen soldiers from the Yom Kippur War - attending a memorial service

* From Wednesday, September 23 until Thursday, October 1 - Purchasing the four Sukkot species, materials for building a sukkah, performing kaparot

Restrictions on being in various places

> It is prohibited to be in a residence of another person (except for some permitted purpose, such as carrying out work or assisting someone with a difficulty)

> It is prohibited to be on the beach except for permitted exercise only (by one person or people who live together, who came from their residence and not via a vehicle)

Rules of conduct in the public sphere:

> Prohibition of gatherings – up to 10 people inside, 20 in an open space

> Social distancing - two meters from one another

> Restrictions on the number of passengers in a vehicle – up to three people (except for people who live together) and one additional passenger per additional backseat row

Restrictions on commercial and recreational activity:

> It is prohibited to open businesses and places open to the public (including commerce, restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, barbershops, beauty parlors, places of recreation and hotels) as well as reception hours at places of work.


* There is no restriction on employees entering places of work provided that said place of work is not open to the public (for example, to carry out maintenance work, arrange merchandise, etc.)

* Essential stores: food stores, opticians, pharmacies, hygiene products, home maintenance products, laundries, communications products and repair shops for communications devices and computers - including those in malls or open-air markets

* Reception in essential places of work for essential services that cannot be obtained remotely (post offices, banks, etc.)

* Hotels and guesthouses – When the same are serving as alternate residences (long- or short-term) for people renting the place (such foreign workers, etc.) – without use of public spaces, pools, etc.

* A place for professional athletic training that has been approved by the Culture and Sports Ministry

Outline for prayers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur:

> It is permitted to go to a place in the public sphere where prayers are being held provided that it is no more than 1 kilometer from one's residence.

> In open areas – In regular groups of up to 20 people, with distance between the groups and physical demarcation, empty places between people who do not live together , and no serving of food.

> Inside – Areas with regular groups of 10/25 people (depending on the area being orange or red), with plastic between the areas, the maintaining of distance between the areas, the posting of signs regarding the number of worshippers, the size of the place, the applicable rules, two chairs' distance between worshippers and no serving of food.

Permitted capacity for prayers inside during the high holidays:

* Red areas – 30 people for the first two entrances, 20 people for each additional entrance

* Orange areas – 50 people per entrance

* In any case, the number of worshippers present shall not exceed 1 person per 4 square meters of space in places designated for prayer

Public transportation:

> City buses on regular routes – 32 passengers

> Inter-city buses on regular routes – 30 passengers

> Accordion buses on regular routes – 50 passengers

> Minibuses – 50% of the number given in the license

> The Carmelit – 50% of spaces

> Chartered buses – 30 passengers

> All other ground vehicles – 50% of the number given in the license

> Taxis – The driver and either one or two passengers, if one of the passengers is someone who needs an escort, except for people who live together

Special directives for passengers:

* Passengers in ground transportation vehicles may not eat while they are in the vehicle unless it necessary to maintain health

* Passengers in public transportation will pay for the ride by validating their ticket themselves and not by purchasing tickets from the driver; however, senior citizens, people accompanying the blind and passengers on bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria will be able to purchase tickets from the driver

* Those operating ground transportation vehicles shall employ ushers to assist in maintaining these rules. The ushers shall wear clothing that identifies the operating company and which is distinguishable from police uniforms and will wear prominent name tags that also identify them as ushers.

* On buses: Passengers shall not sit in the seats immediately behind or next to the driver unless there is a barrier of at least 180 centimeters in height between the driver's seat and the seats behind him. If these seats are reserved for people with disabilities, other nearby seats shall be allocated, which provide easy access.

* Passengers may not stand on intercity buses

* Passengers may not stand near the driver on city buses on regular routes

* Taxis: Passengers shall not sit next to the driver unless there is a plastic barrier between the driver's seat and the adjacent passenger seat.

* In all transportation vehicles with windows that can be opened, the windows shall be opened.

* Trains: An entry pass for the trip which was ordered in advance together with the ticket. The entry pass will include the passenger's identification number, boarding station, destination station, and the date and time of the trip. Israel Railways will keep in a secure manner the information it receives pursuant to this regulation, will make no other use of it other than to print entry passes and to deliver to the Health Ministry in order to carry out epidemiological tracing and will delete it 20 days after receiving it.


> Public sector: The number of employees in government offices, local authorities and religious councils shall not exceed 10 workers or 50% of the workforce at any one time, whichever is highest.

> Activity in the private sector that does not receive the public shall continue as usual, as per the Purple Ribbon standard


The Three Musketeers at the Kotel

Is Tzom Gedaliah canceled for 2020? — Pros and Cons on the idea

By Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Do you need to fast or not on the Monday following Rosh Hashana (September 21-today)? Like everything else in the Jewish world, it depends on who you are. We have had three Rabbinic fasts since the Pandemic has started ( Fast of Esther (Ta'anit Esther), Seventeenth of Tammuz (Shiva Asar B' Tammuz) and Tisha B'Av ) This will be the fourth one, so we have had some guidance before.

Only a Jew has to keep 613 mitzvahs, a Gentile does not, just the Noahide laws. A woman keeps fewer stringencies than a man about many religious practices as she is not obligated in many (some she is) time-bound mitzvah, and a Slave (though we don't have anymore) even less.

Now we have a new fourth class of people. Those over 60 years old. The Pandemic distinguishes between those under 60 and those over.

Judaism is the world's oldest monotheistic religion, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Followers of Judaism believe in one God who revealed himself through ancient prophets. The history of Judaism is essential to understanding the Jewish faith, which has a rich heritage of law, culture, and tradition.

Over the 4000 years, we have had many times questions about whether a fast is canceled or not either for medical conditions or over the safety of the Jewish People as other nations like to threaten us with either loss of our lives or property.

Judaism believes in the principle that life comes first in most instances (not all as there are three primary exceptions–violating beliefs in Idolatry, Harming others, or sexual immorality may supersede life).

So when life is at stake, the fast may have to go. The fast of Tzom Gedaliah is a Rabbinic Fast, not a Torah Fast, (Only Yom Kippur is a Torah fast), so since it was created by the Rabbis, the Rabbis have the right to make the rules about who has to keep it.

Rabbis and doctors have always considered the weighty issue of fasting.

Whether an elderly person or sick person should eat or drink on Yom Kippur or the lesser fasts, depends on whether he is healthy or fragile.

Although religion should promote good health, sometimes the two can clash. In such cases – for example, religious fasts – Rabbis and Doctors should intervene to ensure that patients are not harmed.

"The fast was initiated by the G-d (or in the case of Tzom Gedaliah the Rabbis), "but it is meant for healthy adults, not for the sick or for children or pregnant or lactating women. If you can't fast for health reasons, it's just as good to give charity instead."

One well known Orthodox Rabbi, RABBI YOSEF Zvi Rimon, the rabbi of JCT (The Jerusalem College of Technology, an Orthodox Jewish educational institution in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem) and head of its Beit Midrash, noted that "medicine develops all the time. Doctors may have said something 20 years ago, and rabbis gave halachic rulings on the basis of that, but maybe the information is obsolete. The principles of Jewish law are the same, but conclusions may be wrong because doctors made statements based on medical evidence and research at the time.

One has to go deeper." The rabbi produced a pamphlet with guidelines for patients on Yom Kippur fasting."It there is doubt, one must consult with a rabbi. If it is impossible and there is a real doubt [about whether the fast will cause harm], one should not fast and not endanger life, even if there is no immediate danger but only one that is distant. A patient must not risk his or her health and fast in contravention of doctor's orders."

We are in such a time, with the Pandemic. There has always been a way to avoid the issue of fasting in the past, for those who are sick, by a technique called "sherim" Eating or drinking a small amount over a period of time is not defined by the Rabbis as eating or drinking. A sick person, who, in the doctor's opinion, fasting for a few hours will cause him to require eating regularly, later on, should begin eating "shiurim" from the beginning of the fast. Now we move to the question of eating regularly or via an IV. The prohibition to eat on Yom Kippur or the other Rabbinic fasts is only when the food intake is via the mouth and throat. Nutrition introduced intravenously or via a nasogastric tube etc. is, strictly speaking, also not prohibited. Nevertheless, a healthy person should not use this technique to avoid fasting. Having said this, a sick person who does need to eat on Yom Kippur is not required to receive his food via an IV in order to negate the necessity to eat regularly; rather he may eat in a normal fashion. There are opinions that state that a sick person, who is not currently in danger and is eating only to prevent potential danger, should begin receiving nutrition via an IV from before the onset of Yom Kippur, thereby not introducing something new on Yom Kippur.

"Shiurim" as we said above is to drink small amounts of water every nine (or even six) minutes. The permitted amount of water is easy to measure. Fill your mouth with as much water as you can and then spit it out into a cup. Half of that amount can be drunk every nine minutes by chronic patients who need to hydrate themselves. The average amount is 38 milliliters and should be less than 44 milliliters. Similarly for food. This is not called eating or drinking.

A sick person is also allowed to take a shower on Yom Kippur to refresh himself (it is forbidden to healthy people).

It is preferable to stay home, pray and fast, if permitted by a doctor or rabbi, rather than go to synagogue and forgo the fast. Pregnant and lactating women who are healthy usually are bound to fast (unless the new mother cannot produce enough milk for the baby), but pregnant women should consult with authorities on whether going without food and drink would harm them or the fetus. Chronically ill patients who must take pills during the fast are advised to take them without water, but if this is impossible, they should do so in a different way, such as adding a bit of salt or something bitter, the rabbi suggested.

DR. EPHRAIM Jaul, director of complex geriatric nursing at Jerusalem's Herzog Hospital, said that ironically, there were many recommendations for vaccination for babies and children up to the age of 18, but only one recommended vaccination (against pneumonia) for those over 65.

"Old age is the most heterogeneous condition, but it is treated as homogeneous." He urged pensioners to walk fast to improve their heart, brain, and gastrointestinal systems, as well as to do mental exercises.

Before this Pandemic, calling a person "old" should not be determined by his chronological age but more exactly by his biological age, said Prof. Tzvi Dwolatzky, an expert in geriatrics and internal medicine at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center. "It used to be that kidney-failure patients were not sent to dialysis after the age of 75. Today, one can be 85 or more and still undergo it. The decision is made according to the biological age of the patient," he said, showing a photo of an 89-year-old woman who piloted a plane, and of Jeanne Louise Calment, a French woman who lived to the age of 122 and of a Holocaust survivor and Israeli named Yisrael Kristal, who died recently at the age of 113.

Before this Pandemic or on Yom Kippur where there are different rules than for Tzom Gedolia, whether an elderly person should eat or drink on Yom Kippur, said Dwolatzky, depends on whether he is healthy or fragile (living at the edge of his abilities and could fall at a slow walking speed). "From my experience, most old people fast better than young people.

"DEHYDRATION FROM fasting is a significant risk in elderly patients, noted Dr. Ephraim Rimon of the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera, who happens to be the older brother of Rabbi Rimon.

"One should drink three liters of water during the 24 hours before a fast, but it's hard for the elderly to drink so much. If a patient is dehydrated, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is higher. An elderly person who wants to fast and drink at intervals may forget to drink water and then harm himself.

"He told the story of Rabbi Chaim Sonnenfeld of the Eda Haredit who learned of a blind woman who was fasting and endangered her health. "He came to her and blew the shofar during the fast and told her it was night and the fast was all over.

But every case is different."Dr. Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, head of Jerusalem's Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research, added that a patient with irregular heartbeats can even die if he fasts.

"If we make an error in our guidelines, we are spilling blood. If a person is sick and at risk, he doesn't need to drink at intervals. He should eat. If based on medical evidence, a person could be harmed by the fast, he must eat.

"THE ONLY part of the body that needs carbohydrates is the brain, said Prof. David Zangen, a senior endocrinologist at Hadassah University Medical Center."When you haven't eaten for hours and the blood sugar level is low, the liver will release sugar from the liver to reach the brain rather than to remain in storage.

If there isn't enough, a patient can fall and be seriously hurt."Working with observant adolescents with type-1 diabetes, Zangen asked if they intended to fast on Yom Kippur. Thirty-nine of 190 said they would fast no matter what the doctor said.

"They want to be like all the others, but it could be dangerous. Those who nevertheless insist on fasting are advised to check their blood sugar every 2.5 hours and to start eating if they have nausea, vomiting, or hyperglycemia. A diabetic should always consult their personal physician, as he or she knows the medical condition well."

Now let us turn to the current issue, not just of health, but of an epidemic condition. During the Holocaust, for the sake of life, one ate or drank, and there was no dispute, but we turn to an epidemic many years before the Holocaust for guidance as that is more similar to the current time.

So to answer the question, about keeping the fast we turn to history. The Place we start is a famous story about the most serious Torah Fast, Yom Kippur. If that fast can be put off, because it is the Torah fast, then certainly a less serious Rabbinicc fast can be put off, as part of the Rabbi's job is to make that decision of who must fast, with the help of Doctors.

Following Shacharit on Yom Kippur of 5610, in September 1849, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, the famous and pious Vilna rabbi -founder of the Mussar Movement, dedicated to injecting the pursuit of ethical excellence into traditional Jewish observance, ascended to the bimah of the Vilna synagogue.

He explained to the congregation that because of the raging cholera epidemic in Vilna,

they must not spend the day gathered together in the synagogue, but should leave the building and walk outside -fresh air was believed to prevent the spread of the disease. Furthermore, he said, it was imperative that everyone maintains their strength so that they would not fall, victim,

to disease. And so, on that Yom Kippur, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter explained, everyone should break their fast, eat and drink so that they could protect their health and survive the disease. And his whole point was to break the fast not in the permitted way of "sherim" but literally to eat and drink, because he was afraid people might take the restrictions of "sherim" to literally and endanger themselves.

It was for this reason, even on Yom Kippur, which is not a rabbinic fast but a biblical one, Rabbi Salanter CANCELED YOM KIPPUR FAST.

Cholera is a horrific disease. It is painful, terrifying, and deadly. The Hebrew word for cholera- רעחולי sounds similar to "cholera" but more literally can be translated as "evil disease. "Over the course of the 19thcentury, modern medical science learned how to prevent the spread of cholera, and also how to effectively treat cholera. However, in 1849, in Eastern Europe, nobody knew how the disease spread and there were no effective treatments.

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter was one of the most famed rabbis of Vilna. He threw himself into the fight against the disease. He volunteered to care for the sick, and was instrumental in organizing the Jewish community to take care of the sick and to watch over orphans left behind in the wake of the disease

Today during our current epidemic, Doctors and Rabbis have stated that anyone over 60 is at great risk from this new flu (younger people don't seem to be as affected). It is not much of a stretch than using common sense, that even if you are in good health, anyone over 60 should not fast, and of course, if you are not in good health, no matter what your age you should not fast.

It will be very strange for people who are in jeopardy (and the medical experts say that anyone over 60 is at much higher risk as well as younger people with pre-existing conditions) to skip the fast of Tzom Gedila this year, but they must to protect their health. Someone can be machmir (strict) on something that doesn't affect their health, like reading more Tehillim or doing more prayers, but if they put themselves at risk by reducing their resistance, they are breaking the Torah not keeping it.

Either go to the synagogue or not (some are afraid of the potential virus in crowds), but as my Grandfather who lived to a ripe old age used to tell me, Stay home, take a bath, save money and be healthy!

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu sends Rosh Hashanah message to worldwide Jewry

LA County: BLM is Fine, Rosh Hashana Isn't

by Daniel Greenfield

There's been an ongoing pattern of singling out Christians and Jews, harassing churches and synagogues, while making no mention of the mass BLM rallies, or having anything to say about say mosques.

A California church challenged local coronavirus restrictions on worship services, and county authorities responded by canceling the church's five-decade-old lease.

County officials informed Grace Community Church that it will terminate its decades-old lease on a parking lot after the church filed a lawsuit over local restrictions against in-person worship. The county told the church in a letter it intends to terminate the lease of a large section of the parking lot that the church leases, threatening to forcibly remove any of the church's property that remained in the lot.

And now there's this LA County bulletin that seems to be channeling Bill de Blasio.

The following examples of in-person gatherings are not permitted, even if they feel safe: celebrating the new arrival of a baby with a baby shower or gender reveal party; having a barbeque with a group of friends in the backyard for Labor Day; hosting a study group with school students; having dinner with extended family and friends to honor the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur); gathering at the beach with friends over the hot weekend. These types of gatherings are risky as they bring together people who do not live together and increase the chances of community transmission.

Unlike Black Lives Matter rallies.

1. LA County's experts don't seem to understand how Yom Kippur works.

2. Singling out a particular religious group is discriminatory, especially when there's no mention of the ongoing Black Lives Matter riots and rallies, essentially allowing them, while lecturing religious believers, beachgoers and students about how dangerous their behavior is.

A demonstration against the fatal shooting of Dijon Kizzee on Saturday night ended with deputies and protesters clashing in front of the South Los Angeles sheriff's station.

A spokesperson with the L.A. County Sheriff's Office said protesters started throwing rocks and bottles at deputies so they responded with sting balls and pepper balls.

Unlike religious observances or study groups, this is fine.

A little wine for Shabbat

In an effort to better understand his Jewish constituents, the
Gentile mayor reached out to a popular local rabbi. So the rabbi invited the mayor to spend Shabbat at his home.

The rabbi made kiddush Friday night on a full cup of wine.

Then, after the fish, he made a l'chaim on some fine scotch.

The main course came with Israeli wine.

They said Grace After Meals with another cup of wine.

The next day in shul, after services, they made kiddush on wine followed by herring, crackers and a few l'chaims on schnapps.

They went home and the rabbi made kiddush for his family on anothercup of wine, some l'chaim after the fish, a nice single malt scotch with the cholent, and some more wine with the Grace After Meals.

And when it got dark, the rabbi made Havdalah on yet another cup of wine. Then, over supper, they enjoyed more wine and scotch whisky.
The mayor said to the rabbi, "Thank you for sharing your Shabbat with me. I had a wonderful time. And while I still don't understand why you can't turn the lights on and off, I definitely understand why you
cannot drive on Shabbat!"

Talking to G-d with Gutman Locks

The easiest way to open your heart

19 Facts You Should Know About Sephardic Jewry

By Menachem Posner

1. Sepharad is the Ancient Hebrew Word for Spain

Since Biblical times, the Jewish people have referred to Spain as Sepharad. We see this in the Book of Obadiah, where we are told that "the exile of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad shall inherit the cities of the southland." Where is Sepharad? The Targum Jonathan identifies it as "Espamia," Spain. Thus, the Jewish people living in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula (as well as their descendants) became known as Sephardim.

2. Sephardic Culture and Scholarship Rose in the 10th Century

After the decline of the Jewish communities in

the Holy Land and Babylon, Jews found new life in Europe, where they

blossomed into Ashkenaz and Sepharad.

Even though Jews had been living there for centuries, in the 10th century the Jews of Spain took a leading role in guiding the spiritual and cultural development of the Jewish people as a whole, in large part due to the influence of Rabbi Chasdai ibn Shaprut, a wealthy scholar, physician and statesman. Under his stewardship, Cordoba became a thriving center of Jewish life and learning. At that time, Spain was an Arabic-speaking Muslim land, and Jews took part in the explosion of scientific and linguistic scholarship that abounded.

3. Sepharad Soon Spread All Over

In the mid 12th century, much of Spain was overrun by the Almohads, a sect of fanatical Muslims. Many Sephardic Jews fled to avoid forced conversion to Islam, planting the seeds for the Sephardic diaspora that would flourish around the world.

Among the best-known Jews forced to leave Spain at that time was Maimonides, who was born in Cordoba and later gained acclaim as one of the greatest Jewish scholars and philosophers of all time in his adopted homeland of Egypt.

4. Jewish Life in Spain Effectively Ended in 1492

Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion of the Jews and Muslims in Spain.

Despite the oppression of successive Muslim and Catholic rulers, Jews continued to form an integral part of Spanish life. In 1492, however, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. Hundreds of thousands set sail for Morocco, Portugal, Turkey and beyond, and those who remained were forced to hide their Jewish identity.

The Spanish exiles became prominent in their new homes, and often greatly influenced (and sometimes overshadowed) the communities that had existed there prior to their arrival. As a result, Jews from lands far from Spain are known as Sephardim. Since the big-tent Sepharad includes many more Jews than just the Spanish refugees and their descendants, a more accurate term for Jews of eastern provenance that has gained popularity in recent years is Eidot Hamizrach ("Communities of the East").

5. Ladino Is the Lingua Franca of Sephardic Jewry

The first page of Me'am Lo'ez, a classic commentary on the Tanakh written in Ladino.

Many of the Sephardic exiles and their descendants proudly clung to the beautiful culture they had developed in Spain. Thus, even 500 years later, there are still Sephardim who speak Ladino, the Jewish version of Spanish, which contains many Hebrew words (and has since incorporated many others picked up from Arabic, Turkish and Slavic speaking neighbors). Like Yiddish, Ladino is written in Hebrew characters with its own system of spelling.

6. The Safed Kabbalists Were Sephardim

Following the composition (and publication) of the Zohar, the most significant advancement of the Kabbalah was due to the prolific and Divinely inspired teachings of the cadre of Kabbalists who lived in 16th-century Safed (Tzefat).

These men were all Sephardim. Even the Arizal, who was sometimes called the Ashkenazi Rabbi Isaac, was the son of a Sephardic mother and was raised by his Sephardic uncle, Mordechai Frances of Cairo.

7. Sephardic Communities Were Decimated by the Holocaust

A large and lively Sephardic community once lived in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Most contemporary Sephardic Jews hail from Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, places that were largely unscathed by the Holocaust. However, there were once thriving Sephardic communities in Greece, Italy, the Balkans, and Romania, which were almost completely decimated by the Nazis and their local collaborators.

Cities like Thessaloniki (once referred to in Ladino as La Madre de Israel, "Mother of Israel), were bereft of their Jewish denizens, with few survivors left to carry on their rich traditions.

8. Persians, Yemenites, and Others Are Not Sephardim

People rarely fit neatly inside the boxes we try to squeeze them into, and many cultures that are mistakenly (and conveniently) placed under the rubric of Sepharad are actually not Sephardic at all. Some examples are the Yemenite Jews, whose unique Jewish tradition is even more ancient and did not come by way of Spain; Persian Jews, who speak Judeo-Farsi and trace their lineage to the Babylonian exiles; indigenous Italian and Greek Jewish communities, whose culture lies somewhere between Ashkenaz and Sephard with plenty of unique elements; as well as the Mustarabim, Jews native to Arabic lands, who were were overshadowed by and merged into the Sephardic majority.

9. Rabbi Yosef Caro Is the Final Sephardic Arbiter of Jewish Law

In the 16th century, Rabbi Yosef Caro, who was born in Toledo shortly before the expulsion, composed the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch), in which he summarized and drew conclusions from the teachings of Maimonides, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (Rif), and Rabbi Asher ben Yehiel (Rosh) in one highly-readable work.

While Ashkanazim often follow the rulings and insights inserted into the text by the Polish Rabbi Moshe Isserles, Sephardim are more inclined to act according to the rulings of Rabbi Yosef Caro.

10. Sephardim Have a Unique Form of Hebrew Cursive

Modern Hebrew generally appears in two forms: block and cursive. While contemporary cursive is similar to the script used for generations among Ashkanazim, it would have been illegible to Sephardim who favored an older form of Hebrew cursive that looks much more like what is now known as Rashi Script.

11. Approximately half of Israel's Jews Are Sephardim

In the first years after the declaration of the State of Israel, Jews poured in from the Muslim lands where they had lived for generations, having suddenly found themselves unwelcomed by their erstwhile neighbors.

In those years, they often faced discrimination and had a hard time integrating into a society where many of the bureaucratic and political leadership posts were filled by Ashkanazim. In recent decades, many of those old rifts have faded, and Israel's Sephardim have risen in prominence.

12. Sephardic Family Names Are Often Hundreds of Years Old

With notable exceptions, most Ashkenazi family names are only about 200 years old. Many Sephardim, on the other hand, have held onto their surnames for much longer than that. Thus, it is not uncommon for Sephardim to have names such as Toledano ("from Toledo"), Cardozo, and others that can be traced back to Spain.

13. Sephardim Call Their Rabbis Chacham

Many Sephardic communities use the word chacham to refer to a rabbi. At its zenith, the Ottoman Empire encompassed large segments of the Sephardic world. As such, the chief rabbis of various major Sephardic population centers were known as chacham Bashi (bashi is the Turkish word for "head"). In addition to providing spiritual and social guidance, the Chacham Bashi had legal standing as the representative of his community in governmental affairs.

14. Sephardic Pronunciation Is More Nuanced Than Modern Hebrew

There is a common misconception that Modern Hebrew, spoken in contemporary Israel, is the Sephardic Hebrew. This, however, is a gross simplification. While Modern Hebrew does have certain elements of Sephardic pronunciation (such as not differentiating between a kamatz and a patach, or between a tav with a dagesh [dot] and one without), it also misses some important nuances of Sephardic pronunciation, such as the difference between be the chaf and the chet (which is pronounced gutturally) and between the aleph and ayin, which is pronounced as a velar nasal.

15. The Majority of English Jews Were Once Sephardic

Sir Moses Haim Montefiore was a British financier and banker who worked tirelessly on behalf of Jews everywhere.

For centuries Amsterdam had a prosperous Sephardic community, made up primarily of Spanish Jews who came there by way of Portugal (until this very day, they still use Portuguese as part of their synagogue service). In 1655 Sephardic Dutch Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel of Amsterdam advocated successfully that Britain allow Jews back into its borders, almost 400 years after they had expelled their (Ashkenazi) Jews back in 1290. Jews began to trickle into England, and for a long time the majority of Anglo Jewry was of Sephardic stock. A prime example is Sir Moses Montefiore, the British knight who traveled the world to assist Jews everywhere.

16. The First Jews in America Were Sephardim

It was no accident, some say, that Columbus set sail on the very same day that the Jews were expelled from Spain. Indeed, while there is much-unresolved speculation regarding the provenance of Columbus himself, it is clear that his trip was financed by Jews, desperate to find a place they could live and worship in peace.

Over the next centuries, the Caribbean, Latin America, and even North America were settled by Sephardim. Thus, the first Jews in what would become the US and Canada were of Sephardic origin.

17. Nusach Sepharad Is Actually Ashkenazic

The traditional liturgy of Ashkenazi Jewry is known as Nusach Ashkenaz (Ashkenazi Rite). With the rise of the Chasidic movement, many began to incorporate various elements of the Sephardic rite into their prayers, since the Sephardic tradition was favored by the Kabbalists and more in tune with the meditations behind the prayers. This new Chassidic hybrid came to be known as Nusach Sepharad (or Nusach Arizal, since it conformed to the meditations of the Arizal).

Thus, a Nusach Sepharad synagogue is most likely populated by Ashkenazi Chassidim, and Sephardim prefer to refer to their rites as Eidot Hamizrach or Sephardi (with the added 'i') just to keep things clear.

18. Sephardic Jews Have Unique Cuisine

What Americans commonly refer to as Jewish food (chicken soup with kneidlach, kishke, potato latkes, sweet tzimmes, etc.) is actually Ashkenazi food, which is not terribly dissimilar to the foods eaten by the gentiles in the lands where Ashkanazim originate.

Not surprisingly, these foods are unfamiliar to Sephardim, who enjoy an entirely different cuisine, reflective of the Mediterranean climate where they lived and prospered for generations.

19. Sephardim Tend to Be Traditional

As social reforms swept through Western Europe, many Jews felt the pressure to "update" Judaism to conform with their newly acquired "enlightened" views. This led to the creation of Reform congregations, and by extension, Conservative ones, where the changes were not as drastic.

Sephardic Jews were largely untouched by those changes, and virtually all Sephardic Jews worship in the traditional Orthodox manner of their ancestors. By and large, even those Sephardim who have drifted from observance tend to be closer to tradition, with a warm place in their hearts for Torah, Torah scholars, and Jewish tradition.

By Menachem Posner

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff

editor at, the world's largest Jewish informational website.

He has been writing, researching, and editing for since 2006,

when he received his rabbinic degree from Central Yeshiva Tomchei

Temimim Lubavitch. He resides in Chicago, Ill., with his family

John Ward

The Sunday Essay: the sum of cultural, free speech, health & economic damage done by the Covid19 caper

Inhuman, unnatural behavior. Mob obedience. The destruction of Citizen Healthcare. Sovereign fiscal insolvency. Unparalleled job losses.

Is anyone still seriously trying to tell me that all this was done with the best intentions to save us from being wiped out by a virus that kills 0.0064% of us?

Band together Thinking People: this is nonsense, and we all know it.

I have owned one property or another in France for over thirty years. No event has come close to the Coronavirus hype in its quite extraordinary ability to change Gallic culture.

There is an overwhelming sense of obedience being the only moral choice for a responsible citizen – the diametric opposite of the normal French attitude, which is to ridicule every politician, evade as much tax as possible, and break every speed limit as a matter of course.

One feels the change very keenly: the almost jingoistic tone of regulatory notices – 'unifié contre le virus' – the tut-tutting or stony silence if one says anything contrarian, and of course the fear in those eyes above the mask.

The habit of kissing on greeting and stopping for a gossip has disappeared. Even when it's possible to show people with one chart that immunity is growing and deaths are falling sharply, they shrug and say, "I faut rester prudent" – we must remain on our guard.

Three months ago, the obligatory wearing of masks in the street was being hotly debated in the media, and largely opposed in Opeds. Today, large areas of Paris have adopted that ridiculous obligation without a murmur….despite the now massively quantified data proving that management drugs are highly effective at dealing with the infected, and 85% of the population has only the tiniest chance of dying from Covid19.

De Gaulle said, after his long term in office, that France could not be governed in the accepted libertarian sense of the term. In just four months, Emmanuel Macron has shown that the emerging French generations will applaud the idea of collaboration's meaning being shifted from a potential insult into some kind of patriotic duty.

There is a life-lesson I have relearned over the last five years: that friends from normal circumstances are largely useless as comrades when malign forces have made them scared. Brexit and Covid19 did that. One has to seek out new colleagues capable, as Kipling put it, "of keeping your head when others are losing theirs". The ultimate loneliness of Gary Cooper in High Noon is being played out in millions of relationships in the 21st century West.

That alone results in disastrous cultural change. It is hard to find a single EU State now – even a single Anglospheric State – that isn't socially and politically split down the middle on nationalism, blocism, globalism, race, culture, creed, independence….and now, even health is emerging as (despite the surface robotic opinion-forming) yet another canyon of the divide.

At its core, the divide is about telling the truth come what may, restoring the balance of our natural instincts in the context of society, and opposing both the mendacious censorship and puerile propaganda of the State's information apertures.

A staggering percentage of Western citizens still quietly believe that, as it were, keeping quiet about injustice can somehow be in the common good. An almost equal percentage see opposition to issues like EU practices and Big Pharma's malign influence on public health as evidence, variously, of ignorance, stupidity, racism, and the sort of mental derangement that leads "the gullible" to indulge in "silly conspiracy theories".

The disbelief in censorship is, for me, the most incomprehensible given its blatant nature.

Again, there is obviously massive libertarian damage in such corporate social media censorship; but what one detects now is the emergence yet again of cynical smuggies who smile and say, "Yeh, well – whaddya expect?" as if that somehow addressed the problem.

I strongly believe that cynicism is the new naivety.

Yesterday's Slogpost showed how Big Pharma has compromised the ethics of public health's infrastructure as well as the directions taken and conclusions reached by research bodies developing new drugs. Not only have they infected the NHS, for example, they are also steadily destroying this institution by (a) making a fat profit at the expense of taxpayer budgets and (b) evoking in it an obsession with Covid19 so obscenely out of proportion to the real nature of the threat, other vital duties the NHS has are being neglected…..with appalling consequences for British citizens.

And so to my second witness. This is a chap I've known for many years: stoical, upstanding, successful in his own field and now – like all of us – beginning to suffer from failing powers. This is his personal testimony:

Covid19 is, in this case history too, clearly causing both chaos and potentially mortal delays.

Meanwhile, Governments around the world – including the UK – face a wave of lawsuits from foreign companies who complain that their profits have been hit by the pandemic.

Bless. Do they include Sanofi, GSK, Astrazeneka and their fellow travellers, we ask ourselves?

If rich globalist companies wish to sue nation-States rendered both fiscally and morally bankrupt by the pernicious actions of pharmaceutical giants and their infinite hordes of medical whores, might I make a small suggestion? Would it not be a good idea for those same nation-States and hacked off globalists to join forces and sue the collective arses off Megadrug Combines?

After all, why sue the pauperized Sovereigns* when the prosperous sociopaths are there for the taking of rich pickings? Don't chase the ambulance to the publicly-funded hospice, guys – follow the sedan chairs to places like Imperial Private Healthcare.

Never heard of IPH? Let me enlighten you: Imperial Private Healthcare is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, one of the largest teaching hospital groups in the UK.

You know….the one where Leftwinger Neil Ferguson works.

You really could not make this shit up.

*I use the term pauperised Sovereigns there without any sense of hyperbole. Here's an extract from a new Ambrose Evans-Pritchard piece – in my view, AEP is still the most erudite media fiscal economist in Europe:

'The accumulated loss in GDP has been 22% from peak to trough for the UK'

He's right. From April and June alone, UK GDP collapsed by 20.4% – the worst three-month fall ever recorded according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as almost every industry was crushed by the response to the pandemic.

There is no way a post-EU economy like ours could ever afford to chuck away a fifth of our net trading volume during what is (if you strip out the bonkers QE element) a global slump likely to exceed that of 1929.

That's simple maths of the kind I have been promoting since this farcical Contrick19 hoodwink got underway.

If this post doesn't convince you of a destructive, anti-social, illiberal, and amoral global game in play, then I'm at a loss to know what will.

A massive banking, bourse, currency, and corporatocracy reset is imminent.

You have been warned.

Tzom Gedaliah is today-don't fast if you are over 60

See you tomorrow bli neder

We need Moshiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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