Breaking news: Green Pass extended until December 31, 2021 without any more shots and How Did Susan Rice Make As Much As $149 Million? by Daniel Greenfield and terrified for NYC’s Future by Ronn Torossian and Moving to Israel and Giving Birth Helped Me Better Understand the Passover Story by Yael Eckstein and A Moses Montefiore – David Roberts Connection By Saul Jay Singer and Israeli man visiting Baltimore for a wedding is shot dead in apparent robbery
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.
Breaking news: Green Pass extended until December 31, 2021 without any more shots
Decision comes with easing of many COVID-19 restrictions in Israel including limits on public gatherings
The Israeli Health Ministry announced Wednesday that the validity of the Green Pass, a certificate granted upon full vaccination, will be extended until the end of 2021.
The validity of the passes was initially for six months from the second vaccination dose, or until the end of June for recovering patients.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Moving to Israel and Giving Birth Helped Me Better Understand the Passover Story by Yael Eckstein
The story of Passover and the miraculous escape from Egypt always captivated me as a child. Yet it was after some critical moments in my adult life that the vivid imagery from Passover truly came alive.
When my husband and I moved from America to Israel, we believed with all our hearts that Israel is where we are meant to be. We fully appreciated the blessing of a Jewish homeland knowing that generations of Jews had suffered nearly 2,000 years of oppression in the Diaspora, and we felt God tugging at our heartstrings, telling us that Israel is our true home.
Yet, despite these reassuring thoughts, it was hard to say goodbye to everything and everyone we had always known and step into the unknown. It took a huge leap of faith to board a plane on a one-way ticket to Israel for a life we could never have imagined.
Choosing change over comfort, and the unfamiliar over what is known, has never been easy. When the Israelites left Egypt in the Exodus story, after Pharaoh finally sent them away, Jewish sages have explained that when it finally came time for the Israelites to leave, they were hesitant to go. Pharaoh had to push them out the door! They needed an extra nudge because in spite of the bitter slavery in Egypt, the people were afraid to step into unfamiliar territory.
As human beings, it's natural for us to fear the unknown, just as the ancient Israelites did. So we stay in jobs that we don't like, relationships that hurt us, or in places that no longer suit us. But do you know what is even worse than the unknown? It's staying with something that we know is bad for us.
Passover is a time for stepping out in faith. It's a time for leaving old habits and situations behind in order to make way for something new and better. It's a time for change even if it makes us uncomfortable. In fact, In Judaism, the Exodus from Egypt is often compared to the birthing process (what I now consider the pinnacle of discomfort) It was only after I had gone through that experience myself that I truly appreciated what it meant.
The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, derived from a word that means "narrow straits" or "constriction." Egypt was seen as a narrow place, similar to the birth canal. The children of Israel were stressed, oppressed, and compressed; literally caught in a narrow place where they found themselves sandwiched between the Egyptians and the Red Sea.
But just like the birthing process, the stress and confinement were all part of the plan. When the Israelites couldn't stand it any longer, they threw up their hands and said, "We are powerless God and only You can help!" At that point, the sea split, the Israelites left Egypt for good, and a new nation was formed.
One of the key lessons from Passover is that change and enormous pressure can lead to rebirth and renewal. We also need to remember that God is hard at work in all of those defining moments we encounter. He is always up to something grand on the other side of our pain and the unknown - as he has been throughout all of history.
When we follow God, we may not always know where we are going, and we are often in discomfort along the way. But we can be sure that we will end up exactly where we are meant to be.
Yael Eckstein is the president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In this role, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of the world's largest, religious not-for-profit organizations, having raised $1.8 billion — mostly from Christians — to assist Israel and the Jewish people. She is the author of the book "Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to our Children.
Israeli man visiting Baltimore for a wedding is shot dead in apparent robbery
An Israeli man visiting Baltimore to attend a wedding was shot dead in a robbery outside the house where he was staying.
Video surveillance from homes in the heavily Jewish area on Fords Lane in the northwest part of the city shows three youths approaching Efraim Gordon as he leaves a car and enters his aunt and uncle's house. One then shoots Gordon.
Police arrived after midnight, early Monday, and took Gordon to a hospital, where he died.
Gordon was affiliated with Chabad-Lubavitch, according to the movement's newsletter, Chabad Online, which identified him as a Jerusalem tech entrepreneur. He was 31. Chabad Online said he was attending a cousin's wedding.
The area's city councilman, Yitzy Schleifer, noted the gun violence plaguing Baltimore in a statement to Chabad Online.
"The community has now suffered the ultimate loss from the horrific violence plaguing this City," he said. "Our efforts to ensure the safety of our constituents will not only continue but will increase."
There were at least 92 homicides in 2021 in Baltimore by Monday, compared with 105 in the same period last year.
Schleifer through local media urged residents to share any video surveillance they had to apprehend the killers.
Gordon will be buried in Israel. An online effort to raise money for his return and for the funeral raised three times the requested amount of $15,000 by midday Tuesday.
This year has been a tremendously difficult year. Covid-19 was – and remains – scary and awful.
For so many New Yorkers, what has also been awful over the last year has been watching the destruction of New York City – undoubtedly in large part because of a pair of egomaniac buffoons: Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
New York City is a fragment of itself – abandoned stores and empty streets. The city that used to never sleep is in a slumber. After a year in which the city permitted looting and rioting, in which kids remain largely out of school, in which crime is rising rapidly and so many of us are afraid to walk in the streets, the city is largely shuttered and in disarray. Streets are filled with crime, the homeless are everywhere -- and so many New Yorkers have left.
"If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere" now seems to be a punishment of how many extra barriers one needs to encounter in NYC to succeed.
Contrast that with Florida which is wide open, where the Mayor tweets asking people what help they need to succeed, and it's easy to understand why so many of New York's finest have moved in the past year.
One doesn't need to sit on Wall Street or Park Avenue in order to work – Miami Beach and the sun works just fine for so many professionals. I have a running list of 50 friends and acquaintances who have moved to Florida, all of whom never previously thought of leaving NYC.
Spending the last week in Miami after a year in New York, I am amazed how many people I run into in Miami who have moved -- like my friend Mitch Modell (of Modell's sporting goods) who had tears in his eyes over dinner at Carbone (a NYC restaurant which opened in Miami) as he said he cannot believe he no longer has a home in New York. He said he simply didn't feel safe anymore in the city, and couldn't remain in an unsafe city. Like many, we have more friends in Miami now, and as those of us who live in Manhattan know the streets, don't feel safe right now.
Another friend of mine for 30 years who works in real estate left once his teenage son was robbed at gunpoint in front of his home on the Upper East Side. He also left because his kid's private school (for which he paid $55K annually) had his son write essays apologizing for privilege and wealth. Another friend, a nightlife impresario, left after his wife was harassed daily while walking the kids around in a stroller. These stories don't make the news and all of us who live in Manhattan have similar ones.
People outside of Manhattan have no idea how bad Gotham truly is, how depressed and isolated the residents of the city are and feel. So many of us are shell-shocked – even more so when we come to Florida and see life passing us by. Florida is wide open – and the COVID numbers aren't worse in Florida. We are more angered when we realize teachers' unions control the fate of our children, even more angered when even though NY got billions in bail-out money, taxes will still rise there – surely a punitive move.
As a close friend of mine told me when leaving,
"NYC ain't gonna get its groove back. What has happened in NYC has made it impossible for me. It's not being a conservative in a lefty city. I've always been fine with that – there was a place for me, the resistance. But now, it's not just that the city has jerked left. It's that it despises any form of success or ambition. It's not just the GOP that is disgusting. It's any form of trying to succeed in business or school or art. The culture of NYC used to adore its big dreamers and big ambitions. Now, it hates them.
That's why ordinary diners are attacked by "peaceful protestors". It has nothing to do with any issue or justice. It's simply about wealth redistribution – diner has money, protestor doesn't, therefore protestor has the right to disrupt the diner and the restaurant. It sickens me. I can live in a place where I am a tiny minority. I can't live in a place that wants to rob me."
So many of us feel this way. We feel hated for succeeding, we feel attacked. I grew up in the Bronx, the product of a single-mother household, and attended NYC public schools, yet Mayor De Blasio attacked people like me who went to the Hamptons during the pandemic for fresh air and space, calling us "fair-weather friends." I've paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes in NYC and employ hundreds of people. I am not evil because I succeed, not a "fair-weather" friend because I have a home in the Hamptons. I'm proud of what I have accomplished and apologize to absolutely no one for it.
De Blasio got what he wanted – many of those "fair-weather friends" haven't returned. Many of my hedge fund friends moved quietly to Palm Beach and won't return. Perhaps that's the strategy of these progressives all along – to destroy business and commerce. Sitting in wide-open Florida, it is hard to think this isn't part of some sinister plan.
For the first time ever, I have proactively made it my mission to meet the front-runners running for Mayor in the upcoming November election. In a race in which accepting donations from real estate developers is considered controversial, perhaps it's unsurprising the business community has been overwhelmingly silent surrounding the upcoming election, and the candidates are largely people who haven't accomplished much. There are no big names and certainly no sure-fire candidate who can turn this mess around.
On the Democratic side, there is Eric Adams, the current Brooklyn Borough President. He appears to be the best of the worst. He's a former NYPD captain who touts law and order. He has stated that "business is needed in NYC." He claims to be a moderate – although he also wants to raise taxes, not the brightest move when NY's best and brightest are fleeing. Andrew Yang, the current front-runner, is an open "progressive" touting universal basic income – a socialist endeavor. Yang, who portrays himself as an uber-successful entrepreneur, has a net worth of $600K according to his financial filings. Not exactly super successful when it comes to NYC cost of living – so what makes him qualified to solve NY's huge issues? Most of the Democratic candidates identify as "progressives" – the prescription which led us into this situation. On the Republican side is Fernando Mateo, a long-time advocate for livery cabs. In a city where Republicans are outnumbered seven to one, it seems like a lost cause.
I write this from Miami where I've been out daily for dinner at restaurants, after days packed with Zoom calls, where real estate is booming, where the sun is shining, and where the energy is what New York City used to have. Offices won't reopen full-time, and if they don't do that then why must I live in the city? Many more have left NYC than realized, and when that happens and progressives seek to continue to tax, tax, and tax, then what happens to those who make money who remain?
I'm sad and pessimistic that New York City will ever recover. I have lived there my whole life, and I am terrified about the future of our once-great city.
Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations executive.
How Did Susan Rice Make As Much As $149 Million? by Daniel Greenfield
Democrats fight for the people. And by the people, they mean the oppressed and downtrodden working classes of the swamp. Themselves.
Rice, who is among the wealthiest members of the Biden White House team, dramatically increased her wealth since her previous White House job during the Obama administration, reporting between $36 million and $149 million in various assets in her new disclosure filing released Saturday morning.
That's nearly three to four times the amount she reported back in 2009, when she joined the Obama administration as the ambassador to the United Nations. Back then she reported total wealth between $13.6 million and $40.4 million, and the figure didn't increase dramatically when she served as President Barack Obama's national security advisor during his second term.
Where did all that money come from? ABC News' explanation only covers so much ground.
Rice, who served as the president of her author and speaking business SERice LLC, earned roughly $620,000 from various corporate and academic speaking engagements in the past year, and $250,000 from book royalties, with her total income from the past year amounting to between $2 million and $6.7 million.
It goes without saying that no one is inviting Susan Rice to speak because of her deep insights into how to get ahead by using your political connections. No more than they were paying Hillary millions because they wanted to listen to her shriek from a teleprompter.
And the speaking tour has died down, for the same reason that Rice kept cashing in. Companies invest in people who are going to be power players in the government.
Everyone knows it. Except the Biden White House which wants to treat the public like idiots with its baldfaced chutzpah. That or it's trying its hand at unintentional comedy.
"These White House officials are experienced government leaders whose past private sector experience is part of a broad and diverse skill set they bring to government service," a White House spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. "They have returned to government because of their deep commitment to public service, their desire to help bring our nation out of this time of crisis, and their strong belief that government can work for the American people."
Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, or hell, even Ray Tillerson, joining the government is bringing private sector experience to public service. Government employees who take a break in between administrations to make millions are not bringing private sector experience to public service.
They're bringing government contacts into the private sector.
Klain, a longtime adviser to Biden, has also tripled his wealth since 2009, a comparison of his past and new disclosures shows. When he joined the Obama administration in 2009 as Biden's chief of staff, Klain reported owning between $1.4 million and $3.5 million in assets, and he now enters the Biden administration with between $4.4 million and $12.2 million in various assets.
Zients reported owning between $89.3 million and $442.8 million in assets, including various investment funds, real estate properties and cash shares. He has divested his shares in his private investment firm, Cranemere Group, as well as $1 million worth of shares in Facebook, where he has served as a board member.
Deese's wealth has also multiplied dramatically since 2009, when he took his first White House job as Obama's special assistant for economic policy. In 2015, just a few months into his role as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Deese reported owning between $81,000 and $215,000 in assets -- but now, as a member of the Biden administration, he's reported between $2 million and $7.2 million in assets. Prior to joining the Biden administration, Deese made $2.3 million in salary from the investment firm BlackRock as the Global Head of Sustainable Investing, compared to the $175,000 in salary he received during his last year as Obama's deputy OMB director.
Public service, folks. It's all about the public service.
When Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) was yet a young man, he became one of only 12 licensed Jewish members of the London Stock Exchange and, in short order, accumulated great wealth, became a member of the London aristocracy, and became recognized as the most famous Anglo-Jew of the 19th century.
He devoted his later life to philanthropy, spending most his fortune on a broad sweep of Jewish causes across the world, particularly in Eretz Yisrael, but he was also a towering figure in the non-Jewish world, funding schools, hospitals, and other institutions. In England, for example, he not only actively campaigned to abolish slavery but used his own money to back a 20-million-pound government loan to compensate plantation owners for their losses arising out of a new anti-slavery law (1835).
Montefiore became strictly observant only after the first of his seven visits to Eretz Yisraelin 1827. An unapologetic Jew, he was obedient to his faith's religious leaders and humble and kind in character. He maintained his own synagogue at his estate at Ramsgate from 1833, where he also built a replica of the biblical Rachel's tomb, and he became a determined opponent of the reform Jewish movement in England. He maintained his position as an honored and respected figure in contemporary secular society while never compromising on his strict fidelity to authentic Judaism.
For example, when he was appointed as Sheriff of London (1837-38), Montefiore specifically included a contractual provision relieving him of having to work on Shabbos and Yom Tov. He always traveled with a group of at least 10 Jews so that he could be assured a minyan at all times, and he brought his own dishes and kosher food to banquets.
Montefiore was elected president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the representative body of British Jewry, and held the position for 44 years. He became the first knighted English Jew (1837), and when Queen Victoria awarded him a baronetcy (1846), she noted Sir Moses' "unceasing exertions on behalf of his injured and persecuted brethren."
To Montefiore, an essential part of Orthodox Judaism was not only a belief in the messianic restoration of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael but also the duty to take affirmative steps to facilitate it. Accordingly, he acquired land to enable Jews to become self-supporting through agriculture, and he later tried to bring industry to Eretz Yisrael through the introduction of a textile factory and printing press. While emphasizing self-reliance and self-sufficiency for Jewish settlers in Eretz Yisrael, he simultaneously continued to fund them and to meet their every need.
Furthermore, Montefiore commenced the development of modern Jerusalem by building Mishkenot Shaananim, the first modern Jewish housing project outside the walls of the Old City, and he obtained a permit from the Turkish sultan to rebuild the Hurvah, Jerusalem's central Ashkenazic synagogue.
He also inspired the founding of several colonies in Eretz Yisrael, including the Yemin Moshe quarter (named for him) overlooking the Old City walls, where one can still find his famous windmill, which he built to provide cheap flour to the poor. He is credited with laying important groundwork for the establishment of Jewish settlements in EretzYisrael and for developing early Zionism.
Described as the last of the shtadlanim (intercessor/negotiator on behalf of Jewish communities), Montefiore uniquely combined strategic pragmatism and spiritual fervor to further the cause of oppressed Jews everywhere. He famously visited Russia, where he persuaded Tsar Nicholas I to ease the forced assimilation of Jews and to rescind his decree expelling them (1846); traveled to the Vatican, where he tried, but failed, to convince the Pope Pius IX to free Edgar Mortara, a Jewish youth who had been baptized by his Catholic nurse and kidnapped by church officials (1858); and engaged in diplomatic interventions on behalf of Jewish communities in Morocco (1863) and Rumania (1867).
Perhaps the greatest of his shtadlan activities, however, was his intervention in the Damascus Affair (1840), an infamous blood libel which drew wide international attention as accusations of ritual murder were brought against members of the Jewish community of Damascus. Eight notable Jews, falsely accused of murdering Father Thomas, a Christian monk, were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, and the Muslim populace of Damascus fell upon the Jewish synagogue in the suburb of Jobar, pillaged it, and destroyed its Sifrei Torah.
Montefiore led a delegation to Mohammed Ali, the ruler of Syria and Egypt, and his now-legendary successful negotiations in Alexandria (August 4-28) secured the unconditional release of the remaining prisoners and recognition of their innocence. Moreover, he persuaded the Sultan to end the provisions of the infamous Pact of Umar, in effect since medieval times, pursuant to which dhimmis (non-Muslims) received Islamic protection on condition that they accept inferior citizenship and agree to subject themselves to institutionalized humiliation.
Montefiore's 100th birthday, which was declared a public holiday, was celebrated not only throughout the Jewish world but also internationally in the secular world. Exhibited here is a page from the November 1, 1884, Illustrated London News, which was accompanied by a description of the service at the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London commemorating the special birthday (not shown). The illustrations show the procession bringing in a new Sefer Torah (left), the Minchah service; and Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler delivering a sermon.
* * * * *
One of the most highly acclaimed landscape painters of the 19th century, David Roberts (1796-1894) was recognized as one of the great Victorian artist-travelers and topographical painters whose work was characterized by a distinctly exotic, atmospheric, and ethereal style.
In his time, the Christian passion for the Holy Land became an important aspect of Victorian life, and the public's broad fascination with the Near East and the biblical sites they had learned about, but never seen, motivated and stimulated Roberts and set him on the course that would assure his immortality.
Roberts became best known for his adventurous journey in 1838-39 across the Sinai Peninsula to Petra, Jerusalem, through Eretz Yisrael, and along the Lebanese and Syrian coasts, during which he recorded Biblical sites, including Jerusalem, Mt. Sinai, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jericho, Jaffa, Tiberius, and Bethlehem, as well as mosques, monasteries, bazaars, and bustling street life.
Two paintings of Jerusalem by Roberts. Two paintings of Jerusalem by Roberts.
The unique artistic and ingenious sketches he executed during this remarkable exploration further awakened the long-dormant imagination of the common people in the Holy Land and its environs.
Correspondence between two famous personalities are particularly valued by collectors, particularly when it establishes a heretofore unknown connection between the individuals involved. The correspondence exhibited here may do just that. I could find no evidence that Montefiore and Roberts knew each other, but this correspondence confirms that they did. In this undated handwritten letter to Roberts, Montefiore, who had apparently loaned a sketch or painting to him, thanks him for its return and offers to make it available to him in the future if needed:
Governor Gate Park Lane, Saturday Night:
Sir Moses Montefiore presents his complements to Mr. Roberts and begs to thank him for the return of the Lebanon View of [ ] which Sir Moses [assures?] Mr. Roberts will be much at his service at any time Mr. R[oberts] may want to make drawings from it.
As this correspondence suggests, Roberts did not produce his finished Eretz Yisrael paintings in the Holy Land but, rather, brought back sketches and studies which he used as the basis for studio work in the traditional manner. Although his intent was only to produce drawings, paintings, and lithographs that he could sell to the public, his prolific and faithful final works from his Eretz Yisrael trip became immensely popular to the point that they entered the public consciousness as the definitive view of these biblical sites. He described his journeys in a journal, which he later published and which remains available today.
Where his predecessors had been concerned primarily with the appearance of architectural remains in Eretz Yisrael, Roberts became captivated by their dramatic impact against the desert setting and by the relationship of the contemporary native people to their heritage. As a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, he ingratiated himself to the local Turkish governor, who granted him unfettered access to the tombs, temples, monuments, and ruins of Egypt, Syria, and Eretz Yisrael.
Although he had no formal artistic training, Roberts exhibited his first easel paintings in the Fine Arts Institution in Edinburgh (1822), held his first London exhibition at the Society of British Artists (1824), and held his first exhibition at the Royal Academy and British Institution (1826). His visits to France (1824), Spain and Algeria (1832-33), the Holy Land (1838-39), and Italy (1851, 1853), provided the raw material for many magnificent books illustrated in chromolithography, a newly-developed technique, including Picturesque Sketches in Spain (1837).
His magnum opus, however, was Views in the Holy Land (six volumes 1842-1849), which took him eight years of intense work to complete. It was considered at the time the most ambitious work ever published in England with lithographic plates, and one of his greatest admirers was Queen Victoria, who purchased a complete set of his works, which is still part of the British Royal Collection.
In this rare June 6, 1847 correspondence, Roberts writes:
As you have often asked, who the painter of the beautiful little [William] Heath scene was – now in your possession – I send you the wind up of his back history which, if you like, you may fit on the back of the picture, as his works, like himself, are little known to collectors generally…
Heath (1794-1840) was a British artist who, though originally known for his military scenes, later became an illustrator of color bookplates and some panoramas, which is almost certainly the type of "scene" that Roberts is discussing in this letter. Interestingly, many of his very brief biographies note that little is known about him, confirming Roberts' statement to that effect in this letter.
For Jews devoted to Eretz Yisrael, particularly Orthodox Zionists, Roberts' renderings are achingly beautiful and, although done less than 200 years ago, they exhibit an antique quality that evokes images of bygone eras and suggest how the landscapes of the Holy Land may have appeared during ancient times.
Israeli Post Office sheetlet issued for the 1987 National Stamp Exhibition in Haifa featuring Roberts' painting of Haifa (1839). Sample of Montefiore stamps and labels from the author's collection. The rare triangular label at the bottom was issued for the 1879 Orthodox Fair, which marked Montefiore's 95th birthday.
At the end of the day, the true Montefiore-Roberts connection is that each, in his unique way, shared a common love for Eretz Yisrael based upon his faith and the Bible. However, where Roberts largely devoted his efforts to preserving images of the past, Montefiore devoted his life to protecting the Jewish people and to building the future Jewish homeland.