It’s Time To Move To Eretz Yisrael!By Rabbi Mordechai Weiss -and The Judaism And Zionism Of David Sarnoff By Saul Jay Singer and La Guardia’s Love For Baseball By Irwin Cohen and When In Morocco, Roll As The Moroccans Do By Nati Burnside -
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.
The Three are Rabbi Yehuda Glick, famous temple mount activist, and former Israel Mk, and then Robert Weinger, the world's greatest shofar blower and seller of Shofars, and myself after we had gone to the 12 gates of the Temple Mount in 2020 to blow the shofar to ask G-d to heal the world from the Pandemic. It was a highlight to my experience in living in Israel and I put it on my blog each day to remember.
The articles that I include each day are those that I find interesting, so I feel you will find them interesting as well. I don't always agree with all the points of each article but found them interesting or important to share with you, my readers, and friends. It is cathartic for me to share my thoughts and frustrations with you about life in general and in Israel. As a Rabbi, I try to teach and share the Torah of the G-d of Israel as a modern Orthodox Rabbi. I never intend to offend anyone but sometimes people are offended and I apologize in advance for any mistakes. The most important psychological principle I have learned is that once someone's mind is made up, they don't want to be bothered with the facts, so, like Rabbi Akiva, I drip water (Torah is compared to water) on their made-up minds and hope that some of what I have share sinks in. Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave.
JudaismTorah It's Time To Move To Eretz Yisrael! By Rabbi Mordechai Weiss -
In the Torah portion of Eikev, we read what is included as the second paragraph of the daily recitation of Shema, "V'haya im shamo'ah." There, Almighty G-d warns us of the consequences of not adhering to the words of the Torah. The Torah states: "Beware for yourselves, lest your hearts be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and prostrate yourselves to them. Then the wrath of Hashem will blaze against you; He will restrain the heaven so there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its produce; and you will be swiftly banished from the goodly land that Hashem gives you. You shall place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul; you shall bind them for a sign upon your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes."
On the words "You should place these words of Mine upon your heart," Rashi comments: "Even after you are exiled, still perform mitzvot, don tefillin, [and] make mezuzot, in order that these mitzvot not be new in your eyes when you return to Israel."
It would seem that according to Rashi, the act of performing mitzvot outside of Israel is only a perfunctory exercise in preparation for living in the land of Israel. The mitzvah of living in Israel, it would seem, takes precedence in the Jewish experience, and performing a mitzvah outside the land of Israel has little impact.
During the siege of Jerusalem, when the Roman Emperor Vespasian offered Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai anything he wanted, Rabbi Yochanan said, "Give me Yavne and its wise sages." Until his dying day, he was not sure whether his choice of Torah over Jerusalem was correct. In essence Rabbi Yochanan separated Torah from Eretz Yisrael for he knew that for the Jew to survive without a land in the Diaspora he must have the Torah. However in his "heart of hearts," he also knew that when the time would arrive that we would have control over the land, Jews would realize that without the combination of Israel and Torah, Judaism cannot flourish. It is this connection to our land that ultimately sustains the Jewish people and will bring Mashiach.
Most Jews realize the importance of living in Israel and to a great extent yearn for the time that they can realize the fruition of their dreams. We excuse our lack of action because of our economic concerns and that such a move would compromise our ability to provide for our families appropriately. This indeed is the heter, the exemption, given to people for not living in the land of Israel.
However, recent economic and moral realities in the United Sates have made the prospect of going on aliyah a more viable option, certainly one to think about and toward which to give serious consideration. Besides organizations such as Nefesh B'Nefesh which are providing generous incentives for people to make aliyah, and besides the reliance on computer-based businesses that allow a person to work anywhere in the world and earn the same amount of money, there are certain additional developments that are an even more compelling reason, especially for young couples, to think seriously of making the leap and moving to Israel.
Today, tuition in the United States for a child to attend yeshiva or day school has skyrocketed. High school tuitions are escalating even more. People who are earning over $100,000 per year and have four children enrolled in day schools or high schools are on the poverty lines, spending as much as 40-50% of their salaries on Jewish education, and in addition, having to undergo the humiliating experience of appearing before a school committee to beg for financial assistance.
If we add to this scenario the fact that medical insurance in America is going through the roof and that a family must pay huge amounts of money for decent coverage, moving to Israel becomes more of an incentive.
In Israel, education is essentially free, especially for a new oleh, and medical coverage cost pennies compared to in the United States. Olim can secure the best medical insurance plus private medical care for a fraction of the cost when compared to what they could afford in the U.S. Though they might be earning less money in Israel, in actuality they don't need as much to live on, yet can provide excellent opportunities for their families.
One must also take into account that the moral and ethical United States that we once knew growing up is no longer. Today in the U.S. we are faced with a society that has gone mad – where morals and values have been thrown out the window, where a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States could not define what is a woman or man, where crime is not answered with punishment… A society literally gone berserk!
We are living in historic times. For two thousand years our people have been wandering from country to country having to endure suffering and persecution. Today the return to Israel has become a realistic option. Our sages of old yearned for the opportunity that we have – to live in Israel. As challenging as it seems, we owe it to ourselves and to them to pursue this dream.
Margez Grill House Meat – Moroccan Fusion Grill – Waiter Service Sunday – Thursday 4pm – 12am (718)-369-0979 1018 Avenue M Brooklyn, NY 11230 Kheal Chizuk Hadas of Flatbush – Rabbi Yisroel P. Gornish
One of the luxuries that the kosher diner has in 2022 is that of variety. Yet even given the greater variety of options available compared to any other time that came before, sometimes a place will open up that is still able to carve out its own corner of the market.
That's the case with the recent arrival of Margez Grill House. With a great location on Avenue M between Coney Island Avenue and East 10th Street, Margez is a cross between a steakhouse and an authentic Moroccan restaurant.
"I grew up on this type of food," said owner Doron Levy about the cuisine at his restaurant. "I've been in the restaurant business from a very young age and I felt like Brooklyn was missing this type of place."
He's not wrong. Margez is more than a fusion of cuisines; It's a fusion of restaurant types as well. There are some pretty casual Mediterranean appetizers on the menu, but they also have a selection of steaks that will draw your attention. The ambiance is a mixture of trendy and upscale, so you get the feeling that you are someplace special, but there are no white tablecloths and you'd feel at home bringing your friends and family.
When I was invited to Margez, I said to myself, "When in Morocco, roll as the Moroccans do." In other words, you can't walk into a place like Margez, not order the Moroccan Cigars, and be able to look yourself in the mirror. A classic staple of this cuisine, these cigars feature the crispiest wrapper that I've ever had. The meat inside featured a balanced flavor that was just spicy enough to pair perfectly with the tahini that the cigars were served alongside.
That same tahini provides a cool finish to perhaps the best bite in the whole place, as it is also served with the Arayes. For those that are less familiar with popular middle eastern street foods, arayes are made by cutting a pita into quarters, stuffing the open wedge with a mixture of spiced ground beef and onions, and grilling the resulting patties until the meat is cooked through and the pita is crispy. Arayes have been popping up on many kosher restaurant menus in recent times, but I doubt you'll find a better version than the ones here. The pita was delightfully textured, the meat was somehow cooked evenly despite the wedge of pita being overstuffed, and the house made tahini made for a wonderful contrast with a coolness of taste and temperature.
Next up on your tour of the offerings that consist of beef and bread are the Margez Sliders. While the menu offers regular sliders (and also many more familiar types of appetizers in order for the less adventurous diner to feel comfortable), I'd suggest going with these as they are a pretty unique offering that you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Served on a bun with some of that great house tahini, these sliders are made from ground beef that is spiced with the same blend that Margez uses to make its spicy sausages. Making the burger itself spicy (instead of adding a spicy condiment to it) is a method that I'd like to see become more common if the results are going to be as good as these sliders.
If you're like me, you walk into a place like Margez and you ask what on the menu is the kind of thing that really makes the restaurant special. The answer in this case is the Couscous Tajene with Lamb Shank. So much goes into this dish that it's almost hard to describe. First of all, a tajene is a North African earthenware pot and the word has come to also be used as a name for the dishes that are cooked inside the regional pot. If you order one of the tajenes at Margez, they will bring the tajene itself to your table, uncover it for you, and leave the dish in the pot at your table. It's a great presentation before you even get to the delicious contents of the dish.
So, what's in it? First, there's a lamb shank the size of your forearm. The dish steams in the pot so the lamb stays extremely moist and basically falls off the bone when you poke it with a fork. Second, there's a (very substantial) bed of couscous. If you think it's there to add filler to the pot, you're wrong. The couscous is the real star of the dish. That's because this isn't like the couscous you can buy in a box or at a takeout counter. This couscous is truly authentic Moroccan couscous with such a fine texture that you'd almost mistake it for a powder. Sitting atop the bed of couscous is a great assortment of vegetables with some fruit mixed in to provide some sweetness to balance the flavors. The combination of everything together makes for a complete dish that would be a complete dinner, even for the hungriest of patrons.
If you're looking for something for a group to share, try the Mixed Grill Platter. Served on a huge board, you'll get one of each kebab (kufta, lamb, steak, baby chicken), a sliced chicken breast, a serving of french fries, and a bowl of Israeli salad. The kebabs are predictably great, but don't overlook the chicken breast which is almost unbelievably moist. The fries are crispy and the salad's acidic taste is a delectable balance to the meat.
Sometimes at a place like Margez, the smell of the meat just overcomes you and there's no choice but to order a steak. If it's steak you want, I would recommend the Chef Steak. This 16oz ribeye comes sliced and topped with garlic confit and chimichurri. In addition, you'll get some perfectly roasted potatoes and a pleasantly light side salad. The steak has an impressive char (even when ordered medium rare) and the presentation will make you hungry enough to eat the whole thing.
Not everyone can make it to Morocco, but you can grab a taste if you can make it to Margez. While the price point isn't low, the portions are large and the food is great. Besides, complimentary pita beats complimentary jet lag every day of the week.
Photo Credit: Mayor LaGuardia Collection, NYC Municipal Archives
As you know from previous columns a lot of baseball history was made 75 years ago in 1947. Jackie Robinson became the first black player in modern history on opening day, and on July, 5, 1947, Larry Doby became the second black player, the first in the American League as he made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians. And Hank Greenberg played in his last major league game in 1947 ending his Hall of Fame playing career.
Following all the baseball news that year as best he could was Fiorello La Guardia. The famous former mayor of New York was suffering with cancer of the pancreas that would claim his life almost at the end of the baseball season on September 20, 1947, at age 64. La Guardia was a rabid New York Giants fan, but also rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees when they weren't matched against the Giants. His favorite mayoral duty was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day to kick off a new season for the Giants at the Polo Grounds. He also enjoyed doing it for the Dodgers at Ebbets Field and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He loved the crowds, the media, shmoozing with the players, the ballpark smell of beer and peanuts and posing for the cameras.
One of La Guardia's favorite players on the Giants was Jewish center fielder Sid Gordon. Gordon was part of Jewish baseball history on Sunday, September 21, 1941, as four Jewish players were in the starting lineup of the New York Giants, the only time that many Jewish players played on the same team at the same time in the same game. Harry Feldman was the pitcher, Harry Danning the catcher, Morrie Arnovich was in left field and Gordon, a rookie, in center. The game only took one hour and 49 minutes as Feldman scattered nine singles for a 4-0 victory. Gordon and Arnovich each contributed a single to the win over the Boston Braves.
After serving in the military, Gordon returned to the Giants in 1946 and by 1947 was considered one of the best hitters in the National League. La Guardia, born to a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, considered himself Jewish even though he followed the Episcopalian religion of his father. When time allowed, he checked the box scores in the papers to see how the Jewish players were doing. La Guardia followed the young players on the New York teams and probably listened to the game on July 4th between the Giants and Dodgers when Gil Hodges of the Dodgers, in his first full season, doubled to help Brooklyn.
Hodges would go on to an 18-year playing career becoming one of the best power hitters and fielders in the game and should have been elected to the Hall of Fame in the 1970s. He hit 370 home runs in his career including four in one game at Ebbets Field on August 31, 1950. The six-foot-two, quiet, righthanded batter from Indiana, endeared himself to Brooklyn as he married a local girl and lived in the Midwood area. Often seen walking and shopping in Brooklyn, Hodges opened a 48-lane bowling alley that bore his name on the East side of Ralph Avenue and Avenue M in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn.
In 1963 the 39-year-old Hodges was named manager of the Washington Senators and five years later managed the Mets. The following year in 1969 the Mets surprised the baseball universe by winning the World Series. After an early April 1972 spring training game in West Palm Beach, Hodges and his coaches played 27 rounds of golf and were walking back to their hotel prior to meeting for dinner when Hodges fell face down dead of a heart attack a couple of days before his 48th birthday.
Hodges's 95-year-old wife wasn't able to travel to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame induction festivities. Their daughter Irene, spoke on behalf of the family and summed up her father perfectly and those who knew him or met him would agree. "He loved Brooklyn and became part of the community," Irene said. " He went to church there and would walk to the stores. There was never any pretense about him. He was an ordinary man and everyone knew him. He was respected and showed respect to everyone as well."