This series is dedicated in memory of Hallel Ariel Hy’d and Rabbi Miki Mark Hy’d; two precious neshamos (souls) who gave so much and had so much more to give.  May their memories bring us closer to one another. The Lord spoke to Moses saying:  Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them: "May the Lord bless you and watch over you.  May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace. "They shall bestow My Name upon the children ...
Las Vegas - Workers at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Las Vegas hotel scored a victory in their effort to unionize, although it could still be a long time before employees have a contract if managers choose to delay. The National Labor Relations Board issued a decision Thursday rejecting Trump Ruffin Commercial LLC’s challenge of a December election in which a majority of the 447 votes cast favored unionization. The ruling means the company has exhausted its appeals with the board. “We are pleased with the NLRB ruling, once again reaffirming that the union election at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas was fair and is certified,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union, which represents the workers. “We look f...
At the conclusion of last week’s parshah, Bila’am recommended to Balak a last resort to harm the Jewish nation: entice them to sin with the Midianite women (Sanhedrin 106a). His ruse worked, and 24,000 people perished as a result. At the episode’s climax, Zimri, a tribal leader, brazenly performed his sin openly in front of Moshe Rabbeinu and all of the elders. Pinchus saw that things had gone too far, and in accordance with a specific halacha which warranted it (kenoim pogim bo), executed Zimri. This ended the plague that had consumed so many Jewish lives and saved the many others that would have perished. At the beginning of this week’s parshah, Hashem rewards Pinchus with an incredible gift: eternal priesthood as a Kohen (until this point he was not a Kohen; See...
Somerville, MA - The mayor of this largely white, historically working-class Boston suburb is promising not to remove a Black Lives Matter banner from City Hall despite complaints from police officers in the state. Mayor Joe Curtatone, a white Democrat, said Thursday it’s “OK to disagree” and the only way to resolve the impasse is through an “open dialogue” about race. “That sign is not coming down,” he insisted while standing in front of City Hall flanked by the police chief and two deputy chiefs. The Somerville Police Employees Association and other police unions said they’d peacefully rally Thursday evening outside City Hall, where the sign has hung for nearly a year, to demand Curtatone remove it. The police union’s pres...
Two men dressed as FedEx workers and wearing masks robbed a Jewish accounting firm in Williamsburg’s Hasidic Community, Thursday afternoon. Police were called to the Y&I Accounting Firm located at 318 Roebling Street near South 8 Street at around 5:45PM after receiving calls for an armed robbery. Sources tell YWN that the two suspects entered the firm, and brandished a firearm. A secretary was tied up, and the owner of the firm was pistol whipped while the suspects demanded money. Williamsburg Hatzolah as well as Williamsburg Shomrim (WSPU) were dispatched to the scene. Hatzolah transported the victim to a local hospital for facial injuries. He was in stable condition. The two suspects robbed the victim of around $1000 in cash and fled on foot. A crime scene has been estab...
Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised warming relations with Egypt and its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted an Islamist government seen as hostile to ties between the neighbors. Egypt was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognize Israel, in 1979, but the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 brought to power the government of Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, straining relations with Israel. Cooperation has improved since Sisi took power in 2013, with Egypt battling Islamist insurgents in Sinai near its border with Israel and both countries wary of Gaza’s Islamist rulers, Hamas. At an event at the Egyptian ambassador’s residence for Egypt’s national day, Netanyahu called the countries’ peace t...
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Philadelphia - As most Democrats rally around Hillary Clinton, the lingering “Bernie or Bust” movement is stirring frustration at the party’s convention among delegates of color, who say they’re upset at the refusal of the Vermont senator’s most fervent backers to fall in line. “I am so exhausted by it,” said Danielle Adams, a black Clinton delegate from North Carolina. “I think there are undercuts of privilege that concern me.” Adams is among those who say the “Never Hillary” crowd, a group that is largely younger and white, isn’t considering the struggles black Americans still face every day. And, they argue, how the nation’s ethnic and racial minorities may be affected by a Donald Trump presidency. ...
Jerusalem, Israel - July 28, 2016 - Tzohar, the Israeli Rabbinical organization, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. They held their annual conference at the Jerusalem International Conference Center on Monday. A full schedule packed with lectures and speeches, ran from before 9:00 am until after 6:30 pm. In addition, vendors in the large entrance hall were selling everything from books and newspapers, to wood items, hats and kitchen tools. The conference was open to public.  Sessions covered a variety of topics on Tanach, family life, and educational issues, all in Hebrew this year.  First-time participant, Lydia Rosner, told BJL, that she came intending to learn from the classes and expand her learning experience. The main plenary, held after lunch in the large auditorium, c...
Daily Halacha
Asara B'Teves

(On) the 10th of Tevet  Nebuchadnetzer, the King of Babylon, reached Jerusalem,  and laid siege (to the) ramparts, which lead on to the destruction. (KSA 121:3)

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 Baltimore, MD  Daily Dvar Halacha -  July 28, 2016 /  22 Tammuz 5776 - New Socks During The 9 Days?
Bridgeport, PA - A Connecticut man already in custody after large quantities of firearms and ammunition were seized from his home was indicted on charges he made online threats to kill or injure people, including Jews, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday. Kendall Sullivan, 50, of Stamford, was charged on Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with three counts of making threatening communications online, each punishable by up to five years in prison. A lawyer for Sullivan could not immediately be identified. Authorities said Sullivan posted his threats on the internet forum Metalthrone.net three times between May 29 and July 5. The indictment alleged that Sullivan wrote that he had “a few ‘Houses of Satan’ in my Town,” a...
Parsha Hashavua
Building Unity, One Step at a Time: A Special Series for the Three Weeks Part II: The Blessing of all Blessings

This series is dedicated in memory of Hallel Ariel Hy’d and Rabbi Miki Mark Hy’d; two precious neshamos (souls) who gave so much and had so much more to give.  May their memories bring us closer to one another.


The Lord spoke to Moses saying:  Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them: "May the Lord bless you and watch over you.  May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace. "They shall bestow My Name upon the children of Israel, so that I will bless them (Bamidbar 6:22-27).


Blessings can be delivered in any language and by any person.  But God wanted to give the Kohanim (priests) a special verbiage to shower blessing and bounty upon the Jewish people.  This priestly blessing is perhaps one of the most beautiful and meaningful blessings we have in the Torah.  The three parts of this beracha capture the entirety and essence of all our requests and desires.  We ask for protection, closeness, connection and peace. So powerful is this blessing that parents use it every Shabbos (Friday) night to bless their children.  There are so many blessings we want for our children.  Some of these are unique to the child and many are the same aspirational desires every parent has for his or her beloved child.  But one thing is certain; the elements of this beracha are things we hope will be fixtures and mainstays of our children’s existence. 


The saintly Modzizter Rebbe (Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub, 1886-1947) gave a beautiful and penetrating insight into this blessing:


Ko S’varchu Es Bnai Yisroel, This is how you shall bless the children of Israel –  Ko S’varchu, K’mo She’heym, This is how you will bless – this means, bless them as they are.  Don’t only look for the special and important members of the nation.  Don’t simply seek out the sages and righteous.  Always remember that every Jew is worthy of blessing.


The Rebbe teaches us such a meaningful and profound lesson.  We must learn to accept people for who they are.  God was instructing Aharon that his priestly blessing was to be for the entire nation.  It is easy to bless the pious and righteous and it is easy to ignore the others.  It is easy to gravitate and identify with the important and significant and easy to overlook the simple and ordinary.  God tells Aharon, if you are going to be the channel through which Divine energy and blessing will rest upon my nation, you must learn to see, appreciate and love the other – no matter who they are.  You must learn to love your fellow Jews, K’mo She’heym, as they are


Often our love for the other comes with conditions. “I will love you – if …..”  We want the other to live up to certain expectations before we shower them with our love.  The reality is that sometimes the expectations we set for the other may be too high or unrealistic (in the current reality).  I must learn to appreciate the other for who and where they are.  I must learn to accept others with their shortcomings and deficiencies.  I must learn to love and bless even when the other is not living up to “my expectations.”


Rav Aryeh Levin (1885-1969) was known as the Tzaddik (righteous man) of Yerushalayim. He was known not only for his incredible scholarship but also for his compassion, empathy and love for every Jew.  There was a young man named Moshe who grew up in the same neighborhood where Rav Aryeh resided.  Rav Aryeh knew the boy well but felt the boy was avoiding him. One day, they bumped into each other in the narrow alleys of Jerusalem and Rav Aryeh confronted him and said, ‘Moshe, I can’t help but feel you are avoiding me, tell me how are you?’ The young man sheepishly replied that it was true, he was avoiding the great rabbi as he had grown up observant but had chosen to walk away from observant life altogether.  He said, “Rebbe, I was so embarrassed to meet you since I have taken off my kippah and am no longer observant.” Rav Aryeh took the young man’s hand into his own and said: “My dear Moshe, don’t worry, I am a very short man, I can only see what is in your heart; I cannot see what is on your head.” This is what it means to love every Jew, K’mo She’heym, as they are


Perhaps, this is the true blessing we give our children every Shabbos night.  We say to our precious sons and daughters, “My dear child, there are so many things I want for you.  I pine that you will always find comfort and love in the presence of God; I pray that you will find closeness and connection with our loving Father; I hope that you will find safety and peace underneath the cover of God’s divine wings.  But what I hope for most is that you will grow to be a true Oheiv Yisroel, lover of the Jewish people.  I hope you appreciate people for who they are and for where they are in life. Always find the strength to bless the other; always find the strength to look deep into the heart of your brothers and sisters and see their spiritual beauty.”


This is the blessing we give to our children and may it be the blessing we are able to receive as well.  As we continue our journey through the Three Weeks and try to figure out how to right the wrongs of the past, may we be privileged to see into the heart of the other, to learn to appreciate the other and to find the strength to shower blessing upon all we encounter. 

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New York - Consumers could no longer receive multiple calls per day from debt collectors and would have more ability to dispute their bills under proposals released Thursday to overhaul the multibillion-dollar debt collection industry. The new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would also require collectors to have more documentation to prove a debt is owed, and initiate a 30-day waiting period for loans tied to someone who has recently died — halting all collection attempts from a spouse or child during that time. Regulators estimate roughly 70 million Americans are contacted by debt collectors each year, and more Americans submit complaints to state and federal agencies about unfair or deceptive practices than any other part of the consumer financial sy...
Washington - Red-light cameras are widely hated, but a new study says getting rid of them can have fatal consequences. Traffic deaths from red-light-running crashes go up by nearly a third after cities turn off cameras designed to catch motorists in the act, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute is funded by auto insurers. While cities continue to add cameras at intersections with traffic signals, at least 158 communities have ended their red-light camera programs in the past five years, the study said. Researchers compared trends in annual crash rates in 14 cities that had ended their camera programs with those in 29 cities in the same regions that continued their camera programs. They found that, after adjusting for other factors, re...
Event
Kiddush Levana Aug 06 6:51 am - Aug 18 1:13 am
July
28
Tammuz 23
Washington - Prosecutors say they will not retry a man convicted of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy. The U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday that the office has moved to dismiss the case charging Ingmar Guandique with Levy’s 2001 murder. According to the statement, prosecutors concluded they can no longer prove the murder case against Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt, “based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week.” The statement does not elaborate. “After investigating this information and reviewing all of the evidence in this case, the government now believes it is in the interests of justice for the court to dismiss the case without prejudice,” prosecutors wrote in a one-page mot...
Grapevine, TX - An American Airlines aircraft landed safely at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport despite a dramatic discharge of flames from one of the engines. American spokesman Ross Feinstein (FYN’-steen) says none of the 136 passengers and crew was injured when Flight 438 to Seattle returned to Dallas about 20 minutes after takeoff Wednesday night. A Federal Aviation Administration statement says the pilot reported an engine problem causing compressor stalls, which discharged flames from the back of the engine. Feinstein says the left-side engine of the Airbus 321 was not on fire, despite the flames, and that the engine remained operational as the aircraft landed. Passengers are taking alternative flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Thursday.
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Waukesha, WI - The Washington Post says one of its reporters was barred from entering a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence near Milwaukee. The newspaper says Post reporter Jose DelReal was turned down for a credential before the rally and tried to enter through general admission. The Post reports DelReal was stopped by private security who said he couldn’t enter with his laptop and cellphone. The Post says the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department verified DelReal had no phone after patting him down, but DelReal still was denied entry. Trump banned the Post from being credentialed for campaign events last month. Post executive editor Martin Baron says DelReal was subjected to “bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endu...
Cairo - French officials on Thursday identified the second man who attacked a Normandy church during morning Mass, saying he’s a 19-year-old from eastern France who was spotted last month in Turkey as he supposedly headed to Syria — but who returned to France instead. The prosecutor’s office identified him as Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean following DNA tests on his corpse. A security official confirmed that he was the unidentified man pictured on a photo distributed to French police on July 22 with a warning that he could be planning an attack. Four days later, Petitjean and another 19-year-old local man, Adel Kermiche, stormed the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass on Tuesday. They held five people hostage — the priest, two nuns and an elderly ...
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Pawtucket, RI - A Rhode Island congressman says he’s asking President Barack Obama to withhold classified materials and briefings from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the interest of national security. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (sihs-ihl-EE’-nee), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday. At a news conference hours earlier, Trump said he hoped that Russia would find emails deleted by Hillary Clinton from her time as secretary of state. He said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Cicilline says Trump’s “call for hostile foreign action” goes beyond partisan politics and “represents a threat to the republi...
Philadelphia - The wealthy Democratic donors, many of whom run complex businesses, know firsthand how revealing tax returns can be. Perhaps that’s why they can’t stop talking about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s refusal to release his. From their suites at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, the finance hub at this week’s Democratic convention, and at the event’s auxiliary swanky parties, supporters of Hillary Clinton are sounding the alarm about Trump’s break with decades of presidential campaign tradition. Clinton put out eight years of recent tax filings last summer, and her backers lament that voters don’t seem to understand why Trump’s refusal to do the same matters. Democratic talk of the taxes spilled onto the convention stage Wedne...
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Raleigh, NC - North Carolina Republicans have apologized to Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for mistakenly critiquing him for wearing a foreign flag during his acceptance speech. The state GOP sent out a tweet Wednesday night saying it was “shameful” for Kaine to wear the flag of Honduras during his speech at the Democratic National Convention. Kaine spent a year in Honduras as a missionary. But Ben Amey, a reporter for WNYT-TV in Albany, New York, pointed out on Twitter that Kaine’s pin was actually the symbol for families with a member serving in the military. Kaine’s son, a Marine, is currently deployed. Amey posted a screen grab of the party’s original tweet, which the GOP has since deleted. Also on Twitter, the party thanked Ame...
Washington - The United States is deeply concerned about Israel’s reported plans to build an additional 323 units in settlements in East Jerusalem on top of 770 units previously announced in the settlement of Gilo, the U.S. State Department said. Such action by Israel “continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday. Kirby called the settlement activity “corrosive to the cause of peace.” In addition to the plans for East Jerusalem and Gilo, Kirby cited plans for other units, including 531 in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, and 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev. He also noted a plan to legalize an outpost near Ramallah; and tenders for 42 units in Ki...
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