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At the conclusion of last week's Parshah, the Egyptians finally allowed the Jews to leave Egypt. After 10 miraculous plagues, the promise that Hashem made to Avraham Avinu to rescue the Jewish nation with miracles, an outstretched arm and laden with riches had finally been fulfilled. Additionally, the Jewish nation was about to receive the Torah and was headed to Eretz Yisroel. The Exodus looked poised for the perfect ending with the Jewish nation riding into the proverbial sunset. However, in this week's parshah, the Jews are faced with yet another terrifying drama. Hashem hardened the Egyptians' hearts and brought them to not only regret their decision of freeing the Jewish nation, but to also chase the Jews. Why was it for Hashem to orchestrate this final challenge? Wasn&...
Gloversville, NY - A good Samaritan who found $8,000 on the side of the road has returned it to a woman whose husband died in a stretch limousine crash in upstate New York. Terry Brubaker says she was driving through Gloversville Monday when she saw money floating through the air. Brubaker stopped to collect it, and then turned it in at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office just as Kim Steenburg was filing a report about the missing money. Steenburg says she accidentally left the money in an envelope on top of her car. She says part of the money was for a honeymoon cruise she had originally planned with her late husband. Steenburg’s husband, Rich, was one of 20 who died in the Oct. 6 crash in Schoharie County.
This week marks the much-anticipated and highly-celebrated time on the Jewish calendar – Yeshiva Week, when many Jewish day schools and yeshivos give vacation and it feels like a significant percentage of the Jewish world goes on pilgrimage to Florida.  There are many beautiful aspects to welcoming so many fellow Jews to our community.  For me, I look forward to meeting and greeting guests, and learning about new people and the places they are visiting from.  Nevertheless, for some visitors and local residents, yeshiva week can be challenging and frustrating when waiting on lines, looking for parking or struggling to get a table. In general, whether we see the beauty and blessing or instead focus on the frustration and aggravation is really all up to us.  In our ...
Baltimore, MD - Jan. 17, 2019: Agudath Israel of Baltimore Gemach In memory of Singer and Blatt Families c/o Tzvi Hefter 3110 Shelburne Road Baltimore, Md. 21208 Tel # (410) 764-3913 11th of Shvat 5779/Jan. 17th, 2019 Re: Federal Furloughed Employees It has come to our attention that some federal employees are facing extreme short term financial difficulties as a result of being furloughed. A special fund has been set up within the Agudah Gemach, sponsored by Seven Mile Market to provide short term loans to qualified Federal employees. The loan will be handled in an expedited way. A loan of up to $2500 will be made to those Federal workers who sign a loan agreement with one guarantor. Repayment will start after the shutdown has ended over a period of three paychecks. ...
 Baltimore, Md – Jan. 18, 2019 – This morning on his very first visit to Baltimore, The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, met with Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisrael, Harav HaGaon Aharon Feldman, shlita. (Photo credit: Reb Eli Greengart)
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New York - Conflicts over control, inclusivity and alleged anti-Semitism will mean that women protesting on the second anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington are faced with competing demonstrations this weekend in New York City. One procession, around the edge of Central Park and down Sixth Avenue, is being organized by the Women’s March Alliance, a nonprofit group whose leaders are putting on their version of the demonstration for the third straight year. Another event, a downtown rally held at roughly the same time Saturday, is being organized by the New York City chapter of Women’s March Inc., the group formed to help organize the 2017 demonstration in Washington, D.C., the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Talks between organizers aimed...
As if New Yorkers don’t face enough challenges — insane traffic, bumbling bureaucracies, surly servicepeople and parking spaces as rare as hairy-nosed wombats — some city residents felt forced to create elaborate transportation plans, and others even to relocate their residences, in the shadow of the looming L-pocalypse. The looming what, you ask? Why, the planned 15-month closure of the L subway line, of course. The line runs from Canarsie, Brooklyn to Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and is a commuter lifeline for thousands. The tunnels through which the trains run are in dire need of extensive repairs, due to both their age and damage to their corroded cables, part of the legacy of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently, and suddenly, announ...
Washington - One of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s guiding principles is: “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.” Now, deep into a government shutdown he cautioned President Donald Trump against, McConnell is not about to let himself be kicked again. The Republican leader has been conspicuously deferential to Trump since the shutdown began. He’s waiting on the president and Democrats to make a deal to end it. The result is an unusually inactive profile for the GOP leader who’s often the behind-the-scenes architect of intricate legislative maneuvers to resolve bitter partisan stalemates. Democrats complain publicly — and some Republicans grumble privately — that the Senate is not fulfilling its role as a co-equal bran...
Washington - President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is staffing up to fend off any potential primary challenger. The Virginia-based campaign is announcing Friday that former White House official Nick Trainer will lead its delegate and party organization efforts ahead of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. No party challenger has emerged within the GOP to face Trump, who is broadly popular among the party’s base and has enormous institutional advantages as a sitting president. The announcement is an indication that Trump isn’t resting easy. The campaign says Trainer will lead a team of three regional directors in organizing state-by-state delegate selection and the convention whip operation. Both would be crucial to Trump beating...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas B'Shalach -Current Events

At the conclusion of last week's Parshah, the Egyptians finally allowed the Jews to leave Egypt. After 10 miraculous plagues, the promise that Hashem made to Avraham Avinu to rescue the Jewish nation with miracles, an outstretched arm and laden with riches had finally been fulfilled. Additionally, the Jewish nation was about to receive the Torah and was headed to Eretz Yisroel. The Exodus looked poised for the perfect ending with the Jewish nation riding into the proverbial sunset. However, in this week's parshah, the Jews are faced with yet another terrifying drama. Hashem hardened the Egyptians' hearts and brought them to not only regret their decision of freeing the Jewish nation, but to also chase the Jews. Why was it for Hashem to orchestrate this final challenge? Wasn't everything that was meant to be accomplished by the exile already accomplished?


 R' Shlomo Kluger, in parshas Va'eira, asks why there was a need for a miraculous redemption from Egypt in the first place? Why couldn't Hashem have brought Pharoah to decide to simply free the Jewish nation like Hashem did to King Koresh (Cyrus), who simply decided to let the Jewish nation return to their homeland and build the second Temple (Ezra 1:1)? He answers that if Hashem had done so and allowed Pharoah to play the role of the "Great Emancipator", the whole point of the exile would’ve been lost. The entire purpose of the exile was two-fold: 1) To prove that Hashem intimately runs every detail of events in the world and that there is no other power other than His.  2) To prove that even the actions of man are carefully orchestrated solely by Hashem. Had Hashem allowed Pharoah to set the Jewish nation free, their gratitude to Hashem would have been compromised. Deep down they always would have felt that some of their gratitude belonged to Pharoah (Imrei Shefer, by R’ Shlomo Kluger, pg. 38).


 It is for this reason that a final showdown between the Egyptian and Jewish nation was necessary. For when the Jewish nation finally left Egypt, although they attributed most of their freedom to Hashem, they still felt that a small amount of credit and gratitude was due to Pharaoh. After all, he certainly had a hand in their freedom albeit only after much "convincing". In order to teach the Jewish nation that no one was involved in their freedom, or any other event for that matter, except for Hashem, He hardened Pharoah's heart in order that he would attack them. After the Jews saw Pharoah attack them, they no longer felt even the minutest feelings of gratitude towards him and realized that Hashem was the ONLY ONE who deserved their gratitude. Additionally, after the Jewish nation witnessed Hashem harden the Egyptians hearts (14:5) and cause them to inexplicably run into the water by the splitting of the sea without giving the miracles that they had witnessed a second thought, the Jewish people recognized that even the decisions of man are FULLY within Hashem's hands.


 It was due to this understanding that caused the Jewish nation to sing one of their greatest songs of praise in their history, Shiras Az Yashir. Only after this lesson was witnessed and internalized by the Jewish people could the exodus come to a dramatic conclusion; for from that point going forward we had an all new confidence that EVERY event that we witness or hear about is solely an act of HASHEM.


 Living Inspired


 This lesson is more relevant to us now than ever before. Never before have we had as much access to news and world events as we do today. We often find ourselves intrigued and caught up in the commentary of "experts", analysts and news reporters. We want to know the particulars of how something happened, why it happened, who was the hero, etc. because we feel that it makes a difference. We can get so caught up with the details that we might begin to believe that it was the brilliance of an individual or might of a country that was the cause of a success or failure. However, we must always recognize that the details of these events were inconsequential and Hashem could have easily accomplished those results with a plethora of other methods as well *.


 This lesson was first taught to us when we left Egypt, and is still so supremely relevant and important to us that we are required to remember the Exodus not once, but twice a day! The mitzvah to remember the Exodus means to remember that Hashem is just as in control and involved with current events NOW as He was back then. Would you like to see acts of G-d? Simply look around you. While the Prophets spoke about what Hashem will do - history books tell of what Hashem has already done, and the news tells us what HE is currently doing. What will our president do next? What will happen with the stock market? Iran? The situation with the Arabs in Eretz Yisroel? Hashem is the only One that deserves our absolute and constant faith, dependence, gratitude and prayers.


 _________________


*- At the same time, their efforts warrant our thanks, praise and admiration, for we are always required to feel and express gratitude for the efforts of others.

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New Jersey lawmakers reached an agreement Thursday to raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2024. The new plan would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour on July 1, $11 an hour in 2020, $12 an hour in 2021, $13 in 2022, $14 in 2023 and $15 in 2024. Those in the state legislature called for exceptions to be made for some employers, including small businesses and farmers. The state Senate and state Assembly still need to pass a bill that needs to signed into law by Murphy. Read more at The Hill.
Washington - Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH’-see) is canceling a congressional fact-finding trip to Afghanistan and claiming the White House leaked her plans to fly commercial. Friday’s announcement by Pelosi’s office came a day after President Donald Trump nixed Pelosi’s plans to take a military aircraft to Afghanistan. Spokesman Drew Hammill says Pelosi and accompanying lawmakers were prepared to take a commercial flight but canceled after the State Department warned that publicity over the visit had “significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip.” Trump’s move to cancel the military plane traditionally used to fly to war zones came a day after Pelosi i...
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A group of Republicans says President Trump should give the State of the Union , going around House Democrats who a day earlier had told the president to postpone or cancel the annual address, currently slated for Jan. 29. “Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to muffle President Trump and appease her radical, socialist, open borders base using the false claim of security concerns is shameful,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican who was gathering signatures on a letter proposing the Senate chamber location. “While traditionally these addresses have been held in the House chamber due to its larger size, inasmuch as House Democrats apparently do not want to hear from the president anyway, overcrowding of the Senate chamber should not be an issue,” he said. Read more at&nb...
President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has issued a new statement aimed at clarifying earlier comments that appeared to leave open the possibility of collusion between members of Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. Giuliani says he represents only Trump and not the campaign, and that there was no collusion by Trump “in any way, shape or form.” Giuliani also says he has “no knowledge of collusion by any of the thousands of people who worked on the campaign.” Read more at The Washington Times.
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Dedicated in honor of Shonnie and Ben Barer who have so admirably taught us all how to deal with tragedy with remarkable faith, grace and dignity. May they and their families know from sorrow no longer At the moment of the splitting of the sea, Moshe is overwhelmed with excitement and boundless joy. Seeking to put his heartfelt emotions to words, he begins a Shirah, a song, with the word אז, Then,  אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל את השירה הזאת לד', Then Moshe and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to Hashem...." The Midrash explains that Moshe was intending to rectify a previous misstatement, exclaiming: “With אז I went afoul when I castigated Hashem when I stated, מאז באתי אל פרעה... הרע לעם הזה, From the time ...
Canberra - Australian police arrested a man Friday for questioning over the death of an Israeli student in Melbourne, while the victim’s tearful father visited the flower-strewn crime scene where her body was found. Aiia Maasarwe was slain at 12:10 a.m. on Wednesday shortly after she got off a tram in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora. A 20-year-old was taken into custody on Friday morning in the neighboring suburb of Greensborough, a police statement said. Police did not say if any charges have been filed. The 21-year-old victim was studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne as an exchange student from Shanghai University in China. Her father Saeed Maasarwe arrived in Melbourne on Thursday to bring her body home. He cried Friday when he saw an impromptu floral memorial arranged...
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Jerusalem - Israeli forces have demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with fatally stabbing an American-Israeli settler several months ago. Israeli soldiers surrounded Khalil Jabarin’s home in the southern West Bank village of Yatta early Friday. His apartment was destroyed with explosives after the family cleared out. Jabarin, 17, was accused of killing the U.S.-born settler activist Ari Fuld, Z'L, H'yd, at a mall near a West Bank settlement in September. Footage showed Fuld firing at his attacker before collapsing. The military says dozens of Palestinians protesting the demolition hurled rocks toward the forces, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” which usually refers to rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas. While Israel claims home demo...
Baltimore, MD, Jan. 18, 2019 — In a strongly-worded letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy, called the appointment of Representative Ilhan Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee a “slap in the face” and “tantamount to saying that anti-Semitism is acceptable to the United States House of Representatives.” The CJV called for Omar to be removed from the committee, and compared her situation to that of Representative Steve King, who was stripped of all committee assignments by Republican leaders despite denying an endorsement of white nationalism attributed to him and sharing in its condemnation.  As detailed in the CJV’s letter, Omar d...
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Parshas Bshalach/Shira / Baltimore Zmanim / Eruv is UP!   Baltimore, MD – Jan. 18, 2019 Parshas: Bshalach Today:    12 Shevat Chatzos: 12:17 PM Hadlakas Nairos: 4:52 PM Shkiah:                   5:10:45 PM Tzais HaKochavim:  6:01 PM Tu B'Shavt: Monday, Jan. 21 Kiddush Levanah: Jan. 9, 3:52 AM – Jan. 20 10:14 PM
Live Oak, FL - Autopsies showed three young children died of accidental asphyxiation when they became trapped in an unplugged chest-style freezer in their yard in north Florida. Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John said there were no signs of trauma on the children, ages 1, 4 and 6. Their bodies were found Sunday at a home outside of Live Oak after they went missing while playing outside. The Gainesville Sun reports two families lived at the home — a woman and her 4-year-old daughter, and the grandmother of the other two children. St. John said the mother went inside while the children were playing on a trampoline. When she returned, they were gone. The children weren’t breathing when they were found inside the freezer, which had a latch keeping them from opening it.
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