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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore Wednesday where she’d been admitted for treatment of a possible infection. The court’s spokeswoman, Kathy Arberg, said in an emailed statement that Ginsburg “is home and doing well” but provided no other details about the justice’s condition. Ginsburg went to the hospital Tuesday after experiencing fevers and chills. The court said she was given an endoscopic procedure “to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August.” Ginsburg seems to have recovered quicke...
Israel’s Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that 1,718 new coronavirus infections had been recorded over the past 24 hours, beating the previous day’s record of 1,681. Of the active cases, 195 are characterized as serious, according to the ministry. Fifty-seven people are on ventilators, and the death toll stands at 371. The dramatic increase in the country’s coronavirus figures has led to a significant reversal in the easing of measures the government rolled out after it had seemingly successfully “flattened the curve” due to severe lockdowns in March and April. Many in the government are now calling for a return to stricter measures, and even for another general lockdown. During a meeting on Tuesday of senior figures in the government and security serv...
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It has come to our attention that individuals have been coming to TA early and taking advantage of an earlier dinner distribution that is NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, but is open only to our TA Camp parents, as they are picking up their campers during carpool dismissal. Please note that having non-camp parents come onto campus before 3:45pm poses a serious safety risk to our campers and staff. Please be courteous and respectful of our camp needs as we run our carpool dismissal in a safe and efficient manner. B"H there are plenty of meals for all between the hours of 4-6pm. Anyone arriving to TA before 3:45pm for dinner pickup, who is not a TA Camp parent, will be asked to return later.1. Distribution Thursday 7/16: Do not arrive before 3:45pmUpdated Menu: Hush puppies, chicken, mashed potatoes,...
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Baltimore, MD - July 15, 2020: Note: When you ignore instructions and you arrive early you cause a traffic backup and a chillul Hashem with the neighbors.  Please read & follow instructions and do not block driveways.PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY!  IF YOU ARRIVE EARLY YOU MAY BE TURNED AWAYPLEASE OPEN VAN PASSENGER DOOR OR TRUNK IN ADVANCE OF PICKUP.  PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH SPACE CLEARED FOR THE AMOUNT OF BOXES YOU ARE PICKING UP.MENU per child:Shabbos items: Challah, chicken, potatoes, mango, pickles, brownie barOther food: pizza, knish, yogurt, peanut butter, large cereal box,, apple sauce, canned vegetables, small bags of chips, juice box, milkSCHEDULE:Wed Night - PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY or you may be turned awayWed 8 PM -10:00PM  - Cars...
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Most recent Statements/letters/etc. from the Baltimore Vaad HaRabbanimVaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimore: "Despite Our Diligent Efforts And Vigilance Locally, We Have Had A Slow Trickle Of New Cases In The Past 2 Weeks That Raises Concern." [July 2, 2020]Vaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimore: "Those Shuls Which Are Able To Open In A Manner Deemed Safe May Do So Already For Shabbos" (June 19) Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Yesterday’s Vaad Harabanim Letter [June 11, 2020]Vaad HaRabbonim Of Baltimore: A Smorgasbord of Good News (June 10, 2020)  Baltimore's Vaad HaRabbanim: Please Make Sure to Vote This Tuesday (May 31, 2020 3:03 PM)  Vaad HaRabbonim Of Baltimore: Guidance For Hosting Company for Shavuos 5780 (May 24, 2020)Vaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimo...
A German court announced on Monday that a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration-camp guard was charged with war crimes during the Holocaust. The suspect was a guard at the Stutthof concentration camp in a wooded area near Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) in what could be one of the last trials against Nazis in the Holocaust, the AFP reported. The guard is accused of being part of the murder of several hundred people, a spokesman for the district court in Wuppertal told AFP. The suspect is being tested to determine whether he is fit enough to stand trial. He was assigned to work at the camp at the age of 19; as such, the case would be held in a juvenile court. The report also noted that last week, German prosecutors asked for a three-year jail sentence for 93-year-old Bruno Dey, a former gua...
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Baltimore, MD - June 19, 2020 - N’shei Agudath Israel of Baltimore Summer Lecture Series.Click on the graphic below for a larger, printable copy
The mandatory furlough was also extended to the end of August. El Al Israel Airlines on Thursday extended its suspension of flights to the end of August and said it reached cost-cutting agreements with the country’s main labor union that will facilitate a government bailout.The Israeli flag carrier, which sent nearly all of its 6,500 employees on unpaid leave since the coronavirus outbreak, has said it will go bankrupt without state assistance. The government has offered to guarantee bank loans and even buy a majority stake, but it is demanding an overhaul, including some $400 million in cutbacks. The airline’s workforce is expected to be reduced by about 2,000 employees.El Al said it signed an agreement with the umbrella Histadrut labour federation regarding the airline...
Close to 1,800 new patients diagnosed with coronavirus in a single day * Netanyahu convenes emergency meeting It is expected that the government will approve a set of new coronavirus restrictions on Thursday that would include weekend lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings to 20 people in open spaces and 10 in closed spaces and restaurants reverting to delivery only. "Following the jump in morbidity to about 1,800 patients and the steep rise in the doubling of the critically ill every seven days, I now spoke with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat and with Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shai on the need for a general closure." Instead, the prime minister said, these interim steps would be taken in ho...
The vaccine being developed at Oxford is one of the leading contenders in the global race to protect against coronavirus. Researchers at the University of Oxford believe they have made a breakthrough in the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Human trials are reported to have shown promising results after the team discovered the jab could provide "double protection" against the virus. Blood samples taken from volunteers in phase one trials have shown the vaccine stimulated the body to produce antibodies and T-cells, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph. T-cells play a central part in the body's immune response. A source told the newspaper that the combination "will hopefully keep people safe". The vaccine is one of more than 100 in development as the cor...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Matos/Masei - Life One Step at a Time

The journey of life is not about the destination but about exploration

                                                                                                         Nitin Namdeo

To compare life to a journey is so familiar as to seem trite.  Of course, life is a journey, we agree.  Sadly, we agree so readily that we miss the power of the analogy.  Worse, we agree so blindly that we miss the beauty and the lessons of the journey itself!

Often, when we are told that life is a journey, the supposed “wisdom” of the observation is too often misdirecting our gaze ahead, to the long, uncharted road before us.  That is neither wise nor useful.  The very uncertainty of what lies ahead makes it so.  We have no foreknowledge if the road will continue another day or another thousand days.  What we do know, is how long the road has been and where we are now.

As we travel our path, our thoughts are often on “to where?” when they should be on “why?”

We know the lessons we have learned to this point.  We know our joys, our heartaches, our loves and our losses.  These experiences, we hope, provide us with a useful compass as we continue to our “destination”, which, on life’s journey, is meaning, understanding and wisdom.

Consider the days of your life.  Each day, with remarkably little variation, resembles the one before it and the one after it.  You get up to an alarm, set to the same time.  You slip your right foot into your slipper, then your left.  You eat.  You brush your teeth and shower.  You dress – in clothes virtually indistinguishable from the clothes you wore the day before or that you will wear the next day.  You see the same faces on the commuter train platform.  You sit in the same seat, in the same car of the same train each workday of your adult life.  You read.  You do a crossword.  You glance up and unconsciously take note of the stations along the way.  You bustle along the same streets, your ear pods tuning out the traffic, the noise, the balagan

Day after day.  Each so much as the last.  But, in truth, each as different from the other as snowflakes in a winter storm.  The days only appear the same.  Every day is dotted with moments that move us forward.  Some of these are challenges that test our courage, strengths, weaknesses, and faith.  Some cause us to stumble.  Some moments will be filled with joy, as when we consider the eyes of a stranger and see in them the certainty of the one who will become our mate or our friend or the person who will come to our aid when we stumble on the platform. 

Will we look into that stranger’s eyes and not see?  Will we instead be overfocused on our crossword puzzle and miss the one who will change our life for the better, who will teach us something we’d never known, or show us something we’d never seen or help us feel in ways we’d never felt?

Time and tide wait for no man. 

Imagine what your journey would be like if you did not essentially sleepwalk through each day but rather took note of the distinctions, the small joys, the moments when the divine makes itself known to those with the eyes to see!

A tad “poetic” to think of the daily grind in lofty, metaphoric terms?  A little nudgy?   Not the way Jews think? 

“These are the journeys of the Children of Israel, who went forth from the land of Egypt… and these were their journeys according to their goings forth.” (Bamidbar 33:1-2)

These were their journeys…?  Why look backwards?  What could be the merit to that?  The future lays ahead!  Why would the Jews review their travels in the midbar?  And in such detail!  My goodness, the parasha lists the entire forty-two encampments along the way from Mitzrayim to the banks of the Jordan, ready to cross into Eretz Yisrael.  What’s more, several of the locations noted in Masei are not found even listed in earlier chapters of Bamidbar.  If they were so unremarkable then, why bother to list them now?

Ramban teaches it is because great secrets are inherent in the forty-two stops or, perhaps put more plainly, we learn from the list that God is at every stop on life’s journey, whether seen or unseen, known or unknown, and His ongoing compassion and care allows us to survive the journey.  Still, that’s a lot of stops.  Why enumerate all of them.  Why does it require all forty-two to teach us that God is involved in our lives?  Certainly, we could learn that lesson from examining just a couple of stops.


And no.

Our life journeys have so many stops and starts; so many twists and turns.  At each, there are many opportunities to engage, embrace, learn and experience.  At each, we can recognize anew that there is no “every day is the same” but that each day, each moment is unique and infused with potential.

So, it was with Israel.

In the second posuk of the parasha we learn that, “Moshe wrote their goings forth (motzaeiem) according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashem, and these were their journeys (maseiem) according to their goings forth…”  At the posuk’s conclusion, this same idea is restated, but with the order reversed – their journeys according to their goings forth. 

No travelogue would make note of the reversal in order.  A travelogue only notes the journey in one direction, towards the future.  But this is not a travelogue.  This is Torah.  The change in order must have meaning; it does have meaning. 

We see that the first phrase refers to how God regarded their travels, while the second accounts for the very same travels from man’s point of view.

God lays out the “travel plan” with a single goal – progression to the next stop and then the next until they reach the Promised Land.  But man, in this regard, has a different view.  He has a “better way”.   He constantly asks, Why this way?  Why not that way?  He is constantly complaining, It’s too hot here.  Too cold here.  I’m tired.  Enough with the manna already! 

It is our nature to be impatient; to want new or “better” adventures; to want comfort.  Certainly, it is human to complain!  Rav Hirsch notes that Israel’s purpose was not the destination but the journey itself, even though the destination was the Promised Land!  They rejoiced in moving on, in the process of going forward.  Why?  Simply because they were tired of the “old place.”  The “grass was sure to be greener” on the other side.  The next stop was sure to be nicer, more conducive to their sojourn. 

Which is why we read that there was no rejoicing as they neared the destination.  But… but… but wasn’t that the whole point, to get there


Rashi cites Midrash Tanchuma, which describes the travels as a metaphor of a king (God) whose son (Klal Yisrael) was ill, who took him to a distant place (Eretz Yisrael) to cure him (spiritually).  Only on the return does the father remind his son of all that transpired on the long and difficult journey.  Here we slept; here we were cold; here you cried to me.   Our Midrash teaches us that it is not in spite of but because of the challenges of the journey that we truly arrive at our destination.

This then is truly a lesson for each of our lives.  Each one of us has our own “eleh masei”; each one of us is on a journey; each of us with unique experiences, unique lessons, a unique meaning or destination.  Our journeys take place on many levels – intellectual, spiritual, geographical but they all come together in that they all contribute to the journey of our life.

The Malbim notes that the parasha begins, “These are the journeys of the Children of Israel who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions...”    From the land of Egypt.   As we noted, we commonly define our journey by where we are going, by the distant future, not by our point of departure.  The Malbim teaches us that the journey is not merely a movement forward, not merely a progression towards Canaan.  

There are too many experiences, too many conflicts, too many heartaches, too many joys – too many things that can and will erase slavery from their hearts before they can find their purpose.  Each step, each stop, marking a step away from what they were which, by definition, moves them toward what they will be.  But only if they remain aware and thoughtful; only if they do not “zone out” on their crossword puzzles or their mindless apps.  Only if they pay attention to what God, and life, can show them.

The long sojourn in the wilderness was divinely ordained to, “take the Israelites out of Egypt,” 

The Malbim says it clearly, “For this reason, He caused them [the Israelites] to wander in the wilderness; and they underwent numerous tribulations and were tested with numerous trials and experienced refinement after refinement, until they were purified and exchanged their ‘soiled garments’ for ‘sanctified vestments’ of pure and holy character...”

What “has passed” has left us; it has not simply passed.  It is the furnace that fires our soul.  What has passed is with us always, refined by thought and experience, refashioned by insight.  In this way, our journeys are defined not just by the path we walk upon but by our engagement in time and space and experience.

To go on a trip, we can be oblivious; we can concentrate on our crossword puzzles.  To experience a journey, we can never be passive. 

To be on a journey is to be active, engaged.  And to be fully alive.

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Store, restaurant reopenings pushed up U.S. retail spending for the second month in a row Retail sales increased 7.5% in June as some stores and restaurants reopened, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, but a recent rise in virus cases could again dampen spending. The increase in retail sales for June comes on the heels of lockdowns to contain the pandemic during the spring that triggered an economic shock and record declines in retail sales and other business activity. Government stimulus, such as enhanced unemployment insurance for laid-off workers, and virus-induced shifts in spending patterns have helped propel the rebound. Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser at the NPD Group, Inc., a market research firm, said lower spending on experiences such ...
American Airlines said Wednesday that despite receiving billions in government support, it is sending notices to 25,000 employees that they could be furloughed come Oct. 1. The announcement is the second this month from a major U.S. carrier, and it is a further sign of the toll the novel coronavirus has taken on the airline industry. United Airlines notified nearly 36,000 of its employees last week that they could be furloughed come October. It is likely that other carriers may soon take similar action. “We hate taking this step, as we know the impact it has on our hard-working team members,” Doug Parker, the airline’s chief executive, and Robert Isom, American’s president, wrote in a letter to employees. The number of American employees facing layoffs is nearly ...
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Last week, 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, showing that many workers are still losing their jobs even as the economy gradually recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown. The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which covers the week ended July 11, pushes the number of job losses since the shutdown began to more than 51 million. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv forecast 1.25 million new claims. Read more at FOX Business
“We are in a dangerous place in history,” Raymond Kelly warned. Jewish communities in America should follow the example of those in Europe and put security measures in place in synagogues, Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has said in an interview, as he warned that “we are in a dangerous place in history.”Budget cuts due to the coronavirus lockdown and an erosion of respect for police officers are creating a perfect storm that will see safety decline in New York and elsewhere, Kelly told Matthew Bronfman, chair of the International Steering Committee of Limmud FSU during an online interview. “In the US the Jewish community needs to be more alert about who is entering community premises,” Kelly said, warning that in today's environment, synagogue...
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Fraudsters used the stolen identities of nearly 50,000 people to try to steal $501 million worth of unemployment claims from Maryland. ANNAPOLIS, MD — Fraudsters tried to swindle Maryland out of $501 million worth of unemployment claims, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a Wednesday press conference. The widespread scam used the stolen identities of 47,500 people from 12 different states. Maryland blocked the fraudulent claims, saving the state a half a billion dollars. "It is obviously a coordinated, criminal enterprise because this is not, you know, just random people in their basement that stole somebody's identity," Hogan said. "It's a large, sophisticated criminal enterprise." The Maryland Department of Labor caught the attempted theft over the weekend of July 4 when...
Baltimore, MD – July 15, 2020 - It is with sadness that informs the community of the petira of Mrs. Leah Schild, a’h, sister of Mr. Irv Levin. Shiva by phone only: 410.764.0945  through morning of July 21 Bila HaMaves LaNetzach...
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Apparent con artists on Wednesday hacked into the Twitter accounts of technology moguls, politicians and major companies in a bitcoin scam that has triggered an unprecedented and ongoing site-wide shutdown. The ruse included bogus tweets from Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Mike Bloomberg, Kanye West and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The fake tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to a bitcoin address. Publicly available bitcoin records show that the scammer account has already received hundreds of transfers totaling more than $100,000 as of 6:30 p.m. ET. The account has transferred out approximately half that amount, but experts cautioned that scammers sometimes appear to ...
President Trump is replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien, as more and more polls show rival Joe Biden opening up a significant early lead in the race for the White House. The move announced Wednesday night came days after an article in The Washington Post portrayed Parscale as self-promoting and aloof, noting that he featured prominently in an early Trump campaign ad -- and that staffers complained he often took calls by his swimming pool at home. "I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager," Trump wrote on Facebook. "Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a Senior Advis...
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