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A bomb threat was reported at the Boston Globe on Thursday, the same day the newspaper spearheaded a campaign to publish coordinated editorials at multiple papers condemning President Trump’s attacks against the press. Officials from the Boston police told Boston 7 News that they do not believe the threat was “super serious” but that they have increased patrols around the building. The station noted that the FBI is conducting an investigation. The Hill
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new high-level team to focus US and international efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran. The Iran Action Group will drive Washington’s “maximum pressure” strategy to change Tehran’s behavior, including potentially sanctioning other countries which trade with the country. The group will be headed by Brian Hook as the State Department’s Special Representative for Iran. Read more at i24NEWS.
The Trump administration is considering taking back more than $3 billion in foreign aid that Congress already approved, in a move that senators from both parties are calling questionably legal and promising to resist. The Office of Management and Budget instructed the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier this month to provide a balance sheet of foreign aid projects that have not yet been funded. Unless Congress intervenes, the money may be returned to the U.S. Treasury at the end of fiscal year on Sept. 30. A scramble is on to allocate the money before the administration announces the expected change, which would freeze the billions of dollars left. In his previous two budgets, President Donald Trump proposed steep cuts to foreign aid, but Congress ...
A massive parade that President Donald Trump ordered to showcase American military might this fall will probably cost tens of millions of dollars more than originally expected, officials said Thursday. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss cost estimates that have not been finalized, said the final tally could be as high as $92 million depending on what military assets are included. The price tag, much higher than previous estimates, was first reported by MSNBC. “Defense Department planning for the Military Veterans Day Parade continues and final details are still being developed,” Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. The unusual military exposition in the heart of the U.S. capital, which Pentagon officials are scrambl...
Jerusalem - West Bank settlements do not need to be uprooted, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told visitors to his Jerusalem office – on the same day the Trump administration warned that its peace deal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would leave both sides dissatisfied. “There is no reason to evacuate settlements,” Friedman told the group, according to MK Yehudah Glick (Likud) who was at the meeting, along with South Hebron Hills Regional Council head Yochai Damri and Palestinian businessman Muhammed Nasser. Glick clarified that he was not Friedman’s spokesman, but he was left with the impression that Friedman was “fed up with programs of separation. He said, ‘we have to find new perspectives.’” The US embassy said it ha...
New York - A generation ago, the likes of Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer were the heroes of television news. Now the biggest stars are arguably Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. Notice the difference? Cronkite, Jennings and Sawyer reported the news. Hannity and Maddow talk about the news, and occasionally make it. But you never doubt how they feel about it. In a chaotic media landscape, with traditional guideposts stripped away by technology and new business models, the old lines between journalism and commentary are growing ever fuzzier. As President Donald Trump rewrites the rules of engagement to knock the media off stride, he’s found a receptive audience among his supporters for complaints about “fake news” and journalists who are “enemies of...
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Sioux Falls, SD - An Iowa woman is suing a South Dakota surgeon and his practice for wrongly removing one of her kidneys. The lawsuit filed by Dena Knapp alleges that Dr. Scott Baker erroneously removed her healthy right kidney instead of removing an adrenal gland and a mass on the gland during a surgery in Sioux Falls in 2016. The Argus Leader reports the lawsuit alleges the erroneous surgery resulted in an incurable and progressive kidney disease in Knapp’s remaining kidney that has caused pain and mental distress. Knapp eventually had a second surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to remove the gland and mass. Baker did not immediately return a call for comment. The federal lawsuit also names The Surgical Institute of South Dakota, where Baker is partner. The in...
Royersford, PA - A Pennsylvania teacher who portrays a Nazi villain named Blitzkrieg at local professional wrestling events can keep his teaching job. The superintendent of the Spring-Ford Area School District says an investigation of sixth-grade teacher Kevin Bean found no evidence that he violated school board policy. The Daily Local reports  Superintendent David Goodin made the announcement in a letter to parents. The district launched a probe last month  after video surfaced of Bean performing at a wrestling event in the Philadelphia suburbs. It showed Bean, as Blitzkrieg, carrying a flag bearing the German Iron Cross and chanting the “Sieg Heil” Nazi salute. Advertisement: The letter includes an apology from Bean, saying the c...
Washington - A retired Navy admiral who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is telling President Donald Trump that he’d be honored if Trump would yank his security clearance just like he did to former CIA Director John Brennan. William McRaven says few Americans have done more than Brennan to protect the nation. McRaven tells Trump that he would consider it an honor if the president would revoke his security clearance as well so he can add his name to the list of individuals who have spoken out against Trump’s presidency. He says Trump can’t suppress his critics’ voices, which will continue until he becomes “the leader we prayed you would be.” McRaven spoke out in an open letter to Trump published Thursday in The Washington Post.
Jerusalem - An Israeli security cabinet minister on Thursday denounced the interrogation of left-wing activists at the country’s main airport, and predicted that it would end after the singling-out of a visiting U.S. Jewish columnist stirred controversy. The questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, in a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, to describe the incident as “an administrative mistake”. After Beinart, a columnist with the Jewish daily Forward, went public with his experience, several other liberal or pro-Palestinian activists - both foreigners and Israeli citizens - said that they had been similarly treated at Ben Gurion. Advertisement: “This ...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Shoftim - Life Is Not Fair!

After the Torah details the obligation to appoint judges and officers to administrate justice in all the cities throughout the land, exhorting these officials to act honestly and correctly, it concludes with a general directive to the populace at large.


צדק צדק תרדף למען תחיה וירשת את הארץ אשר ד' אלקיך נֹתֵן לך (דברים טז כ), Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue so that you will live and possess the Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.


It would seem that the objective here is not simply to achieve a just outcome but more so to pursue it. The double emphasis seemingly implies a constant and never-ending quest. The description of how in the merit of this pursuit Hashem ‘gives you’ the land, in the present tense, further emphasizes the constancy of this endeavor.


In its simplest application the verse is addressing a situation where one is involved in a monetary dispute and is being encouraged to seek out a ‘good court’ to assure accurate justice will be achieved.(רש"י)


But that is only occasional, when the circumstance arises. In what way are we to implement on a constant basis this pursuit of righteousness?


The very first pursuer of righteousness was no doubt Avraham Avinu. When discovering that his nephew, Lot, is abducted by the axis of four kings in the War of the Kings, Avraham seeking to rectify this injustice arms his disciples and, וירדף עד דן (בראשית יד יד),  pursues them until Dan. The next verse depicts how he reaches up to them, ויכם וירדפם עד חובה, and struck them, and he pursued them till Chovah. Remarkably in this very first instance in Torah of the use of the root ר-ד-ף, pursue, it is utilized in the context of implementing that which is right and just.


The Midrash Rabba (מג יד טו), observes that the verse strangely describes first his smiting them and only afterwards tells how Avraham pursued them. Can a dead man be chased?  The Midrash goes on to quote the verse in Yeshayahu that describes, מי העיר ממזרח צדק יקראהו לרגלו (מא ב), Who aroused from the East, [the one] whom righteousness accompanied, referring to Hashem having intervened even prior to Avraham having caught up with them, by decimating them.


But the question still begs, how can one chase a dormant body?


Perhaps the Torah is teaching us that it is never just about bringing out justice and peace alone. When the goal is simply to eradicate injustice, then the pursuit is merely an expedient towards the implementation of justice. The pursuit though continues beyond the immediate correction of corruptness. We are to always be seeking to discover the presence of צדק, that Whom is ‘Just’, the very Divine Presence, in all our endeavors. Well after the enemy has fallen Avraham continues to carry the banner declaring the Hand of G-d that is present in every circumstance and endeavor, always seeking to fathom that reality on a deeper and more profound level.


In life we often face situations that challenge our faith. Life at times seems so unfair. We direct blame in all directions attempting to make sense of a world that often doesn’t seem fair. It may be when we are faced with a dispute with our fellow man, feeling a sense of being taken advantage of, and try to make sense and gain clarity by reaching out to judges who are wise in the ways of Torah who can mediate, helping us gain clarity and calm. But more importantly we must strive to accept, especially when we have no legal recourse, when facing the dilemmas of life alone, to realize as I once heard from a very wise man, that, “Life is not necessarily fair but it is always just!”


The letters in the word רדף, to chase, are also the letters in the word פָרַד, to separate. One can choose to wallow despairingly in a delusional fragmented world, where there is no apparent rhyme or reason, only resentment, or one can choose to discover all that is ‘just’ in the world, accepting Hashem’s presence in every facet of life.


Avraham stops his quest at Dan, alternately known as Chovah. We are taught that Avraham was stopped in his tracks when he came to the region where he prophetically envisioned the wicked Yerovam who would secede from the dominion of the House of David, establishing his own dynasty as well as independent places of worship, one in the region of Dan, that housed golden calves, reminiscent of the original one that was worshipped at Mount Sinai. These ten tribes were won over by Yerovam as a result of their being disgruntled with Rechovam, the son and successor of Shlomo, whom they felt imposed too many tax burdens upon them.


Yerovam, a descendant of Yosef, played on old resentments between the tribes, as well as on the peeves he knew the misguided tribes sensed toward Rechovam, allowing a terrible פירוד, distance, to fester in severing the nation from each other and eventually from Hashem. Rather that choosing to be רודף, run after, צדק, Hashem who is just, he opted for פירוד, division.


This failing among his descendants stifled Avraham’s quest to promote the justness of Hashem.


It has been revealed that when the Torah encourages us to seek righteousness, למען תחיה, so that ‘you will live’, it is alluding to the entirety of our relationship with Hashem.


למען תחיה is numerically equivalent to 613, the entire body of Torah. This is not merely a reward, but the essence of what our lives are all about. If we accept that even when life seems unfair it is necessarily just, we are assured a life of vitality and bountiful blessings from Hashem.


May we each, in this propitious month of Elul, transform our attitudes of dissatisfaction and distance into a new awareness of His presence in every moment of our lives, and run eagerly towards His embrace.


באהבה,


צבי יהודה טייכמאן

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Sacramento, CA - An Iraqi man arrested in California is accused of being a former Islamic State fighter and killing a police officer in Iraq after he qualified to be resettled in the U.S. as part of a refugee program. The case has drawn attention amid criticism by the Trump administration of the vetting process involved in the nation’s refugee resettlement program. U.S. officials plan to extradite Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, to Iraq under a treaty with that nation. He made his first appearance in federal court in Sacramento on Wednesday after his arrest at an apartment building in the California capitol. Ameen left Iraq and fled in 2012 to Turkey, where he applied to be accepted as a refugee to the U.S., according to court documents. After he was granted that status in June 201...
New Haven, CT - Police swarmed a Connecticut park near Yale University and searched people’s homes for drugs Thursday in an effort to prevent more overdoses from a batch of synthetic marijuana blamed hospitalizing more than 70 people. Social workers and mental health professionals also responded to the New Haven Green, where most of the overdoses happened Wednesday. Authorities described a chaotic scene where people were dropping to the ground unconscious, others vomiting and some becoming lethargic. Officials said 76 people overdosed Wednesday and six more were treated Thursday. Officials weren’t certain whether Thursday’s cases involved the same batch of “K2” synthetic marijuana. No deaths were reported, and most of those brought to local hospitals have be...
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Albany, NY - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political opponents on the right and left seized Thursday on his comment that America “was never that great,” with Republicans buying him a bus ticket to Canada and intra-party rival Cynthia Nixon accusing him of trying and failing to sound like a progressive. The Democratic governor’s allies, meanwhile, rallied around Cuomo, saying his comment was merely an acknowledgement of the country’s history of racism, sexism and intolerance. The remark was made Wednesday at a bill signing in Manhattan as the two-term governor was criticizing Republican President Donald Trump and his “Make America Great Again” slogan. “We’re not going to make America great again — it was never that great” s...
Istanbul - A small number of Turks are responding to their president’s call to boycott American electronic goods by posting videos in which they smash iPhones with bats, hammers and other blunt instruments. In one video , a man collects iPhones from several youths squatting in front of a Turkish flag, lays the devices on the ground and pounds them with a sledgehammer. “For the motherland!” he says at one point. In another video, a boy pours a plastic bottle of Coca Cola into a toilet in a show of repugnance for U.S. goods. American products remain widely used in Turkey, which is locked in a dispute with Washington over an American pastor being tried in a Turkish court and other issues. The two countries have also imposed tariffs on each other’s goods.
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Baltimore, MD - Aug. 16, 2018 - On Tuesday, the yungerleit of Kollel L'horaha Of K'hal Chassidim D'Baltimore were zocheh to hear a shiur in Yiddish from HaRav Moshe Heinemann, Rav of Agudath Israel of Baltimore, on the sugyah of grama on Shabbos.   The Shiur was packed with Yungerleit and was very well received. Rabbi Hershel Rosenfeld, Rov of Khal Chassidim and Rosh Kollel of the Kollel L'hora'ah, related that the Kollel was very impressed and enjoyed it very much. In general Rabbi Heinemann and Rabbi Rosenfeld have a very close relationship and are often seen at each other's shuls for Hakafos and Simchas. The Kollel has hosted a number of local and out of town Rabbonim to address the Kollel Yungerleit on a wide variety of topics related to the vari...
After the Torah details the obligation to appoint judges and officers to administrate justice in all the cities throughout the land, exhorting these officials to act honestly and correctly, it concludes with a general directive to the populace at large. צדק צדק תרדף למען תחיה וירשת את הארץ אשר ד' אלקיך נֹתֵן לך (דברים טז כ), Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue so that you will live and possess the Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you. It would seem that the objective here is not simply to achieve a just outcome but more so to pursue it. The double emphasis seemingly implies a constant and never-ending quest. The description of how in the merit of this pursuit Hashem ‘gives you’ the land, in the present tense...
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Woman in her 40s hit by what is reported to be a Palestinian taxi near an outpost in the West Bank; driver flees the scene, later turns himself in to Palestinian police in Nablus. An Israeli woman was killed after being hit by what is reported to be a Palestinian taxi at a junction on Highway 60 near the Havat Gilad outpost on Thursday night in a suspected hit-and-run. The woman, in her 40s, was seriously hurt, and paramedics at the scene had to declare her dead after resuscitation efforts failed.  The driver, in his 60s, fled the scene, but later turned himself in to the Palestinian police in Nablus. He said he fled because he was afraid. Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, asserted the incident was a terror attack. "The junction is lighted... there are no s...
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Sufyan Abu Zaida, a Palestinian Authority minister and senior Fatah member living in Gaza, gave an interview to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation Kan on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Postand Maariv report. Commenting on Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies are being kept hostage by Hamas, Abu Zaida said, “As a Palestinian, we are at war. There is a war, soldiers are captured, their situation is unknown, and then there is a prisoner exchange.”“Everyone tried not paying a price at first. As time goes on, it becomes more of a problem….You should know, and the Israeli public should be prepared, that in order to return the soldiers a price must be paid. There are no free prisoner exchanges. Hamas wouldn’t do it even if Ga...
Traces of a controversial herbicide have been found in Cheerios, Quaker Oats oatmeal, and other breakfast foods that could increase the risk of cancer, according to a group of environmental researchers. The Environmental Working Group said it tested 45 samples of breakfast foods made from oats grown in fields sprayed with the herbicide and found elevated levels of the weed killer glyphosate in 31 of them. “There are levels above what we could consider safe in very popular breakfast foods,” said Alexis Temkin, the group’s toxicologist. Scott Partridge, a vice president at Monsanto—the company that developed the chemical—said hundreds of studies validated the safety of glyphosate and called the Environmental Working Group an activist group. “They have an ...
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