A Historical Glance at the Relationships between Presidents and Prime Ministers

The recent visit between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been characterized by the world press as remarkably positive, chiefly due to the lack of any public display of disagreement between the two in the course of the visit. This is like the couple who say, “We have been together all afternoon without a single fight. We are a perfect couple.” As I read the body language of President Obama, he seemed to say, “For better or worse, Bibi is here to stay for the rest of my term. It has been my fate to have Netanyahu as PM of Israel during my time in office, no matter who else I might have preferred. Bibi is (sadly) my destiny, and I might as well adjust to that fact.”

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Ask the Shadchan


To the Shadchan:

I am listed as a reference on the resumes of a few of my friends, and I get called fairly often to describe a girl to a prospective mother-in-law. I know how important it is to be positive, but I also want to tell the truth. Recently, a mother called me and asked a question that I didn’t know how to answer. Actually, I was speechless.

 This was a boy who was considered a prize, and lots of girls wanted to get a date with him. The mother asked me many questions to determine whether my friend – let’s call her Shoshi – would be suitable for her son. The last question was, “How would your friend react if she found out she was infertile? What if she had triplets after just a year of marriage? What would be her attitude?” I didn’t know what to answer. Should I say what I thought the mother wanted to hear? I wasn’t sure what that was. Should I make up something? I couldn’t do that. The question was unanswerable, anyway. After all, how could I possibly know how anyone would react in such made-up situations? How can I know how I myself would feel?

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A Liberal Sprinkling of Anti-Semitism

college campus

In a frightening scene for Jewish students, protestors at the Million Student March at Hunter College on November 15 screamed, “Zionists out of CUNY!” and “Intifada! Intifada! Long live the Intifada.” Though the nationwide demonstrations were aimed at demanding tuition-free education and the cancellation of student debt, the organizers produced blatantly anti-Semitic tropes both before and during their events, including this Facebook announcement for the Hunter rally:

The Zionist administration [of the college] invests in Israeli companies…that support the Israeli occupation, hosts…study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education….”

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One Night in April


It was the evening of April 24, 1979, and it changed my family’s life, the lives of many in our community, and the lives of a group of teenaged girls we did not know.

The Persian Empire had existed for thousands of years. Somehow, Persia became Iran and the empire shrank, but it did endure into the twentieth century, so that in 1971 Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi declared and celebrated its 2,500th anniversary. There was splendor, glory, and the expectation that another 2,500 years might be in store. Alas, this was not to be, and a short eight years later, it all came to an end. There were riots in the street for months, and in January, the Shah went on “vacation” outside the country. On April 1, 1979, he was officially replaced by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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What’s Your Geduld Rating?


“Have geduld” is a Yiddish expression, usually told to folks who need additional geduld. Nu, you may ask, “voss hakst do ah cheinik, why are you blabbering”? Iz azoy, it’s like this: Without geduld, even things that are possible become impossible! Your response may be, “Zog shoyn, explain it already! What’s the meaning of the word “geduld”?

Nu, have geduld, and it will become as clear as the morning sky in Hawaii. The meaning of geduld is patience, and you have shown great geduld by following this little monologue.

Anyway, some folks have a tremendous amount of geduld, while others have as much gedul as a mahlpeh (monkey) in captivity. With geduld, you can drive all the way to California. Without geduld, driving to a nearby store is a problem.

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It Just Seemed Like the Right Time: Parents Who Made the Move, Part 2


“After 55 years, I figured it was time to relocate,” explains Mrs. Joan Heber, who moved to Baltimore from St. Louis to be closer to her children, Rabbi Dovid and Rebbetzin Baila Heber. “The whole process was really basherte,” adds Mrs. Heber. “My kids said that I was welcome to move whenever I was ready but they never prodded or insisted. I never talked about moving, but about three years ago, I looked at various places in Baltimore. I knew that if I was going to relocate, it would be to Baltimore, for the simple reason that it is closer than Detroit (where my other son lives) to New York, where I have quite a bit of family. Also, I was told that senior housing is excellent here. When I made up my mind, over a year-and-a-half ago, it was kind of a snap decision. Certain things came together.”

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The “Knife Intifada”: A View from “Near Hebron”


Kiryat Arba, Israel

These are hard times. The Arabs of the Land of Israel, some of them with Israeli citizenship and some without, are presently going all around Israel stabbing Jews. In fact, they’re not just stabbing them. They’re throwing rocks at them, running them over with cars, and even shooting at them. It has reached the point where, a few days ago, when our chazan skipped Tachanun at our sunrise service in the Tomb of the Patriarchs – which he often does – and people wondered who was holding a circumcision, one of our local wags commented, “What circumcision? We’re celebrating five hours without a stabbing.…”

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Your Income Taxes 2015


Once again, tax time brings some confusion. Several tax breaks expired at the end of 2014. It is expected that they will be reinstated retroactively, though, and will apply to the 2015 tax year. It is almost December and it has not happened yet. The same thing happened last year, so stand by.

Planning Ahead

The tax fundamentals remain the same. Here are some general planning pointers:

1) Planning helps. For example, if you are married on the last day of the year, you are considered married for tax purposes. So get married in December rather than January.

2) Obviously, the lower your income, the better. Pensions, daycare, work expenses, and health expenses can be paid for with pretax dollars.

3) Sign up for your company’s pension plan. It saves taxes now and prepares for old age later. Not participating is a big mistake, especially if the company matches your contribution.

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A Doctor’s Journey: Diagnosing a Medical Career

health care

Since the advent of Obamacare, much has been written and discussed about healthcare: how it is changing and the challenges we face now and in the near future. This article is a conversation with a family physician, Dr. Bruce Blumenthal, who has worked on the frontlines for over 30 years and experienced those changes firsthand. Dr. B has seen how the changes in the delivery of direct care have affected both the lives of his patients and the way he himself practices medicine.

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Rabbi and Mrs Yitzchok Neger Dedicate Sefer Torah

rabbi neger

On Sunday, November 15, Baltimore saw an unusual spectacle. Long known as a distinctly Litvish town, the Hachnosas Sefer Torah celebrated that day demonstrated the growth of the Chassidic community. Rabbi Yitzchok and Mrs Gitty Neger commissioned the writing of a SeferTorah in memory of Mrs .Neger's father, Max Knopf,z"l of Brooklyn, and Rabbi Neger's parents Moshe and Chana Neger z"l of Toronto

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