Liberté, Egalité, Émigré?


With a Jewish population of about 500,000, France is home to the third-largest Jewish community in the world. In comparison, it is estimated that there are between six to seven million Muslims, in a total population of over 66 million. The recent terror attacks in France have been among the most horrific in decades, although anti-Semitic incidents have been occurring for years already. In response, aliya figures for French Jews have been increasing at a phenomenal rate. But, while every French Jew is concerned about the terror level, opinions differ on the future of the Jews of France and whether they should be seeking a new life elsewhere. Let’s meet some of these Jews, who describe the Paris attacks and give us a glimpse of life in France.

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Musing about Names


A story is told about a father who wanted to name his son Pinchas. Both his father and his wife’s father were named Pinchas. His father was a bank robber and his wife’s was a horse thief. The couple went to the Rav and asked, “Since both of our fathers have the same name, how will we know whom he is named after?” The Rav, said, “Don’t worry, when you see how he turns out, then you will know!”

Our tradition teaches us that the names we choose for our children have significance, and can even have an effect on their character. As it says in the sefer by Harav Avraham Levy, Veyikareh Shmo BeYisrael, about Jewish names, “Someone who is called Avraham will have an inclination to do kindness, and somebody called Yosef may become someone who supports others, like Yosef Hatzadik. And even if a person with the name of a tzadik is wicked, he may also have some of the good characteristics of the righteous person.” 

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Labels, Literally


I’ve noticed an interesting phenomena in recent years: Everything you purchase seems to come with instructions. Twenty years ago, you expected instructions to come with your appliances and other complicated items. I guess people were smarter back then. Nowadays, they need to put labels, warnings, and instructions on even the simplest of products. It almost seems like a gratuitous insult to our intelligence. Take a look around your house and you’ll see what I mean. 

Look at a jug of bleach, for example. What’s plastered on the side of the bottle? “Not edible.” Gee, thanks for pointing that out. You see, I ate one of my kid’s Berry Tie-Dye fruit-by-the-foots, and my insides were feeling kinda stained. I thought some bleach might do the trick. No, seriously. The only one in my house who may actually consider drinking the bleach is my nine-month-old, who crawls around looking for things to put in her mouth. So, thank you very much Mr. Bleach Bottle Producer. I appreciate that you wrote on the bottle “not edible.” Unfortunately, my nine-month-old doesn’t even know how to read. But at least I now know not to drink bleach to counteract the fruit-by-the-foot.

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Shalom Bayis

cell phone

Dear Dr. Weisbord,

I always thought that when the children got married and left home, my husband and I would have more time together. Well, that is our situation now, but we are both still very busy – with work, grandchildren, and life in general – so we decided we would go out together once a month, just the two of us.

On our first date night, we went to a quiet restaurant. Everything was going well, and then I noticed that my husband was checking his phone. I was shocked. I didn’t react the first time, but when it happened again, I said, “Is the phone more interesting than I am?” He explained that no, of course I am more interesting than the people who are emailing him, but he feels that if someone is trying to reach him, he has to be there for them.

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Lessons in Life


Shomrei Emunah has a library of Holocaust books, donated by a Holocaust survivor, and from time to time I read one. Alone in the Forest, by Mala Kacenberg, is part of a series put out by CIS Publishers during the 1990s called “The Holocaust Diaries.” Before I tell you a little of this riveting story, I want to dispel the fallacy that if you’ve read one Holocaust book you know the whole story. This is totally wrong, as each autobiography of someone who went through the trauma of World War II and came out alive is unique. This is true because, first of all, each person survived by a different set of miracles. Second, the lessons they learned and passed on to us are unique to their experiences and to their personalities. You can read such a book as an adventure story, with escape from near death on every page, or you can look deeper and take lessons for your own life.

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Ask the Shadchan

jewish dating

To the Shadchan:

I recently got engaged to a wonderful boy with a great family. His family is super nice, and I love going over there. I get along so well with his parents and siblings. The only issue, which I am beginning to see and which might be bigger than I realize, is my future mother-in-law. While she is really sweet, she seems controlling. She wants to know every detail of my day. My mother says that she’s just trying to be friendly, but it feels different to me. She is also trying to control every detail of my wedding. Yes, it’s my wedding. I am not trying to sound mean or anything, but the truth is, I have been planning my wedding ever since I was little. I really don’t appreciate someone trying to take away my dream. My chassan supports me and says that we should do it my way, but he would never stand up to his mother. It’s not an issue of money; both my parents and his are quite comfortable, b”H. We just have very different tastes. She is telling me how to do my nails! Should I be worried about her in the future? We will be living in the same city (away from my parents), and I am scared that she will try to run our lives. How should I deal with her in general, without being chutzpadik and ruining my relationship with her?

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Lessons from the Pickwick Apartments Fire

house on fire

Vestiges of yellow police tape and a metal fence to ward off trespassers still surround the charred remnants of the November 29th Shabbos morning blaze. The heavy fire broke out at 4:30 a.m. on the third floor of 2701 Jenner Drive, in Baltimore’s Pickwick Apartment complex, and spread from the roof to the adjacent 2703 Jenner Drive.

Four of the six apartments in building 2701 that were damaged by fire, smoke, and/or water were occupied by young Orthodox families, including five children under the age of three; the other two were inhabited by elderly people. Baruch Hashem, all the residents evacuated in time, thanks to the gallant heroism of one of the young residents, who was awoken by the fire, and knocked on everyone’s doors. Kudos also go to another young man who, when rushing out of his apartment with his wife and child, noticed that an elderly neighbor was frozen on the landing, in shock, and saved her by carrying her down the stairs to outdoor safety. The fire was under control by 6 a.m. and the three elderly residents were treated for minor injuries.

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Parnassah Expo 2015: Perfecting Extraordinary Networking Tools

There’s business networking and then there’s…the networking that you can avail of at the 2015 Parnassah Expo, which will be held on March 17th and 18th at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center.As you read these lines, registration for exhibitors is in full swing, offering a particularly promising experience.For the first time ever, exhibitors can view a map of the expo floor when they reserve online ( and can choose the location of their booth, subject to availability, just as you can select a seat for your next flight. Exhibitors can choose the “real estate” that most suits their preferences. Understandably, the earlier a business reserves, the greater the selection will be.

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(The authors are president and chairman, respectively, of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.)

Lest anyone think, even for a moment, that there is even the slightest link between Islamic terror against Jews in Paris and Islamic terror against Jews in Jerusalem, the New York Times has rushed in to disabuse us of that notion.


Chaverim’s New Text Alert System in Memory of Asher Zelig ben Tzvi, z”l


Recently, Chaverim of Baltimore sent out two tweets asking for assistance. These were not the all-volunteer organization’s run-of-the-mill pleas for help to change a flat tire, fill a stranded car’s tank with gas, direct traffic for a large car accident, do a pop-a-lock on a car or home, or jumpstart a dead car battery. Nor was it to ask Chaverim members to join forces with Baltimore’s other chesed organization team players to go on a missing person search.

The September 8, 11:17 a.m., tweet read, “Assistance needed for minyan/burial for meis mitzva, tom 3pm bnai israel cemetery in east balt.” The November 4, 7:45 a.m., tweet read: “Help needed to make shiva minyan in ellicott city at 4:40 pm today.” Both tweets asked responders to call the Chaverim hotline, 410-486-9000, if available.

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