In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

What won't Jews do to comfort the parents of a murdered 'brother'?

By Rabbi Shay Schechter

The author comforting a grieving mother on his trip

An account that should leave you on the verge of tears --- no matter what your faith

JewishWorldReview.com | I was feeling uncomfortable on so many different levels.

  • Will my presence be of any significance or meaning to these most beloved families?

  • Will they just look at me as yet another representative, from just another organization, who is "paying his dues" by passing through their grieving home?

  • Will I even have a chance to explain where I come from, that I have come to mourn with them, and convey some of our collective thoughts and feelings of their brothers and sisters in America?

But after all, I was chosen as our "shliach tzibbur" to deliver a piece of our heart to the Shaer, Frenkel and Yifrach families respectively; so the answer had to be to go, and to make the very best of this most unfortunate trip.

Getting stuck on the JFK runway for close to two hours, I said to myself; This special trip is starting off drastically differently than I had expected. I was meant to land at 12 PM in Tel Aviv, go directly from the airport to meet up with Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb from the Orthodox Union, and visit the families of the murdered teens; and this plane delay would now throw off the entire Israel arrangement.

But boy was I mistaken. This was a trip that will be etched in my mind for all posterity. It was the most inspiring and uplifting trip I could have ever made, and I simply have to share my feelings with the congregation, who felt the grave importance of sending a synagogue representative.

In the middle of our flight, the stewardess began to speak with me, and we got into a very pleasant conversation. She then inquired when I was planning to return back to the States. I explained that I would only be staying until after Sabbath, and I would then be returning home.

She said: "Just four days? What kind of trip is that?" And I proceeded to tell her that I was sent by our synagogue to visit the three respective families, to deliver our beautiful letters, and to let them know that the affection of their beloved brothers and sisters in America, knows no bounds.

She immediately began to cry uncontrollably, and said, this faith community of ours is something unique and something incredibly special. "For you to get on the flight is no big deal; but this speaks volumes about your faith community, that this is what they feel is important. This is where their hearts are, and this is what is occupying their minds --- how incredible!"

So the stewardess proceeds to make an announcement in tears, to a plane filled almost to capacity with Birthright groups; "Rabotai! We have on our plane, a shliach Mitzvah! Come meet a rabbi who was sent by his Kehillah to perform the great mitzvah of nichum aveilim [comforting mourners], for those whom they feel are their own brothers and sisters! Our plane is safe because we have a shaliach mitzvah on board with us!"

This led to a whole pandemonium, and after I finally got to sit down again, the young man next to me informs me that he is 26 years old, from Seattle Washington. He works in a national zoo, and is going to Israel for his first time. He then proceeds to tell me that he was so inspired by our faith community, and that he would like to borrow my tallis [prayer shawl] to fulfill a religious duty that he has not done since his Bar mitzvah celebration (at age 16) in memory of the three precious neshamos (souls).

I gladly gave him my tallis and then proceeded to ask him if he knew how to recite a bracha (blessing).

He said "sure I do", and went on to take out a small piece of paper from his pocket, and recited the "Tefillas Haderech", prayer for travelers. This was the one and only Hebrew blessing that he was familiar with, so he decided to recite it as well on the tallis.

He then asked to borrow my tefillin (prayer gear) as well, which was followed by a long conversation with the other members of the plane, who were all taking pictures of this highly unusual scene.

But that wasn't all. After a few minutes the young man turns to me and says "Rabbi, I am so inspired, but in Seattle we don't have these boxes. But I want to continue to do something special for these three precious souls, even after I return home. So what would you suggest I do?"

I was in complete shock, and overwhelmed with emotion, so the Satmar Chassid in the next row turns to this tattooed and pierced young man and says, "Sweet Jew, if you promise me you will try and wear these tefillin [which cost nearly $2,000] each and every day, I promise I will have a pair sent by FedEx to your home in Seattle Washington by the time you get back from Israel!"


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They then exchanged phone numbers and information, and the deal was done.

Now I ask you, is Klal Yisrael (the Jewish people) anything short of amazing and absolutely incredible?

I almost felt like taking the next flight home, and calling this trip the greatest success I could have ever imagined! But things only continued to became more and more meaningful as the day went on.

I landed in Eretz Yisrael (the Holy Land) over two hours late, and had already missed two out of the three homes that the Orthodox Union (OU) was planning to visit. So I met them on the way to the Shaer home which is located in Talmon, a neighborhood of 280 families, which is surrounded on all sides by Arab Villages. We arrived there at 3:30 p.m., and were told by the Policemen, that the family was resting until 5:30. So the OU van decided to leave, but I chose to stay and wait it out.

So there I was, alone, in a far flung Yishuv (pioneer community) that I have never heard of, drenched with sweat, with not a living person in sight, in any direction. I begin to walk around looking for a synagogue, and after about a minute, a woman walks out of the Shaer residence, and I sheepishly asked her, "By chance, do you speak English"? And she says, "Yes, I am from the States, but I live in Talmon for over 20 years. How can I help you?"

I said, "Well, I just came from the airport, I haven't eaten or drank anything, as I had a last minute flight, and they would not provide me with food on the plane, and I am feeling very disoriented…"

She then invited me into her home, quickly served me a beautiful platter of fresh fruit; gave me a tour of the local synagogue and mikvah, acquainted me to the local police and members of the military, and proceeded to introduce me to many of the local families on the Shaer's block as well.

One after the other, families began to break down crying, as they heard that a guest had arrived from America to share in their pain.

But I watched as these incredible families, walked up and down the streets with bottles of water, delicious cake platters, freshly diced fruit, tuna and egg sandwiches, and everything else you can possibly imagine; offering the crowd that was beginning to form outside of the Shaer residence. Their outpouring of love was quite overwhelming to watch, and it is something that is so hard for me to properly express in words.

Signs were posted by a table at the entrance to the door, asking all visitors to write down what services they might be able to offer the family in the coming months, and when they would be available to render them.

  • A plumber wrote that he has off on Wednesday's and would be happy to help them should they ever need.

  • A therapist wrote that any day after hours they could feel free to use her services.

  • A young teenage girl from Beit Shemesh wrote that she has the summer off, and would be happy to entertain anyone in the Yishuv who was busy caring for the Shaer's during this tragedy,

And the list went on and on and on.

Politicians began to gather and many people could be seen waiting for the Shaer's to reopen their doors. Fellow school friends of Gilad began to recount stories of his youthful personality, but after just a few minutes, Mr. and Mrs. Shaer asked that people please make way for the representative of the faith community who has sent someone all the way from America to visit.

"We want to hear from him; his visit means the most to us right now; though we may be closer to many of you sitting in the room."

I then received the most warm, gracious, gentle, and highly emotional embrace from Mr. Shaer, who was completely overcome with shock by our synagogue's gesture. The room grew silent and we began to speak with one another. I then proceeded to present the letters from our synagogue, which threw the room into a complete hysteria.

Mrs. Bat Galim Shaer began to speak with me about her feelings of love for our faith community.

Although there were numerous signs posted, that no pictures be taken at the shiva (mourning) house, Bat Galim encouraged her friends and relatives, to take pictures and share them with both her family and our synagogue, so they would remember, and that we would be able to see how much this special visit meant to them.

Surprisingly, she then proceeded to personally address our wonderful shul on video as well, and asked her friends to share her personal message with our shul via email before Sabbath so we could all appreciate the Shaer family's tremendous appreciation, love and incredible sense of strength that they felt by our gesture.

I then traveled to Nof Ayalon to visit the Frankel family. I got to speak very personally with both Mr. and Mrs. Frankel, and they too were overwhelmed with our sense of connection and responsibility to the Jewish People and its terrible tragedies.

Mrs. Frankel then said: "Rabbi, it is not only you who feel it for us, you don't even know how deeply I personally feel a connection to your synagogue. The Torah that you teach in The White Shul, I know you don't know, but I follow and listen to the lectures on YUTorah, and I can't tell you how special it is, that one of my personal rabeim [spiritual guides] has come from abroad to share this difficult time with me."

Mrs. Frenkel then told me that when Ambassador Dan Shapiro came to speak with her last week about the continued mission to rescue her son, he said, "For an American citizen, nothing will stop us." To which she responded, "It makes no difference if my son is American or Israeli. If all three are not being equally emphasized, then I want none of them back. Klal Yisrael is Klal Yisrael!"

Being more familiar with America and the English language, the Frenkel's spent time reading the package of letters that were presented, and found many of them to be incredibly heartwarming.

Finally I visited the home the Yifrach's in Elad. It was a complete mob scene. I was brought directly to meet with Mr. Yifrach, who stood up in the overly crowded tent, and tightly hugged, kissed and cried on my shoulder. He asked that our synagogue consider joining their family when they celebrate their next simchas (joyous occasion), so we not only connect with this special family under these circumstances, and that we always remember that life is usually, supposed to be filled with, and revolve around "Simchas hachayim," the celebration of life.

What more is possibly left to say other than "Who is like the Jewish nation?" on so many incredibly beautiful levels?

"Who is like the Jewish nation?"

  • Who feel such a strong bond and connection with one another.

  • Who stay committed and so incredibly strong at times of utter and complete devastation.

  • Who are willing to bat for one another at any cost, and are so overwhelmingly kind to those whom they have never, and perhaps will never meet!

  • Who have families the likes of the Frankel's, Yifrach's and Shaer's; families who talk about their most beloved Father in heaven who is so deeply rooted in their respective hearts, minds and souls.

  • Who will pledge to join together to make our world a more meaningful and wholesome place to be.

The author is the Assistant Rabbi at the White Shul in Far Rockaway, NY.

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© 2014, Rabbi Shay Schachter