Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Breaking news: How to get in or out of Israel with the skies Closed until February 21-I have ideas--call me if you have any questions!Yehuda
Israeli skies close until Feb. 21 - here's how you can still enter, exit
The country's Exceptions Committee will be able to approve the entry and exit of certain people for specific reasons.
By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN FEBRUARY 6, 2021
The government made a decision overnight Thursday to keep the skies closed for at least another two weeks. That means that with few exceptions, Israelis cannot enter or exit the country.
The government originally voted to close the skies through February 7; the new restrictions are in place until February 21.
However, a new “Exceptions Committee” will be able to approve the entry and exit of certain people for specific reasons.
Applications to the committee should be made online via a web form available on the Foreign, Health, and Immigration ministries’ websites, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office’s. Forms need to be accompanied by supporting documentation.
The committee is composed of representatives from each of these ministries, as well as members of the Diaspora and Tourism ministries.
Israelis can leave the country for the following reasons, according to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Transportation Ministry.
1 – To receive essential medical treatment that cannot be delayed. In this case, the traveler can be accompanied by a support person.
2 – To attend a funeral of a first-degree relative.
3 – To assist a first-degree relative who is in distress and has no one local to help.
4 – To attend a legal proceeding of which they are a part of or are required by law to attend.
5 – To take part in a humanitarian mission.
6 –Traveling on a state-sponsored mission, such as for the purpose of foreign relations, as approved by the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry or Prime Minister’s Office.
7 – For an extended period of time, to take up permanent residence somewhere else.
8 – Professional athletes and their coaches can obtain permits to attend competitions outside the country.
9 – Non-Israeli citizens or non-permanent residents who are currently in Israel can get permission to leave.
There are also ways for Israelis who are presently outside Israel to get permission to enter. The following reasons for entering Israel could be approved for Israeli citizens.
The first six reasons for leaving mentioned above are also approved for those looking to enter the country. In addition, the following people can obtain permission:
7 – Women in their third trimester of pregnancy may enter Israel to give birth.
8 – Citizens who left Israel before the government voted to close the skies may now return.
In rare cases, non-Israeli citizens may also obtain permission to enter the country. The following people can receive a permit.
1 – People on a humanitarian mission.
2 – Professional athletes for the purpose of participating in a competition.
3 – Immigrants, if their aliyah cannot be postponed.
4 – People married to Israeli citizens or permanent residents, or who are the parents of Israeli citizens or permanent residents.
5 – People who are part of a state-sponsored mission, such as for the purpose of foreign relations, as approved by the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry or PMO.
Those who have already received exception certificates do not need to reapply; the certificates are still valid. In addition, people will be required to take a coronavirus test 72 hours before boarding an airplane to or from Israel.
The decision to close Israel’s skies came against the backdrop of steady but high rates of infection, driven largely by the British mutation that entered Israel through its airport. The mutation now accounts for between 70% to 80% of all infections in the country.
“We are closing the skies hermetically, except for really rare exceptions, to prevent the entry of virus mutations, and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the end of last month when the decision was made.
The Health Ministry has been pushing the government to keep the skies closed for at least several more weeks until a system is in place to maintain testing, isolation, and genetic sequencing that could stop the spread of mutations before it starts.
Some studies have shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are less effective against at least the South African mutation. It is unclear if these vaccines will be as effective against all future mutations.
The country hopes to complete vaccinating the majority of its oldest and most at-risk people before fully reopening its skies.
PAY THE TWO DOLLARS
Victor Moore, Edward Arnold Ziegfeld Follies (1945)
From Pharaoh to Space Lasers: Blaming Jews is the Original Conspiracy Theory
Yesterday, social media (including myself) had a field day with the revelation that in 2018, Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had come up with a theory that California wildfires might have been started by public utility PG&E, which worked with the Rothschild family, using a satellite that redirects the sun’s rays to Earth, in order to clear room for a high-speed rail project that the governor wanted.
Invoking the Rothschilds is of course one of the favorite memes of antisemites, using that banking family as a proxy for supposed Jewish control of the world.This is not the only antisemitic conspiracy theory that Taylor Greene has espoused. Also in 2018, she shared a video that claimed the “Great Replacement” theory, quoting a Holocaust denier that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” to replace white Europeans with Muslim immigrants.She has also claimed that no plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. While she did not blame Jews for this theory, many 9/11 conspiracy theories end up pointing back to Jews as the perpetrators. There are at least six antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories, from the Mossad to “Israeli art students” to “4000 Jews told to stay home on 9/11.”Conspiracy theorists and antisemitism go hand in hand. Not every conspiracy theory invokes Jews, but Jews pop up very often in these theories.It didn’t start with the grand theory of the Elders of Zion secretly pulling the strings of the world. It didn’t start with the blood libel or the accusation that Jews poison the wells causing the Black Death in the 14th century.Jews have been blamed for conspiracy theories from the very first moment of becoming a people.After all, look at Exodus 1:8-11:
A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”
Jews saved Egypt from famine. They were model citizens. But Pharaoh created a conspiracy theory that they were a fifth column to destroy Egypt.This is literally the first thing that scripture says about the Jewish people.It is not the only conspiracy theory in the Hebrew Scripture involving Jews: Esther 3:8:
Haman then said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in Your Majesty’s interest to tolerate them.”
Sad to say, no amount of education is going to eradicate this sort of antisemitism. All we can do is expose it and expose the people who are behind it.Like Pharaoh and Haman, the haters won’t change.
January 31, 2021
If One Mask Doesn’t Work, Try Two, or Three, or Four…
By Ted Noel, MD
Once upon a time, my primary specialty of anesthesiology was the most scientific of all the medical specialties that actually touch patients. Then I saw that Dr. Scott Segal, chair of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina told NBC news that we should consider wearing four -- count ‘em -- four face masks at once. I had thought that the insanity would stop at double masking. Welcome to the new normal. Panic porn has taken over even the medical community that should know better.
Albert Einstein is credited with the maxim that “Doing something a second time and expecting a different result is insanity.” So the first step in “Will more masks help?” is to ask, “Do masks help at all?” Lots of people have done a lot of good work on the mechanics of masks. Jose-Luis Jiminez at the University of Colorado and Linsey Marr at Virginia Tech are two excellent scientists who study the mechanics of the aerosols that transmit COVID-19. Both have demonstrated that masks will markedly reduce droplets. Numerous YouTube videos have also demonstrated that quite dramatically. Masks may even slightly reduce -- not eliminate -- aerosols.
The problem with all this work is that it starts from two primary assumptions. First is the questionable idea that droplets are responsible for spreading the bug. The second is that if we stop droplets, we will necessarily stop the virus. When the epidemic started, we were told to worry about droplets from speaking, singing, and sneezing. But while those can travel many feet, they follow a spitball’s path to the floor, where they cause no further problems. Unless someone sneezes directly in your face from close range as you are inhaling, they can’t get inside your lungs to make you sick.
The mechanistic (fancy word for how something works) answer to the first question is that it is not reasonable to expect masks used by the general public to be useful in preventing disease transmission. But as scientists, we must check out whether this is actually true. RationalGround.com has put together a lot of the data. Notice that Southern California put in a bunch of mask mandates, and the rate of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. The simplistic answer would be that masks caused infections. A comparison of the fifty states would suggest the same.
Of course, infections went down later without a change in the mask requirements. Any rational scientist would suggest that this means that masks were irrelevant. RationalGround.com has many other charts that make the same point. Put simply, the mechanistic studies examine something that isn’t important in the transmission of COVID-19, because the bug isn’t spread by that way, and stopping droplets won’t matter.
But what about aerosols? These are the smaller particles that can stay suspended in the air for hours and are probably responsible for most infections. We’re all familiar with them. If you wear a mask and can smell the sample odor, it’s not fitting properly. That’s why I had to be fitted for the alternate N-95 brand at my hospital. Incidentally, there is data that properly fitted and worn N-95s do reduce infections among health-care workers in high-risk environments. But that’s not the issue. We’re asking about the general public.
Some time ago I demonstrated with a vape that aerosols simply evade most masks. Studies suggesting that redirecting them is a benefit forget that sending them sideways only deal with one breath. As you continue to breathe, the aerosol accumulates like the classic smoke-filled room. But even with a 20% reduction in aerosol, the CDC’s “close proximity” allowance of ten minutes only increases to twelve and a half. Perhaps we should invest in stopwatches?
There are studies on both sides of the argument. I find this summary most useful (banned by FB “fact-checkers”).
Of key interest, in one CDC study, 85% of COVID victims report nearly always wearing face masks. One study claiming benefits had to be withdrawn after its conclusions were contradicted by continuing experience. Others have major confounding variables. Mask advocates ignore significant downsides such as reduced personal performance, severe psychosocial consequences, and difficulty breathing. And the Danish Mask Study, a “gold standard” randomized, controlled study, showed no benefit to mask wearing in the general population.
Difficulty breathing is something I didn’t quite appreciate during the thirty-six years I wore a mask on a daily basis in the operating room. After all, masks were a part of life. But I always dropped my mask the moment I left the OR, and almost every other OR staff member did the same. It’s really simple. Masks increase your work of breathing. If you’re wearing a properly fitted N-95, all your air has to come in and out through that filter material. That’s work. And it makes you short of breath.
Do a simple experiment. Fold a bath towel a couple of times and try to breathe through it. Make sure you aren’t breathing around it. The filtration from the fabric creates resistance to air flow. Now do it for several minutes. That’s what breathing through an effective mask feels like. You’ll get short of breath, and as soon as you can, you’ll take it off. What you felt was increased work of breathing. And that’s why the movies often show someone being strangled with a pillow.
Most Americans intuitively recognize that masks don’t reduce infections. But they go along with the virtue signaling to be good citizens. And, to make their own life a bit better, they use a single thickness gaiter over their mouth and nose like a train robber. Or they use a face shield that does nothing at all other than “covering” their mouth and nose without restricting air flow. Often you see them with a mask over their mouth but not their nose. And of course, President Biden doesn’t wear one in the Oval Office.
Returning to Einstein, since a single mask doesn’t help in the general populace, why should anyone think that double masking might help? Or quadruple, as Dr. Segal suggests. Such suggestions fall under the logical designation of “magical thinking.” Or as Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, insanity.
Before serving as our 31st president (from 1929-1933), Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) led the Commission for Relief in Belgium, served as the director of the U.S. Food Administration, and served as the third U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
When the United States entered World War I, President Wilson appointed Hoover, who became known as the country’s “food czar,” to lead the Food Administration. After the war, Hoover led the European Relief Council, which was charged with restoring Europe’s civilian economy and feeding the starving multitudes of Europe. Known as “the Great Humanitarian,” he is credited with saving literally millions of lives, including countless thousands in Jewish communities across Europe.
Hoover’s role in administering European food relief brought him in contact with Europe’s Jews and sensitized him to their suffering from both severe economic distress and harsh anti-Semitic persecution. Moreover, a common interest in humanitarian work cemented friendships and political partnerships between Hoover and leading members of the Jewish community, particularly Bernard Baruch.
After Poland’s declaration of statehood in 1918, the Polish army began a campaign of terror against Polish Jews, including the April 5, 1919 summary execution of 37 Jewish residents of Pinsk by a Polish firing squad. Polish leader (and later first prime minister) Ignacy Jan Paderewski persisted in his claim that no Polish pogrom against Jews had ever been perpetrated, until Hoover secured his cooperation with blunt threats to withhold much-needed American support.
Hoover’s food aid to Poland was at the root of the Pinsk Massacre because the murdered Jews were reportedly meeting to discuss how to distribute Hoover’s aid when they were rounded up and shot. According to Lewis Strauss – whom Hoover put in charge of ensuring the equitable treatment of minority groups in the distribution of American aid (more on him below) – Hoover was “the only U.S. Government official to effectively press Poland and its prime minister to act against the pogromists.”
Among other relief activities, Hoover organized children’s milk shipments to Lvov, an effort funded in part by the American Joint Distribution Committee which, with Hoover’s help, was able to evade Polish government restrictions on Jewish organizations providing aid to Polish Jews. Hoover received many thousands of grateful notes from Jews across the world, including many from children and a formal expression of appreciation issued by the American Jewish Congress during its 1919 convention.
In this historic December 22, 1920 correspondence on his European Relief Council letterhead, Hoover writes to Baruch about his despair regarding the monumental task of providing food to the legions of the destitute in post-war Europe, particularly given the worsening economic situation in the United States:
</figure>I am indeed greatly obliged for your letter of the seventeenth and your check for 5,000.
I feel a great deal despaired of succeeding in this task, because the economic situation in the country is of course driving all of those who generally support these measures to greatly curtail their gifts. When you return to town I hope to have the privilege of taking up with you the whole question as to an extended use of your wide influence to command greater resources for us.
Baruch (1870-1965) was an American financier, stock investor, philanthropist, statesman, and political consultant who, though he never ran for public office, was one of the most influential Americans of his time – note Hoover’s reference in our letter to his “wide influence.”
Baruch was often referred to as “America’s elder statesman” because, after his great success in business, he became a trusted advisor to seven American presidents on economic and other matters. During World War I, he served as chairman of the War Industries Board with the vast power to mobilize the American wartime economy.
During Hoover’s 1928 campaign for the presidency, his Jewish supporters, having never forgotten his extraordinary support for their European co-religionists, distributed a Yiddish/English booklet which characterized him as “the modern Moses of war-stricken Europe who led Israel out of the slavery of starvation and despair.”
However, most American Jews then – as now – were Democrats with short memories, and Hoover sadly received only 28 percent of the Jewish vote. Most American Jews saw Republicans as racists and reactionaries – recall renowned reactionary Archie Bunker singing: “Mister, we can use a man like Herbert Hoover again.”
Hoover faced his first domestic policy crisis shortly after taking office when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression became the defining issue of his presidency. He faced the first foreign policy crisis of his presidency in August 1929 when Arab terrorists murdered over 100 Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron, including 12 Americans. The Arab atrocities outraged American public opinion to the point that a number of congressmen urged the president to dispatch a warship to Eretz Yisrael post haste.
While essentially maintaining a neutral stance on the issue to preserve good relations with Great Britain, Hoover nonetheless issued an August 29, 1929 message to the Jewish Organizations Meeting in Madison Square Garden to Protest the Events in Palestine in which he expressed “profound sympathy” for victims of the Arab riots; called for Americans to support the living victims of the attacks; and urged the British government to take “vigorous action” to restore “a large measure of protection.”
Perhaps most significantly, he underscored his support for a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael by expressing confidence that “out of these tragic events will come greater security and greater safeguards for the future, under which the steady rehabilitation of the Palestine as a true homeland will be even more assured.”
Though the Quaker-born Hoover had cultivated relations with the non-Zionist, highly assimilated, and largely German-Jewish leadership of American Jewry, he had always manifested the soul of a proud Zionist. He actively pushed for the adoption of the Lodge-Fish Resolution (1922), signed by President Harding, pursuant to which the Balfour Declaration became official American policy.
In a November 1932 letter to the Zionist Organization of America on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, he wrote, citing the unanimous approval of both Houses of Congress by the adoption of the Lodge-Fish resolution, “I wish to express the hope that the ideal of the establishment of the National Jewish Home in Palestine, as embodied in that Declaration, will continue to prosper for the good of all the people inhabiting the Holy Land.”
<figcaption>In this original newspaper photo, former President Herbert Hoover (right) is greeted by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise as he arrives at Madison Garden on December 13, 1939 to speak at the mass meeting at which 22,000 Jews and Christians gathered to condemn all forms of totalitarianism, Nazi, Fascist, or Communist.</figcaption></figure>
Hoover sent a January 11, 1932 message to the American Palestine Committee advocating for “the realization of the age-old aspirations of the Jewish people for the restoration of their national homeland” and he played a leading role in convincing the Republican Party to include a plank in its 1944 platform supporting Jewish statehood, a first for any political party.
As a private citizen, Hoover became an even more powerful advocate for the Zionist cause. He addressed the Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe in July 1943, concluding that the Jews should be moved to Eretz Yisrael. During a subsequent meeting with ZOA leader Judge Louis Levinthal, he explained that “Palestine cannot become a Jewish Commonwealth until the Arabs are [forcibly] evacuated to other countries in the Near East.”
In a dramatic move to publicize his solution to “the Palestine problem,” the ex-president published an article in the November 19, 1945 New York World-Telegram presenting what came to be known as “The Hoover Plan.” Under the headings “Hoover Urges Resettling Arabs to Solve Palestinian Problem” and “Believes Migration Would End Conflict over Jewish Refuge,” Hoover proposed that the Arabs be resettled in Iraq, which would “clear Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization.”
Hoover argued that Iraq would obtain what it needed most: millions of dollars in financing for, among other things, damming and irrigation projects and the growth of its agricultural workforce to toil its vast lands. The Palestinians, who excelled in farming and construction, would gain fertile land to toil in exchange for the dust fields of Palestine, and they would be comfortable among their own race, the “Arab-speaking Mohammedans.” The Jewish survivors of war-torn Europe would finally gain their homeland. Win-win-win.
Hoover maintained that at a time when millions of people were physically transferred to other lands, many dying in the process or having their lands confiscated, the transfer of the Arabs from Eretz Yisrael “could be made the model migration of history, a solution by engineering (Hoover was a trained engineer) instead of by conflict” and constitute “a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom.” The necessary financing for the plan would come from a variety of sources, and Hoover attempted to interest self-made millionaire Bernard Baruch in the project.
The Jewish press in New York gave the Hoover Plan broad coverage and support, noting the significance of it being advanced by a non-Jew of Hoover’s prominence, and most – but by no means all (several Zionist leaders insisted that the transfer would have to be voluntary) – American Jewish organizations endorsed it.
Not surprisingly, however, the reaction from the Arab world was vociferous and hostile; the Iraqi press characterized Hoover’s “devilish American plan” as “fiendish” and his statement as “hateful” and urged a boycott of American goods. The Iraqi government sent a telegram announcing that the Arabs would never agree to the creation of a Zionist state.
One of Hoover’s final presidential acts was to instruct the American ambassador to Germany to put as much pressure as possible on the Nazi regime to stop the persecution of German Jewry. He was not shy about publicly challenging Franklin Roosevelt’s misguided immigration policies and, as a respected ex-president and humanitarian, he drew considerable attention to the cause.
He collaborated with Jewish activists to publicize Hitler’s mass murder and, in particular, he provided broad support to the Revisionist Zionists, particularly the Bergson Group. He served as honorary chairman of Bergson’s July 1943 Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe and served on the Sponsoring Committee of Bergson’s famous protest pageant, “We Will Never Die.”
In a move contrary to his own political interests – he hoped to win the 1940 Republican presidential nomination, and most Republicans were anti-immigration – Hoover fought hard for increasing American immigration quotas for Jewish refugees. This included a public endorsement of the Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have admitted an additional 20,000 refugee children beyond the existing quotas – which would have included Anne Frank – but Roosevelt infamously didn’t back the bill and the doors of immigration remained shut.
Although no Jews served in Hoover’s cabinet, some of his most important friends, consultants and confidents were Jewish, chief among them Lewis Strauss (1896-1974), a self-identified Jew committed to American Jewish life and welfare who actively fought against the anti-Semitism of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin.
At the beginning of the atomic age, few men played a more pivotal role in shaping U.S. nuclear policy than Strauss, a champion of the hydrogen bomb, a strong believer in maintaining a large nuclear stockpile, and the Chair of the Atomic Energy Commission (1953-1958).
Strauss may have been hyper-competent, but he was also autocratic and arrogant, which did not particularly endear him to the denizens of Capitol Hill. After two months of exhausting hearings in 1959, the Senate rejected his nomination to serve as Eisenhower’s Secretary of Commerce in what was a publicly humiliating ordeal. In this July 2, 1959 handwritten draft correspondence, Hoover seeks to console his close friend and expresses deep admiration for him:
</figure>You have no right to be chagrined nor to apologize to anybody. You have been the best, the most able and the most patriotic public servant in my recollection.
These people who in reality failed in their lynching performance. For you have a bright future ahead.
They on the other hand have an incurable cancer in their moral character and in their future political life.
I am looking forward to seeing you and […] many times as always.
In the handwritten note exhibited here, Strauss explains the origins of this correspondence:
<figcaption>Hoover’s consolation letter to Levi Strauss regarding his rejection as Secretary of Commerce.</figcaption></figure>
I had written to the Chief when I resigned as secretary of commerce. It was, I believe, my last letter from that office. He replied with a long hand letter of which this draft was found among his papers after his death in 1964 by his son Allan.
Hoover would frequently consult with Strauss on Jewish political and community issues. Other close Jewish friends included Baruch, as discussed above; Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company who became the largest American contributor to European Jewish war relief (donating some $100 million); and Louis Marshall, a distinguished constitutional lawyer who served as president of the American Jewish Committee. Strauss declined offers of several high positions in the Hoover administration and Rosenwald declined an appointment as Secretary of Commerce due to illness.
Finally, Hoover became the second president to nominate a Jew to the United States Supreme Court when he selected the almost universally beloved Benjamin Cardozo – a Democrat! – as the first Hispanic to serve on the High Court. (No, the first Hispanic was not Sonia Sotomayor; another article for another day.)