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.
Outside Israel, in Orthodox and Conservative communities, the holiday lasts for eight days with the first two days and last two days being major holidays. In the intermediate days necessary work can be performed. Reform Judaism observes Passover over seven days, with the first and last days being major holidays.
Like the holiday of Sukkot, the intermediary days of Passover are known as Chol HaMoed (festival weekdays) and are imbued with a semi-festive status. It is a time for family outings and picnic lunches of matzo, hardboiled eggs, fruits and vegetables, and Passover treats such as macaroons and homemade candies.
Passover cake recipes call for potato starch or Passover cake flour made from finely granulated matzo instead of regular flour, and a large amount of eggs to achieve fluffiness. Cookie recipes use matzo farfel (broken bits of matzo) or ground nuts as the base. For families with Eastern European backgrounds, borsht, a soup made with beets, is a Passover tradition.
While kosher for Passover packaged goods are available in stores, some families opt to cook everything from scratch during Passover week. In Israel, families that do not kasher their ovens can bake cakes, casseroles, and even meat on the stovetop in a Wonder Pot, an Israeli invention consisting of three parts: an aluminium pot shaped like a Bundt pan, a hooded cover perforated with venting holes, and a thick, round, metal disc with a center hole which is placed between the Wonder Pot and the flame to disperse heat.
Birkat Kohanim at the Kotel Will be Held Twice on Pesach as COVID-19 Stats Improve
The Birkat Kohanim, the traditional priestly blessing recited during the morning prayers of Passover at the Kotel Plaza, will be held twice over the upcoming holiday to facilitate the tens of thousands of worshippers amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The special event, which is usually only held once on Passover and once on Sukkot, will be held twice this Passover, on Monday and on Tuesday.
The three-verse blessing is recited during a celebratory prayer session during the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot, normally in the presence of many thousands of people.
Last Passover, amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, the event was limited to a group of only 10 Kohanim due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
At the time, all prayer gatherings were banned in Israel to stem the spread of the virus.
The Birkat Kohanim on the previous Sukkot was held in a very limited fashion and was not opened to the public.
The decline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel appeared to continue over the weekend, with infection data showing continued improvement.
The R coefficient, which indicates the spread of the virus, stood at 0.62 on Sunday, which means it is in retreat. Israel registered 50% fewer COVID-19 cases in the past week than it did in the previous one.
The improvement in Israel’s situation vis-à-vis the Coronavirus is attributed to its success to rapidly vaccinate its population.
Over 5,162,000 Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some 55.5% of the population, and over 4.5 million Israelis – about 48.6% – have received the second dose.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimated earlier this month that by the end of April the entire adult population in Israel will be vaccinated.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
great new Pesach song Six13 - The Red Sea Shanty: A Pirate Passover
It's #Passover on the high seas, mates! We couldn't help but dive right in to the sea shanty craze -- especially once we realized how well they work as horas -- and we weren't content to stop at just "The #Wellerman". Come drop anchor and celebrate freedom with us and a hearty round of 19th century sailing songs! (We're so contemporary.) #ChagSameach!
Want to SING THIS AT YOUR PASSOVER SEDER or SCHOOL PROGRAM? Print out our Red Sea Shanty SINGALONG SHEET with all the lyrics, right here: http://shanty.six13.com
Anchored by a strong Jewish identity and driven by a mission to connect Jews around the globe with their heritage through music, professional Jewish a cappella group Six13 are the originators of today's Jewish a cappella sound. They've performed to rave reviews at the White House for Barack and Michelle Obama, and millions more at synagogues, religious schools, JCCs, fundraising events, B'nai Mitzvah and private affairs alike, received numerous awards for their eight best-selling CDs, and been selected as finalists for casting in NBC's "The Sing-Off". To find out more about bringing Six13 to your community for an event that's truly unforgettable, visit http://www.six13.com.
When the coronavirus pandemic spiked in California last month, it brought unprecedented numbers of the deceased to local mortuaries. Yet despite a staffing shortage—also due to the pandemic—the members of the local Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) have been doing everything in their power before and since the surge in fatalities to ensure a proper and timely Jewish burial for everyone who needs one.
Bruce Bloom, a native of the Los Angeles area, has been preparing the deceased for burial for more than 40 years. He explained how his workforce has dramatically shrunk this past year, with many of the usual staff and volunteers either unable to help due to age or vulnerability or too afraid to risk becoming infected. “While our staff is usually about 20 people, we’re down to about seven. But still, we’re doing what it takes, and thank G‑d, wherever a taharah (purification) has been requested, we’ve been able to provide one,” he said.
For the Jewish community, there are many unique challenges that come up when tending to a body during a pandemic, especially the taharah procedure, which comprises cleansing, ritually washing, and dressing the deceased’s body. Those who perform this act of kindness recite special prayers during the procedure, beseeching G‑d to lift the soul into Heaven.
Understandably, this process presents complications during a highly contagious pandemic. Standing so close to a deceased body involves significant risk, and the procedure must be performed with extreme care.
Despite the risks, every day Bloom’s staff travels from one end of the vast Los Angeles metropolitan area to the other to perform their sacred duties. As Bloom spoke to
Chabad.orgwhile driving from one
taharahto another that was more than an hour’s drive away, he talked of the efforts he and his crew have expended over the course of this long pandemic.
“There are a number of Jewish mortuaries in the area, as well as non-Jewish funeral homes that take in Jewish bodies and offer burial services. Throughout the pandemic, and particularly more recently during the spike, many of them did not offer taharah services, going so far as to not allow it to be done on their premises,” he explained.
Working with mortuary officials, the Chevra Kadisha will do whatever it takes, says Bloom. If that means bringing the body to another mortuary that does allow the taharah, that’s what they’ll do.
‘We’re Doing What It Takes’
Bruce Bloom has been doing the holy work for decades.
With some cemeteries backed up, receiving 50 to 60 bodies a day, another challenge is the funeral and burial. “Usually, the family and friends gather in the chapel for a service prior to the burial, but for a long time now, this has been discontinued here in California,” said Rabbi Yanky Raichik, who heads the local Chevra Kadisha chapter for the Chabad community in Los Angeles. “Everything is now done at the actual gravesite, oftentimes with a very limited number of people.”
Another challenge that frequently arises is transportation to distant final resting places. “Most airlines won’t allow a covid body on their planes, and we have to work very hard to ensure a body gets to its final destination should the need arise,” said Raichik.
Affording the deceased proper honor is what drives these hard-working people—noble souls who expose themselves to risk every day at a job that hardly anyone knows about, added Raichik.
“One of the men who did taharahs was a pediatrician who I really loved, such a wonderful person,” said Bloom. “Though he himself was gravely ill, that didn’t stop him from continuing performing his taharah duties. Sadly, he succumbed to his illness.”
“I spoke at his funeral,” continued Bloom. “I said: ‘Many people talk about how they want Moshiach now. For me, I’m ready to proceed straight to the resurrection of the dead. I’m ready to greet all those people we buried as they make their way back into this world.’ ”
The lights on civilization dimmed and nearly went out starting March 12, 2020. That was the day the federal government began promulgating guidelines for closing schools, businesses, international travel, and all public gatherings. It was an action without precedent but most states went along – out of ignorance, fear, and folly.
In those days it took tremendous courage and tenacity to resist the prevailing mania, which was all about a new virus rumored to be unlike anything we’ve faced in generations. The politicians panicked, and many people did too. Irrationally, the prevailing belief was that government could manage us out of the pandemic through a level of compulsion that disrupted lives as never before.
From the beginning, even two and half months before the lockdowns, the American Institute for Economic Research explained that this would be a catastrophic course. Since then, you have come to rely on AIER’s work as the essential guide to the science, to news others, were unwilling to report, and to the intellectual case for maintaining social and economic functioning during a pandemic.
Our work has been discussed in thousands of venues around the world and been seen by tens of millions of people. We’ve faced smears, censorship, and denunciation. We’ve also been gratified by floods of notes of thanks and a large number of new members and financial supporters.
One year later, we are thrilled to see governments responding to public pressure to open up. Not every government yet; that will come in time. But some states are doing their best to undo the enormous damage they did to their citizens’ health and well-being. That’s very good and encouraging but there is a remaining problem. Government budgets have blown up. The Federal Reserve is printing money like crazy. And citizens are scrambling to move out of lockdown states into open ones.
We still have a multitude of possible crises ahead of us. We cannot know precisely what shape they will take. The economic weight of the debt will be a drag on private investment and productivity. Inflation is a possible major risk. We’ve got a real labor crisis too, with so many leaving the workforce to take care of children who were locked out of their schools. Houses of worship around the country have shattered communities. Whole industries, particularly in arts and hospitality, are wrecked. And people are demoralized.
Recovery will take years, even decades.
The rebuilding effort will require as much intellectual guidance as we needed over the last year. AIER found itself in a position of leadership and that will persist in the months and years ahead. Our new audience base and credibility for having been so early and so correct about this pandemic has created this opportunity for us.
We at AIER appreciate so much your support over the last year. We write, make videos, publish, and hold events. It is you who drives our influence. You have shared our articles, tweeted and retweeted us, posted the material you found compelling to your friends, family, fellow students, and business associates, It’s how we got the word out. It’s how ideas managed to break the terrible lockdowns. Ideas will continue to inspire the reopening, and, crucially, put in safeguards so that nothing like this will ever happen again.
My friends, we are all in this together. And we are all survivors, not only of a pandemic but also of an unprecedented attack on life, liberty, and property. Let us use our reclaimed rights to build a better world. Your support for our work is what keeps us inspired and working for peace, prosperity, and freedom. We’ve been doing this for 88 years. In these last 12 months, AIER has not only been a sanctuary of truth; it’s been a beacon to the world.
Please do not give up hope. We have not yet won but look how far we’ve come! In the Spring of last year, all seemed lost. As the Spring comes again, we are again reminded that history is nothing more than what we make of it. We are not its victims but its authors. Your support of AIER is essential to making the voice of reason extend as far and long as possible.
Freedom will return!.
Alan Dershowitz: All Americans Need to Fight Cancel Culture
Harvard Law professor emeritus said that cancel culture needs to be fought by all Americans after a House subcommittee last week held a hearing to discuss disinformation and extremism in the media.
Dershowitz, who notably defended former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial last year, said that Americans who subscribe to all political viewpoints—including liberals—should be pushing back. The House subcommittee specifically aimed at cable and satellite carriers that give a voice to conservative-leaning networks.
“I hope all Americans wake up to this,” Dershowitz told Newsmax on Thursday. “I hope it’s not just the ‘shoe is on the other foot test. Now, the conservatives are the victims of cancel culture so they’re big supporters of the Constitution and constitutional rights. During McCarthyism, it was the left that was the victims, and the right were the oppressors.”
Going further, he stated that “we need both the right, the left, and also the center to stand united against censorship, against cancel culture, and in favor of the marketplace of ideas.”
“We have the right to flip the channel if we don’t like what’s on Newsmax. Change the channel, but don’t tell the carriers, the satellite carriers, and the cable carriers, to deny us the right to watch Newsmax. That is wrong,” he remarked.
Last month, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jerry McEnerney (D-Calif.) sent letters in which they asked whether cable providers should carry Newsmax, Fox News, or One America News Network. The letter was panned by Republicans, who argued that the question suggested that some Democratic lawmakers are seeking to impose authoritarian means on what can and cannot be published. This comes on the heels of a rash of censorship and deplatforming of prominent conservatives by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Amazon.
A recent poll from Harvard CAPS-Harris found that about 64 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of cancel culture, which is a form of ostracism in which someone is removed from social circles or their job. The concept has also increasingly been applied to books and movies.
This week, the organization that oversees children’s book author Dr. Seuss’s legacy moved to stop publishing six of his books due to allegedly racist or offensive imagery and depictions. The move drew widespread backlash online.
“Americans are showing increased and substantial concern about the growth of cancel culture,” said Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, reported The Hill. “Tech companies beware that the public sees them of acting out of bias tilted towards the Democrats and voters are calling for new regulations to ensure fairness and openness. Amazon, in particular, still has a strong image compared to Facebook and Twitter, but that image may start to erode if they expand the banning of books on their platform.”
If you rely on The New York Times, the Democratic Party, or CNN – they are interchangeable – for your perception of reality, you now believe America is reeling from the latest expression of white supremacy: anti-Asian racism.
It’s a lie, the purpose of which is to:
a) further demonize America;
b) further demonize white Americans;
c) further divide Americans by race and ethnicity;
d) reinforce – or create – the belief among Asian Americans that they are widely hated (and must therefore rely on the government and especially the Democratic Party); and
e) engender ethnic identity among Asian Americans, most of whom have heretofore essentially considered themselves Americans who happen to be of Asian descent.
Is there anti-Asian racism in America? Of course. Ethnic bigotry is a tragic part of the human condition. There is no country in which members of different races live that is bereft of ethnic or racial bigotry.
Therefore, the only question decent, wise, or honest people ask is: How much? And the answer in America is: very, very little.
But the left lacks decency, wisdom, and honesty. Therefore, it offers continuous reporting about anti-Asian racism, most of which so wildly exaggerates the issue as to constitute a lie.
Let’s begin with last week’s attack in Atlanta, in which a 21-year-old white man murdered eight people in Asian massage parlors, six of them Asian-Americans.
Thus far, there is not a shred of evidence that the Asian Americans were killed because they were Asian. The reason the shooter killed them, according to those who knew him before the shootings and investigators who have spoken to him since the shootings, was that he had an addiction, for which he had already been in rehab and had frequented some or all of the massage establishments he targeted, which he blamed for contributing to his addiction.
As of today, there is also no evidence of the killer ever having expressed any anti-Asian sentiments on social media or in private conversation. Nevertheless, the lying media – a term that has become redundant – have portrayed the shootings from the moment they reported them as anti-Asian racism.
The Atlanta lie is part of the greater lie that there is a national epidemic of white supremacist anti-Asian racism. On March 18, for example, The Washington Post reported: “Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked 150 percent since the pandemic began, according to a recent study.”
The study cited by The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and the other left-wing media is from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. The 150 percent increase in anti-Asian American hate crimes is contained in its “Fact Sheet: Anti-Asian Prejudice March 2020,” according to which the number of anti-Asian American incidents rose from 49 in 2019 to 122 in 2020.
So, the entire edifice of hate against Asian Americans is predicated on an alleged increase of 73 incidents.
Given that there are about 330 million Americans, and assuming a different American was responsible for each of the 122 anti-Asian incidents, that would mean that 1 in every 2,704,918 Americans committed an anti-Asian incident. And “incident” includes perceived slights.
As regards violent acts against Asian Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics from September 2019, blacks have committed the greatest percentage of violent crimes against Asian Americans. But the mendacious media do not report that.
The New York Times, the leader in mass hysterias fomented by the left – hysteria is the oxygen of the left – printed this headline last week: “Attacks on Asian-Americans in New York Stoke Fear, Anxiety and Anger.” And the subhead reads: “Hate crimes involving Asian-American victims soared in New York City last year.”
Focus on the word “soared” and you will appreciate the Times’ commitment to truth.
If one reads past the headline – which most people do not – the article gives the actual numbers: “The number of hate crimes with Asian American victims reported to the New York Police Department jumped to 28 in 2020, from just three the previous year.”
You read that right: The number of incidents “soared” and “jumped” to 28 – in a city of 8.4 million people, including, as of 2010, over one million Asian Americans. So, about 1 in every 300,000 New Yorkers committed a hate crime against an Asian American, and about 1 in every 36,000 Asian Americans living in New York was a victim of a hate crime. To put this number into perspective, the odds of your dying in a motor vehicle accident are about 1 in 9,000.
Another New York Times article, under the headline “A Tense Lunar New Year for the Bay Area After Attacks on Asian-Americans,” opens with this:
“The videos are graphic and shocking. In January, a local television station showed footage of a young man sprinting toward, then violently shoving to the ground, a man identified as Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, who had been out for a morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco. He later died.”
The Times piece never reveals the name or race of the perpetrator: Antoine Watson, a 19-year-old black man.
But, in what could be called “compound lying,” the Times did blame “former President Donald J. Trump, who frequently used racist language to refer to the coronavirus.”
Of course, the Times did not provide an example of Trump’s racist language with regard to the coronavirus. One must assume that blaming the Chinese government for the virus or referring to the virus as the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” is regarded as racist even though virtually every prior epidemic was named after its city or region of origin: the “Spanish Flu,” “Hong Kong Flu,” “Ebola Virus,” etc.
Meanwhile, the blanketing of the country with the Atlanta lie and the anti-Asian violence continues. The cover of this week’s Time features a drawing of a young Asian woman under the headline: “We Are Not Silent: Confronting America’s Legacy of Anti-Asian Violence.”
It’s all a lie in service to the left’s hatred of America.
See you tomorrow bli neder the third day of Chul Hamoed, Today is the second day! I sent out today's email yesterday, saying it was the second day yesterday, Today is the second day of Chul Homoed.