Baltimore, MD – May 26, 2016 - The Not Just a Sta"M Event this past Sunday, was not like any other, it was NOT STAM! On a rainy Sunday afternoon, adults and children convened for a wholesome, educational and engaging program built from scratch around the theme of STa"M: Sefer Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzah, under the auspices of Shearith Israel Congregation, also known as the Glen Avenue Shul. It ‎is NOT STAM when ‎teenage boys sit beside experienced Sofrim practicing how to form safrus letters as they appear in a mezuzah.  It is NOT STAM to see a display of Wimpels (pronounc...
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Baltimore, MD – May 26, 2015 - It is with deep sorrow that BaltimoreJewishLife.com informs the community of the petirah of Reb Aaron Yosaif Prero, a'h, beloved husband of Susan Prero (nee Klein); devoted father of Rabbi Yerucham (Tzipora) Prero, Rabbi Shaul (Tobie) Prero, Gilah (Moshe) Spero, Leah (Mordechai) Kliger, Yisochor Dov Berel Prero and the late Asher Prero; dear brother of Chana Cohen, Elisha Prero and the late Yisroel Aryeh Prero; adored son of the late Rabbi Samuel and Hadassah Prero; also survived by many loving grandchildren and great grandchildren. The levayah will take place Friday, May 27, 2016 @ 12:30 PM at Levinson’s Kevurah at Agudath Israel Cemetery - Rosedale. Times of Minyanim  to follow Bila HaMaves LaNetzach...
ל"ג בעומר בחצר הקודש באיאן Lag Buomer in Boyan בהדלקה המרכזית במירון צילום: אברומי ברגר אייר תשע"ו                                                  
“Hachodesh hazeh lachem rosh chadashim …  w This month shall be for you the beginning of months."  Exodus 12:1 “U’s’fartem lachem … sheva shabbasos t’mee’mos tee’yeh’nah w You shall count for yourselves … seven weeks; they shall be complete."  Leviticus 23:15  “V’sa’farta l’cha sheva shabbsos shanim, sheva shanim sheva p’amim, v’hayu l’cha y’mei sheva shabbsos ha’shanim taisha v’arba’im shanna w You shall count for yourself seven cycles of sabbatical years, seven years seven times; the years of the seven cycles of sabbatical years shall be for you forty-nine years.."  Leviticus 25:8 Here is a beautiful essay written by R’ S...
New York -  Officials are reporting the first U.S. human case of bacteria resistant to an antibiotic used as a last resort drug. The 49-year-old woman has recovered. But officials fear that if the resistance spreads to other bacteria, the country may soon see germs impervious to all antibiotics. The woman had gone to a military clinic in Pennsylvania for a urinary tract infection. Tests found she had E. coli bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. She was successfully treated for the superbug with other antibiotics. Bacteria resistant to the colistin have been found in other countries but not in people in the U.S. The woman had not traveled recently outside the country. Military officials reported the case Wednesday.
זק"א ביים ארוסיהעלפן אין מירון Zaka helping out in Miron אייר תשע"ו                                                                
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ל"ג בעומר אין מירון צילום: אברומי ברגר Lag Buomer in Miron אייר תשע"ו                                                                                               
The Torah states that every 7th year is “Shemittah", during which the Jews who live in Eretz Yisrael (Israel) cannot work their land and must keep it fallow. The Midrash states that those who faithfully observe Shemittah are the mightiest of warriors for keeping such difficult laws (Yalkut Shmoni, Tehillim 860). At the same time, the Torah alleviates all fears of hunger by explicitly promising the Jewish nation that the 6th year will produce a miraculous super crop adequate for 3 entire years. R’ Aharon Kotler asks, if so, why is one who keeps Shemittah considered a mighty warrior? After the farmer receives a 3-year super crop prior to the Shemittah year and benefits first-hand from a miracle, is it so impressive that he kept the Shemittah laws? Later on, the Torah details the...
Daily Halacha
Sefiras HaOmer, (cont'd)

[ויש מקומות שמתירין] Some communities allow (these) [עד ראש חדש אייר ועד בכלל] up to and including Rosh Hodesh Iyyar, [שהן ששה עשר יום] which is 16 days, [ונשארים ל''ג יום באיסור עד חג השבועות] leaving 33 days when (these) are not allowed, up to Shavuot. [ומסתפרין בערב החג] (They (allow) hair cuts on the day before the festival). [ומכל מקום ביום ל''ג בעומר בעצמו מתירין] In any event, on the 33rd of the Omer itself (these) are allowed. [וכשחל ביום ראשון מתירין] (When it (the 33rd) falls on Sunday we allow [בערב שבת כמו שכתבנו לעיל] on Friday as we wrote above). [ויש מקומות שמתירין עד] Some communities allow up to [ראש חדש אייר ולא עד בכלל] but not inclding Rosh Hodesh Iyyar, [וביום ראשון דראש חדש מתחיל האיסור] and on the first day of Rosh Hodesh the ban starts, [ויום ראשון דהגבלה הוא יום הל''ג] and the first day of the limitations is the 33rd day, [ואמרינן בו מקצת היום ככולו] and we say that part of the day is like the whole, [ומותרין לישא ולהסתפר בהן] and we allow marriages and hair cuts on them. [וגם היום ל''ג בעומר מותרין] Also (on) the 33rd day of the Omer (these) are allowed [וכמו שכתבנו לעיל] (as we wrote above), [וצריכין לנהוג בכל קהלה מנהג אחד] and each community needs to follow one custom, [ולא ישנו לעשות מקצתן כך ומקצתן כך] and not do a little from this (custom) and a little from that. (KSA 120:7)

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Bismarck, ND - Republican presidential contender Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal if elected, reversing a decision by the administration of President Barack Obama to block it over environmental concerns. “I would absolutely approve it, 100 percent, but I would want a better deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he was scheduled to give a speech to an oil conference on the energy policies he would pursue if elected to the White House. “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” The Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL...
Albany, NY - The New York attorney general’s office has raided an office on SUNY Polytechnic’s Albany campus that was used by a lobbyist with deep connections to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A spokesman for SUNY Polytechnic says it “cooperated fully” with investigators from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Thursday. The investigators were interested in searching an office formerly used by Todd Howe, who is also a target in a federal investigation into potential conflicts of interest and improper bidding related to Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative. Howe worked for Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and then for Andrew Cuomo at the U.S. housing department. As a lobbyist, he represented SUNY Poly and compan...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas BeHar - It’s About Time: For You ...

“Hachodesh hazeh lachem rosh chadashim …  w This month shall be for you the beginning of months."  Exodus 12:1


“U’s’fartem lachem … sheva shabbasos t’mee’mos tee’yeh’nah w You shall count for yourselves … seven weeks; they shall be complete."  Leviticus 23:15 


“V’sa’farta l’cha sheva shabbsos shanim, sheva shanim sheva p’amim, v’hayu l’cha y’mei sheva shabbsos ha’shanim taisha v’arba’im shanna w You shall count for yourself seven cycles of sabbatical years, seven years seven times; the years of the seven cycles of sabbatical years shall be for you forty-nine years.."  Leviticus 25:8


Here is a beautiful essay written by R’ Shmuel Silber, shlit”a (of Baltimore), with several emendations:


We are now nearing the end of the Sefirah count:  God commanded us to count the days from Pesach leading up to Shavuos, a seemingly simple commandment aimed at linking these two experiences. We are taught that Exodus was not an end in itself; it was a means to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. We were not taken out of Egypt simply to be free and without a human master; we were emancipated because we had (and have) something to contribute. Our nation has the ability to be a light unto the nations – but in order for the light to burn and illuminate there must be fuel. The Torah is our fuel, the commandments are the oil for our national wick allowing us to burn bright and dispel the darkness. We count the days from Pesach to Shavuos to remind ourselves that our freedom must be used for spiritual accomplishment. We count the days of Omer to remind ourselves of our national mandate to make this world a better place.


There is something very interesting about the verbiage used in the verses quoted above. All of the mitzvos being mentioned here have to do with the passage of time. The Torah does not simply tell us to make note of the new month – rather, the new month will be “for you”; we are not only commanded to count the weeks between Pesach and Shavuos – rather, these weeks shall be “for yourselves”;  and there is not only a mitzvah to count the years of the shemittah and Jubilee cycles – rather, these years and the cycles they represent shall be “for yourself” and “for you”. What is the meaning of these phrases, making the passage of time “yours”?


God is trying to convey to us an all-important lesson for meaningful living: the sanctification of the new month reminds us that we control our months; the counting of the days between Pesach and Shavuos reminds us that we control our days and our weeks; the counting of the sabbatical years and the observance of the Jubilee year tells us that we control those years. The put it simply, we are in control of our time.


Time humbles all men. Influence, power and connections can get you many things. But the one thing that no amount of “protexia” can procure and acquire for you — is time. Time is a finite, non-renewable resource. No matter how much you yearn for more — you simply can’t create it. However, although we can’t generate additional quantities of time — we can most definitely control the time we have been given.


Time is the greatest treasure God bestowed upon us as a free nation. It is the currency of accomplishment and self-advancement. Without it you can do nothing, go nowhere; with it, the sky is the limit. People often say “if only I had more time - there are so many things I would like to do.” These mitzvos remind us that we have complete autonomy over how we use our time. It is true that there may not be enough time to accomplish everything we want to accomplish; the Torah is telling us to choose wisely. We must decide what is important and focus our energies on those things that truly matter! We are limited in the duration of our time in this world, but we have sole discretion as to how to use the time we are given. Time is the start-up capital for our greatest initiative — life. Therefore, the Torah tells us to invest it wisely.


Perhaps, this is why the Torah uses the word lachem or l’cha (i.e. “for you”) by all of the aforementioned commandments:  God is not simply telling us to count and/or make note of time. He is instructing us to make it count for ourselves! The month is yours — decide what you are going to accomplish. The week is yours — decide what needs to get done. The day is yours — contemplate how to maximize and squeeze precious meaning and productivity from every holy moment. The years are yours – what will you do with the precious years of your life to make them count!?


Not a week goes by without a new “time saving device” being introduced in the technological marketplace. We are constantly connected, wired and plugged in. Ostensibly the goal of our devices is to maximize productivity and “save time.” But have we really saved any time? And even if we have, how do we use this newfound time-windfall? The reality is that for many of us the time saved is just used for more work. The additional time has not gone to our family, to our learning or to acts of chessed; it has gone to more emails, more meetings and more deals. For others this additional time has led to more time spent online surfing the net and posting every last bit of information (much of it too personal for public consumption) on one’s blog or Facebook page. Blogging, tweeting, friending and surfing have a limited place — but unfortunately they can end up taking over our life! Our time on this earth belongs to each of us – the hours and minutes, the days and months and years belong to me and it is up to me to use them purposefully.


As we participate in the mitzvah of counting the sefirah, anticipating the excitement of Shavuos and the holiday of Matan Torah,  let us find the courage and strength to maximize our days  and weeks and thus find  meaning in all times, taking advantage of every moment.


… and for Others


And here is a beautiful vort written by R’ David Ashear, shlit”a posted recently on his ‘Daily Emunah’ mailing, with several minor emendations:


In the beginning of last week’s parsha, Rashi zt”l brings down that the older people are commanded to help the younger people. We have a mitzvah of zee’kui ha’rabim – working on behalf of others, helping those less fortunate and giving of our own time and energy on behalf of the community.


The Gemara [Eruvin 54b] tells of Rabbi Pereda, who had a student with learning difficulties. The Rabbi would teach him each lesson four hundred times, until he finally understood. On one occasion, the boy was distracted, and even after the four hundredth time, he still did not comprehend. The Rabbi, with an enormous amount of patience, proceeded to explain the lesson an additional four hundred times, until he understood. When he finally finished, Rabbi Pereda heard a Heavenly Voice declaring that as a reward, he could choose to receive an additional 400 years of life or bring his entire generation with him to olam haba, The World to Come. The Rabbi, once again with self-sacrifice, chose to forgo the extra years and benefit his generation. But Hashem replied that he would give him both.


The Torah teaches that the path to greatness is by giving of one's self. The Sefer Madregot HaAdam states that people are afraid to give up of their own time, because they think it will stunt their own growth. In truth, it is exactly the opposite:  The more a person is willing to give of himself, the more Heavenly assistance he will receive. 


Rabbi Yechiel Spero shlit”a told the story of a man named Shimon Deutsch, who spoke in front of a large gathering with tears in his eyes, about how he became a G-d fearing Jew, with children and grandchildren who are all yirei Shamayim. He was the lone survivor of the war from his entire family and, at the age of eighteen, made his way to England. He tried to enroll in a Yeshiva, but he hadn't learned since he was eleven and he was a complete beginner. The Rosh Yeshiva told him that he was welcome to stay, but he did not recommend it – it would be very hard for him to find study partners (as he had never learnt Gemara) and all the other students had been learning intensely for years. But Shimon said, "I have nowhere else to go. I'll give it a few days. If it doesn't work out, I'll go get a job." He hung up a sign asking for people to learn with him, even though he was a beginner. He sat alone at a table, waiting – but nobody came. 


After three long days, he decided that it was time to leave. Just at that moment, two boys approached him and asked if he was Shimon.  "Yes," he replied. One of the boys introduced himself, "Hi. I am Moshe, and this is Tuvia. We arrived at the Yeshiva a few days late, and we just saw your sign. We would love to learn with you; I could learn with you in the morning and Tuvia could learn with you in the afternoon."  "But, you know I don't know anything, right?" said Shimon. "It's okay. We want to help you." And so these two boys helped Shimon over the next three years, until he saw success in his learning.


R’ Shomon Deutsch concluded his speech, "If you are wondering whether these boys lost out because of what they did for me, then I must reveal to you their full names:  ‘Moshe’ is Rav Moshe Sternbuch, shlit”a and ‘Tuvia’ is Rav Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, shlit”a – two outstanding Talmidei Chachamim, who today serve as the leaders of the Eidah Hacharerdit in Yerushalayim. Always remember, you never lose by helping others."


We are here on this earth to reveal k’vod Shamayim – the glory of Heaven and Hashem’s greatness. The more people we bring close to Hashem, the greater the glory to His name. Time spent on this endeavor will never be ‘lost’.

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Washington - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was supposed to have turned over all work-related emails to the State Department to be released to the public. But an agency audit found at least three emails never seen before — including Clinton’s own explanation of why she wanted her emails kept private. After 14 months of public scrutiny and skepticism over Clinton’s motives in keeping her emails secret, new questions emerged Thursday. They centered on her apparent failure to turn over a November 2010 message in which she worried that her personal messages could become accessible to outsiders, along with two other messages a year later that divulged possible security weaknesses in the home email system she used while secretary of state. The Cli...
Raleigh, NC - Two Navy jet fighters crashed off the coast of North Carolina during a training mission Thursday, and their four crew members were airlifted to a hospital with minor injuries after being plucked out of the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial fishing vessel and Coast Guard rescuers, officials said. The F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters, based in Virginia Beach, crashed about 10:40 a.m. off the coast of Cape Hatteras, following an “in-flight mishap,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tiffani Walker, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic. Walker did not have any further details. Earlier Thursday, the Coast Guard had said the two aircraft collided in the air before crashing. Two of the aviators were rescued by the crew of the commercial fishing vessel Jamie, and the other two...
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Kiddush Levana Jun 08 5:23 am - Jun 19 11:45 pm
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This week’s Torah portion discusses the mitzvah of not overcharging and cheating in business, as the Torah says, And if you sell something . . . or buy from your fellow's hand, you shall not wrong one another (Vayikra 25,14,). The following dilemma relates to an interesting interface between the laws of not cheating in business, and the laws of marriage. Aaron and Devorah were a happily married couple.  One day, several years after their wedding, they were in need of some additional income, and Devorah brought her platinum wedding band to a jeweler to be assessed. To Devorah's surprise, the jeweler told her that her ring was not platinum at all, but it was really stainless steel and worth a lot less than she thought. Devorah came home and told her husband what s...
Washington - Donald Trump has provisionally accepted Bernie Sanders’ proposal to debate, but the billionaire is setting a high price for participating. His condition: The hosting TV network would have to put up millions of dollars for charity. Representatives for Fox News, ABC News and CBS News say the networks are interested in hosting such a showdown but would not comment on whether they’d be willing to put up the $10 million Trump is demanding for women’s health causes. “We’re always interested in more opportunities to hear from the candidates,” said ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend. Trump said Thursday a host network would make millions from sky-high ratings and should agree to turn over at least $10 million to women’s health causes. ...
New York - New York City will conduct regular safety checks of its properties under elevated rail tracks after a fire disrupted commuter rail service at Grand Central Terminal for days last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. The city will review all such city-owned or managed properties, and amend its lease with the East Harlem garden supply store that burst into flames on May 17 after an accidental gasoline spill, he said in a statement. “We are ramping up inspections in the affected area and reviewing sites under critical infrastructure citywide to ensure New Yorkers’ safety and peace of mind,” de Blasio said. Urban Garden Center, the store which occupies city-owned property underneath elevated Metro North railroad tracks, has been issued four sum...
Baltimore, MD - May 26, 2016 - 6:17 PM - A bad traffic accident has just occurred on Park Heights Ave. between Clarks Lane and Bancroft. Emergency personnel are on scene. PLEASE AVOID THE AREA!!!
Bismarck, ND - Republican presidential contender Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal if elected, reversing a decision by the administration of President Barack Obama to block it over environmental concerns. “I would absolutely approve it, 100 percent, but I would want a better deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he was scheduled to give a speech to an oil conference on the energy policies he would pursue if elected to the White House. “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” The Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL...
The sefer Ta'amei HaMinhagim (page 251) writes that the Jewish month of Iyar is a time for refuah (healing). אייר is an acronym for אני ה' רפואך (I am HaShem, your Healer). Additionally, he cites the B'nai Yissaschar, who teaches that most weakness and illness come from foods which are harmful to a person's nature or composition.  The Rambam (Hilchos De'os 4:15) writes likewise.  See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch chapter 32. The mahn began to fall in this month (on the 16th day of Iyar 2448). It was the perfect food, from which no sickness, pain or even waste matter resulted (as Dovid HaMelech refers to it in Sefer Tehillim--"lechem abirim"). It even cured those who were ill. Therefore, HaShem left the curative nature of the month in effect for...
Jerusalem Fire Deputy Chief accuses haredim of not taking proper precautions: ‘They like huge bonfires but do not listen.’ Deputy Chief of Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood fire station, Rashaf Roni Sonino, accused the haredi community for the numerous fires which broke out across the capital on Thursday. Dozens of fire crews were able to control the raging blazes. "These fires are the unequivocal result of Lag B'Omer bonfires and negligence on behalf of the citizens,” stated Sonino an interview with Army Radio. "Since yesterday, we have been battling 2,000 fires - the fire fighters are exhausted.” Sonino explained how the Fire and Rescue Commission released safety guidelines ahead of the holiday, especially among the haredi sector. "We have ...
Ever-growing numbers visit once Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem in a Lag B'Omer tradition to rival Meron. Thousands of Jews visited the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik located north of the Old City in Jerusalem on Wednesday night and Thursday for Lag B'Omer, which marks the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi). Shimon Hatzadik was a High Priest in the Second Temple period and among the last members of the Great Assembly. The neighborhood where his tomb is located - which is named after him - is largely Arab but has a growing Jewish population returning to the once Jewish area. Yoni Yosef, an organizer of the annual Lag B'Omer festivities at Shimon Hatzadik tomb, told Arutz Sheva that "as is done each year according to the custom of Jerusalem, we ...
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