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Jo Ellen Chism, 57, a retiree who lives in The Woodlands, Texas, about an hour outside Houston, was nervous about attending her stepson’s wedding on June 20. “They were going to postpone it, but then the Catholic church decided they would open and would have up to 75 people,” she said. “75 people seemed like a pretty big gathering to me during this Covid time.” She went to support her family. She was inside the church for an hourlong service that included a processional and communion. At the reception, at Haak Winery, she sat indoors at a round tabl...
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday rejected congressional subpoenas issued for him and for the State Department to provide information and testimony to lawmakers about two politically charged developments. The refusals set the stage for an escalation in the confrontation between the State Department and the Democratic-controlled House ahead of November’s elections. In letters sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo and the State Department’s acting legislative affairs chief said they had no intention of complying with the subpoenas. They said the subpoenas were politically motivated, without merit, and unnecessary as the information and testimony could be otherwise obtained. Read more at NEWSMAX.
No agenda set for cabinet meeting as coalition crisis hits new high. Blue and White leader accuses Netanyahu of seeking elections for "personal and political considerations." Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz of Blue and White refused Saturday night to rule out backing legislation that would stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from serving as prime minister.Gantz’s comments come amid severe tensions within the coalition and the possibility that government ministers will not convene Sunday morning for the weekly cabinet meeting due to the crisis between Netanyahu and the Blue and White leader over the state budget. As the divisions between the Likud and Blue and White have increased in recent weeks, and the allegations that Netanyah...
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday the country’s investigation into the biggest blast in Beirut’s history would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference. “The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external interference through a rocket or bomb or other act,” Aoun was quoted by Reuters as having told local media. Aoun, who had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port, said the investigation would also weigh if the blast was due to negligence or an accident. 20 people had been detained so far, he added. One source said an initial probe blamed negligence. Lebanese authorities said Tuesday’s blast, which killed at least 137 people and injure...
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Most recent Statements/letters/etc. from the Baltimore Vaad HaRabbanimVaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimore: "Despite Our Diligent Efforts And Vigilance Locally, We Have Had A Slow Trickle Of New Cases In The Past 2 Weeks That Raises Concern." [July 2, 2020]Vaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimore: "Those Shuls Which Are Able To Open In A Manner Deemed Safe May Do So Already For Shabbos" (June 19) Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Yesterday’s Vaad Harabanim Letter [June 11, 2020]Vaad HaRabbonim Of Baltimore: A Smorgasbord of Good News (June 10, 2020)  Baltimore's Vaad HaRabbanim: Please Make Sure to Vote This Tuesday (May 31, 2020 3:03 PM)  Vaad HaRabbonim Of Baltimore: Guidance For Hosting Company for Shavuos 5780 (May 24, 2020)Vaad HaRabbanim Of Baltimo...
The gap in the U.S. jobless rate between whites and Blacks widened for a third straight month in July, making the gulf between the races the widest in more than five years, Labor Department data released on Friday showed. The rate for both races fell in July, but the rate for whites dropped more, by 0.9 percentage point to 9.2%. The rate for Blacks dropped by 0.8 percentage point to 14.6%, widening the gap to 5.4 points. The average unemployment rate for all demographic groups fell by 0.9 percentage points to 10.2% from 11.1%. Read more at NEWSMAX.
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Baltimore, MD - June 19, 2020 - N’shei Agudath Israel of Baltimore Summer Lecture Series.Click on the graphic below for a larger, printable copy
Fatah, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other Palestinian factions are plotting a violent uprising — intifada — against Israel, Palestinian Media Watch NGO reported Thursday. The NGO cited a broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV channel featuring Wasel Abu Yusuf, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, which aired July 28. The broadcast referred to a statement issued earlier following a PLO-Fatah meeting, which included such language as “working to establish a united national front for popular resistance resulting in a comprehensive intifada.” The host specifically asked whether the intifada in question was supposed to be a peaceful, non-violent one, to which Wasel Abu Yusuf responded with a categorical “no.” Read more ...
The top U.S. counterintelligence official announced Friday a series of foreign threats facing the 2020 presidential election, warning in particular that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden while China prefers that President Trump not win reelection. William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, pointed to China, Russia and Iran as the three primary foreign threats to the U.S. presidential race, cautioning that they are seeking to “sway voters’ preferences and perspectives,” sow discord and “undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process.” “Many foreign actors have a p...
A New York City councilman said he feared for his life until hydroxychloroquine helped him recover from his coronavirus infection. Councilman Paul Vallone, a Democrat, told the New York Post that he took hydroxychloroquine, a drug known for treating malaria, while he fell ill with COVID-19 in March. He claimed that the drug saved his life and thanked President Trump for raising awareness about the medication. "At that time, there was only fear and panic, he offered hope in a possible treatment when there was none. With my sarcoidosis and then my COVID symptoms, It basically saved me. For that, my family will always be thankful," Vallone said. Vallone said he struggled with severe symptoms after contracting the virus. "I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t g...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Eikev - Flooded by Isaias

A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece and nephew, Ruti (née Levy) and Yoni Epstein of Lakewood on the birth of their daughter, Adina Tova, last week. Mazal Tov to the extended Bulka, Levy and Epstein mishpachos and to the great great grandmother, Oma Jakobovits.


Wednesday, the 15th of Av, marked the 11th yahrtzeit of my Opa, Mr. George Jakobovits. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h.


For the past week, much of the east coast of the United States has been flooded by a Tropical Storm with the unique name of Isaias. The irony is just too much to ignore. Isaias – as one might surmise from reading it, rather than hearing it – is the Spanish/Portugese form of Yeshayah. Indeed, during this time of year, we are also being flooded – in a good way – by Yeshayah.


In a heartfelt Tish'ah B'Av message, former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks points out that we lead into Tish'ah B'Av by reading the beginning of Yeshayah and his grave, ominous prophecy of impending doom. However, the very next section already begins to speak words of comfort and hope – (2:3) "ki mitziyon teitzei torah, udvar HaShem miRushalayim. "  After a brief turn to Yirmiyah for Tish’ah B’av morning, the shev d’nechemta, the seven haftaros of comfort, are actually a nearly sequential journey through the latter chapters of Yeshayah. The doom and the comfort come from the same source.


This is also part of the message of Tu B'Av. One of the events that highlights the day is the discovery of the corpses from the ill-fated revolt In Beitar which did not rot. An entire blessing in birkas hamazon is dedicated to commemorating this miracle. R’ Tzvi Mordechai Feldheim, the Rosh Mesivta of my son’s yeshivah, Kesser Torah, asks why does this belong among the other berachos? Each of the other berachos highlights fundamental tenet of our faith – that HaShem provides sustenance to all, the gifts of Torah and Eretz Yisrael, and the ultimate redemption and rebuilding of Yerushalayim. What makes this theme worthy of such company?


In truth, he answers, the miracle at Beitar underscored another vital component of our belief system. The destruction of the beis hamikdash and ensuing exile broke the spirit of the nation and created the notion that HaShem had left our midst. The preservation of the corpses and the opportunity to give them a proper burial was and important reminder that even in the darkest times, HaShem is always with us and watching over us. It is only with this realization that we have been able to endure through all of the difficult challenges of this long and arduous galus, may it come to an end speedily in our day.

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When President Donald Trump connected by phone last week with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson — perhaps the only person in the party who can cut a nine-figure check to aid his reelection — the phone call unexpectedly turned contentious. The 87-year-old casino mogul had reached out to Trump to talk about the coronavirus relief bill and the economy. But then Trump brought the conversation around to the campaign and confronted Adelson about why he wasn’t doing more to bolster his reelection, according to three people with direct knowledge of the call. One of the people said it was apparent the president had no idea how much Adelson, who’s donated tens of millions of dollars to pro-Trump efforts over the years, had helped him. Adelson chose not to come b...
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Friday urged Baltimoreans to follow public health guidelines and turn around concerning coronavirus numbers. The city is an area of concern for White House officials. Adams on Friday toured a field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center. The hospital was established by the Maryland National Guard and is being run by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical System. "We don't need to wait for a vaccine. We don't need to wait for a miracle therapeutic," Adams said, pointing to New York, the one-time hotspot, where on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo cleared schools to reopen. He said Americans need to follow his "three W's" of washing hands, watching distance and wearing a face mask. "If we do these three things, these ...
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Whether it’s on Election Day or for early voting, whether or not there will be enough poll workers on Election Day is anyone’s guess, and there’s a dire warning all in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. For more than 30 years, Jean Faith has served as a judge of elections at Honeygo Run Community Center, and despite the coronavirus, she’s already signed up to serve this year on Nov. 3. “I’m not really concerned, because we are going to take all of the precautions we can," Faith said. "We’re going to have gloves on, we’re going to wipe everything down. When they come in they’ll have to wear a mask, and if they don’t, we’ll have to give them one.”  In Baltimore County, there’s a big need for election ju...
Maryland’s state elections board voted Friday to significantly reduce the number of places where voters can cast ballots on Election Day in November, a proposal aimed at accommodating a shortage of poll workers while avoiding voter confusion and crowded precincts during the coronavirus pandemic.The five-member board’s recommendation to Gov. Larry Hogan calls for using 282 public high schools or better sites as “vote centers” where any registered voter in a particular county could cast a ballot on Nov. 3. Board members also expressed support for keeping the state's roughly 80 early-voting centers open on Nov. 3. Hogan's office had not commented on the vote on Friday night. Board members are scheduled to meet Wednesday and say they will move ahead with the...
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
A Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece and nephew, Ruti (née Levy) and Yoni Epstein of Lakewood on the birth of their daughter, Adina Tova, last week. Mazal Tov to the extended Bulka, Levy and Epstein mishpachos and to the great great grandmother, Oma Jakobovits. Wednesday, the 15th of Av, marked the 11th yahrtzeit of my Opa, Mr. George Jakobovits. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h. For the past week, much of the east coast of the United States has been flooded by a Tropical Storm with the unique name of Isaias. The irony is just too much to ignore. Isaias – as one might surmise from reading it, rather than hearing it – is the Spanish/Portugese form of Yes...
President Trump signed four executive actions Saturday aimed at delivering relief to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic while accusing Democrats of stonewalling greater aid efforts. Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans -- short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners. Trump also signed a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000, while promising more relief if he wins a second term. The president signed the executive actions from his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., a...
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Baltimore, MD - Aug. 8, 2020 -  Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt, RAA/Igud's Director of Halacha and Medicine Commission will provide a live update on Motzei Shabbos, August 8 at 9:45pm NY time. Zoom dial-in: Meeting ID: 980 3243 6809 Password: SUMMER2020 or by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US
[Ed. Note: Shoresh Sports Camp in PA, referred to below, has absolutely no association with Camp Shoresh Day Camp in MD]As I have gotten numerous questions about this original email that I sent out, I will provide additional follow-up about it to try and address some of the issues I have been asked about. I have also spoken with the leadership of Camp Shoresh. While my email did not in any way imply that they were not cooperating with the DOH, I just wanted to specifically state clearly that they have been cooperating from the beginning with the DOH in PA and that they have been very proactive in addressing this. Indeed, I connected the Nassau County DOH with the camp leadership, and the Commissioner was very thankful. The Nassau County Commissioner stated the camp leadership has been ver...
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Baltimore, MD – Aug. 2020 - Every Shabbos table offers every Jewish family an incredible opportunity by which they can share their joy for Shabbos, for Yiddishkeit and for HaShem with their children. Unfortunately, our schedules are hectic and many people don’t have the time to prepare themselves to utilize the Shabbos table to its fullest. Therefore, we at ACHIM created TableTalk as a pre-packaged talking points pamphlet which is attractive, fun and has something for everyone. Limited copies are distributed to many shuls on a weekly basis but they are snatched up very quickly. Get yours ASAP or click on the graphic below and print your own. What’s in it and what’s all the excitement about? TableTalk features: •        ...
An Illinois school district is cracking down on remote learning dress codes, disallowing students from wearing pajamas while attending online classes. The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education approved the district's new handbook this week, which applies in-person dress codes to remote learning settings, NBC News reported. "We don't need students in pajamas and all those other things while on their Zoom conference," Director of School Support Jason Wind said during a virtual school board meeting on Monday. Students will also be required to get out of their beds and attend classes while sitting in a chair at home, upright and attentive to the instructor's lessons. Read more at The Hill
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