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Baltimore, Md - July 30, 2021  - Bikur Cholim of Baltimore was founded with one simple goal: To serve the needs of people facing illness in the Jewish community, their families, as well as people coming from all over the world to Baltimore to receive medical care from our world-class medical institutions. Bikur Cholim is so much more than just a chesed organization - it’s an institution built on the fundamental belief that patients should be able to focus on getting better, being assured that the community is there to assist in any way possible. What keeps it all going? Under th...
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Baltimore, Md - July 25, 2021  - After an enormously successful first year, we do not even contemplate “sitting on our laurels”. Although we recognize the יד השם and tremendous סייתא דשמיא in all of our achievements, we are still working tirelessly to ensure that Mesivta Shaarei Chaim continues to develop into the premier מקום תורה we envision for the community. Please visit https://www.shaareichaimbaltimore.org/whatsnext for a sampling of some of the new, exciting and dynamic changes and additions taking place for this coming school year of תשפ”א-תשפ”ב.
A Shell gas station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was selling five dollars face masks featuring swastikas and the Nazi eagle insignia on Thursday, reported WPLG Local 10 News. The masks were discovered by a customer named Kelly Wagner who told the news station that she had noticed them while inside the gas station’s store. Wagner said in an interview: “After the initial shock I asked the woman behind the counter, ‘Is Shell actually selling swastika face masks?’” She said that the clerk’s response was, “We sell what it is that they give us to sell.” According to the report, it is not clear how many of the swastika masks were sold at the Shell on the corner of Powerline and Cypress Creek Road. A WPLG reporter went to the gas stations and pur...
Republican senators have put forward a bill that would prohibit the Biden administration from issuing new product labelling guidelines that would target goods made in Judea and Samaria in line with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. “As the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement continues with its destructive anti-Israel campaign, we must ensure products made in Israel aren’t the prime targets of economic warfare,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who joined Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Boozman (R-AR), Rick Scott (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in introducing the bill. The Anti-BDS Labeling Act would prohibit the White House from reversing a Trump administration policy that rejected ...
The US State Department said on Friday it has approved the potential sale of 18 CH-53K heavy lift helicopters to Israel in a deal valued at up to $3.4 billion, Reuters reported. The package would include engines, navigation systems, weaponry, support equipment, spares and technical support. Lockheed Martin Corp and General Electric Co are the prime contractors on the deal. The State Department said in a statement quoted by Reuters that "the United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability." The US regularly provides Israel with defense aid, with the House Appropriations Committee having recently approved the annual Depa...
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US Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and five other Democrats have called for the US Treasury to stop granting tax exemptions to American charitable organizations active in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. In a July 22 letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the group expressed their “extreme concern that US charities are funding and providing direct support to Israeli organizations that are working to expand and perpetuate Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in violation of international law, including supporting the dispossession and forced displacement of Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods.” “We are concerned that these policies violate US obligations under international law, as well as fed...
Israeli aerostats are in use by Tokyo Police to help secure the Olympic games, announced RT, the manufacturer of the systems, on Thursday. RT’s SkyStar 180 tactical aerostats are being used by law enforcement for public safety, event traffic and crowd control. The systems “were integrated into the command and control center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police,” RT said in a statement, and “are positioned at several different locations, about 150 meters above the ground. These spots were identified by the end-user as sites where many of the events are taking place. The high-quality video from the aerostat is transmitted in real time to the command center, which is controlled by the Tokyo Police. According to RT, SkyStar Aerostats deliver persistent surveillance of a...
Baltimore County announced plans on Thursday to require masks for students, teachers and staff returning to school for the fall, and some parents are already pushing back against that idea. Amy Adams and Mary Taylor are members of a parents' group that earlier this year threatened legal action to force schools to return to in person learning sooner than they planned. Now, the group has issues with the announcement about new mask rules for when students return next month, stating it was too confusing. “This has been a really confusing week," Adams said to C4 and Bryan Nehman. "We would like more information. We would like the school system to educate us on the data they used and the advice they got from Hopkins and the health department to make this decision for our children. W...
The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h. The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h. In parshas Kedoshim, we are taught for the first time that we must go out of our way to show love towards a convert. The pasuk says (19:34) regarding the convert, "ve'ahavta lo kamocha," you shall love him as yourself. The authorities on the specification of each of the 613 mitzvos, such as Sefer HaChinuch and Rambam, do count this as a mitzvah unto itself. However, their source is not from Kedoshim. Rather, this mitzvah is not discussed until this week's parsha where it is said (10:18) "ve'ahavtem es hageir," and you shall love the convert. Asks R...
Parsha Hashavua
Parhsas Eikev - Love Thy Neighbour

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.


In parshas Kedoshim, we are taught for the first time that we must go out of our way to show love towards a convert. The pasuk says (19:34) regarding the convert, "ve'ahavta lo kamocha," you shall love him as yourself. The authorities on the specification of each of the 613 mitzvos, such as Sefer HaChinuch and Rambam, do count this as a mitzvah unto itself. However, their source is not from Kedoshim. Rather, this mitzvah is not discussed until this week's parsha where it is said (10:18) "ve'ahavtem es hageir," and you shall love the convert. Asks R' Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l, why is the source for this mitzvah not its first mention in the Torah?


In Kedoshim, we also find the famous commandment to "love thy neighbour as thyself." The Torah's wording (Vayikra 19:18) is "ve'ahavta lerei'acha kamocha." As Ramban explains, the prefix "le" usually means toward. With regard to the love of HaShem, it is written (Devarim 6:5) "ve'ahavta es HaShem Elokecha." Accordingly, one would have expected the Torah to write "ve'ahavta es rei'acha kamocha." However, this pasuk uses a deliberately alternative wording. Our love of HaShem is expected to be absolute. Indeed, we are commanded to devote all our heart, soul and possessions toward that cause. But the Torah realizes that we cannot be expected to show such unequivocal love toward each and every one of our fellow Jews. Thus, the commandment to love your neighbour is not worded to imply that you must love him as yourself. Rather, we are simply commanded to act towards him in a manner that we would expect from others. As Hillel explained it simply to a convert, ironically, in the gemara (Shabbos 31a), that which you would not want done to yourself, do not do to others.


This, suggests R' Kulefsky, is the key to our original quandary. The pasuk in Kedoshim merely commands us "ve'ahavta lo." The command is in the same form as our requirement to love every Jew and thus, does not single the convert out for a higher level of love. However, the pasuk in Eikev  says "veahavtem es hageir." The use of the word es teaches us that we are required to show a special love towards converts, over and above that which we show towards every other Jew. This is what compelled the Sefer HaChinuch to derive this mitzvah from parshas Eikev, rather than parshas Kedoshim.


This past week, we commemorated the sheloshim for my father, a"h, with a siyum of shas mishnayos, a siyum on Talmud Bavli by my brother and a worldwide memorial event (which you can view here, if you missed it.) Although, as mentioned above, the general expectation for loving our neighbours is not too lofty so as to remain attainable to all, one of my father's recognizable traits was his ability to show love and respect to every single person he met. He certainly excelled at "ve'ahavta lerei'acha kamocha" beyond the letter of the law but not just for himself. He inspired and charged others to raise their level of observance of this special mitzvah as well. Yehi zichro baruch.


Have a good Shabbos.

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Agudath Israel of America welcomes President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Deborah Lipstadt as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. The President made the announcement after weeks of speculation, and amid calls that the position needed to be filled without further delay. “Dr. Lipstadt is a unique blend of scholar-activist,” observed Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Washington Director. “She is a prominent historian and thinker on the Holocaust and antisemitism and that puts her in a position of being able to turn her knowledge and understanding of these issues into informed and creative thinking about how best to fight this scourge, which is plaguing countries around the wor...
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BrightFarms has voluntarily expanded its recall of packaged lettuce products that were distributed to major retailers over fears that they may be contaminated with salmonella.  The recall now includes another packaged salad product, which is already past the expiration date, according to the recall notice posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.  The product, which has "best by" dates through July 26, was produced in the company's ...
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White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reversed course to say the admin is not considering lockdowns The White House walked back a statement regarding the possibility of enforcing new coronavirus lockdowns due to the spread of the Delta variant. On Thursday, Fox News' Peter Doocy asked White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during the daily briefing if the administration would support future COVID-19 lockdowns. Doocy asked, "So if you're listening to the science, if scientists come to you at some point down the line and say it is our opinion that there should be shutdowns and there should be school closures, you would do that. " Jean-Pierre replied to Doocy, saying that the Biden administration has not ta...
Congress sent President Joe Biden an emergency $2.1 billion spending bill to cover costs associated with defending the Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6 pro-Trump protest and to grant immigrant visas to Afghans who aided the U.S. during the war in Afghanistan. The House cleared the legislation 416-11 on Thursday shortly after it passed the Senate on a 98-0 vote. Biden is expected to sign it into law. Looming funding shortfalls for the National Guard and the Capitol Police along with the prospect of Afghan allies being executed by the Taliban as it claims territory in the country drove quick action in Congress.
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The Justice Department on Friday said the Treasury Department must turn over former President Trump’s long-sought tax returns to the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee. In a memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), acting Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen said the Treasury Department was required to defer to the congressional committee. “The statute at issue here is unambiguous: ‘Upon written request’ of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary ‘shall furnish’ the requested tax information to the Committee,” Johnsen wrote in the 39-page memo. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) first requested Trump’s personal and ...
NEW YORK – NCSY, the flagship youth movement of the Orthodox Union (OU), has named Rabbi Gideon Black as the new chief executive officer of its New York region. Rabbi Black succeeds Rina Emerson following her appointment as NCSY’s national chief operating officer. Rabbi Black joins NCSY following a decade working with the OU-JLIC, first as a campus Rabbi at New York University, and then in a national role as director of professional recruitment and leadership development. OU-JLIC is the Orthodox Union’s premier organization which provides religious resources, rabbinical support and community leadership to Jewish students on secular college campuses. “Rabbi Black brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to New York NCSY, specifically from his work with OU-JLI...
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The U.S. reported the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the world in the last week as the delta variant fuels a surge of new cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO’s latest epidemiological report shows the U.S. tallied 500,332 new cases for the week ending July 25. That’s a 131-percent increase in new infections compared with the week prior. The U.S. was followed by Brazil, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and India. The global number of new infections was up 8 percent, with more than 3.8 million new cases. “An average of around 540,000 cases were reported each day over the past week as compared to 490,000 cases reported daily the week before,” WHO said. “This increasing trend is largely attributed to substantia...
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran “cannot go on indefinitely” but that Washington was “fully prepared” to continue negotiations. The US is indirectly involved in Iran’s talks with world powers to revive a nuclear deal that gave Iran some relief from international sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. The deal was torpedoed in 2018 by then US president Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and imposed punishing sanctions. “We’re committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely… we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations,” Blinken sa...
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