Strong winds in Israel today took a toll on many sukkas that were unable to withstand the onslaught on the weather. The video above was taken in Tzefas, where hundreds of sukkahs were damaged or destroyed due to the high winds. Israel experienced extreme weather over Sukkos so far, with a lightning storm in Yerushalayim that injured five.
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Baltimore, MD - Oct. 7, 2019 - Get a FREE Shot on Wednesday, October 16 | 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (1st Day Chol HaMoaid Succos) **While Supplies Last!** Injectable flu vaccine will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone six months and older. Residents are asked to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless shirts for quick and easy access to the portion of their arm where the vaccination Complete a Form Fill out a form for each family member. The form will be reviewed to determine eligibility to receive the vaccination. If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of flu vaccine, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, you may be advised not to get vaccinated at this clinic. Location Pikesville Volunteer Fire Department 40 E Sudbroo...
Samar Arabid, who is suspected of being the head of the terrorist group that murdered Rina Shnerb, a'h, H'yd, and wounded her father and brother, has fully regained consciousness and will soon be questioned, Kan Reshet Bet reported. According to the report, Arabid’s condition has improved over the past few days, leading authorities to decide to renew interrogations and prevent him from meeting a lawyer. On Tuesday, his detention was extended in his room at Mount Scopus Hospital. Shabak classed Arabid as a “ticking time bomb,” a designation which allows the security organization to use extreme interrogation methods. At the same time, the Israeli security establishment made it clear that Arabid’s interrogation “prevented shooting, bombing, and kidna...
The festival of Sukkot isn’t anchored to a particular historical period, or geographical location. It doesn’t commemorate a particular event which occurred on a specific day in history. Sitting under the sky in sheltered huts symbolizes G-d’s compassion and care for his creation in general, and for Man in particular. He safeguards us even in dangerous or hazardous conditions- such as the Jewish journey through the desert. Exiting our homes and sitting under makeshift and “improvised” huts, highlights our reliance upon Divine care rather than upon human structures. As this holiday isn’t tethered to a particular historical event, its range extends beyond that of other Jewish holidays. Sukkot celebrates G-d’s care for all humanity – Jew and non...
President Donald Trump on Monday demanded Turkey stop its military incursion in Syria and imposed new sanctions on the NATO ally as Trump scrambled to limit the damage from his much-criticized decision to clear US troops from Turkey’s path. Vice President Mike Pence said Trump had told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Monday to agree to an immediate ceasefire. He also said he would travel to the region soon to try to mediate the crisis. Pence said Trump had been firm with Erdogan on the phone. “The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence, and come to the negotiating table,” Pence told reporters. Turkey launched a cross-border opera...
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the most influential voices among young liberals and a rising Democratic star, plans to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and appear with him at a rally on Saturday, according to two people with knowledge of her plans. The surprise endorsement is a political coup for Sanders, 78, who has been fading in the polls and has faced growing questions about his age and health. Before Tuesday’s Democratic debate, he had been sidelined from the campaign trail for two weeks by a heart attack. “We’re looking forward to Saturday,” said Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders, I-Vt., teased the rally at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, saying he would have a “special guest” appearing wi...
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The fourth Democratic debate is over, after 12 candidates jousted over three hours. Below, your winners and losers (and two-betweeners). Winners – Elizabeth Warren, the front-runner: For the first time in one of these debates, Warren found herself under sustained attack. Through a combination of debate format, Joe Biden’s leads in early polls and Warren’s unique political Teflon, she had somehow avoided it. That changed Tuesday, though. Warren was the focal point, with the other candidates all but taking their focus completely off Biden. It wasn’t completely smooth sailing for Warren (which we’ll get to), but it was an affirmation that she is viewed as perhaps the front-runner now. – Bernie Sanders: In his first debate after suffering a heart attack,...
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton have emerged as key targets for House Democrats in their impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump after explosive testimony about the president’s pressure on a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. House Democrats on Tuesday began discussing the possibility of summoning both men – who would be the highest-ranking individuals to testify – as the investigation has accelerated in recent days with the cooperation of several current and former administration officials. The actions of Mulvaney and Bolton attracted considerable attention after two witnesses testified that the acting White House chief of staff was involved in setting up a separate channel to ha...
A federal grand jury in New York has issued a subpoena to former Texas congressman Pete Sessions seeking records and other information on his interactions with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two Giuliani associates charged last week with a scheme to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The subpoena seeks records about Sessions’s dealings with Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had been helping Giuliani investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden. Parnas and Fruman were charged this week with violating campaign finance law in an ongoing investigation that has ensnared the president’s personal lawyer because of ...
Five members of the same family were hurt when they were struck by lightning at Zikim Beach, just north of Gaza. The 14-year-old is listed in critical condition. The sister-in-law is listed in serious condition. The other siblings, ages 13, 17, and 24 are listed in moderate condition. Dr. Gili Givati, deputy director of the hospital, provided updates on the status of the injured. “Five people were injured and brought to the medical center. One of them, 14 years old, who was in critical condition, underwent prolonged resuscitation, which continued in the hospital,” she said. “He is currently in a trauma room and is currently undergoing pediatric intensive care. Another serious injury was sustained in the field. Intensive care was underway. She, 22, is in intensive care....
Parsha Hashavua
The Evolution of Shmini Atzeret

The festival of Sukkot isn’t anchored to a particular historical period, or geographical location. It doesn’t commemorate a particular event which occurred on a specific day in history. Sitting under the sky in sheltered huts symbolizes G-d’s compassion and care for his creation in general, and for Man in particular. He safeguards us even in dangerous or hazardous conditions- such as the Jewish journey through the desert. Exiting our homes and sitting under makeshift and “improvised” huts, highlights our reliance upon Divine care rather than upon human structures.


As this holiday isn’t tethered to a particular historical event, its range extends beyond that of other Jewish holidays. Sukkot celebrates G-d’s care for all humanity – Jew and non-Jew alike. Highlighting this international scope of Sukkot, the Temple ceremonies of this holiday were calibrated to address an international audience. Over the course of the seven-day celebration of “Divine Providence”, seventy sacrifices were tendered - correlating to the seventy nations of classic antiquity.


Sukkot reminds a Jew of a universalist mission: to represent G-d and true monotheism in this world while challenging humanity to higher standards of morality. The holiday is pivoted upon the Temple, drawing foreign monarchs and dignitaries from across the globe. Though legal entry into the Temple was barred to non-Jews, all  visitors would still direct their tributes and devotions to this international house of prayer.


Toward the conclusion of this holiday the international celebration transitioned into a one-day private rendezvous between G-d and his chosen nation- Shmini Atzeret (Eighth day of repose). The nation G-d selected to represent Him was personally beckoned to sojourn an extra day “alone” in His house. After the fanfare has subsided, and before we embarked home from Jerusalem, our stay was extended for an additional day of quiet seclusion with G-d in our Temple. This two-part holiday of Sukkot- including the one-day extension distills our distinctive historical mission as well as G-d’s unique affection for His people.


This grand Jewish mission be put to the test. For two thousand years, Jews would wander this planet bereft of common culture, deprived of national homeland, all the while longing for their extinct Temple – the icon of this international mission. During this period, part of our historical handicap was the absence of a judiciary body or Sanhedrin to properly and accurately adjust the calendar. Absent of this ability, Jews observed two days of Shmini Atzeret, hoping one day to return to land and Temple, reestablish autonomy, and restore authority of calendar regulation. Two days of Shmini Atzeret (and for that matter every other holiday) became a conspicuous symbol of life in Exile.


About a thousand years ago, the second day of Shmini Atzeret accrued new meaning and morphed into Simchat Torah. Given the fact that the yearly Torah reading cycle concludes on the second day of Shmini Atzeret, Jews began initiating festivities and celebration rituals surrounding the Torah on this second day of Shmini Atzeret. Ultimately, these customs became enshrined as Jewish law and the day transformed into an autonomous day of Simchat Torah.




This process of transforming the second day of Shmini Atzeret into Simchat Torah is a direct outcome of Exile. The existence of an extra day of Shmini Atzeret, and the termination of the Torah reading cycle,  invited a separate holiday. The extra day of Shmini Atzeret in Exile was critical to the emergence of Simchat Torah.


While the holiday evolved under conditions of Exile, it also frames the Jewish response to the enormous challenges of exile. How did the Jews survive against such unspeakable odds? How did a nation, scattered across the globe, stripped of common national identity, despised and persecuted not just survive, but thrive, and not just thrive but constantly advance civilization and reshape the human imagination? Though we lacked a Temple we always possessed, a different pivot of national identity and a different rallying point to encounter G-d. The directly revealed word of G-d, his Torah, served as a geographically independent reinforcement of Jewish identity and, of course, a conduit for religious encounter. Our steadfast commitment to studying and applying His word has been, and will always be, the secret of Jewish survival. Transforming the second day of Shmini Atzeret into a Torah celebration signifies the triumph of the Jewish spirit throughout this long journey of exile. Without Torah, we would have barely survived, and the ‘spare’ day of Shmini Atzeret was designated to mark this monumental achievement.


If the first day of Shmini Atzeret comprised G-d’s special invitation to his people, the “transformed” second day of Simchat Torah represented our gift to Him, and the testament of our faith. During the Temple era, on Shmini Atzeret, G-d invited us ‘back’ because our hurried departure would be too difficult to bear; on the day of Simchat Torah, as we clutch Torah scrolls, we respond to G-d “indeed it has been difficult but we aren’t going anywhere”. You delivered Your word to us and for over two millennia it has protected our faith and preserved our relationship, even without our private rendezvous in the Temple. Ultimately, the two components of Shmni Atzeret complement each other- the first day represents our selection and our mission while the second day signifies the manner in which this mission triumphed against all odds.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—  Seven members of an extended British family  who made an unauthorized crossing into the United States from Canada are being held in federal custody at a Pennsylvania detention center nearly two weeks after their arrest, their lawyer said Tuesday, as U.S. border officials defended their handling of the case by disclosing that two of the adults had previously been denied entry to the country. The family said they blundered into Washington state while trying to avoid an animal in the road on the Canadian side and have since been “treated like criminals” by their U.S. jailers, forced to bide their time in a series of cold and unsanitary immigration facilities as they await deportation to England. The detainees include an infant and 2-year-old tw...
NEW YORK (AP) — The United States criminally charged a major Turkish bank with helping to evade sanctions against Iran, potentially raising diplomatic tensions as the U.S. tries to contain Turkey’s military offensive in Syria. The charges against Halkbank, a state-owned bank, were announced Tuesday, years after a wealthy gold trader was arrested in Florida. Before pleading guilty and testifying against a co-defendant, the Turkish-Iranian businessman, Reza Zarrab, hired Rudy Giuliani to lobby the administration of President Donald Trump to drop the charges as part of a prisoner exchange. The timing of the charges could be significant as the Trump administration tries to press Turkey to limit its military incursions in Syria, a move Trump himself allowed by declaring U.S. troop...
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to surmount U.S.-led sanctions on his country in state media reports Wednesday alongside evocative propaganda images of him riding a white horse seen as foretelling significant decisions as his own deadline for U.S. movement on nuclear talks is nearing. The images in his country’s official media showed a bespectacled Kim, wearing a long, light-brown coat and riding up snow-covered Mount Paektu on horseback. The location and the animal are symbols associated with the Kim family’s dynastic rule. The highest point on the Korean Peninsula is sacred to North Koreans, and Kim has visited it before making major decisions such as the 2013 execution of his powerful uncle and his 2018 entrance into diplomacy with Seou...
SUNNY ISLES (VosIzNeias) — 2 Jewish men were assaulted on Monday while exiting a synagogue in Sunny Isles, Fl after a prayer service. According to police, the 2 men were leaving the synagogue on Collins Avenue when they were confronted by a man identified as 66-year-old Larry Greene. He was raising a knife over his head and yelling anti-Semitic remarks at the men, according to the report. Greene lunged at one of the victims and threatened to kill him, while he yelled at them to “go back to Israel.” Police arrested Greene and found a knife in his pocket while patting him down. While detained, police said Greene identified himself as a Black Israelite and referred to the victims as “fake Jews,” according to NBC Miami. He also identifies himself by his &...
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JERUSALEM (JNS) — Israel will have to return two parcels of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley to Jordan after the Hashemite Kingdom refused to extend a lease on the lands outlined in the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. The transition will affect dozens of Israeli farmers who have been working the 247 acres of land for the past 25 years. The two parcels of land, Naharayim in the Jordan Valley and Tzofar in the Arava, include the Island of Peace Park at the junction between the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers. They were returned to Jordan as part of the 1994 peace treaty, but leased by Israel under a special clause with the provision that Israel would have use of the land for 25 years and be able to renew as a matter of procedure. However, in October 2018, Jordan’s King Abdull...
40,000 gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City for Birkat Kohanim priestly blessing event during Sukkot festival. [Birkat Koahnim begins at 23:40 in the video below] Tens of thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world gathered at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem Wednesday morning for the traditional mass Priestly Blessing (Birkat Kohanim) during the Sukkot festival. Roughly 40,000 people are estimated to have joined the morning mass prayer service at the Western Wall, which included appearances by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, along with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall Plaza. Rabbi Rabinovitch hailed the mass-prayer event as a "tangible" testament to the connection between the J...
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Baltimore, MD - Oct. 15, 2019 - 9:57 PM -The community-wide Simchas Bais HaShoeiva is currently in full swing.
Baltimore, MD – Oct. 15, 2019 - It is with sadness that BaltimoreJewishLife.com informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Shaindel Cohen, a"h, mother of Reb Sholom and Reb Nosson Dovid Cohen. The levaya took place today, Tuesday, 2nd Day of Sukkos, in Eretz Yisroel. Shiva will be observed from Motzei Simchas Torah until the following Monday morning, Erev Rosh Chodesh, 10/28. Details will be emailed when them become available. Bila HaMaves LaNetzach...
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Baltimore, MD - Oct. 15, 2019  - Due to unforeseen circumstances, the shiur by Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, scheduled for Wednesday, the 1st Day of Chol Hamoed Sukkos at the Yeshiva Bain Hazmanim of Khal Ahavas Yisroel Tzemach Tzedek has been canceled.
50-year-old mother and her 14-year-old daughter rescued after being lost all night without water or phone reception in Eilat Mountains. Volunteers from the Eilat-Eilot police rescue unit rescued a mother and her daughter who lost their way on a trip and remained overnight in the Red Canyon. The 50-year-old mother and her 14-year-old daughter went on a hike yesterday in the Red Canyon in the Eilat Mountains, lost their way and stayed all night in the desert without water. It was only in the morning, after walking further, that they managed to obtain cellular reception and called the police, with only eight percent battery life remaining on the phone. Ten volunteers from the rescue unit managed to locate the mother and daughter. They were treated at the scene, as they were dehydrated, ...
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