Parade in Aalst once again includes participants dressed in anti-Semitic costumes, with some dressed up as Nazi officers.

The Belgian city of Aalst on Sunday went ahead with its traditional carnival despite calls from Israel to ban the event over its anti-Semitic floats and costumes.

Once again, reported Deutsche Welle, this year's parade included participants dressed in costumes of caricaturistic Jewish stereotypes, with some wearing hooked noses, insect costumes, and exaggerated outfits meant to depict Orthodox Jews.

One of the floats also included three Jewish caricatures placed alongside gold bars. Some revelers were also dressed in costumes meant to represent Nazi officers, the report said.

Lawmakers in the European Parliament had urged officials in Aalst to make sure this year's parade was free from "manifestations of hatred."

This is the second year in the row that the carnival features anti-Semitic tropes. Last year, it featured a float caricaturing Orthodox Jews with hooked noses and sitting on gold bags.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz on Thursday called on the Belgian authorities to ban the carnival in the city of Aalst.

“Belgium as a Western Democracy should be ashamed to allow such a vitriolic anti-Semitic display. I call upon the authorities there to condemn and ban this hateful parade in Aalst,” Katz tweeted.

Aalst Mayor Christoph D’Haese said on Thursday that Katz’s call to cancel the festival was “truly disproportional.”

“I absolutely call on people to avoid these sensitive subjects,” he said in an interview with the VRT network, as quoted by The Associated Press. “But that is something completely different than the ban which is called for here.”

On Sunday, D'Haese again dismissed the criticism and calls for a ban on the festivities, saying "let Aalst be Aalst."

"This is not an anti-Semitic parade," he told reporters, according to Deutsche Welle. "Aalst is not an anti-Semitic city."

In December, UNESCO, the UN’s culture committee, withdrew the Aalst carnival from its heritage list over the anti-Semitism.

D'Haese initially defended the presence of the anti-Semitic float, saying that “it’s not up to the mayor to forbid” such displays, and that “the carnival participants had no sinister intentions.”

However, ahead of UNESCO's decision to withdraw the carnival from its heritage list, D'Haese renounced Aalst's place on the list before it could be stripped of the designation.

Bnei Braq, Israel -- Mar. 29, 2020 - Minutes ago, Rav Chaim Kanievsky paskened that people in Bnei Brak should not daven with a Minyan. In his psak, he stated that everyone should daven by themselves, as the situation is Pikuach Nefesh. He also stated that one has permission to report others who go against the health ministry’s guidelines.
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Baltimore, MD - Mar. 27, 2020 - Bikur Cholim of Baltimore will be hosting a second conference call to answer the pressing questions that the community continues to grapple with. The call will be featuring Dr. Dov Frankel, Dr. Julian Jakobovitz, Dr. Ronnie Samet and Dr. Netanel Schwob on March 29, Sunday evening, at 8 PM. Please call 712-832-5552 and enter code 20319 when prompted.  Our own local physicians will be answering as many questions as they can on this call and sending email responses to the rest.  Please start submitting your questions to as soon as you can. Bikur Cholim of Baltimore urges all to listen to our Rabbonim and Medical Professionals and remain at home as much as possible and only go out when essential. May Hashem send the re...
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Baltimore, MD - Mar. 26, 2020 -  Hungry? So Are They!  Latest Updates on Our Community Eateries. Click the graphic below to see a 2-page printable PDF.
Baltimore, MD - Mar. 28, 2020 -  In light of the current situation, many are feeling the effects of isolation and the mental health issues that are emerging as a result. Please feel free to reach out to clinicians who provide counseling services via teleconferencing. The following is a partial list of clinicians who are available. If you are a Baltimore-based clinician and would like to have your contact information posted here, you may email us here. Nosson Berman MFT, LCPC.443.390.6508Nbermanmft@gmail.comMichael Freedman, PhD, LCSW-C & Lasson Psy.D.443.939.1195Jonathanlasson2018@gmail.comRabbi Dovid Hochberg
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Pick up  is Sunday, April 5th from 9-12 at Machzikei Torah Baltimore, MD - Mar. 26, 2020 - BBB Distributors and the Biller family wants everyone to be safe, and maintain social distancing at this time.  For those picking up an order, we are asking that you to drive down Pinkney past the Agudah and turn onto Biltmore. We will place the merchandise in your trunk for you. You can then exit out of Biltmore onto Stathmore Avenue  We appreciate everyone's patience with this process.
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Baltimore, MD - Mar. 25, 2020 - Considering the continued uncertainty because of the Coronavirus virus across the world, we are pleased to present A Light In A Time of Darkness, where we will hear words of inspiration from local community Rabbonim. Please join us every evening beginning at 9:00PM with Tehillim (Perakim 91 and 142) followed by Devrei Hisorerus.   We have been privileged to hear inspirational words from Rabbanim in our community and offer download and/or replay opportunities for you, below:To watch on BJL, click on the name:Rabbi FeldheimRabbi Silber Rabbi Frand  Rabbi Hopfer  Rabbi Spero  Rabbi Seidemann  Rabbi Neuberger Rabbi HauerRabbi Teichman To download, click on the name.  R Feldheim  R Silber R Frand  ...
Just before the outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus in New York City, How2Kosher had the chance to document with a VR 360 camera Rabbi Moshe Fisher of Congregation Bais Yeshaya of Brooklyn as he went with his congregants ahead of pesach to bake kosher shmurah hand matzahs at the Satmar Matzah Bakery in Williamsburg. The rabbi personally inspected each hand matzah to ensure it was intact enough to make the blessing on for the passover seder.
Jesse Watters featured Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center on "Watters' World" Saturday, where the New York City doctor gave advice on how people can prevent spreading the coronavirus. "You may hear a little inflection in my voice like I'm emotional. It's not because I'm scared. It's actually the opposite. For the first time in a while, I'm actually not scared," Price said via video. "I work at probably the premier hospital in New York City. Our hospital is almost exclusively a COVID-19 hospital, but we're learning and we know a lot. And what I want you guys to know is that every single day we're getting better, we know more. And I am confident that the stuff I can tell you today should make you guys feel like wh...
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Rabbi Shmuel Silber on Parsha Vayikra – A Time for Change

It has been a busy week.  it began with a Bar Mitzvah on Motzai Shabbos, a wedding on Tuesday and a funeral on Wednesday.  Truthfully, this is not all that different from what a typical week looks like.  The difference was, the Bar Mitzvah was on zoom, the wedding livestreamed on YouTube and the funeral took place in the parking lot of my shul in the pouring rain with 10 men, standing 6 feet apart, while I delivered a eulogy standing under the open trunk door of the minivan containing the casket.  These are challenging times.  During these last two weeks we have seen the normal rhythms of life come to a grinding halt.  The way we do virtually everything has changed.  The social and religious norms that many have known their entire lives have changed.  It feels like everything is different.  As Jews, it is our sacred mission to realize that within every set of circumstances is a lesson to be learned.  God speaks to us in times of good and in times of challenge. 

This week I learned a lot.  From the funeral I conducted, I was reminded that life comes to an end.  I realized that there are things I have to fix in myself and I can’t delay it any longer.  I must do Teshuva (repentance).  I have been to and conducted many funerals and yet I never had this feeling before.  We are living with the specter of illness hovering above us at all times and we are constantly confronted by the reality of our mortality.  It really hit me – I won’t be here forever.  And if I won’t be here forever, what do I want to accomplish?  Who do I want to be?  What is my legacy?  Am I leading a meaningful and fulfilling life?  Is Hashem happy with me?  Am I happy with myself?  This is probably the appropriate reaction after any funeral, but it must have been the driving rain, the grayness of the sky, the 6 feet in between each of the attendees and the contemplative state I find myself in that propelled me to the inner recesses of my soul. 

But as I mentioned before this was also a week of incredible simcha.  I learned that the ability to generate genuine joy is not related to the menu, centerpieces, venue choices or apparel options.  I listened to a Bar Mitzvah boy deliver his Dvar Torah with a genuine simcha despite the lack of “party” trappings.  I danced with my sons in my home as the Bar Mitzvah boy and his family danced in their home and yet, somehow, we were all together.  I saw a bride and groom who possessed so much love for each other and yet all they had was one holy Jew playing the guitar for them.  We live in a time of unparalleled affluence (IY’H the market will recover) and too often we think that it is the material trappings which create the joy around life events.  Lest you think that this is a rant against materialism, in full disclosure, I too (really) enjoy the finer things in life.  But we must strive to create balance.  The COVID 19 crisis will come to an end IYH.  The question is who will we be on the other side of this crisis?  Will we breathe a sigh of relief and go back to business as usual?  Or will we take a critical look at how we do things and consider changing course.  We have seen firsthand that you can create incredible joy with very little.  It is the people who make the simcha jubilant.  In fact, we see this concept in this week’s Parsha:

And if a person (nefesh, soul) brings a meal offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil over it and place frankincense upon it (Vayikra 2:1).

Rashi comments:

And if a person brings: [literally, “And if a soul brings.”] Regarding all the sacrifices which were donated voluntarily, the only instance where Scripture states the word נֶפֶשׁ “soul” is in the case of the meal-offering. Now, who usually donates a meal-offering? A poor man [because flour is less expensive than


birds or animals]. [Hence,] the Holy One Blessed is He, says: “I account if for him as if he has sacrificed his very soul!” - [Menachos 104b]

God says to us lest you think that the wealthy man’s offering is more important than the poor man’s; it is not the value of the offering that matters, it is the feeling, the heart, the emotion you invest that is most important to me.  God doesn’t judge successful spiritual service by the girth of the animal you bring, He bases it on the joy and commitment with which you serve.

Imagine if we stop making Bar-Mitzvahs that are full catered affairs and create an incredible amount of social pressure.  Perhaps, a beautiful kiddush and then meals for family only?  Do we need a full Bo Bayom celebration in additional to a Bar-Mitzvah celebration?  Imagine if we accept that weddings should always be family with a few close friends of the families and of the Chosson and Kallah.  Do we realize the financial and social pressure we would remove from so many of our brothers and sisters?  Do we need to plan a l’chaim, vort and wedding?  Save the money (and time) and give it to your children (or keep it and go on vacation or if you are pious give it to charity).  I have seen firsthand how simchas become a source of incredible tension for families.  It is expensive to be an observant Jew, and most don’t have thousands of dollars lying around to spend on a celebration.  But there is pressure.  There is pressure from family, community and friends, it’s a pressure to keep up.  No one wants to be the person who does things differently.  Again, in full disclosure I too have made (and paid) for these extravagant events.  I am not advocating for forcing people or enacting communal standards which require people to do or not do certain things.  I am a believer in free choice.  Every person has the right to make their own decisions and plan their own celebrations.  I just feel that we need to start thinking about this now.  Because when all of this is over, we will run back to Shul, yeshiva, school and the office and the rhythm of life will once again pick up.  But right now, we all feel it - the world is changing, we are changing, something is different. 

When all of this is over, I hope I can find the courage to do things differently in many areas of my life. 

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Each person seeking the relief must have a US social security number, Silver noted, and the deadline for the US to provide the money is December 31, 2020 WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump on Friday has signed into law a historical bipartisan relief bill, estimated at $2 trillion, in an attempt to boost the economy and help Americans to handle payments at a time when millions of people have lost their jobs.Notably, the new bill includes stimulus checks of up to $1200 to every American and an additional $500 for a child. According to Monte Silver, a US tax attorney living in Israel, American citizens and Greencard holders living in Israel around the world are eligible to receive monetary relief as well. “The maximum amount (of $1200 for an individual or $2400 for marri...
Baltimore, MD - Mar. 27, 2020 -  Last week, Nossi Gross led a virtual kumsitz for an estimated 300 people in the context of Etz Chaim's new online Jewish experience, "ETZtalks". While the dynamic of a virtual kumsitz was strange, everyone's spirits were uplifted, and some ladies even said they preferred the format as they were able to sing and dance with no concerns of Tznius :). Other highlights of this past week's ETZtalks included a Q & A with Dr. Dan Grove, a local ICU doctor who became infected by (and is almost recovered from) Covid 19. Etz Chaim has expanded the ZOOM capacity to 500 so don't miss out this Saturday Night at 9 PM. ZOOM info: ,  iPhone one-tap: US: +19292056099,,839715015# or telephone: ...
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Israel's Health Ministry on Saturday said that the number of coronavirus cases had jumped to 3,619 . Seventy-three of the patients are in moderate condition, and 69 are in serious condition. Another 3,236 are in mild condition, and 89 patients have recovered. Twelve Israelis have died. Magen David Adom (MDA) has tested over 6,000 people for coronavirus over the weekend, 2,577 of them at its "test and drive" stations. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday said Israelis should prepare for a significant tightening of restrictions of movement, warning that "if we don't see a change in the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the next two days, we will have no choice but to declare a full lockdown."
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Lakewood, NJ (VINnews) — A Howell Township man sent messages on Facebook to multiple people threatening to beat members of the Lakewood Jewish community with a baseball bat on Thursday, including one to the account of Gov. Phil Murphy, authorities said Friday. Anthony Lodespoto, 43, was arrested Friday afternoon at his Dutch Valley Road home, Lakewood police and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said. He has been charged with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, Billhimer said. On March 26, 2020, the Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau was made aware that Lodespoto had made threatening statements by way of the direct messaging feature of Facebook against the Jewish community of Lakewood. On March 27, 2020, Detectives were informed by ...
NEW YORK (AP) – The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. TOP OF THE HOUR: —Spain’s deadliest day has over 800 deaths, over 8,000 news cases. — Trump raises idea of quarantine for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. — Italy’s COVID-19 deaths down slightly from previous day. ___ Confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States doubled in two days, surpassing 2,000 Saturday and highlighting how quickly the virus is spreading through the country. Johns Hopkins University reported that confirmed deaths rose to more than 30,000 around the world. The U.S. ranked...
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Fears are growing that Florida could be another coronavirus hotspot after a sharp increase in infections in the last 24 hours and nearly two dozen more deaths. Health officials said Saturday morning they have seen 863 additional positive COVID-19 cases, which brought the total tally of cases to 3,763. More than 600,000 people around the world have tested positive for coronavirus. On Friday, the U.S. surpassed China - where the virus was first detected late last year - after recording more than 100,000 infections. Florida is now the fourth most-hit state in the United States, after New York, New Jersey, and California, according to data by health officials and Johns Hopkins University. Miami-Dade and Broward counties – the two most populous in the state &n...
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President Trump on Saturday night said the administration would not be issuing a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and some of Connecticut as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. "A quarantine will not be necessary," he tweeted, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would issue a "travel advisory" later in the evening. "On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC ton...
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BALTIMORE — The Maryland National Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are getting a field hospital up and running at the Baltimore Convention Center. There will be 250 beds to treat coronavirus patients. Gov. Larry Hogan said, so far, the state is weeks ahead of schedule in the hospital surge plan. "This is the National Guard doing what we do best. Whether it's a federal emergency, a natural disaster or serving overseas, we're here doing what we do best. Whether it's fighting or planning, right now, we're fighting covid, that's our adversary. We plan to fight and win," Maryland Army National Guard commander Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead said. Besides what's happening at the Baltimore Convention Center, the neighboring Hilton hote...
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