Yeshiva World News

Kriah Online: Attention Parents! Your Kids Do Not Have to Miss Out.

We are delighted to inform you that Machon Kriah under the direction of renowned mechanech, Rabbi Heshy Weber, is continuing its fabulously successful program of helping students of all ages thrive and succeed in kriah by bringing their unique system directly to your home. All of their trained tutors can now directly communicate with your child via their new online, state of the art conferencing system. Want to find out more? Click here and see what the program is all about and how we’re helping kids and adults who never thought they could make it in kriah. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

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UNDER INVESTIGATION: Sullivan County Sheriff’s Locate Woman Who Posted Threats Against Jews

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an unspecified threat that was made indirectly over Facebook regarding summer camps and colonies. Sheriff’s deputies tracked down the owner of the Facebook page on Tuesday and interviewed her regarding the comments. “The owner of the Facebook page was repeating remarks made to her by several strangers that she had encountered in public the previous weekend”, said Undersheriff Eric Chaboty. “We are working to identify these individuals, but at this point the comments appear casual and do not indicate any imminent threat. Nevertheless, the Sheriff’s Office takes all threats seriously and investigates them thoroughly”, he said. Sheriff Mike Schiff asks that all residents of Sullivan County remain vigilant this Memorial Day weekend and report any suspicious activity immediately. STAY UPDATED WITH BREAKING UPDATES FROM YWN VIA WHATSAPP – SIGN UP NOW Just click on this link, and you will be placed into a group. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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WATCH: Hundreds Of Israeli Sites Hacked In Cyberattack; Chabad. Hatzalah, Yad L’Achim

Hundreds if not thousands of Israeli websites were hacked in a cyberattack on Thursday, the National Cyber Directorate stated. The websites’ homepages were replaced with an anti-Israel video and the ominous (but poorly translated) message of: “The countdown of Israel destruction has begun since a long time ago,” in Hebrew and English. The anti-Israel video was also uploaded to YouTube with the statement: “An universal mission completed. It is done in order to support resistance and freedom of palestine.” “Hackers_Of_Savior” was named on the bottom of the page as the group responsible for the attack. The National Cyber Directorate said that it warned last week that Iran may perpetuate a cyberattack to mark al-Quds Day. Quds Day (Jerusalem Day as Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem), held every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, was initiated by Iran upon the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and opposition to Israel and Zionism. Lotem Finkelstein, the head of the Cyber Intelligence Department at Checkpoint Software Technologies, said that Muslim hackers in various locations, including Turkey, North Africa and the Gaza Strip, organized the attack together in honor Al-Quds Day, a Jerusalem Post report said. The attack also comes as Israel prepares to celebrate “their” Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) on Thursday night and Friday to mark the 53rd anniversary of the capital city’s reunification. Checkpoint said that the attack was carried out by nine hackers and at this point they don’t have evidence that the attack is linked to Iran although the possibility cannot be dismissed. Other Israeli news outlets reported that Iran was behind the attack but did not provide any proof. The “new” homepage did feature Iranian flags and other symbols. Some of the many websites that came under attack were Chareidim10, a Chareidi news website, Yad L’Achim, United Hatzalah, dozens of Chabad house websites, several websites of religious Jewish high schools and post-high school programs, the website of the Cofix coffee chain, and the personal website of MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz). Israel’s security forces and firms have been on the alert for a potential Iran-based cyberattack in response to reports of the Israeli cyberattack on the computer system of the Shahid Rajaei Port, near the Strait of Hormuz. Israel’s attack was reportedly in response to an Iranian attempt to hack Israel’s water infrastructure system in April. The attack caused a pump in the Sharon municipal water system in central Israel to cease operation, although it did resume operation shortly afterward. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Texas: Active Shooter At Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Has Been ‘Neutralized’

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi was placed on lockdown Thursday morning after reports of an active shooter, according to the Navy. The individual who opened fire at the Texas base around 6:15 a.m. was neutralized shortly thereafter, the Navy says. The facility remains on lockdown. One security guard was reported to be injured, while first responders have arrived on scene. A statement on NAS Corpus Christi’s Facebook page earlier said: “NAS Corpus Christi is now in a lockdown status. There is an active shooter in the vicinity of the North Gate. If you are in or near the North Gate get out and away to safety. Execute lockdown procedures — remain indoors and away from windows.” The Corpus Christi Police Department, in a tweet, also urged locals to “please avoid the area entirely.” This is a developing story. Check back for updates. #UPDATE The shooter has been neutralized. All gates on the installation remain closed while first responders process the scene. More information to follow. — U.S. Navy (@USNavy) May 21, 2020 (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Aircraft Carrier Returns To Sea After Coronavirus Outbreak

After nearly two months sidelined in Guam with a coronavirus outbreak, the USS Theodore Roosevelt has gone out to sea for training, in preparation to return to duty in the Pacific. The ship has been docked in Guam since March 27, as the 4,800 crew members went through rotations of quarantine, and more than 1,000 of them have tested positive for the virus over that time. “It feels great to be back at sea,” Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, said in a statement. “Getting Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Air Wing 11 one step closer to returning to their mission in the Indo-Pacific is a great achievement for the crew.” In an Associated Press interview from the aircraft carrier earlier this week, Navy Capt. Carlos Sardiello said the ship will sail with a scaled-back crew of about 3,000, leaving about 1,800 sailors on shore who are still in quarantine or working with those who are. The sailors in quarantine include up to 14 who recently tested positive again for the virus, just days after getting cleared to return to the carrier. The puzzling COVID-19 reappearance in the sailors adds to the difficulty in getting the ship’s crew healthy again, and fuels questions about the quality of the testing and just how long sailors may remain infected or contagious. The ship plans to conduct required carrier qualifications for about two weeks, including recertification of the flight deck and fighter squadron, such as takeoffs and landings on the carrier. The ship will then return to Guam and pick up healthy crew members. If all goes well, it will set out again to conduct operations before eventually heading home to San Diego. The ship has been extensively cleaned, and crew members are taking a wide range of precautions to prevent another outbreak, including social distancing, repeated medical checks, wearing masks and allowing fewer sailors in the mess halls at one time. “I think we have set the conditions for a high probability of success, and we’re going to go to sea and do our mission,” Sardiello told the AP. The Roosevelt was at the center of a controversy that led to the firing of the ship’s previous captain, the resignation of the Navy secretary and an expanded investigation into what triggered the outbreak and how well top naval commanders handled it. “It was an unprecedented challenge to get to this point and I’m proud of the Rough Rider Team’s tenacity and resiliency in the face of uncertainty,” Sardiello said in a statement issued as the carrier left Guam. “We are extremely thankful for the dedicated support and hospitality of Gov. Leon Guerrero, her staff and the people Guam.” (AP)

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New Jersey, Other States, Work To Fight Virus Misinformation

New Jersey’s top homeland security official received nearly nonstop calls in early March from grocery chains, trucking companies and other logistics firms wanting to know if rumors of an impending national lockdown were true. They weren’t, and Jared Maples soon learned the companies were reacting to misinformation stemming from text messages shared widely across the country. Federal officials debunked the messages, but Maples said the whole episode was a “whoa” moment for him and other state officials. Weeks later, New Jersey launched a website aimed at debunking misinformation and rumors about COVID-19. “Misinformation is out there. You can’t take everything at face value,” Maples, director of the state’s homeland security and preparedness office, told The Associated Press in an interview. “If you hear a rumor, we want people to realize that there’s a place to go (to check it out.)” New Jersey’s effort mirrors a rumor-control site set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and is part of efforts underway in other states to combat conspiracy theories, hoaxes and bogus treatment claims that have erupted during the pandemic. Washington state, for example, created an online guide to identifying and avoiding coronavirus misinformation. Other states and municipalities have set up hotlines that offer information about symptoms and testing, while also dispelling rumors and false claims. “The next time your friend texts you, or you see something up on Facebook, you can point them to the truth,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said last month when his city announced two new websites designed to offer accurate information about the outbreak. The many still unanswered questions about the coronavirus and its origins have fueled a number of misleading and false claims about the outbreak and the government’s response to it, state leaders and misinformation experts say. “We have a unique moment in time when everyone is thinking about the same thing,” said Gordon Pennycook, an assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Regina in Canada. “It’s the sort of thing that breeds falsehoods….People’s lives are being disrupted. You can create things that people want to believe. … so there’s a lot working towards a market for (misinformation).” The text messages that led to confusion in New Jersey and other states warned of a national lockdown or military takeover. They claimed to be from a “friend of a friend,” and said that within 48 to 72 hours the president would order a two-week mandatory quarantine overseen by the National Guard. “Stock up on whatever you guys need to make sure you have a two week supply of everything. Please forward to your network,” said one. There’s no indication of who created the texts, though State Department officials have said individuals linked to the Chinese government helped spread them. At times, President Donald Trump himself has helped circulate false claims about the virus. He’s suggested untested treatments, musing aloud about the idea of injecting disinfectants, overstated the availability of tests and contradicted his administration’s own experts. The lack of consistent, accurate information from the White House has put further pressure on state leaders to confront what misinformation experts have termed “an infodemic” “We need transparency and fact-based communications from our elected officials and from officials across government,” Nina Jankowicz, a misinformation expert at the Wilson Center, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, said […]

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Worldwide Singers Speak about The Chazzan’s Wife, Raizel Zucker A”H

With heroism, generosity, and positivity, Raizel Zucker, beloved wife, mother, and daughter, fought a terrible illness. Month after month, as she suffered in merciless pain, Raizel would give you a bracha for happiness and joy. Even as her body broke down, her smile would complete your soul. Even as her physical condition weakened, Raizel’s spirit gave you so much strength.  As Raizel’s illness worsened and treatment intensified, the entire Zucker family was forced to move from Israel to the United States for medical care. Berel Zucker, Raizel’s husband, a successful singer in Israel, suddenly lost all of his income, his home and the life he had built for himself and his family. One day after Lag b’Omer, Raizel returned her soul to her Maker. A beautiful family shattered. 8 children suddenly orphaned. A husband suddenly alone. Now it’s OUR turn. As the Zucker family mourns, they need us to be the givers. To give strength, to give support, and to ease the financial burden during this tragic time. Eight children need you. Eight children who lost their loving mother need your support to help them live and perpetuate their mother’s legacy.   Raizel’s oldest just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah last month, and her precious baby is just 2 years old! We can’t give them back their mommy, but we CAN help give them financial stability and security. A venerable board of businessmen and activists have set up the Zucker Family Fund, to help purchase the Zucker’s a home, pay for food, clothing, education, necessities, and get Berel back on his feet. Please give with an open heart in memory of Raizel, who’s heart was always open for others. There is nothing she would want more, than to know that her family is taken care of. You can help. A fund has been established to help the family: Please CLICK HERE TO DONATE  

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Is Mortgage Forbearance An Option? Here’s What To Know

Suddenly out of work or making due with reduced paychecks, an estimated 4.1 million Americans have sought forbearance on their mortgage, according to data released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. That’s a staggering number, and experts anticipate more homeowners will seek this protection as the economic impact of the coronavirus wears on. A forbearance hits the pause button on mortgage payments. As part of its massive economic rescue package for the economy, Congress made it easier for homeowners to enter a forbearance plan and regain their financial footing. Still, there are considerations for homeowners. Eventually the money must be paid, and homeowners with federally back loans have some advantages over those with private mortgages. Here’s what they should know: HOW DO I OBTAIN A FORBEARANCE? If you feel forbearance is your best option, you need to know which company services your loan and which company owns it. They’re not always one and the same. The servicer is the company you make your payment to and get monthly statements from. You can typically find information on forbearance at the servicer’s website and can start the process there. If necessary, you can look up your servicer by searching the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems website. Who owns the loan plays a role in what relief options are available to you. About 70% of all mortgages are federally backed, according to the Urban Institute. That includes loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Housing Authority, the Veteran’s Administration, as well as those held by organizations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The remainder have mortgages held by banks or other private investors. You can often find this information online, on your statement or by calling your servicer, which must provide you the information they have on file. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has useful tips on its website determining who owns your loan and seeking forbearance. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have their own lookup tools to determine if they back your loan. WHAT HAPPENS DURING A FORBEARANCE? Forbearance allows homeowners to suspend mortgage payments for a designated period of time. The payments aren’t forgiven; they must be repaid later. Some servicers may also offer a reduced payment during this period instead. Under the government’s economic rescue law, people who have a federally backed mortgage and are facing financial hardship due to the pandemic are given the right to a forbearance for up to one year. An individual can request a 180 day forbearance but that can be renewed. Andrea Bopp Stark, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, says many borrowers are being put into 90 day forbearance but they have a right to extend that. No additional fees, penalties or additional interest can be added to the account. People with privately held loans don’t have the same protections. They may face different relief periods and repayment options. They need to be aware of what’s being offered — specifically when the balance must be repaid and if they can manage the payments. In some cases, interest will continue to accrue on privately held loans while payments are reduced or suspended. The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers facing financial difficulty because of coronavirus. Talk to your servicer about your options or […]

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Biden Warns Of ‘Abuse Of Power’ In Measured Trump Critique

Joe Biden warned Wednesday that those “tasked with enforcing the law are abusing their powers,” offering a measured critique of the Trump administration a day after he declined to respond to President Donald Trump’s attacks directly. Speaking to Columbia University Law School graduates via video, Biden urged them to “protect the very foundations of democracy.” “Trust in self-governance. Because right now, it’s under attack,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said. “The very people tasked with enforcing the rule of law are abusing their powers, protecting their friends, weakening the very principles that make our country work.” His comments come amid escalating rhetoric from Trump and his allies pushing conspiracy theories and alleging improper behavior during the Obama administration. Asked on Tuesday night how he’d respond to the allegations, Biden said, “I don’t want to get down in the mud with these guys.” Speaking at a Yahoo News virtual town hall on Tuesday, Biden said Trump was trying to distract voters from his inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 90,000 Americans. Trump has said the virus will disappear “like a miracle.” Broadly dubbing his allegations “Obamagate,” Trump has pointed to the legal case of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, suggesting that the “unmasking” of Flynn’s name as part of legal U.S. surveillance of foreign targets was criminal and motivated by partisan politics. There is no evidence of that, and Trump’s accusations misrepresent the facts of the case. The “unmasking” of people in surveillance reports is a routine, legal activity in government — the Trump administration made 10,012 such requests in 2019. But they don’t often become public, and in the Flynn case, Trump supporters point to it as evidence that Obama loyalists were out to undermine Trump from the start. The president himself has called it the “biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA.” “This is his pattern. Diversion, diversion, diversion, diversion,” Biden said Tuesday. “The greatest crime? I mean, my Lord.” Trump’s cries of scandal come as the president and many top Republicans have used increasingly harsh rhetoric against Biden — hoping to foment doubt in voters’ minds as election season beings to heat up. On Wednesday, a Senate committee led by Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson will vote on whether to issue a subpoena as part of an investigation into Biden’s son Hunter and his work for a Ukrainian natural gas company that grew out of Trump’s impeachment earlier this year. Over the weekend, Trump’s two adult sons appeared to spread baseless, online conspiracy theories suggesting other criminal activity by Biden. Asked about that Tuesday, Biden called online posts about the matter “sick.” “People know me. The good news is the bad news. They know me. They know my faults, they know my talents,” Biden said. Pointing to his decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president, he continued, “It’s hard to lay on me some of the things that are just totally out of sync with anything in my whole life that anyone has ever said about me.” Also Tuesday, Biden was asked about Trump’s firing of Steve Linick as the State Department’s inspector general. Some Republicans have defended the move, arguing that it was within the president’s rights, but Biden and other Democrats say it […]

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Israeli Innovation Company Watergen Providing Clean Water To Gaza Hospital

The Israelis innovative water generation company Watergen has supplied Gaza’s pediatric cancer hospital with one of the company’s trademarked water generators that pulls water from the air and converts it into clean drinkable water. From now on, children in the hospital, as well as the staff will have clean water to drink. The 780-kilo GEN-M machine was transferred to Gaza City from Israel via the Kerem Shalom border crossing. After Watergen President Michael Mirilashvili found out about the hospital’s dire need for clean drinkable water from Fayez Husseini of Mayet Al Ahel, a Palestinian Authority company that facilitates water and power projects in Gaza, Mirilashvili wanted to help. As the Covid-19 virus began to spread in Gaza, clean water became harder to come by. According to Israeli media outline Israel21c, the urgency prompted Mirilashvili and Mayet Al Ahel decided to donate the machine due to the urgency of the situation. The water generator was installed on the roof of the hospital and will soon be powered by solar panels, thus costing the hospital virtually nothing. It can produce up to 800 liters of clean water per day. Watergen’s patented heat-exchange technology creates water by cooling collected air at its dew point. The water goes through physical, chemical and biological treatment for optimum quality. “With the drinking water crisis becoming worse every day, and the coronavirus plaguing those with compromised immune systems, the need for an innovative approach to addressing this issue has never been clearer,” said Watergen Executive Chairman Maxim Pasik. This is the second water generator that Watergen has installed inside the Gaza Strip. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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The Kosel and Yerushalayim: Being Makir Tov to Hashem

by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 53 years ago, something remarkable happened.  It happened for the very first time in nearly two millennium.  What was it? The Kosel and Har Habayis came back under Jewish control. Yerushalayim. 1967 was very special. The people of Eretz Yisroel defended her against attackers that wished to annihilate her at every border. It is special not because we captured the eastern half of yerushalayim. But because Hashem gave her back to use and freed her. It is a very essential difference. That reunification was the culmination of the tefilos of our bubbies and zeidies for two thousand years – something that our ancestors could only dream of. For the previous 19 years before 1867, we American Jews could only access the Kosel as Americans, flying to Amman, Jordan, on an American passport. After 1967, we could visit the Kosel once again through Eretz Yisroel.  And the Jews of Eretz Yisroel could not visit at all. Yerushalayim was once as remote as the stars in the sky to the victims of the Crusades. To the victims of Rindfleish massacres, and to the victims of the Chmelnieki Massacres of tach vetat. Indeed, even to the victims of the pogroms of Europe and to the victims of Auschwitz and Treblinka, she was unimaginable. But now, we have her and we must feel that sense of hakaras hatov to Hashem yisarach that seems, of late, to be a bit lacking. We must continuously fulfill the words of the navi Yishayahu (62:1), “Lemaan tzion lo echesheh, ulemaan yerushalayim lo eshkot!” MASHIV HARUACH Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l used to say that we must all focus on the fact that when Chazal enacted the addition of, “Mashiv haruach omorid hagashem” they did it to correlate with the weather of Eretz Yisroel instead of the individual patterns in all of the far flung places in which Klal Yisroel ended up. They did so in order that we would always remember her. Imagine a farmer in a far off land. He needs rain. He adds it in his prayers, but not for the location where he is located. The prayer for rain is for the needs of Eretz Yisroel! Why? So that Eretz Yisroel and Yerushalayim will never be forgotten. DOVID HAMELECH Dovid HaMelech said it best in Tehillim (137:5-6): “If I forget you, O Yerushalayim, let me forget my right hand. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you. If I do not set Yerushalayim at my highest aspirations of joy.” In these words, Dovid HaMelech is pointing out the two tell-tale signs of a stroke. He is essentially saying that he should have a stroke if he does not remember Yerushalayim. The world should dare not tell us to forget Yerushalayim in light of these words of King David. The Bible tells us that G-d has said, “Yerushalayim is the city where I have chosen to place My Name (Kings I 11:36).” Indeed, Yerushalayim is mentioned throughout TaNaCh some 650 times and not once, l’havdil in the Koran. SYNONYMOUS WITH THE JEWISH PEOPLE Indeed, Yerushalayim is actually synonymous with Klal Yisroel. The holy Navi Yishayahu says, “Be comforted, be comforted, My people – Nachamu Nachamu Ami (Yishayayhu 40:1-2) , speak unto the heart […]

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Supreme Court Blocks House From Mueller Grand Jury Material

The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily prevented the House of Representatives from obtaining secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The court’s unsigned order granted the Trump administration’s request to keep previously undisclosed details from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election out of the hands of Democratic lawmakers, at least until early summer. The court will decide then whether to extend its hold and schedule the case for arguments in the fall. If it does, it’s likely the administration will be able to put off the release of any materials until after Election Day. Arguments themselves might not even take place before Americans decide whether to give President Donald Trump a second term. For justices eager to avoid a definitive ruling, the delay could mean never having to decide the case, if either Trump loses or Republicans regain control of the House next year. It’s hard to imagine the Biden administration would object to turning over the Mueller documents or House Republicans would continue to press for them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objected to the high court’s decision in a statement Wednesday evening. “The House’s long-standing right to obtain grand jury information pursuant to the House’s impeachment power has now been upheld by the lower courts twice,” Pelosi said. “These rulings are supported by decades of precedent and should be permitted to proceed.” The federal appeals court in Washington ruled in March that the documents should be turned over because the House Judiciary Committee’s need for the material in its investigation of Trump outweighed the Justice Department’s interests in keeping the testimony secret. Mueller’s 448-page report, issued in April 2019, “stopped short” of reaching conclusions about Trump’s conduct, including whether he obstructed justice, to avoid stepping on the House’s impeachment power, the appeals court said. The committee was able to persuasively argue that it needed access to the underlying grand jury material to make its own determinations about the president’s actions, the court said. The materials initially were sought last summer, but by the time the appeals court ruled in March, Trump had been impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate. The Justice Department said in its Supreme Court filings that the court’s action was needed in part because the House hasn’t given any indication it “urgently needs these materials for any ongoing impeachment investigation.” The House had opposed the delay on the grounds that its investigation of Trump was continuing, and that time is of the essence because of the approaching election. The current session of the House will end Jan. 3, and lawmakers elected in November will take their seats. The committee investigation “continues today and has further developed in light of recent events,” the House told the justices, citing the “possible exercise of improper political influence” on decisions to seek a shorter prison term for Trump confidant Roger Stone and end the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, despite his two guilty pleas. Pelosi said Wednesday: “The Justice Department’s continued delay is part of a pattern of the Administration hiding the truth from the public. The American people deserve the truth.” The case is one of several ongoing court disputes between the Trump administration and Congress. The Supreme Court heard arguments last week over whether Trump’s […]

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The Shamilashvili family have no children, now you can help them.

We are embarrassed that we need to turn to you with our heartfelt plea. However, unfortunately we are much pressured for time. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW My name is Yosef Shamilashvili. My wife and I been married for 28 years, and to our great sorrow we do not yet have any children. We are going for treatments, but the costs are extremely high, in addition to debts from previous treatments, which are greatly weighing down on us. The cost of these treatments are $ 46,000, and we have outstanding debt of $50,000 incurred from previous treatments (after selling our house to be able to cover some of the cost). I therefore turn to you my brothers יהודים רחמנים בני רחמנים Please help me with this heavy burden, so we can merit the great zechus of having children. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW We would like to have the זכות to also be parents like you. In merit of this great mitzvah, may hashem repay you in full, and may you be successful in all your endeavors with dignity, honor, wealth etc. Amen Ve’Amen. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

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Job Cuts Continue As Financial Aid Lends Support

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Wednesday related to national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus. CIAO BELLA! Alitalia is resuming direct flights from Rome to New York, Barcelona and Madrid in June. The Italian airline discontinued its Rome-New York flight on May 5 due to the ’’worrying level” of coronavirus cases in New York, which in April had emptied flights to just 12% of capacity. The struggling airline said from June, it will fly 30 routes to 25 airports, of which 10 are abroad, including London, Brussels and Frankfurt. — Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle’s restructuring plan has been completed. The government’s loan guarantees worth 3 billion kroner ($290 million) have also been approved. The airline converted 12.7 billion kroner ($1.3 billion) debt to equity, a move required to get state loan guarantees. — Aerospace engine maker Rolls-Royce plans to cut approximately 9,000 jobs globally. The company employs 52,000 people overall, and it is not immediately clear where the cuts will occur. The move will result in about 700 million pounds ($856 million) in savings, with an overall aim of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.59 billion) in annual savings. — Ford temporarily halted production at its Chicago SUV factory Tuesday after two workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The company says the workers contracted COVID-19 outside the factory, triggering protocols that included production halts to sanitize equipment and isolate employees who came in contact with the affected workers. The automaker resumed production of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator on two shifts Wednesday morning. The closure came just a day after Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler restarted their U.S. factories after being shut down for about two months. IF YOU BUILD IT: The new CEO of United Airlines says it may take until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 before most people feel comfortable about air travel. Scott Kirby said Wednesday that demand for air travel is improving, especially bookings in the second half of the year, “but the question is, are those people going to show up?” Kirby, the company’s president, spoke to CNBC shortly before United’s online annual meeting in which he was scheduled to replace Oscar Munoz as CEO. — The Swiss government is telling travelers not to expect any reimbursement from travel agencies just yet. The executive Federal Council on Wednesday ordered a temporary halt to any legal action against travel agencies seeking payback for cancelled trips starting Thursday until the end of September. The measure only involves amounts already paid by customers whose trips were canceled over the pandemic. The sums remain due, and “must be paid by travel agencies insofar as possible.” The move is also aimed to protect consumers, who could stand to receive only part of their expected reimbursement if the travel agencies go bankrupt, it said. The government is also to ensure that airlines Swiss and Edelweiss uphold their obligations to reimburse travel agencies. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hundreds of McDonald’s workers in 20 U.S. cities are expected to go on strike Wednesday to protest the chain’s coronavirus response. The workers are backed by Service Employees International Union, which is trying to unionize fast food restaurants through the Fight for $15 […]

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Ex-Trump Lawyer Cohen To Be Released From Prison

President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will be released from federal prison Thursday and is expected to serve the remainder of his sentence at home, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Cohen has been serving a federal prison sentence at FCI Otisville in New York after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. He will be released on furlough with the expectation that he will transition to home confinement to serve the remainder of his sentence at home, the person said. Cohen, 53, began serving his sentence last May and was scheduled to be released from prison in November 2021. The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Prison advocates and congressional leaders have been pressing the Justice Department for weeks to release at-risk inmates ahead of a potential outbreak, arguing that the public health guidance to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people is nearly impossible behind bars. Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons in March and April to increase the use of home confinement and expedite the release of eligible high-risk inmates, beginning at three prisons identified as coronavirus hot spots. Otisville is not one of those facilities. Cohen was told last month he would be released to serve the rest of his three-year sentence at home in response to concerns about coronavirus. He had told associates he was expecting to be released earlier this month. The Bureau of Prisons has placed him on furlough as it continues to process a move to home confinement, the person familiar with the matter said. The agency has the authority to release inmates on furlough for up to 30 days and has been doing so to make sure suitable inmates, who are expected to transition to home confinement, can be moved out of correctional facilities sooner, the person said. A federal judge had denied Cohen’s attempt for an early release to home confinement after serving 10 months in prison and said in a ruling earlier this month that it “appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle.” But the Bureau of Prisons can take action to move him to home confinement without a judicial order. The Bureau of Prisons said last week that more than 2,400 inmates had been moved to home confinement since Barr first issued his memo on home confinement in late March, and 1,200 others had been approved and were expected to be released in the coming weeks. Other high-profile inmates have also been released as the number of coronavirus cases soars in the federal prison system. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released on home confinement last week. Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rose to fame representing Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, was temporarily freed from a federal jail in New York City and is staying at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. Former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos, 72, who was also serving a sentence at Otisville, was released on home confinement after testing positive for the coronavirus. (AP)

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The Fat-Shaming Heard Round the World: A Halachic Analysis

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for The comment was made on Monday night – on CNN by the Speaker of the House.  It was in response to the president’s admission that he was taking the unproven drug “hydroxychloroquine” to prevent or minimize COVID-19 in a perhaps, self-medicating kind of way.  The speaker said: “He’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group — morbidly obese.” Yes, mordibly obese.  The definition of it being – having a BMI of 40 or more. Trump’s is only 30.4 – at the lower end of obese and a mere .5 points of not being even classified as obese at all. And within 36 hours, her words made headlines in newspapers across the world – England, Australia, Germany, Russia and Albania.    From the BBC to Al Jazeera, the fat-shaming spread throughout the world. Our question is – what does halacha have to say about all of this? The Chida in his commentary on Chumash (Parshas Yisro) writes concerning the commandment of “lo sirtzach” – it appears in the eyes of the masses that they are innocent of this transgression..  [This is not the case, however.] One who embarrasses his friend in public spills his blood..” TEACHING MOMENTS Plainly and simply – fat-shaming is wrong.  It is a violation of an important Torah principle.  It is also something for which one can lose their portion in Olam Haba.  Aside from this, however, there are two issues that will be addressed in this discussion – 1] practical halacha of how far a person must go to prevent oneself from doing so and 2] Seeing the hand of Hashem in the whole bizarre incident. As an important note, our Rebbeim in Yeshiva have taught us not to ignore the events of the world, but rather to look at these events from a Torah perspective.  This is both from a halachic perspective as well as from a hashkafic perspective.  World events attract interest – everyone wants to hear about them.   World events are phenomenal teaching moments and should be seen as such. RABBEINU YONAH’S VIEW – HALACHA Rabbeinu Yona in his Shaarei Teshuvah (3:139) discusses explains that embarrassing someone is abizraihu of murdering.  He refers to the incident of Tamar and Yehudah and explains that Tamar preferred to be burned with fire – rather than embarrass Yehudah publicly.  He implies that this is an actual halacha.  This is an important value that we should be passing on to our children and grandchildren – that everything that transpires in the world must be looked out through the eyeglasses and prism of Torah.  And so we begin with the halachic perspective – how far should the speaker of the house have gone to avoid the fat-shaming of the president? Rabbeinu Yonah, citing the Gemorah in Bava Metziah 59a, states, “L’olam yapil adam es atzmo l’kivshan haAish v’al yalbin pnei chaveiro berabim – a person should always throw himself into a pit of fire rather than embarrassing his friend in public.” MEIRI’S VIEW – SUGGESTION However, the text in our Gemorahs (both BM 59a and Sota 10b) is different than that which Rabbeinu Yonah quotes.  Our text states, […]

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Miracle In Modi’in Illit – Viper Found In Talmud Torah Classroom – None Hurt

Early Wednesday morning, just before students entered their classroom in the Barkfeld Talmud Torah in Modi’in Illit, a Viper was found inside one of the classrooms. The viper, which was 1.5 meters (4.5 feet) long, was found by the Rebbe. The snake had entered the classroom after the long break from studies caused by the Cvid-19 Coronavirus and shocked the Rebbe. The Rebbe called city services of Modi’in Illit and within minutes a snake trapper rushed to the Talmud Torah. With a level of expertise that surprised the witnesses, the snake trapper caught the deadly reptile and placed him inside a large garbage bin where he would not be able to do anyone any harm. Due to the current heatwave, large snakes, many of them highly poisonous such as the Palestinian viper, have begun to encroach into residential areas and have startled residents across Israel. Among the many locations that the snakes have been reported include numerous neighborhoods in Yerushalayim, Modi’in, Modi’in Illit, Efrat, Beit Shemesh, Beitar Illit, and others. These snakes are usually found in shady locations where people haven’t been in a while. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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NYPD Officers Kill Man Holding Knife At Scene Of Slain Woman

New York City police officers shot and killed a 44-year-old man who was refusing to stop attacking another man with a knife, Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo said Wednesday night. A 45-year-old woman was found bleeding on the ground when officers arrived shortly before 7 p.m. at the apartment building on St. Nicholas Terrace in Harlem. Medical personnel pronounced the woman, and the man shot by officers, dead at the scene. Police had been responding to a report of shots fired when they found the woman on the ground and the men fighting. The man with a knife ignored orders to stop and was shot in the torso, Pichardo said. The 39-year-old man who was stabbed is in stable condition, he said. A semiautomatic handgun and a kitchen knife were recovered. A 41-year-old woman who was also at the scene wasn’t injured. Remarks as prepared for Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo: Good Evening, I am Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo. Standing here with me is Deputy Chief Philip Rivera, the Executive Officer of Manhattan North, Deputy Chief Brian McGee the Manhattan North Chief of Detectives and Captain Aneudy Castillo the Commanding Officer of the 26th Precinct. The information I am about to provide is preliminary and subject to change as this incident is only a few hours old. Earlier this evening at 6:50 PM, police were called to one Saint Nicholas Terrace for reports of a person shot. Upon arrival both uniformed and plain clothes officers made their way to an apartment on the fifth floor. A sergeant approached the apartment, which had its door open, and observed a female laying on the ground. The sergeant called out to an individual, later identified as the suspect, who was engaged in a violent struggle on the ground with another male. The suspect was given numerous verbal commands to show the officers his hands. The suspect armed with a knife attempted to stab the male. The sergeant then discharged his service weapon striking the suspect in the torso. The suspect was taken into custody and the officers immediately called for an ambulance, medical assistance was called for. The suspect (male, 44-years-old) was pronounced deceased at the scene. Also pronounced at the scene by EMS was a 45-year-old female victim. The owner of the apartment, a 39-year-old male, was taken to an area hospital where he is listed in stable condition. Also in the apartment was a 41-year-old female who was uninjured and speaking to detectives. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC / AP)

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ASTOUNDING: After His Tefillin Are Repaired, Condition Of Yeshivah Bochur Bitten By Snake Improves

The condition of a yeshivah bochur from Neve Yaakov who was bitten by a poisonous snake on a hike last week and was hospitalized in extremely critical condition has improved. The bochur regained consciousness for the first time on Tuesday night and even mumbled a few words. The doctors removed his ventilator and he is now breathing on his own. “Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov,” his father, R’ Dovid Fogel, said. “A new son was born to me. Baruch Hashem, Menachem woke up.” According to a B’Chadrei Chareidim report, a relative checked the bochur’s tefillin and it was found that the word “ye’meichem” in the passuk “l’ma’aan yirbu ye’meichem” was passul. Apparently, after the parshiya was folded, it created a space in the letter “mem” which invalidated the word. The tefillin were immediately sent for repair of course. The family has asked the public to continue davening the refuah sheleimah of Raphael Chaim Menachem Mendel Ben Leah b’toch cholei amcha Yisrael. Menachem was hiking at Nachal Tze’elim in the south with friends last week when he suddenly fainted and lost consciousness. His friends summoned help and he was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. However, no one knew he had been bitten by a snake and it was only after a few hours passed that medical staff discovered the bite, which is what caused him to lose consciousness and as a result, suffer from heatstroke, one of the bochur’s friends told Kikar H’Shabbos. The name Raphael was added to his name according to the instructions of Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Sept. 11 Convict Now Says He Renounces Terrorism, Bin Laden

The only man ever convicted in a U.S. court for a role in the Sept. 11 attacks now says he is renouncing terrorism, al-Qaida and the Islamic State. Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Colorado after narrowly escaping the death penalty at his 2006 trial. He was sometimes referred to as the missing 20th hijacker, and while he was clearly a member of al-Qaida there is scant evidence to suggest he was slated to hijack a plane on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead, prosecutors pinned responsibility on Moussaoui because they said he could have prevented the attacks if he had not lied to the FBI about his knowledge of al-Qaida and its efforts to attack the U.S. when he was arrested in August 2001. In a handwritten court motion Moussaoui filed with the federal court in Alexandria last month, Moussaoui wrote, “I denounce, repudiate Usama bin Laden as a useful idiot of the CIA/Saudi. I also proclaim unequivocally my opposition to any terrorist action, attack, propaganda against the U.S.” He also said he wants “to warn young Muslim against the deception and the manipulation of these fake Jihadis.” His remarks are a far cry from his 2006 trial, when he taunted victims and flashed a victory sign after a jury opted to send him to prison for life rather than execute him. At his final sentencing hearing, he told the judge “God save Osama bin Laden you will never get him.” Bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. forces on a compound in Pakistan in 2011. Moussaoui made his renunciation in a petition seeking relaxation of the special administrative measures under which he serves his sentence. In particular, he says he wants either Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz to represent him as a lawyer, so he can testify in a civil trial filed by victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Prison documents filed with his motion indicate he received a response of some kind to a letter he wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union but was not allowed to see it because it was marked as privileged legal communication, and he is only allowed to receive the mail if the prison can can open and read it. Moussaoui has a long history of writing letters to the court — indeed he served as his own lawyer for several years leading up to his trial and regularly wrote legal motions referring to himself as “Slave of Allah,” a name he continues to use. He has written numerous letters seeking to testify at the 9/11 civil trial, and at the military trials of al-Qaida members including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But those requests have not included the explicit renunciation of terrorism that he includes in his most recent letter. As recently as 2018, he continued to refer to himself as a “natural born terrorist” in court papers. In another handwritten motion that year, he concluded his motion with ”God Curse Ugly Satan of Abomination” in huge letters. Katherine Donahue, an anthropology professor at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, who wrote a book about Moussaoui called “Slave of Allah” after attending his 2006 trial, said she was unaware of any other instance in which Moussaoui had renounced terrorism or bin Laden. She said she expects […]

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