Yeshiva World News

Costco Stores Stop Serving Free Food Samples Due To Coronavirus Concerns

As many Americans flock to Costco to stock up on non-perishable groceries, hand sanitizer and toilet paper as they prepare for a possible quarantine due to coronavirus, it appears shoppers won’t be able to take advantage of one of the warehouse’s most famous perks: free food samples. On Friday, the Instagram account @CostcoDeals, which shares information about in-store discounts and new products, shared a post declaring that Costco had suspended serving samples in stores “until further notice.” “Just got word, one of our followers is a sample person for CDS which is Costco’s vendor who does all the food samples and looks like they will not be serving samples for the foreseeable future,” the account captioned the post. A representative from Costco’s corporate media team was not immediately available to confirm whether this policy was being enacted at all stores nationwide but, when reached by TODAY Food, multiple store locations in different regions of the country said they stopped serving samples earlier this week. “Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, there are no food product samples,” a representative for Costco in Nashville, Tennessee, told TODAY. Representatives from stores in Staten Island, New York; Miami, Chicago and multiple locations in California all confirmed that they had temporarily suspended the service of free food samples and did not know when they would resume the practice. Betsy Kubota, a teacher based in Chicago who shops at Costco regularly, was thrown off by the lack of samples during a trip to the store this week. “I did my Friday after work cruise through Costco, and they didn’t have any food samples!” Kubota told TODAY. “It surprised me. Not one, not a single one.” However, Kubota did notice there was at least one freebie available “I saw someone giving free samples of hand lotion,” she said. As more stores continue to enact policies to help prevent the spread of germs, it would make sense for people to avoid touching a communal tray and putting something right in their mouth. But since snacking on free samples from Costco is a pretty beloved pastime, many shoppers are just lamenting that their trips to stock up on supplies just got less fun. (NBCNEWYORK)

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SpaceX Launches Station Supplies, Nails 50th Rocket Landing

SpaceX successfully launched another load of station supplies for NASA late Friday night and nailed its 50th rocket landing. The Falcon rocket blasted off with 4,300 pounds (1,950 kilograms) of equipment and experiments for the International Space Station. Just minutes later, the spent first-stage booster made a dramatic midnight landing back at Cape Canaveral, its return accompanied by sonic booms. “And the Falcon has landed for the 50th time in SpaceX history!” SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson announced amid cheers at Mission Control. “What an amazing live view all the way to touchdown.” The Dragon capsule, meanwhile, hurtled toward a Monday rendezvous with the space station. It’s the 20th station delivery for SpaceX, which has launched nearly 100,000 pounds (45,360 kilograms) of goods to the orbiting outpost and returned nearly that much back to Earth since it began shipments in 2012. Northrop Grumman is NASA’s other commercial shipper. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said it was the windiest conditions ever — 25 mph to 30 mph (40 kph to 48 kph) — for a booster landing at Cape Canaveral, but he wanted to push the envelope. The landing was the 50th successful touchdown of a SpaceX booster following liftoff, either on land or at sea. “Envelope expanded,” Musk tweeted following touchdown. The company’s first booster landing was in 2015, intended as a cost-saving, rocket-recycling move. Both the latest booster and Dragon capsule were recycled from previous flights. Among the science experiments flying: an analysis of running shoe cushioning in weightlessness by Adidas, a water droplet study by Delta Faucet Co. striving for better showerhead water conservation, 3D models of heart and intestinal tissue, and 320 snippets of grape vines by Space Cargo Unlimited, the same Luxembourg startup that sent 12 bottles of red wine to the space station last November for a year of high-altitude aging. The Dragon also contained treats for the two Americans and one Russian at the space station: grapefruit, oranges, apples, tomatoes, Skittles, Hot Tamales and Reese’s Pieces. As for packing the capsule for launch, no extra precautions were taken because of the global coronavirus outbreak, according to NASA. The usual stringent precautions were taken to avoid passing along any germs or diseases to the space station crew. The doctor-approved procedures have proven effective in the past, officials noted. This is the last of SpaceX’s original Dragon cargo capsules. Going forward, the company will launch supplies in second-generation Dragons, roomier and more elaborate versions built for crews. The company aims to launch NASA astronauts this spring. The California-based SpaceX also teaming up with other companies to fly tourists and private researchers to the space station, as well as high solo orbits in the next couple years. (AP)

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DOCTOR ALERTS ABOUT PURIM PARTIES: Coronavirus and Purim: Changing Human Behavior

As all of you know, the Coronavirus crisis is hitting the United States just as one of the most important holidays falls out this week, Purim. The lessons that are being learned on how to best react and protect those most vulnerable must be learned early and implemented. The term “community spread” is particularly important in Jewish communities worldwide as we spend so much time together on a weekly basis. All infectious diseases are challenging to the orthodox Jewish community as we have large families, large institutions, and large gatherings. Avoiding rapid and widespread outbreak requires changing human behavior. While this typically means washing hands, avoiding touching one’s face, not shaking hands, and not hugging , in this case we have to add avoiding large gatherings where there is little control. This is why Purim this year will need a change in human behavior. I have been in touch with a number of schools and yeshivas regarding how to best react to the rapidly changing advisories and evolving outbreak. The question of large gathering Purim parties should be addressed immediately as we are days away and the number of cases is growing quickly. 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. It is my recommendation that these gatherings should not take place where large numbers of people come together for school, shul or community Purim parties. Small family gatherings are much better managed and advised. In cases where family members are obviously sick, they should simply stay home and not risk infecting others who cannot afford the complications. Grandparents and high-risk individuals are much more likely to have serious compromise from this virus and need to be protected. When large gatherings occur especially combined with drinking and dancing, people will not modify their behaviors and exposures are inevitable in very large numbers. As we are learning from the experience in Westchester, gatherings in shuls can be very dangerous at this point. Even when attending davening, people should be very prepared to change behaviors- no shaking of hands, no hugging, wash hands frequently after touching surfaces. Most importantly, if you are showing signs of any infection such as fever, cough, aches and pains, chills, or weakness- DO NOT COME TO SHUL OR ANY PUBLIC GATHERINGS. This becomes a simple lesson on Bein Adom L’Chaveiro as well as Bein Adom L’Makom. Be a good Jew now and change your behaviors in a positive and protective way. Stuart H. Ditchek, MD, FAAP Faculty, New York University School of Medicine Chief Medical Officer, Kids of Courage (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Win Free Digital Shas by Learning Daf Beis of Shabbos in Memory of Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz ZT”L

Following up on the amazing success of its Start the Daf initiative that had nearly 7,000 learning the first daf of Masechtas Berachos in memory of Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz zt”l, Klal Govoah will be hosting yet another record-breaking shiur as the Daf Yomi cycle moves on to Masechtas Shabbos. The shiur will take place at 10:30 AM on Sunday, March 8 thth at Congregation Talmud Torah of Flatbush, located at 1305 Coney Island Avenue, and will also be livestreamed on Torah Anytime.  Featuring a siyum on Masechtas Berachos made by ArtScroll’s Rabbi Nosson Scherman, divrei chizuk by The White Shul’s Rabbi Eytan Feiner and Daf Yomi given by Lakewood Daf’s Sruly Bornstein, the shiur is expected to surpass the historic attendance of Start the Daf’s January 5 thth Lakewood event. Seating will be limited to 350 and organizers are urging people to sign up now to reserve their place at the shiur.  Everyone who registers for the in-person shiur or the livestream will be entered into a free raffle to win one of five complete digital editions of the ArtScroll Schottenstein Shas with its amazing array of enhancements and will also be eligible to purchase volume one of the ArtScroll Mesechtas Shabbos for only $20.  As Daf Yomi moves on from Berachos to Shabbos, the Start the Daf initiative will continue as Join the Daf, and the program will be held once again l’iluy nishmas HaRav Meir Yaakov ben HaGoan HaRav Ahron.  Founding co-hosts for the shiur include All Daf, a project of the Orthodox Union, The Siyum, a project of Agudath Israel of America, ArtScroll, Torah Anytime, Lakewood Daf, Madison Title Agency, Cross River Bank and Eastern Union Funding. Organizers are excited for an opportunity to keep the momentum generated by the Siyum HaShas going strong as the Daf Yomi cycle continues. “Baruch Hashem, we received numerous emails from people who found themselves inspired to continue doing Daf Yomi after our first Start the Daf event,” said Klal Govoah founder Ira Zlotowitz.  “It was extremely rewarding to see that shiur take its place in the history books as the largest Daf Yomi ever given, and we look forward to having even more people join us as we start Masechtas Shabbos on March 8th.” To join the raffle and or to reserve a seat at the shiur or to sign up for the live stream visit Klal Govoah online at

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TEHILLIM – Young Man From Flatbush In Serious Condition After Returning From Italy

A 30-year-old man is on a respirator and in serious condition, with a possible case of Coronavirus. YWN has learned that the man is a member of the Sephardic community in Flatbush and resides on Ocean Parkway. Results have still not confirmed he has coronavirus, but are treating him as such. The man had just returned from Milan, Italy, from a vacation. Please say Tehillim for Yosef ben Esther. 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. A male in his 30s from Brooklyn is currently in the hospital in serious condition after returning from a trip to Italy. — Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 7, 2020 (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Nursing Home Showed Few Signs It Prepared For Virus Outbreak

In the days before the Life Care Center nursing home became ground zero for coronavirus deaths in the U.S., there were few signs it was girding against an illness spreading rapidly around the world. Visitors came in as they always did, sometimes without signing in. Staffers had only recently begun wearing face masks, but the frail residents and those who came to see them were not asked to do so. And organized events went on as planned, including a purple- and gold-festooned Mardi Gras party last week, where dozens of residents and visitors packed into a common room, passed plates of sausage, rice and king cake, and sang as a Dixieland band played “When the Saints Go Marching In.” “We were all eating, drinking, singing and clapping to the music,” said Pat McCauley, who was there visiting a friend. “In hindsight, it was a real germ-fest.” That was just three days before last Saturday’s announcement that a Life Care health care worker in her 40s and a resident in her 70s had been diagnosed with the new virus. The news would be followed over the next few days by the first resident deaths: two men in their 70s, a woman in her 70s and a woman in her 80s. Of the 16 deaths across the nation as of Saturday, at least 10 have been linked to the Seattle-area nursing home, along with dozens of other infections among residents, staff and family members. A man in his 60s who died Thursday had been a visitor to the nursing home in Kirkland, public health officials announced late Friday. As disease detectives try to solve the mystery of how exactly the coronavirus got inside Life Care, they also are questioning whether the 190-bed home that had been fined before over its handling of infections was as vigilant as it could have been in protecting its vulnerable patients against an outbreak that had already killed thousands in China and around the world.   A team of federal and state regulators planned to visit Life Care on Saturday, a move that could lead to sanctions, including a possible takeover of its management. The team will look at the home’s practices, including infection control. In an outbreak like this, “it’s not business as usual, so business as usual is not going to be OK,” said Dr. Mark Dworkin, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “There needs to be some sort of mobilization within the facility for enhanced adherence to procedures. Infection control and visitors logging in. These things need to be translated out across the country.” Life Care did not respond to questions from The Associated Press that were sent to an email address set up for news media inquiries. In the week since the outbreak began, the center has issued statements saying it grieves with the families who have lost loved ones. It also has noted that visits have been halted, staffers are being screened and residents with any kind of respiratory illness have been placed in isolation. Several family members and friends who visited residents at Life Care over the past few weeks told the AP that they didn’t notice any unusual precautions, and none said they were asked about their health or if they had visited […]

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Sanders, Biden Up Attacks As Head-To-Head Race Takes Shape

The Democratic presidential primary is down to two major candidates, and it shows. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are spending their first weekend as their party’s last top White House contenders increasingly taking aim at one another. Each wants to show he’s the best choice before six more states — Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington — vote on Tuesday. It reflects the new contours of a race that once featured 20-plus Democrats. An increasingly bitter matchup could endure for months as Biden and Sanders compete for the right to face President Donald Trump in November. “We have a two-person race,” Sanders said Saturday in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb with one of the nation’s largest Arab American populations. “And all over this country, people are asking themselves which candidate can best defeat Trump. I have zero doubt in my mind that, together, we are the campaign that can beat Trump.” Campaigning in St. Louis, Biden said he was the one to unite the party and the country, and he would do that by promoting an upbeat message. “If you want a nominee who’ll bring the party together, who will run on a positive progressive vision for the future, not turn this primary into a campaign of negative attacks — because that will only reelect Donald Trump if we go that route — if you want that, join us,″ Biden said. Winning, he added, “means uniting America, not sowing more division and anger.″ But Biden also gently knocked Sanders’ weeks of suggestions that he is the candidate who can prompt record voter turnout in November and defeat Trump, saying that actually “we’re the the campaign that’s gong to do that.” Sanders is clearer in drawing contrasts, arguing that no Democrat will win the presidency “with the same-old, same-old politics of yesteryear.” That’s ironic given that the 78-year-old Sanders is actually a year older than Biden. But the avowed democratic socialist, who has served in Congress since 1991, says he’s bucked the establishment of both parties with decades with unpopular stands that now give him the credibility to lead a political revolution “from the bottom up.” Sanders is pledging to increase Democratic turnout by drawing younger voters, minorities and working class people to the polls even though they tend to vote in lower concentrations than many other Americans. Strong support among Hispanics lifted Sanders to victories in Nevada and California, but Biden trounced him in South Carolina and throughout much of the Deep South that voted during last week’s Super Tuesday. Biden especially ran up the score with African Americans. Some activists are disappointed that a once diverse field of women and minorities has dwindled to two white men in their late 70s. But in Dearborn, Sanders, who is Jewish, said he was inspired by so many Arab Americans backing him. “I see people coming together from so many different backgrounds. It is beautiful,” he said. He also joked about his age, saying, “Sometimes people say, ‘Bernie, you’re 33 years of age. How do you keep going?’” Top advisers expect Sanders to finish strong in Washington. Still, he canceled a trip to Mississippi to focus on Michigan, Tuesday’s largest prize. He made a stop in Chicago’s Grant Park on Saturday afternoon, and declared that he […]

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Trump’s Challenge: Keeping His Act Fresh In Reelection Year

The Donald Trump show has a consistent script. Same villains. Same nicknames. Same grievances. Same hero: himself. At raucous rallies held mostly in states that are friendly to him, the president tells audiences that he could be presidential, even Lincolnesque, if he wanted to. But that, he says, would be boring. “It’s easy to be presidential but only have about three people in front of me,” Trump said at a recent rally, before breaking into a monotone imitation of a droning politician. “Doing this takes far more talent than doing that. Doing that is very easy. This is not easy.” As he seeks reelection with little variance from the themes that brought him to power four years ago, a central challenge will be to keep those audiences satisfied and to make sure, like a great entertainer, that the act isn’t getting stale. The president retains robust approval ratings among Republicans but even that fealty will be tested as he asks voters for another four years essentially offering them not new promises but more of the same. Trump’s campaign remains highly confident it will not only retain those who backed the president in 2016, but will also expand the electorate by turning out people who did not vote for years ago, in addition to peeling off some African American and Latino males. At a rally last week in South Carolina, nearly 29% of those who registered for tickets didn’t vote in the 2016 election, according to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. But there are other metrics that don’t look quite as hopeful. Trump’s Twitter following has grown to more than 73 million, up from 25 million at the start of his presidency. But the public’s engagement with the president on his favorite social media platform has diminished since his inauguration more than three years ago. Trump’s tweets drew an average of 5.37 likes per 1,000 followers at the start of his presidency and were down to 1.29 in February, according to an analysis by, a data analytics company that analyzes spoken and written remarks by elected officials. By comparison, top Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — both of whom have a fraction of Trump’s Twitter following — tallied 2.13 and 2.73 likes per 1,000 followers respectively last month. The falling engagement numbers come as Trump, who likes to use social media as a tool to reach Americans without the contextualizing of the mainstream media, is relying on Twitter more than ever. Trump broke his personal record for most tweets or retweets in a day in January as the Senate began hearing opening arguments in his impeachment trial, sending out more than 140 posts before most Americans had left work for the day. Trump, who was in Switzerland for an economic forum at the time, mostly posted tweets and retweets attacking Democratic House impeachment managers while amplifying messaging from allies who came to his defense. Brian Ott, a Texas Tech University professor of communications and co-author of “The Twitter Presidency: Donald J. Trump and the Politics of White Rage,” says that Trump’s Twitter following has naturally expanded beyond his fervent supporters and political watchers because of his standing as the world’s most powerful leader. But his hardcore fans don’t get the same thrill from retweeting and commenting on […]

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Amtrak To Suspend Acela Nonstop DC-NY Service As Virus Fears Slow Travel

Amtrak plans to suspend Acela Nonstop lines due to decreased demand as the novel coronavirus outbreak grows across the country. Amtrak will suspend the service between March 10 and May 26, which is the day after Memorial Day. That means three routes (trains 2401, 2402 and 2403) that go directly between Washington, D.C., and New York City won’t run. Travelers can use alternative Northeast Corridor routes, Amtrak says. Many across the country are adjusting travel plans to protect themselves against COVID-19, which can cause symptoms including mild to severe respiratory effects. Amtrak says safety is its top priority. The transport service says it has stepped up cleaning protocols and made sanitizing materials available to customers and staff to safeguard against the spread of a virus that has sickened more than 100,000 across the world. Customers can also change reservations for travel dates before April 30 without paying a change fee. Dozens of coronavirus cases have been confirmed in New York, including two people who attended a conference in D.C. (NBCNewYork)

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The Purim Revolution Is Growing Every Year

This year, more than ever before, with the current difficult matzav for acheinu b’nei yisroel in general and B’nei Torah in particular, there is just so much negativity worldwide. We now have a unique opportunity to portray a beautiful and positive message about our simchas Purim. The zechus of the special simcha emanating from torah learning on the Yom tov of Simcha should encapsulate your life with all the brochos of Simcha! Eleven years ago on Purim night a mini-revolution happened that addresses this issue. A group of very special Baalei Battim sponsored 23 bochurim from Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, NY to sit and learn for two hours on Purim night. Each bochur received a $250 credit to a tzedokah of his choice. The bais hamedrash boomed with kol torah and this certainly was the ultimate in Kimu V’kiblu of the simchas hatorah. For Habochur Hanechmod Yeshayahu Dov Eckstein A”H it would be his last Purim. That year he came home with such simcha – he had learned with such ‘geshmak’ on Purim night, and through this unique learning program his group collected over $3,500. Every year, l’ilui nishmoso the family continues this beautiful program. It has been an amazing success. Last year there were over 250 bochurim and yungerleit who were committed to learn TWO hours on Purim by night in the bais hamedrash. Success breeds success, and many Roshei Yeshivos have called to emulate this program in their own yeshivas across the country and around the world. Each year we are B”H adding more bochurim and yungerlite. Many more Bochurim and Kollel Yungerlite have been calling again to continue this program this year. We must not say ‘No’… We need your assistance to continue… This year we have been presented with many new opportunities in both Eretz Yisroel and Lakewood. PLEASE help to support this beautiful program and sponsor a bochur learning Purim night, by clicking on the following link: With your kind donation, you will be creating DOUBLE zechus. 1) The money will go to bona fide Tzedokah 2) A bochur will learn in your zechus TWO hours on Purim by night.

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NY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY: 89 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Governor Andrew Cuomo is now reporting there are 89 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State. The governor declared a state of emergency in New York because of the increasingly rapid spread of COVID-19. The declaration will assist the state in hiring and purchasing during the crisis. “This is labor-intensive. We need the staffing, we need the purchasing,” Cuomo said. Speaking at a Saturday afternoon news conference in Albany, Cuomo gave the following updated breakdown of the total number of cases: 11 in New York City; 70 in Westchester County; 2 in Rockland County; 4 in Nassau County; and 2 in Saratoga County. Of the total 89 cases, ten of those patients are currently hospitalized, Cuomo said. 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. Regarding the 7 new cases reported in New York City, two recently arrived on a cruise ship. The other five are believed to have contracted the virus through community spread. A male Uber driver in his 30s is currently hospitalized in Queens, He is not a TLC-licensed driver, and drives on Long Island, according to Mayor de Blasio. Westchester County, which has the most cases in the state, poses the biggest challenge right now. 23 cases of the newer cases are “all related to the New Rochelle situation,” Cuomo said, referring to the first case reported in New York, a 50-year-old lawyer from New Rochelle who remains hospitalized. Senior citizen homes in New Rochelle may be forced to suspend outside visitors. “The nursing homes are the most problematic settings for us with this disease,” Cuomo said. “If you are a senior citizen or immune-compromised, I would think seriously about attending a large gathering now…. I’ve said that to my mother.” No large gatherings are “imminent” in New Rochelle, the governor said. “If there were, we’d have to take a hard look at cancelling,” he added. Saturday’s update came after word on Friday that a Connecticut hospital employee who is a New York State resident has tested positive for Coronavirus. 4,000 people across the New York are now in quarantine as a precaution — that includes 2,700 in NYC, 1,000 in Westchester and 70 in Nassau County. There are 44 people in mandatory quarantine across the state, including 33 in Westchester, nine in NYC and one in Nassau County. Officials announced on Friday that Gap closed its corporate offices in Tribeca on Thursday after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.

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Israel Planning Flight Restrictions From NY, DC, California; 25 Cases In Israel, Israelis Who Attended AIPAC Ordered To Self-Quarantine

After five more Israelis were diagnosed with the coronavirus on Friday and Motzei Shabbos, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that the coronavirus outbreak is a global pandemic and that there is no basis to the assumption that the virus will disappear when the weather grows warmer. The prime minister also warned that the virus is now spreading to Africa and no one knows how the pandemic will end. Netanyahu said that the government is working on a multifaceted plan to address the coronavirus crisis, including disinfecting public areas such as train stations and bus stations, opening a line of credit for affected businesses and enlisting the Air Force to ensure Israel has essential supplies. The director-general of the Health Ministry, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, indicated Saturday night that Israel was about to place restrictions on flights arriving from some parts of the US. Israel would not take action against all flights from the US, but would act on a state-by-state basis, he said. Specifying flights from New York, Washington, DC, and California, he said a decision would be announced later Saturday or Sunday. Following the speech, the Health Ministry announced that three more Israelis have been diagnosed with the virus, bring the number of confirmed cases in Israel to 25. 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. One patient, a Tel Aviv resident returned from Venice on February 22 on EasyJet flight EJU3342 and has been in self-quarantine since then, only leaving his house to vote at an “isolation voting booth” on March 2. Another patient, a resident of central Israel, returned from Athens, Greece on February 27 on Aegean flight A3924. The third patient flew to Madrid on February 28 on Arkia flight IZ231 and returned on Arkia flights SN3728 from Madrid to Brussels and SN3293 from Brussels to Tel Aviv. Director-General of the Health Ministry, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov said that Israel is seriously considering placing restrictions on flights from some parts of the US on a state to state basis. In an interview with Channel 12 News, Bar Siman-Tov said that the Health Ministry is currently only considering banning US travelers from Washington, New York and California and that the decision will be made on late Saturday night or Sunday. The countries of Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands may also be added to the list, Bar Siman-Tov said. On Motzei Shabbos, a 50-year-old resident of central Israel who returned to Israel from Barcelona on March 1 on El Al flight LY394 was diagnosed with the virus, Israel’s Health Ministry stated. בהלת הקורונה: החולה ה-22 היה על טיסת אל על לברצלונה ובחזרה<< — ערוץ 20 (@arutz20) March 7, 2020 Four Israelis were diagnosed on Friday. One patient, a Haifa resident in his 30s, returned to Israel from Austria on March 1, and a second patient, a resident of central Israel, returned from Madrid on March 2. The third patient, in his 50s, returned from Zurich on March 4th and the fourth patient, also a resident of central Israel in his 50s, returned from Madrid on February 27. Also, the Health Ministry said a French tourist who was in Israel last week on a brief one-day visit was diagnosed with the virus […]

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Motzei Shabbos News Round-Up From Israel

Israel’s Health Ministry announced that another Israeli was confirmed to be carrying the Coronavirus. The 21st confirmed patient is a man in his 30s in Haifa who had recently returned from Austria on March 3rd. The ill man has been admitted to isolation. The 20th confirmed person was identified as an Israeli who recently visited Madrid. The Health Ministry publicized the recent whereabouts of the 18th person who was diagnosed to be carrying the virus and the flight details of other patients. The bus driver who has been identified as carrying Corona and is hospitalized in Poriya hospital in Tevaria continues to be in serious condition. The IDF aided dozens of tourist groups in leaving the Palestinian Authority and transporting them to Ben Gurion Airport so that they could return home. The tourists had asked for help in leaving the PA due to the threat of the coronavirus spreading in various cities within the PA. The Iranian parliamentarian who came down with Corona has died. So far reports state that 145 people in the country have died from the disease. Terrorists from Gaza fired a rocket at Israel on Friday night. The rocket landed inside Gaza and exploded. Hackers broke into the Twitter account of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett over Shabbos and posted a picture of the flag of the Palestinian Authority. After a few minutes, the breach was sealed and the photo removed. Four people were injured in a car accident that took place on Yerushalayim Boulverad in Kiryat Yam on Shabbat. They were treated at the scene by United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom before being taken to the hospital. A two-year-old was taken to the hospital in critical condition after she had drowned in a fish pond in a courtyard in Moshav Bareket. A man was found in serious condition on Highway 4 near the Holot interchange on Saturday night. United Hatzalah volunteers treated the man at the scene. Volunteer EMT Moshe Mor who was one of the first responders at the scene said: “This was a young man approximately 25-years-old who was suffering from a full system trauma. I treated him for his injuries and he was transported to the hospital while he was still unconscious and in serious condition.” Due to the low number of visitors, the Isrotel Tower Hotel in Tel Aviv told its guests to vacate and check into the Royal Beach Hotel instead. The Royal Beach is also part of the Isrotel chain in the city. Due to the lack of tourists, many hotels in Israel have low occupancy levels. Amid fears of the establishment of a Left-Wing government with the help of Yisrael Beiteinu and the Joint List party, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held an emergency meeting in Petach Tikvah on Motzei Shabbos and told supporters that should such a government be formed, he would remain the Head of the Opposition.

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Baltimore Schools Cancel Purim Events

March 6, 2020 Dear Parents, All of our schools met today to discuss the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). After taking into consideration nationally published information by the CDC, state and local health departments, Johns Hopkins University’s recent precautionary measures to cancel public events, the precautions of other communities and institutions, and Torah Umesorah’s recent recommendations for schools provided by their medical consultants and Daas Torah, we have decided that it is unfortunately necessary to cancel all upcoming extra curricular Purim events for our schools. Regular classroom-based learning and activities will continue as normal, unless otherwise guided. Have a good Shabbos, Bais Yaakov School for Girls Bnos Yisroel Cheder Chabad Ohr Chadash Academy Talmudical Academy Torah Institute Toras Simchako (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Facebook Drops Trump Ads After Pelosi Cites Census Confusion

Facebook on Thursday began taking down ads for the reelection campaign of President Donald Trump that direct people to a survey labeled a “census,” hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said people would confuse it with the once-a-decade head count. Facebook said in a statement that it was enforcing its policies to prevent confusion over the 2020 census, which begins next week for most people. “There are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official U.S. Census and this is an example of those being enforced,” the Facebook statement said. Earlier in the day, Pelosi had called the survey sponsored by the Trump reelection campaign, “an absolute lie.” “A lie that is consistent with the misrepresentation policy of Facebook,” Pelosi said. “But now they’re messing with who we are as Americans. I know the profit motive is their business model, but it should not come at the cost of counting who is in our country.” The ad says, “President Trump needs you to take the Official 2020 Congressional District Census today.” Clicking on a red button saying “Take the Survey” leads to a website with questions asking visitors about party affiliation, whether they intend to support Trump and which media organizations they get their information, among other questions. Similar mailings have been distributed around the U.S. On Thursday, four Democratic House members — Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Katie Porter of California — demanded in a letter that the Republican National Committee stop any mailings or online ads that resemble Census Bureau documents. In a statement, the Republican National Committee said it would add language to future mailings, making it clear what it is. “This is a standard direct mail piece that has been utilized for decades. These mailers are fully compliant with the law, clearly marked as a fundraising solicitation from the Republican National Committee, and in no way resemble the official government census,” the RNC statement said. Census Bureau officials have been on high alert for online misinformation aimed at confusing people about who is eligible to fill out the form or how to properly file it, along with imitation websites posing as the official census site. The bureau has spent the last year forging relationships with the major tech platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Google — to put out accurate information about how the census works and yank misinformation about the form from their sites. In January, Facebook began banning ads that discourage people from participating in the census or portray it as “useless.” The ban applies to ads on both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns. The platform also announced that misleading posts about the census would be subject to removal. Typically, the platform does not remove false or misleading content from its site, unless it gives wrong information about voting. The Trump campaign on Tuesday began running different versions of the census ad on Facebook across the country from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s official Facebook page. The campaign purchased thousands of the online ads that were viewed thousands of times before Facebook began removing them Thursday. Former Census Bureau director John Thompson said the Trump campaign has put a new spin on an old campaign strategy: For years, Republicans have sent fundraising […]

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The Siyum Live! – The Momentum Continues

Celebrating and Perpetuating the Ahavas Hatorah of The Siyum The Siyum. The name alone evokes the feelings of our passion and our pride as we all joined together at the greatest expression of k’vod Shamayim in modern times.  Although the event of The Siyum has passed – The Siyum still lives on. As Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky emotionally said as he made the hadran, a Siyum is not about completing, but starting anew. Beginning the next step of learning is an integral part of a Siyum celebration.  Indeed, The Siyum has inspired unprecedented Torah learning, with hundreds of thousands around the world now learning Daf Yomi. And now we join to celebrate this explosion of Torah learning – and the continuation of The Siyum’s power. The refrain “Did you learn the Daf yet today?” is becoming all the more common, as is the nationwide unity it evokes and promotes. From New York to Norway, from London to Leningrad – the pages we cherish link and unify us all.  Join us on Motzaei Shabbos in celebrating the completion of one Masechta – and the commencement of another and tune in live from 9 p.m to 11 p.m. at and be a part of this monumental celebration. Hosted by the one and only R’ Elchonon Schwartz and Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director of Agudah New Jersey, the event will feature the debut of the Song of Brachos by R’ Yossi Glieberman, whose compositions have been viewed by tens of thousands. With live musical entertainment by R’ Sruly Werdyger and R’  Shloimy Taussig and accompanied by Yaakov Zienes, participants will be transported back to the inspiration of January 1. And you definitely don’t want to miss the amazing Reb Shlomo Hadarshan who will usher in the Purim season with his world-renowned humor. . The event will also feature live stories from leading Maggidei Shiur to inspire us all to hold onto our passion for Torah. We’ll be tuning into the Lakewood Siyum for the Hadran recited by HaRav Malkiel Kotler Shlita and live singing by Shloimy Daskal. The live Siyum event is not just about Daf Yomi, but the broader Torah learning that is rippling its way through our midst. In accordance with the theme of The Siyum – Ki Heim Chayeinu – and under the leadership of the Agudah, various learning initiatives are inspiring the world towards Kvias Itim l’Torah – making learning an integral part of our life. Through Chavrei Hasiyum, Masmidei Hasiyum and the Daf Yomi Chaburah Initiative, tens of thousands of Lomdim are learning all over the world. And, other programs such as Amud Hashavuah, Kinyan Masechta, Shivti, and more, whether through live Shiurim and chaburos or digital ones, through worn paper pages and slim tablets, Klal Yisroel is being Mechazek themselves in Kinyan Torah. And then, join the revolution as we begin Maseches Shabbos on Sunday, March 8 at 10:30 a.m. In person in Flatbush or live online, join L’Iiluei Nishmas Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz ZT”L and hear Divrei Chizuk from Rabbi Eytan Feiner, Rabbi Nosson Scherman’s Siyum on Brachos, and R’ Sruly Bornstein’s beginning of Maseches Shabbos. Take part in the largest Daf Yomi shiur which will stream online on all major media outlets.  And of course, Join the live Siyum on This Motzei Shabbos Parshas Tetzaveh Right Here!

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Man Arrested For Making Anti-Semitic Terror Threats At Location Of Jersey City Shooting

On March 5, 2020, members of the Jersey City Police Department working in collaboration with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, arrested and charged Taylor Stackhouse, age 38, of Jersey City with terroristic threats and related bias crimes for threatening the property manager of the building where the kosher deli is located on MLK Drive on Tuesday. Stackhouse was arrested Thursday afternoon without incident on Dwight Street and Bergen Avenue in Jersey City. Stackhouse has been charged with two counts of second-degree Bias Intimidation and one count of fourth-degree Bias Intimidation, as well as two counts of Terroristic Threats and a Petty Disorderly Persons Harassment charge. On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at approximately 11:50 a.m., Stackhouse approached the victim – who was dressed in traditional Hasidic Jewish clothing and exiting the building on Martin Luther King Drive – and made multiple threats to the victim. The building is the location of the shooting that claimed the lives of three innocent people on December 10th, 2019. Earlier that same day, Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals was also killed. Both shooters in the December shooting were killed at the scene and the incident has been determined to be a hate crime by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that there is any connection between Stackhouse and the events of Dec. 10th. Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Jersey City Police Department for the investigation and arrest. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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‘This Is Not A Drill’: WHO Urges The World To Fight Virus

The global march of the new virus triggered a vigorous appeal from the World Health Organization for governments to pull out “all the stops” to slow the epidemic, as it drained color from India’s spring festivals, closed Bethlehem’s Nativity Church and blocked Italians from visiting elderly relatives in nursing homes. As China, after arduous weeks, appeared to be winning its epic, costly battle against the coronavirus, the fight was revving up in newly affected areas of the globe, unleashing disruptions that profoundly impacted billions of people. The U.N. health agency urged all countries to “push this virus back,” a call to action reinforced by dramatic surges in new cases. The virus has infected 98,000 people and killed over 3,300. “This is not a drill. This is not the time for giving up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva. “Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans.” As Chinese manufacturers gradually reopened their factories, anti-virus barriers went up elsewhere. In Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak, workers in latex gloves pinned “closed” notices on school gates, enforcing a 10-day shutdown of the education system. Italy’s sports-mad fans are also barred from stadiums until April 3. A government decree urged the country’s famously demonstrative citizens to stay at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart from each other, restricted visits to nursing homes and urged the elderly not to go outside unless absolutely necessary. That directive appeared to be widely ignored, as school closures left many Italian children in the care of their grandparents. Parks in Rome overflowed with young and old, undercutting attempts to shield older Italians from the virus that has proven riskier with age. Italy has the world’s second-oldest population after Japan. “It’s an absolute paradox!” said Mauro Benedetti, a 73-year-old retiree called upon to watch his grandson. “They tell us to stay home. How can we help our kids and grandkids at the same time?” “Grandparents are now at risk,” he said. Italy’s death toll climbed Thursday to 148, and its confirmed cases to 3,858, third behind South Korea and China, where the virus was first detected in December. Iran, which has registered 107 deaths from COVID-19, also closed schools and universities and introduced checkpoints to limit travel between major cities. Iranians were urged to reduce their use of paper money. Iranian state TV also reported that Hossein Sheikholeslam, a 68-year-old diplomat who was an adviser to Iran’s foreign minister, had died of the virus. Amid the string of bad news, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged state television to offer “happier” programs to entertain those stuck at home. Palestinian officials closed the storied Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem indefinitely, weeks ahead of the Easter holiday. And virus fears may dull India’s vibrantly colorful spring festival of Holi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders said they wouldn’t attend Holi events and the Holi Moo Festival in New Delhi was canceled. In the United States, where 12 have died from the virus, hundreds were placed in self-quarantines due to cases in a New York suburb. A suburban Seattle school district with 22,000 students will close for up to two […]

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POLICE BRUTALITY? Video Of Black Man’s Arrest Spurs Outrage, NYPD Probe

Video showing New York City police officers arresting a young black man sparked outrage and elicited questions about the amount of force used to make the arrest in a city where mistrust of police remains high more than five years after Eric Garner’s death from an officer’s chokehold. Fitzroy Gayle, 20, pleads for help in the video, recorded by a woman who then tweeted it, as several officers wrestle him into submission Wednesday evening on a Brooklyn sidewalk. When Gayle asked a lone plainclothes officer why he was being stopped, the officer did not appear to answer before uniformed backup rushed in. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Thursday he was ordering an internal investigation. “This was painful to watch,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted. “We still need to get all the facts about this case and a full investigation is underway, but I don’t like what I saw. It doesn’t reflect what we’re building in New York City.” The city’s largest police union responded on Twitter, calling de Blasio’s remarks “anti-police rhetoric” and accusing him of “inflaming the situation” with a rush to judgment. The man in the video had fled officers who approached him and another man as they were smoking marijuana in a park around 7 p.m., Shea said. The officers were responding to an automated alert to gunshots, Shea said. Both men were later apprehended, but there is no indication they were linked to the gunfire, he said. Gayle was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and marijuana possession. The second man, whom police have not identified, was issued a summons. The episode is under internal review. Shea said there were “some disturbing points” to the video. One of the officers could be seen standing on the man’s ankle, he said, offering a possible explanation for why Gayle screamed during the scrum. Photos of Gayle taken after the arrest showed abrasions to his knee but no apparent injuries to his face or upper body, the commissioner said. “The end is what concerns me,” Shea said. A better outcome would have seen officers approaching the men followed by “discussion and no running” from police, he said. “No physical resistance at all. No arrest needed.” Gayle’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said the video demonstrates “that the era of stop and frisk is not over in New York City. The police officers involved in this brutal assault must be brought to justice.” Rev. Kevin McCall, a civil rights activist in Brooklyn, said Gayle’s family was calling for District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to open his own investigation into the officers’ conduct. McCall also said Shea should suspend the officers. The arrest came on the heels of renewed spotlight on stop, question and frisk, a policing strategy once championed by former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who expressed regret for its overuse as he launched his now-suspended campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. At its peak, stop and frisk resulted in millions of police stops of mostly black and Hispanic New Yorkers. A federal judge ruled the practice as unconstitutional in 2012, and the city drastically decreased its use the following year. Data released last month showed such encounters increased by 22% last year. NYPD officers conducted 13,459 stop and frisk procedures in 2019, up from 11,008 in 2018. Black people and […]

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