Yeshiva World News

Frum man Arrested, Shocking Details

Yisroel Gurion is a young 31 year old lubavitch father with 3 young children, with serious mental illness that began several years ago out of the blue. The broken system put him in prison instead of a hospital leaving him untreated, allowing his condition to deteriorate. He is now facing a potential very heavy prison sentence. CLICK HERE TO DONATE! This is a rare opportunity to take part in one of the purest forms of pidyon shvuyim available. In Bava Basra (8b) it says that captivity is worse than starvation and death. Please open your heart and your pocket and give whatever you can to help this man get out of captivity and into a facility where he can get the treatment that he so desperately needs. CLICK HERE TO DONATE! ++LOCAL AND LEADING POSKIM INCLUDING:++ Hagaon Harav Aron Lankry, Hamekubal Rabbi Ariel Mekaiten, and the רחיבנט have all ruled that Halacha firmly considers this case pidyon shvuyim and a mitzvah of the highest magnitude. ​ תתפלל בשביל ישראל שמעון בן אדית רחל ​

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As Iran Backs Away, US Still Ready To Revive Nuclear Accord

The United States is prepared to return to the Iran nuclear deal if Tehran shows “strict compliance” with it, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday. It’s a new sign of Washington’s ambition to revive the deal rejected by former President Donald Trump even as Tehran appears to be backing further away from it. Speaking to the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament, Blinken laid out a U.S. wish list about many issues including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and space-borne threats in the future. He expressed concerns about a Russian anti-satellite weapons test last year and China’s “provocative and dangerous weapons development programs,” in addition to the message about Iran. Blinken’s comments by video signaled another step by the Biden administration to re-engage with many international institutions and agreements that were shunned, rejected or largely ignored by Trump. It is the first time in years a top U.S. diplomat has spoken to the disarmament body, which has become mainly a venue for countries to voice concerns about disarmament because it has failed to usher in any accords. The comments on Iran were perhaps Blinken’s most timely message, coming in the wake of new signs over the weekend that Tehran is moving away from — not toward — compromise with Western governments over the nuclear deal. Blinken said the United States is prepared to return to the accord “if Iran comes back into strict compliance” with it. On Sunday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi told reporters after an emergency trip to Tehran that Iran’s government would begin offering “less access” to U.N. weapons inspectors — involving unspecified changes to the type of activity the agency can carry out. Grossi said that monitoring would continue in a “satisfactory” manner, pointing to a three-month “technical understanding” to ensure some type of inspections would continue. He stressed that European and U.S. leaders needed to salvage the situation through negotiations. Blinken emphasized that the United States remains committed to making sure that Iran “never acquires a nuclear weapon,” adding: “Diplomacy is the best path to achieve that goal.” Working with allies and partners, he said the U.S. will aim to “lengthen and strengthen” the Iran nuclear deal, which was struck in 2015 between Iran and Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and the U.S. Trump pulled the U.S. out three years later. Iran has slowly walked away from all the nuclear deal’s limitations on its stockpile of uranium and has begun enriching up 20%, a technical step away from weapons-grade levels. As for Russia, Blinken hailed the U.S. administration’s quick move to extend the New Start treaty by five years. But he also accused Moscow of having “used chemical weapons to try to assassinate its own people,” including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and cited a disconnect between Moscow’s “public stance against the weaponization of space” and its ground-based anti-satellite test in December. “We should be reducing tensions in outer space, not making them worse,” he said. “The United States is ready to engage Russia in strategic stability discussions on arms control and emerging security issues,” Blinken said. “We will be clear-eyed about the broader challenges posed by Russia and how our respective nuclear arsenals represent existential threats to each other.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has regularly attended high-level Conference on Disarmament […]

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Health Ministry: Recovered COVID Patients To Receive One Vaccine Dose

The Health Ministry’s Priority Committee recommended on Motzei Shabbos that those who have recovered from the coronavirus be vaccinated with a single dose of the vaccine. The committee also recommended that the dose be administered at least three months after recovery from the virus. Until now, those who have recovered from the coronavirus have not been eligible to be vaccinated. About 400,000 Israelis have recovered from the coronavirus although it’s believed that the actual number is far higher due to the people who weren’t tested or were asymptomatic and weren’t aware they had the virus. It’s not yet clear when the vaccine will be offered to those who had recovered from the virus. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Video: Important Purim Message from Rav Gav

COVID-19 has destroyed so many people’s livelihoods. The lockdowns in Israel and the inability to work, to earn, to do anything, has completely decimated the poor and the not-so-poor in new ways never seen before. Please, hear the cry of your brothers and sisters in Israel and send financial help! The money raised will be distributed on Purim Day, making this a pure gift of matanos levyonim, a pure gift of tzedaka to help those less fortunate than you. Every donation to this cause will bring you countless zechusim and mitzvahs, for it will reach all of these cases. Give as much as you can, so that when the gabboim knock on the doors of these homes and give them an envelope full of hope and comfort, full of smiles, Hashem will remember you and your needs with a smile. May Hashem bless all those who give Tzedakah with many berochos and yeshuos. Tizku lmitzvot. CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

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Attorneys Gather For Chizuk And Guidance At Agudah’s Virtual Halachic Conference

By: Sandy Eller Often, the best education happens outside the classroom. Understanding that professionals frequently face halachic and ethical dilemmas in the workplace, Agudas Yisrael of America’s Torah Projects Commission held the first in a series of virtual conferences for our communities attorneys and law students. Titled Titen Emes, the conference had well over 120 practicing attorneys signing up for the February 15th event, with eligible participants earning CLE credits for each of the program’s three segments. The first session dealt with the intricacies of batei din, with Rabbi Ari Marburger of Lakewood’s Khal Anshei Faraday clarifying the difference in operations between a beis din and the secular courts. Rabbi Zev Cohen,Rav of Adas Yeshurun and Rosh Kollel of the Choshen Mishpat Kollel in Chicago, discussed the beis din processes and their practical applications in contemporary legal issues. A Q&A session presented by Rabbi Shraga Kallus of Khal Imrei Fi in Ramat Shlomo and Rosh Kollel of Machon Hora’ah L’Rabbonim addressed workplace conundrums such as end of year parties and the permissibility of rounding up billable hours. The final component of the program was a keynote session with Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner of London’s Hisachdus Hakehillos emphasizing the importance of making emes as an essential component of legal practice. “It was 30 years ago, at a meeting of Agudah Rabbonim,when the concept of halachah conferences for professionals was first raised,” noted Rabbi Labish Becker, Agudah’s executive director. “It was clear that as community members were leaving their yeshivas, kollelim, Bais Yaakovs and seminaries and going to work, it was imperative to make them aware that they needed to have Torah in their workplace, not just at home.” In addition to providing participants with chizuk and hadrachah, this conference series for attorneys will serve as an invaluable means of helping the Agudah better serve its constituents. Over the years, community lawyers have helped Agudath Israel of America draft amicus curiae briefs on matters of communal interest and provided pro bono or reduced rate representation to individuals and organizations. Agudas Yisroel is confident that many of the lawyers who participated in this conference will become an integral part of its legal network and offer vital assistance to Klal Yisroel.

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130 Senior Defense Officials Call For Gantz To Resign From Race

An open letter calling for Blue and White leader and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to resign from running in the March election was published in Israeli newspapers on Monday morning, signed by 130 senior defense officials and former army commanders. Among the signatories of the letter, entitled: “Benny, It’s Enough! You Tried Everything, Now Israel Must Come Before Everything,” were former IDF chiefs of staff Ehud Barak, former Mossad head Danny Yatom, and former Shin Bet head Carmi Gillon. “Benny, many of us supported you in the last elections,” the letter stated. “Some of us supported your controversial decision that followed [to form a government with Netanyahu], and some of us didn’t. But we’re all similar to you, men of the land soaked with the blood of our brothers and soldiers.” “You sacrificed yourself for the public because the times and your conscience didn’t allow you otherwise. You fought for democracy and defended the legal system. Now it’s clear that it’s not the coronavirus but the one who was criminally indicted [a reference to Netanyahu], who is endangering the lives of his nation in order to save himself and his rule.” “The solution is in your hands. You must resign from this risky race, that will end with your party below the threshold and leave another party outside. Don’t let yourself waste votes for the camp [bloc of parties] calling for a change [to defeat Netanyahu]. Israel will salute you. Truly put Israel before everything.” According to news reports, those behind the letter stated that they worked behind the scenes to convince Gantz to quit the race before doing so publicly by publishing the letter. The Blue and White party has slowly dissolved since new elections were called, with more and more MKs announcing they were leaving the party in recent months, and polls showing the party failing to cross the electoral threshold. Two weeks ago, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called on Gantz to drop out of the race in the wake of his party’s poor performance in the polls so as not to waste votes. Lapid’s call was echoed last week by a member of his party, MK Ram Ben-Barak, who said that Gantz should take responsibility and quit the race so as not to waste center-left votes. “If Gantz runs, he’s risking the chance of forming a government without Netanyahu,” Ben-Barak told Radio 103FM. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Garland Vows Sharp Focus On Capitol Riot As Attorney General

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, vowed Monday to prioritize combating extremist violence with an initial focus on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as he sought to assure lawmakers that the Justice Department would remain politically independent on his watch. A federal appeals court judge who was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2016, Garland is now among Biden’s most widely supported nominees, putting him on track for a quick confirmation potentially within days. He will inherit a Justice Department that endured a tumultuous era under former president Donald Trump — rife with political drama and controversial decisions — and that faced abundant criticism from Democrats over what they saw as the politicizing of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. Garland sought repeatedly Monday to assure members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would stay above the fray of politics. He emphasized that he had never spoken to Biden about the federal tax investigation into his son, Hunter Biden, and pledged to resign as attorney general if needed to stand up to the White House — though he said he didn’t expect that would be necessary “with this president.” “I have grown pretty immune to any kind of pressure, other than the pressure to do what I think is the right thing, given the facts and the law. That is what I intend to do as the attorney general,” Garland said. “I don’t care who pressures me in whatever direction.” The positive reception for Garland illustrated that senators are ready to move forward after his name became synonymous with a bitter, four year partisan battle over Supreme Court nominations during the Trump presidency. But while praising Garland for his record and his temperament, Republicans who denied Garland a seat on the high court made clear that they will not give him a free pass if he is confirmed as attorney general. “I just want to say I like you, I respect you, and I think you are a good pick for this job,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the panel and the former chairman who refused to hold confirmation hearings for Garland in 2016. “But I have a lot of questions about how you are going to run the Department of Justice.” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he intends to vote for Garland and called him a “fundamentally decent human being.” Still, Cornyn said, “he’s also made clear that he’s going to advance the policies of the Biden administration. And I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not going to like some of those.” Garland faced sustained questioning from senators about his plans to handle specific investigations and politically sensitive cases, like the Hunter Biden investigation and the special counsel’s inquiry started by former Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. The latter investigation, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, also remains open. Under questioning from Grassley, Garland said he had not spoken to Durham yet but had no reason to second-guess Barr’s decision to give him special counsel status. Still, while expressing support for transparency at the Justice Department’s decision-making, Garland declined to commit to making public the results of the Durham investigation. To date, Durham has interviewed officials from the […]

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Dominion Voting Systems Sues ‘MyPillow Guy’ For $1.3 Billion

Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit Monday against the founder and CEO of Minnesota-based MyPillow, saying that Mike Lindell falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election. The lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia alleges that Lindell ignored repeated warnings from Dominion, a voting technology company that has filed similar lawsuits against Donald Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Dominion accuses Lindell of repeatedly telling what the lawsuit labels the “Big Lie” that the company used its technology to steal the election from Trump. “No amount of money can repair the damage that’s been done by these lies, which are easily disproved. Hundreds of documented audits and recounts have proven that Dominion machines accurately counted votes. We look forward to proving these facts in a court of law,” the lawsuit says. Lindell, known as the “MyPillow Guy” from his TV commercials, told The Associated Press that he welcomed the lawsuit and said the discovery process will prove him right. “It’s a very good day. I’ve been looking forward to them finally suing,” said Lindell, who went to the White House to promote his theories in the final days of the Trump administration. There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country including Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to President Joe Biden’s victory, also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies were dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices. Lindell took umbrage at being repeatedly accused in the lawsuit of telling the “Big Lie” — noting that the expression was coined by Adolf Hitler. “The Big Lie here is the big lie,” Lindell said. “They’re the big lie.” Lindell stood by a long video amplifying his claims that he released Feb. 5 and said he recently posted a 20-minute version. This is the third defamation lawsuit that Dominion has filed against its accusers. At a news conference, Dominion CEO John Poulos said “it is by no means the last.” He said the company was also looking at the actions of various news organizations in the aftermath of the election. Poulos and Dominion lawyer Megan Meier alleged that Lindell didn’t really believe that the election was stolen from Trump. “He knew that lying about Trump’s loss would be good for MyPillow’s bottom line,” Meier said. They disputed Lindell’s claims that he has lost money for standing by his claims, and said they looked forward to examining MyPillow’s finances as part of the legal proceedings. “MyPillow’s defamatory marketing campaign — with promo codes like `FightforTrump,′ ‘45,’ ‘Proof’ and ‘QAnon’— has increased MyPillow sales by 30-40% and continues duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases,” the lawsuit alleges. Lindell said MyPillow did get a brief surge in sales. But he said more than 20 retailers have now dropped his products, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, and noted that Twitter permanently banned him and MyPillow. “I’d love to go to court tomorrow with Dominion,” Lindell said. (AP)

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Pfizer CEO To Visit Israel In March Amid Reports Of Vaccine Shortfall

The Jewish CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, is scheduled to visit Israel on March 8, Channel 12 News reported. Bourla’s trip comes as Israeli health officials warned on Sunday of a possible shortfall of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in coming weeks as Pfizer’s shipments of 10 million vaccine doses (enough to vaccinate 5 million) are completed. It’s possible that Bourla may bring additional vaccines with him, according to the report. Vaccine clinics have been instructed to prioritize the hundreds of thousands of Pfizer vaccines arriving in the next two weeks for those who have already received the first dose of the vaccine. Meanwhile, about 1.5 million Israelis have yet to be vaccinated at all. Israel is conducting discussions with Pfizer about purchasing an increased supply. Shipments of Moderna vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Israel this week and next month but only in small quantities. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that some of the Moderna vaccines will be stored for vaccinating Palestinian workers who cross into Israel, and some will be used for vaccinating those who have already recovered from the virus. Israel received a shipment of about 100,000 Moderna vaccine doses earlier this year. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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WARNING FROM HATZOLAH: This Purim has The Potential To Again Be a “Super Spreader” Event In Our Community

February 22, 2021 Dear Community Member, Before last Purim, we released our first community advisory regarding a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was starting to spread in the United States. At that time, we encouraged the community to take basic precautions and to cancel any large gatherings, including on Purim. Immediately after Purim, unfortunately we saw a tremendous Increase in COVID-19 cases in our community. The devastation that COVID-19 left in its wake was enormous. This Purim has the potential to again be a “super-spreader” event in our community. As such, we feel compelled to release this advisory and remind people not to become complacent. We are hopefully nearing the end of this terrible pandemic, but we are not there yet. There are still many vulnerable people in our community who need to be protected. We want to remind you: Follow recommended CDC and government social distancing and mask precautions. Large gatherings should still be avoided, if possible. High-risk individuals should be extra cautious. If you are feeling sick: STAY HOME and consult your doctor if you have any medical questions. In the event of an emergency, call Hatzalah. A tremendous amount has been learned about COVID-19 over the past year, and there are several therapies and vaccines available now that have been helping to alter the disease trajectory. Cases in the United States are ב”ה on a downward trend, yet there are still many new cases of COVID each day. Hatzalah still sees new cases daily. We implore you to remain committed to the safe-practices listed above. With Hashem’s help, we will get through this together as a community. We are Mispallel and hope that this Purim the words of the Megilla ויקר וששון ושמחה אורה הייתה ליהודים come true.

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A 17 year old boy named Shaye, who has undergone a liver transplant, is begging for your help.

Until five years ago, Shaye was a normal and happy child, with eleven siblings.The day he collapsed, his life and his family life collapsed with him. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW He was diagnosed with a disease that resulted in the collapse of his liver function, and his life was in immediate danger. His condition had deteriorated to the point where he was suffering of liver disfunction of 99%!! CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOWAfter tremendous efforts and astronomical costs, he has successfully undergone a liver transplant. However, his life continues to be in imminent danger constantly. Therefore, it is necessary to have very expensive medicines and maintain a strictly sterile environment for Shaye. This is in addition to his frequent hospitalizations. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW His parents give everything they can, but as parents of 12 children of which Shaye is oldest, , in their financial situation they cannot continue to fund both the functioning of the home, and Shaye’s treatments. In addition, Shaye’s treatments do not allow his father to work, and the entire financial responsibility has fallen upon his mother who works as a kindergarten teacher. With this difficult financial situation, they are certainly unable to fund the lifesaving medical treatments for Shaye’s survival.Shaye’s family lives in a small apartment, which simply cannot accommodate a separate sterile room with the necessary conditions.Shaye urgently must have a separate room built for him. The cost of these constant treatments along with the construction of this room are enormous, and Shaye’s parent cannot pay for it alone.Shaye’s life depends on you!Can you stand by and not help save his life? CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW Please help his parents raise $95,000 to save his life! Check you can make out to: Tomchei Tzedaka corp. Mail: P.o Box 1003, Lakewood NJ 08701 PLEASE SPECIFY FOR “KEREN FAMILY YULIS #10130” For Zelle / PayPal: info@tomcheitzedaka.org PLEASE SPECIFY FOR “KEREN FAMILY YULIS #10130” CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

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Report: Likud MK Held Secret Talks With The Palestinian Authority

An Israeli Druze Likud MK held secret talks with the Palestinian Authority in recent weeks to discuss the possibility of the PA tacitly supporting Netanyahu in the upcoming elections to encourage Israeli-Arabs to vote for Likud instead of the Joint Arab List, Yediot Achranot reported on Monday morning. The report, based on Palestinian sources in Ramallah, said that talks were held between Likud MK Fateen Mulla, an Israeli Druze politician who also serves as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Muhammad Madani, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a senior Fatah official. The sources said that the talks were suspended after the Palestinians invited Mulla to continue the discussions at an in-person meeting in Ramallah. When Mulla failed to receive approval for the meeting due to security issues, the Palestinians took offense and ended the talks. According to senior Likud sources, the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, including the campaign official leading the party’s outreach to Israeli Arabs, knew nothing about the talks between Mulla and the PA until a Yediot reporter asked for a reaction to the report. “There is no one in the world who thinks that the Palestinian Authority will support Prime Minister Netanyahu while it sends money to [Joint List chairman] Ayman Odeh to topple Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and replace him with Yair Lapid,” the Likud stated. Mulla confirmed that discussions were held but said they were on “low heat,” adding that the Arab Joint List party “does not represent the Palestinian people, and those who understand will understand.” The Palestinians were reportedly willing to engage in discussions due to their fear of right-wing politicians Gideon Sa’ar and Naftali Bennett, whom they view as the “radical right” who will make efforts to increase settlements in the Shomron and push forward annexation of the area. Since they view a win by the right to be inevitable, they prefer a win by the “more moderate” Netanyahu than his hawkish opponents. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein Fights Back Against Bigoted Comments by Executive Director of Common Cause NY

In an interview with the Gothamist last week, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause NY, spoke about the proposed Rank Choice voting system, and singled out New York City’s ‘Orthodox Jewish’ community as an “extremist bloc.” The comment was not only untrue but also inflammatory and derogatory to the city’s Jewish community. Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, who represents Boro Park and parts of Midwood, was outraged at the implications of Lerner’s comments and called her out on Twitter. “How is it acceptable,” tweeted Eichenstein, “for the NY chapter Executive Director to refer to Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers as an extremist bloc? You claim to be an organization that promotes equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all.” Eichenstein demanded that Lerner apologize and clarify her statements or resign from her position. Hey @CommonCause! How is it acceptable for the NY chapter Executive Director to refer to Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers as an “extremist bloc”??? You claim to be an organization that promotes “equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all.” pic.twitter.com/HcWztRafI9 — Simcha Eichenstein (@SEichenstein) February 21, 2021 Eichenstein’s comments were retweeted widely on social media, as many political leaders joined him in speaking out against Lerner’s comments. Congressman Ritchie Torres tweeted, “Calling Orthodox Jews an “extremist bloc” is appalling and antisemitic. It should be possible to disagree on policy without demonizing a whole class of people.” State Senator Brian Benjamin tweeted, “We cannot accept labeling the Orthodox community as ‘extremists’. Those running good government groups should know better than anyone not to traffic in stereotypes or stigmas.” City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. tweeted, “New York’s vibrant Orthodox community is in no way “extremist”. In 2021 in NYC we should be healing and bringing people together not fomenting division and stereotypes.” But instead of apologizing, Lerner doubled down on her statements. “Happy to clarify,” she tweeted, adding that the yeshiva system is “flouting the NYS substantial equivalency law,” which she calls an “extreme position.” This prompted Eichenstein to immediately respond, “SPINTRASH. You called our entire community an ‘extremist bloc’, Eichenstein added that “If I called an ethnic group an ‘extremist bloc’ you’d call for my resignation.” SPINTRASH. You called our entire community an “extremist bloc.” Had a chance to apologize. Instead, you doubled down on your hate. If I called an ethnic group an “extremist bloc” you'd call for my resignation. There should be no place for bigoted hate @CommonCause. Resign. https://t.co/i8i5teyboA — Simcha Eichenstein (@SEichenstein) February 21, 2021 The pressure is mounting against Lerner as Executive Director of Common Cause NY to apologize or to resign, and Assemblyman Eichenstein is not backing down, telling Yeshiva World News “Susan Lerner is trying to paint a picture of a city that has on its fringes a group of ‘crazies’. This is unacceptable. This is divisive bigoted language. Let’s be honest, had Lerner said this about any other ethnic group in NYC, there would be protests today calling for her resignation.” (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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15 Israeli Cities To Reopen 7th-10th Grades, Defying Gov’t Orders

Fifteen Israeli municipalities announced on Sunday that they will allow 7th to 10th graders to return to their classrooms on Wednesday, in defiance of government directives that call for those grades only returning to in-school classes on March 9. All other grades have returned to their classrooms as of Sunday. The cities that intend to defy government orders are: Ashdod, Be’er Sheva,, Givatayim, Hertzliya, Hadera, Holon, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Petach Tikva, Ramat HaSharon, Rishon L’Tzion, Rechovot, Ramat Gan, Ra’anana, and Tel Aviv-Yafo. The cities, which apart from Ramat HaSharon, are part of Forum 15 – The Israeli Forum of Self-Government Cities, which represents most of Israel’s major cities, stated that they are taking this step due to the “severe educational, social and psychological impact,” of the students’ prolonged absence from their classrooms. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Israel To Allow Only 200 People A Day To Enter Country

A decision was made on Monday to reduce the number of people allowed into Israel each day from 2,000 to 200, following a meeting of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. Only “urgent humanitarian cases” will be approved for entry. The new quota will go into effect next week and will be implemented until quarantine in hotels is restored or another solution is found. The decision comes in response to the revocation of the requirement for returning Israelis to quarantine in state-run hotels, which was knocked down on Sunday by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch on Sunday slammed the committee’s decision to end the hotel quarantine requirement. “The decision to close hotels opens a gateway for mutations to enter,” Kisch said. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Tehillim United!

WE WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF Tehillim United! Here’s what we are doing: On purim night, thousands of women and girls from across the globe are going to unite to harness the power of tehillim on purim. The goal of tehillim united is to have the sefer tehillim completed hundreds of times on purim as a zchus for klal yisroel. The way it works is that you sign up before purim for a yom. You will then receive a text/email/call with your assigned yom and the information about the tehillim united live teleconference.  The teleconference  will take place on leil purim. Thousands will say their tehillim in the allotted time slot which will be followed by short inspiration from incredible speakers including rebbitzen rena tarshish. The tehillim can be said anytime throughout purim.  The power here is in the numbers!! So please pass on this information to everyone you know, post it on chats, spread the word, so that together we can unite in this incredible zchus.  Tehillim united is hosted by kupas yom tov. Sign up now: text the word tehillim to  833-593-0047 or please fill out this form:  https://forms.gle/HFNketJrtMxTBrtw6 Or email tehillimunited@kupasyomtov.Org If you do not have access to any of these options then you can sign up by calling 732.334.0050.

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WATCH: Tunisian Doctor Plays Violin To Boost Virus Patients’ Morale

When Dr. Mohamed Salah Siala began working on the COVID-19 front line in January in a Tunisian hospital he never imagined harnessing his music skills in the fight against the virus. Yet when the 25-year-old decided to get out his violin one day at Hedi Chaker Hospital in the city of Sfax and play, it won praise for boosting the morale of virus sufferers who remained isolated and needed a smile. The reaction of the patients was immediate — smiling, clapping and some with their fists up — celebrating the impromptu “concert.” Some were surprised to discover that it was the doctor on the fiddle. “Playing the music here contributes to the patient’s feeling of joy and to forget the pain,” said patient Rachid Arous, who is recovering from COVID-19. “It’s a wonderful thing.” In his down time away from medical duties, Siala plays the violin enthusiastically and is also a member of a group called the “Pepper Band.” “My goal is to use music to help treat corona(virus) patients that are in a bad psychological condition, suffering loneliness — which is their first enemy,” Siala told The Associated Press on Saturday. Siala now plays regularly in the hospital, when he has time. Walking through the corridors with his violin, Siala’s music helps not just the patients but also health workers. They have been under pressure in the last few months because of the increased number of virus-linked hospitalizations that spiked at the beginning of the year. However, there is more than the violin to bring hope to the North African country. Tunisia is showing signs that the virus is in decline. In recent days, it recorded one of the lowest rates of new infections in several weeks. According to the Ministry of Health, 725 new positive cases were detected Thursday in the population of almost 12 million against a peak of more than 4,100 new cases in mid-January. Likewise, the death toll fell to 35, from a daily average of 70 — and the peak of 103 deaths one month ago. With the exception of the intensive care beds, which are still filled up, the oxygen beds are no longer as crowded as before, because many patients are being cared for at home. Currently, 1,264 Tunisians are hospitalized — including 287 in intensive care and 111 on ventilators. The country is also expected to get its first deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines this month. Those are part of a broader arrangement with the COVAX global vaccine program for developing countries and the African CDC that Tunisia hopes will bring in as many as 7 million vaccine doses in the coming months. In the meantime, patients can rely on Siala to bring hope and resilience with the strokes of his bow. “He plays to entertain us a little bit almost every day. I pray to God to protect him, and I wish you all that God protect you from this disease,” said Brika Sdiri, clapping and smiling while listening to the music. “I hope to get out of this place in good health, that’s what I wish.” (AP)

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Beyond 100M: Biden Team Aiming For Bigger Vaccine Numbers

It sounded so ambitious at first blush: 100 million vaccination shots in 100 days. Now, one month into his presidency, Joe Biden is on a glide path to attain that goal and pitching well beyond it to the far more ambitious and daunting mission of vaccinating all eligible adults against the coronavirus by the end of the summer. Limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines has hampered the pace of vaccinations — and that was before extreme winter weather delayed the delivery of about 6 million doses this past week. But the United States is on the verge of a supply breakthrough as manufacturing ramps up and with the expectation of a third vaccine becoming available in the coming weeks. That means the act of delivering injections will soon be the dominant constraint, and it’s prompting the Biden administration to push to dramatically expand the universe of those who will deliver injections and where Americans will meet them to get their shots. “It’s one thing to have the vaccine, and it’s very different to get it in someone’s arms,” Biden said Friday as he toured Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan. The company is set to double its pace of vaccine deliveries in the coming weeks. Since their approval in December, more than 75 million doses of the two-shot-regimen Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been distributed, of which 63 million have been injected, reaching 13% of Americans. Nearly 45 million of those doses have been administered since Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The pace of deliveries of those vaccines is about to take off. About 145 million doses are set for delivery in the next 5 1/2 weeks, with an additional 200 million expected by the end of May and a further 200 million by the end of July. That’s before the anticipated approval by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use of a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson. The single-dose J&J vaccine is expected to help speed the path to immunity and requires half the vaccination resources of the two-shot regimens. But there is no massive stockpile of J&J doses ready to roll out on Day One. “We’re going to be starting with only a few million in inventory,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said this past week. Still, when combined with the anticipated increases in the other vaccines, the J&J doses could prove the pivotal advance in delivering enough shots for nearly all American adults by the end of June, at least a month earlier than currently anticipated. The daily inoculation average climbed to 1.7 million shots per day last week, but as many as double that number of doses are soon expected to be available on average each day. The focus of Biden’s team is now quickly shifting to ensuring those doses can get used, though the administration has resisted the calls of some health experts to publicly set a “moonshot” target for how many daily doses it hopes to deliver. Biden first set his target of 100 million doses in 100 days on Dec. 8, days before the first vaccines received emergency use authorization. By Inauguration Day, it was clear the U.S. was on course to attain that goal. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington […]

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Do you who are buried here? (Hint: You heard of them)

This is an historic opportunity that has never been done by us before (and it’s still free) In honor of Purim, Yad L’Achim has arranged for several Talmidei Chachamim, Rabbanim from Iran who will travel the long distance to Hamadan, Iran to the resting place of Mordechai and Queen Esther on Taanis Esther and daven for all who submit their names for Tefillah through Yad L’Achim (no minimum donation required)You can submit your names by CLICKING HERE,  visiting www.YadLAchim.org or by calling Yad L’Achim at 1-866-923-5224 PS. You can also fulfil the mitzvah of Matanas L’Evyonim on Purim and the great mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim, redeeming of captives.  On this holy day of Taanis Esther at this holy place, have your names davened for free through Yad L’Achim – right before Purim!You can submit your names by CLICKING HERE,  visiting www.YadLAchim.org or by calling Yad L’Achim at 1-866-923-5224

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Israel Shuts Mediterranean Shore After Oil Spill, Possibly Worst In Israel’s History

Israel closed all its Mediterranean beaches until further notice on Sunday, days after an offshore oil spill deposited tons of tar across more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline in what officials are calling one of the country’s worst ecological disasters. Activists began reporting globs of black tar on Israel’s coast last week after a heavy storm. The deposits have wreaked havoc on local wildlife, and the Israeli Agriculture Ministry determined Sunday that a dead young fin whale that washed up on a beach in southern Israel died from ingesting the viscous black liquid, according to Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster. Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority has called the spill “one of the most serious ecological disasters” in the country’s history. In 2014, a crude oil spill in the Arava Desert caused extensive damage to one of the country’s delicate ecosystems. The Environmental Protection Ministry and activists estimate that at least 1,000 tons of tar, a product of an oil spill from a ship in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this month, have already washed up on shore. The ministry is trying to determine who is responsible. It declined commenting on details of the investigation because it was ongoing. The whale is buried: קבורת הלווייתן שנפלט בחוף ניצנים(צילום: ד"ר עוז גופמן) pic.twitter.com/vxRn7zhObF — כאן חדשות (@kann_news) February 21, 2021 Yoav Ratner, coordinator of the ministry’s oil spill contingency plan, said that there were still many “unknown unknowns” about the extent of the ecological damage and therefore it was difficult to say how long clean-up would take. Thousands of volunteers took to the beaches over the weekend to help clean up the tar, and several were hospitalized after they inhaled toxic fumes. The military also deployed thousands of soldiers to assist in the operation. The Environmental Protection, Health and Interior Ministries issued a joint statement Sunday warning the public not to visit the entire length of the country’s 120-mile (195 km) Mediterranean coastline, cautioning that “exposure to tar can be harmful to public health.” Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel told Hebrew media that her department estimates the clean-up project will cost millions of dollars. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured one of the country’s tar-pocked beaches on Sunday and praised the ministry’s work. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel toured the beach in Ashdod in light of the ecological damage. PM: "I was very impressed by the exemplary voluntarism of the citizens who came to clean up the beaches."https://t.co/SYFw9P1X6w pic.twitter.com/p9lTXpk60C — PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 21, 2021 Representatives from a coalition of Israeli environmental groups said in a press conference on Sunday that the ministry was woefully underfunded and that existing legislation did little to prevent or address environmental disasters. Arik Rosenblum, director of the Israeli environmental group EcoOcean, said that the Environmental Protection Ministry is “fighting this situation and many other situations with their hands tied behind their back” because of inadequate legislation. They cautioned that this disaster should be a wake-up call for opposition to a planned oil pipeline connecting the United Arab Emirates and Israeli oil facilities in Eilat — home to endangered Red Sea coral reefs. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)

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