On Zeida’s knee

On Zeida’s knee

Stories from a world that was By: Lorraine Winnett Way back in the 1950s, Jewish grandparents had the (understandably) mistaken belief that grand children must eat. Experiences of deprivation and poverty, pogroms, and other atrocities were always present and hauntingly all too real in their minds. Children starved, and I, alone, had the supreme responsibility for eating grilled liver and fried onions, as other children could not bear it! It was irrelevant that I detested this delicacy, as it would definitely bring a glow to my sallow complexion. I was…

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Homework!?

Homework!?

What death and taxes are to life, homework no doubt is to school – at least that’s long been the conventional wisdom begrudgingly but obediently accepted by teachers, parents, and kids for as long as anyone can remember By: Ilan Preskovsky Some of us may have gone out of our way not to actually do our assigned homework – and certainly not to do so at home – but it has always been an accepted reality that with any halfway decent education comes work that must be done outside of…

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Not so elementary

Not so elementary

The case of the weeping hiker By: Rabbi Dr Dovid Fox A few summers ago on a return trip from Israel, my wife and I visited Switzerland. To paraphrase the wise words of many a great rabbinic scholar, we both wanted to see “HaShem’s Alps”. We planned a few weeks of solitary hiking to clear our minds with clean mountain air. Friends of ours frequent Switzerland and advised us of some beautiful valleys and famous peaks. Waiting for that one perfect spot to recite a bracha [blessing] over HaShem’s majestic…

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It’s burger time!

It’s burger time!

All the secrets to making the best burgers around Text and Recipes By: Sharon Lurie What makes a burger “A BURGER”? Is it the patty? The toppings? The condiments? Or the bun? The secret to these unique tasting burgers is a combination of all of the above. Nothing beats a simple home-made burger bun (recipe below), especially when cut open and toasted. Toasting the buns gives it an even better taste, texture, and surface to prevent the sauces from seeping through the bun and making it soggy. All the burgers…

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After hours

After hours

These days, a thirst for knowledge and to have fun while developing the skills needed for the fast paced lives that lie ahead lead kids to choose extra-murals that will develop them for life. We looked at a few… By Chandrea Serebro Coding The way the world is going, one of the best skills you can give your kids is for them to be well versed in technology. And this starts with coding, the fundamentals of the high tech world. Torah Academy offers coding through Kids Coding Academy as an…

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Excellence beyond the classroom

Excellence beyond the classroom

Teachers and students who are taking everything they’ve learned to the next level By Chandrea Serebro Rebbe’s Mussar Stories Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Edelman is a storyteller who uses the power of his voice, with his talent for imparting the Torah’s timeless wisdom through meaningful moshals (parables), to teach children all about growing themselves as people and as Jews. But just to make sure that what he is trying to teach people doesn’t get lost in the pages of history, Rabbi Edelman uses modern technology and the wonderful new ways of…

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Speaking to the heart

Speaking to the heart

A new memorial edition of Tehillim dedicated to the memory of Avigayil Brocha Goodman aims to reach the hearts of all Jews By Chandrea Serebro There is one book that catches Cathy’s eye as she unpacks a shipment of new Jewish books for the Kollel Bookshop where she works. It is small and unassuming; with soft pastel blossoms, tiny leaves and fruits, coming off an intricate vine, the delicate embossed flowers twirling off the front cover. A Tehillim book, so gentle and appealing, it immediately strikes her as something special,…

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Less really is more

Less really is more

In an effort to be more health-conscious, here are some recipes that have more natural, less-processed ingredients. They may require more time and effort in the kitchen, but you won’t be disappointed with having your fridge, freezer, or pantry well-stocked with delicious, healthier options on hand By: Avigail Goldberg Breakfast Pancakes Makes 6 2 cups rolled oats 2 overripe bananas 2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp baking powder ¼ cup chocolate chips – optional Fresh fruit and honey to serve – optional In a blender, blend the oats…

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Kosher heaven

Kosher heaven

Kosherfest introduces us to what lies ahead for all things kosher By Chandrea Serebro Those of us keeping kosher in South Africa realise how lucky we are, with so much available and so many options out there for so small a community, relatively speaking. We might think that Glenhazel or Sea Point is a kosher fest. That is until you discover Kosherfest – the annual event held in New Jersey for kosher businesses (it is not open to the public). “Kosherfest is the world’s largest and most attended kosher-certified products…

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Just like bobba used to make

Just like bobba used to make

Expressing love through food By: Nikita Singh On Purim, we look forward to delicate hamantaschen triangles filled with sweet mohn and fruity jams. On Rosh Hashanah, we weave big round challahs with a sweet golden glaze. Jewish holidays are always accompanied by the most flavourful and delicious dishes, like slow-cooked tsimmes, big bowls of chicken soup, and platters of smoked salmon. Food is like a cultural calendar in Jewish life. If you’ve got latkes on your plate, you know that it’s Chanukah. If you’re eating hamantaschen, you know that it’s…

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Supersize it

Supersize it

The pros share the planning and organisation that go into catering functions for thousands of guests By Chandrea Serebro If you think that having ten people over for a Friday night is a challenge – getting the soup hot and the meat out in time before it’s burned, and let’s not forget taking the ice cream out of the freezer in advance so it’s thawed enough to serve – imagine catering for a thousand or even more! Now imagine that the said thousand are Jewish and it takes it to…

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A taste of Italy

A taste of Italy

A business built to provide employment for family, but the real winner is the entire Jewish community By Chandrea Serebro Chani Lavine is Italian, and, like all good Italians, she loves a good ice cream. Not just any ice cream, mind you, but authentic gelato straight out of Italy. So when Chani went in the search of a business that she could build for her sons, Dovi and Reuven, to take over one day, it was natural that her first port of call was Italy, where Chani went in pursuit…

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What happens in the kitchen…

What happens in the kitchen…

A commercial kitchen can be a scary, hairy, weary place. We asked a few kosher pros to tell share some of their stories from the trenches By Chandrea Serebro “It was my first Tisha B’Av breaking of the fast working at Michelos. We came in as per usual at around lunchtime to prepare for a busy breaking of the fast. Throughout the afternoon, orders were coming in, but, an hour before the fast ended, our oven decided that it had had enough. A transformer blew and it was no longer…

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Shavuos: Receiving the Torah

Shavuos: Receiving the Torah

More than in our heart and in our soul, it’s in our DNA By: Aron Ziegler When the Jewish people stood at Har Sinai 3 331 years ago, we were asked if we would accept the Torah, and we famously responded “na’aseh v’nishma” – “we will do and we will understand”. In the Talmud, it is recorded that at this juncture Hashem held the mountain of Sinai over us and declared that we had better accept the Torah, or else. The Torah says[1], “And Moshe brought the people forth out…

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KEEPING THE COSTS DOWN: Mexem’s incredible trading fees

KEEPING THE COSTS DOWN: Mexem’s incredible trading fees

Keeping the Costs Down: Mexem’s Incredible Trading Fees Mexem, the introducing broker for Interactive Brokers, has been bringing world-class trading to South African investors for over a year now. Enabling trading in 120 markets and 28 currencies, all at very low fees, Mexem has dramatically transformed the face of investing for South Africans. By bringing Interactive Brokers – the largest US electronic brokerage firm – to South Africa, Mexem says it is able to offer extremely low fees that simply cannot be matched by South African firms who are limited…

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Not kidding around

Not kidding around

The beloved song from the Pesach Seder, Chad Gadya, may sound like it’s just a children’s song, but the meaning behind the imagery is truly profound By: Robert Sussman Written in Aramaic, the song Chad Gadya (Aramaic for “One Kid”) is the final song sung at the Pesach Seder. Its author is unknown. Why Aramaic? Our Sages wanted to conclude the Haggadah in the same language with which it began – “Ha lachma anya…”, “This is the bread of affliction…” – so they established that Chad Gadya be said in…

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Matzah! – Our tortured gastronomical love affair with this square-shaped piece of bread

Matzah! – Our tortured gastronomical love affair with this square-shaped piece of bread

By Chandrea Serebro How we love to hate matzah, and how our stomachs hate to love matzah. Most of us spend half of Pesach complaining about the lousy effect that all the matzah, chrain, and wine have on us. Yet, during the week of Pesach, we all delight at the simple pleasure of a creamy slice of geshmeerte matza. Or two. Or, why not three? Who’s counting? Besides, matzah doesn’t fill us up, so it’s very easy to keep going on and on just like the Energizer bunny. But there…

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A hero to the troopies

A hero to the troopies

Cecil Meltz’ profound love for every Jew meant that no Jewish man in uniform was ever alone By Chandrea Serebro Ask anyone from Bloemfontein and it’s a sure thing that they will recall knowing the legendary Cecil Meltz, who inhabited so many roles while being defined by none. His life story is a gripping tale of love and loss, war, murder, tragedy, friendship, and extending a hand to strangers. It started in Zastron, Free State, in 1920, when Cecil Meltz was born, one of nine siblings. He saw active service…

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We were slaves, strangers in a strange land

We were slaves, strangers in a strange land

Looking for remnants of a world that was By: Rabbi Dr Fox My visit to Morocco, my first to the African continent, was to look for graves. My wife’s father had been born there and had regaled her and me with his memories of life there before and after the war. Ultimately, he had made his way to France, to America, to Israel, and yet has retained clear images of the world which he left behind. Of interest to us was his decision, decades earlier, not to go back. He…

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The oldest fake news around

The oldest fake news around

Showing half the picture and taking all the credit By: Robert Sussman When did we truly become liberated from our Egyptian slavery? In other words, was there a precise point in time – even a precise location that we can point to – when Hashem took us out from Egypt where we were truly emancipated once and for all? In fact, the Torah tells us that there was such a moment where we gained our freedom, including a physical location where it took place: “Speak to the Children of Israel…

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In graphic detail – An Exciting New Approach to a Familiar Old Text

In graphic detail – An Exciting New Approach to a Familiar Old Text

By Ilan Preskovsky One of the hallmarks of any Seder is the challenge of keeping both old and young interested in what’s going on. Whether it’s the familiarity of a ritual we go through once (twice in chutz l’aretz) every year, the potential inaccessibility of a text that was old when the middle ages were young, or the way the main meal feels ever further away the more the Seder goes on, it is, at times, less than easy to engage in something that, by all rights, ought to be…

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In Vino Veritas – Four cups of wine: recognising what makes us different

In Vino Veritas – Four cups of wine: recognising what makes us different

By Dovid Samuels What do Purim, Shabbos, Pesach…and pretty much all Yom Tovs have in common? Besides for the food, there is almost always a bottle of wine present; usually to add to the simcha of the festival, but often mandatory. On Shabbos: for Kiddush on Friday night and Shabbos day, then havdola at the end. Purim, ad d’lo yada… (until you don’t know the difference). At Pesach: four cups throughout the night…and a fifth one poured, but not drunk. Now, there are many reasons given why we have specifically…

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Shock and awe

Shock and awe

Who doesn’t know the Ten Plagues? Hashem, who is All Powerful, could have done anything to the Egyptians that He wanted, so why did He choose those ten afflictions? The Midrash teaches that Hashem brought the plagues middah keneged middah (measure for measure). In other words, each one of the plagues was to punish the Egyptians for something they had done to persecute the Children of Israel. By: Robert Sussman 1. DAM (BLOOD) – WHY? The Egyptians saw that the Children of Israel would immerse in a mikvah when they…

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An eye for detail

An eye for detail

Two paths diverged in the wood…and David Braude wound up taking both of them By Ilan Preskovsky Even after just spending a couple of hours with them in their home, it’s hard to deny that, as Dulcie Braude herself puts it, she and her husband of nearly sixty years, David, “are not your average couple”. Dulcie, along with proving to be an impeccable hostess, is clearly the talker of the two; quickly taking charge and – pre-empting most of my actual questions – unspooling what are, no doubt, just some…

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Buried treasure

Buried treasure

Childhood tales of a famous relative lead to the discovery of just how great the man actually was, along with some newfound cousins By: Juan-Paul (Paysach) Burke To reimagine the past can be a challenge, especially the distant past with a dearth of ready information. So, to stumble across a relative who you never knew you had and to discover more about a rabbi of note that you share as a great-grandfather is a brilliant surprise and a present from above. The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy[1], comments and stories. 13…

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There’s more to the party than just the balloons

There’s more to the party than just the balloons

Girls celebrating their bat mitzvah year have so much to choose from to help them find meaning from their special day. By Chandrea Serebro Roots “Suddenly, as she becomes bat mitzvah, a girl begins to hear the voice of her soul. The needs, yearnings, and feelings of her spiritual inner self are allowed to emerge. She begins to seek meaning, fulfilment, connection, and inspiration. She meets a side to her personality that she never knew existed – a deeper side.” This is both the goal and the mission statement of…

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Celebrate the good times

Celebrate the good times

You don’t have to look far for a reason to celebrate By Chandrea Serebro Life is short. It’s too short to get lost in the details. It’s too short to get caught up in the daily grind. There are too many things to worry about. Paying the bills. The next deal that is waiting for us to close before someone else gets there first. Getting the kids to school on time. Getting the kids to varsity one day. Living a good, long life in good health. Every day we could…

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The consummate teacher

The consummate teacher

Paying tribute to the man who has steadfastly held a diverse and unique community united for decades By Chandrea Serebro It might sound incongruous for a judge – not just any judge, mind you, but the head of the court – to state repeatedly over a career spanning 40 years that he is not in the business of judging. But hearing Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag – recently retired from the position of Av Beth Din after taking up the position as Dayan in 1976, a giant of a man who at…

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Esther

Esther

Prophetess. Queen. Redeemer…Orphan. By: Robert Sussman What would you be willing to sacrifice to save your family? What about your entire nation? Would you be willing to give up everything that you hold dear and to live in virtual isolation in order to save everyone else? In essence, that’s exactly the choice that Queen Esther faced. One of the most famous – and most dramatic – moments in Megillas Esther comes when Mordechai sends a message to Queen Esther informing her about the evil decree that Haman has just had…

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Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov!

We say it so often, but what does it really mean? And does saying it actually make any difference – can we really change what’s been written in the stars? By: Robert Sussman No matter the simcha (joyous occasion), be it a wedding, bris, or bar mitzvah, we customarily greet each other by saying, “Mazel Tov!” In fact, it seems that any time we hear good news – a new job, a new car, a new house – we wish the person sharing that good news, “Mazel Tov!” We say…

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More than just a comfortable, safe place to daven

More than just a comfortable, safe place to daven

Standing up to the darkness and the shifting winds of change that threaten to destroy our youth By: Ilan Preskowsky The town of Lakewood, New Jersey is known for being home to one of the United States’ most significant Orthodox Jewish communities; a community centred around nothing less than the world-renowned Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva outside of Israel. Unfortunately, so prestigious a community is hardly exempt from a problem that challenges communities throughout the Jewish world. Literally hundreds of teenagers and young adults from this yeshiva community have…

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Making kids superpowerful

Making kids superpowerful

Teaching our children how to cope with life’s challenges By: Paula Levin Lara Noik and Tova Goldstein are extremely busy professionals, wives, and mothers, but despite all their commitments they are plotting a revolution. “We want to take over the world…starting with Glenhazel,” jokes Goldstein. Both qualified social workers, the two are energised and motivated to do far more than is possible in a day because they have a calling: to address the mental health crisis affecting adolescents. “Schools across the country are seeing an increase in mental illness, addiction,…

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Thou Shalt Innovate

Thou Shalt Innovate

Sharing the inspiration and hopeful story that is Israel By Chandrea Serebro If ever you wanted to hear good news about Israel, skip the small fry and head straight to thought leader and author Avi Jorisch, who took it upon himself to shout it out to the world. It came to him with a bang, quite literally, when both he and the people of Israel spent the summer of 2014 rushing in and out of bomb shelters during the Israel-Gaza conflict Operation Protective Edge. “This experience had a deep impact…

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Israeli innovation – A peek into Israel’s fast and furious, world-changing innovation across all areas.

Israeli innovation – A peek into Israel’s fast and furious, world-changing innovation across all areas.

By Chandrea Serebro Two Israeli start-ups (Nucleix and Medial EarlySign) are making great strides developing blood tests for diagnosing early stage lung cancer. Now, Savicell, a third, is achieving a 91% success rate. Early detection gives the patient a 50-80% recovery chance. At late stage it is only 4%. Israeli start-up Scade Medical has patented a prototype scanner to diagnose early stage melanoma. BlueSky is based on DOSI (differential optical spectro-polarimetric imaging) technology invented by Ofir Aharon, whose mother contracted melanoma. It has already saved seven lives. Israeli start-up Diagnoz.me has a…

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The Lion of Zion

The Lion of Zion

Remembering Ari Fuld, a life that continues to inspire, and the beautiful song written about him by a South African youth By Chandrea Serebro Israel lost its lion last year. World Jewry, including South Africa, mourned on 16 September and everyday thereafter. The day that Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old American-born Israeli, was murdered by a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist, Khalil Jabarin, in Gush Etzion. With his dying breath, after sustaining mortal stab wounds, the Lion drew his weapon, scaled a fence in pursuit of his attacker, and shot the terrorist to…

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Naale Elite Academy

Naale Elite Academy

Making dreams of living and learning in Israel a reality for South African teens By Ilan Preskovsky It may sound like a ludicrous pipe dream, but for South African Jewish teens between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, an opportunity awaits to finish off their high school careers in Israel with the added benefits of a free initial flight to Israel and fully-subsidised tuition, medical aid, room and board, pocket money, and a whole lot more. Naale (a Hebrew acronym meaning “children coming before parents”) is an international programme that,…

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An Englishman in sunny South Africa

An Englishman in sunny South Africa

Dayan Boruch Rapoport retires from the Beth Din after 33 years of devoted service By Chandrea Serebro When Dayan Boruch Rapoport looks back 33 years to the start of his career here in South Africa, he realises – not without a chuckle, characteristic of his dry English sense of humour – that he was not quite as experienced then as he is today, both in religious and legal matters, which a lifetime of learning and growing has kept him on top of, but also when it came to people. As…

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Bringing out every person’s potential

Bringing out every person’s potential

The Chev and Boston City Campus and Business College have teamed up to up-skill members of the Chev’s protected employment By Chandrea Serebro There isn’t a parent who doesn’t spend his life trying as best as he can to set his kids up for success in everything that the child will do, from personal to professional and back again. And the best place to start, everyone will agree, is through education. Indeed, our very own Madiba said it best when he acknowledged that education is power. And it is with…

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Making the Torah sweet for everyone

Making the Torah sweet for everyone

Some new approaches that help students of the Talmud enjoy their studies By Ilan Preskovsky While the Tanach may be the bedrock and “point of departure” for Judaism as both a religion and a culture, it is the Talmud (especially the Babylonian Talmud or Talmud Bavli) that is the best encapsulation of how Jews for the past two-thousand years have related to the Torah and, thus, how we have lived as Jews. The Talmud Bavli was compiled in the sixth century CE (the less-used Jerusalem Talmud or Talmud Yerushalmi was…

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Ready to take on the world

Ready to take on the world

Matrics let us inside their heads, sharing their thoughts on a variety of topics By Chandrea Serebro Name the top 3 game changers in the world today? Jasmyn Lawson; ATTN:; and Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Jasmyn Lawson is a black female programmer who is the former culture editor of Giphy (yes, that Giphy, that provides us with all of the gifs on the internet). Women, especially women of colour, are notorious for being marginalised within the computer world, but Jasmyn is changing the face of our internet by making it…

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Tapping into teens

Tapping into teens

Thoughts and advice from our youth By Chandrea Serebro What do you hope to see in the world in the future? My hope for the future, specifically for our country, is to see greater safety and freedom. Open access to public transport – safe, reliable, and cost-effective. Wouldn’t a bus or train to school be nice? Why are youth important today? Youth are important today because, in a digital world, our youthful optimism, energy, and desire to connect to each other in a real and social way is essential for…

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True kindness: Giving someone what he lacks and cannot attain for himself

True kindness: Giving someone what he lacks and cannot attain for himself

By: Robert Sussman Each time we daven Shemoneh Esrei (aka the Amidah, or standing prayer), we say in the very first bracha that Hashem “recalls the chasdei Avos (the kindnesses of the Patriarchs)”. What kindnesses are we talking about? And to whom? Our Sages teach that Avraham’s defining characteristic was chesed (kindness), Yitzchak’s was din (judgment), and Yaakov’s was emes (truth). While the Torah is replete with episodes of Avraham’s chesed, as well as how Hashem tested him regarding that trait, the chesed of Yitzchak and of Yaakov is less…

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When all else fails

When all else fails

The world in which we live often stands at odds with the timeless values of the Torah and the prevailing atmosphere of violence and utter disregard for human life and property which have come to be the norm everywhere is certainly no exception By: Robert Sussman Following the recent Pittsburgh massacre, Hashem yikom damam (may Hashem avenge their blood), debate raged in the US over whether Jews should begin carrying and training with firearms as a “deterrence” to future such incidents, Hashem yerachem (G-d have mercy). So, it’s worthwhile to…

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