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Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to make perfect "mashed potatoes" for Pesach!

If you want fluffy, super smooth mash, then use potatoes that are high in starch, such as Russets. These spuds also absorb flavours more easily.
Waxy potatoes on the other hand require more mashing to make them creamy. This could result in sticky potato glue, which can occur as a result of overworking your mash.


Mashed potato is one of those dishes that just doesn't taste as good after it has been sitting around for a long time.
If you chill your mash overnight to eat the next day, it will apparently taste of 'cardboard,' according to GH.
However if you really need to save time and make them ahead, GH recommends reheating them slowly in a heat proof bowl covered with plastic wrap by sitting them over a pan of boiling water for up to two hours.
You can also reheat them successfully in a slow cooker on a warm setting. 

Cover potatoes with cold water in a pan on the stove, not freshly boiled water from a kettle.
GH's experts say that adding potatoes to hot water when boiling will make them cook unevenly.  

Potatoes absorb water and salt while they cook, which means if you add salt to the water, they will become well-seasoned during the process.
It will ensure your mash isn't bland and you won't need to add much seasoning at the end after you've cooked them. 

If you don't drain your potatoes thoroughly, they may end up tasting watery.
GH's experts advise gently reheating potatoes on the stove after draining to dry them out slightly if you can't get rid of all the water.

Allow your butter to come to room temperature before melting over your freshly cooked potatoes.
You should also let milk and cream come to room temperature before adding these if you like to add richness to your mash.
This is because the potatoes will absorb the flavours much more easily if they are at room temperature, and it won't cool the dish down, ensuring it remains hot enough to serve.

When you cook potatoes, the starch granules become swollen which means they are delicate.
Mashing them too much or too vigorously can release the starch which is why they can sometimes end up gloopy and more like a potato paste than delicious creamy mash. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Here's how police tracked the suspected Austin bomber

Investigators believe a man captured on surveillance cameras dropping off two suspicious packages at a FedEx store in Austin on Sunday is linked to a string of five explosions that have rocked Texas in recent weeks, according to a report.
The suspect in the bombings, identified as a 24-year-old white man who killed two people and injured several others over the course of nearly three weeks, died early Wednesday after he detonated a bomb inside his car, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
The man was wearing gloves and what may be a blond wig when he entered the FedEx Office store on Sunday evening with two boxes, both of which were found on Tuesday, according to sources who spoke to CBS.
One of the two boxes exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx sorting facility in Shertz outside San Antonio, while the second package contained a bomb that was successfully intercepted at a FedEx facility near Austin’s international airport.
The FBI confirmed that both packages were tied to the four previous explosions that have terrorized the Austin area starting on March 2.
Sources told the Austin American-Statesman authorities identified the suspect based on evidence that included security video and store receipts, which allowed them to obtain a search warrant for his Google search history while he was traced to a hotel through his cell phone.
While the suspect is confirmed dead, authorities say they are not sure where he has been in the last 24 hours, and warned the public to be cautious as it's possible he left behind other explosive devices.

Yoel Falkowitz Thrown Out of Monsey Shul

Yoel Falkowitz was recently ejected from the synagogue and barred by the Rabbi of the Spring Valley, NY synagogue he regularly attends on the grounds that he is an apostate (“kofer”). The Rabbi, Avrohom Yehoshua Retek, accuses  Falkowitz of expressing heretical beliefs in shul and influencing others. He has mocked the biblical story of Jonah and the fish, and has remarked to a fellow congregant that “I’m not so sure there is a creator” –the self-appointed Rabbi said in an interview with
Falkowitz’s embarrassing ejection occurred on Feb, 10, 2018 during the Friday evening liturgy. Approximately midway through the liturgy, right before borekhu, the Rabbi, having previously warned Falkowitz not to attend synagogue that week, approached him and said “it’s my shul, get out!” When Falkowitz refused, the Rabbi went over to the central bimoh and announced that the service will continue downstairs.  Congregants hesitated, but after some moments of intense glaring by the Rabbi they followed him to the other room where the service resumed without Falkowitz’s presence.
For the morning service the next day, the spiel repeated itself. Falkowitz was asked to leave and when he refused the Rabbi directed his congregants out of the room and continued the service elsewhere while Falkowitz remained in the synagogue alone.
After suspending shabbos services for one week while strategizing action, the Rabbi hired guards for the third shabbos to be stationed at the shul’s entrance and prevent Falkowitz’s entry should he attempt it. Falkowitz, learning that some action was being planned against him for that week, did not show up, and has subsequently not appeared at Retek’s synagogue.
In order to punish Falkowitz and deter his return to the synagogue in the future, the Rabbi filed trespass criminal charges against Falkowitz. Around March 1st, Falkowitz received a notice of the second-degree criminal trespass charge by mail and was summoned to answer the charge in court.
In an interview with HN Falkowitz denied all the charges against him, including that he ever expressed any heretical opinions in shul. The Rabbi has a personal beef with him and has tried to instigate congregants against him, he says. When that failed the Rabbi sought to punish him out of spite in order to redeem the Rabbi’s honor and appear victorious. Members of the shul are disturbed at his ejection from the synagogue, Falkowitz says.
Falkowitz has hired a lawyer to repel the criminal trespass charge. He argues that his barring from the shul violates his civil rights since the shul “belongs to the state because it is tax exempt”. His GoFundMe page has raised $2,839 from 70 contributors since its launch five days ago. The prosecution has offered him a plea deal in which it would not seek any substantive penalty if he agreed to stay away from the shul for six months. But Falkowitz has rejected the offer, professing innocence and demanding that the charge be dropped at once unconditionally.
The synagogue in question is known as the “Parkview shul”, after the 64-unit condominium development, Parkview Condominiums at Maple & 45, within which it is located. The developer is a Hasidic individual who availed himself of federal urban renewal funds for the project, and all the condominium’s residents are Hasidim. The synagogue’s Rabbi, Falkowitz, and nearly all of its congregants are condominium members. The Rabbi had apparently paid the developer extra for the privilege of running the shul.
Federal standards for the project require that space in it be designated for a “community room”. However, being that Hasidim eschew secular social activities, the developer instead granted a concession to Mr. Retek to run religious services there on shabbos and be the “synagogue”‘s Rabbi. The room’s use as a synagogue is legally acceptable on its face although the federal standard requires that if it be used for religious purposes, then all religions be granted access equally.
In light of the federal rules governing the “community room”‘s use, Falkowitz appears to have a very strong legal case entitling him to attend services there against the wishes of the rabbi, who does not appear to have a right to exclude someone on religious grounds, even if the heretical charges against Falkowitz were to be true.
Falkowitz is infamous for having taken controversial positions within the Hasidic community. He is one of a select few brave Hasidim who have come out openly in support of Yaffed’s effort to improve secual education in Hasidic schools. He is also a professional actor, having roles in the film Menasheh and the TV series High Maintenance, defying the Hasidic norm to shun all television and cinema.
Nevertheless, in a sign of a general relaxation of strict communal conformity in recent years, Retek’s campaign against Falkowitz, while sincerely held by the Rabbi, has not been followed by any other elements in the community. Falkowitz’s children have not been ejected from their Hasidic school, and he is permitted to attend other synagogues, albeit being located farther from his home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Anti-Semitic Cynthia Nixon Running for Governor of New York

Alan Dershowitz is warning New Yorkers not to vote for ‘Sex in the City’ actress Cynthia Nixon, who announced Monday that she’s running for governor of the state.
The 51-year-old co-star of the popular television series and movies launched her run on Twitter, writing, “I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor.”
Nixon may love New York, but she sure doesn’t love Israel, and it’s questionable how much she really loves Jews, warns Dershowitz.
Nixon, a “progressive,” plans to challenge incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination.
Dershowitz warned in a tweet that Nixon is an anti-Israeli bigot.
At least nine percent of New York State’s population is Jewish — about 1.75 million Jews, all told — and there are 1.1 million Jews living in New York City alone, according to the 2011 population study by the UJA-Federation of New York. According to the 2012 Census Bureau data, Jews comprise at least 18.4 percent of the population in New York City. Any way you cut the Big Apple, that’s a lot of Jewish voters.
He referred to a letter that Nixon signed in September 2010, along with 150 other U.S.-based performing and related creative artists, voicing support for Israeli performers who refused to participate in performances taking place in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – and refusing specifically to perform in the newly-built cultural center in the city of Ariel, in Samaria. The letter campaign was organized by the Jewish Voice for Peace NGO linked to the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS)campaign against Israel.
Cynthia Nixon may run for Gov of NY. She has collaborated with Israel haters Jewish Voice for Peace and Vanessa Redgrave in boycotting Israel. Do not support her bigotry.
The tweets in response to my Cynthia Nixon tweet prove my point. If you’re anti-Israel, Nixon’s your candidate.
A statement from Nixon’s campaign said, “We want our government to work again, on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”
Nixon, who is not Jewish, is aligned with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, also a liberal and a politician to the left of Cuomo. She appears to have no background in the legal field, other than that which she has developed in the research she has done for her myriad dramatic roles.
One can point to a number of roles Nixon has had that might be considered, in a stretch, relevant to the political field. For instance, she won the 2008 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and her television roles include playing political figures Eleanor Roosevelt in Warm Springs (2005), Michele Davis in Too Big to Fail (2011), and playing Nancy Reagan in the 2016 television film Killing Reagan.
Nixon has “come out” as bisexual, and is currently married to a woman. The couple are parents to a son and daughter.
But despite a very long list of television and movie credits, Cynthia Nixon has absolutely no experience whatsoever in politics.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Why did Viznitzer Chassidim Block the Entrance of the Satmar Rebbe, R' Aron Teitelbaum, at the Leveyeh?

So the question is: "Why did the Viznitzer Chassidim embarrass the Holy Rebbe of Satmar at the Viznitzer Leveyeh?"

Could it be that R' Aron made the Viznitzer's life 
The Satmar Rebbe needed the Goyim to get  
 him inside
As Trump says
 "Sad, very sad"

Tillerson was no friend of the Jews

No friend of the Jews, Rex Tillerson…and he’s been fired by President Trump just in time for Pesach.

It’s being said that they differed, even quarreled, mainly over the Iran Nuke Deal… the one where Obama slipped $150 Billion to Iran’s tinhorn pharaohs in order, one way and another, to let them go ahead with a missile program intended to annihilate both Israel and the United States.

Tilllerson, for reasons that somehow made sense to himself and his State Department, wanted it kept pretty much as is. Trump wants it fixed or ditched.
So that difference of opinion is being cited as reason number one for the dismissal. That could be so.
Or perhaps Trump has been smarting over a remark Tillerson made early on…that’s when Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

After that, it’s doubtful that Trump felt much warmth for the man who had his own view of the world…a view that set them miles apart also about Russia and China and Korea, but mostly about Israel. 

That’s the rift, more than all the others, that finished it for Tillerson. Straight to the point, Trump is a friend and Tillerson is an enemy of the Jewish State.

More to the point, there’d have been no Jerusalem Declaration if Tillerson had his say. Trump had to work around him and through the entire State Department to get it done – get it “off the table,” in Trump’s own words, before they all woke up to discover that they’d been out-maneuvered. They never saw it coming.

Trump’s Declaration…officially naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel… was not only the boldest foreign policy move since Nixon opened up China, it was daring enough to be one for the ages, even Biblical. It changed everything in the Middle East. It shook the world. It certainly shook Tillerson and the State Department.

From the start, was Trump aware that Tillerson was just another Arabist – the kind that always seems to inhabit the State Department from the top on down?

Friday, March 16, 2018

There are Jews Still Living in Germany?

Anti-Jewish Hate Crime in Berlin Doubles in Four Years

Germans learned how to burn the Israeli Flag from the "heilega" Satmar Chassidim

A report in Tagesspiegel on Thursday revealed that police figures seen by the Berlin newspaper show that 288 crimes classified as anti-Semitic were recorded by the German capital’s police in 2017. This is slightly less than double the 149 crimes recorded in 2013.
Tagesspiegel reports that no analysis has been released with the figures to acurately explain the rise in anti-Semitic crime, but police and city officials have previously stated that they believe there is a correlation linking it to the increased number of migrants from the Middle East living in the city.

Vayikra: Rambam and Korbanot

Why did Hashem command that we offer korbanot (sacrifices)? 
What is the purpose of this form of serving the Creator?

Rambams’ Explanation
Much has been written about the Rambams' controversial analysis of the service in the Bais Hamikdash in his Guide for the Perplexed. 

At the core of Rambams’ explanation is his recognition of the difficulty in changing human nature. Deeply entrenched habits and beliefs cannot be uprooted overnight. It would have been futile for the Torah to command the Israelite slaves to abruptly discontinue all forms of worship which they had known in Egypt. Such a revolutionary demand would be like a present-day religious leader demanding that we suspend all external displays of worshipping G-d - no fasts and festivals, no prayers and petitions in times of trouble - just a mental service of G-d through reflection and meditation, without action or speech.

For this reason, the Torah permitted forms of worship that were practiced in those times. However, the Torah required that all worship be directed toward G-d alone. In this way, the nation would be weaned from idolatry, without being stripped of those practices they used to express themselves spiritually.

“It is unreasonable to expect that one who grew up as a slave, laboring in mud and bricks, should one day wash his hands from the dirt and straight off [without any preparation] do battle with the giants. Therefore, G-d did not immediately bring the people into the Land of Israel, and did not lead them [along the direct route], ‘the way of the Land of the Philistines’ (Ex. 13:17). Similarly, it is unnatural for one who is accustomed to many forms of service and practices, so ingrained that they are like unquestionable laws, to abruptly desist from them.” (GuideIII,32)

Ramban Objects
Other medieval scholars rejected Rambam’ approach out of hand. Ramban (on VaYikrah. 1:9) in particular vociferously attacked this position. He refuted Rambams’ explanation with two major arguments:

  • a) The Torah describes korbanot as a “pleasant fragrance to G-d.” This phrase indicates that this form of Divine service has an intrinsic positive value, and is not just a means to wean the people from mistaken beliefs and habits.

  • b) We find that long before the idolatrous Egyptians, Noah offered sacrifices to G-d, and they were accepted: “G-d smelled the appeasing fragrance” (Gen. 8:21). Similarly, we find that G-d accepted Hevel’s offerings of sheep long before idolatrous practices had spread throughout the world.

To Reform a Prince
And yet it appears that we find support for Rambams’ explanation in the Midrash. The Midrash explains the purpose of korbanot by way of a parable.

"This is like an uncouth prince who was given to devouring unslaughtered meat. The king said: ‘Let him always be at my table, and he will be reformed on his own.’ So too, since the Israelites were keenly devoted to idolatry in Egypt... the Holy One said: Let them offer their sacrifices before Me at all times.” (Vayikra Rabbah 22:8)

A careful reading of the Midrash, however, indicates an approach quite different than that of the Rambam. The parable speaks of the prince eating all of his meals at the king’s table. Clearly, dining with the king is in itself a great privilege and honor, besides its secondary benefit as a means to reform the prince’s coarse habits.

The parable is describing a situation where the son, due to his inappropriate behavior, does not deserve to dine with the king. Dining with the king is certainly a great honor, but eating exclusively at the royal table is a special measure designed to refine the prince’s behavior. So too, offering korbanot is a lofty form of worshipping G-d. Through this service, we merit a spiritual elevation, like one who dines with the King Himself, gaining the special favor of the King of the universe.

This parable does not come to explain the concept of korbanot in general, but rather refers to a temporary edict that was in force only while the Israelites sojourned in the desert. 

For those 40 years, they were forbidden to slaughter meat for their own personal consumption. They were only allowed to eat from the Shelamim (Peace offerings) brought to the Mishkan (see Devorim 12:20). The Midrash explains that this provisional decree was meant to wean the recently liberated slaves away from idolatrous practices, ensuring that none would continue the idolatrous practices of Egypt in the privacy of his home.

Jeremiah’s Clarification
This may be the true meaning of the verse which the Rambam quoted as a source text:
“For I did not speak with your fathers, nor did I command them when I took them out of Egypt, regarding offerings and sacrifices” (Jeremiah 7:22).

This verse is problematic. 
How could Jeremiah claim that the Torah does not command us to offer korbanot

We find many chapters in VaYikrah devoted to the Temple service. 

And why does the verse stress, “When I took them out of Egypt”?

The verse cannot be referring to those offerings which are explicitly commanded in the Torah. 
Rather, it refers to the special situation that existed “when I took them out of the Land of Egypt,” when meat was permitted only when brought as a Shelamim offering in the Tabernacle.

 One might think that this is the ideal, and we should emulate the actions of that exceptional generation. 

Jeremiah therefore explained that this abundance of offerings was not an end unto itself, but only a temporary decree of that generation, in order to wean them from the idolatrous practices they had adopted in Egypt.

Adapted from Midbar Shur, pp. 158-159, sent by Rabbi Chanan Morrison,

Vishnitzer Rebbe of Monsey Passes Away...was 95

The Rebbe was Niftar on Friday morning, with his children at his bedside at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. 

He had been in and out of the hospital for the past few months. many times his condition turned critical but miraculously, he was stabilized. This past week his condition continued to deteriorate with his blood pressure dropping. His children were called to his bedside, and on Friday morning he was Niftar as Viduy and Shema were recited during Yetziyas Neshama.

The Rebbe was the elder of the Admorim today.
The Rebbe was known for his devotion to learning Torah: Learning around 18 hours a day and asking his Chasidim to study at least two hours every day.
He has thousands of Chassidim around the globe.
The Rebbe, Hagaon HaRav Mordechai Hager ZATZAL, was born in 1922.
Following the Petira of his father, the previous Vishnitzer Rebbe the “Imrei Chaim” [HaRav Chaim Meir Hager of Bnei Barak ], he became the Vishnitzer Rebbe of Monsey.
He has 14 children, 8 sons and 6 daughters. 
His sons serve as Rabbonim in Vishnitzer Batei Midrashim around the world. His oldest son, HaRav Pinches Shulem ZATZAL, served the Kehilla in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York; Rav Yisroel is the Rov in Monsey, New York; Rav Mendel is the Rov in Kiamesha Lake, New York; Rav Yitzchok Yochonon is the Rov in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The other sons serve internationally: Rav Eliezer in Yerushalayim, Rav Aron in Montreal, Canada; Rav Duvid in London, UK; and his youngest son, Rav Buroch Shamshon, in Beit Shemesh.
He has hundreds of grandchildren, and thousands of great grandchildren.
The Levaya will be at 12:30PM on Friday afternoon in Monsey.

'Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims, enough with this lie!'

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein spoke on Thursday night at the National Council of Young Israel's annual dinner, debunking the myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims.

"Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, under King David, 3,000 years ago," Klein said. "It was never, ever, the capital of any other nation except Israel. When the Arabs conquered Palestine in 716, they made Ramla their capital, not Jerusalem."

"The Jewish holy books mention Jerusalem 700 times. it is never, ever mentioned in the Quran. Even about Mohammed allegedly going from Jerusalem to heaven, in the Quran...this is described as a dream. He simply has a dream, and it says he went 'from the farthest place to heaven.' ... And the nearest place, in the Quran, is Palestine. So clearly, it was not from Jerusalem."

Klein also noted that the Arabs, historically, have not cared enough to invest in Jerusalem.

"When the Arabs controlled Jerusalem from 1948-1967, when Jordan controlled it, they built everything of importance in Amman, not in Jerusalem," he said. "They allowed it to be a slum. There was no water, no electricity, no plumbing there. They destroyed the 58 synagogues in eastern Jerusalem."

Calling on his listeners to help debunk the lies, Klein said, "We must now tell everyone: It is not holy to Muslims, enough with this lie! Enough with the lie of occupation, there is no occupation, this is Jewish land, enough of the lie that settlements are the reason we have no peace. Settlements comprise 2% of all Judea and Samaria, there hasn't been a single new settlement built since 1993."

Slamming both the media and world leaders, he added, "All we get from the media, and even from leaders around the world, are lies, lies, and lies about Israel."

"Unlike politicians, G-d keeps His promises. And with the help of Almighty G-d and with the help of the Israel Defense Forces, the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) will prevail and will survive forever," he concluded.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Charedi Anti-Army/Draft Riots

by Batya Medad
I have absolutely no tolerance nor understanding for any anti-draft/IDF actions/riots etc here in Israel or any place else. The State of Israel is under constant threat and periodic attacks. From the Jewish point of view, that makes serving in the IDF a great mitzvah, Torah commandment, because it saves lives.

Prior to the Israeli Declaration of Independence, while we found ourselves defending ourselves against the Arabs and British, the "underground" forces, Haganah, Palmach, Etzel and Lechi had a complete cross-section of volunteers of all types of Jews in the Land of Israel. That included secular, traditional, religious and Chareidi. 

In the early days of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made an agreement with the Chareidim that they could get a deferment for full-time yeshiva students and religious women. The yeshiva students were expected to support the state by their prayers and learning. Of course, many of us believe that Ben-Gurion was "generous" in granting a deferment, because he wanted to isolate the then small number of Chareidim from the rest of the population. He didn't want religious interference or influence in the IDF.

While there has been great improvement and changes in the IDF for strictly religious soldiers, certain  Chareidi factions have become dangerously and violently more intolerant of the army and soldiers. Jerusalem has been plagued by frequent violent anti-draft riots. Last week, I found myself waiting for buses that couldn't come to the stop, because they had been rerouted. There was no notification. Public transportation and many main thoroughfares were closed or rerouted when possible.

Ordinary citizens, young and old, religious and secular have suffered physically due to travel difficulties. This is all because young, fit Chareidi men are wasting their energy rioting, rather than serving the Jewish People, rather than doing mitzvot, Torah Commandments.

They claim that their time in the Batei Midrash, Study halls are too precious to waste in the IDF, but they have lots of time to riot, attack the police and endanger the health and welfare of innocent Jews. There is absolutely nothing to support their behavior in the Torah.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trump gets rid of Tillerson!

Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo
President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.
Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.
Pompeo will replace him at the State Department, and Gina Hapsel — the deputy director at the CIA — will succeed him at the CIA, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.

The "Deplorable" Hillary Clinton Keeps Falling Down the Stairs Even With 2 People Holding Her!

Was she drunk? But at this point "what difference does it make?"