Baltimore, MD – Apr. 12, 2024 -  BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Yaakov Yitzchok Rubavitz (Milwaukee) & Miriam Brody (Baltimore)  on their engagement. Mazel Tov to parents Rabbi and Mrs. Yehuda Brody  יה"ר שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. אמן!
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This Pesach YOU can also bring HOPE to Rav David and his family by helping to support a father battling with ALS!   R' Dovid is the personification of HOPE to the world. This Pesach please help Rabbi David Frid to receive the life-giving care he needs at home surrounded by his loving family.Due to extra medical expenses your generous support is urgently needed!  Chag Kasher V'Sameach from The Frid Family They thank you in advance for your very kind and generous donation!  Click to watch the video. Access the donation page here.
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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 12, 2024  - O’Fishel’s Mitzvah Mo Buffet for the Brachos Contest will be This Sunday, April 14 At MMAE from 5:00 – 6:00 pm
US President Joe Biden on Friday issued a warning to Iran over a possible attack on Israel. Asked by reporters what his message to Iran is at this moment, the President replied, “Don’t”. He added, “We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel, and Iran will not succeed.” Asked how imminent an Iranian retaliatory attack on Israel might be, Biden said he did not want to get into classified information but “my expectation is sooner [rather] than later.” Earlier, the White House said that there remains a “real,” “credible” and “viable” threat of Iran launching strikes in retaliation for the attack attributed to Israel on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Sy...
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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 9, 2024  - Please join us for an amazing series of Shiurim on Tuesday evening, April 16th.  7:30 Rav Ahron Lopiansky   8:15 Rav Tzvi Holland.  Venue: Rabbi Heber's Shul, 6811 Park Heights Ave. Refreshments will be served. Followed by Maariv.  
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Baltimore, MD - Apr. 12, 2024  - The Unified Command continues to remove containers onboard M/V Dali and clear bridge wreckage at the Key Bridge incident site, Wednesday.  Salvors continue to remove containers from the M/V Dali as part of the effort to gain access to the portion of the Key Bridge that lies atop the ship. The transfer of containers from the M/V Dali will continue in the coming days, as weather permits. As of April 11, approximately 38 containers have been removed. The removal of these containers is a critical step required to safely move the M/V Dali and eventually fully re-open the Fort McHenry Channel. Removing containers allows for safe access to then remove the pieces of the Key Bridge that lie across the ship’s bow, taking weight off the shi...
Baltimore, MD – Apr. 12, 2024, 2:18 PM – Please be advised of an accident that just occurred at Clarks Lane and Reisterstown Rd.H/T: Bmore Speed Traps and Traffic Incidents
Authorities said multiple people were injured Friday after a commercial motor vehicle crashed into a Department of Public Safety office in Brenham, Texas. Texas DPS said the crash occurred Friday morning when an 18-wheeler was being pursued by a law enforcement agency. The driver is in custody.  "Please stay clear of the area as investigators and medical personnel respond to the area," DPS officials said. At least three victims were said to be in critical condition and four others suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash, Click2Houston reported.  "We believe this is a criminal act," County Sheriff Otto Hanak told reporters.
Baltimore, MD, April 12, 2024—Coalition for Jewish Values called for Congressional support for the Define to Defeat Act of 2024, proposed by Congressman Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY). This bill requires that when referring to antisemitism, the Federal government use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism along with its contemporary examples. “The Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory, taught that ‘One of the enduring facts of history is that most antisemites do not think of themselves as antisemites,’” said CJV President Emeritus Rabbi Pesach Lerner. “This is why it is so crucial that antisemitism be defined in a neutral fashion that clearly encompasses when...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Tazria - From Cradle to Capable

I am not shy about offering my opinions on a wide array of Jewish and Torah topics, but I do try to leave my personal experiences out of my writings.  On occasion, I deviate from this general rule when I feel the individual insight is relevant to the public.  For this Parsha, which discusses the rituals which follow childbirth, I am again taking such a liberty. Raising children in today's environment is perhaps more difficult than ever.  There was a time not too long ago when parents and their homes were the principal influences on a child's young life.  Such is not the case today.  In the 1960's, when day school education became the norm for observant families, a large amount of influence was surrendered to our schools and the other children who attended.  Fast forward 40 more years and the “information” age has penetrated every aspect of our lives. 

My wife and I tried to keep up with the ever changing technologies and the challenges they presented as we raised our children.  One example, as cell phones became commonplace, we discussed the appropriate age at which our children should have their own phone.  This is a decision with many considerations.  Phones today can be conduits to all sort of harmful matters.  When can a parent feel comfortable that their children will not use the phone for purposes which may present a danger?  How would they handle receiving an anonymous text message which may seem benign?  How mush safer is the child having a personal phone with them if they are in an emergency situation?  Our conclusion back in 2005 was that a young person should have their own phone when they get a learners permit for driving.  The benefits at that time seemed to outweigh the dangers and by the time children have reached the age of 16, hopefully you have imparted to them the process of healthy decision making.  The world had survived without cellphones for thousands of years, requiring children to wait until they were young adults to have one seemed a reasonable approach.

The world had other ideas.   By 2007, text messaging had become the primary method of communication between young teens.  My son missed a basketball game on a Sunday afternoon because he did not get the mass text which was sent out by one of the other kids in the class.  True, they could have called the house phone but the point is that they don't.  Since most 14 year olds had their own phone, our decision no longer lived in a vacuum.  We were forced to reassess based on the reality which existed.  That reality was that most parents were providing phones at a younger age and being one of the few without one caused some inconveniences.  Accordingly, we decided that we would have a shared phone for our younger teens for use in the house only.  The phone remained in the kitchen at all times but that way if text messages were being sent out, our young teens would not miss them.

A few years ago, my family had the privilege to again visit Eretz Yisroel.   A large bonus of the trip was to see our 19 year old son who was learning for his 2nd year in Yehivas Mircaz Hatorah.   The prior year, after his first year in the Yeshiva, he made a siyum on Meseches Gittin. A tremendous accomplishment.  This year, shortly before our visit, he made a siyum on Meseches Kesubos, another milestone achievement.  We talk regularly and it was obvious that he was growing tremendously in Torah knowledge and accomplishment.  Partially due to my encouragement, he had incorporated significant halachic study into his daily sedarim.  We were talking recently about his schedule which begins with a 5:30 AM workout, shower and davening and concludes after a whole day of learning at 1:30 AM each night.  I asked him about the length of the day and the few hours for sleep and he responded quite profoundly, “Abba, in a couple years I am going to have to go to school, earn a Parnassa and take care of a family.  These are the only years where I can focus exclusively on learning.  I want to take advantage.”

When I visited the Yeshiva, I met his Rebbe.  A great Talmid Chacham as was his Rebbe the previous year.  While I was spending a few minutes talking with R' Lipner another Rebbe walked over to us.  He had seen me walk into the Bais Hamedrash with my son and asked if I was his father.  I replied that I was.  He then said, “I am the night Seder Rebbe in the Yeshiva.  My job is to be here each night until the last Bochur leaves, typically around 1:30 – 2AM.  I don't even know your sons name but I can tell you that he is one of the last 4 guys here each night.  You should know he is learning the entire time.”

I won't deny taking tremendous pride in his growth – after all that is why we sent him there.  But even though he was learning with great dedication, I felt the obligation to impart some mussar upon my departure.  I told him, “Mommy and I are extremely proud of how you are learning and the dedication and commitment you have shown.  We are happy to see you thriving in this Yeshiva precisely because we value Torah study and knowledge.  I do want to leave you with 2 thoughts.  As your father, it's still my place to help you grow.  First, Hashem did not give you this great mind and charisma so that you can blindly follow someone else, even if it is a great Talmid Chochom.[1] Your growth has to be with the aim to develop your own knowledge so you can make your own decisions and be Mashpia on other people in a positive way.  Second, we value Torah study as a goal unto itself as well.  But remember, Rashi in Bechukosai says 'the reason we learn Torah is so we know how to do the Mitzvos.'  You cannot learn all day long and think you are exempt from everything else.  You must value and look for opportunities to do Chesed and help others”.  As I left Eretz Yisroel I had no delusions that my son was going to suddenly alter his daily schedule to incorporate my suggestions.  Nevertheless, I hoped that it would at least leave an “impression” upon him about some of our other values. 

At the youngest of ages children tend to inherently mimic their parents behavior.  Regardless of the lessons to which you pay lip service, they tend to learn much more from what they see.  As they mature into adults, their tendency to mimic is overshadowed by their ability to reason, the knowledge they have gained and the outside influences in their lives.  It is at that time the relationships you have built over their lifetime allow, or disallow your continued influence.  In order to best preserve and build those relationships, children need two things.  Unconditional love and security.  Security does not mean providing their every wish and desire.  It means making the sure the child goes to sleep each night knowing that they are being taken care of.  If you can provide these two things most children will flourish and know that they can always count on you when they are adults as well. 

It is a complicated world right now.  As parents we must do everything we can to ensure that our children know that no one will ever have their best interests in mind like we do.  This comes from setting appropriate boundaries and making sound evaluations about what and when they can safely be exposed to the various perils which are out there.[2]  Most critical is to teach them that everything can be used for good or for bad and the greatest challenge is helping them learn how to make those decisions and distinctions.

A few months later my son’s plane arrived in Washington for the Pesach break.  He looked great and Chaya and I were very happy to see him.  After enduring the shlep home from Dulles Airport, I asked him, mostly out of curiosity, if he remembered the two things I had mentioned to him when we had visited him?  Remembering them in and of itself would have had some value.  He replied, “Yes, I did.  As a matter of fact because of what you said I began participating on Thursday nights in packing up and loading Shabbos packages for a local Tzedakka organization.”  Wow.  Simply by imparting pride and delivering a suggestion in a constructive tone, I was still able to have an influence on my 19 year old son whom I see now for perhaps 10 weeks out of the year.  It was a very good day. 

[1]              For several reasons, I have become increasingly concerned over the epidemic sweeping over people of  “Gadol Worshiping”. First, today you can almost believe nothing said in any Gadols name because so many in their inner circle have taken to issuing edicts in the Gadol’s name which they did not authorize and were not aware.  Second, much of this brainlessness is a deliberate act to absolve oneself from responsibility for even the most basic decisions.  Which car I should buy is not an appropriate question for which to seek Rabbinic guidance.  Indeed, the Torah warns us explicitly that even if a parent tells one to do something against the Torah, you may not listen.  We MUST raise our children to equip themselves with basic halachic and Torah knowledge so they can make day to day decisions for themselves. 

[2]              This also flies in the face of the modern trend to insulate our children from every danger in today’s modern world.  This absolutely stifles there ability to learn how to use things in a positive way.  I am not suggesting that we let toddlers play with matches or allow young teens to be on the internet unsupervised or without appropriate filters or safeguards, but designing plastic bubbles around them prevents parents from teaching them right from wrong and how to use things in a positive way.

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An Iranian attack against Israel is expected to occur as soon as Friday and may include more than 100 drones and dozens of missiles aimed at military targets inside the country, CBS News reported on Friday, citing two US officials. The officials said it would be challenging for the Israelis to defend against an attack of such a magnitude and while they held out the possibility that the Iranians could opt for a smaller-scale attack to avoid a dramatic escalation, their retaliation was believed to be imminent. Iran has publicly threatened to retaliate for an attack last week in Damascus, Syria, that Tehran said was an Israeli air strike on a diplomatic building and in which top Iranian military officials, including a senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, were el...
SimchasSimchas Simcha
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 12, 2024 - Yeshivas Toras Simcha students enjoy an Oneg Shabbos with their rabbeim and Rabbi Hillel Shepard, Menahel.  The Oneg Shabbos includes songs, divrei Torah and, of course, chullent and soda!
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
Jerusalem, Israel - Apr. 12, 2024  - Today (12 April 2024) Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant met with U.S. CENTCOM Commander, General (* * * *) Michael Erik Kurilla, at the IAF Hatzor airbase.Minister Gallant and General Kurilla discussed readiness for an Iranian attack against the State of Israel, which may lead to regional escalation.The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief of the General Staff MG. Amir Baram, Director of the Policy Bureau Dror Shalom, and Military Secretary BG. Guy Markizano.Minister Gallant expressed his appreciation to General Kurilla for his leadership and contribution to the powerful and unique bond between the U.S. and Israel, and thanked him for the United States’ support for Israel.Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant: "I have recently completed a meeting w...
Baltimore, MD – Apr. 12, 2024 -  BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Dovy Rimmer & Riki Adler on their engagement. Mazel Tov to parents Mr. and Mrs. Yoni Adler and grandparents Mr. & Mrs. Shlomo Spetner  יה"ר שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. אמן!
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Baltimore, MD – Apr. 12, 2024 – 9:22AM - Please be advised that an accident at the intersection of Old Court and Park Heights is currently causing traffic delays.
Baltimore, MD - Apr. 12, 2024 - Kashering is certainly one of the most critical aspects of preparation for Pesach. To many, the process may seem daunting for a variety of reasons: It is not something people do regularly, there are serious safety risks involved in handling hot items and boiling water, and potential to damage the kitchen. Also, if not accomplished correctly, there is a risk that after all the work is done, with hot water running all over the place, the kitchen may not actually be really kosher for Pesach! However, it really does not need to be that difficult and with a little know-how and effort, most people are capable of kashering their kitchen. For a full step-by-step guide to proper kashering procedures, consult the STAR-K Passover Guide, which is available in hard copy...
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Baltimore, MD – Apr. 12, 2024 -  BJL wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to Avi Majeski (Baltimore) & Tami Simon (Chicago)  on their engagement. Mazel Tov Rabbi & Mrs.Yakov & Shanni Majeski יה"ר שיזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל. אמן!
Following the decision of the Israeli government, the first humanitarian aid trucks transporting food entered through the new Northern Crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, The transport was coordinated by the IDF and COGAT, as part of efforts to enhance the humanitarian aid corridors to the Gaza Strip in general, and to the north in particular. The IDF noted that the trucks underwent thorough security checks by the security authorities of the Land Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and were accompanied by IDF soldiers. Last week, The Security Cabinet approved an increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. The statement said that the Cabinet authorized Prime Ministe...
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