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Baltimore, MD - I was in Eretz Yisrael learning in yeshiva when I learned through a tape my parents sent me that M. Leo Storch was extremely ill. I was absolutely devastated. For me, Mr. Storch was a mentor I looked up to throughout my teenage years. He was the type of person I wanted to be when I grew older. M. Leo Storch was a charming, brilliant Baltimore attorney, an accomplished businessman, and a successful real estate developer who made a huge impact on the Baltimore Orthodox Jewish community. His life was truly a kiddush Hashem. Even today, 50 years after his untimely death, he cont...
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For decades after its liberation, Jews of all affiliations – or no affiliation – prayed at the Kotel in accordance with the 1,500-year-old prayer tradition at the site. Recently, the Reform movement orchestrated a crisis in “Diaspora-Israel relations” and convinced Israeli politicians that a “Kotel Compromise” is necessary. Following negotiations between the Israeli government, Women of the Wall, and Reform and Conservative movements, the Israeli government’s solution – the Kotel Compromise – would partition the Kotel into two plazas – the “traditional” Kotel Plaza, and a heterodox plaza for mixed prayer. This, said the Reform and Conservative movements, would mend the rift between Diaspora Jews and Israel. With the ...
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Baltimore, MD - Jan. 16, 2022 -  Accu Testing is now expanding our hours to be able to accommodate the community needs. Starting tomorrow Monday January 17, we will be open at 122 Slade Ave Monday thru Thursday ALL DAY from 9am until 8:15pm. Sunday hours remain 10am-12pm and 7-815pm and Friday 730am-11am. Click here to register.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) reportedly asked a group of Jewish individuals who were visiting the Capitol if they were there to do “reconnaissance,” the visitors told BuzzFeed News. Boebert is said to have seen the group of visitors on Thursday, looked at them “head to toe” and asked if they were visiting the Capitol to do “reconnaissance,” one person who saw the interaction told the outlet. “You know, I’m not sure to be offended or not,” one of the rabbis in the group told Buzzfeed News. “I was very confused.”  “When I heard that, I actually turned to the person standing next to me and asked, ‘Did you just hear that?’” the rabbi said. The group was there to meet with Rep...
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Baltimore, MD - Jan. 20, 2022 - This past Motzei Shabbos, Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion was filled with almost 300 people celebrating the installation of Rabbi Daniel and Yocheved Rose as Rav and Rebbetzin of BJSZ.   Although the installation had been delayed because of Covid, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Rose have been leading our shul for the last 18 months, rising to the challenge of assuming the leadership during the pandemic with exceptional warmth and caring. The evening of appreciation began with a reception during which people lined up to personally thank Rabbi and Rebbetzin Rose for the influence that they have on their lives.  The evening then continued with a dinner, at which the guests were continuously entertained by the wit of the MC, the renowned Shimon Marciano.  ...
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Baltimore, MD – Jan. 19, 2022 - It is with regret that BaltimoreJewishLife.com informs the community of the petira of Mrs. Zina Herman , a’h, mother of Elaine Gerstenfeld. Shiva is being observed by ZOOM only beginning Friday morning, Jan 21 at 10AM through Wednesday evening.Visiting times: Friday 10-12 Motzaei Shabbos: 7-9 Sun-Wed 10-1, 7-9Click here to join Zoom  Meeting ID: 810 045 4925Passcode: shiva Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
“It came about on the next day that Moses sat down to judge the people, and the people stood before Moses from the morning until the evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw what he was doing to the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit by yourself, while all the people stand before you from morning till evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “For the people come to me to seek God. If any of them has a case, he comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make known the statutes of God and His teachings.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out both you and these people who are with you for the matter is too he...
Two members of the radical “Squad” are linked with a Muslim group that has rallied for the release of terrorist Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui is the convicted terrorist known as “Lady al-Qaeda”, whom Malik Akram, the Texas temple attacker, demanded be released during his hostage standoff last weekend. Antisemites Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have both joined up with Muslim-American rights groups which recently advocated for her release. In November, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) held a joint “Free Dr. Aafia” Advocacy Day in Washington DC, in an effort to lobby Congress for her release. One month later, CAIR honored Ilhan Omar as “American Muslim Public Servant of 2021” at its virtual g...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Yisro - The Greatness of Listening

Chazal tell us that the naming of Parshas Yisro, the Sedra which contains the Aseres Hadibros, is a great  honor.  The Torah goes out of its way to tell us how Yisro was greeted by Moshe Rabeinu, Ahron and other leaders (Yisro, 18:7) and was also accompanied when he left B’nei Yisroel.  (18:27)  Additionally, Moshe adopted Yisro’s suggestions in how to better judge the issues presented by Bnei Yisroel, with chiefs and judges serving underneath Moshe Rabeinu. (18:24) Yisro was accorded great respect at the time and holds his place of distinction to the present day by being linked with the Aseres Hadibros.  This presents a profound question.  What was so great about Yisro that he was deserving of such special respect by our Torah?  


The Parsha begins by telling us that Yisro “heard” all that Hashem did for Moshe and B’Nei Yisroel in taking them out of Mitzrayim.  Rashi tells us that what Yisro “heard” and what persuaded him to come, was specifically Kriyas Yom Suf and the victory over Amalek.  (Rashi, 18:1)  This hardly seems like a great credit to Yisro.  After hearing about Hashem’s great miracles on behalf of Bnei Yisroel, Yisro decides to join?  Contrast this with Avraham Aveinu, who came to recognize Hashem on his own, and was later called to task for asking Hashem for a “sign” of his bris.  Yisro asked for no sign.  He waited for irrefutable proof of Hashem’s power and special relationship with B’nei Yisroel before coming to their camp.  Where is the greatness in recognizing Hashem, after these world-transforming events?


In order to fully appreciate the greatness of Yisro, it is first necessary to understand who he had been.  We are told that Yisro was “Kohen Midyan”, a priest of the people.  Yisro, as a man of great intellect and perception, had always been in positions of authority and power.  The Medrash Rabba tells us that he was one of Pharoh’s three chief advisors when Moshe was being raised in the palace.  (the others being Bilham and Iyov)  Yisro, despite his relative comfort, wealth and position always pursued the truth.  Indeed, this pursuit led him to sample every type of idol worship known to man, (Rashi 18:11).  With Yitzias Mitzrayim, this quest ended.  Yisro had found the truth.


This is the greatness of Yisro.  He had tried every Avoda Zora and sought satisfaction and fulfillment in participating at the highest levels of government.  Yet, at the same time that Amalek was attacking the Jewish people for their apparent special relationship with Hashem, Yisro did the opposite.  Yisro saw that everything he had done until now was folly and he was great enough to admit it.  Vayishma Yisro.  Yisro was willing to listen and admit that he had been wrong.  That was his greatness.  


At all stages of life no matter who or where we are, none of us can be above this lesson.  Our commitment to improvement must be a lifelong endeavor.  As we listen to the Aseres Hadibros this week, the blueprint for this goal will once again be declared publicly.  The only question remaining is are they just being “declared” or perhaps we can learn from Yisro what it really means to “hear” them.

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The latest surge of coronavirus cases powered by the omicron variant has caused extremely high numbers of employees to miss work because of illness, exacerbating the country’s persistent labor shortages and threatening to complicate the labor market’s push toward pre-pandemic employment levels. Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 10, approximately 8.8 million workers reported not working because they were sick with the coronavirus or caring for someone who was, according to data from the Census Bureau. Those numbers are nearly triple the levels from the first two weeks of December, before cases had started to peak around the country. They were also the highest numbers since the agency started taking the survey in April 2020 – well over last January’s peak of 6.6 million work...
You have to go back to the start of the coronavirus pandemic to find mortgage rates as high as they are this week. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed for the fourth week in a row to 3.56% with an average 0.7 point. (A point is a fee paid to a lender equal to 1% of the loan amount. It is in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.45% a week ago and 2.77% a year ago. The 30-year fixed average is at its highest level since March 2020, when it was 3.65%. Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from around 80 lenders across the country to come up with weekly national averages. The survey is based on home purchase mortgages. Rates for refinances may be different. It uses rates for high-quality ...
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A top Presbyterian reverend accused Israel this week of enslaving the Palestinians, and American Jews of not doing enough to stop it. “The continued occupation in Palestine/Israel is 21st-century slavery and should be abolished immediately,” said Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church USA. “Given the history of Jewish humble beginnings and persecution, there should be no ambiguity as to the ethical, moral and dehumanizing marginalization and enslavement of other human beings.” Nelson made the remarks during his Martin Luther King Day sermon, which has since been published on the Presbyterian Church USA website. “The United States of America must be a major influencer of calling this injustice both imm...
Two years into a pandemic that has normalized work-from-home and moved many social gatherings online, new data from the Centers for Disease Control show that many Americans were couch potatoes long before Covid-19. A quarter of U.S. adults aren’t active enough to protect their health, according to a CDC study conducted from 2017-2020. The agency released a map on Thursday showing that Puerto Rico and states in the South had the highest prevalence of inactivity, followed by the Midwest, Northeast and West. Colorado, Utah, Washington and Vermont were the most-active states. “Getting enough physical activity could prevent 1 in 10 premature deaths,” said Ruth Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, in a statement. The hea...
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An American Airlines flight heading to London on Wednesday turned around about an hour after leaving Miami when a “disruptive customer” refused to wear a mask, the airline said. No one was hurt, and the Boeing 777 landed safely at Miami International Airport at 9:24 p.m., American Airlines spokesman Curtis Blessing said in an email. Officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department escorted the passenger, a woman believed to be in her 40s, off the plane without incident. Argemis Colome, a department spokesman, said the passenger was not arrested and police treated the incident as a disturbance call. “She was pretty much dealt with administratively by the airline,” Colome said. Blessing said the passenger has been placed on the airline’s list of customers who ...
Chazal tell us that the naming of Parshas Yisro, the Sedra which contains the Aseres Hadibros, is a great  honor.  The Torah goes out of its way to tell us how Yisro was greeted by Moshe Rabeinu, Ahron and other leaders (Yisro, 18:7) and was also accompanied when he left B’nei Yisroel.  (18:27)  Additionally, Moshe adopted Yisro’s suggestions in how to better judge the issues presented by Bnei Yisroel, with chiefs and judges serving underneath Moshe Rabeinu. (18:24) Yisro was accorded great respect at the time and holds his place of distinction to the present day by being linked with the Aseres Hadibros.  This presents a profound question.  What was so great about Yisro that he was deserving of such special respect by our Torah?   The Pa...
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At Mount Sinai the Torah describes how, Moshe brought forth the people from the camp toward G-d. Rashi says Hashem and the nation went out towards each other like a bridegroom greeting his bride. Rav Samson ben Zadok, the devoted disciple of the famed 13th century rabbinic figure and Tosafist, Rav Meir of Rottenberg, (the Maharam), in his seminal work, Tashbatz, records in the name of his famed teacher that many of the traditions associated with the marriage ceremony are patterned on the 'marriage' that took place between G-d and His nation at Mount Sinai. The etching of G-d’s words onto the Two Tablets is reminiscent of the Kesuba, the marriage contract. The ten men required to be in attendance at the blessings under the canopy correspond to the Ten Commandments. The can...
'We will take all precautions to prevent the next disaster' Israel's Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced on Thursday that they agreed to grant roughly $160,000 to the families of the victims of the Mount Meron disaster.  At least 45 people were killed and over 150 injured on April 29 in a stampede during a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, where tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer. “The pain cannot be eliminated, but we will do everything in our capabilities to provide the maximum response for the families and we will take all precautions to prevent the next disaster,” Lieberman said in a joint statement with Sa&rsq...
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Out of as many as 1,000 anomalous health incidents reported about two dozen remain unexplained The CIA concluded that no foreign government is likely behind hundreds of mysterious "Havana syndrome" afflictions reported by US diplomats and that nearly all have more conventional medical or environmental explanations, a senior official said Thursday. Out of as many as 1,000 anomalous health incidents (AHIs) reported by American diplomats, intelligence, and other officials, commonly dubbed Havana syndrome, about two dozen remain unexplained and are still the focus of intense examination, the official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. The first cases in Cuba in 2016, involving complaints of nosebleeds, migraines, and nausea after experiencing piercing sounds at night, ...
Gov. Larry Hogan said he is hopeful that Maryland's COVID-19 state of emergency will no longer be needed after its 15 remaining days. The governor's address comes 15 days into the 30-day state of emergency. "The next 10 days to two weeks are really going to be critical," Hogan said. "Our aggressive efforts will continue and we ask Marylanders to continue to remain vigilant and to keep doing the things that can keep us safe -- wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, watching your distance, staying home if you feel sick, and most importantly, getting tested, getting vaccinated and getting boosted." On Jan. 4, the governor issued a 30-day state of emergency to take urgent short-term actions to combat the current crisis. He also issued two executive orders to address hospi...
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