Shabbat Shalom
December 15, 2017
Nes Gadol Hayah Sham/Poh = A Great Miracle Happened There/Here depending on where you are playing the game. There is Israel, Here is anywhere in the Diaspora.  Dreidel is a children's gambling game (we teach them young) played during the Hanukah era, which was used as a cover when Jews were prohibited from Studying Torah.  When I first arrived in Israel in 1980, I was surprised to learn their dreidels had the Hebrew letter of Peh for Poe meaning the Miracle Happened Here.  We have Holiday/Biblical references, archaeological evidence and centuries of traditional sayings ("Next Year in Jerusalem") which connect us to Israel.  We have legal United Nations status which established our Jewish Homeland and modern State of Israel on Nov. 29, 1947.  During our 70 years of defense for our survival we continuously offered peace plans that were all rejected. While in protective mode, Israel dedicates itself to Tikkun Olam (Repair the World) by providing innovative programs to improve health, provide water, create energy and invent initiatives like desalination, Waze, PillCam among just a few of the many advances benefiting the global community. With a population that dwarfs most nations,  Israel has 12 Nobel Laureates for chemistry, economics, literature and peace. So why (for example) should Pakistani women (who have zero connection to Israel) protest against Trump's factual announcement that Jerusalem is Israel's capital?  Do Pakistani women protest against Boko Haram, North Korea, Myanmar, Female Genital Mutilation... Nope!  Why is there so much hatred against our tiny nation and the Jewish people?  Why is there such Brainwashing Hatred against those who are different.  Not everyone is spewing hate and lies.  Check out this surprising message from Haisam Hassanein, an Arab American who grew up in the Middle East:
We need more voices like Haisam's to counter the Hate. And...Did you know that Michigan just ranked 4th in the Nation for the highest rate of Hate Crimes, though we are 10th in population. 
Why can't people see that Diversity is our global strength
Hatred is everywhere including NYC
Thank goodness, goodness won out in this week's Alabama Senatorial election.  Future Senator Doug Jones' goodness of Respect, Equality, Fairness, Acceptance and much more trumped Roy Moore's negativity of Racism, Homophobia, Elitist, Gun-Slinging, Anti-Choice, Abuser and much more (even with Trump's trumping of support).  Though Moore does have a Jewish Lawyer so "he isn't an Anti-Semite".  Of course, he wants a recount even though he lost by 20,000 votes.  And it could have/should have been even higher but Alabama requires a legal ID to vote which many low-income people (mainly Blacks and Latinos) do not have the means to obtain.  It would take transportation to the Department of Motor Vehicles (which is time consuming without a car), waiting in line (which is time consumer with a job) and $40 (which they may not have as they are already deciding between food or meds). By the way, Voter Fraud has no proof of existence (aka: it's a Myth).  This article was written before the election but it is an eyeopener on the reasons for Voter ID Laws   A standard national ID isn't a bad idea.  Most countries have them, but they should be given to every person equally and freely at a certain age. 
The Goodness of Doug Jones

Helpful Reminder
The Roy Moore battle was won, but as the ax continues to fall with new accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, here are two sources for men to review.  Check out Tracee Ellis Ross reading the obvious in this "children's book" Handsy Man. 
Then for extra reinforcement, I am reposting this Tea Consent explanation which was included in a past Shabbat message but well worth repeating in these Man Handsy Days.  
Now that our attention and sensitivity is alert to harassment, Round Two of Trump accusers are returning to the spotlight to say "Hey, Me Too" Mr. POTUS.  Will the nation and Congress take note and investigate or (more likely) will they do anything at all.  

Bad News
BS to Congress for allowing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire.  It's been saving millions of children's lives for over 20 years. 9 million children will be affected if Congress doesn't renew this program which has bipartisan support but no opportunity to vote (thank you GOP-led Senate).  It's a safety net for parents squeezed in the middle since they don't qualify for Medicaid because their income it too high, yet still don't have enough to purchase private insurance.  Ironically, I'd bet many of those legislators who care less about CHIP feel strongly about saving embryos in the womb.  This issue was explained best by Jimmy Kimmel and his son, Billy, this week.  

Good News 
We (volunteers) have completed the signature gathering process for the 2018 Redistricting Ballot Proposal (aka. Anti-Gerrymander). We collected nearly 450,000 names and well ahead of schedule. The volunteers are taking a Winter breather from their work as the petitions get certified.  The next step will take place during Spring, Summer and Fall months when volunteers will provide clear and concise info (door to door, word of mouth, social media and carrier pigeons if necessary) about the Redistricting Proposal on the Nov. 2018 ballot and encourage all to vote YES. 

Bad News
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico nearly 3 months ago and the island is still suffering from, well... almost a lack of everything.  The most devastating is that majority of the population still doesn't have any power.  This is having a extremely disruptive effect on every aspect of life. Plus, now reports are indicating the death toll was grossly underestimated from 60 to over 1,000. 

Good News
So far, Czech Republic, Ghana and Tanzania have jumped on the "Jerusalem as Israel's Capital" bandwagon.  Did you know Bolivia and Paraguay used to have embassies in Jerusalem but they were both closed in the early 2000s. 

Bad News
Eliminating Net Neutrality would be a disaster for everyone expect the big internet companies.  Our sacred Freedom of Speech that the internet provides, will be compromised by yesterday's vote to end 2015's "Open Internet Order". The Federation Communication Commission (FCC) which is led by a Trump appointee voted against the opinion of Congress, Technology Experts, Most Americans and even its own FCC Technology Officer who warned this could lead to policies "not in the public interest". 

Good News
Mazel Tov to Australia for officially legalizing Marriage Equality last week.

Good News/Bad News
On the last day before the holiday vacation, a House Committee of our Michigan Congress passed an unnecessary bill making English our official language.  It will "require that English be the language used in all public records" (which is redundant).  This is what they want to send precious time on...? At least there were some legislators  who were at work and passed a much needed Opioid  bill that will help with the current epidemic.

Goodness and Bad News
Unfortunately, this week's Michigan winter snow prevented us from flying to DC for the Israeli Embassy Hanukah party. But it didn't dampen my Hanukah mood with 70 family/friends coming to our home for holiday cheer tonight.  Though we won't be serving this Latke recipe with a mexican twist (goodness from Mexico).  It does look delicious and worth a try. Let me know if any of you are willing brave the plantain and chilli powder ingredients. . But, the bad news from Mexico is that after the free trade agreement of NAFTA, the mexican obesity rate tripled from 1980 at 7% to 2016 at 20.3% (these latkes probably didn't help).  There were many reasons for this health tragedy, but the massive inexpensive increase of American Junk Food is one of the main culprit.  For more info, check out this NYT article:

Wishing you and your family a 
Peaceful and Sweet Shabbat Shalom and a Hag Hanukah Sameach (Happy Hanukah). 


Condolences to...
The Margolin/Simons family on the passing of their patriarch, David Margolin z"l (age 91) who was the husband for 66 years of Arlene Margolin and father to Steve and Beth Margolin,  Richard and Diane Margolin and Alan and Nancy Simons and loving grandfather to many.  May his memories and spirit bring comfort to those who mourn his passing and may he be a blessing unto his family and community.  


The Holidays  are a hard time of the year for lots of people.
Please reach out to loved ones and share this message of support.
Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).

Happy Birthday!

Dec. 15
Dana Siegel
Harvey Heller
Ari Simon
Jan Mack
Elliot Baum

Dec. 16th
Avi Gruber

Dec. 17th
Simcha Tolwin
Natalie Newman
Elissa Miller

Dec. 18th
Jeff Mark (Happy birthday dear brother)
Henna Tolwin
Jane Smitt
Mark Rozenberg

Dec. 19th 
Karl Dorn
Mark Benyas (Happy 60th)
Nison Sabin (Happy 80th)

Dec. 20th
Michael HarPaz
Mark Kahn

Dec. 21st
Gina Horwitz
Hannah Moiseev
Helen Katz
Rachel Robinson
Nitzana York
I'm prone to mistakes, so if I missed your birthday 
or got the wrong date, please let me know.

Parting Thoughts...

I'd much prefer  Fire and Rain to this Ice and Snow we got this week.  Here is a wonderful new  rendition  of that famous song by a band that hails from JT's favorite place, the Berkshires of Mass.