Minority Leader Harry Reid’s Retirement Sets Off Struggle In Senate Democratic Ranks

April 2nd, 2015

senSenate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to retire has sparked a feud between the No. 2 and No. 3 Senate Democrats.

Dick Durbin of Illinois — the No. 2 — and Chuck Schumer of New York — the No. 3 — are not vying over who replaces Reid. Schumer has already locked that up, with Durbin and Reid assenting.

Their disagreement centers on whether or not Schumer promised to back Durbin to hang onto his current job as whip. Durbin says Schumer did. Schumer denies it.

Democrats hoped to avoid a messy leadership struggle. Yet it’s also unsurprising, given that Reid’s retirement next year creates the first opening in the top ranks of Senate Democratic leadership in a decade.


Jerusalem: Major Construction Plan for Arab Sector Approved

April 2nd, 2015

ejThe plan for the construction of 2,200 new housing units in Jerusalem’s Jabil Mukhaber neighborhood despite strong opposition from right-wing Jerusalem Councilman Aryeh King. The plan will also result in the retroactive approval of hundreds of housing units that were built illegally.

The plan allocates an area of some 1,500 dunams of land between Jabil Mukhaber and Abu Dis for the construction of housing units. The master plan for the new neighborhood includes schools, parks, public buildings and a road. Simultaneously, the plan to build an additional 1,500 housing units in Jewish Har Choma has been frozen without any explanation given. Councilman King points out the irony, that while Prime Minister Netanyahu gives the Arabs a stronger foothold in the capital, he implements the US construction freeze in Jewish areas of Yerushalayim. King warns the new Jabil Mukhaber neighborhood will result in contiguity from that area to Abu Dis and in actuality, the prime minister is dividing Yerushalayim.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

2nd Victim Identified in New York City Building Explosion

April 2nd, 2015

mexThe second person killed in a New York City building explosion last week has been identified.

The medical examiner on Wednesday confirmed the identity of 26-year-old restaurant worker Moises Ismael Locon Yac using DNA analysis.

Yac and another man were killed and 22 other people were injured when a Manhattan apartment building exploded March 26. Officials are investigating whether someone had illegally tapped into a natural-gas line.

Yac had been working six days a week. His family says during his free time he enjoyed taking his nephew to a Queens park.

He was reported missing after the explosion. His body was found days later.

The other person killed was 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa. He was on a date at the restaurant when the explosion occurred. The woman with him was injured.


New Jersey’s Menendez: I’ll Be Vindicated in Corruption Case

April 2nd, 2015

menNew Jersey’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez says he’ll be “vindicated” in a corruption case against him.

He says defiantly he has always acted in accordance with the law and fought for what’s right and isn’t “going anywhere”

Menendez was charged Wednesday with accepting nearly $1 million worth of gifts and campaign contributions from a longtime friend in exchange for political favors.

The federal grand jury indictment accuses Menendez of using the power of his Senate seat to benefit a wealthy Florida eye doctor who prosecutors say provided him with luxury vacations, airline travel, golf trips and monetary contributions to a legal defense fund.

Menendez previously acknowledged taking actions that could benefit his friend but said he did nothing wrong.

He says he’s “ready to fight” the charges. He’s scheduled to appear in court in Newark on Thursday.


Rambam Hospital Expert Warns Jews are at Risk During Pesach

April 1st, 2015

Matza Baken Random  (6)A leading Rambam Health Care Campus Gastroenterologist, Professor Jesse (Yishai) Lachter, MD is cautioning Jews around the world to carefully monitor their eating habits during Pesach. Beware: even matzah, the famous holiday unleavened bread, has many more calories than a slice of bread.

Lachter says watch out for adding extra pounds as we replace our regular diets with high fat foods, added sugar and salt in many of our favorite Pesach recipes/delights.

Rambam Health Care Campus offers five Passover tips to help maintain your health and weight as you pass through the yomptov:

1. It may surprise you, but matzah is fattening and should be treated as having double the calories as any slice of bread has! It gets a score of 3 on the standard weight watchers dietary point system, so don’t be fooled by its feather-like weight.

2. Matzah is also very binding, which can often lead to constipation and discomfort. Increasing our water intake throughout Pesach will help you avoid this unwanted side-effect and get you into a healthy habit of drinking lots of water, which will be good practice ahead of a much anticipated summer season.

3. The Pesach Seder can be an extraordinarily heavy meal, and is not a great time for counting calories. However, making sure the Seder is complete with an array of fresh and also cooked vegetables will ensure that your guests aren’t struggling to walk out the door on their way home.

4. With such delicious food in front of us it’s often all too easy to get excited and over-indulge ourselves. The Rambam, recommended the following: take your time and eat until you’re 2/3 full, then relax and you’ll soon feel satisfied/satiated. Enjoy your Pesach delicacies but in moderation.

5. The vacation days are an opportunity to get some exercise – get moving!

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Justice Dept: No Contempt Charges For Former IRS Official

April 1st, 2015

irsThe Justice Department won’t seek criminal contempt charges against Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of a controversy over how the agency treated conservative political groups.

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia will not bring contempt charges to a grand jury over Lerner’s refusal to testify last year before a pair of House committees.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen announced the decision in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner dated Tuesday that was made public on Wednesday.

The House had referred the case to federal prosecutors after lawmakers voted last year to hold Lerner in contempt. Lerner directed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. She disclosed in 2013 that agents had improperly singled out conservative groups’ applications for extra scrutiny.


Israel joins the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

April 1st, 2015

adbPrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, on Wednesday, 12 Nissan signed t a letter of application to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AII), a result of the initiative of the President of China. By doing so, Israel will join more than 40 other countries who have already joined the new bank.

The process of joining the bank was led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recognition of the importance of joining major Asian organizations on the continent. Israel’s membership in the Bank will open opportunities for integration of Israeli companies in various infrastructure projects, which will be financed by the bank.

The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was established as result of the initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2014. The new bank will complement the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The bank plans to invest a total of $ 100 billion in infrastructure projects in Asian countries; half of that amount has already been budgeted by China.

Approximately 40 countries, including Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Switzerland and Denmark have already submitted their request to be founder members. Identical requests have been filed by countries in the Middle East, including Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, among others. Ten other countries intend to submit their application today – the final date for submission.

The International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions have expressed their willingness to cooperate with AIIB.

It should be noted that the establishment of the bank is a Chinese diplomatic achievement. China initially intended that 35 countries should join, and to date 50 countries have joined. The establishment of AIIB is one of the most important initiatives in terms of Chinese foreign policy and in particular for President Xi Jinping, as this is his personal initiative.

In the coming months the Israeli Finance Ministry will participate in the negotiations relating to the bank’s founding documents.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Alps Crash: Bodies Recovered, But Families Must Wait Months

April 1st, 2015

gwiJust over a week after a Germanwings plane crashed into the French Alps, investigators have finished retrieving human remains from the crash site and are now trying to match them with DNA profiles from the 150 people killed – an arduous task that could leave families waiting for months.

The extraordinary recovery process mobilized hundreds of people and cut a stony road into a forested Alpine mountainside to help the team bring back anything they found, from a body part to a tiny shred of skin. Not a single intact body was found.

Francois Daoust, head of the France’s IRCGN national criminal laboratory in Pontoise outside Paris, said that as of Monday afternoon the forensic teams on the site and in Paris had isolated 78 distinct DNA profiles from the hundreds of samples recovered at the site – leaving nearly as many unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, they had only received complete DNA profiles for about 60 victims from their relatives because it takes time to gather samples from families still reeling from their loss.

gwiBased on black box cockpit recordings recovered the day of the crash, investigators believe the Germanwings co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately slammed the plane into the mountain, killing everyone on board.

The impact of the March 24 crash shattered the plane and all those inside, ripped a black box from its orange protective casing, and left shreds of metal and cloth scattered across hundreds of meters (yards).

Lt. Col. Jean-Marc Menichini, who has been involved in the operation focusing on recovering victims’ remains, said Wednesday “there are no longer any visible remains” at the crash site.

A special unit of mountain troops, with help from German investigators, is now clearing the crash site of everything else that is there – including debris and personal effects.

z4While the retrieval of DNA from the body parts may be completed as early as this week, Daoust said it would take two to four months to match the samples with the victims’ DNA profiles.

Dental and surgical records, tattoos, DNA from hair- or toothbrushes – will all serve to identify and ultimately return the remains to families.

Daoust said all the families will be informed at the same time who has been identified.

“If I announced an identification as soon as I had it to a family, psychologically it’s an oppression and a pressure on those that don’t yet have an identification,” he said.

If some victims have still not been identified when everything possible has been done, it will be horrifying for those families, but they will understand investigators did all they could, he added.

Jim Hall, a former chairman of the American National Transportation Safety Board, said France’s timeframe for recovering and identifying victims seemed ambitious. Hall oversaw the 1996 crash of a ValuJet flight into the Florida Everglades that killed all 110 aboard, and said that recovery operation – similarly perilous and complex – took weeks, if not months.

“Nothing is more important to the families and to our culture and respect for human life than to perform that function in a deliberate and responsible fashion,” Hall said.

z2Lufthansa acknowledged Tuesday that it knew six years ago that Lubitz had suffered from an episode of “severe depression” before he finished his flight training at the German airline, but said he had passed all his medical checks since then.

On Wednesday, the chief executive of Germanwings’ parent company Lufthansa said it will take “a long, long time” to understand what led to the crash – but refused to say what else the airline knew about the mental health of the co-pilot and why they haven’t released more information about it.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and the head of its low-cost airline Germanwings, Thomas Winkelmann, visited the crash area Wednesday.

German prosecutors say Lubitz’s medical records from before he received his pilot’s license referred to “suicidal tendencies,” but visits to doctors since then showed no record of any suicidal tendencies or aggression against others.

The revelations intensify questions about how much Lufthansa and its insurers will pay in damages for the passengers who died – and about how thoroughly the aviation industry and government regulators screen pilots for psychological problems.

The second black box containing the plane’s mechanical and instrument readings – crucial for learning how the plane was set on its doomed course – has not yet been recovered.

z3On Tuesday, German daily Bild and French magazine Paris Match said their reporters have been shown a video they say was taken by someone inside the cabin of the doomed plane shortly before it crashed, where passengers can be heard screaming “My God” in several languages.

The Associated Press could not independently confirm the reports.

Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin, overseeing the French criminal investigation into the crash, told the AP that no cell phone video has been found from the plane.


Hillary Clinton Dodges Brooklyn Campaign Headquarters Talk

April 1st, 2015

hilHillary Rodham Clinton is playfully dodging talk about where her Democratic presidential campaign headquarters might be.

Clinton on Wednesday attended a roundtable on early child development in Brooklyn with New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray.

Afterward, she was asked if she would be returning to Brooklyn to establish a base for her expected campaign.

She smiled and said that decision would come “all in good time.”

The former secretary of state, first lady and New York senator is expected to announce her bid for the Democratic nomination in coming weeks.

She is thought to be considering office space in downtown Brooklyn for a campaign headquarters.

Clinton has close ties with McCray and her husband, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. He managed Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.


Eyes On National Profile, NYC Mayor To Travel To Iowa

April 1st, 2015

debNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning a trip to Iowa this month as he moves to expand his national profile.

De Blasio was invited by former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin to give a speech at Drake University.

The day before, the mayor will travel to Nebraska as part of a university lecture series.

Both speeches will focus on fighting income inequality.

The trip to Iowa comes shortly before presidential candidates will begin to woo voters there ahead of the caucus early next year.

De Blasio, a Democrat, has close ties to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to soon announce her candidacy.

The trip was first reported by Capital New York.

De Blasio will make another out-of-state trip later this month for a fundraiser in Wisconsin.


Hadassah Medical Organization Sells its Chametz

April 1st, 2015

20150330_112555(0)The Hadassah Medical Organization has sold its chametz ahead of Pesach. The sale took place in the office of Chief Rabbi of Israel Dovid Lau Shlita. The sale includes both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Mt. Scopus Hospital as well as other related facilities.

Hadassah Chief Rabbi Moshe Klein organized and arranged the sale along with the director-general of the hospitals, Prof. Yoram Weiss. For a first time, it has been decided that the Pesach menu for the hospitals will be mehadrin, not containing kitnios. Officials are quick to explain that any patient requiring a special diet will receive the necessary food in line with one’s medical condition in consultation with dieticians, medical experts and the hospitals rav.

It is stressed that all the food served is bishul yisrael in line with the Beis Yosef, and there are mashgichim present in all kitchens. In addition, most of the food served in under the hechsher of the Eida Chareidis and in the delivery ward, everything is Eida Chareidis. Regarding shmitah, all produce is from non-Jews under the supervision of the Eida Chareidis or Badatz Mehadrin Rabbi Yosef Efrati.

Guards are instructing any visitors that it is prohibited to bring chametz into the hospital beginning Wednesday, 12 Nissan. Outside food of any kind may not be brought in.

20150330_112134 20150330_112224 20150330_112555(0)

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

ALERT – Carbon Monoxide Scare Prompts Passover Cooking Safety Plea To Jewish Community

April 1st, 2015

cmpThe following is from the Manchester (UK) Fire and Rescue Services, but applies to every jewish home around the world:

firefighters have issued a plea to the Jewish community asking them to take care preparing food before Passover after one family almost suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

The warning comes after crew from Broughton and Manchester Central attended an incident at a detached house in Salford at 8.48pm on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Watch Manager Dave Campbell, Green Watch Broughton, said: “We were called after a family’s Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm actuated in Broughton.

“The family had been preparing food ready for Passover and had covered their cooker with tinfoil which we believe caused the flame not to burn properly with CO being produced.

“Our advice is for people to follow the instructions provided with their cooking appliances and allow natural ventilation to take place in their homes.

“Two adults and four children were in the house at the time of the incident and luckily they were not injured.”

Firefighters ventilated the property to allow the CO to escape before leaving.

Speaking on behalf of Manchester Beth Din, Rabbi Hillel Royde said: “We would like to thank Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) for bringing this incident to the attention of our community.

“I would ask that the advice from GMFRS is followed.”

Firefighters ventilated the property to allow the CO to escape before leaving.

Carbon Monoxide can cause death in extreme circumstances and other symptoms include: headaches, dizziness and nausea so people may think that they have flu.

If you experience symptoms you should go for fresh air immediately – open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house and see your doctor or go to hospital and let them know that you think it could be Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

More information about how to stay safe at home and Carbon Monoxide can be found on the GMFRS website.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

Elkin Appoints Two Temporary Knesset Committees

April 1st, 2015

knessetLikud MK Ze’ev Elkin, who plays a senior role in coalition negotiations has set up two temporary committees to operate until the new government is sworn in and 20th Knesset committees are appointed.

The temporary Knesset Finance Committee will remain under the chairmanship of MK Nissim Slomiansky of the Bayit Yehudi party. The committee includes MKs from a number of parties. Yaakov Litzman will represent Yahadut Hatorah. Moshe Gafne, who is believed to be the incoming chairman of the committee was not appointed.

The temporary Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee will be headed by Likud MK Yariv Levin.

Elkin stresses the appointments are temporary and they are only until such time the permanent committee begin operating.

The committee responsible for the transition headed by Elkin also announced the 20th Knesset will begin vacation on 12 Nissan until 14 Iyar, after Independence Day.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

A Mop, a Bucket and Salvation: Chesed of Lakewood Volunteers Sweep Away Despair

April 1st, 2015

colThere’s doing chesed and then there’s living chesed. The latter – that’s Chesed of Lakewood.

That was the sentiment expressed by a proud member of the community, whose family had recently been helped by Chesed of Lakewood.

This was a man, a well-respected local business owner, whose efforts on behalf of a number of communal organizations are legendary, a man who is accustomed to helping other, not coming onto others for help.
It therefore hit him especially hard when tragedy rocked his world, leaving him and his family floundering. Not only did he have to navigate his family through deep personal crisis, he also had to grapple with the harsh reality of depending on others. When Chesed of Lakewood, gently offered their assistance, he politely declined. He couldn’t bring himself to become a “nitzrach”.

But the Chesed of Lakewood volunteers didn’t stop there. They intuitively discovered what he needed and provided without him feeling needy, helping without him feeling helpless. Slowly, the family began holding their head high in the streets again; slowly they regained a modicum of self-respect and dignity. All along, in the backdrop of their lives, Chesed of Lakewood was there.

It was a late night encounter in shul between this head of household and a Chesed of Lakewood volunteer unaffiliated with his case that was the setting for the statement at the beginning of this article. The man had just left his home where a cleaning woman arranged by Chesed of Lakewood was working her magic. That menuchas hanefesh a clean home engenders, the feeling of stability, of optimism he carried with him as his home moved toward Pesach readiness prompted him to emotionally thank the volunteer he met in shul moments later.

“Somehow, Chesed of Lakewood was able to help me as no one else could, restoring the peace and tranquility to my home while still allowing me to hold onto my pride,” he told the volunteer. “Somehow you were able to figure out my needs before I knew them and fill them before I could ask.”

It was that modus operandi that brought Operation CLEAN into existence. As the organizations worked with families on an individual basis, they discovered a common need among all of the families they service come Pesach time. With the turmoil tearing their lives apart, they had no clue how they would make Pesach when their home was in shambles. While they were receiving help with food and clothing for Yom Tov, where would they put their food in a home full of chometz, a home that hadn’t seen a decent mop in weeks, let alone a full, in-depth Pesach cleaning?

Operation CLEAN brought qualified cleaning help into homes, subsidized by Chesed of Lakewood, giving these families the menuchas hanefesh they needed to embrace the upcoming Yom Tov. Ever since Operation CLEAN launched three years ago, dozens of families have reported a life changing difference. They are overwhelmed with gratitude as a stressful time in their already stressful lives becomes infinitely more manageable.

That gratitude, says a Chesed of Lakewood coordinator, and the all-encompassing impact of Operation Clean, along with the other assistance Chesed of Lakewood provides, is a testament to the devoted volunteers of Chesed of Lakewood. “Our volunteers are incredibly gifted in their ability to help a family from the back end, without swooping in like a gallant hero to rescue a family in distress. They recognize the strength and dignity of these families and provide for them with such quiet grace, in a way that respects that dignity,” says the coordinator. “It’s our volunteers who have turned Operation CLEAN into such a game changing operation for so many families.”

As thousands of families in Lakewood sit down to their beautiful sedarim in just a few day’s time, among them will be some of Lakewood’s most unsung heroes, the volunteers of Chesed of Lakewood, who have dedicated themselves to providing simchas yom tov for so many of our brothers and sisters.

It’s not too late to be part of this tremendous zechus. Chesed of Lakewood has a 24-hour automated donation system ready to take your pledge. Please call 732-901-0482 x8 or visit www.chesedoflakewood.org

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

We Need Your Help: Save a Life and Help Simon Breathe

April 1st, 2015
Please listen to the plea of Simon’s family and help us reach our much needed goal. Every penny will go towards helping Simon breathe for the coming months, and ultimately breathe on his own. You can also do your part by spreading the cause with the campaign link and hashtag: “Please support this campaign: gofundme.com/mp8no4, #HelpSimonBreathe” via social media or by sending the link to your friends.

 We call him Simon, although he wasn’t officially named at a bris yet. He’s my nephew, Only son of my brother & sister-in-law, as beautiful and innocent as they come. But he didn’t come as another typical baby does. While in the womb, he was in a sac that was constantly leaking its water out .

The doctors words:

“He will not live to be born.”

“He will not form hands lips and other organs.”

“His mother is in danger too.”

“He will die, she will die, they will die.


Simon was born, despite the low survival rate of fetuses in situations like this. He has his hands, lips and all organs intact, and is a loveable, beautiful baby. He is a true miracle .

The condition in pregnancy has left marks on his lungs , underdeveloped & immature (hypoplasia lungs ).
Simons lungs must mature with time and clear up properly for him to survive .

The living conditions is robbing the chances for him to progress.

He lives in a small apartment with his four sisters .As much as they try to keep Simon isolated from the rest of the family, every bacteria in the household makes its way straight to his lungs, Worsened even more by the finding that the apartment is infested with mold .

I have seen him under attack time and time again, breathing through a respirator fighting for his dear life. His lungs are repeatedly stricken by one phnemonia after the other. Doctors say that his lungs are not capable of fighting so much anymore …”he will die.”


A new apartment will be his last and only option. It will give us the opportunity to set up a proper sterilized room for our little patient, that will enable him to heal and build his lungs so that he will be a perfect miracle .. A healthy baby!!

My brother is working overtime, struggling to cover their growing expenses. We have wonderful family who offer endless emotional support and constantly give of their meager salaries in an effort to help in every way possible. However, raising a lump sum in a short while would be impossible.

Your contribution will go towards :

*Medical lung treatments not covered by insurance.

*A new mold free home equiped with a steralized room, machinery & nurses with their essentials

*Moving expenses

*Lost wages, due to extensive hospital stays

We cannot do without your support. Anything you can do is wonderful, amazing, and appreciated. If you can’t contribute, then your continued prayers would also be greatly appreciated.

You can also help by sharing our story on social media.

Please give Simon a chance: CLICK HERE TO GIVE SIMON A CHANCE 


Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto’s Medical Condition Reportedly Serious & Complicated

April 1st, 2015

pintoThe Shuvu Yisrael kehilla is being mispallel for the recovery of their admor, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, whose medical condition is being described as “serious and complicated”. Rabbi Pinto recently underwent serious surgeries and medical procedures for his illness. He remains hospitalized in a NYC hospital.

The rav’s condition reportedly deteriorated last month and then there was a measure of stability following surgery. Prior to the last surgery Rabbi Pinto sent a letter to his followers, giving them chizuk.

Kehilla officials are calling on the tzibur to continue being mispallel for Rabbi Pinto, Yoshiyahu Yosef ben Zari bsoch kol cholei am yisrael.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

D.A. Dan Donavan Meets with FJCC Leadership

April 1st, 2015

20150330_102120Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donavan a Republican candidate for congress, met with the leadership of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, FJCC, in a wide-ranging discussion on issues.

Mr. Donavan, a conservative Republican, has won consecutive elections in Staten Island for District Attorney and is seeking the congressional seat vacated by Rep. Michael Grimm who resigned last December. The 11th congressional district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, including a significant area of the greater Flatbush/Midwood community. The FJCC executive board discussed issues important to the Orthodox Jewish community including support for Israel, Homeland Security, education issues, Sandy recovery and a myriad of other items. The meeting was hosted by executive board member Peter Rebenwurzel and chaired by FJCC Chairman Josh Mehlman. Avi Schick, Esq. a founding member of the FJCC executive board, who has worked with Mr. Donavan in the past, added insight on many timely issues of concern. Chaskel Bennett, FJCC co-founder implored the DA to be a strong advocate on the issues deeply important to the Orthodox Jewish community, if elected to congress.

Mr. Donovan for his part declared his support for school choice initiatives and promised to be unwavering in his support of the US- Israel relationship. He concluded by making the case for the need to have a strong Republican voice representing New York City in the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

The founding mission of the FJCC is to meet candidates for office and elected officials to dialogue, inform and educate them on the issues of concern to the Orthodox electorate.

A meeting with the Democratic candidate, NYC Councilman Vincent Gentile is scheduled for after Passover. The special election will take place May 5, with very low turnout expected.

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(YWN Desk – NYC)

Council Pindrus Arranges for Special Water Consideration in Yerushalayim

April 1st, 2015

pindrus.jpgJerusalem Councilman Yitzchak Pindrus has worked with the Hagihon Water Company to provide water viewed as less problematic during Pesach. While the water for the captain comes from the national carrier year-round, during Pesach, the water supply will be rerouted to underground wells where there is less of a chance of chametz being found in the water supply. It is known the nation carrier contains chametz.

Hagihon District Manager Mr. Danny Sofer confirms the arrangement for Pesach in a letter to Pindrus, citing water to the capital will be rerouted beginning on Wednesday, 12 Nissan. This will continue until the morning of Sunday, 23 Nissan. This means water to Jerusalem residents will be from the wells or treated water.

Pindrus thanks Sofer for his cooperation, along with the other water company officials involved in providing ‘mehadrin’ water to residents of the capital on Pesach.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

NYPD Officer in Uber Tirade Video Placed on Modified Duty, Blasted by Bratton for ‘Unacceptable’ Behavior

April 1st, 2015

ubeThe police officer seen on video apparently verbally abusing an Uber driver in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village earlier this week has been placed on modified duty and transferred, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday.

The following is a statement by NYPD Commissioner Bratton:

With regard to the video of the incident involving an member of the NYPD and an Uber driver, no good cop should watch that without a wince. Because all good cops know that officer just made their jobs a little bit harder. In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable. In any encounter, discourtesy and obscene language like that is unacceptable. That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.

After being made aware of the video, we referred the matter to the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau. IAB has identified the individual as a NYPD detective, assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who was on duty at the time of the incident. The matter was reviewed by Internal Affairs and referred to the Civilian Complaint Review Board for investigation and appropriate action. The actions seen in the video fall within their jurisdiction. But in the meantime, the detective has been placed on modified assignment and transferred, effective immediately.

I spend a lot of time telling the stories of my officers. There are thousands of them, and almost all of them are good men and women, doing hard work for the right reasons. The stories I get to tell prove it—like that of the two officers who saved a man on the Staten Island ferry last week, or that of the officers who safely apprehended a gunman in Brooklyn. I won’t allow those stories of kindness and bravery to be pushed aside by unacceptable behavior.

The men and women of the NYPD who serve this city every day deserve no less.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

Humanitarian Pesach Pack: 100 tons of Matzah to Ukraine

April 1st, 2015

1Humanitarian Pesach preparations: in the last few days, a shipment of over hundred tons of matzos was dispatched by Chabad shluchim to about 100 thousand needy Jews across the former Soviet Union. This was the initiative of Lev Leviev, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Chief Rabbi and Chabad emissary of Donetsk, Pinchas Vishedski: “Besides the matzos serving as the Pesach bread, they remind my community of their Jewish roots and gives them hope for a better future”.

Alongside the matzos, ten thousands of food packages were handed to thousands of Jewish families from the former Soviet Union, such as Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and more, directly or indirectly harmed by the on-going war in East Ukraine. The packages are distributed in complicated logistical operations to Jews residing in areas under military siege and in remote villages.

“On behalf of all the Jewish communities across the FSU, I wish to personally thank Rabbi Eckstein” states FJC’s President Mr. Lev Leviev “The Fellowship in his leadership has an open heart to the needs of every single Jew close and afar throughout the year. The IFJC’s great deeds of kindness leave a deep mark and an everlasting influence on the continuity of Russian Jewry”.

Besides the abovementioned activities, the IFJC is also enhancing an aid operation to ten thousands of the needy in Israel. The operation is estimated to a total sum of 18.5 million shekels, distributed via food and clothing certificates to families in need, lone soldiers, children of welfare care facilities and the elderly. The IFJC’s operation includes over 200 cities and local authorities across Israel of all socio-economic levels, at the center and in the periphery.

Rabbi Eckstein concludes that “What has changed in this Pesach? Unfortunately not much. The poverty in Israel is widening, and we feel the constant increase in the requests for help during the holidays and around the year. We hope and expect to see this tendency overturning as a result of concrete and clear decisions of the new government to fight poverty and the nutritional insecurity it entails”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem /Photo: Rabbi Avraham Wolff, Chief Rabbi of Odessa, Credit: IFJC)