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Six Jewish Life Lessons They Never Taught Us in Public School – Aish

Posted By on March 18, 2020

For example, the Talmud teaches us not to shy away from conflict.

Ive long subscribed to the theory that although school fills our head with a lot of knowledge, it also leaves out an awful lot of really important things that would be invaluable to know. Fortunately, the Talmud and other Jewish texts can serve as vital and extensive supplements to our school curriculum, providing invaluable and often deep life lessons. Ironically, these lessons are sometimes in direct conflict with what we are taught in our typical schools.

Lets take a look at six important Jewish life lessons they never taught us in school.

Machloket, disagreement, is a fundamental part of the Talmud. The lesson in this is that there is room for differing and even conflicting opinions. Similarly, we should not shy away from difficult conversations and healthy conflict. Not only did they not teach us this in school, any time we illustrated conflict, they punished us for it. Whether it was arguing or fighting on the playground, punishing a classmate who really deserved it, or, in my case, trying to convince my teacher that assigning homework over the weekend was morally reprehensible we were trained to behave and not show any conflict. If only I had had a copy of the Talmud to enlighten Mrs. Feeney in fourth grade.

A chavruta, or learning partner, is a vital part of studying Talmud, which traditionally is learned in teams of two. But it goes beyond just studying Talmud. You learn to work as a team. Think Simon & Garfunkel, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Carole King and Jerry Goffin. Ben and Jerry. Having a partner to help you learn, create and grow encourages you to listen and not just speak and to sharpen one anothers ideas and in a constructive way. Think of all the destructive people in history. All solo acts, no? Perhaps if Genghis Khan had had a chavruta, he might have been more loving. His mind and soul might have been more developed.

If you deserve it, you will receive it. If you dont, you will be attacked. In any case, goodness never needs to draw attention to itself. Thats all well and goodin theory. But in practice, and especially in school, its not quite how life operates. For example, all students running for class president did was seek publicity for and draw attention to themselves. Remember all those huge hallway campaign posters? And the speeches? And the bribes? Okay, maybe that was just my school. But lets not forget lobbying with our teachers for better grades by calling attention to our own wonderful work and efforts. If seeking publicity for themselves is wrong, students dont want to be right.

According to the Talmud, love that is meant to last accepts the whole of the other. It forgives flaws and does not expect the impossible. It finds fulfillment in knowing that togetherness makes each one of them better even as neither one alone deserves to be loved merely for one particular reason. No one told me that in high school.

You all know David, famed in Hebrew lore as the young shepherd who first gained fame as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion Goliath. Long story short, he eventually becomes king himself and is richly represented in post-biblical Jewish written and oral tradition and art over centuries. David was known, through his life for expressing his emotions through song and even weeping. Despite being a celebrated warrior, he was quite comfortable with revealing his humanity. He teaches us to express our feelings, to never be too manly for a good cry. Oh, right. You know what happens to boys in school prone to good cries and emotional expression of their feelings? Thats right, they either get beaten up on the playground or end up starring in all the schools musicals. Which is all well and good for the dramatically inclined. But the rest of us had to log a lot of hours in the nurses office, not to mention parent-teacher meetings.

Rashi, the preeminent Jewish medieval commentator, says our Rabbis compared the enemy to the evil inclination, and if it tried to make you sin, go to the study hall to feed it the bread of Torah. This just suggests that you should know more about your enemies than you do about your friends. That you be vigilant about the actions taken by your enemies. Dont antagonize them with your words or behavior, so as to keep them calm and as harmless as possible to you. Especially in competitive businesses, this would be helpful in overcoming any strategy that might be planned against you. Of course, when I tried that in high school with the notorious bully Tommy Springer, he ended up punching me in the stomach, knocking the air out of me, and my books went flying down the hall. He hardly seemed to care at all about Rashi.

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Six Jewish Life Lessons They Never Taught Us in Public School - Aish

Message from the Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on March 18, 2020

In these unprecedented and difficult days, we turn to the wisdom of our ancestors. The Talmud teaches that life is so sacred that the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh, saving a life, supersedes all other Jewish commandments. In fact, we are obligated to push aside the performance of other mitzvot if there is even a chance that doing so could put a persons life in danger. Life is precious and we must do all we can to protect it.

The Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis, a multi-denominational group of more than 50 rabbis in the Greater Cleveland area, holds this principle dear. We are in support of the guidelines from our government that strive to contain the spread of COVID-19. As Jews, we understand the value of community. While we yearn for each others companionship in these days, we do so through physical distance. Ecclesiastes teaches there is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. Physical distance does not mean that we are any less in community. We are working to sustain, support and engage each other, emotionally and spiritually, even as we maintain our safety and health.

The Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis is proud to be part of such a strong and caring Jewish community. Please know we are here for you as we journey together through these uncharted paths.

If you are in need of rabbinic support, please contact Access Jewish Cleveland of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland at 216-292-4636 or They will connect you to us, or the best resources for your needs.

Rabbi Melinda M. Mersack, President

Rabbi Scott B. Roland, Vice President

Rabbi Josh Foster, Secretary

Rabbi Enid C. Lader, Treasurer

Rabbi Allison B. Vann, Past President

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Message from the Greater Cleveland Board of Rabbis - Cleveland Jewish News

Panic is gripping my Orthodox community as we navigate the plague – Jewish Journal

Posted By on March 18, 2020

Its hard to overstate how serious it was for Rabbi David Cohen, senior halachic authority in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn and nationwide, to cancel all shul-related activities due to the coronavirus outbreak. And yet, thats what happened.

On Tuesday, he sent out a letter stating that all remaining schools which had not yet closed must do so immediately, and that all shuls must also cease operating and cancel prayer services for the foreseeable future. He also insisted that anybody who does pray in a shul in the proximity of others is transgressing serious Torah prohibitions by endangering himself and others.

Courtesy of the Author

Letters from the rabbi

This is, in our community, a drastic step. It not only impacts prayer services but a huge part of peoples daily routines. Torah classes a hugely important part of our communitys life, and shuls function as the center of social life for our community.

There are people in every community who have not been taking the coronavirus as seriously as they should have. This halachic order has finally made them realize how important social distancing is.

While on Sunday there were still huge weddings with people in close proximity to each other, by Monday night, a backyard wedding I attended was only allowing shifts of 50 people at a time to come in. Guests had to come dance with space between each person and then quickly leave to make space for the next shift. Some brides and grooms have now requested that all those who had been invited to their weddings not to attend except for immediate family.

But there will also be other huge costs to taking these precautions. Take for example, my friend Kalman, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor who has not missed any of the three daily prayers with a minyan since his release from Bergen-Belsen. Now, he will have to pray on his own. He will also have to study the daf yomi, the daily Talmud portion, by himself instead of attending his regular class. Im sure that for Kalman, the suspension of public prayer services will bring back traumatic memories of fear and disconnection.

Then theres the economic costs of small business, and the question of what happens when Passover comes around. Most local Pesach hotels have called their customers to let them know that they will not open up this year. With only three weeks until Passover, this has thrown many people into crisis mode.

While some people who booked their stay realized early that the hotels would probably have to shutter, many held out hope; they had already paid for their stay, and the prospect of having to pay for all the groceries and other things necessary to make pessach at home was too daunting. These costs are almost impossible to begin with, even if you havent already paid for a hotel.

This morning, the lines at local groceries were even longer than last week. At 6:30 in the morning, there was a line outside a store that went all the way down the block even though the store doesnt open until seven. By the time I arrived, they had already run out of chicken, and the store decided not to put more on the shelves. Instead, there was a line of people who were handed chicken packages, and there was a limit per customer.

Line at the grocery store

They might stop [kosher slaughterhouses] from operating until we get it under control, one customer who had three shopping carts filled with meat and poultry told me. Others shared the same fear that we may have a kosher meat shortage for the foreseeable future.

Then theres Hatzalah, the volunteer emergency ambulance service. Almost all Hatzalah members are volunteers who have other jobs and moonlight as EMTs as a service to the community. Volunteers I spoke to worried about contracting the virus from people who call them who hadnt described their symptoms accurately. Its already happened some have already contracted the virus and are now in quarantine.

And yet, despite the caution many are taking and the rabbinic edits, there are still people who do not yet realize the severity of this danger. There are still some shuls operating and some stores that have no limits on the number of customers that they allow in.

Hopefully, it will not take a personal tragedy for them to finally wake up.

Rabbi Eliezer Brand is a talmudic Researcher and teacher and resides in Brooklyn with his wife, son and two daughters.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Panic is gripping my Orthodox community as we navigate the plague - Jewish Journal

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Satmar Williamsburg Taking Children On Trip To Fun Station – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on March 18, 2020

While the entire United States comes to a screeching halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the entire NYC Public School System is closed, one community seems to be oblivious, or simply in total denial of what is going on.

Multiple parents in the school emailed this flier to YWN

The attached flier was sent home with Cheder children from the 4th and 5th grades at Talmud Torah Vyirah DRabeinu Yoel MSatmar on Sunday, announcing a school trip to Fun Station (amusement park) this coming Tuesday.

The trip was to thank the children for collecting money on Purim for the Mosdos.

The note to parents says the buses will be leaving at 10:00AM, and the children will return at 2:15PM, and even insturts the parents how much nosh should be taken along.

It did not say if the Cheder was proving masks or HazMat suits for the children.

STAY UPDATED WITH BREAKING UPDATES FROM YWN VIA WHATSAPP SIGN UP NOWJust click on this link, and you will be placed into a group.

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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BUSINESS AS USUAL: Satmar Williamsburg Taking Children On Trip To Fun Station - Yeshiva World News

Tens of thousands of Haredi students went to school Sunday, violating coronavirus closure – Haaretz

Posted By on March 18, 2020

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) students went to school Sunday as usual, following the directive of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, leader of the non-Hasidic Haredi community, who ordered Talmud Torah schools to remain open despite the Health Ministry order to close.

Yeshivas and kollels (yeshivas for married students) also remained open, with students told to observe the Health Ministry instructions and rules of hygiene. However, it seems that most yeshivas did not observe the rules about limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, or about individuals keeping at least two meters from one another.

Israel's coronavirus crisis could be Bibi's swan song. Haaretz weekly podcast

Later Sunday night, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the spiritual leader of the United Torah Judaism party, and Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, the head of the Ponevezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak, agreed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's suggestion that Torah study will be conducted in groups of up to 10 students as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Several Talmud Torah schools were visited by policemen seeking to shut them down. Principals told the police that they had received orders from their rabbis to keep the institutions open, and the policemen let them off with a warning.

There were patrol cars by us, one Talmud Torah teacher said. The principal said we had orders from above. They [the policemen] said that this was not yet criminal because the prime minister still had to sign the order, but then it would be criminal. They said, When that happens, we will take the kids out and take you with us.

Another principal said, Studies here are continuing as usual. Policemen came but they are allowing us to continue to study.

So while the police were cracking down on businesses that were violating the assembly order and launching criminal investigations, they have yet to open an investigation against the administration of a Haredi school.

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Police said they are trying to resolve the situation through dialogue without criminal enforcement. Senior commanders met Sunday with Kanievsky on the matter, but the meeting yielded no results. The police, however, are mapping out those Haredi schools that were operating normally.

The order that turns improper assemblies into criminal violations must be signed by Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov, not the prime minister. In Petah Tikva, Mayor Rami Greenberg had warned principals that he would take harsh measures against schools that opened and indeed, all the Talmud Torah schools were closed except for one. We sent him a patrol car, a municipal source said. He told the policemen that there are orders from the rabbis, and they left.

The source added that the other principals who closed their schools because of the mayors warning were very uncomfortable with the decision. I understand that tomorrow theyre all going to reopen if the rabbis order stays in effect. Whoever knows Rabbi Kanievsky knows the decision will not change.

Nevertheless, during the day the Or Yisrael yeshiva, one of the more prestigious yeshivas in Petah Tikva, closed on the instruction of Rabbi Edelstein. Haaretz has learned that Edelstein believed from the start that the Talmud Torah schools should be closed after consulting with doctors and other sources, from whom he understood that it was an issue of saving lives. However, after he learned of Kanievskys ruling, he decided not to issue his own.

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Tens of thousands of Haredi students went to school Sunday, violating coronavirus closure - Haaretz

Haredi Gedolim Order Learning to Continue, Defying Government Warnings – The Jewish Press –

Posted By on March 18, 2020

Photo Credit: Aharon Krohn/Flash90

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in Haredi Jewish society in Israel and abroad, has decided that studies in Yeshivot and Talmudei Torah should be held as usual for the time being, while adhering to necessary precautions recommended by the health ministry, Behadrei Haredim reported late Saturday night.

This decision excludes one community, Kiryat Yearim, a.k.a. Telz-Stone, near Jerusalem, where seven family members have tested positive for the coronavirus and some 1,000 local residents have entered quarantine conditions. The local municipality has ordered that anyone who attended Shabbat Zachor services at the Kol Yehuda synagogue, as well as the Megillah reading at the same synagogue and the Purim services at the Levenberg synagogue, must go into isolation at their homes. All Tiferet Yehuda Talmud Torah students and the first grade students at Ohel Hasya school they must go into isolation, as well as all the babies and staff of the Maon Kochavim daycare center. In addition, no daycare centers and nurseries will be open in Kiryat Yearim.

The Ateret Shlomo network of Lithuanian Haredi Torah institutions, which runs some 40 educational institutions all over Israel, has been instructed to continue only limudei kodesh (Jewish studies) classes, and to close their kindergartens.

On Monday, Rabbi Kanievsky and the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, will meet to discuss whether or not to keep Haredi learning institutions open in the coming days.

According to a report on Rotters, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer Rebbe, ordered Belz kindergartens, cheders and schools to ignore the health ministrys instructions and continue their operations as usual throughout the country. The Rebbe instructed his followers not to listen to the news broadcasts, and asked that girls come to school without their official school uniforms, to avoid criticism. Belz operates educational institutions in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Har Yona, Kiryat Gat and Givat Zeev. This past Shabbat, Belz shuls held public services, complete with a tish, which were attended by thousands of chassidim.

On Sunday morning, Jerusalem police shut down three Haredi schools (Talmud Torahs) after they ignored instructions by the Ministry of Health.

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Haredi Gedolim Order Learning to Continue, Defying Government Warnings - The Jewish Press -

Closings, cancellations and more in Northeast Ohio due to coronavirus – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on March 17, 2020

Jack's Deli and Restaurant in Cleveland Heights has closed.

All Cuyahoga County buildings are closed to the public.

The Rolling Stoneshave postponed their 'No Filter' summer tour, including their planned stop inClevelandon June 19 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University has canceled the 2020 Cleveland Humanities Festival: TRUTH.

Suburban Temple-Kol Ami in Beachwoodis closed indefinitely.

All performances of "Catch Me If You Can: A New Musical," scheduled for April 24 to May 16 at theAurora Community Theatre inAurora have been canceled.

Massillon Museum inMassillon is closedthrough April 3.All public events and programs previously scheduled during this time have been cancelled, postponed, or transitioned to a virtual platform.

25th Anniversary Events scheduled through April at thePeter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center at Menorah Park in Beachwood have been canceled.

Classes atJewish Learning Connection inUniversity Heights are temporarily canceled. In the meantime,JLC will make an effort to conduct classes through conference call.

The NCJW/CLE warehouse is temporarily closed. Donations are not being collected at this time. The organization urges those at home to considercleaning closets and saving items. WhenNCJW/CLE reopens the warehouse, donations will be needed more than ever.

CycleBar Beachwood is temporarily closed.All Flex-Packs will be extended and all memberships will be automatically frozen until further notice.

The Solon Chamber of Commerce will host all board and committee meetings via Zoom Conference.Chamber Connections on March 18 will also be hosted via Zoom from 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. (Meeting ID: 877-158-094; Password: SCOC), as well as weekly updates for members. All other programs and events are postponed through April 30.

Peloton at Pinecrest in Orange is closed through March 29 with plans to reopen March 30.

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage will close March 17 through April 7.

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is temporarily closed.The same level of care will be provided for the animals. Core staff members will still be on-site for feeding, cleaning and other critical activities. Annual passes will be extended by one month, as will general admission tickets expiring in March.

All City of Shaker Heights meetings are canceled through April 30 with a few exceptions:Architectural Board of Review on March 16 and April 6; City Council special meeting on March 14 and regular meetings on March 30 and April 27; and Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals onApril 7 will be held withmodifications to address social distancing protocol.

Karamu Performing Arts Theatre hascanceled all March performances of "Hoodoo Love." Those who purchased tickets to any of the canceled shows can exchange them for a future performance of "Hoodoo Love," currently scheduled for preview April 2 and opening night April 3.

The Grog Shop inCleveland Heights is closed at least until late April.

CRYSTAL by Cirque du Soleil canceled its Cleveland engagementsat the Rocket Mortgage FieldHousefrom June 24 toJune 28.

Beth ElCongregation located in theAkronJewish Community has canceled all services, program and Hebrew school and Sunday School through March 31.

Heights Jewish Center Synagogue in University Heights announced it will not be holding services or classes, beginning March 16.

All bars and restaurants in Ohio will be ordered close to at 9 p.m. March 15. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement during a March 15 news conference. Restaurants will remain open for carry-out and delivery.

Solon City Schools will be closed beginning March 16.

The Bagel Shoppe in South Euclid will be closed for walk-in business as of March 16. The Bagel Shoppe and FreshKo catering are partnering with JSL Catering to offer curbside pickup and delivery options.

The Mandel Adult Day Center at Menorah Park in Beachwood will be closed as of March 16.

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple has closed the building until April 3.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. is closing itsbrewpub and gift shop.

Akron Symphony Orchestra's Appalachian Spring Concert will not take place on March 28.

Abercrombie & Fitch is closing all North American, Middle East and Europe stores for two weeks.

Nike is closing all U.S. stores through March 27.

Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood has canceled all daily minyanim.

fire, food and drink on Shaker Square in Cleveland will close for two months.

Apple is closing its stores outside of China for two weeks and will only sell online. Apple has stores at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere, Summit Mall in Fairlawn and Crocker Park in Westlake.

The Shaw JCC of Akron and the Schultz Campus will close from 6 p.m. March 15 through April 3, according to a March 14 email signed by John Keverkamp, Shaw JCC executive director.

MGM Northfield Park will close as of midnight March 13. As of midnight tonight, MGM Northfield Park will suspend operations and temporarily close, said MGM COO and President Bill Hornbuckle. We will do all we can to mitigate the impact on our employees and partners. We will monitor this rapidly changing situation and will keep everyone informed as decisions are made to reopen in the future.

The Solon Community Center, the Solon Senior Center, the Solon Center for the Arts and Grantwood Golf Course in Solon will be closed starting March 14. "We will re-evaluate the situation weekly," Mayor Eddy Kraus wrote in an email to residents.

The Mandel JCC in Beachwood will be closed through April 5, Michael G. Hyman, president and CEO, told the Cleveland Jewish News on March 13.

Cleveland Public Library will close at the end of the day March 13 until further notice.Allprograms,services,outreach activities,and meeting roomreservations have been canceled.Thelibrary will continue to provide brown bag meals to children Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m. at Main Library and our 27 neighborhood branches. Voters can still utilize the designated branches as polling locations for the primary election March 17.

All Cuyahoga County Public Library branches are closed to the public March 14 through April 5. Telephone reference and drive-up service will be available at 11 branches, including Beachwood, Mayfield, Orange and South Euclid-Lyndhurst.Polling locations will be open March 17 for voting.

The European Wax Center in Woodmereis temporarily suspending operations while schools are closed.

The Cleveland Museum of Artwill temporarily close to the public effective March 14, with current plans to reopen on March 31.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will close to the public March 16.

The Institute for Learning In Retirement East has canceled the spring session of classes scheduled to start April14.

All City Candy in Cleveland has postponed its grand reopening event scheduled for March 21. The store will hold acustomer appreciation event at a date yet to be determined.

Destination Clevelandhas closed the Cleveland Visitors Center at 334 Euclid Ave. The organization has also postponed its Be a Tourist in Your Hometown activities scheduled for March 27 to March 29.

The Beachwood Bistro atBeachwood High School is closed until further notice.

The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Induction Week festivities are postponed.

The I-X Center has canceled the annual I-X Indoor Amusement Park,the I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama and Marketplace Events.

Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike hascanceled or postponed all non-essential meetings. Services at the synagogue March 13 and March 14 are canceled.

The Youngstown Area Jewish Federationhas canceled or postponed existing programs that include large gatherings.Limited visitation is in immediate effect for Heritage Manor and Levy Gardens.However, the Jewish Community Center building and the Early Learning Center at the Jewish Community Center will remain open.

Nighttownin Cleveland Heights will close after service March 15 likely through May 10.

Italian Language Lessonsat the Cleveland History Center in University Circle are postponed.

Western Reserve Historical Society will close all public venues March 14 through April 5.

Great Lakes Science Center is closed for the foreseeable future.

All Bikur Cholim events are canceled until further notice and no visitors are allowed in Bikur Cholim houses.

The Cleveland International Hall of Fameis postponing April 21 induction ceremony of May Chen, Margaret Lynch, Valarie McCall, Ramesh Shah, Berj Shakarian and Joe Valencic.

All JFSA YouthAbility activities are canceled through March 31.

All public programming at the Beachwood Community Center is suspended through end-of-day March 19.

The Jewish Education Center offices will be closed until March 23.

Mandel JDS and Gross Schechter Day School students are required to refrain from attending Kids Club at Mandel JCC while their schools are closed.

All in-person Kol HaLev gatherings are suspended until after March 17.

All in-person religious school classes at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson are canceled until after Passover, April 16.

Mid-American Conference Basketball Tournaments in Cleveland have been canceled.

Ohio High School Athletic Association has postponed all remaining winter tournaments.

The Cleveland International Film Festival set for March 25 to April 5 has been canceled.

The City Club of Cleveland will reschedule remaining forums in March. Those with tickets to a rescheduled forum will be contacted with further information. Starting March 12, forums moved to an online format with the first being on the topic of COVID-19 and the local and statewide response to this unique public health threat. On March 13, the regional high school debate championship will still be hosted with a limited audience of close friends and family members of the debaters. Others may livestream the event at or on the radio at 90.3 WCPN at 12:30 p.m.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has canceled the men's and women's basketball tournaments, and all spring championships in every sport.

Shaker Heights Public Library has suspended all library programs and public meeting room use through April 30.

The University HeightsArchitecture Review Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 12 has been canceled.All agenda items will be moved to the next meeting, which is now scheduled for April 9.

The Cleveland Institute of Music has canceled all public events and performances through April 6.Decisions about performances scheduled between April 7 and April 20 will be made in the coming weeks.

All indoor locations at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are closed.

All Cleveland Metroparks and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo upcoming programs and events are canceled until at least March 31.

Cleveland Metroparks outdoor locations will remain open including 18 park reservations, eight golf coursesand the outdoor portion of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has cancelled all train rides from March 13 to April 12.

Playhouse Square has postponed all performances.

All schools will close end of day March 16 through April 3.

Shaker Heights schools: all school-sponsored, after-school, large-group events and daytime school assemblies are canceled, as well as field trips through March 21.

Solon schools have canceled all non-essential indoor large group activities and gatherings as well as all student field trips.

Orange Schools have canceled classes Friday,March 13. Teachers will use this day to prepare online and alternative content and coordinate instructional resources students will need to complete at-home assignments should the need arise. After-school eventsMarch 13 are still on at this point.

Ashland University in Ashland will move to an online format starting March 18.

Baldwin Wallace University in Berea will move to an online format through at least April 13.

Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green will move to an online format starting March 23.

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will move to an online format through at least April 6.

The University of Cincinnati students will complete classes remotely until April 13.

Cleveland State University in Cleveland has extended spring break until March 23. Classes will resume in an online format through at least April 10 with the intent to resume on-campus classes April 13.

Cuyahoga Community Collegein Cleveland has postponed face-to-face classes until March 23.Fitness centers and pools are closed until April 1.

John Carroll University in University Heights will move to an online format through at least April 13.

Kent State University in Kent will move to an online format through at least April 11.

Lorain County Community College in Elyria will resume in-person classes March 25 after spring break.

Miami University in Oxford will complete the semester online. For students who depart campus by March 27 and do not return, there will "an appropriate" refund of room and board.

Oberlin College in Oberlinwill move to remote instruction for the rest of the semester.

The Ohio State University in Columbus will move to an online format through at least March 30.

Ohio University in Athens will move to an online format through at least March 30.

University of Akron in Akron has postponed graduation.

University of Toledo in Toledo will move to an online format through at least March 30. All events with expected attendance of 100 or more are canceled. Domestic and international travel is suspended for the rest of the fiscal year.

Ursuline Collegein Pepper Pike hassuspended face-to-face instruction on campus until March 30.

Walsh University in North Canton will move to an online format through at least March 27.

Friday, March 13

The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood events: Regular Kabbalat Shabbat service without hakafa will be streamed; Shira Chadasha will be rescheduled; Souper Oneg; TGIS and visit from Temple Israel teens

Bnai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike events postponed: Mind-full Shabbat dinner and speaker; Kinder Shabbat

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Closings, cancellations and more in Northeast Ohio due to coronavirus - Cleveland Jewish News

How Jewish Immigrants Spurred the Barbadian Rum Trade – VinePair

Posted By on March 17, 2020

The island nation of Barbados is renowned for more than just Rihanna the country is also home to a thriving rum industry that dates back to the 17th century. While many are familiar with Bajan rums Mount Gay and Malibu being some of the most popular few are aware of the early geopolitical developments that caused Barbados to become one of the Caribbeans most prominent producers of the spirit.

The industrys origins lie not with the English colonists who claimed the island under their crown, but instead with a mass migration of Jewish refugees. Fleeing persecution from the Portuguese Inquisition, these newcomers arrived with a valuable skill set that would soon spur rum production to heights previously unseen.

Before detailing the Bajan rum boom, its necessary to highlight the driving force that brought these refugees to Barbados in the first place: the Alhambra Decree. This royal mandate, backed by Spains Ferdinand II and Isabella I in 1492, sought to eliminate any and all Jewish influence from the Iberian Peninsula. While many Jews chose to undergo conversion to Catholicism, a large portion fled across the sea to seek out a more tolerant place to call home. For many Sephardim, the northeast shores of South America became a haven to live and worship freely.

Life for Jewish immigrants in South America was largely uneventful for the next few decades, until the geopolitical tides came to a sudden shift in the early 1600s. The Netherlands, a major seafaring power bent on spreading its influence, captured the Brazilian state of Pernambuco from Portugal in 1630. Dutch influence spread across the region until the kingdom owned a sizable chunk of South America, now referred to as Dutch Brazil. Dutch Count Johan Maurits espoused religious tolerance throughout the region, allowing Jews to worship freely. Finally, it seemed that this frequently persecuted group had found a safe place to settle.

Enter Portugal: The kingdoms navy returned to Brazil with a vengeance, intent on reclaiming the land it had once relinquished to the Dutch Empire. In 1652, the Portuguese began an onslaught against the city of Recife, leading to one of the largest mass migrations of Jewish immigrants from South America.

Though Jews were in Barbados from 1628, the first large wave came after the Sephardic community of Recife, Brazil, was forced to leave after the Portuguese reconquered the area and reintroduced the Inquisition, says Karl Watson, a retired senior lecturer in the department of history at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown, Barbados. By 1654, a mikvah and synagogue were built in Bridgetown. Once again forced from the lands that they called home, the Sephardim began a new life on the shores of Barbados.

Up until the 1640s, life in Barbados was largely a bleak affair. Tobacco and cotton were the islands principal crops, though neither grew in abundance compared to other nearby regions. The colony held little relevance in the eyes of the European powers right up until the first wave of Jewish migrants arrived from Recife. Armed with the knowledge of sugar cane rearing, a skill picked up from generations of living in Brazil, the crop exploded onto the global scene.

Together with the Dutch, the Sephardic Jews transferred the center of the New World sugar industry from northern Brazil to the Caribbean islands, writes Richard B. Sheridan in his book, Sugar and Slavery: An Economic History of the British West Indies, 1623-1775. They brought knowledge of cane culture and processing, together with cane cuttings, seasoned slaves, mills, utensils, Holland and English wares, and African slaves. More than the Dutch, they were masters of sugar technology and taught the English the art of sugar making. This sudden abundance of sugar cane led to an abundance of molasses a byproduct thats a key ingredient in the production of most rums.

Within 20 years of the mass migration from Recife, by the early 1660s, Barbados had become fabulously wealthy, spurring a greater quantity of trade than all other English colonies put together. Though the Sephardim kick-started this rampant economic growth, they had little to show for it. From the outset, Barbadoss Jewish inhabitants settled in the colonys towns, choosing to concentrate on commerce rather than on plantation agriculture, writes Eli Faber in his book, Jews, Slaves, and The Slave Trade: Setting The Record Straight. While some of Barbadoss Jews did own land outside the towns, concentration in the latter, hence in commerce, meant that the Jewish population was destined to own few of the islands slaves. While the Jewish community traded goods, rum being one of them, it was largely unable to reap the financial benefits of the sugar industry.

All good things must come to an end, and that included Barbadoss incredibly lucrative sugar trade. As surrounding islands and shores across the Caribbean began to cultivate their own cane, Barbados slowly fell to the wayside, unable to match the supply of its neighbors. Thankfully, the country had developed a deep affinity for rum over the centuries, spurring a consistent demand for the spirit even without a major surplus of molasses.

As with sugar production, the Jewish population began to dwindle as well. Today, Barbados is home to a small community of Jews, many of whom attend Nidhe Israel Synagogue, one of the oldest Jewish temples in the Western Hemisphere. Though they are small in number, theres no denying the pivotal role that their ancestors played in the history of Barbados, as well as the rum industry as a whole. From the shores of the Caribbean to the isles of the Philippines, rum has established itself as one of the most favored spirits in the world and we owe its success, in part, to a small sect of religious refugees fleeing persecution to begin life anew in a foreign land.


How Jewish Immigrants Spurred the Barbadian Rum Trade - VinePair

Temple Mount’s Dome of The Rock Shuts Down Due to Coronavirus Threat – JerusalemOnline

Posted By on March 17, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has caused the closures of the Temple Mounts Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque until further notice, reports Reuters.

As an alternative, the courtyards surrounding the two mosques will remain open for worshipers, said Al-Kiswani.

Considered to be the third holiest site in the Islamic faith, the place is believed to be where the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus on Israels shores, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders have been cautioning worshipers to stay away from religious sites.

On Thursday, Israels Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef ruled that according to Jewish law, praying at the Western Wall, the last remaining wall from the Second Temple complex, should be avoided due to the danger of infection.

No halachic (Jewish legal) instruction exists that would overrule the instructions of the Health Ministry, said Rabbi Yosef. The halachic instruction is to obey absolutely all the instructions of the Health Ministry without exception, and every order produced by them is a halachic order for all intents and purposes.

Israels Ashenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau issued a similar edict on Thursday, saying, requirement to take care of yourself in order to avoid hurting a fellow person supersedes even the requirement to take care of yourself for your own sake.

The coronavirus can pass from a completely healthy person to someone else and endanger that second person. That means absolute obedience to the instructions [of health officials] is required, even if they are difficult and inconvenient, he said.

Following the outbreak of the deadly virus in Bethlehem earlier this month, the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Jesus was born according to the Christian faith, closed its doors until further notice.

We respect the authorities decision because safety comes first, an unnamed church official told France24 at the time.

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Temple Mount's Dome of The Rock Shuts Down Due to Coronavirus Threat - JerusalemOnline

How the Knesset got shafted out of the Shin Bet surveillance decision – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on March 17, 2020

The Knesset has been sidelined out of the decision to allow the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to surveil citizens infected by the coronavirus.

How did this happen?

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared ready to activate the Shin Bet without the Knesset and to close down most of the court system.

The public outcry over these measures, and accusations of an effective coup by the government over the other branches, led Deputy Attorney-General Raz Nizri to assure a group of journalists on Sunday night that the Shin Bet would not start its surveillance without Knesset approval.

On Monday afternoon, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees Intelligence Subcommittee, headed by Blue and White MK Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff, debated the issue and refused to green-light Shin Bet surveillance without further clarifications.

In the middle of the night between Monday and Tuesday, the government green-lighted the Shin Bet to perform the surveillance for 30 days even without Knesset approval.

Speaking to a group of journalists on Tuesday, Nizri apologized for the sudden shift.

He essentially explained that the expectation had been that Ashkenazis subcommittee would approve the Shin Bet surveillance by the end of the Monday hearing.

Evidently, the Attorney-Generals Office, the Health Ministry and Netanyahu did not expect Ashkenazi to perform a more serious review and believed they would immediately approve the Shin Bets involvement.

Once Ashkenazis subcommittee did not play ball, Nizri checked with other Knesset officials about how soon it might meet again.

After it was made clear to Nizri that because the new Knesset had just been sworn in, it would be nearly impossible to reconvene Ashkenazis subcommittee on Monday night or Tuesday morning, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit approved letting the government green-light the Shin Bets surveillance without Knesset involvement.

Officials from his office said the apolitical Health Ministry officials were insisting that there was no time to wait.

Nizri emphasized to the journalists that the moment the Ashkenazi subcommittee reconvenes, it would be ready to reinitiate the discussions.

However, there is a large missing piece to this explanation.

To explain that the decision was not made in panic, Nizri reiterated on Tuesday that quiet preliminary planning meetings were held among the Attorney-Generals Office, the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and the Health Ministry as early as the middle of last week.

Pressed why no member of the Ashkenazi subcommittee was included or updated about these meetings so as to avoid the current situation where events would move faster than the new Knesset could organize itself, the answer was strikingly technical.

The defense of keeping the Ashkenazi subcommittee out of the picture until Monday, when there was almost no time for them to discuss it before the emergent nature of the coronavirus overtook the Knesset in terms of time, was that they could not bring theoretical ideas before the Knesset.

The gaping hole in this logic is that if one fundamental purpose of the Knesset is to provide oversight, then the executive branch, which includes the Attorney-Generals Office, must have included either an Ashkenazi subcommittee member in preliminary discussions or must have waited on making the final decision until the committee gave a green light.

Arguing both, that it is too early and too late to talk to the Knesset, is shockingly circular logic.

At a time when politics is unavoidably in the air, coronavirus or not, one might expect the Attorney-Generals Office to show even greater sensitivity to the idea of Knesset oversight.

Maybe Shin Bet surveillance is necessary and could not wait until even Tuesday afternoon (though sources have implied that Netanyahus not-waiting-one-hour statement was an exaggeration).

But even the apolitical officials seem to not understand that in the current atmosphere, using Shin Bet surveillance on Israeli citizens (with the coronavirus) without Knesset approval is a deeply political action, whether it is intended to be or not.

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How the Knesset got shafted out of the Shin Bet surveillance decision - The Jerusalem Post

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