Pristine apples are one of the first varietals of apples to bear fruit in the growing season. Available in late summer, these are at their peak this year for Rosh Hashanah, which falls in early September.
These round, small- to medium-sized apples are yellow in color with a crisp texture, a bright, fresh taste, high sugar and low acid content. They are especially good eating apples, and stand up well to robust flavors — like honey.
If you manage to get your hands on enough of these to take you past the High Holidays, be sure to store them in the refrigerator and enjoy them quickly. Early varietals do not have the shelf life of later apples and will only hold their flavor and texture for a few weeks.
A relatively new varietal, pristine apples were originally introduced to the market in 1994 as a result of a cooperative breeding program launched by growers in Illinois, Indiana and New Jersey. These farmers sought to cultivate breeds that do not require much chemical spraying, which is better for consumers, the environment and reduces agricultural costs.
Here are some delicious ways to enjoy pristine apples — and other varietals, too.
• Slice sharp cheddar and pristine apples for a tasty, healthy snack.
• Ditch the jelly. Slice pristine apples and layer them on a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich.
• Swirl honey into Greek yogurt and dip apple slices.
• Chop apples and sprinkle them on oatmeal or muesli for breakfast.
• Try them for dessert. Slice them and spread them with Nutella, or dip them in chocolate, caramel or dulce de leche sauce. It’s healthier than cake and ice cream and still plenty indulgent.
The post Pristine Apples, Ready for Rosh Hashanah appeared first on Jewish Exponent.
My mother and I have always had the tradition to speak to each other on Friday afternoons before Shabbat. We maintained this all through college and post college, when I’ve lived in many places and even different time zones. Now that I have a baby and a toddler, though,
I’m finding myself resenting this tradition, imagining what I could do with those precious minutes I’m spending on the phone. We do talk other times during the week, but these Friday calls are in a different category. How can I break it to her that I have to break this tradition?
I totally sympathize with the fact that something that used to work for you doesn’t work anymore now that you are a mother, but I don’t think your only solution is to get rid of these calls altogether.
Depending on your schedule, I wonder if you could schedule these calls during the day on Friday. If your kids are in daycare, maybe you could take 15 minutes away from your own work day to talk to your mom. If you’re home with the kids, maybe you could arrange to do the call during their naps. Thursday night after the kids are asleep is probably a busy time for you, but that might also take the pressure off of Fridays if your mom would agree to talk then.
Another option is to find a way to include your children in the call. Talk to your mom on Friday afternoon, but do it with an app where she can see the kids and they can see her. You might even be able to step away for 30 seconds while she virtually reads them a story or sings a Shabbat song with them through the screen. You could also limit the scope of the call — you call, say Shabbat shalom, the kids say Shabbat shalom or squeal (or scream) into the phone, your mom says Shabbat shalom, you all hang up. Even in the busiest times, it might not feel like it, but you probably can find a minute to make that happen. (If you can’t, though, I believe you, and I also understand.)
If there’s a seamless way to transition these calls to something that works for you without being a huge burden, then great. Make that switch and don’t look back — you and your mom will never be the same people you were when you were simply mother and daughter and not also grandmother and mother.
But if you think your mom will be resistant to change or resentful of a shortened call, then you need to have a conversation about your conversations. Say, “Mom, it’s gotten harder and harder to fit in our pre-Shabbat calls. I’m sure you understand how busy I am with two little kids. Do you think there’s another time during the week we could still schedule a special call, or something else that could take the place of this? I don’t like always feeling rushed when we talk, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that, too.”
Then let her respond. If it’s with a guilt trip, that stinks. But, hopefully, she’ll have compassion for your current situation, and maybe this will deepen your relationship and your ability to talk about motherhood with your own mom.
The post Traditional Pre-Shabbat Call Now Causing Resentment appeared first on Jewish Exponent.
Academic Organization Opposes BDS, Calls for Requirement Renouncement
The American Association of University Professors said Aug. 8 that it opposes the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement — as well as requirements that call for academics to renounce it, JTA reported.
The AAUP issued a statement that called on public universities to “stop requiring speakers and others to pledge that they do not now, nor will they in the future, endorse a specific political movement known as boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) with regard to Israel.”
“We oppose all academic boycotts, including an academic boycott of Israel, on the grounds that such boycotts violate the principles of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas for which our organization has stood for over one hundred years,” the statement continued.
At least 17 states have passed legislation banning state-funded entities from doing business with those who boycott Israel. That, in turn, has increased the number of requirements for pledges to renounce BDS.
AAUP has chapters on more than 500 campuses and advocates for academic standards and freedoms.
American Rappers Quit Israeli Music Festival
Citing the “security situation,” American rappers Fat Joe and Tyga canceled their appearance at the Shaka music festival in Rishon Lezion, leading to the scrapping of the entire festival, JNS.org reported.
The American rappers were slated to headline the festival on July 9 and were to be joined by Israeli hip-hop artists. Last year’s festival drew 15,000 fans.
Unhappy fans responded on social media, with many asking, “What security situation?”
Many musicians have been pressured by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to not perform in Israel, but it’s not clear if the cancellations are tied to that.
Coral Used in Knee Replacement Surgery in Israel
Doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center in Israel performed successful knee surgery using a coral-based implant an Israeli startup developed, the Jerusalem Post reported.
CartiHeal, a Kfar Saba-based company, created the implant, which is called Agili-C. The product is undergoing clinical studies and is being tested on patients worldwide.
“The need for an implant that leads to the regrowth of damaged cartilage is genuinely needed in the orthopedic world, and we hope that the [clinical] trail will succeed,” said Adi Friedman, the physician who performed the procedure, “and that the implant will be the breakthrough that we have been waiting for.”
Agili-C is made from aragonite, which is calcium carbonate derived from coral’s exoskeleton.
Anti-Semitic Crimes Up in Germany
Anti-Semitic crimes increased more than 10 percent in Germany in 2018’s first six months compared to a year ago, Politico reported.
Citing government figures, Politico said 401 anti-Semitic crimes were reported, with 12 of them classified as violent crimes and 349 having a far-right motive.
Eighty of those crimes occurred in Berlin.
The post News Briefs: Coral Used in Knee Replacement Surgery in Israel, Anti-Semitic Crimes Up in Germany, and More appeared first on Jewish Exponent.
Writer and author Nelson Henderson once said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
For many of us, that sums up why we donate money, property and other assets to synagogues, educational institutions and other charitable organizations. We may not expect to benefit personally from our actions, but we nevertheless find meaning in sharing what we have with others.
But “finding meaning” and “feeling good” aren’t the only benefits of charitable giving. There are tremendous personal advantages, which not only allow you to accomplish your charitable objectives, but reduce the amount of estate taxes, ordinary income taxes and capital gains taxes you will owe; provide you or someone you care about with a lifetime income; and, with proper planning, still leave a substantial portion of your assets to your heirs.
In other words, charitable giving — in addition to satisfying a natural inclination to help others — can be an effective estate planning, retirement planning or even business succession planning strategy.
After a lifetime of hard work and careful planning, do you really want to be that generous to the government? You don’t have to be. A charitable giving strategy essentially allows you to decide how resources you would otherwise pay to the government will be spent and will direct them to the organizations and causes you care about most.
There are a number of charitable giving strategies that could work, depending upon your circumstances, needs and objectives. Among others, these strategies can range from simply donating funds or property directly to a favorite charity, to naming the charity as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, to setting up a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT).
Let’s consider charitable gifts of life insurance and CRTs.
Charitable Gifts of Life Insurance
In its simplest execution, using life insurance to benefit a favorite charity is fairly straightforward: You apply for (and retain ownership of) a policy, name the charity as beneficiary and begin paying the premiums. As long as you retain ownership of the policy, the premiums are not income tax deductible. However, upon your death, the charity receives the proceeds from the policy free of federal income and estate taxes, and free from the costs, delays and publicity of probate. Furthermore, there are no trusts to set up and administer.
You can also donate an existing life insurance policy to a favorite charity, or simply have a charity apply for and own a new policy on your life. For example, you may own a policy that you no longer require for its original purpose. In such a case, you can transfer ownership of that policy to a charity of your choice and immediately reap two immediate benefits: an income tax deduction and future premiums paid will be income tax deductible, subject to limitation.
Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)
A CRT is a tax-advantaged “split-interest” trust that can provide you or someone else you choose with benefits, and a charity you select with benefits down the road. Thus, there are two beneficiaries: the “income beneficiary,” which is the person or persons — including yourself — who will benefit from the trust during the term of the trust; and the charity, which will benefit at the end of the term of the trust. The CRT term can be based upon your (or someone else’s) life expectancy, or simply upon a term of years not exceeding 20.
You can donate a wide variety of assets to a CRT, including cash, personal property, real estate, publicly traded stocks and securities, an interest in an IRA or qualified retirement plan or, in some cases, even a closely held business interest you wish to sell. Your donated assets are typically sold by the trust, and the sales proceeds are reinvested and managed by the trust, which, in turn, pays you (or someone else you choose) income for a period of time you select. At the end of the trust term, the charity receives the remainder interest. Be cautioned, however, that a CRT is irrevocable.
The benefits of setting up a CRT are many. First, you can obtain an immediate income tax deduction, which is based on the net present value of the charity’s remainder interest. The IRS limits the income deduction you may take in any given year to a percentage of your adjusted gross income for that year. However, it will allow you to carry forward your deduction, if necessary, for up to five additional years.
The second benefit of a CRT is a reduction in the amount of estate taxes your heirs will owe at your death. What’s more, the amount of the estate tax deduction is unlimited — every dollar that passes to the charity is a dollar on which your heirs will not have to pay taxes. CRTs also allow you to avoid capital gains taxes.
And finally, as mentioned, a CRT allows you to generate income for yourself, your family or anyone you choose for a period of time that you select.
But what about your heirs?
Despite the tax, non-tax and “feel good” advantages of donating assets to charity, you may be hesitant to give away a valuable asset that you might otherwise want to leave to your children or other heirs. If such feelings have kept you from implementing a charitable giving strategy, consider a Wealth Replacement Trust. That trust uses life insurance with an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) to help you achieve your tax, non-tax and charitable objectives without having to reduce the amount of wealth left to heirs.
Here’s how it works: Income generated from the CRT (or the tax savings that resulted from establishing the CRT) is used to purchase a life insurance policy on your life (or joint lives of you and your spouse), with a face amount equal to the value of the asset(s) you are donating to charity. The policy is owned by the ILIT, which keeps it out of your estate. The proceeds at death are paid to the ILIT free from income or estate taxes. ILIT funds are then managed for the trust beneficiaries.
Charitable giving can also be an important component of your estate, retirement or business succession plan. When executed properly, it can help you provide lifetime income to yourself or others; reduce your current and future tax liability; and leave your heirs a substantial legacy.
Michael DeFillipo has 14 years of experience in the insurance industry. He holds Life Accident and Health, Series 65, 63, 6 and 7Licenses and received his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designation from The American College of Financial Services.
The post Consider the Benefits of Charitable Giving appeared first on Jewish Exponent.
The scene has become iconic, a cultural motif and even an internet meme.
In it, an elderly person falls on the floor and utters the now-famous words: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Alvin E. Booker, an entrepreneur who started several companies including one that sold medical alert devices, died on July 25 in his home in Malibu, Calif. at the age of 90. He lived most of his life in the Philadelphia area, where he started a family and owned several businesses.
To the world, Booker’s legacy might stem from his buying the rights to purchase Med-a-Lert, a pioneer of many of today’s medical alert systems such as Life Alert. Booker’s wife of 66 years, Janice Lekoff Booker, said the device’s first advertisement, which included that famous phrase, was even filmed in their home’s entryway.
But to her, Booker was first and foremost a family man.
He and Janice met as teenagers through their work in Jewish organizations, her in B’nai B’rith Girls and him in Aleph Zadik Aleph, an “extremely conventional and appropriate way,” Janice Booker said.
“He was extremely, extremely intelligent,” she said. “He started at Temple when he was only 16. I just enjoyed conversations with him, and I asked him all kinds of questions about natural phenomena. He called me every night on the telephone, and we would talk about any philosopher I might be studying. It was just very connective conversations we would have.”
Med-a-Lert was not Booker’s only entrepreneurial enterprise.
After graduating from Temple University and from a social psychology graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania, Booker started publishing regional business magazines with his wife, who was his business partner until they had their kids, though she continued to remain involved.
Booker also started a transcription service called Secrephone, which employed stay-at-home moms to type dictated messages. After he saw a need for this kind of service in health care, the company branched out into transcriptions of medical reports for doctors and hospitals.
Booker was a problem solver, said Ellis Booker, his son. He and his sister grew up in a home with thousands of books on countless topics, from Kabbalah to the history of ancient Rome. The Bookers were constantly lending out books, so Booker designed a library system for their home to keep track of them.
A few years ago, Booker’s health started to deteriorate. At one point, when Booker was wheelchair-bound, Ellis and a handyman were trying to figure out how to put a Hoyer Lift on his parents’ bed.
Then, Booker put his hand to his mouth — “very Talmudically,” Ellis Booker said — and offered a nonsensical solution.
“He was still sort of coming up with novel solutions to things, even a few months before he died,” Ellis said. “That shows the capacity of his intellect. He was always seeking solutions. It was neat for me to see that that spark was still there.”
Booker is survived by his wife, Janice; his children, Ellis Carl (Erin) Booker and Susan Barbara (Jerry Shevick) Booker; and grandchildren Sam Booker, George Booker, Truman Shevick and Ivy Shevick.
The most important person in the story of America’s response to the Holocaust, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was not mentioned even once in a recent article about the new “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. But perhaps that’s not surprising, since Roosevelt is reduced to such a minor figure in the exhibit itself.
The exhibit blames the Roosevelt administration’s failure to aid European Jewry on public opinion, former President Herbert Hoover and a few bad guys in the State Department — but never the president. Most Americans recall FDR as a strong, decisive leader, but in the Holocaust Museum’s new exhibit, he becomes the Incredible Disappearing President.
When the exhibit does mention Roosevelt, it is to excuse and minimize his responsibility for his own policies. For example, the exhibit defends FDR’s refusal, from 1933 to 1938, to publicly criticize Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. A text panel claims that “the accepted rules of international diplomacy obliged them to respect Germany’s right to govern its own citizens and not intervene on behalf of those being targeted.”
On the crucial issue of Roosevelt’s immigration policy, the exhibit omits important information. The exhibit does not mention that clergy (rabbis), professors and students could have been admitted — within the existing law — with no numerical limit. Nor is there any mention of FDR’s rejection of the proposals that were made to admit refugees temporarily to U.S. territories.
Of course, acknowledging those options would have conflicted with the exhibit’s theme of a weak, hapless Roosevelt who had no choice but to follow public opinion — an FDR who was a prisoner of the immigration policies initiated by the Hoover administration.
In a particularly egregious misstatement, the exhibit claims that “most [German Jews] did not have enough money to qualify for immigration” to the United States.
But in fact, nothing in U.S. law required a visa applicant to possess a specific sum of money. There was no monetary threshold for immigrants. Individual U.S. consuls in Germany decided whether they thought an applicant had sufficient means — or American relatives — to support them. And the consuls made those decisions in accordance with the president’s overall policy of suppressing refugee immigration below the limits allowed by law. As a result, the quota from Germany was filled in only one of FDR’s 12 years in office, and 190,000 quota places sat unused.
The exhibit claims that there was nothing Roosevelt could do to admit more refugees, because the public was against increasing immigration, even as Holocaust atrocities were becoming known.
But once again, the exhibit is distorting the historical record. The exhibit shows many polls from the 1930s and early 1940s demonstrating public opposition to immigration. But it fails to explain that after the tide of the war turned in 1943 and substantial information about the massacres reached America, public opinion did change. The exhibit omits the April 1944 Gallup poll which found 70 percent of the public in favor of granting temporary haven to Jewish refugees.
Daniel Greene, the exhibit’s lead curator, was quoted in Washington Jewish Week saying that the exhibit asks, “Why didn’t rescue ever become a priority?” But that’s the wrong question.
Rescue didn’t have to become a priority for Jews to be saved. There were numerous steps the Roosevelt administration could have taken that would have involved minimal effort and not interfered with the war effort.
For example, the president could have permitted the immigration quotas to be filled. That didn’t require an act of Congress or a public controversy. Or Roosevelt could have permitted empty troop transport ships returning from Europe to carry refugees. Those ships were too light to sail and had to be weighed down with ballast.
Perhaps the best-known example of what the United States could have done, without making rescue a priority, was to bomb Auschwitz, or the railways and bridges over which Jews were deported. U.S. planes repeatedly flew over Auschwitz in 1944 when they bombed oil factories that were adjacent to the death camp. For those planes to have dropped a few bombs on the gas chambers and crematoria, or on the transportation routes leading to the camp, would not have delayed victory over the Nazis.
Even if bombings only slowed the pace of the mass-murder process, that would have been significant. At its peak, 12,000 Jews were being gassed in Auschwitz every day.
Unfortunately, the exhibit gets too caught up in making excuses for Roosevelt to acknowledge these facts. But making excuses for FDR’s abandonment of the Jews should not be part of the museum’s mission.
Rafael Medoff is founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
The post Opinion | Holocaust Museum’s Exhibit Makes Excuses for FDR appeared first on Jewish Exponent.
The Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (PICC) and the World Trade Center Delaware co-hosted a roundtable discussion with Ambassador Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York City. The roundtable discussion addressed joint venture possibilities.
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The Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (PICC) co-hosted a summer 2018 international business networking reception on July 25 at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH). For the eighth consecutive year, Philadelphia’s international chambers came together to put on this event.
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U.S. President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Monday, which includes $550 million in assistance to Israel and temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between the United States and Ankara, which is currently holding an American pastor hostage, among other political moves.
The $717 billion measure includes a bipartisan measure honoring a decade-long memorandum of understanding between America and Israel, with the United States giving $3.8 billion annually to the Jewish state.
The NDAA, titled the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019,” authorizes funds for research and development pertaining to weapon-defense systems, including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems told help Israel defend against missile and rocket threats. Additionally, the law provides $50 million for joint U.S.-Israeli work on counter-tunnel technology, which has emerged as a major security threat to Israel in recent years from the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
The annual military blueprint also temporarily blocks the U.S. delivery of the jets to Turkey in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, whom the country accuses of participating in the failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Earlier this month, the United States slapped sanctions on two top Turkish government officials involved in Brunson’s detention. The White House also placed aluminum and steel tariffs on Turkey, and Trump said last Friday that he approved a doubling of those tariffs. The tariffs and sanctions have caused Turkey’s currency, the lira, to crash.
Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdish Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, helped advise lawmakers regarding the Turkey provision in the NDAA and supports the current U.S. measures against Turkey.
“The F-35 is a big step in basically telling Turkey you’re not too big to fail,” Abdulkader told JNS. “Yes, they are a NATO ally, but the United States is also concerned for its own national security interests, and based on the rhetoric coming from Erdoğan, he seems to be threatening not only NATO interests but the United States as well.”
“The United States must adapt to the reality that we are not dealing with the same Turkey as in the past. Turkey under Erdoğan is aggressive and contradicts American interests both in Europe and in the Middle East,” said Abdulkader. “Therefore, we have to change our foreign policy accordingly that will further isolate and pressure Turkey. We have to keep in mind all of Turkey’s internal and external problems are the doing of the Turkish government themselves not the United States.”
Regarding U.S. sanctions and tariffs against Turkey, Abdulkader said this pressure campaign cannot be limited to the country’s custody of Brunson.
“Erdoğan’s hostage-taking of Americans to gain diplomatic leverage is one of many violations he has committed,” he said. “There are countless of human-rights violations by Turkey that must be considered part of the equation, including Turkish threats against Americans in Syria, the Kurds and, most recently, an attempt to raid and arrest American officials in Incirlik Air Base” in the city of Adana, Turkey.
Bill to block access to international financial markets
Aykan Erdemir, who served in the Turkish parliament from 2011 to 2015 and serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS that the issues between America and Turkey go beyond the F-35 jets.
The first issue on the U.S.-Turkish relationship is that as the bilateral crisis between the U.S. and Turkey deepens, the economic crisis gets worse,” he said. “In the next few months to come, the more important question is Turkey’s bailout.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill last month that would block Turkish access to international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund.
Blocking the transfer of the F-35s to Turkey would be a concern, said Erdemir, but it would be “a security matter, and the implications would not be immediate, whereas with the economic crisis and with access to international financial institutions, the consequences would be immediate because we’re talking week, if not, months.”
The NDAA will need an appropriations bill to fund it.
Such a measure already passed the Senate Appropriations Committee; its chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), has been trying to get it on the chamber floor for a full vote in order to get it to the president before the fiscal year deadline at the end of September.
The House of Representatives passed its appropriations bill last month. Any bill from the upper chamber would need to be reconciled with the House in conference committee negotiations.
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Three shipping containers containing tens of thousands of balloons on their way to Gaza were stopped and confiscated at the Ashdod port, according to a report by Channel 10.
Hundreds of arson fires sparked by Gaza terrorists have burned more than 7,500 acres of Israeli farm and nature lands in the last few months, causing millions of shekels in damage.
Though a massive military escalation last week has since abated, Israel has not managed to stop the launching of incendiary kites and balloons that have started fires, with some even landing in residential communities. On Friday, a 13-foot-wide massive “terror kite” landed on power lines near Kibbutz Sufa, causing blackouts and leading Israel Electric Company officials to scramble to remove the device before it started a fire.
On Sunday, a video was publicized on Ynet news’ website showing an incendiary device attached to an inflated condom, which only burst into flames after landing, having been attached to a time-delay fuse.
The fire was extinguished quickly.
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