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Inbox: Issue 1006

“TAG (Technology Awareness Group) is a frum organization that's been on the forefront of this issue for the last 15 years”


The Drink’s on Us [DS Tayman ad / Issue 1004]

Dear Editor/Readers,

We hope you all enjoyed our Purim shpiel/shtick as much as we did.

The concept of this campaign stemmed from our exploration into creating a kosher for Passover Scotch whisky. After thorough investigation and research, we concluded that it’s simply impossible to produce such a kosher l’Pesach whisky. The halachos of Scotch are stringent, so even a non-grain-based alcohol cannot be called “whisky” if produced in Scotland. If you took our ad seriously — and it seems some of you did — forgive our British humor. We are sorry for getting your hopes up!

Pesachdig Scotch is, for now at least, an oxymoron. But until we find a solution, we will tirelessly work to bring you new and exciting — never-before-seen — whiskies to be enjoyed the rest of the year!

Saul Taylor and Danny Saltman

DS Tayman


Play It Safe [Inbox / Issue 1005]

In reference to the mother who wrote, “We need more Yossies” (referring to Yossi Strickman), I agree that these days we parents need more help and education in the area of technology. Our children were born into this new world and just know and understand technology without being taught it, while we are all struggling to keep up.

I’m not sure if everyone is aware, but TAG (Technology Awareness Group) is a frum organization that has been on the forefront of this issue for the last 15 years, and they now have branches in over 55 cities. They are literally the army fighting this nisayon, and should be acknowledged just like our local Hatzolah and Chaverim members.

I have found our local TAG office to be an indispensable help to my family and others, and I encourage everyone to reach out to the TAG office of their choice. I’ve found the TAG offices to be very open to helping families of all religious levels, and, contrary to what people may think, are open to helping people filter even websites and apps that might be classified as social media and entertainment.

I am a mother just like the letter writer, and I try to keep up with technology and help fellow parents as much as I am able. I am happy to help anyone who has a quick question or needs help, to connect you with a TAG office near you, or advise you about the safety of an app your child wants. I would love to spread the word that even gaming devices like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switches need to have the parental controls put on, and that certain MP3 players are not safe, because you can get to a browser. ArtScroll iPads need to be filtered, and most new cars come Wi-Fi-enabled and have apps like Netflix and YouTube. Flip phones need “kashering” even if you don’t buy a data plan. Free Wi-Fi access is everywhere, so every device needs to be filtered at the device level, not the Wi-Fi level. I have more tips to share and am happy to help. I can be reached at screentimehelp@gmail.com.

A Mother Like You


Reach for the Stars [Guestlines / Issue 1005]

Last week’s Guestlines by Rabbi Aryeh Kerzner (“Powerball Dreams”) strongly spoke to me.

When he mentioned the husband and wife, Rabbi Kerzner could have been talking about myself and my wife. She always tries to keep our hopes and dreams burning, and I steadfastly try to keep us grounded in reality. We complement each other in this way, but it also brings its challenges when it comes to making plans, decisions, and choosing direction for our family. My wife always counts on our dreams coming to life, and I consistently warn against getting ahead of ourselves. A healthy balance generally wins the day.

The article was very encouraging because it demonstrated to me that my wife’s constant and unwavering optimism is not something out of “la-la land,” but actually brings benefit to our entire family. She often says, “Reach for the stars — you might not get to them, but at least you won’t wind up with a handful of mud!”



Unplugged [Endnote / Issue 1005]

I couldn’t resist responding to Reb Dovid Golding’s “worst article ever.” In the ’80s, when our orchestra, Kathmandu, was in its heyday, two negative experiences turned into one big positive experience for a special chassan and kallah.

We were into the third dance bracket after the main course had been served and eaten, the crowd and friends of the bride and groom were getting ready to be mesameiach the young couple, and the caterer wanted to hurry up and end the wedding and pay the staff and get home. I asked her for another five minutes to wrap up the dancing, but she had other ideas.

Without us seeing, she walked over to the main power plug and pulled out the extension cord (which could have short-circuited all the electricity in the hall). Suddenly the music got muted and there was no microphone — but our holy drummer kept the beat up, loving the drum solo.

The crowd saw what had happened, which ignited a frenzy of dancing that kept going on and on as they became their own orchestra. The caterer walked away, embarrassed, because she knew she couldn’t stop the dancing. Band or no band, the crowd danced like never before. Just goes to show that you can’t pull the plug on pure simchah.

Uncle Velvel

Lead singer, Kathmandu



Just Five Minutes [Double Take – After Hours / Issue 1004]

Naama, the doctor’s wife, is 100 percent right. Professional people are always being approached at simchahs, after davening in shul, etc., with the plea that “this will only take a minute.”

It’s bad enough for lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, but it’s worse for doctors.As this Double Take shows, neighbors don’t think twice about running over to the doctor’s house with their medical concerns. After all, “It will only take five minutes.”

What none of them considers is that all those five minutes add up until the doctor has no time for himself or his family. Naama knew that if she gave in once, things would go back to the status quo.

My question to her friend Ella: If all the circumstances were the same, except that you didn’t have a doctor you knew around the corner, what would you have done?

Name Withheld


What You Signed Up For [Double Take – After Hours / Issue 1004]

I was very disturbed by Naama’s attitude toward the demands made by her husband’s patients on her husband and family. From the way the story was presented, it doesn’t seem like her husband was complaining at all. He sounded like a very dedicated physician, who was willing to go above and beyond for his patients. Doctors who live in the same neighborhood as their patients know and accept the responsibility for their care, 24/7.

My husband was a pediatrician who made himself available to his patients, knowing that this was a necessary part of his life in his chosen profession. Our family accepted this responsibility with love and never once did he, I, or any of my children complain when he was called away from the table in the middle of a Shabbos meal, woken up from a Shabbos nap, or was interrupted by an important phone call in the middle of delivering a sheva brachos speech.

This is true for the members of Hatzolah and their families, and anyone on the front lines of health care. This is the life they signed up for when going into their profession. As the wife of a pediatrician, I am ashamed of the way Naama treated Ella. Fortunately, this is not a true story. I am sure your readers would agree.

Tobi Samet

Passaic, NJ


Out of Breath [True Account – Smoke Screen / Issue 1003]

I am responding to Yael Walfish’s response to “Smoke Screen,” in which she correctly points out that “Vaping is a huge nisayon for our bochurim” and suggests that maybe if our boys had healthier outlets, e.g., sports or music, there would be less vaping. I don’t disagree with that idea, and it is something that every few years is lamented in these pages, other publications, by parents, and just about everyone. The problem with that is that we self-sabotage ourselves.

There are mesivtas that offer those options, but “mainstream bochurim” won’t go for fear of being branded as “less-than.”

The issue of vaping is bigger than that, though. Many are aware that boys are starting to sell and vape in elementary school, some as young as in fifth grade! And these boys do have outlets. They have after-school leagues, many play instruments, and they play sports in school. They are not looked down upon if they buy a Slurpee, and they are generally well-adjusted kids, yet they are still looking for that thrill.

I don’t know how to stop it, but I do know that the principals are desperately trying to at least slow the trend. Where I live, there are many ways for kids to get vapes, from legitimate vape shops that feel it’s worth the fine if they are caught, to the zeide down the block looking to make a few dollars (okay, that was a mistake, rather a few thousand dollars), or the circulars in shuls that advertise lost-and-found alongside homemade e-cigarettes sold by bnei Torah.

Until the issue is resolved, there is a mild compound called NAC that I give my son that helps the body pull in more oxygen. Because one of the immediate side effects, seemingly worse than traditional cigarettes, is that users become out of breath rather quickly. If my son knows he will be playing sports that day, he will not leave the house without it, because it gives him immediate relief.

A Mother Who Knows

New Jersey


They Did Their Part [Home Front Podcast]

We are so sorry to see Home Front leave the podcast scene. The analysis, insights, and information have been invaluable during the past six months. My husband and I are subscribed to many Israeli news and analysis media, each with its own flavor and function, in order to help us create the larger picture of what is going on during this difficult war. The warmth, wisdom, and insights of Binyamin Rose and Gedalia Guttentag have proved indispensable in our opinion, and we never missed a podcast. Our hats are off to these gentlemen. We realize they stepped in to do their part on short notice and in addition to their regular “beat” at Mishpacha and under the duress of war, which affected every Israeli citizen.

May we see a swift, just, and complete victory with the return of our captives, the healing of the wounded, and solace to the bereaved, and may we merit to see the “turnabout” we just read in the Megillah.

Laura Paley

Paramus, NJ/ Boca Raton, FL


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1006)

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