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Re: Delta to tlv opening May 8
At the very least, it’s worth consulting Da’as Torah before doing something that could affect your soul for eternity.

At the very least, it would behoove TAs to be upfront about such risks rather than springing it on the customer after things go south and bringing up eternal damnation

April 27, 2020, 08:54:36 PM
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Re: Tehillim for people with corona virus
Please daven for Malka bas Feiga.
BH home from the hospital!

April 27, 2020, 09:02:11 PM
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Re: How should schools and parents deal with tuition? I think the tuition discussion isn't really about a company, or vendor vs. a consumer.
The discussion points are more along the lines of makkas medina, the chasam sofer/rema, paying a melamed, parent's ownership in the school...
It's not clear if schools are a fee for service or something else.

I don't know much halacha regarding these topics, (the headlines podcast covered some btw) but I am overall pretty shocked:
1) The schools overall took it for granted that tuition should continue to be paid in full
2) The relative lack of clear and public rabbinic guidance here
3) The lack of parents expressing their dissatisfaction 

That being said, parents and schools are usually trying to accomplish a shared goal- educating your child. And when a parent isn't happy, they usually keep quiet as fighting a school is like fighting city hall.

April 28, 2020, 11:24:45 AM
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New Tzedakah Matching Funds Campaign Up To $20,000 - [CAMPAIGN ENDED]
New deal:
An anonymous partner pledged $2100 for a new mini campaign. He will match any donation of at least $100 with 3x the amount. So $700 from you equals $2100.
If $100 is too much for you, ask someone to help you, and share the mitzvah!
(As always, matches are subject to our discretion.)

______

Boruch Hashem, we have reached our goal. Members have contributed $5,000+ in 5 days, and we will match it shortly with $15,000, for a total of $20,000.
I will post when it is done (it takes quite a bit of time ;) ).
Thank you!!!

Contribute to any of the individual family funds here: https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=115340.0
and we will (collectively) match your contribution 3x, so every ten dollars you contribute becomes FORTY DOLLARS (minimum $10 donation). Up to a maximum of $5,000, which becomes $20,000.
The campaign begins now, and ends next Monday (unless we reach our goal sooner).
In order to get the match, you need to PM me. Please post in the charity thread also, to encourage others to contribute. But do not put it in the wiki; let's reserve that for the actual tzedakah links.
Thanks to my partners, Dan, aygart, 12HRS, and 2x מתן בסתר. And thanks to chapshnell for maintaining the charity page.

Important note:
We will do our best to match accurately, but we cannot guarantee perfection. Ultimately it is left to our discretion and judgement. (If you already donated and do not accept these terms, please PM , and we will work it out to your satisfaction.)

Update:
Many people have already donated, large and small donations, some of whom are not posting on the thread. Keep it up!

Exciting update: Some of our matchers are considering matching even more than their original commitment, so please continue to contribute even after we reach our goal.

Note: Various questions arise re the matching. Therefore, it is all up to to our discretion. We will definitely (bli neder) give what we committed; the only issues that arise are re the exact allocation.

יישר כחכם ותזכו למצות

April 28, 2020, 02:35:20 PM
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Re: Coronavirus Victims Charity Pages
Donated $18 to all the campaigns from (and including) R' Sholom Chaimovitz to R’ Aharon Daniel Malach - 13 campaigns.
I will donate 18 each to 13 campaigns. R' Yerachmiel Beiles to (including both) R' Yitzchok Zylberminc.
There is a catch. I read enough of these stories to last several lifetimes. Someone needs to setup and do it for me. Preferable someone I know. I will QP the money first if need be.
PM me.
ETA: If you have a preference you can choose 13 from the wiki.

April 28, 2020, 05:16:56 PM
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Re: Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
This Billet fellow has a real leftist agenda.

First of all, out of the 57 signatories, many are not near the stature of the ones that did not sign. In addition, there were more than four that did not sign, and some that did "sign" say their signature was forged. Some of our greatest local Rabbis are either giving permission for people to have legal backyard minyanim, davening themselves by these minyanim, and some are even hosting them. I will not reveal their names, you can do your own homework. There are more than four.

Besides, this issue is issue is not exclusive to our community. In Brooklyn and Lakewood most Rabonim are permitting minyanim within the health guidelines. The police and government officials have visited many of those minyanim and gave their o.k.. In Eretz Yisroel almost everyone is davening in outdoor minyanim with permission of the government. All these places are following the guidance of their Rabonim. Their Rabonim also speak to medical professionals and decided it was fine. Our local doctors and some Rabbis are alarmists. Go listen to Dr. Glatts speech and you'll hear what an unrealistic alarmist he is. (The truth is, right now there are less people who die from Covid per day than there are who die from the flue during flue season. And in NYC every death now is considered a Covid death whether tested or not. The leftists are trying to keep the numbers high.) The true risk factor also plays a roll in Halacha.

I personally spoke to some of the signatories who told me there was heavy pressure from "the left" to sign. But even if 57 local Rabbis did sign. there are hundreds of very great reputable Rabbis who disagree with them. This is not merely a local issue. For Billet to declare "Those individuals and rabbis who continue to violate these directives... are misguided in their actions and are doing the reverse of what Halacha demands. They see themselves as acting for a greater purpose, but in reality they are selfish and guilty of the sin of hubris. Their blood is not redder than anyone else’s blood. And their desire for a minyan is not greater than our desire for a minyan" is total blasphemy and utter Chutzpah. Many of these Rabbis around the world are greater than he, and these 57 are definitely outnumbered.

The government regulations already take into account extra precautions. To add on to them is ridiculous. It ends up backfiring. Billet is not Chazal, and does not have the right to "add chumrot to protect the integrity of halacha". Especially when most Rabbis in the world disagree with him.

I know people are going to say"Well I know Rabbi so and so, and hes also against minyanim". But the truth is, some of the anti-minyan Rabbis are the vocal ones. The rest are just doing what they feel is the right thing, and telling their followers to do the same. I just got off the phone with a friend from Brooklyn. He told me there are four minyanim on his block, three times a day, all strictly adhering to social distancing rules. He told me that's what it like all over Brooklyn. They are not stupid. They also don't want to get sick. They keep all the rules strictly. And they are all under Rabbinic guidance.

I believe Billet missed the point of the letter writer on YeshivaWorld. His point was that for some reason the so called 57 signatories did not write a lengthy letter against cleaning ladies or shopping or the like. They only wrote about minyanim. At this point in time, shopping in our stores is far more dangerous than davening outside. There seems to be a clear agenda against minyanim. It's not only them. For example, the frum webstites post headlines about Rabbi Meir Stern from Passaic prohibiting minyanim, then post a letter from someone else in Passaic not even quoting Rabbi Stern with regards to the current situation! Fake Headline. They do it all the time.

Why do we have a local Rabbi calling the police and being moiser on another Rabbi who doesn't agree with him? Nothing illegal was being done. This conduct is unheard of! Rabbi Shternbauch just put out a very strong letter against being moser other people to the government. He says mesirah has always been from the worst aveiros a person can do. Probably even worse than davening with a minyan.

I understand there are great Rabbis who feel minyanim are a no-no. But those great Rabbis on not belittling those who disagree with them. They are not going on any campaign.

One of the great leaders in America recently spoke privately to his talmidim and slammed the anti-minyan campaign and called it all a maaseh satan. (The speech was not made public. It was over the phone on a hotline and not recorded. It was intended for his kehilah alone.) Somebody told me he spoke directly to Reb Dovid Feinstein who said if a Rov wants to conduct a legal outdoor minyan, he may do so.

So, stop the campaign! We respected you more before you started writing on websites and pushing your agenda. And btw, I assume the letter on YWN was written anonymously because the writer was afraid of Billet and his henchmen. The same reason many of the 57 signed the letter. Look what happened to some of those who did not sign. They are being ripped to shreds.

Even if you do or do not agree with him it is still Rabbi Billet who learnt under Rav Lichtenshtein. And for all those opposed to his opinion, when the YIW opens back up as a minyan factory that the whole community has come to enjoy, will you still go?  I am sure they all will.

April 29, 2020, 11:36:13 AM
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Re: Delta to tlv opening May 8 Travel Agent vs. OTA

Travel Agent:
 
Pros:

- The travel agent arranges everything for the passenger, from seats to meals to bassinets etc. This might not be such a big deal when booking an airline that has a functioning website (for example United), but when booking an airline without a functioning website (like Elal, Alitalia), it can be a tremendous pain to do a simple thing such as confirming a kosher meal.

- You can ask a travel agent his recommendations on which airline to fly and which ones to avoid. An agent can advise on minimum connection times, as sometimes even when a minimum connection time is valid and will be sold online, it can still be a risky connection to make (for example, 60 minutes in LHR). Some agents can also help with vacation planning and ideas. A travel agent will let you know if the country you’re visiting requires visas or other documents. I have a friend that booked Turkish Airlines online for his trip to South Africa, when he got to the airport he was not able to check in because he didn’t have his child’s birth certificate with him, which South Africa requires. Had he booked with an agent, the agent most likely would have advised him on that (as that law is very clearly written in the GDS)

- If flying with an infant and you want a bassinet, in most cases (varies by airline) a travel agent can confirm a bassinet before you pay for the ticket. If booking online, you’d have to deal with paying for the tickets, calling the airline, and if it’s not available, you’d have to cancel and start the process again. A travel agent can tell you exactly which flights have a bassinet available, confirm the bassinet, and then you can go ahead and pay for it.

- Many people (especially people flying for business) have location changes and meeting cancellations last minute or sometimes even mid-trip. A travel agent can easily change the segments and reissue the tickets. If booking online, you’d have to wait on hold and hope that a rep knows how to reissue partially used tickets.

- The GDS accurately states the baggage allowance, change fee, and cancellation fee for every ticket. You can be aware of all this information before you book and before you have to make a change and have a shock of your life when you’re told the change fee is $500 or more.

- In most cases, a travel agent is the most helpful thing you can have in case of a cancellation. For example, if there's bad weather in the winter, rather than waiting hours on hold to speak to your airline or Priceline to refund or rebook you and then when you finally get through, the rep doesn’t know if the flight was cancelled (more on that soon), you can just make a call/text to your travel agent and be done in 5 minutes. Even in the current Covid-19 situation, early in March before the non-stop flights between TLV and the US were canceled, travel agents were able to re-accommodate all their passengers from LH/LX/OS/SN to UA non-stop. Every travel agent can tell you how many calls they got in those couple of weeks from people who booked online begging for help because wait times were tremendous and the reps were beyond incompetent. I personally had someone who booked LX on United.com and when LX cancelled his flight, he called UA (the issuing airline) to rebook him, the United rep was adamant that the LX flight was still on schedule. When he finally convinced the rep that the flight was cancelled, United wanted to charge him $300 per person for the “difference in fare” from Swiss to United direct.

- Most people are not aware that having a “confirmation” alone is useless until it is “ticketed”. A travel agent will make sure that everyone on the reservation and every segment is ticket properly. It is not uncommon for OTA’s to show phantom availability and even “confirm” the space, but for it to never get ticketed. Showing up to the airport with a reservation like that is just as good as showing up with no reservation at all. I recently had a client that asked me to book him a Royal Jordanian flight. The flight was clearly sold out in the GDS. The client said it shows on an OTA and he’ll just book it there. 3 days go by and he tells me he hasn’t received an email yet and the confirmation number isn’t pulling anything up. I explained to him again what I had explained to him 3 days earlier, that it was phantom space and will never be ticketed.

- Travel agents often have special one way net fares. If you can go online and see that a one way Delta flight JFK-TLV can cost $1500, a travel agent can have nets starting at $500.

- Sometimes you need to be booked into a certain fare class for upgradeable purposes (for example, W class on United). A travel agent can book you into that fare class specifically as opposed to OTAs which will automatically book you into the lowest fare class available.

Cons:

- If you want to have the airline do a change, some airlines (such as United) will charge a small fee to “take control of the ticket” and some airlines (such as Elal) will not even touch or change an agency booking.

- In case of emergencies, not all travel agencies are available 24/7. Most airlines/OTAs have 24/7 customer service.

- Travel agents will usually add a service fee on top of the cost of the ticket, especially if it is a ticket that has no commissions.

- Disputes: As a general rule (there are exceptions which will be discussed), travel agents process your card directly with the airline through their GDS (thus earning 5x when booked with Amex Plat), not through their own merchant processor. When a passenger disputes an agency ticket, the passenger always wins and the agent has to pay for the cost of the ticket plus a small fee, thus causing the agent a loss. If he had booked online and disputed, he would only be causing the OTA/Airline a loss.
Let’s say you booked online and missed your flight. You want to dispute the charge, the chances are you will lose the dispute as it was your negligence you missed your flight. Now that you booked with an agent, would it be fair to dispute, win, get your money back and cause the agent a loss?
Let’s take a different scenario, one that is more relevant today during Covid-19. Airlines have practically cancelled every international flight and most domestic flights. Almost all airlines that fly to/from the USA are allowing refunds for cancelled flights, Elal is not. This situation, where an airline is refusing refunds for a cancelled flight is something that is unprecedented. As per the DOT, the passenger is rightfully owed a refund for his cancelled flight. If he would have booked online, he’d win the dispute and get his money back. Now that he’s booked with an agent, he is any less rightfully and legally owed a refund, should he not dispute the charge because it might cause the agent a loss? I would think he has all the right to dispute and I am even telling my clients who want their money back today to go ahead and dispute. I personally am not terribly afraid of clients disputing tickets now (where the flight is cancelled). They are owed a refund and we can’t provide it for them. Why should they lose out when they are legally owed a refund? If an airline will dare penalize agents for a flight that was cancelled, they will face a massive lawsuit. Besides, I highly doubt the DOT wouldn't protect the agents for something like that.

In summary, if he would have booked online and won, I think he has the right to dispute even when it might come at a loss to the agent. But if he would have booked online and lost, I don’t think it’s fair to dispute and make the agent eat the loss. So the next time your kosher meal tastes like cat food instead of the pre-ordered dog flavored one, please don’t dispute the charge.

There are some, but not many, travel agents who will pay for the ticket either on their own credit card or by “check payment” or with points, and then process the passenger’s credit card on their own processor. Since the charge is through a regular merchant processor, the dispute process is more legitimate. The agent will be allowed to provide documents proving the charge is legit and win the dispute. However, unless the agent has each passenger sign an authorization form, it will be very difficult for the agent to win the dispute and the passenger will come out ahead, just as I described earlier when the passenger’s credit card is charged directly with the airline via the agency.
One big difference with this scenario than the above is, in a case where the dispute is for a “legitimate” cause, for example the flight was cancelled and the airline is refusing to refund, if the agent paid for the ticket through a “check payment” or points, he will not be able to dispute his credit card charge in return and the loss will come out of his pocket. But is the passenger wrong for disputing when he is legally owed a refund? Is the passenger up the creek without a paddle because the agent decided to book him in this way thus causing him a loss with no one to turn to? I think not, but you can decide…


OTAs

Pros:

- No extra service fees

- No extra fees (besides standard change fess) if you need to make changes with the airline directly.

- 24/7 customer service

- A dispute, if you win, will not cause direct harm to another person’s pocket.

- It’s easy to quickly book with an OTA during a price glitch.

Cons:

- You might not get the seat(s) you want, the meal you want or a bassinet for your infant.

- Last minute changes, especially mid-trip can be extremely difficult.

- Many OTAs don’t offer child discounts.

- Many OTAs, especially the ones selling tickets lower than the published fare, will say “baggage allowance zero”, when in reality it is not true. They do this in order to make money on selling you a bag. Or “2nd bag fee $150” when in reality it really cost less. They do this in order to make money off selling you extras to equal out the loss they took to sell you the ticket. Sometimes they will charge you change fees that are way above the actual change fee. This is how many “fly by night OTAs” make their profits.

- You might show up to the airport with a “confirmation” only to be told it’s useless because it was not ticketed.

- I do not believe any OTAs or even airlines directly have one way nets.




P.S. Please do not turn this thread into a "Welcome back D93" thread. This thread has already underwent a drastic topic change, no need for another one :)

April 29, 2020, 03:56:23 PM
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Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus
Hi, this may be your opinion but my opinion is that I am willing to pay a max of $28 a month for orphans while in the back of my mind know god forbid if something happens my family is "extra" covered.
your so called "clueless" chapshnell  ::)

You’re not clueless, but I bet 50% of Arevim members are uninsured. Pulled the number out of my..., but my guess is as good as yours, and it’s definitely not 100%.

May 01, 2020, 09:53:14 AM
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Re: Things to read Shabbos on lockdown
Divrei Torah that I've uploaded for Acharei Mos - Kedoshim.

Have a good shabbos!
Thanks!!
Thank you so much! Please don't burn out of doing this - I say over stuff from it every week at my Shabbos seuda! (Always Rabbi Reisman, and usually also a few others, like Business Halacha and more.)

May 01, 2020, 10:55:55 AM
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Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus
Note the "partially".

Yes they collected tzedaka from Areivim members for the family. That is a life insurance policy just as effective as parlor meetings.
Correct. So these people were NOT properly insured, and relied on Areivim. I strongly believe there are many who rely on Areivim for life insurance, and they will drop out if the price rises, causing it to fall apart. I’m speaking anecdotally from asking around. “Do you have life insurance?” “Not yet, I really should get. I do have Areivim though..”

My point has been that raising the price in a mandatory fashion will destroy the organization

May 01, 2020, 01:08:57 PM
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