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For the old age: The LMS thread Have fun and get off my RP thread.

Anyone still sleeping?

May 09, 2013, 09:41:56 AM
Re: Stuck In Paris- Help needed As someone who freely traveled Italy during Bein HaZmanim, as well as long stop overs is Madrid, Barcelona, and Zurich, I'll say that most 21 year olds can manage on their own. That having been said, ending up somewhere with 0 prep time that doesn't speak English as a first language could be difficult, especially without a laptop or tablet. When I got rerouted unexpectedly through Frankfurt on my way back from Israel once, even though I had a few hours where I technically could have explored, I didn't want to do it without having looked into any info about the area, transportation etc.

I also sympathize with people that feel Paris is particularly dangerous for Jews (though I personally don't agree with that).

April 27, 2017, 08:52:20 AM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread My research shows that Americans hate Jews just as much as the poles and Germans.

Read through the internet comments posted annonmously throughout the internet, by Americans, on any content related to Jews....

June 27, 2017, 08:13:33 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ
Looks like at least some people woke up
oy! what a massive painful chillul hashem...

June 27, 2017, 09:51:57 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ
Not sure what you are saying... are you saying you don't think this is happening? The stats in the App article are evidence that this is happening. The median income in lakewood is 1/3rd that of a neighboring town with similar property values. Which means they are reporting much less income than the neighboring town while living in the same kinds of houses. It is pretty clear that this is happening on a large scale. No other way to explain it. Folks living in houses valued over 500k and are signed up for benefits designed for the destitute. I just thought they were acting legally (not addressing whether or not it is morally reprehensible). I guess we'll find out how they fare in court but seems like no.
Did you ever take into consideration that none of the people living in those houses, or a very small percentage, actually own the houses in their own names and ot could be parents or siblings who own them. So they may actually be destitute and qualify for benefits while living in the same houses as the neighboring town.

June 28, 2017, 10:34:43 AM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ
BS. They benefited illegally from Medicaid. Lets just say that medicaid had to pay for Insurance $10k per year. THIS is what they benefited illegally. Why the hell should they be charged with what the Hospital costed the Insurance company.  The Insurance policy to itself was fine. Maybe they should be charged with what the mother cooked for supper? Since its because of the medicaid that she was able to be taken care of in the Hospital, and because of the Hospital she was able to return home early, so she has to pay for everything she was able to do for the time she was home because of the Hospitals care??

I don't remember all the details but someone I know who was involved in a much smaller case, had to pay a fine plus the premiums for continuing on medicaid. He didn't have to pay actual benefits. Although in the vast majority of cases, premiums exceed benefits, unless there was a hospitalization  (which I guess is common for women in their 20's and 30's).

In that case there was no FBI or anything. I think it was just the programs' agencies themselves. It was in New York.

June 28, 2017, 11:56:47 AM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes and Businesses in Monsey and KJ

Why is cashing out a refi not income? Why is having medicaid paying a bill for you illegitimately not a benefit?
a refi is a loan that you have to payback eventually
Medicaid is just paying the insurance, had you paid for the insurance the bill would be covered by said insurance. In effect the FBI is "double billing"

June 28, 2017, 12:52:23 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
Wasn't someone quoted as saying that "this is just the beginning" ?
Who warned the community in 2015 ?
The statement from the prosecutor is going to come back to haunt him. Any good defense attorney will seize upon that to show that it was not his clients alleged crime that made them arrest him but that they needed to show something for the millions of dollars spent illegally profiling a religious community. Imagine a prosecutor saying he targeted the black community.

June 29, 2017, 11:58:14 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
Not about showboating, but about demonstrating supposed results to politicians.

Millions of dollars were spent targeting the Lakewood frum community. They need to show something for it.

June 30, 2017, 12:25:44 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
Not about showboating, but about demonstrating consequences to masses.
How does that go side by side with "innocent till proven guilty" ?
People have had their careers & lives destroyed through allegations & public parading only to have charges dropped. Remember Steven Hatfill ?

June 30, 2017, 12:35:47 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
How does that go side by side with "innocent till proven guilty" ?
People have had their careers & lives destroyed through allegations & public parading only to have charges dropped. Remember Steven Hatfill ?
It doesn't.

June 30, 2017, 12:38:46 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
we are held to a higher standard. and we should be and we shouldn't have any issue with that. it's a core part of yahdus. we are supposed to embrace it. not complain,  abuse or ruin it.

We should hold OURSELVES to a higher standard. For the authorities or media to hold us to a higher standard is anti-semitism.

June 30, 2017, 04:00:47 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes Copied and pasted;

Good day investors and board members at Gannett (the parent company of Asbury Park Press), advertisers at APP, and community leaders:

On Friday afternoon June 30, 2017, the Asbury Park Press had a lead story online titled "Lakewood welfare: Half of Lakewood's children on government assistance." In it, APP staffer Payton Guion gave the numerical amount of children in Lakewood from married couples households who are on government assistance (18,200) and compared it to Newark the largest city in New Jersey who is second with the total number of children from married households on assistance (7,800).

Apparently, the goal was to show how bad Lakewood is compared to the next municipality in terms of children on assistance. However, 81% children in Lakewood live in married couples households whereas less than 40% children in Newark live in such households, so of course Lakewood will likely have more children in married couples households on assistance compared to Newark.

Using a category (married couples households) which has a large pool in Lakewood and small pool in Newark is brazen skewing of data. The accurate comparison to Newark would be the numerical and percent figures of how many children live in both places and how many of them benefit from government programs.

After the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council took to Twitter (via @OJPACNJ) and called out APP for the above dishonesty, APP added data of all children who live in Newark and who also data of how many children in Newark who have assistance. While this is a good start, 1) the flawed married couples household comparison stayed in the report. As of this writing, the report still reads, "There are 10,000 more children in households with married couples in Lakewood receiving food, income or state aid than the next closest town." 2) While APP shows the percentage of all children on assistance in Lakewood, APP shows only the numerical figure for Newark. My guess is APP knows that showing the percentage of children on assistance in Newark (53.7%) dilutes the rational for dramatizing Lakewood where 49.6% children are on assistance.

Likely in an effort to hype the government assistance use in Lakewood, the report counts children who are on "some form of government aid" including apparently medical benefits despite the fact that children in a household of five that earns $99,000 a year are eligible for health care. Meaning, the high-level of eligibility for medical assistance in no way reflects the poverty level of Lakewood.

Thirdly, Newark in raw numbers (37,965 vs. 21,612) and as a percent (53.7% vs. 49.6%) has more children on government assistance than in Lakewood. However, the Asbury Park Press does not suggest - as it does for Lakewood - that the assistance use in Newark is based on mass scale fraud.

Fourth, the misleading data are in the first few paragraphs of the APP propaganda item; it is the premise of the whole item, not a side note. Furthermore, there is no editor's note admitting that new data was added.

Finally, APP reporting focuses on Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey but the paper seems much more interested in Lakewood than the drug abuse crisis which claimed the lives of 350 people in those two counties alone last year. A search on APP for the word "opioid" generates only 85 results; "overdose" has 200 results, "Heroin" shows 1,158 results, and "Lakewood" has 3,571 results.

In whichever way one looks at the propaganda item, it is clear that data-skewing (married couples households), journalistic malpractice (not showing percentages of Newark; adding medical care in the assistance use; treating Lakewood different than Newark), editorial dishonesty (omitting an editor's note), and bias (an outsized focus on Lakewood) was deployed against a low-crime and mostly productive community of Orthodox Jews. This type of propaganda fuels anti-Orthodox rhetoric online and likely also fuels hate incidents in the streets. Investors in APP's parent company Gannett and APP advertisers have a responsibility to demand that APP editors stop its bigoted fake news campaign against Orthodox Jews.

Yossi Gesterner,

Co-founder, Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (

P.S. Lohud/The Journal News in New York is also owned by Gannett. They too resort to data-skewing and journalistic malpractice to malign Orthodox Jews. OJPAC latest video addresses one example., and this addresses another example

Thank you for reading.

July 02, 2017, 02:00:28 PM
Re: FBI Raids Orthodox Homes
Lack of female pictures.
If you noticed, they also only showed the 3 men that have bushy beards.

July 02, 2017, 03:43:07 PM
Re: Please (Make and) Post your Kiddush Hashem-Honesty Story I went through a cash toll in NY a few years back, and got too much change back, maybe $20 or $30 extra, don't remember exactly. At the next toll, I gave it to the person in the tollbooth, and explained to her why. She said that this was the second time that month that "one of you guys" (while looking at my yarmulke) did something like this.
July 06, 2017, 08:53:14 PM
Re: Silent Killer
Come on. You're pushing a piece in which Avi shafran is representative of all gedolim? And gedolim only get there because they have power? You know better then to engage in bizui talmedei chachomim.
Yes, silence is an issue. No, that doesn't mean that there are no chashuva people in the world besides for Zvi Gluck.

July 18, 2017, 09:56:56 AM
Re: Silent Killer


July 18, 2017, 09:59:05 AM
Re: Lakewood NJ Master Thread
this is pure hate mongering

July 31, 2017, 02:02:38 PM
Re: Will your federal taxes be going up or down next year?
In other words, that includes anyone who has a retirement account, like most of the middle class. The notion that helping corporations helps only the rich is ludicrous.
No one is saying it ONLY helps the rich. The rich and corporations benefit the must. If you believe that is the way it should be that is fine. Don't try and sell this tax bill as a low/middle/working class tax bill. That is all I am saying. This is a R's tax bill so we expect for the rich to benefit the most. Just stop with the BS to try and sell it. Just look at the temporary and permanent parts of the tax bill.

December 19, 2017, 05:36:03 PM
Re: Prison
He will serve 2 years, be on parole for a year and done. He made a mistake. It cost someone's life. I think it's too short a sentence. This deserves 5-15. My former sponsor in GA is doing a 4-12 year stint for financial crimes. Didnt kill anyone or bankrupt anyone. There is no rhyme or reason to some sentences.

February 08, 2018, 12:09:22 PM
Re: why does DD's hate Elal
-1  don’t know where you were brought up. A non observant is not the same. Period. This whole threads attitude is anti Torah haskafah. This should be deleted together with the whole yeshiva world website.

June 20, 2018, 07:02:47 PM
Re: Antarctica Cruise Raffle (discussion?)
Too me personally what would be a major selling point is that only 200 tickets will be sold, (and mostly to local familiar SCN's) that my odds are way higher then by participating in some larger charity even were the odds of winning are 1 in few thousand.
I agree on that point that we should add a cap on the number of entry’s Which also makes it a big selling point

July 23, 2018, 03:50:30 PM
Re: Hidden City Ticketing
Any recent data points on using a United HC from TLV? Are they still harassing people to find out if they are truly connecting onward?
haven't heard of anything lately. It was one night manager that was causing issues afaik

August 12, 2018, 03:35:41 PM
Re: Now Live! Antarctica Cruise Raffle If you do publicize the name and the winner is a DDFer, that would quite likely out them, which I don't think is fair and should be taken into consideration. (saying this as someone who is not anonymous here)
August 23, 2018, 12:48:50 AM
Re: Interesting Articles...

Very sad situation indeed, and embarrassing to know how many Shomrei Shabbos are in this business of ruining people's lives for personal financial gain.

I have a friend who unfortunately signed one of these "confessions of judgment" and ended up shutting down his business. Luckily he might have been personally spared from financial ruin by this (other than losing his business).

When a relative was entering this business and discussed it with me, I told him that I feel that the worst part about this business (even without the "confession of judgment" trick) is that it simply destroys one's moral compass.

The day when there's a crackdown on these operations can't come soon enough, and now I learn that this should come to the front burner and become a major issue in NY politics. NY shouldn't be allowed to be the venue for these kinds of things.

November 20, 2018, 02:40:28 PM
Re: Interesting Articles...

Very sad situation indeed, and embarrassing to know how many Shomrei Shabbos are in this business of ruining people's lives for personal financial gain.

I have a friend who unfortunately signed one of these "confessions of judgment" and ended up shutting down his business. Luckily he might have been personally spared from financial ruin by this (other than losing his business).

When a relative was entering this business and discussed it with me, I told him that I feel that the worst part about this business (even without the "confession of judgment" trick) is that it simply destroys one's moral compass.

The day when there's a crackdown on these operations can't come soon enough, and now I learn that this should come to the front burner and become a major issue in NY politics. NY shouldn't be allowed to be the venue for these kinds of things.

November 20, 2018, 03:03:56 PM
Re: How to handle a dispute I filed on a 25k charge?
Yes we did sign an agreement and it is a custom order. There is no denying that. However, we were under the impression that it would be of vastly greater quality than what we got. Custom or not, they basically sold us crap.
Know as "caveat emptor". I would strongly suggest you get competent legal advise on this.

February 06, 2019, 03:53:57 PM
Re: PSA: Don't swipe recklessly for others
Any critiques before I post?
I hope this is not too detailed to get the attention of the media/law enforcement (if they otherwise wouldn't have known).

February 24, 2019, 06:11:09 PM
Re: Ad Campaign for spreading awareness anti credit card swiping businesses!
Print ads are important because many people who are attracted to these offers do not use social media/Whatsapp.
But ads are expensive, I highly doubt we'll get more than 1 or 2 if any.  That's why I think everyone should hang up this sign on their shul bulletin board.

March 01, 2019, 10:12:36 AM
Re: Ad Campaign for spreading awareness anti credit card swiping businesses! Also I think another big thing has been overlooked. We will need this to be translated to Yiddish.
March 01, 2019, 10:33:51 AM
Re: Ad Campaign for spreading awareness anti credit card swiping businesses!
The truth is, we just need to get Ben Shapiro to make a PSA. Every word he says is kodosh v'tahor
Way too big of an audience we don’t need/want national attention on this issue

March 01, 2019, 12:29:18 PM
Re: PSA: Don't swipe recklessly for others
And perhaps they don’t want law enforcement prying too deep into their own interactions with the banks.
Probably the #1 reason..
What frightens me the most is once the inevitable happens and this lands in court and the facts become clear, it then becomes a matter of time until the Post or even the Times start working on a story, it has all the buzz words and narrative filling facts to it.. Orthodox Jews, stealing money, bank fraud etc. Huge mess

March 03, 2019, 11:59:22 AM
Re: PSA: Don't swipe recklessly for others Is Dan giving HTs to everyone who's post ends up in the NY Post and NYT?
it's only a matter of time till they publish, and I'm sure they are combing through this goldmine already.
Post w seichel.

March 03, 2019, 03:05:16 PM
Re: Re: PSA: Don't swipe recklessly for others
maybe the Torah world should address the Chillul HaShem factor as part of their shailas and Psak.

This is one point I would agree with. I believe there is a huge underestimation of the risks of potential chilul Hashem even with activity that is technically legal , especially when it is not just a handful of people but a much larger scale. Likewise, there is an underestimation of the spread of information in this day and age made by regular people as well as the Rabbonim. Whether Yiddish, Hebrew, a spoken recording, a small time local paper, etc. everything is out there and we need to start acting like it is.

March 04, 2019, 05:55:04 PM
Re: 20% bonus MR to QF through 6/30 There's no way the LY-QF relationship is sustainable in its current format, right?
June 12, 2019, 03:36:00 PM
Re: Jewish Music (New CDs, hock, and opinions) Ha.

Seriously, it was good when Abie Rottenberg did it 15 years ago, it was even ok when meilech kohn did it 4 years ago. Now it's tiresome.

June 13, 2019, 09:31:19 AM
Re: BM Magazine Articles
I'm confused, is this specifically a Non-Chabad problem or not?

I think that Chabad makes a far greater attempt to make it real and part of their lives. Lakewood does an amazing job of making Limud Hatorah part of the average persons life, even those who have been in the workforce for many years. The sefardic community is amazing in their respect for their leaders and fidelity to mesorah. Chassidim are able to put such significance amd meaning into otherwise parts mundane tasks. There are communities that really put a focus on chessed. Others on ahavas yisroel. The point is that there is so much to learn from so many different segments of klal yisroel that it makes no sense to negate others who have different viewpoints. ( If there is a specific hashkafic issue one can and should speak out against it, but that does not give license to write off whole groups of Yidden.)We can gain so much more by learning from everyone else to improve our own avodas Hashem.

July 11, 2019, 12:59:41 PM
Re: BM Magazine Articles
It's ok to talk to your kids. It's ok to make them think.
 It's ok to counter a "goyim are bad" statement with...  Is the man who gave you a sticker at Trader Joes bad?
Is Doctor so and so bad?
Is the mailman we say hi to everyday.. is he a bad person?

It's ok to get into these discussions and have them start thinking. Even with your 4 year old. And your 8 year old and 12 year old and 16 year old.

It's ok to ask questions.
"Why is he bad?"
Why are "Goyim" bad?

You (hopefully) want your kids to know there are good Non-Jews in the world.
You want your kids to judge people on their actions, not their religion.
Honestly, kids should know there are "good" non Jews just as much as they should know there are "bad" Jews.

The problem when I write this is knowing that many people on the forums don't even believe that themselves.

I think the issue is far from black and white. In a general sense you’re absolutely correct. You want people to judge other people based on their actions, not their religion. There are very many good goyim out there, and I have nothing but the greatest respect for them, but the fact remains that their goals, aspirations, and values are far apart from ours. There are many areas that would be considered moral and good by many goyim that to us are a moral evil. Just to take the example of euthanasia, it’s hard to be nuanced and convey to a kid that killing a teenage girl in the Netherlands because she wanted to die is an evil act but the people who did it are good and kind people. There are a host of other social and moral issues where the same tension would play out. The fact that the majority of western civilization considers man to be a biological creature like any other animal that roams the planet is not just a theoretical exercise. It has practical  impacts in so many moral and social constructs that it cannot be disregarded, leaving religion out of the picture.  That does not mean that the goy is bad and the Jew is automatically good. The goy may be kinder, more refined, and more honest than the Jew I just did a deal with but the two are not on the same level. Of course the non-Jews honesty and kindness is cause for me to relate to him in reciprocal fashion, which I may not do in the case of a Jew who is dishonest. But that is not the entire picture.

I am מחויב to relate to one as אחיך with all the attendant obligations but not to the “better” goy. Perhaps this is what is meant to be conveyed but is given over in an unnuanced and therefore grossly distorted way.

One additional point.Perhaps it was just my experience but from what I saw there is also another issue with kids having a hard time drawing the line between respecting a goy for who he is and respecting his opinions. For example, when my son and his friends were at an age where they tend to  idolize football players, they not only appreciated the talents of the particular player, they actually gave weight to his opinions, for example giving some credence to the ideas behind “taking the knee” because their hero did it. Other questionable or objectionable ideas espoused by political figures, sports stars, etc. were also giving credence by the boys simply because of who espoused them. Aside from the very real issue of לא תחנם which is not that easy to get around, these other potential pitfalls may be motivating mechanchim to go to the extreme. I still don’t think it’s justifiable, and at some  point you have to give the kids a honest, nuanced, picture that doesn’t label goyim vs Jews as bad vs good because you are doing a disservice to the many honest good goyim out there as well as hindering the kids ability to function in society.

July 12, 2019, 12:54:34 PM
Re: 4 Day Trip Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon Itinerary Question
You also have to book way in advance to get even the Lower Antelope Canyon, upper is likely all booked for the summer
This is almost certainly not true.  You may not be able to book online, but there are many, many "companies" that do the same tour, some more tech savvy than others.

August 01, 2019, 02:31:23 PM
Re: Las Vegas-Phoenix Four day Road Trip was nice to  meet you  ;)

August 26, 2019, 02:27:28 AM
Our Trip to Panama this summer was one of our BEST! Our Trip to Panama this summer was one of our BEST!

We are a family of 6, 4 boys ages 14-5.

I was looking for a trip with a bit of adventure/sightseeing but didn’t want to spend a ton of time researching, nor did I really have time for that as this was a bit of a last min trip. My first thoughts were Europe but we only had about 5 vacation (week) days left and we didn’t want to deal with the time change/loss.
Panama was suggested and after a quick check on Dans deals trip destinations it looked like it would be a perfect fit. Only about 3 ½ hours flight from Miami, only a one hour time difference and cheap beautiful hotels. After a few trips to the Bahamas I was done packing suitcases of food and wanted a destination with that included. Panama did not disappoint, it has MANY kosher restaurants (that were great!) and all in city center.   The BEST part (other than the food) was that we hardly did any activity planning. Per the recommendations of many from DDF we were able to book with THE REAL PANAMA tours, and that took care of basically all our excursions.

PACKING: I assumed we would not be able to or want to find/take time to do laundry so I did a little over packing and brought a set of cloth for every day, and 2 sets of swimwear. We didn’t end up using all the cloths, but in this situation I think it was better to be safe than do laundry ;D Swim shoes were a must and ordered some of those on Amazon for the whole family. Only other super important thing to pack was waterproof phone case (for those of us whom have not upgraded ;)).

FLIGHTS: We booked BA Avios 11K and like $5 tax per person to Panama and flew on AA. I wasn’t sure if we had to pay for baggage as it seems our AAdvantage card, citibusiness Plat Select, does not cover international baggage fees. (We learnt this at the airport when they charged us for our bags to the Bahamas). But we were pleasantly surprised that they did not charge us, nor on our return flight. Maybe someone can shed some light one why???  We booked our return tickets with chase Reserve as the return on BA Avios would have been 11k points with $150 tax per ticket. With Reserve it was just 16K with zero $$$ outta pocket…

HOTELS: I was trying to find a hotel that we could stay at for our whole 7 night stay, however I kept reading great things about the Sortis (thanks DDF) and using the apps, Kosher GPS and Kosher near me, I was able to see it was located near 4 highly recommended restaurants. So while it’s super annoying to pack up 6 ppl we stayed at Sortis for the first 4 nights and then moved to JM Marriot for Shabbos. JM is closer to the shuls, has a nice ocean view and very Shabbos Friendly. It is also pretty close to some nice restaurants but price was a bit more than Sortis.

     Since I am extremely stingy with points rather than use my chase Reserve to book my rooms (not familiar with the Marriot rewards or their free nights, will need to read up on them a bit more) I booked with the Marriot App and then attempted to do a price match guarantee, with the 25% back if you find a lower price. I say attempted because while JM price matched easily and we paid between $90 and $110 depending on the night they did not as easily price match the Sortis. Before I booked with Marriot I searched to see if I was able to find these rooms cheaper at any other sites. For Sortis I found a lower price at Amoma. After my initial email the price match team responded saying that the website Amoma’s description of a double room is actually referring to a single bed…yes weird as it gave the same “tittle” description as Marriot. However, after a few phone calls and emails (we were a bit short on time as we were booking this the Friday before we flew out on Monday) I got someone that “matched it”. However, the way you book with the Marriot app you put flat out how many people per room, they don’t let you differentiate between kids and adults, so you auto incur an additional adult fee. When you show up to the hotel and they see the kids they will take it off. Unfortunately for us, Marriot gave us the price match at $30 higher than the website, which included that additional “adult” fee and since they structured the price to include that fee, the hotel was unable to see/refund the fee once we got there.  Sortis was no help as they have no clue what the price match guarantee is in the first place. As it is we paid $86 per night for the room, the price we were attempting to match was $84 which after the match and 25% off should have been about $60 a night. Still working on getting that refunded… When they matched JM for us, they kept the additional person fee separate and when we got to the hotel they were easily able to remove it. Looking back I probably should have just used points… Oh well…

AIRPORT TAXI: While some people arrange for drivers to pick them up we decided to wing it and get a cab at the airport. We paid $50. We heard of the other services that would have been $60/$70, so was a small savings but also went with my theme of doing as little prep for this trip as possible ;D

DAY ONE: We arrived late Monday night, Sortis hotel was Vagas quality but a bit smaller. We went right to bed, or as straight to bed as you can get 4 boys ;)

DAY TWO: Since we got in late we didn’t want to do anything too crazy the first day so as my husband said “you are flying all the way to Panama just for the food???” ME: “YUP” We spent the day finding the Kosher food and walking around the city. We originally tried to find an Uber large enough for 6 ppl… NOT EASY so we canceled and walked. Also we brought a 2 piece booster that uses a shoulder strap for our 5 year old… total waste as almost none of the cars in Panama use shoulder straps.

   After a late start we decided to just start the day with lunch and went to La Spezia Pizzería Really tasty food, the whole family enjoyed. The owner was super friendly and the place looked great!  The walk from our hotel was less than 20 mins, just keep in mind it’s hot and the sidewalk are not like back home. There are man size holes all over the place. Definitely not a place to walk with your face in a phone. Also may want to avoid using a stroller if you can as the journey was not stroller friendly.

   Next stop was the grocery store to stock up on some snacks and food for lunches on the go. Again wanting to avoid Uber we walked. Was less than a 20 min walk to Superkosher. We did note that right across the street was the recommended bakery, Jeffrey’s.

   With all our new goodies we couldn’t walk back to the hotel so we waited a bit under 20 min for a “6 passenger uber” that didn’t end up being a six passenger vehicle so we had to reorder. Next was 6 passenger but JUST fit the family along with the food. Lesson learned the next round of uber we would just order two. Prices were so cheap it didn’t make a big difference.

   Once back kids spent the rest of the day swimming and I hit up the spa. All was very nice and surprisingly well priced.

   For dinner we walked to Kava, maybe a 5 min walk. Very nice décor and the food did not disappoint.

DAY 3: Up and out by 8 to start our day with Sorhay from The Real Panama Trs.  She is super upbeat and friendly and you can’t help but enjoy your time with her. First stop was Jeffery’s to grab some food for the morning and Sorhay grabs some food to snack for the day.

Destination: Embera Indian Village. Getting out of the car we were greeted by several homeless dogs (they are everywhere in Panama). They were very eager to eat any left over breakfast (as well as our fingers;), they are not mean just not domesticated at all, so no manners... We took the boat ride to the village and could have just spent the rest of the day there. The village we went to has a baby spider monkey in residence. My kids, myself included, couldn’t get enough. He ate our bananas, jumped and played with the kids and even took my son on a walk with his tail… I could imagine if you are not fond of animals this would not be for you, but for us it was amazing. Never have we had the opportunity to interact with an exotic animal so freely. We came back to that monkey, whom followed us around a bit, several time while at the village.

   Lunch at the village, Sorhay and the natives take care of everything. New pots, knives and spoons are provided, and lunch is served. Fried trout, plantains and a tasty selection of Panamanian fruit. Sorhay has a great relationship with all the village kids and they followed us on our tour and one even joined us when we left the island and headed to the waterfall.

   The hike to the waterfall was amazing and so much fun. It started to rain and that just added to the excitement. We crossed a stream, over rocks and the very best part; the MUD! Waterfall at the end was beautiful however the water was a bit cold, my kids didn’t seem to mind. The timing was amazing as we had the whole area to ourselves. All the other tours headed there before us so we missed the groups which was great.

   After the hike and boat ride back, we headed back to Panama city, kids and hubby too exhausted to go out for dinner. So the kids ate PB sandwiches and I dragged hubby out to Aria ;)  Food was great and again a 5 min walk from our hotel.

DAY 4: We had a friend in panama that planned Thursday for us. He got us a driver with another tour company and we visited Gamboa, Monkey Island and the Panama Canal. Was a much more touristy type adventure, but when in Panama you have to check out the canal. Lunch we brought with us and Dinner we Ubered from Pita Plus.

DAY 5: Moved over the JM Marriot, stunning hotel. For breakfast walked 5 min to Darna, was delicious and then spent the rest of the day prepping for Shabbos. Kids were exhausted so was a good recoup day.

DAY 6: Shabbos davening at Sinagoga Beth El, get them your passport info before you go or they won’t let you in, and we enjoyed a light lunch there.

DAY 7: Our last day in Panama we went out with Sorhay again. Started off at Pita Pan ate a quick breakfast, Sorhay picked up some food for snacks/lunch. Again food was great!
For the trip we didn’t find anything else on list of tours we thought was feasible to do as we didn’t want to wake up at 5am for San Blas (and the more I hear about the winding road kind of happy we didn’t do it) or drive 2 ½ hours to Anton Valley. So Sorhay just put together something special. We started heading to the rainforest for tubing and horseback ridding but on the way we saw a truck on the side of the road with sheep in the back. So Soray did what anyone would do, and pulled over and asked if we would pet the sheep;) My little guys loved it. The driver saw the kids were enjoying and invited us to his farm to check out all his other animals. SO we did what anyone would do and followed this complete stranger to his farm.  Kids loved it! They even took out a horse saddled it up and took my kids ridding around the property. The view was beautiful as the farm was right at the base of the mountains/jungle. None of this was planned but that’s just how Sorhay rolls, go with the flow and do whatever makes her guests happy. 

     Once we were back on the road we stopped by this little shop along the way that sold kosher Yogurt and cheese. As mentioned Sorhay does whatever she needs to keep her guest happy, and she knew feeding my little army was the key to a successful day.

     Water rafting was cold, and bit of a trek so my kids spent the rest of the time jumping off the cliff to the water and horseback riding. Not American style horse riding, the kind where they put us on the horse told us to kick our heals and let us go… My 5 year old thought he was the horse whisperer and almost gave us a freak attack as his horse almost ran off with him. And I thought Israel was lax :D  This part of the trip was especially cool as we were the only tourists. Everyone else were just regular Panamanians enjoying their Sunday.

     After lunch Sorhay gave us a bunch of different hike options one being to visit 5 waterfalls along about a 20 min trail. While this adventure was AMAZING and definitely one for the memory books the trail is very steep and my heart was running overtime until we got back down. Sorhay had an extra helper whom basically acted at my 5 year olds personal guide, taking him on the more difficult parts and Sorhay was also great with keeping an extra hand on my 9 year old. On the way back down she even took my 5 year old on her back, like a monkey, for the steeper parts of the trail. He was oooo oooo ahhhhing the whole way down. He loved her!

We ended with stopping by a picturesque view of the mountains and city below, for my husband to daven mincha and then headed back to the hotel. It was a full and amazing day and we were very sad for it to end.

The next morning we had a super early flight and headed home.  FYI don’t buy coffee in the airport unless you are able to finish it before you bored as they do a second security check and take away any liquids, even those your purchased in the airport!

Side note: the tours are not cheap but since flights were points, and hotels were super cheap (could have been $$ free had we used points, the only real expenses were food and our trips. Well worth every penny as without a guide it would be pretty hard/impossible to get around outside the city especially if you don’t speak Spanish.

All in all this trip was full of adventure and great food;) And Best Part we (I ;D) had to do very little preplanning thanks to Sorhay. We were VERY last min and VERY lucky she had availability, next time, and there will be a next time, we will be sure to reserve her well in advance.

September 03, 2019, 11:44:16 AM
Re: Our Trip to Panama this summer was one of our BEST!
Super trip report! You said it was pretty last minute- can you share when you went and when you booked flights?

 So I looked into it for about two weeks on and off. I was waiting for my husband to get the OK from his boss that we can take the days. I booked on Friday, August 16 and we flew out Monday night August 19 😬, went home one August 26. We ended up with one vacation day to spare 😀👍

September 03, 2019, 06:17:09 PM
Re: Our Trip to Panama this summer was one of our BEST! Sorhay is great... highly recommend...I think Sorhay owes @Denverite a commission for bringing her the DDF crowd...
September 04, 2019, 05:38:20 PM
Re: "Why Does No One Care About Violence Against Orthodox Jews?" (Interesting Article Split)
September 06, 2019, 07:35:46 AM
Re: RIP/BDE Master Thread truly heartbreaking and devastating. Especially to those who turned to him. Check out the comments on this link.

September 12, 2019, 10:28:24 PM
Re: RIP/BDE Master Thread
truly heartbreaking and devastating. Especially to those who turned to him. Check out the comments on this link.

One of the most special rabonim in all of America. Whoever saw him could feel it, let alone someone who had the chance to talk to him (which was never hard as he made himself available ALL the time). So sad I will miss the Levaya being in Israel

September 13, 2019, 03:38:32 AM
Rapid City and its Environs (Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park)
Note: All comments are appreciated and provide encouragement for these to be written.

What would you do? I had two days and a night for a quick getaway alone, roughly 40 hours. I was to leave Tuesday morning, and had to be back home the following day, Wednesday, before midnight.  It is mid-September. I live in the NYC area. National parks, easy hikes, and beautiful scenery are my thing. Two summers ago, I went to Acadia National Park for my quick trip; last summer, to Smoky Mountain National Park Both are readily accessible from NYC; the former a long drive, the latter a short flight. With these off my list, I was at a loss as to where to go for my trip this year. With only 40 hours, I pondered where best to maximize actual sightseeing and minimize cost. After briefly exploring the possibility of heading to Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, I chose western South Dakota.

I took a flight from Newark to Rapid City SD; departed Tuesday morning at 7:30am, and after brief stopover in Chicago landed in Rapid City at 11:45am. United Airlines, 12,500 miles + $80.

Unfortunately, the only rental car available was an SUV through Hertz for $200 a day [… the week prior, I repeatedly checked Hotwire, Priceline, and Autoslash but no cheaper rates/cars ever appeared]. However, because my flight out of Rapid City the following day was scheduled for 1:30pm, I booked the car for only one day.

I left Rapid City Regional Airport at about noon, heading to Badlands National Park.

On the way, one will notice that there are hundreds of signs for hundreds of miles along Interstate 90 advertising for Wall Drug, a tourist trap which one passes when heading to Badlands. I made a brief stop. Not much to see, but worth a ten-minute detour to satiate one’s curiosity about the advertisements.

Wall Drug:

I then continued to the eastern entrance of park and took the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway (SD 240) through the park. A few miles in, one will notice the Badlands Ranch Store which has giant Prairie Dog statute. There is a prairie dog field adjacent to the store – a prairie dog is a glorified squirrel which digs holes. Great opportunity to take pictures of these critters.

Prairie Dogs:

The loop road [SD 240] has many scenic overlooks and there are basically no park restrictions with regard to where one can walk around. Heading from west to east, the first two scenic overlooks provide the best vistas, while one of the last, Yellow Mounds, is a great stop for the odd Yellow tinged mountains.

Badlands National Park:

Yellow Mounds:

After the three-hour loop drive and a brief hike, the loop road brings one back to Interstate 90, and I headed back west to Mount Rushmore. The drive from Badlands to Mount Rushmore take about an hour and a half. Noticeable is the change from the prairie terrain to the mountain range of the Black Hills.

There is currently construction in the visiting area of Mount Rushmore but the mountain is still quite visible from the viewing area. Not much else to do here but take pictures. I then left, heading west towards Crazy Horse Memorial.

Mount Rushmore:

Crazy Horse Memorial—far less famous than Mount Rushmore—is another mountain carving about a half hour drive from Mount Rushmore. It is an ongoing project; started in the 1940s and is far from completion. Still worth the visit. The visiting center has several exhibits which focus on Native American history [Crazy Horse was a Native American Warrior]. I stayed for the laser show at dusk, which was a bit underwhelming.

Crazy Horse Memorial

For the night, I stayed at the Quality Inn Near Mount Rushmore, which is located in Hill City, about 15 minutes from Crazy Horse Memorial. As always, I chose the cheapest hotel with a free breakfast (hotel breakfast are an easy way to load up on food for the day – fruit, cereals, etc.).

The next morning, I headed out at about 6:45am to Custer State Park. After a brief stop at the picturesque Sylvan Lake, I drove along the scenic Needles Highway. It is not as treacherous as it is described online – the tunnels and views of the granite pillars/towers are fantastic.

Sylvan Lake

Needles Highway:

I then headed west on US Hwy 16A, and drove through the entire Wildlife Loop Road of Custer State Park. There were hundreds of buffaloes, and even some burros (wild donkey). Very cool. After a brief stop at the State Game Lodge, I drove back north to Rapid City and arrived in “downtown” Rapid City at about 10:30am. [Wind Cave National Park is closed because the elevator is broken :( ].

Custer State Park – Wildlife Loop:

Went to Starbucks to get the obligatory “Been There” South Dakota Starbucks mug, and then walked around the street corners to check out the statutes of all the U.S. presidents which grace the street corners of Rapid City (“City of the Presidents”).

Rapid City

15-minute drive back to the airport, took the 1:30pm American Airlines flight back to Newark, with stop at DFW. 20,000 miles + $80. Home by 11:45pm.

September 19, 2019, 12:44:55 PM
Re: AMEX Return Protection: Did They Make You Return The Item? Funny how the $95 card will still have this benefit, while the $250 PRG will be loosing the benefits, that's one card that needs more benefits. Your paying $250 for what?
September 26, 2019, 12:45:01 PM
Re: Utah Master Thread I agree that you should skip canyonlands on this trip.  Make sure to check if Grand Canyon north rim is still open, it will depend on whether there was a major snow fall yet.  See more info here

You may be better off doing the south rim, coming from Page you would enter via the East gate. 

Here are my recommendations

Drive straight to Zion from Las.   (About 2.5 hours)there is a Walmart in hurricane Utah that is on the way if you need any supplies.   Stay in Springdale Sunday night.  So you have Sunday afternoon and Monday in Zion.  It will be too cold in the water for the narrows hike.  Definitely do angels landing if you want a challenging rewarding hike.  You can use the park shuttle system to see most of the canyon on Sunday and then do angels landing Monday morning. Drive to Bryce Monday before dark so you have a full day on Tuesday to do the queen’s garden- Navajo loop plus any other hikes and viewpoints that you want to do.  Drive to page az on Tuesday before dark (2.5 hours) and do lower antelope canyon and the horseshoe bend  on Wednesday morning.  (There is a Walmart in page if you need more supplies).    Drive to Grand Canyon south rim on Wednesday afternoon so you get both sunset and sunrise at the canyon.  I would do sunset on the rim trail wherever it’s convenient and sunrise at ooh ah point.  Try to get a room at the canyon it is definitely worth it especially for a trip like this. There are often last minute cancellations.  The drive back to Las Vegas is 4.5 hours.  If you have time you will want to eat a nice dinner after a week on the run. 

Some things to note-
Las Vegas is on pacific time, most of your itinerary is on mountain time. You will lose an hour on the drive to Zion and gain an hour on the way back to Las Vegas.  Your phones times may be wrong at times, if you have a watch use that to confirm what time it is.  Sunrise on the trip will be at about 7 and sunset around 5.

For  sunset when sightseeing you want to be there approximately an hour before to watch the changing colors in the cloud reflections. 

Some of the drives seem long but the scenery along the way is beautiful in many places.  Don’t look at this as just “traveling time”

If you somehow have extra time traveling from Bryce to page then you can stop at Wirepass canyon between kanab and page for a nice hike but this will add an hour of traveling time besides the actual hike.  A much shorter diversion is the “toadstools” hike. 

If you have extra time in page you can do some kayaking on lake Powell- make sure it is not too windy though.  I kayaked antelope canyon (very diff area than the antelope canyon “hike”) and found it beautiful and peaceful.

November 12, 2019, 02:03:16 AM
Re: delta tlv to united states from $408 Roundtrip. dates that it works, not finding anything.
November 14, 2019, 03:37:17 AM