Steven Spielberg’s film “Jaws,” forever changed how people approach a beach vacation. Nothing like a shark to take the joy out of some long-planned relaxation. People who go to a hotel or program for Passover have been planning for months for their “vacation of the year.” These programs have a high price tag and consumers have high expectations, but every year there are disaster stories that explode across social media. While there hasn’t been a reported Passover shark incident, some of the actual program fiascos can be described as stranger than fiction.

Many things have changed in the past twenty-five years, but one thing has not: One Israel Fund’s mission. For the past quarter-century, One Israel Fund has worked tirelessly on behalf of the residents of Judea and Samaria. These regions are comprised of an extraordinary collection of people, over 460,000+ residents who are wholly dedicated to life in their Biblical Heartland. But these extraordinary people deserve ordinary lives, furnished with the integral services that the rest of the country is privy to - such as security, healthcare, and education. Since these communities do not receive much, if any support from most of the major Jewish philanthropic organizations, One Israel Fund was created to fulfill in these needs.

When Bilam went to curse klal Yisroel, one of the things he wanted to say was “kallem” which translates to “destroy them.” The Tosafos in Avodah Zarah 4b brings that the letters of this word are kof-lamed-mem, which represent kaved, lev, and then moach. The curse would have been that klal Yisroel should be led by their desires and emotion. Hashem turned it around and made it melech which is spelled mem-lamed-kof and represents moach, lev, and kaved. We are blessed to be a melech when our emotions and desires are led by our intellect. The Torah is telling us that in order to become tzadikim, we must rule over our emotions and desires with our minds. I would suggest that one effective way of accomplishing this feat is by practicing mindfulness.

Dear Alice,

I realized this week that there is always one day that consistently sabotages my diet - Shabbos. I can feel in control all week, but when it comes to Shabbos, since I’m not in my routine, I really struggle.

 For the last nine years, friends of ours have arranged to bring busloads of families from Ramat Beit Shemesh to army bases in various locations in Israel on the first night of Chanukah to thank the soldiers for protecting us and to celebrate with them. The IDF is reluctant to have visitors in army bases at this time, but somehow our friends managed to pull it off. This is the first year that our schedules allowed for us to participate in this beautiful initiative. It always sounded like a nice idea, but hearing about it and experiencing it is not at all the same. It didn’t take long for us to realize how much we had been missing out the last nine years.