SACRAMENTO – Gov Gavin Newsom issued the following statement today on the congressional passage of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act bill package. This once-in-a-generation investment will help to create quality jobs for Californians, support the modernization of key state infrastructure, improve our transportation systems and help fund the expansion of zero-emission vehicle infrastructure.    

“President Biden understands the need to build a climate-resilient future, and the infrastructure package passed by Congress builds on California’s unprecedented investments to maintain and modernize the state,” said Governor Newsom. “This historic infrastructure package stands to accelerate investments in our clean transportation infrastructure, help mitigate some of the worst impacts of climate change and accelerate new projects that will create thousands of jobs.”

More details on how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will benefit California can be found here. California expects to receive:

  •     $25.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years
  •     $9.45 billion over five years to improve public transportation options across the state
  •     $384 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state and the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging
  •     A minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state
  •     $84 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $40 million to protect against cyberattacks
  •     $3.5 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure clean, safe drinking water for California communities
  •     $1.5 billion for infrastructure development for airports over five years

With Gov. Newsom’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan, California has already made significant investments in infrastructure which will be supported by the additional funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The governor’s Plan made the single largest investment in wildfire and emergency preparedness in our state’s history – investing $2 billion to purchase new firefighting equipment like air tankers and helicopters and support a comprehensive forest and wildfire resilience strategy statewide.

The governor’s Plan includes a $3.9 billion investment to hit fast-forward on our zero-emissions vehicle goals, leading to cleaner air for future generations. The California Comeback Plan includes $3.7 billion to build resilience against the state’s multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise, and address environmental justice priorities that support the low-income and disadvantaged communities bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.

The governor’s Plan invests $5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience in the face of more extreme weather cycles, including funding for emergency drought relief projects to secure and expand water supplies, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation and projects to support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts.

California has invested $6 billion to expand broadband coverage and access through the construction of a state-owned open access middle mile network and last mile projects that connect unserved households and businesses with local networks.

The passage of this federal infrastructure bill means even greater investments into our state. Governor Newsom will continue to support and implement policies aimed at uplifting every Californian. The success of California’s programs, along with our partnership with the Biden White House, will help propel our groundbreaking work here in California to other states throughout the nation.


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         4-10 Kislev, 5782                                                                Nov. 8-14, 2021 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--661th Web Ed.



                                                                                        RABBI'S CORNER



Q. Are there any Jewish laws about which parent should have custody of the children after a divorce?

A. You can of course leave it all to the lawyers and the courts but it is better all round for you to agree on these crucial issues between you.

There is a general principle in Jewish law that all children stay with the mother until they are two. Thereafter the girls stay with the mother and the boys with the father, though at the mother’s request the sons can stay with her until the age of six.

However, the rabbis would agree with the Rema (Rabbi Moses Isserles, the glossator on the Shulchan Aruch) that if a different arrangement seems better for the children, the Beth Din can rule accordingly.

In all circumstances, both parents should continue to show an interest in every child and not to use the child as a way to hurt the other party, and both should consider the other’s financial needs and not make impossible demands. Nor should the grandparents on either side feel frozen out.


Q. Why is the Anim Z’mirot hymn usually recited publicly in the synagogue on Shabbat by a child?

A. Usually sung responsively at the end of Musaf (in some places at the end of Shacharit, and in some just before Baruch She’amar), Anim Z’mirot or the Hymn of Glory (Shir HaKavod), is attributed to Yehudah HeChassid of 13th cent. Regensburg. He was one of the Chassidei Ashkenaz, the medieval pietists of Germany, whose suffering brought out their saintly qualities.

Many colourful stories surrounded his name; he is said to have performed miracles, revived the dead and entertained Elijah to Seder. He was on good terms with the local duke and bishop and was even a good archer.  The most famous work attributed to him is the Sefer Chassidim, a popular ethical work inclined to asceticism.

The first and last four lines of Anim Z’mirot provide a prologue and epilogue, with an alphabetical acrostic in between these two sections. Each line, with 16 syllables, has two sections. The whole poem is a liturgical meditation on the nature of God, skillfully utilising Biblical and rabbinic phraseology.

The title comes from the opening line, "Sweet hymns and melodies shall I weave; for towards You does my heart yearn".

These phrases come, firstly, from the Biblical description of David as N’im Z’mirot Yisra’el, the Sweet Singer of Israel (II Sam. 23:1), and then various words and phrases from the Psalms, e.g. Psalm 42:2.

The overall message of the poem is that humans cannot describe God as He really is – they can only use metaphorical phrases. So intricate is the style of the poem and so sublime its content that some authorities, such as the Vilna Gaon, were against reciting it daily because on weekdays it would be said too hurriedly. They therefore limited it to Sabbaths and festivals, and in some places it was said only on Kol Nidrei night.

Our custom of inviting a child to lead the hymn is obviously based on the wish to encourage youth participation in the services and because the rhyme and rhythm are easy to handle. But the poem is too difficult for most children and indeed for many adults. At the very least, rabbis should occasionally use a sermon or shi’ur to expound it and the other popular synagogue hymns.

Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple, Jerusalem, Israel