2-8 Tevet, 5779                                                      Dec. 10-16, 2018 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES --  616th Web Ed.



SACRAMENTO -- Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved a rate reduction for California Earthquake Authority (CEA) residential earthquake policyholders that will bring millions of dollars in premium savings for tens of thousands of homeowners and renters in California.
"The department's Rate Regulation Branch staff reviewed CEA's rate filing and determined that the proposed rates should be lowered," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Department staff worked with CEA staff to arrive at approved rates that will result in an estimated total premium savings of $16.3 million to California consumers over a three-year period. Once again, Californians have benefited from the insurance commissioner's rate regulation authority."
The initial proposal in CEA's rate filing was for a 0.4 percent increase. However, following the department's actuarial review and recommendations, CEA submitted an amended filing, requesting a rate reduction of 1.7 percent. The proposed effective date is July 1, 2019.
The rate reduction is for CEA's residential earthquake policy that can cover your home up to a certain amount, personal items in your home, such as furniture, TVs, and computers, and temporary and extra costs to live somewhere else while your area is evacuated or your home is being repaired.  
Since Commissioner Jones took office in 2011, the department has reviewed more than 54,000 rate filings and saved consumers and businesses over $3.4 billion through rate reductions. Whether a particular policyholder as a result of this rate filing approval receives a rate reduction and how much, depends on their individual policy and CEA territory.
To make a home more earthquake resistant, the department encourages California homeowners to consider retrofitting their home. A verified retrofit may also allow homeowners to receive additional discounts on their homeowners and earthquake insurance policies. The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) was established in 2011 to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage from earthquakes. CRMP established Earthquake Brace + Bolt to offer up to $3,000 to help California homeowners retrofit their house to reduce potential damage from earthquakes.


With Woolsey Fire recovery and relief efforts under way, Los Angeles County officials caution the public to beware of charity scams and to donate to organizations they know and trust.

Warning signs for suspicious donation requests include:

  • The organization refuses to provide information about the organization, identity, their mission and how the donations will be used.
  • The organization does not provide proof that the donation is tax deductible.
  •  High pressure tactics are used.
  • The need to wire money or donate cash.

If you are thinking about giving to a charity, use these simple tips to identify reputable charities:

  • Ask for detail information about the charity, including the name, address and telephone and how the donations will be used.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a donation.
  • Search the name of the organization on the internet to see if it’s reputable company.
  • Never give donations in cash, by wire or in gift cards.

Check with the IRS to see if the organization is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions.

For the Woolsey Fire, reputable first responder, relief and animal-aid organizations include:
    Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation:
    Los Angeles City Fire Department Foundation:
    American Red Cross:
    United Way:
    Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation:

For further information about the Woolsey Fire, including evacuation and repopulation areas, animal shelters, road closures and disaster relief, visit


SACRAMENTO -- As survivors and family members of wildfire victims who died tragically in the Camp and Woolsey wildfires begin to pick up the pieces of their lives and begin the process of settling the estates of their loved ones, finding lost or destroyed property insurance policies is just one challenge. The Department of Insurance has an online property insurance locator form to help survivors and family members find homeowner or renter insurance policies.

The result of Sen. Bill Monning's SB 569, which was supported by Insurance Comm. Dave Jones, the new tool was introduced after Gov, Brown signed the bill into law last year with an effective date of January 2018.

The service is available to property owners or the owner's legal representative if the property was damaged or destroyed in an area designated as a disaster by the president of the United States or the governor, and the property insurance policy cannot be located and they do not know or cannot recall the name of the insurer that issued the policy.

Department of Insurance representatives will forward the information you provide on the form to insurance companies licensed in California who will search their records to determine if the property was insured. The company will contact the insured or their representative directly if they locate a policy that was in force at the time of disaster. This service is free of charge.


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Pharaoh's two dreams both centred around food. One had to do with cows, the second with ears of corn.  On waking from the second dream, "his spirit was knocking" (Gen. 41:8).   One possibility is that his stomach was rumbling. The idea of food of any kind would have appealed to a well-nourished monarch. However, he was alarmed to think that the dreams suggested that he might have to eat sparingly.

In the first dream, fat cows were swallowed up by thin cows, an omen that he would be short of meat. The king decided to fill up on bread, but then came the second dream in which fat ears of corn were eaten up by thin ones, so bread too might be in short supply. No wonder the royal stomach rumbled.

That is if we translate "vatipa'em rucho" literally as "his spirit was knocking". Other versions take a more metaphorical approach and say, "his soul was troubled" – the problem was not hunger as much as a psychological feeling that something strange was hidden in the dreams, and help was needed to interpret them.

History was different because a Hebrew youth was called in to explain what it was all about. History was always different when Hebrew wisdom was called in by the world for answers to perplexing questions.

That we received few votes of thanks is no news. But that Jews themselves so often look to alluring but inadequate outside philosophies – that is indeed surprising in view of the richness of our own tradition.

How many stories about finding the treasure in our own garden do we need before we acknowledge what Judaism has for us?


One after another of the great figures in Genesis have their dreams recorded in the Torah, including Joseph. But only Joseph is called "ba’al hachalomot", "the master of dreams" (or “the master dreamer”).

As a boy his dreams are rather egotistical – “I’m going to be a great ruler when I grow up!” In time they become more altruistic: “I’m going to do something for society”.

The crucial moment in his dream-history is when he interprets dreams for Pharaoh and he finds himself helping the king to manage his realm.

Since a person’s night-time dreams seem to reflect their day-time activities, we see the process of Joseph growing up in terms of how his dreams change.

In every age, a master dreamer has two kinds of dreams: positive ones in which the dreams are of a beautiful world in which there is love, peace, truth and justice… and negative ones in which everything goes wrong and the world becomes dark and frightening.

No-one can control their night-time dream-life, and the two types of dreams are evidence of how easy it would be for the world to be utopian and how hard it is to overcome the obstacles.


Appearing before Pharoah, Joseph urges the appointment of officials – "p’kidim" – to take charge of food supplies in time of famine (Gen. 41:34).

Nachmanides explains that Joseph believes in delegating administrative tasks and not letting any individual handle every task on his own.

Those who enjoy discovering Biblical origins for everything will claim that this is the beginning of the science of public administration, and they may be right.

However, more important than the technical origins of the civil service is the concept itself, which is reinforced by Jethro telling Moses not to try to do everything himself because it will only wear him down (Ex. 18:17-18).

Ibn Ezra comments that Jethro actually said more than the Torah records, and that he told Moses that unless he delegated some of his tasks he would collapse like a withered leaf which falls off the tree.

I have a personal reason for feeling Jethro is really speaking to me, since it reminds me of something I heard when, as a schoolboy, I was about to become an army cadet officer, and a (real) army officer told me, “Never do a thing yourself if you can get someone else to do it for you”.

That was a more cynical approach than Jethro’s, but the result is the same: if you are a leader, you should assemble a good team and allocate the jobs. It’s not good for you if you try to do it all yourself, but neither is it good for the cause.

Let everyone feel a sense of involvement and participation. Let your contribution be to choose the team, to co-ordinate the effort, and to work with them.

Dr. Raymond Apple, Jerusalem, Israel

The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles