A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
One of the techniques I have found most helpful when mediating disputes between rebellious adolescents and their parents is to give the teenager six or eight index cards, and ask him or her to jot down a request or concession that he or she would like his parents to grant. Then I ask the teen to stack the index cards in priority order, with the most important request on top. Finally I have him assign a value from 1-10 for each of the requests, with 10 denoting something that he would consider of paramount significance and 1 representing a matter that is not terribly important. I then hand a similar number of index cards to the adolescent’s parents and ask them to do the same.
While this exercise is certainly not a miraculous cure for friction between teens and their parents, it is often helpful in establishing healthy dialogue and effective problem solving in a strained relationship.
With this in mind, I wish that someone would gather Israel’s Orthodox Knesset members (who purportedly represent their observant constituents in Eretz Yisrael) and ask them to assign a value from 1-10 regarding the importance of moving the clocks from Daylight Savings Time weeks before the rest of the civilized world.
For those who live in the Diaspora and may not be familiar with the yearly tempest in a teapot, here is some background: Most countries in the Western world move their clocks back from Daylight Savings Time around the end of October. However, a number of years ago, religious Knesset members in Israel introduced legislation to implement the clock change a week or so before Yom Kippur in an effort to “shorten” the fast day for Israelis.
Not surprisingly, this issue provokes resentment among non-observant Israelis year after year, as they complain about losing an hour of afternoon sunlight during the beautiful fall season. This is compounded by the fact that due to Israel’s brutal summertime heat, some of the nicest weather days are in the fall. These days are now shortened by the clock change, with people around the country returning from their offices after dark during part of September and all of October.
So I ask our Orthodox Knesset members the following question: Is this matter really a 10 on a scale of 1-10? Is it even a five? Don’t we have more pressing matters on our communal agenda than this one? Why are we adding yet another point of contention in our already strained relations with our secular brothers and sisters?
There are certainly other solutions to this “problem” that do not require wholesale changes that affect the entire country for weeks on end. We could change the clocks in our shuls and homes if we wish to do so for the day of Yom Kippur – just as sleep-away camps in the United States do during the summer months. This is done in order to operate on Eastern Standard Time, which allows for night activities after dark and for the children to go to bed earlier. We could start prayers an hour later on Yom Kippur, or we could simply not change anything and “deal with it” – as the kids say. My wife and I were vacationing in the Canadian Rockies this past summer, and we fasted on Shiv’ah Asar B’Tammuz until nightfall, which was at 11:15 p.m. So again I ask: Why are we needlessly provoking enmity over this non-issue?
What concerns me most is that this issue of the clock change is indicative of the “everything-is-a-10 mindset” that some (or many) in our community maintain. Certain issues are indeed a 10, and we rely on the da’as Torah of our gedolim to guide us as to which issues fall into that category. But in all other nonessential matters, we should practice the concept of darchei noam (paths of pleasantness), and be sensitive to the wants and needs of others outside our community. Keep in mind that no one was ever brought closer to Hashem by force.
Even if we don’t practice tolerance for its own sake, we ought to do so strictly for pragmatic reasons. I have no doubt that sooner or later (probably sooner) there will be a colossal pushback from secular Israelis who are resentful at their growing perception that observant Jews are not only appropriately lobbying for the right to practice religion as they wish, but are imposing their will on the broader community.
We went through this a few short years ago when Tommy Lapid and his Shinui party garnered 15 Knesset seats by tapping into anti-haredi feelings. At that time, there were terribly painful cuts made in yeshiva and family subsidy support, some of which still has not been reversed. But just because Lapid bungled his mandate and slid off the political radar, the feelings of those who voted for him did not diminish over the course of time.
We would be well served to maintain our perspective on non-urgent communal issues, and start acting as if we do not have a limitless number of cards in our deck to needlessly squander.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and menahel of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.
To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s Dvar Torah Sefer, “Growing With the Parsha” or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, email email@example.com, or call 845-352-7100 x 133.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
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The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.
She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.
Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!
Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.
While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.
I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.
Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.
Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.
The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.
The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/is-everything-a-10/2007/10/24/
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