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Posts Tagged ‘argument’

The Investment Scam That Will Wipe You Out

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

A new fraudster has just turned himself into the police for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars (or shekels, actually, as this guy was in Israel). But the story is the same as when Mr. Ponzi himself was inventing the Ponzi scheme.

Want to blame the government or the regulators? As they say, all that blame and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee. I would not want to blame the victim, but let’s look at some of the facts in the case. In fact, these points are the same in almost all of the fraud cases I have read about in my two decades on Wall Street:

The clients gave money directly to the investment advisor.

The clients did not get statements from a bank or brokerage account.

The clients believed the investment advisor who said he could make totally unrealistic gains … guaranteed!

The clients believed there was little or no risk.

If these clients were children or severely mentally incompetent, I would agree with the argument that we need stronger regulations and better government oversight. But in the most recent case in Israel, and if we look at the biggest scandal ever – Madoff – we see that the clients were often very sophisticated professionals who were very experienced in all aspects of business.

Rather than going into the behavioral finance explanations for why even top-tier investors let greed trump caution, let’s get practical. (If you do want to learn about the psychological aspects of what makes people do the wrong thing, you can listen to my interview with Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman on my radio show. You can see that interview on YouTube.)

In this blog post, I want to make only one basic point, and if you finish reading this article with this one take-away, you can feel pretty confident that you won’t get suckered into a fraudulent investment scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This idea came from my mother (also a Wall Street veteran, and author of a book for children about how the stock market works).

If Ponzi scam victims considered this core concept before getting involved, this is what they might have thought: “You’re promising me 1.5% profit every month. What do you think I am? Stupid? Not even Warren Buffet can do that.”

They would have continued to think: “You are guaranteeing my principal? Who do you think you are? A government guaranteeing its bonds? Germany guaranteeing the Greeks? You couldn’t possibly have enough money.”

Finally, they would have considered who custodies the money: “You are saving me the trouble of opening my own bank account and putting my money into your own account? And then you will just print up statements on your own laser printer? Come on, buddy, I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Which investment scammer has you in his sights? Who knows? But one thing is for sure – if you start by asking the most basic questions and not believing the unbelievable, you’re well on your way to protecting yourself. The scammer will just move on to his next victim.

Talking to a (Man on a) Horse

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

   יְהִי-דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי-דֶרֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי אֹרַח הַנּשֵׁךְ עִקְּבֵי-סוּס וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ אָחוֹר

Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. (Gen. 49:17)

Right wing activist Itamar ben Gvir was arrested by police on Wednesday during a demonstration outside the Knesset, as protesters reacted  to the rejection of a bill that would have saved their homes from needless demolition.

It appeared, as the verse in Genesis suggests, that when dealing with the folks on horseback, the well thought out, logical argument rarely wins the day.

Cartoon Rehab: For Whom the iBell Tolls

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This July 2, 2011 cartoon, by Ad-Dustur, was headlined: “Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website.” The argument against Apple wasn’t so outrageous, free speech and all, but the choice to go with a Jew (further identified by the star of David on the hat) was just unnecessarily nasty.

I’m not sure the iHemingway solution is the funniest idea I’ve come up with, and I welcome better ones. Still, there’s something wonderfully silly about the brave Ernest Hemingway dealing with the Apple revolution the only way he would have: directly and with a lot of teeth.

Totally open for other ideas, though.

Source: ADL Arab Media Review

"Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website."

"Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website."

 

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Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Mike Wallace Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Mike Wallace died earlier this month at age 93, and while some may find it preferable to focus on the positive when speaking or writing about an individual on the occasion of his passing, the Monitor had little good to say about Wallace while he was living, so why start now?

Wallace, who achieved his greatest fame on CBS’s long-running newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” was a Jew by birth whose snarky attitude toward Judaism was perfectly illustrated in the response he gave when a Washington Post reporter wrote that Wallace had been spotted ordering a ham sandwich on Yom Kippur at a popular Capitol Hill restaurant. Asked about it, Wallace confirmed the story, adding, “I am a Reform Jew. The best thing I can do is serve my master.”

Wallace’s religious observance, or lack of it, was his personal affair. What bothered the Monitor was his dismaying habit of losing his vaunted hard edge in the presence of just about any Arab or Muslim dictator.

In 2006 he came out of retirement to interview Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and proceeded to spread the word that the man who denies the Holocaust and calls for destroying Israel is not really such a bad guy after all.

“He’s actually in a strange way…a rather attractive man,” gushed Wallace, suddenly transformed from cynical journalist to swooning schoolgirl, “very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way…. He couldn’t have been more accommodating.”

Of particular note was Wallace’s stupefying performance on Sean Hannity’s radio program. Asked by Hannity if he considered Ahmadinejad to be an anti-Semite, Wallace flatly responded, “No, I don’t.”

When Hannity quoted Ahmadinejad’s statements about wiping Israel off the map, a nearly incoherent Wallace replied, “Yes, he says wipe [Israel] off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that. He says in effect, hey, it’s perfectly sensible to do…pardon me. It’s perfectly sensible for them, and I’m not quoting directly, obviously, because I don’t have the translation in front of me, to…for them to…it’s perfectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let’s buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That’s where it happened.”

Hannity asked Wallace if he thought that was a legitimate argument, to which Wallace shot back, “It’s an argument. I’m not a commentator. You are.”

Back in 2002 Wallace, appearing on “Larry King Live” to talk up an interview he’d recently conducted with Yasir Arafat, expressed a level of sympathy and understanding to the Palestinian terror chief that he rarely if ever extended to an American leader.

“You know something, Larry,” he said, “I came to – I came to admire Arafat beginning back in 1977. He has made mistakes along the way as all of us do….”

In 1975, during a notorious “60 Minutes” whitewashing of the late Syrian president Hafez Assad, Wallace characterized the thug who killed tens of thousands of his own people as “cool, strong, austere and independent.”

Wallace’s view of the Arab-Israeli conflict was already clear back in 1958, when he hosted Israeli ambassador Abba Eban on the TV show “Mike Wallace Interviews.”

Though Eban handled his end of the conversation with his trademark wit and intelligence, Wallace’s tone was prosecutorial throughout, as when he quoted, without indicating any disagreement, the historian Arnold Toynbee’s statement that “The evil deeds committed by the Zionist Jews against the Arabs are comparable to crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis.’ ”

Later in the interview Wallace alleged that “the problem of the refugees is allied with the problem of territorial expansion on the part of Israel.”

“Mr. Ambassador,” he asked Eban, “do you … foresee further territorial expansion by Israel?”

Remember, this was nearly a decade before the Six-Day War, when Israel first came into possession of the territories now so widely deemed to be the crux of the conflict. To portray Israel as expansionist in 1958 was to basically call into question Israel’s very legitimacy.

Dubbing Political Foe ”Fascist” May Prove Costly to Facebook Defendants

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Can one cry “Fascism” in a crowded internet? A Jerusalem district court begins hearing testimonies on this issue today, with a plethora of unintended consequences paving its path. Is this a typical case of Left vs. Right, and if so, will a court decision necessarily benefit either of the sides? As of this morning, the relatively small but insanely vociferous world of Israeli online activists should start holding its collective breath .

Im Tirtzu (a reference to Zionist visionary Theodore Hertzle’s immortal slogan, Im tirtzu ein zu agada, roughly translated as ‘If only you want it, it won’t remain a dream’), describes itself as “an extra-parliamentary movement that works to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in Israel.” Established by Israeli intellectuals, students and IDF reservists after the 2006 Second Lebanon War, its objectives are the renewal of the Zionist discourse, thinking and ideology, “to ensure the future of the Jewish nation and of the State of Israel and to advance Israeli society in coping with the challenges it faces.”

Im Tirtzu is mostly devoted to “combating the campaign of de-legitimization against the State of Israel and to providing responses to Post-Zionist and Anti-Zionist phenomena.”

With thirteen branches at universities and colleges throughout Israel, Im Tirtzu has become an influential organization in the Israeli public arena, with strong ties to Israeli politicians on the right, and “access to decision makers and high-ranking government officials in Israel.” They influence public opinion and can certainly be considered a factor in moving Israel’s popular public opinion to the right.

A year ago, Im Tirtzu filed a NIS 2.6 million suit against seven people who created a Facebook page called “Im Tirtzu – Fascists,” and the defendants are about to present their depositions today. The Facebook Seven are represented by Attorney Michael Sphard, Yishai Shindor and Shlomi Zacharia. The seven admit that the financial burden of the lawsuit could destroy them, and are planning to start a fund raising drive.

But perhaps a sincere apology would do them better, because, on the face of it, they’re not in good shape. The Facebook Seven’s defense boils down to the “if the shoe fits” argument, which may be hard to prove.

The defense is also expected to argue that presenting Im Tirtzu as fascists is protected by the principle of freedom of expression – it’s their opinion and they’re entitled to voice it. That argument, too, can be tricky in a country with tough libel laws like Israel.

One deposition comes from Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, who is presented as “an internationally-recognized expert on fascism.” According to Sternhell, Im Tirtzu’s ideology and actions contain elements of fascism.

The problem is that Professor Sternhell in one article openly called on terrorists to aim their weapons at settlements, and in another declared that only those willing to march on the settlement of Ofra with tanks would be able to stop the fascist wave threatening to drown Israeli democracy. As impassioned as his defense of the Facebook Seven may be, he can hardly be considered an unbiased expert.

A more useful argument is expected to be made by journalist and spoken Hebrew expert Rubik Rosenthal, in whose opinion the term “fascist” has lost its historic bite in the current Israeli discourse, being used by opinion-mongers on the left and on the right as a generalized insult, rather than the original characterization by Benitto Mussolini et al.

But journalist Tomer Persico’s testimony will include a conversation he had with one of Im Tirtzu’s leaders, Ronen Shuval, in which the latter admitted to being influenced by “German romanticism’s ideologues,” those 19th-Century dreamers who gave life to the monstrous European fascism. If you note a contradiction between the former paragraph’s main point and this one, do read it once more and note that, indeed, this could be a case of having the cake while munching on it vigorously.

Incidentally, perfectly mainstream Zionist movements such as Beitar took pride in calling themselves Fascist, in the days before the term went gargoyle. Calling Shuval a fascist for identifying with the same sentiments that Likud’s ancient founding father Ze’ev Jabotinsky embraced before WWII may be just a case of unfairness, in which journalists of Tomer Persico’s ilk are known to dabble on occasion.

Professor Ze’ev Sternhell reads into texts written by Shuval “a clear expression of fascist thinking.” These include “references to the nation as an organic body.” But, of course, this would dub most hasidic and kabalistic writing equally fascist. Because, in history, thinking your nation is special is not a problem – thinking your nation is special so you should kill everybody else is usually where troubles start.

Other signs of fascist thought, according to Sternhell, include the view of an atrophied West and the sense that the situation in Israel is an emergency requiring extremist action and struggle against the “traitors.” This inclusive approach would probably dub as fascist both houses of the US Congress and a majority of publications on the shelf today in the areas of sociology, economics, poli sci, and religion, to name just a few thousand.

‘We Have An Obligation To Stand Even Taller’ – An Interview With Political Consultant Hank Sheinkopf

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Hank Sheinkopf is a master of the rough world of political campaigning. As president of Sheinkopf Communications, he’s worked on some 700 political campaigns on four continents, including 44 American states. His clients have included President Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg. Sought after for comment by major media outlets, he is a CNN contributor and has lectured at NYU, Harvard, and Fordham.

An Orthodox Jew living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife and two children, Sheinkopf met recently with The Jewish Press to talk about politics, religion and Israel.

The Jewish Press: Who was the first candidate you worked for?

Sheinkopf:The first person in politics I worked with for pay was Herman Badillo, when he ran for mayor in 1969. I found him very refreshing because he talked about coalitions between middle income and poor people, and I respected him immensely because he came here from Puerto Rico as an orphan, without a dime in his pocket. He worked as a pin setter in a bowling alley and somehow made a life for himself and became a lawyer and an accountant. I never met anyone who had that kind of success coming from nothing. And because of that experience I knew I could do something with my life.

Who was the most memorable politician you worked with?

I’ve worked for a lot of extraordinary people. I worked for Mayor Bloomberg, for President Clinton, for former governor Eliot Spitzer. Among the smartest people I’ve met are Bloomberg, Clinton and Leonel Fernandez, president of the Dominican Republic. Clinton started out with nothing and became the leader of the world, regardless of what people may say about him. And while most politicians make decisions based on how they’re going to get reelected, Bloomberg’s dynamic for decision making is “How can I do the good thing?” or “How can I make the city I love better?”

You campaign mainly for Democratic candidates. Have you ever turned any candidates down? Do you identify politically with Democrats and encourage others, specifically Jews, to vote for them?

I have turned people down. Do I agree with everyone I’ve worked for? No. For years this was strictly a Democratic shop, but I reject categorically the argument that Jews are required to be Republicans or Democrats. Everyone who thinks everything was wonderful with Bush should thank God that presidential terms end at a certain point because Condoleezza Rice would have cut Jerusalem in half. If I had to say where my prejudices are, I believe in free association, which is good as a Jew. I don’t think people’s associations ought to be regulated.

Who will run for New York governor in 2010?

Rick Lazio is out there as a candidate, as well as Andrew Cuomo and David Paterson. Paterson is going through a brief upsurge now because he’s taken on the State Senate. But after January 1, when the budget starts to kick in and people understand what a serious fix New York is in, they will probably be less likely to stand with the governor. I would say Andrew Cuomo’s time is coming. He’s very smart, very competent, and he’s been a friend of the Jewish people.

With President Obama’s poll numbers sinking, do you forecast a backlash in the 2010 midterm elections against the Democrats?

Obamism is not a political party, it’s a social movement. And I think social movements, when they ultimately achieve their goals, lose their sense of purpose. They tend to dissipate. And if they don’t achieve them, their adherents’ anger will increase substantially and they’ll walk away out of frustration. This social movement was based on one charismatic figure and a set of ideas around him, mostly about change. It may have been difficult to sell had George Bush not been the president previously. But people are beginning to wonder, “Where’s the beef?” They don’t see things happening quickly.

Maybe they see things happening too quickly and think Obama is moving radically on too many issues.

You may be correct. There is an argument to be made that he’s moving too quickly and too radically for some. Americans don’t like that kind of change. They don’t like anything related to the economy to move too quickly. They see the economy as precision timed, almost like a clock. If you move one of the parts, something falls apart. The stimulus package may not be working the way it should. What is happening and what they perceive to be happening is that some are benefiting and large numbers of Americans are not.

Do you agree with those who say America has hit moral bottom?

The problem is we have a moral moment where, without question, religion is under attack. I would argue we have hit a point where religion has become the enemy. This is the acme of the 20th century progressive argument. And that manifests itself in different ways.

We have the Catholic church suffering severe problems in the United States from a decline in membership and activity, and people are deriding evangelicals’ religiosity. We have Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street talking blithely about how his staff is all intermarried and how they have Buddhist Seders. They equate the Palestinian experience with the Jewish experience, which is insane. They are trying to dilute religiosity to fit in, and it’s not going to work.

How would you propose strengthening Jewish pride?

Those of us who want to protect our children’s future have an obligation to stand even taller. We should be educating our people, and we need to get people more involved in religious practice. Judaism is not passive – it is a commitment. We have to somehow breathe that fire, and from the fire will come people who are proud of themselves. But not by passivity. Torah study and Torah involvement and living as a Jew are practical, activist activities.

Given Israel’s dismal image, do you think a comprehensive public relations campaign would work, or would it be a case of too little, too late?

I’ve been the saying the same thing in public speeches for the past ten years – the Jewish community should take the plaques off its walls, melt down whatever silver is useable, and figure out how to fund a means of setting up programming for cable and radio to publicize our point of view. Stop trying to convince the Jews; convince the non-Jews. We should be talking to fundamentalist Christians and evangelicals. We need these Christian folks badly. They know the Tanach sometimes better than our co-religionists do, and they have tremendous respect for us as a people. We need them in Congress too because the most important person in our lives today is the chairperson of the defense appropriations sub-committee.

Ten years from now the young people coming behind us in the pro-Israel community are not necessarily going to do what is needed. They don’t have the commitment and they’ve had it too easy. If you took a census of most Jewish organizations, you will find that there is a decline in membership. It tells you that those of us who are still engaged, mostly because of some level of religiosity, will have a bigger job to do. And the way to shortcut that job is to communicate the moral argument, within the context of security for the world, to those who will ultimately make those decisions.

How would you advise American Jews to best take advantage of Christian support?

First, you have to stop listening to the Reform movement and others who somehow want to deride them. And to those who reject them for fear of missionizing, I say, no one is going to missionize me. I guarantee it. If your faith is strong enough, how can anyone missionize you? No one is converting me to anything except to a stronger belief in protecting the State of Israel, because without that the world will fall. Any time Jews have been under attack, wars have occurred, economies have fallen, terrible things have happened to humanity. The Christians apparently understand this better than a lot of our coreligionists do.

Israelis themselves seem to have bought into many of the anti-Israel arguments put forward by the left. How do you account for that?

One problem is that we Jews, and Israelis in particular, are being constantly told how bad we are. We read the web, the newspapers, the scandalous coverage of Israel by The New York Times and other outlets, and we believe that is the truth. When you are told all the time that you are bad you will ultimately believe it.

Jews are the only people I know who actually believe what other people go around thinking about them all day long. We should be worried only about what God is thinking about us and about how to safeguard the extraordinary piece of property He gave us. Either you believe in the future of the Jewish people or you don’t. We should stop this nonsense that somehow we’ve done something wrong. I would frankly say, “Go to hell if you don’t like Operation Cast Lead – next time don’t bomb us.”

How do you explain the durability of the belief among Israelis and other Jews that concessions will somehow buy Israel peace and the world’s affection?

Jews engage in extraordinary self-denial. If someone tells you he’s going to kill you, he means it. Jews don’t believe it because they don’t want to believe it. There is the incessant belief that if only we do this or that, others will love us. But Jews fail to comprehend that the world does not mind if we get killed. Only we mind if we get killed.

I was one of five Jews invited to meet with Khaddafi when he was in New York for the General Assembly. Khaddafi told us of his very simple solution to the Jewish problem. “First,” he said, “you must stop speaking Hebrew. Second, you must stop wrapping those straps around your arms. And third, you must mix in with the local population and let all the four million Palestinians come home.”

I said to myself, this sounds just like J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami – the anti-religious fervor; the denial of our right, given to us by God, to property that He owns. We’re losing the moral moment. Israel represents that which is good, and those who would destroy Israel or make it a servant to the nations as opposed to a leader of the nations are those who hate God. And our mission is to uplift God. That’s the job we have to do.

“…And There Were No More Tears…”

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The argument raged on in its typical, predictable way. It was a one-sided argument where he ranted at her for something or other that she was guilty of, something he felt made her deserving of a punishment tantamount to “verbal death.” She, sitting there silently, indefensible, head bowed, saying nothing for fear of escalating or prolonging this gut-wrenching episode that has played out throughout their endless, loveless and hollow union. And when finally it was over, his anger for the moment spent, the door banging mercifully shut behind him, only then did she allow herself to exhale, to take in the sour air he left in his cruel wake, and to feel again. This was the pattern of her married life and for 39 years she lived it, always with the pitiful hope that it would change and somehow get better. But this time was different. This time there was none of the relief that usually marked the end of an episode, and the hope that it would get better did not follow. This time there was a comforting emptiness inside her that said “…no more…. this is the last time…no more!” This time, there were no tears.

She sat there with this new found sense of calm, not knowing quite how to digest it or how to process the emptiness inside her. So much time had been invested in fantasy, in dreams and hopes that would never materialize, certainly not at this late date in her married life. There had been so many sessions with marriage counselors in the past, which had yielded only momentary pockets of respite, lasting seconds in time, before they vaporized completely into oblivion, leaving him to go back to his old ways. So many apologies and promises on his part, after the vicious, cruel words he spat into her face during his vile and angry tirades, and she fell for them time and time again, in the hopes that this was the last time, but there was always a next time. So many tears at the realization that she could never please him enough, love him enough, or fill the voids that formed the cracks in his dysfunctional character. So many tears, wasted on the dining room rug, splattering the kitchen counter tiles, soaking the bedroom linen. So many wasted tears.

She recalled her courtship with him and saw the signs that were there even then. But way back in the day, who understood such things? Then, a girl was expected to be Mrs. So and So by the ripe old age of 19 or 20, or it was assumed that there was something wrong with her. And so, when he came along, with a similar background to hers, one that posed no culture shock or threat; they wanted the same kind of home; they were both children of Holocaust survivors, who wanted to escape their parents and this was the only avenue for their independence. She remembered the simple thrill of it all – these were the underlying catalysts that drew them to each other. He was 22 and she was 18 and the year of the commencement of her life sentence was 1970.

The evidence of her mistake in her choice of mate presented itself during the first days of their sheva brochos and set the pendulum in motion, his anger, for whatever reasons, spurred him to release at her the venom and bile he could not direct to the source of his malcontent. She, never having seen this in her girlhood home between her parents, where love and mutual respect and consideration were the cement that bound her family together, sat silently, breathlessly waiting for the maelstrom of abuse to pass, thinking “this is the last time…”. And for 39 years, so it went. As each of their seven children made their presence into this world, she thought that with this child, it would become better, but it never did. As each child entered their lives, he had another reason to berate her, how much weight she gained, how she was never dressed and made up like his friends’ wives, how she could never find the time to devote to his issues – only those of the kids! And the tears kept falling, silently, in huge satiny streams from her wincing eyes and down the sallow furrows of her cheeks they fell. Until today. Today there were no tears.

How strange the feeling was. How absolutely liberating the thought that she no longer cared what he said to her in his anger. How numbing and comforting to understand that she was finally freed from the emotional bloodbath that espoused her life with him and that she no longer welcomed or wanted his empty apologies that were sure to follow. She no longer hoped or dreamed that the frog would turn into a prince. She knew better now, because this time, there were no more tears. As she sat and contemplated this new and alien state of her being, she took stock of herself and another odd thing happened, she began to think of what she wanted to do with her life. All these years she had put him and the children and their needs before her own. She had helped out in the Sisterhood and worked for the PTA and done whatever she was called upon to do, all the while working part or full time to help pay the bills. In the last years she added caring for elderly and ailing parents to that list, all without complaint, and often with a false smile painted on her face to mask her aching heart. But not today. Today, for the very first time she thought of what she wanted to do – without a trace of guilt or a single tear.

She understood that he would never become selfless enough to love her in the way that she wanted and needed. He would never give her the compliments she craved or the respect that would elevate her to the heights she already knew she could rise to. He would never sacrifice his own needs and comforts to give to her in her times of need. And suddenly, that didn’t matter anymore, because she now knew that she could do that for herself. She also made a very solid choice – she acknowledged to herself that she would probably never leave him. She understood that life would not change to any large degree and that, too, was suddenly very doable. She would grow old lying in the “bed” that she chose for herself, not caring to risk falling into a “bed” with more lumps and bumps than the one she already had and that someone else cast out. As she thought these absolutely novel thoughts, she felt a smile touch her lips from corner to corner. A smile that was rusty and unused for so long it almost creaked as it made it way across her face, lighting up her saddened eyes and pushing away the last of what might have been tears were they allowed to progress, so that her once vibrant, cheerful and positive personality suddenly awoke.

And she stood up, straightening her simple skirt around her frame, catching her reflection in the wall mirror. Visages of an 18 year old girl with bright blue eyes, auburn hair and a world of promise peeked out behind the mature face and frame of her 57 years saying, “I’m still here waiting to do and feel and taste all that life still has to offer…. let’s do them now!” As she stared at her reflection, she felt the burdens lift, the shackles snap open and the gates of her private prison unlock. As she mentally walked into the next dimension of her life, one freed of the pain and misery she would never allow another person to inflict on her again, she squared her shoulders, raised her head and grew a full head taller invisibly. Collecting herself she said a silent prayer of thanks to the Almighty for this empowerment and renewed sense of self and purpose that He had blessed her with. She also made a vow that unless they were out of joy, love and happiness, there would never be tears again.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/and-there-were-no-more-tears/2009/09/02/

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