web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘attempt’

Iran Launches Its Own “Acceptable” Version of YouTube

Monday, December 10th, 2012

In an attempt to meet the demands for online entertainment starved since the official censoring of YouTube in 2009, Iran’s government has created an “acceptable” version of the video site, filled with government-approved content.

“Mehr” – Farsi for “affection”, will allow Iranians to upload their own short videos just like on YouTube, and watch other videos uploaded by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) network.

Google and its related email service, Gmail, have also been made off limits to Iranians since the ascension of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

The Story Of Chanukah: ‘I Think I Can’

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Chanukah is just about upon us and Jews across the planet are looking forward to family gatherings, delicious food (you can’t feel too guilty eating oily latkes and high carb donuts on the chag – hey, it’s practically a mitzvah to do so); giving and receiving gifts and in general celebrating our survival – our spiritual continuance as God-fearing Jews. (Our physical survival is an event we acknowledge on Purim.)

Chanukah commemorates two unlikely events – the triumph of the Jews over the Greeks and their pagan culture, and the lasting of a small jar of kosher oil – meant to burn in the Temple menorah just a day – for an extra seven days until more kosher oil could be produced.

Anyone betting on a rag-tag of Jews, led not by a trained warrior, but by a Kohen, a peaceful cleric, to defeat a vastly superior armed Greek forces would have been viewed as crazy.

So too, anyone betting the Temple oil would burn longer than 24 hours.

But, despite the mind-boggling odds of either event happening, the Jews were not deterred and went ahead with their plans. They had faith, both in themselves and in Hashem.

It is said that God helps those who helps themselves. But the person has to take the initiative, that first crucial step.

Many of us are familiar with the popular children’s story of the little engine that takes on an undertaking that bigger, stronger, more “qualified” engines refuse to accept. They are realistic in their refusal to attempt something they feel is extremely difficult, if not impossible to do. They are convinced they will fail, so why bother?

The little engine, however, despite the fact he was not designed to pull a large train, thinks he just might be able to do so. At the very least, he will attempt this formidable challenge. If he doesn’t try, then for sure he won’t succeed.

Fuelled by a positive attitude and great optimism, he is willing to give it his best shot – even if the laws of physics are not in his favour.

There is a life-enhancing lesson here that we should take to heart: Do not let the facts on the ground ever deter you from trying to reach a goal.

It might be amusing for some to discover (like I did) that this message of “going for it,” despite the “facts” staring you in the face, was often brought forth decades ago in the very popular science-fiction series, “Star Trek.” Frequently, the chief engineer of the spaceship exploring the galaxy would be ordered by the captain “to get us out of here.” Depending on the theme of the episode, the spaceship would be in imminent danger of being destroyed by an exploding asteroid; swallowed up by a space monster the size of a planet; about to be blown up to smithereens by alien forces or trapped forever in another dimension – unless it immediately went to warp speed and high-tailed it out of there.

Often the captain would tell the chief engineer that he had several minutes to repair the disabled warp drive. And the chief engineer, in a reproachful voice, would tell the captain that he needed at least a few minutes to do so – that he “couldn’t change the laws of physics.” But he would always try, and he always succeeded.

Of course this was television, and a happy ending was necessary for the show to continue. But the lesson to be gleaned here, as exemplified by the story of Chanukah, is that you can’t let pessimism stop you from taking on a difficult challenge, you can’t admit defeat before you even attempt what seems likely to be futile.

You may be faced with seemingly insurmountable odds: you are an older single; you have a physical handicap; you have learning disabilities; you have kids off the derech; you have severe shalom bayit issues, you have been out of work for a long time. There is no shortage of problems to tackle and goals to achieve. But it is crucial to make the effort to “fix” the situation.

Often multiple attempts to resolve your issues end in failure. You want to give up – no more putting yourself in an uncomfortable, even demeaning situation, like continuing to ask friend and casual acquaintance alike if they can think of a shidduch for you or a job. Or going for marital counselling- again, or for yet another invasive, costly fertility treatment.

You Make Me Sick

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz addressed the truce between Israel and Hamas at a press conference in the south. “We managed to hit anything that has to do with terror in the Gaza Strip… we have achieved all of our operative goals.” (as reported by Yoav Zitun for YNet News.)

In Israel, a bona-fide, uniform-wearing Lieutenant-General is not ashamed to make a speech like this, the very day after his and our ignominious defeat, using language and terms which might have been lifted verbatim from a Hamas communiqué?

At 9 PM Wednesday, Hamas were still firing missiles. Day after day, more than 100 ballistic missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel, and you are not ashamed to say “We managed to hit anything that has to do with terror in the Gaza Strip… we have achieved all of our operative goals.”

Frankly, you make me sick. Have you no decency, sir? Do you not cringe at the sound of your own voice—and you a military man—saying “We have achieved our objectives,” even as enemy rockets and mortar shells rain down around our heads?

Have you no shame, sir?

And you, Mr. Netanyahu. I forget which of the Israeli newspapers it was that quoted you as saying, “We have made more than 1500 successful ‘hits’ on Hamas and Jihadi targets in Gaza,” are you really unaware how hollow you sound, how callow?

As though it matters how many hits you’ve ordered from your office in Jerusalem.

Move your personal office to Sderot, Mr. Prime Minister, move all your offices to Sderot, move the entire shoddy, government propaganda machine to Sderot, throw in the mighty Kirya and all its strategic planning committees, and your residence, too, for the duration, and then boast of all the successful hits and objectives achieved.

I suspect it is of little or no concern to you, Mr. Netanyahu, but I will to tell you what it is that so enrages me today, about your attitude. First, it is your attempt to spin this debacle as though we, the Israeli people, are witless and clueless. Your attempt to convince us that we did not just lose a war is despicable and craven.

You may think we’ve learned nothing from history, but we have. We know that the government is our parent when it deals with matters of warfare, national defense and international treaties. We are not permitted to make decisions about these things for ourselves, as citizens. Our parent-government has all the power, responsibility and duty, to make those choices in all our best interests. We know this because it is the first lesson in civics.

But our parents are not grownups, are they? They make decisions like a teenage gang operating out of the back of a car, a gang whose sole offensive strategy consists of variations on the art of drive-by shooting.

You stand in front of a battery of microphones talking to the world about the hard choices you made this week, without turning green? You don’t vomit or collapse at the knees, you don’t choke on your own lies? I do, though. You also make me sick.

Reports in Gaza: Al-Aqsa Brigades Commander Escaped a Hit

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that the commander of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Gaza, Salem Thabet, escape an attempt on his life after the air force attacked the house he was in.

Fight over Circumcision Dividing German Parliament

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Left-wing German MPs are threatening to oppose their government’s attempt to keep male circumcision legal in Germany. More than 50 MPs from three parties are now proposing that parents should have to wait until their son is 14 so he can give his informed consent to the operation.

Last summer, a regional court ruled that circumcision could amount to criminal bodily harm.

It should be noted that circumcision is by far less painful and traumatic to an 8-day old infant than it is to a teenage boy.

It’s My Opinion: Kristallnacht: 74th Anniversary

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The Jewish community is marking the 74th anniversary of Kristallnacht, which occurred on November 9-10 in 1938. South Florida’s Holocaust Memorial, located at 1933-1945 Meridian Avenue, held its ceremony on the evening of November 8. Commemorations were observed around the world.

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, took place in Germany and parts of Austria. Synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized and in many cases destroyed. Their windows were smashed and the streets were strewn with broken glass. The result of the event was catastrophic: 91 Jews dead and 30,000 arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Kristallnacht was a pivotal event in the Shoah. It was an ominous moment in history and foretold what would soon follow. The world, for the most part, stood silently by. The collective Jewish community, for the most part, hoped that this anti-Jewish wave would somehow pass. Hitler was given a silent nod to proceed with his plan of genocide.

Of course, in retrospect, the events of Kristallnacht did not come in one shattering night. The signs were there. Some could anticipate. Some ignored. Some had no idea what was being fomented.

I am a so-called baby boomer, born after the war. When I learned about the Holocaust I asked my parents, “Why didn’t the Jews in America do more to help?” The answer was, “We really just didn’t know.”

It is obvious to see how dangerous and even deadly “not knowing” can be. It is quite shocking to realize that many Jews do not yet understand this concept.

I am saddened to hear some of my well-intentioned Jewish brethren proudly proclaim that they do not listen to television or radio and do not read newspapers. They are sincere in their attempt to avoid the shmutz that abounds in the secular world. They do not want to deal with matters out of their personal circle. They attempt to circumvent the negatives of secular society and concentrate solely on the spiritual world of Torah.

The reality, however, is that we are in olam hazeh (this world), not olam haba (the world to come). Whether we like it or not, we are all affected by trends and actions surrounding us.

There are many storms that are necessary to monitor, and not all of them are found in weather reports.

There is another commemoration the Jewish world is marking. It is the 22nd yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, z”l. Rabbi Kahane was a brilliant Torah scholar and fearless leader. His motto was “Never Again!” We all need to understand what that phrase really means.

The European Problem with Zionism

Monday, October 29th, 2012

The always-perceptive Daniel Gordis explains the significance of the ludicrous and stunningly narcissistic decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the dysfunctional European Union:

The Nobel Committee noted that “the dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe.” Who understood that better than the Jews, millions of whom had been exterminated in Germany and Poland with little response from the rest of the world? But as they staggered out of what remained of postwar Europe, the Jews drew conclusions about their future that immediately put them at odds with Europe’s forward-thinkers.

European intellectuals decided that the nation-state was a model that needed to be relegated to the ash heap of history; the Jews, in contrast, decided that the only thing that would avert their continual victimization was creating a nation-state of their own.

So naturally, Gordis continues, the Europeans dislike Jewish nationalism — Zionism — and its concrete realization, Israel:

Thus, the Jewish state, without question the world’s highest-profile example of the ethnic nation-state, emerged onto the international stage just as Europe decided that the model had run its course. That is why historian Tony Judt called Israel “an anachronism,” urging that it be dismantled.

Widespread European disdain for Israel, while certainly fueled by both the enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Muslim immigration to Europe, was thus all but inevitable.

Yes, Israel affords civil rights and freedom of worship to its many minorities; but it makes no attempt to deny that there is one specific people, one particular narrative, one religion to which is it most centrally committed. The State of Israel is, to paraphrase Lincoln, “by the Jews, of the Jews and for the Jews.” How could those who labored to create the European Union not consider the very idea of a Jewish state anathema?

Of course, Gordis is right. And not only does the EU’s ideological problem with Israel express itself at the UN and in the EU’s expensive support for the Palestinian cause, but a continuing (and also expensive) attempt to subvert Israel’s democratic government byfunding extreme left-wing NGOs in Israel.

In fact, it’s not only the Europeans, but many who call themselves ‘progressives’ in the US who criticize Israel for its Jewish nationalism, which they wrongly characterize as ‘racism’. Here in America, the Left can put its money where its anti-Zionist mouth is by donating to theNew Israel Fund.

Gordis politely leaves it as an ideological disagreement and goes on to suggest that

Zionism, Israel’s leaders must begin to insist, should not be seen as the last gasp of a discredited worldview, but rather as a millennia-old claim that human difference is noble and that the preservation of ethnic distinctiveness is a deep-seated and natural human aspiration.

I certainly agree, but how can I fail to notice that it is only Jewish nationalism that evokes such a negative reaction on the part of the Europeans and the Left? They don’t seem to have a problem with ethnic homogeneity in countries like Japan (which is now dealing with foreign workers who don’t want to go home in a poor economy), nor to a great extent with the ethnic chauvinism of Arabs, the doctrine of Muslim superiority in Islamic nations, or the real and blatant racism in Saudi Arabia or the Sudan.

No, I’m afraid that there’s more to it than just an ideological disagreement!

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/the-european-problem-with-zionism/2012/10/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: