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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Beauty’

Fighter Jets…

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Every once in a while, we hear fighter jets flying over head. The first time I came to Maale Adumim – over ten years ago, I heard the jets soaring over the city and thought – wow, not just the beauty of the desert, not just the beauty of the city, but this too? I love the sound of the F15s flying low.

It was only after I moved here that I realized this wasn’t a daily occurrence. The Israeli Air Force is charged with protecting our skies. To do this, they have to fly the length and width of this land (which actually doesn’t take to long).

So they don’t fly regularly over our skies…or maybe they do. I remember friends who had just moved hear hearing them fly low over head. They called me thinking that perhaps war had broken out…

No, no war – just our sons flying our skies and protecting our land!

I once tried with my silly phone to capture it. I got the sound, but couldn’t get the image and then I thought…duh…YouTube. This morning, the jets have been flying and, child that I am inside, I keep going to my balcony and watching them.

There is such joy in seeing them, hearing them. They fly for the purest of causes – defending our land. It’s a beautiful day in August in Israel. I hope as they fly, the pilots are smiling and enjoying the most amazing view (as I am).

May God bless the Israel Air Force – fly safe! – 2 videos – one the sound I am hearing this morning and the second – an amazing, nearly impossible feat…an Israeli pilot – landing with just one wing. The manufacturers of the F15 didn’t believe the Israelis when it was reported. They insisted on seeing the plane for themselves. The proof is in the video. Enjoy.



Paula Stern

The Height of Beauty

Monday, November 19th, 2012

View of Mont Blanc from the station where the cable cars meet.

As the cold weather settles upon us, snow and ice become our constant companions. Although it is often uncomfortable, both snow and ice are not always associated with freezing weather. In the Alps, which are located in various European countries, snow and ice can be found throughout the year in breathtaking forms.

The European Alps is a giant mountain spine that divides Western Europe into northern and southern portions. The Alps mountain range curves all the way from the French-Italian border near the Mediterranean Sea, fills most of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and extends into Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

The French Alps in particular, border both France and Switzerland. Regardless of the fact that they are not as well-known as their Swiss counterparts, they also afford magnificent views year-round. The French Alps are renowned for their stunning scenery, complete with beautiful mountains, rolling foothills, and pristine lakes and rivers. Europe’s tallest and most famous mountain, the Mont Blanc, is situated in the French Alps bordering on Italy.

The snow-covered Alps in France attract a host of people who come to ski or just enjoy the awesome scenery. Although the French Alps draw its unique fame from its ski trails, there are also many magnificent hiking trails to enjoy during the summer time. On a recent summer trip to La Plagne, a ski resort neighborhood in the French Alps, I stood in awe of the stunning snow-capped mountains there.

Tucked amongst the Alps are various glaciers. Glaciers differ from regular snow covered mountains. They are usually mountains, of higher altitude, in which the snow accumulates and freezes into ice. A glacier is not always recognizable from the exterior since it is often covered with fresh layers of snow.

La Plange

Many glaciers across the European Alps have in recent years begun housing incredible ice caves. The French Alps in particular had two mountain guides who came up with the idea of building an ice cave on a glacier in 1992. Their project took off immediately. The next year they decided to hire professional sculptors to create sculptures within the ice caves for public viewing. Due to the tremendous success of this venture, another four ice caves with sculptures were opened. Each ice cave has a central theme. To date, there are six ice caves in the French Alps. The ice caves are especially created at very high altitudes where the temperatures are low year-round to ensure that the sculptures stay frozen.

During my stay in La Plagne, I went to visit one such ice cave or Grotte de Glace as the French call it. In order to get to the cave, we first took one cable car about halfway up. Then we switched to a second cable car. There isn’t enough power in the cars for them to reach the full attitude without stopping. At the station where the two cable cars met, we were almost knocked over by the most unbelievable view of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Mont Blanc.

Ice Sculptures of animals in the Grotte de Glace in La Plagne. A goat, fox and deer.

The Grotte de Glace in La Plagne was built in 2005 on the Summit of Bellecôte glacier which is 3,417 meters (11, 210 feet) high. It houses a gallery with several rooms and is home to spectacular sculptures directly carved into the ice. The cave is approximately 150 meters long featuring the masterpieces in translucent shades blue. The sculptures are of various different life-sized animals, including a fox, bear, deer, and even a huge elephant.

Each year thousands of people visit the Grotte de Glace in La Plagne to enjoy the exceptional beauty of the unique sculptures.

 

Compiled and Photographed by S.Y. Einhorn

S. Y. Einhorn

Israel, Iran, And The Shiite Apocalypse (Third of Three Parts)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
– William Butler Yeats,
“Easter, 1916”

The primary point of Israel’s nuclear forces must be deterrence ex ante, not preemption or reprisal ex post. If, however, nuclear weapons should ever be introduced into a conflict between Israel and one or more of the several states that still wish to destroy it, some form of nuclear war fighting could ensue.

This would be the case so long as: (a) enemy state first-strikes against Israel would not destroy the Jewish state’s second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy state retaliations for Israeli conventional preemption would not destroy Israel’s nuclear counter-retaliatory capability; (c) Israeli preemptive strikes involving nuclear weapons would not destroy enemy state second-strike nuclear capabilities; and (d) Israeli retaliation for enemy state conventional first-strikes would not destroy enemy state nuclear counter-retaliatory capabilities.

From the standpoint of protecting its security and survival, this means Israel should now take prompt and immediate steps to ensure the likelihood of (a) and (b) above, and the unlikelihood of (c) and (d). As was clarified by Project Daniel’s final report, “Israel’s Strategic Future” (www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-ISSUE/daniel-3.htm), it’s always in Israel’s interest to avoid nuclear war fighting wherever possible.

For Israel, both nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of enemy unconventional aggressions could lead to nuclear exchanges. This would depend, in part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons, and the willingness of enemy leaders to risk Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations. Significantly, the likelihood of nuclear exchanges would be greatest wherever potential state aggressors, especially Iran, were allowed to deploy ever-larger numbers of certain unconventional weapons, without eliciting appropriate and effective Israeli preemptions. This point was frequently overlooked by those who persistently opposed still-timely forms of anticipatory self-defense by Israel.

Should enemy nuclear deployments ultimately be allowed, Israel could then effectively forfeit the non-nuclear preemption option. At that point, its only remaining alternatives to nuclear preemption would be: (1) a no-longer viable conventional preemption; or (2) a decision to do nothing, thereby relying for security on the increasingly doubtful logic of nuclear deterrence or “containment,” and the inherently limited protections of ballistic missile defense.

This means, at least in principle, that the risks of any Israeli nuclear preemption, of nuclear exchanges with an enemy state, and of enemy nuclear first strikes, might still be reduced by certain Israeli non-nuclear preemptions.

While still unrecognized in Washington and Jerusalem, there is no greater power in world politics than power over death. The idea of an apocalypse figures scripturally in both Judaism and Christianity, but it very likely appeared for the first time among the Zoroastrians in ancient Persia. Interestingly, but probably without any current conceptual significance, this is basically the same geographic region as modern-day Iran.

For President Ahmadinejad, still in power, and very deeply concerned with power over death, there could be a recognizably “terrible beauty” in transforming the “world of war” into the “world of Islam.” For all who study present-day Iran, this bitter observation is incontestable. After all, for this Iranian president – and more importantly for his assorted clerical masters – an “end of the world” struggle spawned by any such transformation could enticingly open the way, at least for true believers, to a life everlasting.

What promise could conceivably be more satisfying? Though still largely inconspicuous to the generals, the professors, and the political analysts, there can be no greater power on earth than power over death, the incomparable power to overcome mortality. It follows that soon-to-be nuclear Iranian decision-makers, joyously imagining an utterly endless landscape of enemy corpses, could emerge prepared, enthusiastically and unhesitatingly, to become collective martyrs.

In the final analysis, however, we must recall that “irrational” is not the same as “crazy” or “mad,” and that even an irrational Iranian adversary might still be subject to alternate forms of deterrence. Therefore, Iranian leaders who might be willing to sacrifice millions to bring back the missing Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, could still maintain a consistent and transitive order of different preferences.

In this hierarchy there would be certain core religious institutions and expectations that demand protection. It follows that even an “irrational” Iranian leadership that is willing to absorb massive enemy military strikes against its populations might still not be willing to absorb serious harms to presumably essential core elements of its One true Faith.

Louis Rene Beres

Baby Beauty Contest, 1949

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The Golden Age Club met at the Emanuel Cohen Center, 909 Elwood Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 16, 1949.

The judges here included, left to right, Rabbi Schulman, William Liebo, Sam Finkelestein, and Lena Berdman. The baby beauty is Roberta Wilensky, aged 2.

I suppose we’ve been doing this to babies since the bronze age, but this looks tame compared to some of the baby competitions nowadays.

Good looking baby, though…

Yori Yanover

Original Jewish Press Video: Beauty and Joy of Israel’s Heart – Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The streets of Jerusalem on the special day commemorating the city’s reunification. A celebration of youthful energy, enthusiasm, and love of the Jewish homeland. Everyone is included and dancing together from all backgrounds in an overflowing expression of unity. Original footage 2012 shot by JewishPress.com’s Jerusalem based videographer Natan Epstein. Music by Shlomo Katz, “There Will Be Heard”. Shlomo is seen performing at the concert next to the kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount) at the end of the video below.

If you are wondering where all the women are at the Jerusalem Day celebration, you can see them in the video made last year at the event by the Jewish Press’s own Yishai and Malkah Fleisher who captured the ladies side of the festivities in 2011.

Yocheved Seidman

Speed Dating For In-laws?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

A recent article in The Jewish Press (Purim And The Tyranny of Beauty, Family Issues, March 16, 2012) written by writer and author Yitta Halberstam Mandelbaum generated, and continues to generate, quite a buzz.

Many people agreed with her observations and conclusions – others were indignant, even furious.

Yitta wrote about a rather unique social gathering that she was invited to – as a mother of an “eligible” boy. A gathering whose concept I personally found rather disconcerting. I would best describe it as being a meet/”meat” market, where mothers could shop around for a spouse for their son.

Yitta accepted the invitation that had been extended by a woman whom she respects and admires, and, like any journalist worth her salt, reported on what she saw.

While she greatly admired what she viewed – the courage of these would-be future wives of Israel putting themselves in what she felt was a potentially uncomfortable situation (I know this event was launched with the best of intentions, but I cannot help but see it as a marketplace where hapless “older” singles were to be appraised like merchandise by potential “buyers”‘ – at least on a date it’s a two way street) – Yitta nonetheless opined that many of these young women came to the event dressed and coiffed in a way that did not enhance their looks. Many she observed seemed to be wearing no makeup at all.

Yitta expressed her shocked dismay that quite a few of the young women seemingly did not attempt to do what they could to look their best that evening – or any evening for that matter, as they were overweight, had unflattering hairstyles, etc.

Yitta suggested what to many people were extreme measures to turn an ugly duckling into a swan – including cosmetic and plastic surgery.

While some in the community agreed with her assessment, many others skewered her; aghast that she felt erliche bochrim and their pious, righteous mothers would focus on the superficial. They were upset that Yitta was suggesting that mothers of learning boys would be so shallow as to not see past these bnot Yisrael‘s crooked teeth, size 14 waists, etc. and be dazzled by their inner beauty.

But Yitta was just being the messenger – she was telling it like it is – and the fact is looks do matter and this reality cannot be made to go away despite vehement protests to the contrary.

Time to take the head out of the chulent pot! It’s not a secret that many middle aged women, mothers of shidduch age daughters, fanatically exercise and diet themselves into size 4’s, knowing full well that as they open the door to the bochur taking their daughter out, his eyes will be looking her up and down as he tries to get a glimpse of what his potential wife might look like 25 years into the future.

How this would be mother-in-law looks could influence the length of that first date. The bigger the double chin, the shorter the date – even if the girl herself is rail thin.

Yitta, motivated by genuine ahavas Yisrael, bravely “walked the walk” on an unpopular highway, and offered valuable, but difficult to hear, advice. She did not create this situation – and having herself “been there and done that” she honestly shared her informed opinion on a possibly remedy.

But Yitta’s “tough love” approach is not what motivated me to write about her article.

Her “unorthodox” (pun intended) but meritous suggestions should not have generated controversy – rather the meeting itself should have.

Has getting a shidduch in our community really come to this bizarre state of affairs, what can only be described as speed dating between mothers-in-law and potential daughters-in-law or a matrimonial job fair where you interview for the position of wife, with the CEO (his mother) reviewing your shidduch resume and personally assessing your qualifications?

Whatever happened to young men meeting young women and spending a few hours together and then each of them making a somewhat informed decision as to where to go from there?

It seems with every passing decade, our sons are being infantilized. There was a time not so long ago when men would seek out a wife, marry, and support her and the children they would have. The husband would be the “man of the house,” the household’s primary breadwinner – or at the very least co-breadwinner, if the wife was employed.

In recent years, however, it has become fashionable for young married men to not be required to work – for years.

Instead, their fathers/fathers-in-law are doing the financial supporting, just as they do for their single children still at home.

Sure it’s wonderful to immerse yourself in Torah, but doing that for years means the men doing the supporting cannot retire or cut down on their working hours – thus they have to minimize or postpone their own learning. How fair is that?

Cheryl Kupfer

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The Tyranny of Beauty: Readers Have The Last Word

Editor’s Note: Yitta Halberstam’s article “Purim and the Tyranny of Beauty: A Plea to Mothers of Girls in Shidduchim” (Family Issues section, March 16) ignited a firestorm of reaction, both pro and con. Hundreds of letters and e-mail responses poured in to our website (JewishPress.com) and the print edition, along with several article-length responses. We published a couple of letters about the article in the March 23 issue, along with a response from Ms. Halberstam. Last week we devoted a full page in Family Issues to some of the e-mails and website comments. The responses keep coming, and so this week we’re letting several more readers have their say – and then we’re turning the page to other matters. Some of the article-length responses can be read on our website.

Facing Reality

I truly regret that Ms. Halberstam was so misunderstood. For starters, the name of the article was “The Tyranny of Beauty.” Anyone who knows anything about Ms. Halberstam knows she is a sincere yiray shamayim who writes with her whole soul. She does not believe the most important quality a female can have is her looks. She believes inner beauty is the lasting beauty.

However, she is also a realist and she is well aware of the shidduch crisis. She knows how many resumes grind themselves out of fax machines and how most of them go unanswered. She knows how it is with shadchanim who try but are limited.

Anyone who is up in arms at the thought of trying to make oneself more attractive – and, needless to say, it is the rare case where a nose job is the issue – should look around and see what is going on today.

I recently tried to set up a family member with a boy learning in kollel, and after I told his mother how brilliant and kind and full of mitzvot the girl is, and the special family she comes from, the mother had two questions for me: Is she pretty and is she blond. This from a kollel mother who fully plans to support the young couple.

Yitta Halberstam in her article lamented the fact that so much emphasis is placed on looks. But if that is the unfortunate reality today, a word to the wise should be sufficient.
Nicole Levy
New York, NY

Blatant Generalizations

In response to cogent criticism about her article by reader Tova Ross (Letters, March 23), Ms. Halberstam asserted that she only wrote the article after years of imploring young men to consider inner beauty when selecting a mate. Again, she emphasized that her article was put forth publicly to help. This is specious at best.

Ms. Halberstam’s blatant generalizations about young women fixing their appearance is an oversimplification of the shidduchim issue. Cosmetics, nose jobs, and hair treatments are not the end all and be all to securing one’s life partner. Further, where in Ms. Halberstam’s article did she direct men to fix their attitude and outward appearance as well?
Barbie Kona
(Via E-Mail)

What About The Boys?

Ms. Halberstam begins her article lamenting the power imbalance in today’s shidduch scene. Boys (really their mothers) are inundated with resumes and girls sit tsitering at home. She presents her advice as the magic solution, yet anyone who takes a second to follow it to its inevitable conclusion would quickly realize it would do nothing but greatly exacerbate the current “crisis.”

In a world where girls are getting plastic surgery left and right because they are pressured to (first by their mothers, as the article suggests, then their friends who are doing the same, then via a shadchan by the boys they date who have come to expect it) they are stripped of any power they once had. Their self worth has been trod upon and they have been relegated to a role of literally doing anything they can to “get a guy.”

Let’s not forget that all of this is the foundation for a marriage. Is this what we want frum Jewish marriages to be based on? The husband should expect his wife to go to extreme measures at his whim? And for those of you who think I’m taking my reasoning too far, I am talking about a world where it is expected that a girl undergo plastic surgery to fix anything and everything that “needs to be” in order to date successfully.

Now let’s flip it around here. Ms. Halberstam is the mother of a dating boy. She presents herself and her son as the pictures of perfection. I get the impression that, as the old cliché has it, no girl is good enough for her baby. Instead of assessing the shidduch world and figuring out what she can do as the mother of a son to alleviate the pressures, she points at mothers of girls and tells them how to make their daughters good enough for her son. It seems to me that mothers of sons, instead of pointing fingers because the girls aren’t “pretty enough,” could stand to sit their precious boys down and discuss realistic expectations.

Our Readers

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