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Posts Tagged ‘boat’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Missed the boat? Readers think not…
See Chronicles of Nov. 16

Dear Rachel,

As I was reading the letter written by “Missed the boat,” I was taken back in time to when our second to youngest daughter fell in love with a young man whom she met at a summer job. She was eighteen years old at the time and certainly didn’t need to rush into marriage.

She also had two still single older siblings and was sensitive to their feelings. At first we all thought that over the course of the following winter the young twosome’s ardor would cool, but that didn’t prove to be the case.

We couldn’t even be upset at our daughter because she was a good girl and up front about her relationship, and the boy who courted her was a serious and decent young man whose parents were casual friends of ours.

Extended family members chimed in with their varied opinions, but Grandma said it best: You can’t let a good thing go in this day and age when shidduchim are not so easy to come by. Grandpa agreed but for different reasons: It’s not healthy to date for so long. Let him do right by her and marry her.

I believe that in our particular situation, having more than one older sibling helped ease the discomfort, for it couldn’t be said or thought that the older was taking her time, etc. Obviously this was all about the younger, not the older. Still, the kallah-to-be sought her siblings’ whole-hearted approval before making it official and made sure that they played an active role in all the preparations for the big day.

Should I assume that there were no hard feelings to speak of? I can only say that there was no outward indication of any, and for that I am most grateful.

What became more complicated with time was that one of the older siblings was eventually skipped over and over, and that was hard on everyone. Despite that, she was a good egg, a doting aunt to her nieces and nephews, and she never blamed anyone for her loneliness or frustrations.

You were right on, Rachel, when you said, “thirty is hardly the end of the world.” My daughter who married past that age would back you up. She is today, baruch Hashem, blissfully happy and Hashem has blessed her with beautiful, delightful children of her own.

Relieved Empty Nester

Dear Rachel,

I read the letter written by Missed the boat with great interest. Years ago I lived near a chassidic family whose firstborn, a male, got engaged, married and divorced in quick succession. The next one up was a girl who was getting to be “of age” and there was much hope that her older brother would soon find the zivug meant for him.

Well, if pairing zivugim is said to be hard work, trying to find a shidduch for someone who had already been married can be at least three times as difficult. The point I’m getting at is that these parents saw no sense in holding up the rest of their brood, and a good many of them were married off before the oldest finally found his match.

Of course this is somewhat of a different case since he had already gotten married once, but it was painful regardless.

A nosy bystander

Dear Readers,

If the reaction via incoming mail is any indicator, it would seem that “younger skipping older” on the way to the chuppah is not all that uncommon — at least if one leaves the chassidic sect out of the equation. So why are the latter so adamantly opposed to such practice?

I posed the question to a chassid who seemed surprised at my naiveté and explained that the Torah’s injunction to honor one’s father and mother – kabed es avicha v’es imecha – encompasses the command to respect one’s older siblings. (This is not his personal view but is brought down by the Talmud.)

According to the Arizal, each sibling from the firstborn down is a link in the chain that connects their souls to their parents and from them to G-d, and thereby the mitzvah to respect parents extends to all older siblings.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Dear Rachel,

As a longtime reader of your column, I don’t recall you ever addressing the problem of a single with my perspective. I am nearly thirty and fear that I’ve missed my zivug. I ask those who would be quick to accuse me of being picky, choosy and too fussy to first listen to what I have to say and then to carefully consider what they’d have done in my shoes.

Ten to twelve years ago I was a desirable shidduch prospect but was forced to put my aspirations and shadchanim on hold at the insistence of my parents who were most adamant about not letting me marry before my older sibling. She was two and a half years my senior and hadn’t yet found her bashert.

One year led to another, and I watched helplessly as my friends got engaged and my dreams flitted away.

A bit of background: My family is chassidish where the commonly held belief is that skipping over a child would leave him or her stigmatized and the impression of being “damaged goods” would then hinder the future chance (of the one skipped over) to land a shidduch. I must add that not all families where I’m from are equally prudish and stuck in their ways; there are instances where younger has gotten married before older, but they are far and few between. For the most part, much importance is placed on marrying off children according to chronological age.

A couple of years ago, tired of being viewed as a pity case and finding myself isolated as my friends had long since married and were raising families of their own, I decided to leave home. Since I had a decent paying job I was capable of supporting myself. I moved to another borough, expanded my horizons and my education, made new friends and began to lean somewhat towards modern orthodoxy.

At the same time I kept up with my family and to this day visit frequently, many times for Shabbosim. I must admit I often find myself wishing things had worked out differently. Had my parents not intervened in the way things were progressing for me way back, I know that today I’d be playing the role of a contented house frau busying myself with raising my children and living a typical chassidish lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not like I don’t go out or that people don’t fix me up, although with each passing year the pool of singles for my age bracket shrinks substantially. The mix of my background and current persona also complicates finding that someone I would feel comfortable with, or for that matter would be comfortable with me. And of course the older I get the harder it becomes to get a decent date.

With all of the changes I’ve made in my life, at the core of my being I am very lonely. That inner sense of belonging eludes me; I miss the chassidish environment and so far find that nothing for me matches the warmth that permeates the chassidish home.

I am not asking for advice, nor do I expect you to have any for me. I know full well that it is up to me to choose my direction and the kind of life I want to lead. The reason I am writing to you is because I know that The Jewish Press has many readers in the chassidish community and I am hoping my letter will talk to their hearts. While I am the type who appreciates old-time values, I strongly feel that some of that old shtetl mentality desperately needs to be rethought.

To parents who face the dilemma of listening to shidduchim for a younger child who has an older sibling still waiting in the wings: Please consider the ramifications of your stubborn refusal to be open-minded. If something comes along that sounds too good to pass up, think twice before you do for you may be pushing away the younger’s rightful zivug and may end up with more than one unmarried child to contend with in your golden years.

Thank you, Rachel, for letting me get this off my chest.

Missed the boat

Gaza Police Recapture Terrorizing Crocodile

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Police in Gaza have finally captured a five-foot-nine crocodile which escaped two years ago from a zoo in the Gaza city of Umm al-Naser.

It was transferred to a zoo under construction in Beit Lahiya, and will join four other crocs in a new pond.

Lieutenant Colonel Samih al-Sultan, who led the search for the massive reptile residents say was eating their small livestock and making them afraid to leave their homes, expressed his admiration for the feisty animal in an interview with the Associated Press, and wished him well in the future.  “We hope he lives a good life here with his wives,” Sultan told the AP.

According to the report, waste water workers found the crocodile two months ago, and turned to police.  After conducting an internet search to learn how to catch crocodiles, six policemen and a fisherman spent all day in a boat in the sewage pit for two weeks trying to catch the animal, and ultimately succeeded when they traded their fishing nets for shark nets.

It was allegedly smuggled into Gaza drugged two years ago, soon escaping its confinement.

New York Under Water

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

New York City has undergone a torrential storm that left six people dead and stranded close to a million residents without power. The city’s transportation system is crippled.

The storm surge was made worse by a higher full-moon tide, with the peak of the flooding lower Manhattan and other low-lying areas by 8 PM.

Large parts of Manhattan below midtown are now in the dark after a reported explosion that may have been at a Con Ed building, reported The Gothamist. “Huge explosion at 14th St. All of downtown is now dark,” tweeted the website’s correspondent. Another witness saw a “massive explosion here in LES then all went dark.”

As of early Tuesday morning, there are numerous reports of residents trapped in their homes facing the high waters that submerged many parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Rockaways. The Fire Department is forced to reach those trapped by boat.

According to the NY Post, water gushed into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and cars were floating in the streets. There was no dry land anywhere in the Rockaways, where cops in the 100th Precinct station house were trapped on the building’s second floor.

A 29-year-old man was killed in his Flushing, Queens, home when a tree fell into the building. Three children were killed when a tree fell in North Salem. A woman was electrocuted after stepping into a puddle on 105th Avenue in South Richmond Hill.

NYU Langone Medical Center is dark after the backup generators failed. Patients had to be moved to nearby facilities.

All MTA trains and buses are down.

IDF Intercepts Latest Boat to Gaza

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

The Israeli Navy intercepted and boarded the “Estelle”, a schooner  flying under the Finnish flag, that was en-route to Gaza in an attempt to break the Israel blockade of the Hamas-led terror state.

Unlike the Mavi Marmara, the passengers on the “Estelle” did not used violence, and the boat was redirected to the Ashdod port.

While the activists claimed they were bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, including tons of cement, there was no aid whatsoever on the boat.

Observers had previously noted that the boat was riding too high in the water to be carrying tons of cement.

Missing Florida Millionaire Left Tefillin on Abandoned Boat

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Guma Aguiar, a Florida businessman and philanthropist who went missing in June, left his tefillin on his abandoned boat.

All of the life jackets also were accounted for, the Coast Guard reported, according to the Sun-Sentinel, after getting the records through a Freedom of Information Act request. His wedding ring and watch were left at home.

Aguiar, the CEO of Leor Energy who lived in Fort Lauderdale, left his home on June 19. His empty 31-foot boat washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale the following morning.

Aguiar’s wife reportedly had asked for a divorce just before he left the house. Aguiar had a history of ill mental health, according to reports citing family members. The disappearance remains an open missing persons case.

In 2009, Aguiar gave $8 million to the pro-aliyah group Nefesh B’Nefesh and $500,000 to March of the Living, which takes high school-aged Jews to Poland to see Holocaust sites. He also became a fixture of Israeli sports pages when he became the main sponsor of the Israeli Premier League soccer team Beitar Jerusalem.

While Aguiar, who has a Jewish mother, did not grow up with much of a Jewish background, he later returned to Judaism and has made large gifts to Jewish and Israeli causes. He made his fortune when he discovered huge natural gas reserves in Texas.

It’s My Opinion: A Perilous Journey

Friday, August 17th, 2012

A dilapidated old boat recently came ashore in South Florida. The rickety vessel was a small, old fishing boat. Eighteen passengers were crammed aboard. Its engine was recycled from an old Soviet automobile and had a fuel leak. A tree branch propped up the sail. The hull was cracked.

The “Esperanza” – the Spanish word for hope – arrived in Miami from Cuba last Wednesday. The journey was perilous.

The human condition has a strong component of self-preservation. What could possibly drive individuals to take such a dangerous voyage? What circumstances would justify the risk to human life?

Fidel Castro was the sweetheart of the Cuban people when he came to power 52 years ago. The population took to the streets chanting his name. They thought the country would undergo a change. They thought everyone would be equal and prosperous.

Fidel led the charge against the rich. He confiscated their mansions to convert them into apartments for the poor. He advocated a slew of government-centered programs in health care, education and jobs. He was the patriarch who would care for all needs. He also would tell his compatriots what to think and what to believe. His efforts were a dismal failure. The Communist system does not work. It has failed everywhere it has been tried.

Cuba today is a decimated country. Most of the population lives in a primitive state of abject poverty. There is no commerce, no hope. The job creators – manufacturers and businesses – fled to friendlier places. The desperation is palpable.

The Cuban balseros (rafters) have risked their lives on many occasions to escape Cuba. They have come in leaky boats, inner tubes tied together and rafts.

The Cuban exile community is a hard-working population that has enjoyed success in America. The American dream has always been the ideal of equality of opportunity, not equality of accommodations for all. Many Cubans have risked their lives to escape Castro’s tyranny. Obviously, to them, life in those circumstances was not worth living.

Elections in America are coming soon. We should take this opportunity to appreciate American democracy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/its-my-opinion-a-perilous-journey/2012/08/17/

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