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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘building’

Three Rockets Hit Sderot. IAF Strikes Back (updated)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

At 1:04 AM Wednesday morning, the red alert siren went off in multiple towns and cities in the south.

Three rockets were launched at Sederot. One rocket landed near a building, but there were no injuries. The rest landed in open areas.

The IAF responded a few minutes after, hitting a target in Gaza.

Update/Correction: Following reports from Palestinian sources that Hamas affiliated Ahmed Jabari was killed in the IAF strike, Palestinian radio announced that Jabari was not killed in the attack.

 

Postcard from Israel – Tel Megiddo

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

If the building which houses the ticket office and museum at Tel Megiddo national park seems somewhat incongruous to its surroundings – being more reminiscent of the style of an English country gentleman’s residence, with its chimney and paned windows, than of the local architecture – that is because it was built by the British army after its victory against the Ottomans, including at the Battle of Megiddo.  So important was that battle that its Commander in Chief, Sir Edmund Allenby, was later awarded the title of ‘Viscount of Megiddo.’

Allenby was of course far from the first soldier to have fought an important battle on that site, as Tel Megiddo’s archaeological finds testify. But those discoveries – in 26 different layers – also tell stories of thousands of years of different civilizations and cultures at this important UNESCO world heritage site.

Ancient palaces and stables, a public grain silo, Canaanite and Israelite city gates, an underground water system constructed by Ahab and a large religious complex including an early Bronze Age altar are among the treasures unearthed so far since excavations first began at Tel Megiddo in 1903. Today, the site is being excavated by Tel Aviv University and George Washington University (one can even sign up already for the 2014 season) and continues to reveal new discoveries.

 Visit Cifwatch.com.

Barak Surrenders: Jewish Owners Will Move Back into their Hebron Home

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

On Thursday, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak ordered the Civil Administration – a military body responsible for civilian matters in the Israeli-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria – to transfer the eastern Hebron building known locally as “the brown house” over to its Jewish owners in accordance with a court ruling last month.

The Jerusalem District Court ruled that the building’s Jewish owners had legally purchased the building from Palestinians.

The building’s owners bought the building in 2004 from its previous Palestinian owners, Faiz Rajbi and Abed Elkader, through an Arab middleman for about $500,000. However, in 2007 Rajbi changed his mind about selling. The settlers then filed to have the Rajbis evicted.

The Civil Administration prevented the Jewish owners from moving in until the case was settled in court.

Israel’s Army Radio reported on Friday that leaders of the Jewish community in Hebron were preparing to move several Jewish families into the building within weeks or even days.

Which Are You?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and a lusty yell,
They swung a boom and a side wall fell.

I said to the foreman, “Are these men skilled
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day or two
What it took the builder a year to do.”

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care
Measuring life by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?”

When I read this anonymously written poem, I immediately thought about self-confidence. Do you work brick by brick to build your own self-confidence and those of everyone around you or do you use a wrecking ball to knock it all down? Granted, it is a lot quicker to wreck things than it is to build them well.

But, self-confidence is essential to a healthy, happy life. Self-confidence is needed in order to create meaningful friendships, apply for competitive jobs, and parent our children with assurance and ease. Perhaps the most important reason we need to believe in ourselves is that if we do not, we will teach our children that it is okay to put themselves down as well. This can ultimately lead to a rejection of self.

First, let’s discuss how to build your own self-confidence.

Focus on the positive. Obviously, no one is perfect, but every one of us has positive qualities that we can build on. Even if overall you are not happy with who you are – you can definitely come up with qualities that you appreciate about yourself. Perhaps you are a wonderful organizer, a great listener or an excellent cook. Make a list of the things you like about yourself and schedule activities that bring out those qualities during your day.

Some examples:

If you are a wonderful organizer: Volunteer to run a fundraiser for your shul or school.

If you are a great listener: Visit the elderly and listen to their stories about the past.

If you are an excellent cook: Cook meals for the new mothers in your neighborhood or for the less fortunate.

Engaging in activities that you feel competent in (and that are additionally helpful to others) will help build your self-confidence.

Treat yourself. Every now and then, remind yourself that you are worth it. Depending on what you can afford (both time and money), give yourself something you love: a massage, an hour of babysitting to read your book quietly, a fast walk outside to clear your mind, or an extra two hours of sleep. Treating yourself will signal to your inner “wrecking ball” that you believe you have value.

Once you begin to work on your own self-confidence, it might be time to focus on your children as well. Do they say things like, “I am so stupid” or “I can’t do anything right”? If so, they could use some help figuring out how to build themselves up.

Child psychologists and educators often suggest the following steps:

Avoid labels. Instead of saying, “You are so smart.” Say, “When you figured out how to read that sign without any help, I was so impressed with how much you have learned.” Or, instead of “You are a kind and sweet girl” say, “Remember the time when your sister Faigy was crying and you went over and sang her a song to make her feel better? That was so nice of you.”

Engage in their strengths. Just as you should do for yourself, talk to your child about the things she feels she does well and then help her do those activities regularly. For instance, if your daughter is artistic, sign her up for an art class after school or on Sundays. If your budget does not allow for afterschool activities, consider investing in some art supplies that will be hers alone so that she can feel special.

Why Most Marriages Can Work

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Mordechai, 36, and Chani, 35, were married for six years and came to me for advice on how to save their relationship. They seemed to have everything going for them. They were working professionals, successful and upwardly mobile; they shared many common factors including similar religious beliefs, intelligence levels, and were both pleasantly extroverted.

Yet, soon after marriage, it was apparent that they didn’t get along very well. Little things like the cleanliness of the house, or who made dinner, became mountain-sized issues that were often blown out of proportion. The quality of their relationship was going downhill and their marriage was in crisis. Only six months had passed since their chuppah and they were beginning to feel that they were unequipped to deal with each other’s emotional needs. Instead, they tended to withdraw from one another and were avoiding taking the obvious step of working together to solve their issues.

On the outside, they seemed to have everything going for them, yet now they had little to show for it.

What was causing their marital stress? Did they share some deeply-rooted negative patterns? Was it a question of personality differences? Did they have trouble managing their anger?

Mordechai and Chani were also scared, because some of their lifetime friends were also experiencing similar difficulties in their marriages, and the prior year, two of them had gotten divorced. They wanted to know if they were heading in the same direction and if there was anything they could do to sustain their marriage.

Before I began to advise them on ways to improve their marriage, I asked them to draw an imaginary circle in the middle of the room, to represent their relationship. I then asked them to take their chairs and sit in the middle of the circle if they were committed to their relationship. If they weren’t able to sit in the circle together, then, I believed, their marriage would have little chance of succeeding.

I also made it clear to them that, statistically, the overwhelming majority of failed marriages (between two emotionally healthy individuals) end because couples are having trouble building and staying committed to their overall relationship. In fact, many of the negative statistics about marriage boil down to the prevalence of couples losing interest in developing the quality of their marriage.

A 1995 statewide survey in Utah, for example, examining why marriages end in divorce, found that the lack of commitment to the relationship was the top reason for the growing phenomenon.

Specifically, the Utah Marriage Survey asked Utahns who had been divorced to answer the following: “There are many reasons why marriages fail. I’m going to read a list of possible reasons. Looking back at your most recent divorce, tell me whether or not each factor was a major contributor to your divorce. You can say, ‘yes,’ or ‘no,’ to each factor.”

The following responses show the percentages of those respondents who answered, “yes,” to each factor that they felt was a major contributor to their divorce:

Men/Women/The Mean

Lack of commitment: 87%/79%/83%

Too much conflict and arguing: 48%/58%/53%

Infidelity or extramarital affairs: 47%/56%/52%

Getting married too young: 39%/43%/41%

Financial problems or economic hardship: 31%/35%/33%

Lack of support from family members: 21%/20%/21%

Little or no helpful premarital education: 19%/29%/24%

Other: 17%/28%/22%

Religious differences between partners: 13%/16%/15%

Domestic violence: 6%/37%/22%

The table clearly reveals what Utahns who have experienced divorce perceive: that the lack of commitment was the number one contributing factor to their divorces. Commitment often involves making one’s partner and relationship a priority, investing in the marriage, and having a long-term view of the relationship.

That’s why the most important issue in marriage needs to be the couple’s focus on the quality of their relationship.

Couples like Mordechai and Chani are a perfect example of a relationship that had migrated onto the back burner. And, as I predicted, after several weeks of counseling, it became apparent that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with this young couple. Neither was particularly high on “control.” Neither of them had a history of serious emotional illness. And both came from parents who were happily married.

Mordechai and Chani needed to learn more about how to negotiate their emotions, how to communicate in a more effective way, and how to begin to recommit to their relationship.

Postcard from Israel – Mazkeret Batya

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

There are not many places in the Middle East (or in Britain, for that matter) in which one can still find an old fashioned British red telephone box with a working phone. In Mazkeret Batya, south-east of Rehovot, there is exactly that – a remnant from the days of the British Mandate – on the main street of the moshava, next to the museum.

Originally named Ekron after the Biblical city, the agricultural community was established in November 1883 by ten immigrant families from Russia who were joined the next year by eight other families. The moshava changed its name to Mazkeret Batya in 1887 in honour of the mother of Baron Rothschild who, at the request of Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever of ‘Hovevei Tzion,’ had purchased the land upon which the community was built.

Now a fast-growing  town, Mazkeret Batya retains many of its delightful original buildings, some still with the terracotta roof tiles and original timbers imported from Europe, including the ‘new’ synagogue built in 1927, the original well from 1883, the Rothschild farm building (now a community centre), the smithy, the pharmacy and original cow sheds since converted into cafes or houses. A feature exclusive to Mazkeret Batya is the ‘Kazramot,’ or dwellings built with a cow shed on the ground floor and accommodation for the farmers above – in order to get round the Ottoman prohibition of the time on house building for Jewish immigrants.

During the war of Independence, Mazkeret Batya served as the site of a field hospital for the injured from battles at Latrun and a starting point for convoys to besieged Jerusalem. One of the old armoured vehicles takes pride of place at the end of ‘Route of the Convoys Street.’

Visit CifWatch.com.

Gulliver’s Sukkah

Friday, September 28th, 2012

A Toldos Aharon child is playing with the frum equivalent of a doll house in Jerusalem. And, as you can see from the dangling power cord, his little marvel of a sukkah even has light in it at night. Perfection.

Nancy and I received delivery on our first “eternal sukkah” yesterday, and since it was too much of a schlep to take it upstairs, we decided to start building it right there and then, in the parking lot behind our building.

Following the instructions on a crumbled piece of paper, we put the thing together the wrong way so many times, until a kind neighbor—who also attends my shul—and his son, a crafty boy—couldn’t stand seeing our suffering and offered a helping hand.

It was a little like the Amish barn raising, I suppose, where all the neighbors get together and help a newlywed couple build their first barn.

We continued to do everything twice and three times – tied down the wooden slats for the roof schach, then took them down to wrap the frame first with the tarp that came with the sukkah. Then, seeing as we connected the door upside-down, we had to make adjustments there.

The sun was beating on me, I drank one of those useful little supermarket water bottles in a single gulp and move on to the next one, my entire body ached, I stood tall on a ladder where I had no business doing a balancing act – but in the end we did it, with the door right side up and the window finally not facing the wall, and the schach nicely spread on top.

For 30 years we’ve been celebrating Sukkot in the communal sukkah at 577 Grand Street, where you share the sukkah meal experience with a hundred neighbors. And while we have are some lovely memories from those meals, it will be a thrill to have our sukkot in Netanya, in our own sukkah.

The neighborhood cats have been showing a keen interest in the new structure and are trying to figure out a way to get in. We hope the tarp zippers will hold… Also, there’s a guy parked right next to our sukkah. He has the whole, near-empty parking lot, but, no – he has to park next to our little candy box picture of a sukkah.

Friday I’m going to park our own Chevy there, to block him. All I need is for some semi-conscious driver to back into my precious… No…

A gut yontif!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/gullivers-sukkah/2012/09/28/

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