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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘chad’

Israel Among Top Five Countries on WHO 2015 Life Expectancy Chart

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Only 22 countries around the globe have reached an average life expectancy at birth greater than 80 years, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, which would suggest that if one is planning to retire abroad, one should consider those countries most seriously.

Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), ranging from 60.0 years in the WHO African Region to 76.8 years in the WHO European Region, giving a ratio of 1.3 between the two regions. Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.5 years in 1990 and had remained almost the same by 2015 (4.6).

Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.

As to the friendly global race of whose citizens get to live longer, the top countries are, in descending order: Japan – 83.7, Switzerland – 83.4, Singapore – 83.1, Italy – 82.7, and Israel – 82.5. The US did not make the 80+ club in 2015, with only 79.3 years’ life expectancy. Neither did the Russian Federation – 70.5.

Israel’s neighbors are definitely not ideal locations for retirement: Egypt – 70.9, Jordan – 74.1, Lebanon – 74.9, and Syria – 64.5 (if you’re lucky). Nigeria stands out with 54.5 life expectancy, along with Angola – 52.4, Burkina Faso – 59.9, Burundi – 59.6, Cameroon – 57.3, Central African Republic – 52.5, Chad – 53.1, Guinea – 59, and Guinea-Bissau – 58.9.

So, here is the list of world countries where you’ll get to grow older than 80, barring unexpected circumstances:

Japan – 83.7
Switzerland – 83.4
Singapore – 83.1
Italy – 82.7
Israel – 82.5
France – 82.4
Sweden – 82.4
Canada – 82.2
Luxembourg – 82
Netherlands – 81.9
Norway – 81.8
Malta – 81.7
New Zealand – 81.6
Austria – 81.5
Belgium – 81.1
Finland – 81.1
Germany – 81
Denmark – 80.6
Chile – 80.5
Cyprus – 80.5

JNi.Media

Chad Gadya: Pesach and the Order of Things

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

As the Seder night ebbs away – long after the Four Questions have been asked and answered, after the festive meal has been eaten and the post-feast drowsiness descends, after the evening’s mitzvot have been observed and the fourth cup of wine emptied – we raise our voices in a curious, delightful, seemingly whimsical song at the end of the Haggadah.

The song is Chad Gadya, a lively tune that is one of the most popular of the many Pesach songs as well as one of the strangest.

On the surface, Chad Gadya appears to be nothing so much as a simple folk tune. Perhaps even a nursery rhyme suitable for the youngest among us, the very child who sang the Four Questions early in the Seder.

Like so many nursery rhymes – an egg perched upon a wall? A fork running away with a spoon? A cow jumping over the moon? Two young children tumbling down the hill? – it is filled with odd images and paradoxes.

What are we to make of these curious images? Likewise, what are we to make of a song that seems, on its surface, to be about the purchase of a goat? While it is possible to enjoy the song just in the singing, the paradoxes and troubling images draw us deeper as we search for meaning and significance.

Why have the rabbis placed this strange song in the Haggadah?

Certainly it keeps the children awake so that the end of the Seder is as filled with delight as its beginning. But more than that, the song is part of a sublime and meaningful religious/halachic experience.

A skeptical reader will no doubt ask: A religious experience? About goats? What does Chad Gadya – a song worthy of Dr. Seuss, a song that goes on and on about goats, cats, dogs, sticks and butchers – have to do with the leil shimurim, the night of geulah and redemp­tion?

Is this any way to conclude Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim?

* * * * *

Perhaps Chad Gadya, in its guise of a nursery rhyme, is no different from the afikoman, one more in a series of games and songs and techniques to stimulate and motivate the interest and curiosity of the youngest among us on the Seder night.

By the end of the Seder, after the afikoman has been found and its reward exacted, after the story has been told and the festive meal consumed, the children grow sleepy and want nothing more than to curl up in their mothers’ laps and enjoy a well-deserved schluff.

But no, not yet! It is not yet time to slumber and so we continue the many and seemingly strange things at the Seder to keep the children awake. We arrive at the lively and lebedig songs that culminate in Chad Gadya.

Yes, it is delightful to children. But what is its significance for adults?

Even if the song’s purpose is to keep children awake, the song’s theme and images are depressing and cruel. Despite the melody, this is no amusing little ditty. No character escapes unscathed in Chad Gadya. The kid is innocent and harmless, but the cat consumes him. The dog takes revenge on the cat, but the dog then gets a beating. The stick beats the dog, but then gets consumed by the fire and so on and so on until the song’s climax, the grand finale of the entire Haggadah which comes with a triumphant crescendo:

Then came the Holy One, blessed be He, and smote the angel of death, that slew the slaughterer, that slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the kid, that father bought for two zuzim. One only kid, One only kid.

God has entered the scene.

His involvement in the song’s turn of events certainly means that Chad Gadya cannot be understood only as a simple, whimsical rhyme. And so it turns out that this deceptively simple song is filled with insightful lessons. In fact, Chad Gadya incorporates one of the most fundamental elements of emunah. As such, it belongs as the grand finale of the Haggadah.

* * * * *

Over the centuries, differing interpretations have been offered to explain the song. Many see in its dark imagery the history of Israel, the lone, innocent kid. The father, Avinu Shebashamayim, selected the lone kid, when giving two zuzim, two tablets of the covenant.

The animals, objects and people who subsequently destroy and beat one another are the various nations that persecuted, subjugated and oppressed the “one lamb among the seventy wolves” throughout history.

Ultimately the Holy One, blessed be He, comes to bring about the final redemption of His beloved kid, who remained alone and separated front the devouring nations.

Another explanation takes the form of a debate between a Jew and an Egyptian. Framing this interpretation is the understanding that the kid is an animal both deified and worshipped by the Egyptians. Seeing in this deification the essence of idolatry, the Jew wonders how the Egyptian can worship a kid that can be devoured by a cat. When the Egyptian responds that he will then worship the cat, and the Jew retorts that a dog can overpower the cat, the Egyptian quickly transfers his allegiance to the dog. The debate persists until the Jew concludes, “But all powers on earth are subservient to the Holy One Blessed be He. Why don’t you finally realize that only He is to be worshipped?”

Still another understanding views the goat as man’s soul that descends (“sold by the father”) to this earthly existence and suffers through the trials and tribulations of life as it moves (zuz-zazin) about in this world.

Each stanza of the song symbolizes another phase and stage of life as we know it. As life progresses and years pass, man is called to task, “Chad Gadya, Chad Gadya – Unique soul! Unique soul! What have you accomplished on this world? What are you doing here?”

But at each step and every stage, man procrastinates, thinking there will always be time to tend to the spirit and soul. “Later” however, never comes. Finally, man is warned that in due time the soul will have to return to its source and give reckoning for its deeds.

Ultimately, every man must answer to a Higher Source.

The Chatam Sofer brings Chad Gadya closer to Pesach, and finds therefore a parallel between this very last song and the very first Haggadah paragraph, “This is the Bread of Affliction.”

Both are in Aramaic. Both were authored subsequent to the galut and renewed exile from Eretz Yisrael. Both are forms of elegies (kinah) bemoan­ing the renewed galut, recalling when matzah was eaten not as the bread of affliction but as the bread of freedom and when the Pesach was attended by the pageantry of a Temple sacrifice in Jerusalem. Now we eat matzah, but again as the bread of affliction.

Likewise, we recall the entire service of Pesach, which encompassed the offering of both a Pesach sacrifice and a chagigah korban (chad gadya, chad gadya) that were bought for shtei kesef (two zuzim). And now, chad gadya, chad gadya – woe unto us that we have lost two beautiful gediyim! Who knows when the endless galut will cease, and we will again be able to rejoice in the rebuilding of God’s Holy City, when we can once again partake of the sacrifices and Pesach offerings?

So, too, the Gaon of Vilna traces the theme of Am Yisrael’s trials and tribula­tions throughout its long sojourn in galut. The two gediyim bought by father are the ones purchased by father Yaakov and brought to Yitzchak on the night of Pesach. These were to become the dual korbanot offered on Pesach, which merited Yaakov the blessing of Yitzchak as well as the bechorah. The cat is jealousy, the dog is Pharaoh, the stick is Moshe’s staff, the ox is the Kingdom of Edom, the slaughterer is Mashiach ben Yosef who will be killed by the angel of death.

“Then came the Holy One, blessed be He” who will redeem His people and nation and “raise the banner to gather our exiles.”

* * * * *

As many interpretations and meanings as interpreters! A review of these various understandings, however, always returns us to the central theme of Chad Gadya, the same theme that makes it clear the song is no child’s ditty. That theme is, quite simply, that God is the Master of the world. No true story begins or ends without God.

Whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not, whether we deign to recognize it or not, God must enter into every story of our individual and collective life. God is the Master of all. He conducts the affairs of the world in His fashion, and His fashion does not always conform to our own wants or selfish understandings.

As a result, the world often appears chaotic, unfair, inexplicable, and in disarray. We too often forget or ignore that actions have consequences, and that there is no deed that, in the end, does not lead up to God. Each and every action, even one as “simple” and “ordinary” as buying a goat (car! home!) in the marketplace, is part of a chain. Somewhere that chain will lead to God, and then all those involved in the chain that may even drag for thousands of years (galut) must answer before His throne of justice.

Only God can bring together conflicting, seemingly destructive forces into harmony. It is that harmony that is reality. The seeming chaos of life is the mirage.

The final message, then, of the long Seder night is not a silly song about goats or cats or dogs but that there is seder, order, in what may appear to be confusion, chaos and uncertainty.

Reb Avraham Mordechai of Gur taught that a person may look at the saga of our people’s history and conclude that our experience has been a series of random, often cruel, events. However, ultimately Mashiach will come. History has meaning. Life has purpose.

God is.

There is seder – order and harmony.

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Dozens Dead in Chad; Boko Haram Suspected

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Suicide bombings in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, have killed at least 23 people and left another 100 wounded. The attack was apparently carried out by the Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram.

At least two suicide bombers on motorcycles were involved in the bombing. It was the first time terrorists have targeted Chad’s capital city.

Tensions between the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and Chad have been high since Chad began helping Nigeria fight the terrorist group. Government ministers warned that Chad will retaliate harshly to Monday’s attack.

Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Boko Haram was responsible for at least 10,000 deaths in 2014, and has continued its horrific attacks in 2015. Among the attacks have been suicide bombings that were apparently carried out by young girls the group had kidnapped and forced to carry bombs.

Troops from Niger, Cameroon and Chad have joined the Nigerian army in fighting Boko Haram.

Maayana Miskin

Is it the UN or Azkaban? Saudi Arabia Now on the Security Council

Friday, October 18th, 2013

It had to happen.  You knew it was going to happen.

What with Iran getting a lead role on the Disarmament and International Security Committee, and Syria having been selected to serve on UNESCO’s Human Rights Committee, it had to happen.  Saudi Arabia, the bottom feeder of human rights, especially for women’s rights, has received the nod and now gets to sit at the big table.

On Thursday, October 17, Saudia Arabia was one of five countries to “easily win seats on the UN Security Council,” according to the AP. Two of the other three newly elected members also have horrific human rights records, so apparently that is no bar to a position on the most elite grouping of the global forum.

Well, is it such a problem if known human rights abusers are selected to serve on the Security Council? Why yes, because the mandate for the group includes giving members leading voices in matters of international security and providing oversight to UN peacekeeping forces.

Chad – notorious for its use of child soldiers, and Nigeria – have we not heard enough about the delightful Boko Haram to know that any place that group is comfortable should not be on the UN Security Council, are the other two controversial seat winners.

The two non-controversial choices for the elite seats were Lithuania and Chile.

Regional groups nominate members and the selections are made to ensure that all the regional groups are represented.

There are about 60 member countries of the U.N. which have never been chosen to sit on the Security Council.  Israel is one of those.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

‘Purple Poll’ Showing Romney Leading Obama, Ryan Improving Ticket

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The “Purple Poll” focuses exclusively on likely voters in the swing states, which explains why folks in New York haven’t heard from their pollsters, but also appears to be a sound approach to getting an interesting snapshot of the state of the elections at this moment.

So, did the Ryan appointment give Mitt Romeny the predicted 3+ points edge? You bet your hanging chad it did (as of August 15):

Ohio: Obama 44, Romney 46—Romney +2 Florida: Obama 47, Romney 48—Romney +1 Colorado: Obama 49, Romney 46—Obama +3 Virginia: Obama 45, Romney 48—Romney +3

For comparison, today’s Gallup poll shows Romney with 47 percent of the vote vs. Obama with 45.

But, please, don’t jump into any conclusions here – nothing means anything in American presidential campaigns until after Labor Day.

Here’s the proof of Ryan’s current glow (fueled mostly by the fact that fewer voters have heard about him than about the other three):

Obama Favorability: Favorable-47, Unfavorable-49, Not sure: 4 Romney Favorability: Favorable-45, Unfavorable-48, Not sure: 7 Biden Favorability: Favorable-41, Unfavorable-48, Not sure: 11 Ryan Favorability: Favorable-45, Unfavorable-39, Not sure: 16

And here are some sobering figures for the Obama campaign:

Direction of the Economy: Getting better-29, Getting worse-44, Staying about the same-25, Don’t know-2

Best plan for the economy: Obama-Biden-43, Romney-Ryan-46, Not sure-2

And this note should be of interest to the Romeny side:

Will protect Medicare: Obama-Biden-48, Romney-Ryan-40, Not sure-12

Yori Yanover

Chad Gadya – Pesach & the Order of Things

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

As the Seder night ebbs away – long after the Four Questions have been asked and answered, after the festive meal has been eaten and the post-feast drowsiness descends, after the evening’s mitzvot have been observed and the fourth cup of wine emptied – we raise our voices in a curious, delightful, seemingly whimsical song at the end of the Haggadah.

The song is Chad Gadya, a lively tune that is one of the most popular of the many Pesach songs as well as one of the strangest.

On the surface, Chad Gadya appears to be nothing so much as a simple folk tune. Perhaps even a nursery rhyme suitable for the youngest among us, the very child who sang the Four Questions early in the Seder.

Like so many nursery rhymes – an egg perched upon a wall? A fork running away with a spoon? A cow jumping over the moon? Two young children tumbling down the hill? – it is filled with odd images and paradoxes.

What are we to make of these curious images? Likewise, what are we to make of a song that seems, on its surface, to be about the purchase of a goat? While it is possible to enjoy the song just in the singing, the paradoxes and troubling images draw us deeper as we search for meaning and significance.

Why have the rabbis placed this strange song in the Haggadah?

Certainly it keeps the children awake so that the end of the Seder is as filled with delight as its beginning. But more than that, the song is part of a sublime and meaningful religious/halachic experience.

A skeptical reader will no doubt ask: A religious experience? About goats? What does Chad Gadya – a song worthy of Dr. Seuss, a song that goes on and on about goats, cats, dogs, sticks and butchers – have to do with the leil shimurim, the night of geulah and redemp­tion?

Is this any way to conclude Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim?

* * * * *

Among many other things, our ancient rabbis were brilliant educators. God had commanded that we teach our children. The question then became, How best to teach? How best to fulfill this commandment?

The answer: To engage and to reward. And to keep the focus on the student – the child. For Pesach is a holiday of children. And it is right that it is so. Our Egyptian servitude was made more painful for its cruelty to our children.

“And he said, When you deliver the Hebrew women look at the birthstool; if it is a boy, kill him.” With these words, Pharaoh sought to cut off our future by denying us a generation of children. He demanded that “every son that is born… be cast into the river.”

Why did Pharaoh cause such suffering for the Jewish people? For no other reason than we grew. We became numerous. We gave birth to children, in accordance with God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Pharaoh felt threatened by our numbers. “The children of Israel proliferated, swarmed, multiplied, and grew more and more.”

How great was Pharaoh’s hatred of the Jews and our children? How threatened did he feel? So threatened that the Midrash teaches us that when the Israelites fell short in fulfilling the prescribed quota of mortar and bricks, the children were used in their stead to fill in the foundation of the store cities built in their servitude. Another Midrash describes Pharaoh bathing in the blood of young children.

When redemption was finally at hand, children were once again at the forefront of this historical and religious drama. When Moses first confronted Pharaoh with the request to be free to go into the desert to worship, he proclaimed, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters.” In making this proclamation, he was giving voice to the ultimate purpose of our redemption, found in the central command of Pesach, “You will tell your son on that day, saying: It is because of this the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt…”

Judaism is a faith rooted in the past but which is always forward looking. Tradition loses meaning unless it is passed forward to the next generation. We do not look for individual redemption so much as communal salvation.

For that to happen, our children must thrive. They must go forward with a solid foundation in the godly lessons of our history. The Exodus from Egypt is rife with the significant role our children played in its historical narrative.

Perhaps Chad Gadya, in its guise of a nursery rhyme, is no different from the afikoman, one more in a series of games and songs and techniques to stimulate and motivate the interest and curiosity of the youngest among us on the Seder night.

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 6/10/11

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Dear Readers,

In Chronicles of May 20, a woman wrote of her mental and emotional torment in her relationship with an abusive spouse whose behavior, she believed, was chad written in response to an earlier column that had addressed the subject of BPD.) The letter below offers a different perspective on the disorder as another reader lets us in on her struggle with a troubled loved one.

 

Dear Rachel,

I am someone who has a loved one with borderline personality disorder. When BPD first appeared in full force, I thought my loved one would outgrow or “get over it,” but no such thing happened. I consulted with many different mental health professionals before the behavior was finally diagnosed as BPD.

The first thing I did after researching BPD on the Internet was to pick up a copy of Walking on Eggshells (the book recommended by a reader in this column) at my local Barnes and Noble. Though it gave me some insight into the disorder, its approach, as I learned, is completely contrary to what can actually be of help.

The book describes the symptoms of BPD pretty accurately but advises a tough love approach, and nothing could be worse for a BPD than “tough love.” I found this out first hand. Upon further research, I found a support group under the name of TARA (located in Manhattan) that completely enlightened me.

I discovered two very important facts about BPD: 1) It is definitely a neurobiological disorder, in that the nervous system in a person with BPD is extremely sensitive. It is almost as if people with BPD have two layers of skin, as opposed to the normal seven, thereby causing them to feel both physical and emotional sensations much more acutely than other people. Therefore, if the environment surrounding a person with BPD is in any way chaotic or dysfunctional, the BPD disorder will become apparent very soon.

2) Though it often feels that way, a person with this disorder is not doing things on purpose, Though the person afflicted with BPD does not mean to act the way he or she does, any slight change, rejection or difficulty can put the BPD person in a foul mood. These mood swings are not to be confused with bipolar disorder; persons with BPD never reach the highs that bipolars do, only the lows.

The treatment for a person with BPD involves a dual strategy. The first is for the family to really understand what is going on. The person with BPD feels tremendous guilt, shame and fear and does not know how to cope. They often hurt themselves, engage in reckless behavior and have episodes of deep depression.

The course at TARA is very rigorous, but at the same time very enlightening, and it explains the disorder in great detail. BPD afflicts many families; attendees consisted of social workers, doctors and other professionals with loved ones who have BPD. They, as I, were at their wits end and had come to seek support and assistance. We were taught different ways of dealing with our loved ones – far more effective than tough love – that could potentially begin to alter some of the BPD’s irrational thinking.

The second aspect of the recommended approach is to encourage the person with BPD to get specialized therapy called DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) that very simply teaches a BPD person how to cope. It helps them set realistic goals and find a balance between the all black or all white world that they live in.

The DBT therapy, developed by Marsha M. Linehan, PhD (an expert in BPD), has been proven to be the most successful therapy for BPD as it deals with the present and not the past. Staying in the past is yet another manifestation of the disorder; BPDs remain stuck in the past, often feeling abandoned and left out while everyone around them is moving on.

I learned a great deal in the support group, which while not perfect is very helpful. I am still trying to convince my loved one to attend DBT therapy, and I hope he will in the near future.

A supporting spouse

 

Dear Supporting,

You sound like a most remarkable person who, in addition to being a dedicated and loving wife, has been blessed with amazing stamina and levelheadedness.

Though sufferers of this malady may not display identical symptoms, the one thing they ought to have in common is a strong and stable support system. Your spouse is most fortunate to have you – a true helpmate in every sense of the word – in his life.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience for the benefit of our readers.

May Hashem continue to keep you strong and imbue your loved one with serenity of mind and heart.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

 

Rachel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-346/2011/06/07/

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