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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘chance’

Humble Pie

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Now, there’s a fine exercise in the diplomatic niceties one must endure when one is prime minister of a small state in the near east, surrounded by enemies, with few friends to spare, and one’s favorite candidate has come up short.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) met on Wednesday with U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, to congratulate him on his boss’s win the night before. Both men knew the score, both knew that if the other guy had won there would have been a genuine, huge smile on Bibi’s face, but God, as usual, insisted on His mysterious ways, and so, there you go.

If I were Bibi, then after that obligatory meeting I would have locked myself in my office with a good book and a box of Lady Godiva rich Belgian chocolates and sulked for a couple of hours.

Of all the things our side has lost last Tuesday, losing the chance for the inside track to the White House was the most painful. We’re doing OK with the Kremlin, but we desperately need someone who knows someone on Pennsylvania Avenue. Israel can’t afford four years of tense relations with the second term prez.

How’s about renaming Dizengoff Street  “Obama Boulevard”?

Authentic Israeli Doggies

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Here are Canaan puppies playing with their human at a dog kennel at Sha’ar Hagai, on the road to Jerusalem, where they are housed and bred

The Canaan Dog is a native of the deserts of Israel. The original breeding stock at the Sha’ar Hagai kennel was collected from the wild and from the Bedouins, and, over the years, the folks at this kennel have added to this stock “whenever we had a chance.”

According to the kennel’s website, the Canaans are as close as you can get to the original dog, before our ancestors integrated them and started breeding them for fun and profit. These are raw dogs, with a temperament to go with it – not for your average apartment dweller, unless your apartment in in dire need of massive redecoration. They’re not cute, but they’re smart as a whip and can be very friendly and attentive. Obedient is already a different story – it’s something they need to be taught.

Today, more than ever, because of urban sprawl which is causing the gradual disappearance of the Canaan’s natural habitat, making its extinction in the wild a real possibility, This kennel is working to bring in more dogs from the wild and from the Bedouin tribes while they still exist.

They’re in a bit of trouble with the authorities these days, and are facing an eviction. Check out their website: Shaar Hagai Canaan Dogs.

Divorce and Its Real Life Challenges: A Community Call to Action

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

A mother and father living in accord and harmony is one of the best presents that can be granted to a child. Yet what happens when G-d’s natural design of child rearing becomes stripped away from a family? What happens when the notion of enjoying quality time with both parents together becomes non-existent? I am of course referring to the ramifications of divorce. Divorce eradicates the stability of a traditional family unit and invites the inherent difficulties of single parenting.

Single parenting is the divorcee’s proverbial Mount Everest. It is a harrowing peak through which one is expected to perspire and blunder. The obstacles of single parenthood manifest themselves in almost every parent-child interaction. These obstacles range from the significantly personal to the mundane. A “significantly personal” dilemma might be the single parent’s responsibility to address his/her child’s emotional state in wake of the divorce, while a “mundane” dilemma might include awkward situations such as a single father needing to take his young daughter to the restroom. In almost all regards, single parenthood can be distinctly challenging and lonesome.

Yet, not only is the divorcee confronted with the hardships of single parenthood, but also with the solitary road that divorce often paves. The divorcee is faced with a sense of isolation as his or her spouse becomes more of a memory than a reality. The Torah explicitly conveys the drawbacks of loneliness when it states: “It is not good for man to be alone.” Interestingly, the aforementioned pasuk is the only instance when the Torah states what is considered “not good” for man. Why is that so? Why does the Torah feel it is essential to specify that loneliness is a state of being that man should strongly resist? It is simply because loneliness breeds emotional fatigue and frigidity, and subsequently these negative sentiments can create a deep chasm of despair and hopelessness. When people are lonely, it is quite simple for them to slip into that chasm – yet very difficult for them to climb out. There is little else in the world that is worse than the pain of being alone.

In addition, when loneliness crawls into a person’s life, it can make daily vicissitudes and life-changing struggles seem even more unbearable. An individual who is fortunate to have a caring spouse has a greater chance of smoothing over life’s cracked edges. Having a dedicated and loving partner by one’s side can assuage the various frustrations of life. There are scientific studies that record a patient’s chance for survival (from cancer and other serious illnesses) based upon his or her relationship with a partner (or lack thereof). The results of these studies portray that those who had a strong spousal relationship had a greater chance of healing, while those who did not have a strong spousal bond had a lesser chance. The burden of a divorcee’s financial and parental responsibilities, as well as his or her emotional needs, can be particularly despondent paths to traverse alone.

Furthermore, Orthodox divorcees have the added test of maintaining a sense of stability and joy during Shabbat and the holidays. These are opportune times to rekindle familial unity and happiness, yet what does a divorcee do when he or she is faced with the prospect of solitude instead of companionship? Moreover, lack of family bonding does not only create desolation for divorcees, but also for their children. Children from an observant divorced home may become saddened by the break in traditional religious practices that were once associated with family connection. For example, when a son is by his mother for Shabbat, he may sorely miss his father’s Kiddush or walk to the synagogue, and when a daughter is by her father for Shabbat she may yearn for the special moment when she lights candles with her mother. Although Shabbat and the holidays can be potentially exciting, they are usually tinged with a distinct sense of loss for divorcees and their children.

Now that the Orthodox community is more cognizant of divorcees’ travails, what can it do to ease their transition between marriage and separation? How can the community ameliorate the divorcee’s adversities and console his or her pain? First and foremost, the Orthodox community should endeavor to embrace divorced members with warmth. Unfortunately, a divorcee’s solitude is only intensified when the community subtly castigates him or her by passing judgment (whether consciously or unconsciously). Once the community is able to develop a more accepting mindset, then it can fully open its hearts and homes to divorced individuals. A divorcee will truly appreciate it when a family willingly invites him or her to partake in Shabbat meals and holiday festivities. The loneliness will be diminished, and a sense of belonging can enter the picture once again.

What’s Important to America?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Here on vacation  I woke up in the middle of the night to watch the second debate. I had not seen either the first one or the VP debate, though I saw and read clips. I thought I would be bored; I wasn’t. I hoped I would be impressed – I was…by Mitt Romney.

Obama is a known quantity, struggling again to run not on his record, but on words again. I don’t believe he should be given that grace again. Romney isn’t asking to be judged by his words, and that is refreshing. He wants us to look at what he has done in his life – built a successful business, raised a successful family, governing successfully for his state.

Obama lied. I listened to his suddenly claiming from the start that Libya was a terrorist attack. He said that the day after the attack, before flying off for his next fundraising trip in Las Vegas, that he had condemned the Libyan Consulate attack as a terrorist action and said the U.S. would hunt down those who had perpetrated the crime. That’s not what he said at the time. In fact, it was many lies and two weeks later, before he admitted it was, without question, not the movie but terrorism.

The fact that Candy Crowley tried to help the president out should, justifiably, be ashamed. If there was a loser in last night’s debate, I think it was the moderator. She had the chance to be fair; she wasn’t. She had the chance to truly shape a debate of the people; she chose questions that were what she wanted and asked her own questions.

The president lied about licensing for federal lands. It’s been proven that Romney was, again, speaking the truth and the president was lying. Why were lies allowed?

I had heard this would be a debate focusing on foreign policy and I was interested to hear what Obama thinks about Iran and Israel. It wasn’t covered and I’m still not sure why. Israel was mentioned only once – by Romney in an accusation that Obama has not been supporting Israel. Obama did not respond, did not say anything about Israel. Iran, a major threat to my country, was not mentioned at all.

Again and again, I listened to the questions and I watched Obama. The simple fact is that after being absent at the first debate, as most people felt he was, there was no question that he would do better – and he did. But I don’t think it was enough.

The simple truth is that few are likely to change their vote based on this debate – but hopefully, people will take the time to swim through the lies. Again and again, I turned to my husband and said – well, that’s nice, if only that was the question.

Again and again, the questions came back to what seems to be the most important issue for America – the economy. I heard plans from Romney; I heard words from Obama. When he did speak of plans, I kept wondering why he did not implement those in his first four years. He accused the Republicans of blocking his plans – he is always quick to blame others for his failures. But for the first two years, he had the full support of a Democratically-controlled Senate and House for the first two years he was in office. The Republicans couldn’t have blocked him from doing anything…no?

I found the president to be filled with words…words aimed at creating a picture that he has failed to create in four years. Why should he be given another four? Worse, why would we want to put in a lame duck president at this critical time, who won’t be able to run for another four years and therefore will do whatever he wants.

In short, putting Obama in the White House is just not an option…at least for me, and hopefully not for the majority of Americans.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother

Designer Sukkah

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

I went looking for interesting Sukkah images online, and most of them repeated the familiar decoration themes, some with more natural ingredients, others with the more common, colorful paper cutouts. They were pretty, and I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of Sukkot out there that are breathtakingly original and beautiful.

But so far, the image that hit me with its daring to say something brand new about the very concept of the Shukkah – and do it within the halachic guidelines, appeared two years ago on the website Tapuz.co.il.

So elegant, so different, so very designer…

We have gone the less imaginative route of the prefab Sukkah, which still looks delicious.

I’ve started to count the minutes until I get the chance to bench lulav in my little Sukkah, in Eretz Israel, Monday morning…

But for now, let’s all covet our neighbor’s designer Sukkah…

Kipah-Wearing Teen Wows ‘America’s Got Talent’ Semis

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Edon Pinchot, a kipah-wearing Jewish day school student, won cheers from the live audience and the judges in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent.”

Pinchot, 14, of Skokie, Ill., performed One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” on the popular NBC reality show and received a standing ovation from the live audience. Judge Howie Mandel told Pinchot that he is “the best singer of the competition.”

The teen was among 12 acts performing live Tuesday night. Other semifinalists joining Pinchot, a singer and pianist, included singers, a dancer, a dog ventriloquist, an acrobat, a mind reader and a comedian.

The second set of 12 semifinalists will perform Sept. 4.

Should enough TV viewers cast their votes for Pinchot, he will advance to the finals and a chance to take home the $1 million prize. He has performed an audition, in the Vegas round and in the quarterfinals to reach the semis. His kipah has made him a focal point for viewers.

Pinchot, who is Sabbath observant and keeps kosher, is the fourth of five children and has been playing piano since he was 9. His grandmother, Ginger Pinchot of Silver Spring, Md., says Edon is “very athletic. He’s one of the stars of his soccer team, and he’s also a straight A student. He’s just kind of an all-around guy.”

The show’s three judges — Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern — are Jewish.

Pinchot will be starting high school soon at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago.

Kipah-Wearing Teen Set for ‘America’s Got Talent’ Semis

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Edon Pinchot, a kipah-wearing Jewish day school student, will be performing in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent.”

Pinchot, 14, of Skokie, Ill., will be among 12 acts performing live Tuesday night on the popular NBC reality show before a a television audience that could top 10 million. The second set of 12 semifinalists will perform Sept. 4.

Other semifinalists joining Pinchot, a singer and pianist, on Tuesday’s show include singers, a dancer, a dog ventriloquist, an acrobat, a mind reader and a comedian.

Should enough TV viewers cast their votes for Pinchot, he will advance to the finals and a chance to take home the $1 million prize. He has performed an audition, in the Vegas round and in the quarterfinals to reach the semis. His kipah has made him a focal point for viewers.

Pinchot,  who is Sabbath observant and keeps kosher, is the fourth of five children and has been playing piano since he was 9. His grandmother, Ginger Pinchot of Silver Spring, Md., says Edon is “very athletic. He’s one of the stars of his soccer team, and he’s also a straight A student. He’s just kind of an all-around guy.”

The show’s three judges — Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern — are Jewish.

Pinchot will be starting high school soon at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kipah-wearing-teen-set-for-americas-got-talent-semis/2012/08/29/

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