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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘chance’

Peace and the President’s Conference: Can a Realist Believe in Miracles?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

When I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming Miss America. I wanted to wear the crown, the sash and stand on the huge stage in a sparkling floor-length gown talking about world peace. As I got older, I realized that the likelihood of that dream was slim, but still took pride in carrying around the regal air of positivity. I looked on the bright side and did what I could to make sure the grass on my side of the fence stayed a bright Kelly green. As I walked around the President’s Conference today though, I couldn’t help but feel jaded. Despite President Peres’s plea last night to stay strong about peace, people today were finally saying out loud that it just is an impossibility. After assessing the situation with greater depth each day, I realize that I have a better chance of becoming Miss America than the Middle East does at achieving the serenity it needs.

Sure you can call it cynical, but it’s the truth being expressed by more and more people. We had the chance to speak with Irwin Cotler today, a Member of Parliament for Mount Royal from Canada, who believes in a two state solution. He calls that term short-hand though. He believes that a two state solution is one that involves two states for two peoples. The Israeli government has to recognize the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people and the Jewish people need to be legitimized too. While this could potentially solve problems, it is clear that the chances of this happening are nearly impossible.

In a conference emblazoned with messages about the need for optimism, it could be a mood killer to be the pessimist in the room. But it’s a debate that’s making it into sessions focused on more than the political. “The difference between pessimists and optimists is that they are born the same way and die the same way but live differently,” according to Mr. Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe in France. Levy made the audience laugh with that response during the What’s New in New Media plenary, after he was teased by moderator Dr. Yossi Vardi for being so positive. He said that what we are today has nothing to do with what we will be tomorrow, and has high hopes for the future of technology.

Mr. Stephane Richard, Chairman and CEO of France Telecom Group also shared some upbeat news. His venture fund made an investment in Israel for the first time, and he spoke at the conference as a part of his first trip to the country. Those firsts are echoed in the entire notion of new media’s role in the future. The ability to completely transform everything is what new media is about, according to John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems Inc. Chambers suggested thinking like a teenager, that young people know where the future of this new media lies better than anyone. Although uplifting, the session didn’t feature any groundbreaking information, only reiterated the importance and ubiquity of connectivity. But it will take way more than technological advancements to put a positive dent in the Middle East crisis. While connecting Arabs and Israelis through smart phones is obviously far more favorable than warfare, the thought is just too far off the radar screen to even fathom.

Despite my negative attitude about dove-like peace descending on Israel anytime in the near future, I will say that Israel’s strength is clear and its defense force is the best chance we have at maintaining stability in its citizens’ everyday life. Because of the military, Israelis and tourists alike can walk around and feel safe. Indeed, it’s unfortunate that an 18 year old boy or girl should have to serve in an army, but it’s a harsh reality that Israelis both accept and are passionate about. That spirit is what will keep Israel not only existing, but flourishing. I think David Ben-Gurion said it best with the quote, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” With what Israel has been through, it’s a miracle that the nation is still standing today. Miss America or not, let’s keep that positivity coming.

Alex Abel

Playoffs: Lakewood Heimishe Bake Shoppe, Segwayz advance

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The playoff seedings are set, and tension is at a climax, heading into the All Star Israel Softball League post-season. The Wild Card round games will be played this weekend at Kraft Family Stadium, with the semifinals next weekend. The two teams to emerge will then play for the coveted Holyland Series Championship Trophy.

The top two seeds, Café Rimon and Bagelsbergs, e arned first round byes. For Rimon, the week off comes at the perfect time, giving star pitcher Yaacov Ehrlich a chance to recover from a minor injury.

In Ehrlich’s absence from the mound, reliever Yanky Itzkowitz filled in ably, earning two wins in two weeks, and allowing a total of only four runs. League observers have pegged Rimon as the championship favorite, after their recent 23-2 landslide win over Bagelsbergs clinched the top seed, and gave them a perfect undefeated record in the regular season.

Segwayz and Lakewood Heimishe Bake Shoppe earned the right to face each other in the Wild Card round, after successful regular season campaigns placed them in the 4th and 5th seeds, respectively. Each has reason to believe they can win it all, especially after evenly-matched meetings with the two top seeds. Lakewood was the only team to give Rimon a real nip-and-tuck dogfight, while Segwayz won a nailbiter over Bagelsbergs.

Perennial contenders Lobos are sitting pretty as the third seed, awaiting the result of the final regular season game between the Brooklyn Lightning and Jerrys’ Kids. A win for Brooklyn would advance them to face Lobos. Should Jerry’s Kids successfully play the spoiler, Torah Tidbits would land the final spot.

Monty Wayland

Rethink Everything

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I’m spending this week with 11 students who will work this summer as members of the staff at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. They’ve all just completed their first year of college at a range of public and private universities. They spent much of our first day together sharing impressions of how Israel is perceived at their respective schools.

Their stories ranged from a sense of wonder at the positive impressions many students have of Israel (or the lack of negative impressions) to frustration at what some perceive to be the link that has developed between “liberal” and anti-Israel. All of them had stories of encounters with students who either knew little about the country or depicted Israel in ways that its supporters would never recognize. One sounded proud as she announced that she had corrected a professor in class when he wrongly stated that Israel gained independence in 1947. Another was disappointed that his dialogue with a Saudi exchange student led only to frustration.

All of these students could have been spending their summer — or at least the days before they leave for camp — sleeping late, hanging out, and disengaging from everything that occupied them all year long. And who could blame them? After a year devoted to studying, researching, writing, speaking, organizing, responding, refuting, experimenting and doing everything else that 21st-century students do, they could surely be excused for thinking they deserve a break.

These 11 students, and many others, understand things differently—that summer break is more about shifting gears, and less about shutting down for the season. If all you do all summer is unwind, you’ll miss some of the opportunities presented by three months outside the classroom and away from your campus. Summer is the ideal time to recharge your batteries, to earn some money and tally new adventures, but it also presents a chance to deepen your understanding of things that matter to you and causes that occupy your attention when you’re at school.

If campus Israel activists spend much of the school year planning activities, building coalitions and spreading information, summer offers the chance to step back from the tactical realities of daily activism and take a longer, more strategic view of the situation. Reflect on what you did in the past year: What might you have done differently? What can you plan for next year? How can you ensure that you return to campus better informed and better prepared for greater success? And what can you do to ensure that new leaders are prepared to take over for the old-timers? (After all, nobody will be around forever, especially not on campus!)

Whether you’re spending the summer at camp, in Israel, backpacking, at the beach, working or doing anything else, make the effort to challenge yourself, to learn something new, to read a book or to learn from someone whose opinions and experiences you respect. Set a goal of returning to campus better prepared to impact the campus Israel environment, even if it means rethinking every detail of what you’ve done in the past.

Summer break is a great privilege — one that gets shortened dramatically after you enter the working world — and great privileges should not be squandered. Find the balance between leisure and focus, and cherish every experience.

One more note: After closing our recruitment season, ICB is screening an excellent set of applications for our 2012-2013 reporting internships. Soon we hope to introduce our newest reporter interns to you, our readers. Through the summer, please continue to send us comments, suggestions and story ideas! Email me at editor@israelcampusbeat.org.

 

Carl Schrag, Israel Campus Beat

Stuff Couples Say! Stuff My Date Says!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Beineinu and Choice of the Heart (COH) will be holding their annual Symposium this Thursday night, May 17th, at Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem. With well over 100 singles and young couples already registered, organizers may have to close the doors if maximum capacity is reached before the event starts.

Beineinu, which is the Singles division of the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region, runs year-round programming for orthodox and traditional singles from throughout Israel in the 28-42 age range. These well attended functions are frequented by new immigrants from around the globe together with native Israelis.

Choice of the Heart is aimed at getting new marriages off to a great start and solidifying the relationship between husband and wife. COH offers courses and workshops designed to cover topics that couples usually have to deal with in the first year/s of marriage that can become stumbling blocks such as: communication, finance and more.

Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of Beineinu commented: “We are very excited about this event. The early registration shows that singles and couples are looking for guidance in dating and relationship building. We are happy to be here as a much needed resource. Beineninu, in its two years of existence, has proved to be the organization of choice for singes in Israel thanks to our interactive and dynamic programs.”

Sherrie Miller, Director of Choice of the Heart stated: “In South Africa the equivalent  of our workshops is a pre-requisite to getting married under the Rabbanut in an attempt to make sure that every marriage has the greatest chance of success. Choice of the Heart strives to do the same here in Israel.”

The event will begin with a keynote address by Dr. David Ribner – Professor at Bar-Ilan University  and co-author of ‘Et Le’ehov’ followed by workshops led by Sherrie  (“Communication – make your partner your BFF”) and Micki (“How to avoid marrying a Jerk or Jerkette”) for both couples and singles.

If you would like further information or to cover the event on Thursday May 17th starting at 7:30 PM contact: Daniel Meyer – iyimisrael@gmail.com/ 0544826649

Jewish Press Staff

38,000 Palestinians Take Teacher Exams to fill 1,400 Vacant Positions

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports that around 38,000 people in the Palestinian Authority on Saturday took exams to become public school teachers.

The exams are highly competitive, and the Palestinian Authority ministry of education will select only 1,400 candidates to fill vacant teaching positions in its schools.

The exams started at 10 a.m. in 150 halls across Judea and Samaria, PA ministry of education official Mustafa al-Audah told Ma’an.

The highly competitive selection process means many applicants may sit the exam six or seven times for a chance at a teaching position.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Writing A Torah In Memory Of Rabbi Dovid Bryn

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Usher Bryn, brother of Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, fills in a letter together with his son Jonathan.

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday, April 29, at Chabad Chayil Synagogue in Highland Lakes to pay tribute to South Florida’s Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, and launch a project of writing a new Sefer Torah in honor of the rabbi’s 10th yahrzeit. Community members and local rabbis shared their memories of the legendary leader and his amazingly personality and accomplishments.

All in attendance had a chance to write a letter, filling in the first few pesukim of a Torah that will take a year and a half to complete. Every two weeks or so there will be a siyum completion ceremony of a parshah in another home, enabling the host/parshah sponsor to invite their friends and give them all a chance to write a letter.

The completion of the Sefer Torah will be celebrated together with the completion of the new Chabad House building, scheduled to break ground soon. A documentary of the rabbi is also in the works.

If you have a story you would like to share or if you would like to get a letter or parshah in the Dovid Bryn Sefer Torah, go to www.RabbiDovidBryn.org or call 305-770-1919.

Shelley Benveniste

Jackie Robinson: A Real Mensch

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I was lucky enough to have met and interviewed many Hall of Famers including Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

I also had the chance to meet and gab with many of the stars from the old Negro Leagues who went on to play in the major leagues after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier – Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin and Satchel Paige. But I never had the chance to meet Jackie Robinson.

I did, though, meet Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s elegant, graceful widow.

From everything I’ve heard on the baseball beat, Jackie Robinson was a credit to his race – the human race. More important than being a great athlete and ballplayer, he was intelligent, articulate, and above all a great husband and father. He was, in short, a genuine mensch.

Robinson was only 53 when he died in 1972, old before his time, racked with diabetes and nearly blind.

This year baseball is celebrating the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier. It was April 15, 1947, when Robinson became the first openly black man to play in the major leagues.

Ebbets Field was a ballpark of small dimensions and limited seating capacity of some 32,000. Only 25,623 paid their way in to see Robinson’s debut on Opening Day in 1947, 4,000 less than the ’46 opener. But the Dodgers went on to set their all-time Brooklyn attendance record of 1.8 million in 1947.

The only black man in the majors excited fans that year by batting .297 with 12 home runs and 29 stolen bases, more than double anyone else.

Calling the games on radio that year for Brooklyn was Red Barber, a man steeped in the prejudices of his era and place of birth. Barber was born in Mississippi and moved with his family when he was 10 to central Florida.

“I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan…. I had grown up in a completely segregated world,” Barber recalled in his book 1947 – When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.

Barber thought about quitting. After all, a Southern gentleman in 1947 couldn’t be expected to work for an organization that would treat a black man as an equal. But Robinson wasn’t an equal – he was superior to most ballplayers at the time, superior as a player and as a man.

Robinson went to college and starred at UCLA in basketball and football before serving in the army. He earned the rank of second lieutenant and was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Hood, Texas, where white officers wouldn’t give him a chance to try out for the baseball team.

After being turned in by a bus driver to military police for refusing to sit in the rear seating area, Robinson faced a court martial for disobedience but eloquently won his case. After receiving an honorable discharge, and with the doors closed to blacks in many fields including professional baseball, Robinson joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945.

Fair-minded men at the time tried to promote the integration of blacks in baseball without success. Boston Jewish councilman Isidore Muchnick threatened to pass legislation to ban Sunday baseball in Boston unless the Red Sox granted a tryout to three Negro Leaguers.

A tryout was arranged for three players from different Negro League teams – Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams.

The tryout was originally scheduled for April 12, 1945, but that turned out to be the day President Roosevelt died. Vice President Truman was inaugurated as president and Roosevelt was buried in Hyde Park, New York, on Sunday, April 15. The day of FDR’s burial, British forces liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where 16-year-old Anne Frank died the previous month.

The following day, April 16, the three Negro Leaguers came to their Red Sox tryout at Fenway Park. Jackie Robinson was the most impressive of the tryout trio, prompting Red Sox manager Joe Cronin to tell Muchnick he hoped the team would sign Robinson. But the Red Sox never followed up and would become the last major league team to field a black player – some 14 years later.

Robinson went on to star for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945 and attracted the attention of Brooklyn Dodgers boss Branch Rickey, who followed Robinson’s activities off the field as well. Rickey was convinced he had found the right man to break baseball’s unwritten color barrier and signed Robinson to a contract in early 1946 and assigned the infielder to the Dodgers’ top minor league club in Montreal.

Red Barber was also following Robinson’s progress. It was just a matter of time before Robinson would be up with the Dodgers and Barber was mulling over quitting.

“I didn’t quit,” Barber related in his book. “I made myself realize that I had no choice in the parents I was born to, no choice in the place of my birth or the time of it. I was born white just as a Negro was born black. I had been given a fortunate set of circumstances, none of which I had done anything to merit, and therefore I had best be careful about being puffed up over my color.”

Irwin Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/jackie-robinson-a-real-mensch/2012/05/09/

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