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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘CHILDREN’

How To Travel With Children

Friday, July 15th, 2016

During the darkest, coldest days of winter, nothing seems to warm one’s heart and mind more than discussions of what vacations we should take. As travel forums and cheap deal sites abound, opportunities are virtually endless. As parents, our first responsibility is to our little ones, of course. Should we take them with us as we jet around the world for less than a bus trip to Grandma?

There are many who would say that a vacation with children is not a vacation, that you will be so busy doing child-friendly activities, you won’t have any time for yourself, the children will be cranky without their normal sleep and eating schedules, that you will be squished into a hotel room and trapped there after 8 pm while being woken up at 6 am…. the list goes on.Baim-071516-Hubby

The reason why I know this list so well is because I used to think that way. Any money spent on vacation with children was wasted because nobody enjoyed the time anyway. However, we recently took our three children (ages 4-8) to California for 48 hours and they managed so well, I was forced to rethink my entire conviction that nobody under 18 needs a vacation.

Here are some benefits children receive from family travel:

Increased quality family time. All too often, parents are rushing through the evening routine so that they can get back to their chores and/or work. On vacation, when work is a distant thought (unless you brought work with you; we will deal with that in a future article), and there aren’t any chores to do, parents can focus on their children without any distractions. This increased family time helps families develop more love and affection that stays around even when vacation is over.

Memory creator. Many studies show that people are happier with good memories then with more stuff. Very often, we are tempted to “buy” off our children with prizes for their charts, good marks in school or birthdays. But saving up that money and spending it on vacation can create fabulous memories that will generate good feelings for a lifetime, especially if you ever print out those pictures.

Get to know each other better. Studies by Disney Time Survey (and they would know) say that a vacation is a great opportunity for parents and children to get to know each other as individuals, thanks to all the great quality time we spend talking with each other. Now your children can find out exactly what you do at work, and you can find out how they are really doing in school.

Widen their perspective. Taking children out of their typical setting and immersing them in a different environment where they can see how others live, work, and play enables them to be able to appreciate different perspectives and realize the world does not, in fact, revolve around them. In addition, viewing other cultures gives children a richer and deeper appreciation for our colorful and diverse world.

If that all sounds lovely and beautiful, but you are unsure how to take your children on vacation and actually enjoy any part of it, try these helpful tips.

  1. Always fly at night. This way, children can sleep at least for part of the flight, a multi-step process.

Pack healthy food for the plane. This is a good way to begin your trip in general, when thoughts of “we are on vacation, let’s party” can derail any healthy eating the family usually does. Eating junk food the entire time will make anyone cranky, and won’t help the children settle down. Eating a healthy dinner on the plane, such as whole wheat bread with avocado, cream cheese or peanut butter, along with plenty of water, fruit, sliced veggies, and some whole-grain pretzels, raisins, or whole-grain crackers later for snack, allows your child to feel full and satiated and makes it easier for him or her to fall asleep.

Baim-071516-AirportTell your children ahead of time how much screen time they are allowed and then enforce it. Don’t give in to “let them watch as long as they are quiet” because they won’t be able to fall asleep while they are watching, even if they insist they can. The screen is two inches from their face; they can barely manage to blink.

Once dinner and screen time is over, the children should change into pajamas if they haven’t already. As much as possible, do their bed time routine of songs, Shema, and a bed time story; although you are on a plane, the children will still respond to the familiar routine.

Either bring blankets from home or get from the flight attendants. Bring sweatshirts for added coziness as the blankets are sure to fall off. A hood on a sweatshirt also blocks out a little of the airplane noise. I like to give my children sleep masks to make it as dark as possible. Then, I sit with them one at a time and insist they keep their eyes closed and not talk. It doesn’t take too long before they are sleeping as if they are tucked into their beds at home.

 

  1. Once you land, keeping a healthy routine is essential for everybody to have a good time. Avoid falling into the trap of going out to eat three times a day. Prepare ahead with healthy snacks and water bottles to keep everyone satiated and sane. When going out to eat, stick with healthy choices and smart portion sizes. Your body will thank you and your children will feel balanced.

 

  1. As much as possible, stick to their typical morning and evening routines. This means if your children usually go to bed between 7 and 8, have them do that while you are on vacation as well. If the thought of being stuck in your hotel room at 8 makes you antsy, remember how much better everyone will feel after a good night’s sleep. If you are in a Jewish neighborhood and your husband is catching the local minyan, ask if anyone has teenagers who could babysit so you and your spouse can have some adult time.

 

  1. Don’t stress the details. Obviously, you and your children will not have the same interests, and possibly neither will you and your spouse. The main thing to remember is that you are out of the house and enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes a leisurely breakfast and stroll around the neighborhood is enough to satisfy everyone while creating life-long memories.
Pnina Baim

The Special Relationship Of Children To God

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The Talmud in several areas stresses the effects of studying a subject when one is young. At one point it quotes an incident of a sage who forgot a Jewish law and attributed his lapse in memory to the fact that he didn’t study it when he was very young.

Pirkei Avot compares the acquisition of knowledge of a child to writing on a blank piece of paper that has never been erased, while that of an adult to a paper that is full of erasures. The muddled and ambiguity of the adult mind pales to the lucidity and the innocence of the mind of a child. Wordsworth in his famous poem “Intimations of Immortality” alludes to the uniqueness of a child and the unique relationship that they have to their creator. Indeed Jewish tradition speaks of the singular connection that children have with almighty God. Their prayers are accepted more readily because of their innocence and because of their uncanny ability to understand the unlimited powers of the creator. For children time is endless, with no beginning or end. So too our creator has neither beginning nor end; for Almighty God, time is boundless. Children identify uniquely with their creator by the sheer fact that they are closer to their birth time. The further we move from our birth, the more we fill our minds with doubt and question regarding our creator.

At the same time that they are so close to God, a child’s mind is so impressionable. What we teach our children-the impressions that we place upon their minds-become indelible in shaping their future existence and destiny. Often, remarks that are made to children when they are young never leave them and are their source of strength or weakness in the years to come.

I remember vividly as a young third grader sitting in class and being actively involved in the Chumash lesson of my teacher. At one point the text was confusing to me and I raised my hand to ask a question. For me the question that I was about to ask had value and I was always taught by my parents that one must ask questions to gain knowledge. I believed that the answer was essential for me to understand the lesson. However when I asked the question the teacher innocently and without malice or forethought laughed and said that my question was stupid and the answer was obvious. He called it a klutz kasha, an idiot question.

That remark, as innocent as it was, remained with me even until today. When I sit at a shiur I hesitate to ask a question because of that remark that was made to me decades ago. Though there is no logical reasoning behind my fears, that feeling of inadequacy that I received as a young lad remains with me even today.

We all know that sibling relationships reenact themselves when in the presence of parents. Even when we are older and married, we slip back to the times that we were children. The same child, who was looked upon as the smartest, again takes on the same role that he had when he was growing up, regardless of how successful he has become or whether his siblings have surpassed him in their intellectual abilities.

The Talmud in Taanit states that if you see a student who is not successful in his studies it is because his/her teacher did not smile at him/her. Once again stressing the delicate and impressionable minds of our children and the enormous responsibility that educators have in assuring that these imprints are wholesome and positive.

Rabbi Mordechai Weiss

To Sing A New Song… Our Children And Students

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

When I was a principal, I would often walk through the halls of my school during class. When I did, I would glance in the classrooms and, even with the doors closed and in the relative silence of the hallway, I would be able to identify what I considered a “successful” classroom.

It is, of course, easy to identify an “unsuccessful” classroom – when students are not paying attention; when they are disruptive; when the teacher sits behind the desk and shows no enthusiasm for his material or the delivery of it. These are “red flags” that cry out, unsuccessful. But successful? For me, when I saw students engaged in the instruction and, most importantly, when I saw them actively participating then I knew there was successful teaching and learning going on. That is, if I could see evidence of students learning independently then I knew I was witnessing a successful classroom. Without exception, when I saw a classroom with students participating, I saw a teacher with a smile on his face.

That smile told me that my teacher found joy not just in the material he was teaching – after all, in Jewish day schools and yeshivas is not all our material valuable and worthy of our joyous review and teaching? – but, more importantly, the joy of his students’ learning!

Thinking back on that time, I think about the advice a colleague shared with his teachers. He told them, “Make your classroom like your home and treat your students as your guests.” And another, who wisely noted that teaching, is really just another form of “parenting.”

We intuitively understand the close connection between parenting and teaching. After all, we refer to our colleges as our alma maters – our “nurturing mothers.”

Teaching and parenting. Two sides of the same coin. In both, it is essential that we are “successful.” The question is, What does that mean?

When I was in the classroom, I cherished the moments when I reviewed text and ideas with my students but my greatest joy was when they were able to take what I shared with them and discover something new and unique.

I reveled in their independence. It seems odd to say that as a teacher, when for so many the role of teacher is to “pass along” knowledge. But learning is not and should not be passive.   Students are not mere vessels to be filled with information.

There is much a student or child can do simply by “following instruction.” Swimming is not one of them! To swim is to be independent, is to have the judgment and intelligence to read changing variables and tides, to be able manage shallow shoals and dangerous depths. That is what a teacher – and a parent – must prepare a student and child to do.

Not long ago, a mother and father wrote to a rebbi, saying they had waited for the day when their son, who had always been a caring and good student, “would pick up a Gemarah on his own on a Shabbos afternoon.” That day finally arrived just as their son was getting ready to graduate 12th grade.

That school succeeded!  Those parents succeeded!

The child could swim!

* * *

As the child, so too the Children of Israel.

There were two great songs recorded in the Torah, the more famous being Az Yashir. “Then sang Moshe and B’nai Yisrael this shirah…”, praising the splitting of the yam suf and allowing the Children of Israel to be free at last from their bondage in Mitzrayim.   The other, less well known, is tucked away near the end of Chukas, a short song of gratitude for the uninterrupted supply of water (the well!) throughout the forty years sojourn in the desert.  “Then Israel sang this song; ‘Come up, O well, announce it! Well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people excavated, through a lawgiver, with their staff. A gift from the Wilderness.” The song then traces the path of the well /water that followed the nation, no matter how high the elevation or difficult the terrain. The gift went from the valley to the heights. And from the heights to the valley in the field of Moab, at the top of the peak, overlooking the surface of the wilderness.

The irony of childhood is that it is only after it is over, when we are adults and independent, do we realize that we were in a period of innocence, that we could not have become what we’ve become without the guidance and wisdom of our parents.

So too, as the Children of Israel sang, they finally understood that they could never have made it without God’s constant and consistent be’er –well – supply of water, but make it they did. They are about to enter the Land, and are leaving God a note of thanks, very much like the bride tucking a thank you note for her parents before leaving for the Chupah, or the student for his rebbi before graduation. They are saying “thank you” knowing that they are able to move forward independently because they had been nurtured and loved – and prepared and expected to be independent!

The Promised Land was a long, hard forty years away. The ‘Song of the Well’ was celebrated at the end of that long journey. Throughout that journey, Moshe taught many important lessons, lessons that B’nai Yisrael fortunately absorbed.

When they first escaped Mitzrayim, the people were burdened with a slave mentality; they were like little children who had to be taught everything, even how to say “thank you” for their deliverance.   Thus, az yashir Moshe and B’nai Yisrael. But then, forty years hence, after hardships and joys, after the lessons of Sinai, including more than half of Torah mitzvoth bein adam l’chaveiro, with countless lessons of gratitude and appreciation conveyed everywhere in the Torah it was “graduation” time, it was time to step forward as a proud, independent nation. It was time for Moshe, as a parent and teacher would, to sit back confident and gratified that the children will do the right thing, they will say “thank you” to God.

They had learned to learn on their own.

Was it hard for Moshe to stay silent and not sing with them? Of course. It was hard for him and for them. It is always “easier” for parents to “do for” their children; it is always easier for the teacher to tell the student what he or she needs to know. But how much more joyous, how much more satisfying, how much more meaningful to have brought children and students to the place where they can “do it themselves”?

Moshe, the archetypal parent and teacher, has shown how to raise children and teach students. He is shepping the nachas!

Moshe is not simply hearing a repetition of the song he led B’nei Yisrael in singing. He is hearing a new song. And that is the greatest joy of the parent and the teacher, to hear his or her child or student sing a “new song”, a song that could never have been sung without their love, guidance and faith – faith in the child to one day walk forward as an individual!

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Gazan Children at Play [photos]

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Children in Gaza played with their toy guns for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, on July 7, 2016.

The celebration of Eid usually starts with an early morning prayer, followed by a visit to the tombs of loved ones, and then the children pretend to be Islamic terrorists by lining up their friends against the wall and executing them (pretend of course).

Needless to say, normal children don’t hold toy gun battles like this.

.Gaza children play with their toy guns

Gaza children play with their toy guns

Photo of the Day

Senior Israeli TV Editor: I Will Not Let my Children Enlist [video]

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

On the Friday night Channel 2 news magazine Friday Studio, Arad Nir, who is foreign-news editor for Channel 2, declared: “I want a referendum! A referendum on who wants to send his children to enlist in this army. And I do not wish to send my children to this army. I would vote No in such a referendum.”

Arad Nir, who has a degree in veterinary medicine and speaks fluent Esperanto, used to co-host a sex-advice show with Dr. Ruth Westheimer. He is a familiar anchor on Channel 2 news shows.

The context for Nir’s confrontational statement was the issue of IDF soldiers being used to entertain American visitors as a way to solicit donations. A case in point was a recent visit of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to an IAF base, which was greeted with base soldiers forming the name Google with their bodies on the tarmac.

Nir said he couldn’t understand why the taxes Israelis pay are not enough to sustain IDF soldiers, and then declared he would not allow his own children to enlist.

Back in 2012, Channel 2 viewers ran a petition online calling for dismissing Arad Nir over a pro-Arab interview with a resident of Gaza during the 2012 war, an interview that offered no reference to the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians which spawned the war.

JNi.Media

Israel’s Kidnapped Yemenite Children Bogeyman

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Every few years Israel is convulsed in “kidnapped Yemenite children” hysteria, and this summer is just the latest round. The ruckus concerns allegations that Yemenite children in the 1950s were kidnapped from their parents by racist Ashkenazim, five years after the Holocaust, “sold” in a giant conspiracy and put up for illegal adoption.

This year, as usual, demagogue politicians are joining the calls for yet another state commission of inquiry into the matter, trying to make political hay. There have been several commissions already. Journalists from the Far Left, the Far Right, and the Far-out Center are trying to build careers out of it all.

Large numbers of the Israeli public, not limited to Yemenites, believe the conspiracy tales. Not as many as Americans who believe in UFOs or a JFK conspiracy, but nevertheless alarming.

There is just one little problem with the “theory.” It is nonsense.

READ MY LIPS! THERE WERE NEVER ANY KIDNAPPED YEMENITE CHILDREN IN ISRAEL. THERE WERE NO ILLEGAL ADOPTIONS OF YEMENITE CHILDREN. THERE WAS NO CONSPIRACY.

Before arriving in Israel, infant/child mortality in Yemen was probably the worst in the world. Well over 60% of infants died. Much like in the days of the Talmud. In halakha an infant death or NAFAL is not death at all and there is no shiva.

The deaths did not suddenly halt when the Yemenite Jews got off the planes in Israel. Israel at the time was a Third World mess. Much of the population was in MAABARA transit camps. The roads were mud. Almost no Israelis had phones and many had no bathroom or kitchen.

Hospital record keeping was poor and hospital care not much better. The country’s attention was elsewhere, in things like finding food. People who did not know Hebrew could not communicate with one another. And the mess was not just in the hospitals. Large numbers of soldiers had died in the War of Independence, without their identities ever being recorded and known. The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics was not founded until 1949 and in the 1980s was still located in asbestos shacks without computers

Under these circumstances, infants died, corpses were misplaced, parents were not kept fully informed, parents imagined being persecuted. To put things into proportion, in 21st century USA with all the computers, corpses disappear from hospitals all the time.

Why did the hospital not simply call the Yemenite parents when an infant died? Because the hospital had no phone, the parents had no phone, lived in a tent, did not speak Hebrew, and the mail did not work – it still does not.

Since the 1950s, EVERY STATE COMMISSION – there have been at least three – HAS RULED THERE is no hard evidence of any KIDNAPPINGS.

NONE WILL EVER SETTLE THE MATTER FOR THE CONSPIRACY NUTS BECAUSE THEY WILL ALWAYS DEMAND YET ANOTHER INVESTIGATION.

THE PEOPLE DEMANDING NEW INVESTIGATIONS NOW ARE EXACTLY LIKE THE 911-TROOFERS AND THE PEOPLE SEEKING EVIDENCE OF A JEWISH CABAL TO CONTROL THE WORLD.

The fact that “a lot of people” think something is true does not make it true. 65 years of “searching” have already gone by. Multiple state commissions of inquiry. Highest of high tech available. And not a single proven case of a “kidnapped” Yemenite child ever found – OR EVEN OF AN ILLICIT ADOPTION. Where are all the Yemenite-looking Ashkenazim in Scarsdale and how come none ever asked about being adopted? None. Conclusion?

Supposedly “hundreds” of “kidnapped” Yemenite children were “sold.” Yet 65 years later and not a single one of the sold ever went searching for his or her biological family.

Conclusion?

Now just suppose that the main advocate of a theory, any theory, were a certifiably deranged stockpiler of assault weapons planning mass murder and attacks on the Israeli police. What would be your conclusion about his theory?

Well, meet the leading advocate of the “theory” of the kidnapped Yemenite children: the late Uzi Meshulam. A certified lunatic and terrorist. He led the drive to (re-) investigate once again the “disappearances.”

His fans – conspiracy nuts still beating the dead old horse about “kidnapped” Yemenite children – are not nutty enough for you?

Well let us introduce you to Ami Meshulam, son of Uzi Meshulam. He is all over the media in Israel this week as the “conspiracy” fiction gets retold ad nauseum. Meshulam the Younger goes way beyond what his whack job pappy said. According to Ami, “thousands” of Yemenite children were rounded up in Israel in the 1950s by an Ashkenazi Gestapo and sold en masse to the USA WHERE THEY WERE SUBJECTED TO MENGELE-LIKE EXPERIMENTATION. Really. Which I am sure will be interesting for anyone who grew up in American during the Eisenhower era.

Ultra-leftist Haaretz, which generally likes the conspiracists, runs a TV review this week saying Ami Meshulam’s theory might as well be that UFOs kidnapped the Yemenite kids. Conspiracy nut UFOLOGIST Barry Chamish – who publishes his “scoops” on Holocaust Denial web sites – has long been a devoted Meshulamite and has ties to Ami.

In a country where politician peccadillos become known instantly, where the “stinky deal” with Shimon Peres was exposed immediately, where the “esek bish” affair was leaked right away, where military secrets might as well appear on Facebook, explain to me how the thousands of people who would have to have been involved in the “kidnappings” of hundreds of children all kept silent 65 years and not a single one ever spoke out??!!

Steven Plaut

4 Hamas Killers of Henkin Couple Sentenced to Life in Prison

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

by Michael Zeff

Four members of the Hamas terror organization were sentenced to life in prison Wednesday by an IDF military tribunal in Samaria. The terror cell was convicted on charges of murdering Rabbi Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, an Israeli rabbi and his wife, in October 2015. A fifth member of the Shechem-based cell was found guilty but has not yet been sentenced, and two others await trial.

Yahia Abdullah Hajj-hamad, Samir Qusah, Karem Razik; and Amjad Aliwi, were among the five terrorists responsible for the ambush and murder of the Henkin couple. They were shot while driving their car near the Itamar community in Samaria, as their four children sat in the back seat. Eitam, son of the prominent American-born educators Rabbi Yehuda and Chana Henkin, was a U.S. citizen.

The murder of their parents, witnessed by Matan, 9, Nitzan, 7, Netta, 4, and four-month-old baby Itamar, shook the Jewish nation both in Israel and in the Diaspora.

The four terrorists were sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and an additional 30-year prison term each. Zeid Jamil Amar, the fifth member of the terror cell hasn’t been sentenced yet.

The Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency (Israel Security Agency) said in a statement that the terrorists are also responsible for several other shooting attacks that took place in Samaria in August 2015.

The judge said that it was the “carefully planned and cold blooded nature of the killing, in which every member of the squad played a vital role,” that swayed the military judge to issue a harsh and uniform sentence to all the terrorists, regardless of who pulled the trigger.

Shin Bet officials have suggested the children were only spared from death due to the fact that one member of the cell accidentally shot his fellow terrorist, causing him serious injury and prompting him to drop his gun at the scene and flee.

It was that gun and “friendly fire” that helped the Shin Bet and IDF identify and capture the killers in a Shechem hospital a few days later.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/4-hamas-killers-of-henkin-couple-sentenced-to-life-in-prison/2016/06/22/

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