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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘CHILDREN’

Shiloh’s Children Hard at Work Baking Matzohs

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Even as their parents are scrubbing and fixing and rearranging their homes in time for Passover, children in the Jewish community of Shiloh are working as well – making matzohs.

The community, located in the Binyamin region near Samaria, has a 20-year tradition of allowing its children the privilege of baking matzohs just before the Passover holiday.

During the process the children learn the special laws of the holiday while enjoying the practical aspects of preparing matzohs.

The original ancient city of Shiloh, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, is situated at the modern Khirbet Seilun, south of Tirzah, 10 miles north of the Jewish community of Beit El in Samaria (Shomron).

Shiloh was the official capital of the ancient nation of Israel before the First Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem. It was located north of Beit El and is mentioned in the Book of Joshua and in Judges.

Wisdom in Parenting

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

In his introduction to Mesilas Yesharim, the Ramchal writes about a phenomenon he encountered in his time:

“[The reason that] wise and reflective people do not spend time studying this material [that is found in the sefer] is because these ideas are so well known and obvious, that it does not seem necessary to expend a lot of time investing in their study.”

Most of us instinctively know what good parenting looks like. We do not need another lecture on roles, boundaries and the purposes of parenting our children. And yet…

Why are so many children, including our own, so unmannered and undisciplined? We are not unmannered and undisciplined.

The more we try to make them happy the more demanding and obnoxious they become. We don’t remember acting this way towards our parents.

We know that we should have expectations of our children, and we do. Why do they react angrily when we convey our expectations to them? Why are they so oppositional and defiant? We were not this way as children.

It would seem that there is a gap between what we know and what we do. How shall we bridge this?

Parents are Authority Figures Obvious, isn’t it? However, many of us are very uncomfortable with authority. Democratic societies seek to dilute the notion of absolute authority and we have unconsciously taken this in. We become confused about exercising our parental authority. Some of us feel “mean” when we need to assert our primacy.

Authority is not control or aggression. It is the calm certainty that I am the adult here and you are the child and I know better than you. I will listen to your complaints because they tell me what it is you feel you need, but the final decision about what they mean or how I respond is mine. Furthermore I have the calm expectation that you will speak to me respectfully.

We are the Adults As adults we have a responsibility to be clear as to what the parenting task is meant to accomplish. Our job as parents is to insure that our children have good character, in the words of Dr. Chaim Ginott, that we raise them to be humane and strong. As Torah Jews we are guided in this task by the Torah. To accomplish our task we must first ask ourselves the following questions.

A. What does being a Torah Jew mean to me?

For the father: how will I convey this to my sons? To my daughters?

For the mother: what kind of home atmosphere do I want to have? How do I accomplish this?

These are questions that require a lot of thought.

It is not our job to: 1. Ensure that our child is happy (whatever that means). 2. Placate our children in order to get them off our backs.

Doing these things is antithetical to raising a child of good character. A child’s desires are endless. What he wants and what he needs are two very different things, and it is our job to teach him the difference. Placating children gives them too much power. When we find ourselves placating our children, they are in control of us. It makes them anxious, and they will often respond in an obnoxious way, begging us to set limits and take our authority back.

B. How do we help them grow?

This too takes a lot of thought. Every challenge that our children throw our way is an opportunity to teach them something. This is hard to do because: 1. It demands that we consider each situation from the child’s point of view and ask: What do I want him or her to learn? How shall I convey this? 2. We are not teachers, we are parents, and everything we give, we want to give over with warmth and love. How to do that is not always obvious. It requires patience and thought.

PA Times Charges of Israeli ‘Torture’ of Children with Kerry’s Visit

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Palestinian Authority opened up the propaganda taps Wednesday with charges that Israel and the “occupation forces” are “torturing” Arab children.

The allegations were reported several hours before U.S. Secretary of State John Kelley landed in Israel. He previously has incited Arab violence by warning Israel that if it does not do as he says, it might face a new intifada.

“The international community is urgently required to act against Israel and punish the occupation state for violating international laws in the first instance, and in the second to save arrested Palestinian children who are under Israeli torture,” PA Minister of Detainees’ Affairs Zeyad Abu Ain told GulfNews.com.

“Meetings have been organized between European Union ambassadors and Palestinian children released from Israeli prisons and detention centers where the children told the ambassadors their torture stories,” he added. “We have solid and undisputed proof of violations by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian children and the Israelis cannot deny this occurs,” he stressed.

It is true that Israel arrests minors, Jews and Arabs alike. That is because the minors commit acts of violence, like Arabs throwing rocks at Jews and Jews throwing rocks at police.

The Palestinian Authority apparently considers that it is “torture” for a child to be in jail. It certainly is not pleasant, nor is it pleasant to be on the receiving end of a rock.

But Israeli jails really are not jails. The Gulf News report called them “iron cages.”

And the children really are patriots, the Palestinian Authority minister said. “Those patriotic children are usually sent to unauthorized detention centers in the spreading colonies in the West Bank,” the official told Gulf News. “The children are not kept in official detention centers or prisons so the occupation forces can treat them in their own way.”

Israeli Researcher: Chewing Gum Cause of Migraines in Teens

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Teenagers who love chewing, smacking and bubble-popping gum may be giving themselves a headache, according to research by Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center. His findings, published in Pediatric Neurology, could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.

Dr. Watemberg noticed at Meir’s Child Neurology Unit and clinics that many patients who reported headaches were daily gum chewers. Teenage girl patients were particularly avid chewers — a finding supported by previous dental studies.

He asked 30 patients between six and 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum daily to quit chewing gum for one month. After a month without gum, 19 of the 30 patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches. To test the results, 26 of them agreed to resume gum chewing for two weeks. All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Dr. Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

Aspartame, a common ingredient found in sugarless gum, has long been suspected of causing neurological damage. Prior to the European Food Safety Authority recently declaring the artificial sweetener as safe, studies have suggested it may provoke headaches in susceptible individuals. However, the Israeli researchers believe that the amount of aspartame released in gum is likely to be low because the flavor of gum is typically lost after the first few minutes of chewing. Rather, they believe the likely reason for the link between gum-chewing and headaches is the stress on the TMJ.

“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” Dr. Watemberg said in a statement. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

A possible explanation for the association that exists between chewing gum and headaches is the stress placed on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the skull and jaw meet. Chewing gum causes unnecessary wear and tear of the cartilage that acts as a shock absorbent in the jaw joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort, Dr. Ben Kim, who is not not involved in the study. told the website Medical Daily.

Gum chewers use eight different facial expression when they chew. If used excessively, this can create chronic tightness in two of these muscles that are located near an individual’s temples. Therefore, the nerves that are on this area of the head feel extreme pressure, which can lead to chronic, reoccurring headaches.

Assad’s Air Force Kills 14 Children in Bombing of Aleppo

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s Air Force dropped “barrel bombs” of explosives on Aleppo Sunday, killing 14 children and eight others, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A school was hit by the bombs, the Observatory said, and another activist group reported that there were several helicopter attacks.

The city, Syria’s second largest, is divided between rebel and government-held areas after the opposition had taken control of most of the city last year.

Attempts for a diplomatic solution to the conflict are doubted by most observers, and the opposition has said there can be no solution without the removal of Assad.

Aliyah and the Gifted Child

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As an education writer for the nonprofit organization, Kars4Kids, and as someone who made Aliyah from Pittsburgh 34 years ago, I decided to write about the challenges of Aliyah from western countries with school age children. See the previous piece in this series, Aliyah and the Special Needs Educator. Today I interview Rachel Moore of Neve Daniel.

Varda: Tell me about yourself, Rachel.

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore

Rachel: I am 41 years old, expecting my 8th child. I have been working in PR and communications for the past 17 years in government and the non-profit world. I blog, sing, and study Torah whenever I can grab an opportunity.

Varda: When did you make Aliyah? How many children did you bring with you and what were their ages?

Rachel: I made Aliyah in 1995 at 22. However, I left again in 2000 and spent 12 years back in the U.S. for personal reasons, and only moved back in July of 2012.

My second time settling here was truly Aliyah for my children, who at the time were 12, 11, 11, 9, 7 and 4.

My eldest is my stepson, 19, who is a sophomore at Rutgers University in the U.S. He did not move here with us. My other 6 children are now 13, 12 year-old twins, 10, 8 and 5, and I am due with another one – today, actually[Rachel had her baby that evening, a little boy! V.E.].

Varda: Tell me about your children. What are their difficulties?

Rachel: We have at least two children who have been classified as “gifted” outside of Israel, and meeting their needs is a challenge, and also requires learning the system. In addition, I have one daughter who I suspect as having ADHD, but she hasn’t been classified – yet.

Varda: Where do they go to school?

The newest addition to the Moore family.

The newest addition to the Moore family.

Rachel: My 13 year-old daughter attends Orot Etzion girls’ school. My 12 year-old twin boys attend Horev High School (7th grade), my 10 year-old son attends Carmei Yehuda, Mamad Hativa Bogeret boys’ school in Alon Shvut, my 8 year-old daughter attends Shirat Chanan, Mamad Hativa Tzeira in Alon Shvut, and my 5 year-old attends the Mechina of Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel.

Varda: Do your children receive additional help outside of school?

Rachel: My daughter with [suspected] ADHD sees a therapist (in English) outside of school that specializes in children with this disability. My 10 year-old son is now enrolled in a gifted pull-out program in Efrat once a week called Afikim [Eligibility is determined by both written and oral tests and only 1.5% of students are accepted], and is in mitzuyanut [gifted class]within school. We had to get him special permission to take the test to qualify for Afikim at the beginning of 5th grade, because the test is usually given in 2nd grade.

We believe that our 2nd grader would have qualified [as gifted] the year we moved here, but we didn’t know she had the option to take the test in English or with translation help. No one had explained this to us, so she took it with the rest of the class. We may still pursue an appeal so that she can retake the test, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

Varda: What out-of-pocket expenses do you have in educating your children and what is covered by the state?

Does It Bother You when your Kid Comes Home Feeling like Junk?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The talk of the town is how direct Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein was when talking at the Agudah convention about the effect our educational system is having on our children. For a long time now, I’ve been having an issue with trying to recognize where the Torah/Truth is in the way we live as frum Yidden.

If an outsider first learned the Torah and then did a study on how observant Jews live their lives, he/she would have many questions. There are numerous things that we do that not only don’t fit with Torah values but they are anti Torah values. We have systems set in place that make most of us live beyond our means. We are fiercely protecting an educational system that goes against everything we actually believe in. We put a huge amount of unneeded pressure on ourselves that literally dictates how we live our lives.

What is sad is that we all know it, we all think about it and it bothers us all. What is sadder is that it is a BIG deal when a Rabbi gets up and actually expresses what we are all thinking. What a strange thing, a phenomenon, that there exists a society that puts so much value on being truthful and emesdik, but at the same time has this vested interest in not only not expressing or talking about an entire educational system that is flawed at its roots, but even protecting it and making our own children suffer through it. It becomes this huge deal when Rabbi Wallerstein actually says something about it. We have to question our sanity and values around this.

What are we protecting? What are we so scared of? Who are we nervous about not impressing?

Let me ask you a question. You don’t need to raise your hand, but raise your hand if you really deep down knew what Rabbi Wallerstein was talking about. Raise your hand if these issues have been bothering you all along. Raise your hand if you are worried about your own children’s love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. Raise your hand if you think that our educational system is not giving you any fuzzy comfortable feeling that they will help your children stay on the derech. Raise your hand if you feel like you make your children do things that are absolutely ridiculous in the name of being part of our educational system. Raise your hand if this is not the system you would come up with if you were asked to develop a system from scratch. Raise your hand if you feel bad sending your children off to school. Raise your hand if you hate seeing how much homework your kids come home with and how many tests they have.

How would you do if you had a job that went from early in the morning to late in the afternoon or night and then came home only to continue working for a few more hours, knowing all along that you really won’t be paid anything extra for the work you’re doing? How long can you keep that up for? How long would we be able to keep up a real love for Yiddishkeit and learning when all it means is memorizing material long enough to regurgitate it on a piece of paper in the form of a test? We know every one of our children is different. How much does it bother you that they are all judged only by the grades they get no matter how hard or how little they try (depending on their IQ or memory).

How much does it bother you when your kid comes home feeling like junk and overwhelmed every day? Does it hurt to see your kid growing up with practically no time to actually be a kid? How natural is it for our kids to be sitting at desks for hours and hours on end learning? How well would you do with that? How many of the school rules do you really agree with in terms of tznius way beyond the letter of the law? From the way the parents dress, we know the answer to that. And I’m not talking about parents dressing un-tzniusdik. I’m talking about the parents who are dressed tzniusdik – but of course the day they left school they changed the way they dress to what was tznius and comfortable and something they actually felt good in and made sense to them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/does-it-bother-you-when-your-kid-comes-home-feeling-like-junk/2013/11/20/

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