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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘class’

Talmud Takes to Jewish.tv

Friday, August 9th, 2013

A class on Talmudic ethics in Vancouver, B.C., praised by regulars, is going virtual in a new series on Jewish.tv, the multimedia portal of the Judaism website Chabad.org.

In the hour-long class, Rabbi Binyomin Bitton, director of Chabad of Downtown Vancouver and dean of the Jewish Academy there, dissects a complex Talmudic narrative and shows how it remains applicable in day-to-day life.

“The class starts at the literal level, then goes deeper and deeper,” says Susan Katz, a freelance writer and regular attendee of the “Talmud for Beginners” class. The class then discusses everyday situations and learns how to apply the Talmud and the thought processes behind it, says Katz.

Bitton’s calming demeanor and slightly French-accented voice set the tone to delve into daily life scenarios as they were seen by the Talmudic sages thousands of years ago. “Talmudic logic, principles, debates and discussions,” he explains, “help you analyze situations and issues from many angles, to come up with creative logical solutions to complex issues and conflicts, and help you to think ‘out of the box’ and discover that there is always another perspective to the matter.”

The crux of the Talmud is a commentary on the Mishnah. Written around the year 165 of the Common Era, the Mishnah was the first codification of Jewish “oral law” as handed down from generation to generation, from the times of Moses and the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. It took more than 200 years to write the Talmud, beginning around the year 220.

The Talmud, Bitton says to his class, is based on explaining the minute details of the Mishnah and its wording: “The Talmud is telling us that every word of the Mishnah is so precise and is chosen very carefully to tell us something.”

The first in the series of four classes will focus on “Liability for Damage.” It airs on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. EST, with subsequent lessons airing on Thursdays at the same hour. They also can be viewed afterwards at any time of the day on Jewish.tv.

Diving Into the Nitty-Gritty

“Rabbi Bitton zeroes in on a specific subject and presents it in an easy-to-understand and well-illustrated fashion,” says Rabbi Shmuel Lifshitz, director of Jewish.tv. “He skillfully helps the student to think ‘Talmudically’ and to gain the tools for studying Talmud.”

The first class examines the ramifications of what transpires when an object for sale is included in a certain category of goods. For example, what happens when an object that was purchased turns out to be different than described? What if someone had used the Hebrew word for “barrel,” and the item was indeed more like a “pitcher”?

The class discusses that while most people would, of course, understand it to be a barrel and nothing else, some may believe it to be a pitcher. Is such a sale valid or not? And does one take into account what the seller thought, based on an innate understanding of an item or a difference in terminology?

“The class gives me a way to take a situation with many possibilities and helps me narrow it down to look at a situation,” says Katz.

She explains that in life, multiple people share responsibility for a particular situation. For example, “if someone leaves a piece of pottery on the sidewalk and I break it,” is the fault of the one who placed it there or the one who stepped on it?

“The Talmud gives me the understanding of how to resolve the situation. It goes beyond civil law because there is also a sense of purpose, and it affirms the place of kindness and looking at a person as a person, and the ramifications it will have in their life. It teaches us how to relate to each other and how to take the other person into the equation, too.”

The debate around the table in Vancouver tries to probe the attendees to come up with their own logical responses. Says Bitton: “There is a depth and intellectual level that is unique within the Talmud. It challenges the mind like no other wisdom, and gives the individual a sentiment of intellectual achievement and appreciation that only the Talmud can give.”

How the Government Class Lives

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Take a ride to a welfare neighborhood some fine morning, evenings are best avoided even in the safest such places. Don’t go in expecting Detroit. Even much of Detroit doesn’t look like Detroit. Newark and Oakland aren’t even there yet. Detroit is what happens when the load is too big and there’s no one left to carry it. Most welfare neighborhoods are still located in cities where there is someone left to pick up the tab.

You’ll see less charred buildings and more towering multistory housing projects. Some of these are the ugly bestial fortresses that date back to FDR’s championing of affordable housing. One such monster, the Knickerbocker Village, former home of the Rosenberg spies, had to be evacuated in the recent hurricane and residents lived without heat and power for weeks.

30 years later they began to run to 20 story gray and brown towers reek of hopelessness. When power company workers came to restore power to the Brooklyn shoreline, they were sent to these places first in the hopes of calming mob reaction. Instead televisions came raining down from the upper floors forcing the workers to flee for safety. But don’t expect that to happen during your visit. That sort of thing is reserved for major holidays and power outages.

More recently the trend has been smaller homes that look almost like normal housing, except that there are too many of them lined up all in rows that go on forever, and even the red brickwork and white doors quickly darken with neglect, fumes and that intangible pollutant that comes to all places where the people have nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to.

There are businesses in the welfare neighborhood, but they aren’t really independent businesses. The bodegas, cheap corner groceries stores lined with ads for cigarettes, or government ads against them, with malt liquor ads and posters for a local performance by a rap group, Hong Kong crooner or Latin singer, get most of their business from food stamps. The bodegas, despite their name, are usually run by Indians, Koreans, Arabs or Bangladeshis. The few things they sell for real money are, in order, lottery tickets, beer and the occasional magazine.

70 years ago the small corner store was part of an economic ladder. Today it’s as static as the rest of the neighborhood. Sometimes the owners make the jump to a welfare supermarket, that deals almost entirely in food stamps. Mostly though they are family businesses whose owners import some of their endless stock of cousins from the home country as unpaid labor. Sometimes the cousins marry into the family and open another one of the stores with money advanced by the patriarch of the clan, and with most of the profits going to him.

Then there are the check cashing places, where welfare checks are deposited, and money is sent home to Haiti, Mexico or Puerto Rico. These places too would dry up and go out of business without a steady supply of government money.

There are clinics, a surplus of them, running on government grants, taking in government money from their patients, and consisting of the usual uncomfortable multicultural mix of balanced groups, most of whom resent each other. There may be no supermarket in the neighborhood, no store that sells fresh fruit and vegetables, no bank or clothing store that sells anything more upscale than t-shirts and sneakers, but there will be several clinics specializing in every conceivable illness a local could come down with. And several that they can’t.

Of the few independent businesses in the area, there will be a restaurant or two, cheap and dirty, where families troop in at night and old men sit during the day, there will be churches that young people rarely go to, and there will be 99 cent stores selling things for more than that. There will be schools, large buildings, and a variety of community centers, day care centers, libraries, prep places for students; all funded by the government. There will be places for teens to sit playing video games after they leave school, full of inspiring posters about achievement. And there will be social workers to help residents fill out forms for more benefits.

The Working Class and the Government Class

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Forget all the talk about whether we will or won’t go over the fiscal cliff. We ourselves are the fiscal cliff and have been for some time now. The real fiscal cliff is not the point at which we run out of money, our credit rating sinks lower than Enron and or everyone is fighting over jars of cat food at Wal-Mart. The real fiscal cliff is when even the dumbest person in the country is no longer able to deny what the packs of robbers and thieves he appointed to steal for him have perpetrated for their own benefit in his name. And that fiscal cliff may never come.

Soviet leaders used to promise their people that one day they would live under true Communism. Under our hybrid system, many Americans already live under Communism. And the rest of the country pays for it. As the number of people living under Communism grows and the number of people subsidizing Communism shrinks, the fiscal cliffs begin coming in faster than Wile E. Coyote on jet-powered rocket skates.

Our class warfare is not determined by paycheck size. The United States has only two classes. The working class and the government class.

The working class extends through the lower class, the middle class and the upper class, and everyone of every income level who derives their income from gainful employment. The government class similarly extends from the poor to the middle class to the rich, and consists of those whose chief source of income is the government; whether it’s welfare checks, government jobs or crony capitalism.

Not everyone in the working class is a saint and not everyone in the government class is a parasite. There are plenty of corporations who care only about short term profit and create social problems that the rest of the country has to live with. Immigration is a classic example. And there are also plenty of government employees who perform vital and even heroic functions. Your local firefighter and member of the armed services are obvious examples.

The government class is dependent on the working class, deriving its income from their income. The government class turns from the symbiotic to the parasitic to the extent that its demands on the working class become unsustainable and exploitative, that its functions grow bloated, its spending programs reek of corruption and its government contracts emerge out of backdoor deals with friendly politicians.

The government class can never be productive, because it is not a creative force, it only provides secondary non-innovative services to the working class, but it is legitimate to the extent that it performs vital functions on behalf of the working class with their consent and in an economically sustainable fashion. When it violates these principles, then it becomes a parasite sucking the life out of the working class.

It is not just the government employee who is a member of the government class. The welfare class is a subgroup of the government class. And the welfare class is not only parasitic, it is the axis around which an entire parasitic constellation of the government class revolves around.

The classic welfare family has become the income generating center of the government class. They are the “wealth creators” for an entire infrastructure of social services built around them from the government officials who process their aid forms to the social workers who provide them with benefit counseling to the employees of those clinics who provide them with health care, and the extra teachers hired to help raise standards at their perpetually failing schools, the drug counselors who help them get clean and the police officers who break up their fights.

All or almost all of these people are members of unions. Those unions have their own employees. Those union employees have their own politicians. The politicians provide grants to the community social welfare infrastructure and generous benefits for union contracts. All this money and influence spins around the welfare family, but they only benefit from a minute fraction of it.

Around their dungheap, fly community groups and a horde of other private non-profits, “advocating” for them while operating on government grants. The buildings they live in are affordable housing projects built for them by the government, and cleaned, managed and repaired for them by government employees.

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Location, Location, Location

During a radio interview this week, one of the most senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization said that a hospital next to his home protects him from assassination attempts by Israel.

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who survived an assassination attempt in 2003, was asked on WABC Radio’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” whether he fears he will be targeted again, particularly in light of the eliminations of several other Hamas members this month.

“They already targeted me and they killed my first son,” replied Zahar. “And they targeted me and broke [my] backbone. And also in the last battle they tried to target me and they sent a small rocket.”

Zahar continued: “But the Jordanian hospital here was near my house, and I think there was a big protest between, and a big debate between, the Jordanian government and the Israeli government. That was the main cause not to attack our house.”

Immigration Reform… Or Else

Latinos and unions expect the passage in 2013 of comprehensive immigration reform, or amnesty for millions of illegals, declared a former adviser to President Obama whose union group has close ties to the Obama White House.

“We expect passage of comprehensive immigration reform next year,” declared Eliseo Medina, treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. “We don’t want promises; we don’t want debates. We expect action,” he said.

Medina added, “If Congress keeps erecting roadblocks in 2013, we will look elsewhere for leaders in the 2014 elections. The proof is tonight’s presidential election results.”

Medina made these comments at a meeting earlier this month of top union leaders while discussing strategy for Obama’s second term. His quotes were documented by the Communist Party USA’s People’s World magazine.

A former SEIU president, Andy Stern, was the most frequent visitor to the White House in 2009, according to White House visitor logs.

New Website Urges Class Warfare

A George Soros-funded radical think tank with close ties to the Democrat party has launched a new website urging politicians and activists to wage class warfare while hailing what it calls a new era in politics – the use of class warfare to win elections.

WageClassWar.org was launched last week by the Campaign for America’s Future, or CAF.

CAF’s co-director, Robert Borosage, explained the need for such a website. “America’s growing diversity and its increasingly socially liberal attitudes played a big role in this election. But looking back, we are likely to see this as the first of the class warfare.”

The website does not feature a mission statement and is unclear about exactly how the group will go about attempting to wage class warfare.

The site explains how Obama’s 2012 campaign utilized class warfare and set the stage for the deployment of such tactics in future elections.

“Obama’s campaign built its message on class war battles that broke out in the Republican primary, as challengers sought to bring down ‘the main from Bain,’ Mitt Romney,” notes the site.

“In the end, the keys to Obama’s reelection were his calls for raising the taxes of the wealthy and his support for reinvesting those revenues in education and jobs to rebuild the middle class and to protect programs like Medicare from cuts.”

The site hails Obama for having repeatedly portrayed Romney as a “walking example of the out-of-touch elite, an opponent of the auto industry bailout that saved an entire manufacturing sector, and a 1 percenter who would jeopardize social programs, education, and Medicare in order to cut taxes on his rich friends.”

Congresswoman Fears Terrorist Infiltration

A U.S. congresswoman is warning that while the world’s eyes are on Iran’s growing threat against Israel, the Islamic nation’s terrorist surrogates may be forming sleeper cells here in the United States.

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) asserted in a radio interview that she believes it’s possible that Hizbullah, the radical terrorist organization tied to Iran, may be working with Mexican cartels to funnel not only drugs, but also terrorist sleeper agents into the U.S.

“Former [Defense Intelligence Agency] people and others have told me what is going on. There have been a couple of arrests in this country relative to people who have had ties to Hizbullah or Iran, and my concern has been with the drug cartels and the gangs that are operating in Mexico,” Myrick said. “There is, what I have been told, a very strong presence there of coordination between the two.”

How to Keep Up School Spirit!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

My oldest daughter loves school. In fact, over the long holiday break, whenever her school was mentioned, she would say in a little sad voice, “I miss my morahs.”

I repeated this story gleefully to my friends. Some of them, the ones with older kids, looked at me with a blasé face and said, “don’t worry; as she gets older she’ll dread going back to school.” My heart fell. There had to be some way to make sure that Shayna kept relishing the joys and stimulation of school.

I took a small, very unscientific survey and came to the conclusion that some older kids like school, and some don’t. The kids who enjoy going to school have two basic reasons: they have friends and they like their teachers.

Lest you think that the easiest way to ensure this outcome is by picking the best school and then utilizing every level of proteczia to get your child accepted, remember this wise quote from Rabbi Fishel Schachter. At a chinuch l’banot gathering, he said people spend too much time researching schools and sweating over interviews. Every school has every type of kid. A lot depends on who is friends with your child. Obviously, you only have a modicum of control over this situation, so like in most cases involving raising children, some meaningful prayer is definitely in order.

There are, however, some basic building blocks every child needs to succeed and a diligent parent should do their best to ensure their child is receiving them.

Firstly, the school is providing a service. It is their duty to provide our children with a solid education, development of healthy values and a safe place to go. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that parents feel comfortable with the environment the school is creating. If there is an issue that you would like to discuss and you feel that the school is giving you a runaround or is difficult to reach, it might be time to consider switching schools.

On your end, you are responsible for not just paying the tuition for the upkeep of the school, but maintaining the sense of kavod towards the school. If the child hears the school, the administration or the teachers being bashed in front of them, how can you expect him or her to pay the school any mind? Rabbi Shmuel Wallerstein once told me a story about a father who ran to his rabbi and begged for help – his son was about to marry a non-Jewish girl. “Why would he listen to me?” asked the rabbi. “You’ve mocked everything I’ve said for the past ten years.”

Parents have to feel that they are partners with the school, building towards a common goal. It bears saying that it is super crucial to develop a positive relationship with your children’s teacher. He or she is one of the most influential figures in your child’s life and you need to be on the same page. Work with the teachers by taking class attendance and homework seriously. If there is an upcoming baby, family wedding, or chas v’shalom a crisis situation, let the teacher know so that she can treat your child accordingly. Signing up for the PTA or as a class mother is always a bonus. It shows the school you are willing to help out, and if a concern comes up, they will respond to you with your dedication in mind.

In my school, two dinner reservations are built into the tuition. I am always surprised by how many parents don’t bother to attend. Personally, I love the school dinner. Not only is the food and ambience par excellence, but it’s a chance to support the school for all its dedication and efforts on behalf of your child. It’s wonderful to hear all inspiring testimonies of the teachers and the list of achievements of the graduates. It really makes you proud of be part of the school. It’s a shame to skip it, especially if you already paid for it.

Then there is the personal front. Make it easy for your teachers to like your child and always make sure that he or she is going to school well rested, clean and fed. As this is a sore point for me, I’ll take a few minutes to clarify. Rested for the average child is 11-12 of sleep hours a night. Without that, children are short-tempered and cranky. A clean child is someone who bathes almost every night, wears clean, un-wrinkled clothes, and knows how to wash up in the bathroom properly. Finally, a hungry child is a distracted learner. Most parents know they should be on top of those things, but life gets in the way, and they figure the teachers will understand. Trust me, she doesn’t. Help your child succeed and take care of his physical needs.

Life in Southern Israel: A Student’s Blog

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Greetings to all, my name is Nachalah, I am a 24-year-old student. I am studying communications and graphic designing at Sapir College… Sapir College in Southern Israel is under fire, situated near Sderot and the surrounding Kibbutzim, where the bravest children in the world live.

Why choose Sapir College when there are many other good academic institutions in Israel, why learn under fire when I can learn under a clear blue sky where the only thing that fall on you are the autumn leaves? I didn’t really choose Sapir, but rather it chose me. Our romance began in July, about a year and a half ago. Yonatan, a friend, invited me to go on a short trip to the south. He went apartment hunting in the Sderot area, and I joined him.

We visited Kibbutz Mefalsim, about two kilometers away from the Gaza Strip. I fell in love with the place, the green and the serenity. During the period since the visit I was discharged from the IDF, and was contemplating my future. I rented a place at the Kibbutz and enrolled at Sapir College. I knew about the Kassam rockets, but was told that the campus was protected and properly fortified.

As I was listening to these explanations I was thinking to myself: I doubt I will ever have actually run for cover. Everything was green and pastoral; I was really taken by the positive campus ambiance.  It was one of those moments when you know you are where you are supposed to be, feeling at home after a long period of wanderings. Kassam rockets?! No bothers, I can handle it. This is my country and no one will take away my right to study where ever I wish, even Sapir (so I thought). Now I must tell you that my fashion choices are set primarily by the shoes I choose every day…lately, it’s been mostly sports shoes (I am a sports freak and spend a lot of time at the gym…but I don’t want to be caught unprepared).

On My First Day as a Student

How can I describe my first day? I woke up on the couch in Tel Aviv, at a friend’s apartment. Why Tel Aviv? The day before, I was on the way to Sapir, enjoying the ride, when explosions began to occur around us and the sirens began to whine. The driver continued on as if nothing happened. I was a bit disconcerted, but school was progressing as usual, and I guess they know best. Well, I was wrong, I spent the entire night in the shelter, getting updates through the annoying emergency announcement system. At five in the morning I caught a bus to Tel Aviv, and there I was able to sleep soundly. After a few days there was a cease fire and classes resumed. The first day started out slow, and then more people arrived in the next days, but that didn’t last long.

The Present

This morning (Monday) I woke up early even though I have classes only at 2 in the afternoon. I had to go to the dentist. Yesterday classes were canceled because of the shaky situation. Actually, I was really mad. I was waiting for Sunday because I love the classes I have on that day and did my homework. The previous night I slept will. In the morning I came into town for my appointment. I got in early because no one else showed up, and got the VIP treatment.

On the way back I got a ride with a tourist who spent the night at a guest house, and the room next to his was hit by a rocket. At classes only half of students showed up. That was odd. Then we waited a half an hour for the lecturer. It turned out that only 5% of the students showed up for his previous class, so he left early. We finished early, and so I decided to go to the gym to work out. We had zumba class, and things were warming up nicely, and then someone came in and turned down the music “You didn’t here the ‘Red Color’ alert, the music is too loud.” We continued with constant interruptions because of the rocket alarms. The workout could have been more effective…

Now I’m at home writing these lines as I hear booms in the background, playing the game of guess (a rocket, thunder, a door slamming, you name it). That’s enough for today; I hope the nice people firing at us from Gaza think so to. Good night!

Updated: School Closing Schedules in Southern Israel

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Below are any changes to the starting time of schools in Southern Israel.

9:15 AM All schools around the Gaza border have canceled classes.

—————-

Ashdod schools will be open.

Ashkelon schools will be opening 2 hours late. Residents are advised to stay within 15 seconds of their bomb shelters.

S’dot HaNegev classes delayed until 9:00 canceled.

Michlelet Sapir classes delayed until 10:00 canceled.

Be’er Sheva normal class schedule.

Sdot HaNegev school canceled.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/school-opening-schedules-in-southern-israel/2012/11/11/

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