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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘deal’

I Don’t Buy It

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

There are a lot of newspaper advice columns out there. But what makes this one different is that sometimes, you don’t want to ask an expert. Sometimes you want to ask a regular guy who might not actually know more than you.

If you ask an expert, he’s going to give you real advice, and you have to follow it. But if you ask me, you can feel free to say that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and then go do your own thing. Like if you ask, “Who’s right, me or my wife?” and I say that your wife is right, you can say, “Well, I’m still gonna go with me.”

People don’t write to me for advice, they write to me for justification.

Dear Mordechai,

If I stand when I eat, do I get fat feet?

S.S., Brooklyn

Dear S.,

I don’t know if this is scientifically accurate. They really should conduct a study. I say this because I’ve seen a lot of people standing when they eat, especially at a kiddush, but I’ve never actually seen anyone with fat feet. It’s not really something you can hide with baggy clothes.

The logic behind the saying, I guess, is gravity. When you eat something, it goes all the way down to your feet, right? You learn that in biology. But I’ve got to tell you: If you sit when you eat, the food doesn’t go down and just stop at… Oh, actually it does. I see what you’re saying now. There really is no good position for eating.

But I’ll tell you this: Sitting when you eat is a good practice to get into. If you have to sit down with a plate every time you eat, you’ll gain less weight, because you’ll eat less often. It’s kind of like the Sukkos diet, where every time you want to eat, you have to put something on, go outside, roll up a tarp, sit down, and then get up and come back in for silverware. And then a drink. And then a cup. For goodness sakes.

Dear Mordechai,

My daughter brings home arts and crafts every day, and that’s great. I make a huge deal about it and I hang it up on the fridge. But it’s every single day. Should I get a bigger fridge?

S.S., Far Rockaway

Dear S.,

I don’t see how you really have any other choice. What are you going to do, hurt her feelings?

It doesn’t help either that these kids don’t make nearly enough magnets in school. For every twenty things they make that have to be hung up with magnets, they make maybe one magnet. And to be honest, it’s not a very sticky magnet.

And then the question is: How long do you have to wait before taking it down? If you take it down too soon, the kid gets insulted. If you take it down too late, the kid gets embarrassed.

See, that’s the good thing about Sukkos — all those projects could go up in the sukkah, and then a week later, you get to take it down. Or, if you’re not particularly good at hanging things, you get to watch them blow away. Either way, you don’t have to insult anyone.

I have the same issue with my daughter, especially in the summer. Arts and crafts are fun to put together, but I don’t have fun figuring out where to put it. It’s kind of like how some people enjoy shopping, but then they come home with a bunch of stuff, and where are we going to put it? We don’t have nearly enough magnets. I say that you can enjoy shopping, but every few days, you should bring it all back. The shopping part is done. Do you love finding places for things too? It’s like when your kid plays a game, and you make him clean it up. He doesn’t love cleaning, but he loves playing a game. This is part of it.

Dear Mordechai,

What should I do about telemarketers?

P.H.R., Philly

Dear P.,

Hang up. They can’t really stop you, can they? I find that the easiest way to hang up is to do it during one of your own sentences. That way, they think there’s no way you actually hung up on yourself.

Report: Netanyahu Agreed to Return Entire Golan to Syria

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in principle in 2010 to give back the Golan Heights to Syria, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported.

The paper quotes unnamed American sources as saying that in 2010 “Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan, to the shores of Lake Kinneret, in exchange for a peace agreement with Syria.” The initiative reportedly collapsed amid the outbreak of Syria’s civil war.

In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said the talk of withdrawal was “an American initiative, one of many discussed with Israel, which was not adopted at any stage,” the newspaper said.

According to the account in Yediot, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, was supportive of the initiative. The Israelis “expected” a deal would mean the severing of ties between Iran and Syria, though this was not stated as an explicit demand, the report said.

The Americans quoted in the report said the talks about the proposed deal were at an advanced stage and that the American side was “surprised by the willingness shown by Netanyahu, who offered the Syrians more than his predecessors.”

Insiders: Rumors of Deri’s Return to Shas Premature

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday’s announcement of early elections has given new life, among other things, to speculations about former Shas leader Aryeh Deri’s return to the top. But Deri associates on Wednesday denied the rumors.

The charismatic Deri has served 22 months in prison between 2000 and 2002, for taking a $155 thousand bribe while serving as Interior Minister. He was replaced by the current Interior Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai.

In recent days the rumors were flying about a Deri’s recent coup, whereby he has managed to gain enough favor with the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, to reinstate him in the top post while Yishai will be demoted to second place on the Shas Knesset list.

But Deri supporters on Thursday confided with Israel Today thattheir man is in “a serious bind” and would require a miracle to retake the top spot.

Deri’s predicament is, according to insiders, that after having made a commitment not to run on an independent list, he still hasn’t been able to unseat his rival Yishai.

“We offered him in recent months to compete against Shas, but that’s probably not going to happen,” an insider told Israel Today. Still, Deri “has to be present in these elections. If he doesn’t enter now, the story is over, and he only has the Shas option. I’m sorry to say only a miracle would cause Rabbi Ovadia to push aside Yishai and award the party stewardship to Deri.”

The question remains open as to whether or not Deri would acquiesce to take the second spot. In the past the disgraced politician has stated unequivocally that second place is “out of the question,” the insider added. “But under these new circumstances, you never know.”

Minister Yishai on Wednesday denied reports about a deal that’s being worked on inside Shas. His office said “there is no such deal.”

As to Deri’s possible return, Yishai said: “There’s Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Council of Torah Sages, and they decide. I’ve said many times that I would be delighted if Deri comes back to Shas according to the Rabbi’s decisions. Deri, too, respects the Rabbi’s decisions, and whomever doesn’t respect the Rabbi’s opinion has no place in Shas.”

Israel Newspaper Staffs Go On Strike

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Employees of Haaretz have gone on an open-ended strike, while Maariv employees are burning tires outside their office building, due to the anticipated firing of nearly 2000 people in Maariv, as well as anticipated staff staff cutbacks at Haaretz.

This comes in addition, according to a report on Galei Tzahal, of staff firings that have already begun in the recent days at Globes, Yediot, and others.

The strike was timed to coincide with a special Directors meeting at Haaretz.

Some of the striking newspaper staff are demanding that the government bail out the newspapers, because of their “important role in safeguarding Israeli democracy.”

In addition, there are new difficulties in the Makor Rishon acquisition of Maariv.  Maariv may be in more debt than previously disclosed, and it’s sales projections are less than were previously estimated placing the deal in a precarious position. Shlomo Ben-Zvi is reportedly working on renegotiating the deal.

FYI, you will still be able to get your news today from JewishPress.com.

Keeping the Faith

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I am wholly inadequate to deal with this subject. That said I cannot leave it untouched. There is a phenomenon taking place that is highly disturbing to a believer and a rationalist like myself. The phenomenon I refer to is that of an increasing number of Orthodox Jews that are questioning their faith. Emunah has never before been tested like it is now. At least in my lifetime.

It used to be a bigger problem in the more open world of Modern Orthodoxy. That is where Rabbi Eliyahu Fink suggests the majority of the problem lies. But with the advent of the internet, everyone is at risk.

Tablet Magzine has an article by Ari Margolies, an 18 year old that is going through this. He was raised in a religious home. He was someone that loved his Judaism as a child. But then after his Bar Mitzvah he started asking the difficult questions. Questions that are difficult to answer. Thus he has become a skeptic – joining the community of skeptics who have had the same questions.

These are not people who went OTD because of dysfunction in their lives. Nor are they particularly the ones whose educational needs are not met because they are not up to the fierce completion in Yeshivos, whether it is in the area of Limud HaTorah or in the area of academic studies. These are the bright kids. These are the good kids from good families. And in some cases these are adults who at some point in their lives ask hard questions that end up leading them into becoming skeptics.

I have dealt with this topic in the past. I have offered my own views as to why I have Emunah. But I fully admit that I do not have satisfactory answers to all the questions asked by these highly intelligent people. For example it is almost impossible to answer a question put to me many times by different people – and one that precipitated Ari’s descent into the world of skeptics. From the article:

One morning, I woke up and a thought fell on me like a ton of bricks. I realized I was only an Orthodox Jew because it was what I had been taught since birth. I knew no other way. If I had been born into a Christian family, I would have been on the Jesus train. If I’d been born into a Muslim family, I would’ve jumped on the Allah bandwagon. If I had been raised in the splendor of the flying spaghetti monster, then I’d have spent my mornings praising his noodle appendages. I was an Orthodox Jew by chance, I realized, and the realization shook me to my core.

I honestly do not know how to answer a question like this. And yet I have complete faith in Judaism as it has been handed down to me by my forefathers. Am I lucky to be born a Jew in a religious home? Yes! You bet I am. But that does not answer the question of why I get to be so lucky.

One of the things I deal with here (which my last post touched upon) is the fantastic stories of faith that strains credulity. As described by Ari:

I would hear stories of people who had their lives saved by their tefillin. One guy was praying while driving and got into a car accident; the only thing that stopped his head from smashing through the windshield was his headpiece. Another devout man, about to board a plane, realized he left his tefillin at home and missed the flight while retrieving them, and—you guessed it—the plane crashed. It all sounded like a bit much.

These kinds of stories tend to bring out the skeptic in me as well. Not that they are impossible to believe. But that they are so frequently used to prove that a miracle occurred because of an act based on one’s religious belief… Or taken a step further, because one participated in one of those Segula Tzedaka campaigns.

When people start questioning their faith, stories like this only accelerate the process.

I don’t have any answers to this increasing problem. But at the same time, there is absolutely nothing being done to address them in a communal way. At least not as it pertains to nipping it in the bud in one’s formal educational experience.

Egypt and China Signing Deals and Building Ties

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

In the wake of Egyptian President Morsi’s recent visit to China, Morsi returns to Egypt with 8 partnership deals and a 71 million dollars gift to his government. The deals are in the fields of agriculture, environment, communications, tourism, as well as to import Chinese cars for the Egyptian police force.

One of the deals is for the purchase of security cameras. The cameras will be placed around Cairo, and specifically in Tahrir Square.

The camera deal replaces a deal that Egypt previously had with the US, signed with former Egpytian president Mubarak.

An Egyptian source said that it is believed that the American cameras allowed the US to spy on Egypt and see everything that was being filmed, while the new deal with China has a section in it explicitly prohibiting China from spying on them with these cameras.

Maybe the US cameras were connected to the Mossad sharks?

Migron Not Evacuated as Scheduled

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Migron outpost in the West Bank was not evacuated as scheduled.

The eviction had been scheduled for Tuesday, the same day that the Israeli Supreme Court conducted a hearing on a petition filed by the residents requesting a delay in the eviction until the modular homes being built for the evacuees are completed. They reportedly will not be habitable for several weeks.

A decision is not expected for at least several days.

Some 17 families who claim they have purchased or repurchased the plots that their homes are located on also have petitioned the court to be allowed to stay in their homes.

In March, the Supreme Court ruled against an attempt by the government to postpone to 2015 the demolition of Migron, which the Palestinians say is built on their land. Deferrals against the demolition stretch back to 2006.

The settlers, who deny that Migron is built on private Palestinian land, had signed a deal with the Netanyahu government agreeing to relocate to a nearby hill.

The Draft Tragicomedy

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

If it weren’t so sad, the draft brouhaha in Israel would be the greatest show in town. It is a masquerade ball, a tragicomedy whereby each actor says the complete opposite of what he really wants.

The main actor, the IDF, is practically invisible. He doesn’t dare speak the truth, which is uncomfortable to many. The IDF really does not want the haredim in its ranks. As it is, the army has too much manpower. The last thing it needs is to deal with tens of thousands of new recruits with special dietary (and other) requirements – for which the army is unprepared. Both the Ben Basat Committee and the Shefer Committee have already studied the issue and recommended reducing conscription. But telling the truth to the feminists demanding to draft women into combat units and to the “pushovers” demanding a full-scale draft for the haredim would force the IDF top brass to exercise a rare character trait: acting courageously on public issues.

The second actor in our tragicomedy is the bearer of the torch of hatred for the haredim. This actor and his like-minded supporters were never great fans of army service. The last thing Yair Lapid wants is for the religious Zionist dominance in combat units to be matched by haredi dominance in the computer units of the Air Force and Navy. The outburst of patriotism that suddenly exploded onto the scene reflects political expedience and has nothing to do with ethics, or social or national values.

The third and fourth actors, the Kadima and Likud parties, are dragged into the show for similar reasons. The supporting cast: the media and the New Israel Fund and its plethora of organizations have kindled the cyclical bonfire of haredi hatred in the Israeli forest. Now they are all dancing around the flames. Who has time to deal with minor issues like Syria or Iran?

The only actors who truly want the haredim to enlist are the majority of haredi young men. They, like most people, are not capable of learning throughout the day and night. They would prefer to enter the workforce, but their establishment and Israel’s establishment do not allow them to do so. So in our theater of the absurd, the haredim wear the mask of those who do not want to enlist.

At the commencement ceremony recently held for the accounting graduates at the Kiryat Ono College, department head Yaron Zelicha addressed the many haredim who had successfully completed their degrees. He told them that they had not only scored better than the accounting graduates in other colleges, but that their grades were even higher than those of their secular counterparts.

The real challenge facing Israel is not integrating the haredim into the army, but rather integrating them into the workforce. Europe is not collapsing because of a lack of soldiers, but because in the face of increasing longevity, the productive sector of their society is shrinking.

Most of the nurseries and kindergartens being opened in Israel are for haredim. It is not the draft quotient in two decades that ought to concern us, but the integration into the workforce that should. If Israel continues to make it difficult for haredim who did not serve in the army to work, it is actually cutting off the branch on which it sits. Scientific investigation shows that a haredi child living in poverty today is the best investment for those aiming their arrows at him. That child will be feeding them when they are older.

The government can encourage the haredim to enter the workforce by taking the following steps:

1. Cut the connection between army service and integration into the workforce. When we prohibit Israeli citizens from working, what we are really doing is preventing them from paying taxes. The sanctions preventing the haredim from working are much more punishing to the state than to the citizen.

2. Copy and expand to other campuses the successful example of Yaron Zelicha at the Kiryat Ono College. The induction of haredim into academic learning and prodding them toward professions that Israel needs – particularly professions in which the haredim’s Talmudic backgrounds give them an advantage – is not only possible but also a sure way to success.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/the-draft-tragicomedy/2012/08/15/

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