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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘death’

‘Miriam’s Song’ Speaks to the Soul of the Nation of Israel About Loss

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The reviewer’s copy of Miriam’s Song has been floating around the house for days. It was passed from hand to hand during the holidays and scanned by family members over the Sabbath. Photos of national icon and author Miriam Peretz are scattered throughout the book: Miriam with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with President Reuven Rivlin … even in a hug with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Each time the promise was made to pass it on ‘when the review is finished.’ The list of readers demanding that book is as long as the entire apartment.

And yet.

It was ready for review a while ago. But how does one describe the world of a whisper, a prayer, a cry filled with grief, a confident embrace of support for countless others and yet a scream of defiance too?

Miriam's Song, the best-selling account of a mother of two sons who lost their lives in combat, translated now from Hebrew into English.

Miriam’s Song, the best-selling account of a mother of two sons who lost their lives in combat, translated now from Hebrew into English.

Miriam Peretz does all that and more in her account of how she managed to survive the loss of her two sons in combat — one after the other, both serving in the Golani Brigade — and her husband whose heart she said “could simply stand no more” and yet motivate herself to move on and lead others.

The mother of six speaks of her children, all of whom served and serve in the Israel Defense Forces, most as members of the elite Golanis.

Sons Avichai and Eliyasaf, Miriam and Eliraz, z'l.

Sons Avichai and Eliyasaf, Miriam and Eliraz, z’l.

She speaks of her childhood, how she immigrated to Israel with her parents as a child from Morocco, her years growing up in the south and her struggle to learn how to become an educator. Her courtship and marriage to her wonderfully patient, wise husband.

That first moment of pride seeing her oldest son in uniform, watching him grow to become an IDF officer. The first life-crushing experience when an IDF delegation came to say he’d never come home again, alive.

The battle faced by her life partner with a life-threatening illness that drained his vitality but not his determination – until the last moment when he too could fight no more.

The day she learned her second son was determined to follow his older brother’s footsteps: could she deny him his dream? And yet, the price she paid for her willingness to allow him that chance, the day she stood at the cemetery facing his newly-dug grave alone, without the support of her husband beside her.

The dilemma of no longer knowing which grave to visit “first” on Memorial Day: the guilt she felt that day. It is this last that perhaps is the most heartbreaking of all: for in this, Miriam is but one of thousands. How many wives and mothers and daughters join her in this horrific nightmare – whose grave to visit “first” this year at Mount Herzl’s military cemetery on Israel’s Memorial Day?

Father? Husband? Brother? Son? Daughter? Sister, Wife? Mother?

There they lie, our courageous, fearless veterans of every defensive war our battered but unbowed nation has ever fought. Without any hesitation they don their uniforms, shoulder their weapons and set off to their units with a chuckle and a grin, maybe a hug for the little ones, a whispered reassurance for an older child or a mother or a wife. None of them ever know when or if they will return. That is written Upstairs in the Big Book.

Hana Levi Julian

Modern Liberalism and the Death of Civilization

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The Nihilism (involving moral relativism) that contaminated higher education in America begins with the early 20th century flood of European philosophy in American academia. Most influential was Germany’s (or Hegel’s) historical relativism, which contradicts the biblical narrative, as did England’s (or Hume’s) atheistic empiricism. Both dominate higher education to this day, even in the “Jewish” state of Israel.

As Leo Strauss has shown, the father of modern liberalism is none other than Spinoza. Spinoza is also the father of biblical criticism. This made Spinoza the darling of Germany, of the nineteenth-century German school of Bible Critics.

Spinoza must therefore have encouraged the European-educated John Stuart Mill, whose mid-nineteenth essay On Liberty made him the world’s leading exponent of unfettered freedom of speech, hence of the free speech Liberalism that continues to predominate the mentality of American law schools and judicial institutions.

Paradoxically, however, free speech Liberalism is now eviscerating academic freedom in the United States. American colleges and universities have succumbed to the virtual totalitarianism underlying the prohibition of what is called “hate speech,” speech that offends the sentiments, above all the religious beliefs of Muslims, The ban on “hate speech” means the end of the liberal dogma of unfettered freedom of speech. The ban on “hate speech” may readily be construed as indistinguishable from speech involving, however remotely the character of other human beings.

What irony! The unrestrained permissiveness of Liberalism regarded obscenity as a protected form of speech by the American Supreme Court. This ruling at least denied the existence of truth and of evil, hence of that which denies the existence of a rational God, as well as the distinction between the human and the subhuman.

That denial can readily undermine the distinction between the polite speech appropriate in the company of woman and the obscene speech typical among vile men. This involves a degradation of language. The foulness of language violates the language of Holy Writ, which utterly avoids obscenity and employs only euphemisms to avoid any degradation of the human body, the creation of God.

This lofty attitude toward speech or language was overruled by Israel’s ultra-Liberal Supreme Court president, Judge Aharon Barak, who nullified a law permitting the Film Censorship Board to ban pornographic movies by ruling that nothing can actually be declared pornography, “as one man’s pornography is another man’s art” (Station Film Company v. Film Censorship Board, 1997).

As a free speech Liberal, Barak seems to have been very much influenced by the academic doctrine of moral-cum-cultural relativism. Moral-cum-cultural relativism was, and effectively still is, the ruling dogma of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The most famous and influential intellectual founder of this university was the German-educated Martin Buber. Buber, who renounced Judaism to the extent of marrying a Gentile, propagated the anti-Jewish Hegelian doctrine of Historical Relativism (or moral pluralism). Buber’s book, Two Kinds of Faith, happens to provide a philosophical basis of the “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Buber wrote Two Kinds of Faith to justify by his marriage to a Gentile, a convenient academic justification for a Jew-turned cultural relativist!

Epilogue

The free speech Liberalism underlying American as well as Israeli law has sanctified public obscenity and even pornography, which are rooted in atheism.

The denial of God, evident in contemporary Liberal education, engenders the denial of all moral distinctions.

An important set of moral distinctions is related to men and women. The ascendency of free speech Liberalism, of unfettered freedom of speech, diminishes the differences in the language used in speaking to and about men and women.

This unrestrained Liberalism encourages not only homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. By its denial of truth it generates nihilism which in turn undermines any normative understanding of Islamic terrorism, as is evident in President Barack Obama’s attitude toward that savagery.

Same sex marriage, like Islamic terrorism, is a rejection of Western Civilization. Women (hence children) will be the first victims of this Liberalism, beginning, as mentioned, with our attitude toward Language. Since language distinguishes the human from the subhuman, its degradation in obscenity cannot but degrade human life. This is also the consequence of Islamic terrorism which, consistent with Islamic theology, substitutes the primacy of force over the primacy of reason.

Summing up: Free speech Liberalism – with its denial of truth – is actually a negation of rational speech, hence of God’s gift to man. Unfettered freedom of speech, the tendency of modern Liberalism, and implicit in the above-mentioned decision of Judge Aharon Barak, signals the death of rational speech, hence of civilization.

With Barak-type Liberals laying down the law concerning what was traditionally known as distinctively human, and therefore hence of what is decent and indecent, the word “terrorism” will become as meaningless as the term “marriage.”

Small wonder that neither Israelis nor Americans know where they are going, although there are signs that their ultimate destination is the grave.

Paul Eidelberg

EU Condemns Death Sentences in Gaza for Suspected Collaborators With Israel

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

The European Union released a statement earlier today in which it condemned the military courts in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for sentencing to death five convicts accused of collaborating with Israel.

“The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemn the five death sentences issued by military courts in the Gaza Strip on 18 April,” said the EU statement. “These include three new death sentences and the confirmation of two previous ones, all on the grounds of collaboration with enemy forces.”

“This brings to ten the total number of death sentences to be issued in Gaza this year,” the EU added.

Death sentences for convicted informants and collaborators with Israel are nothing new for the Hamas regime as the terror organization has executed many such individuals over the years. However, the EU focused less on opposition to the punishment of suspected collaborators with Israel and more on the use of the death penalty in general.

“As in their most recent statement on 13 April, the EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall the EU’s firm opposition under all circumstances to the use of capital punishment,” the EU stressed in its statement.

“It considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, that it fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavior, and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” the statement continued.

The EU expressed its belief that the removal of the death penalty would help to serve as a step forward in the advancement of human rights under the Hamas terror regime in Gaza.

The EU also asked that the Hamas authorities in Gaza abide by the decision of the Palestinian Authority, which only governs over Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria and not in Gaza, to implement a moratorium on the death penalty.

“The authorities in Gaza must refrain from carrying out any executions of prisoners and comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend,” insisted the EU.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Death Rates from Most Cancers, Heart Disease, Among Lowest in OECD

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics last week released its report on Causes of Death in Israel in 2013, which includes a few positive notes about the state of health of Israelis.

The report’s highlights were:

Mortality rates from cardiovascular (heart) and cerebrovascular (brain) diseases have gone down by more than 80% since the mid-1970s.

The most common cause of death in Israel in 2013 was malignant neoplasms (cancer), followed by heart disease.

The Death rates from malignant neoplasms (cancer), ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases in Israel are lower than in most Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The mortality rate from trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, which is the most common cancer type in Israeli men, is very low relative to the OECD countries. However, the mortality rate from breast cancer, which is the most common type in Israeli women, is very high relative to the OECD.

Also, mortality rates from diabetes, infectious diseases and kidney diseases are very high in Israel compared with OECD countries.

In 2013, 41,479 residents died in Israel, half a percent of Israel’s population that year. 49.4% of the deceased were male, 50.6% female.

6% of the deceased were under age 45. 80% of the deceased were over age 65 (of which 65% were older than 75 and 36% – were over the age of 85).

1.3% of the deceased (539) were infants under one year old.

The ten most common causes of death led to 75% of all deaths in 2013. The two most common causes of death were malignant neoplasms (cancer) and heart disease — 41% of all deaths in Israel resulted from these two causes. As in all recent years, malignant neoplasms were the most common cause of death in 2013, making up about a quarter of all deaths.

External causes constituted one third of men’s deaths and one eighth of women’s. Of all the external causes of death, the biggest gender gap was in incidents of suicides, traffic accidents and murder. The adjusted mortality rate from suicide by age among men was four times higher than among women (6.8% vs. 1.7%, respectively). Death from road accidents was 3.8 higher among men than women (6.6% vs. 1.8%, respectively). The murder rate among men was 2.8 times higher than among women (2.3% versus 0.8%, respectively).

JNi.Media

Chapel Launches Free Jewish Funeral and Yahrzeit Memorial iPhone App

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

(JNi.media) If you need an easy way to remember when and how to commemorate the Yahrzeit (memorial day for the departed) of a family member or friend, you may be interested in the first “Jewish Funeral and Yahrzeit Memorial App” for the iPhone. The App will provide directions to the cemetery, or to the funeral chapel from your current location, using iPhone’s GPS features.

In addition, the app offers a “Prayers and Meditations” section that can be referenced for a parent, a sibling, child or a friend. For the visually impaired, there are audio recordings of various prayers as well as the transliteration of all prayers from Hebrew to English.

“Plaza Jewish Community Chapel through its creative app brings the traditional and contemporary worlds together to help families during a most difficult time,” says Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Plaza Board Member and an Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis.

App users also receive push notifications for the yearly Yahrzeit, for each Memorial they’ve created in the app, according to the Hebrew calendar. The app will calculate the correct date each year and send a push notification to the user’s iPhone. Traditionally, the Yahrzeit includes reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish Prayer, which can be found in the app, and lighting a Yahrzeit candle. It is also customary to make a charitable donation on the Yahrzeit, in memory of one’s family member or friend, and it can be done directly from the app.

For many, recognizing Yizkor is a very important time. It is a time to remember. Yizkor means “remembrance” in Hebrew and four times a year the app will send a Yizkor push notification. Reminders will arrive in time for Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.

The app is also a resource for Jewish Funeral customs and etiquette, as well as for links to websites that may be helpful. A variety of fresh content will be added to the app, (without the need to download a new version), serving as an ongoing blog, with new Prayers and Meditations, Jewish customs and etiquette.

Click here to download this free App om itunes.

JNi.Media

Israeli Citizen Killed in Thailand

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

An Israeli citizen has died in the Pattaya region of Thailand while traveling on Saturday to Bangkok. The circumstances are unknown at present.

The victim, whose name has not yet been released, is in his 30s. His family is in touch with the Foreign Ministry while the Israel Consulate in Bangkok makes arrangements for transport of the body back to Israel.

Baruch HaDayan HaEmet.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Running Out of Burial Space, Jerusalem Will Bury You in a Cave

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

After building up above-ground, vertically stacked, hi-rise grave niches in Jerusalem’s Har HaMenuchot cemetery, Jerusalem is looking down, way down, and is planning to build a $50 million underground catacomb system for burying the dead underneath Har HaMenuchot.

Har HaMenuchot currently holds 150,000 bodies and is running out of room.

Phase 1 of the “subterranean city of the dead” as the Washington Post called it, will hold 22,000 bodies in underground crypts linked together on three floors by elevators, intersecting tunnels and air conditioning.

The cost is being footed by pre-sales to Jews overseas at a cost of between $5000 to $10,000. People are dying to get in.

Israelis get free burials – one of the perks of citizenship — though reserving a specific grave next to your loved one costs extra. There’s always a catch.

The digging of the catacombs is being done by a robot borer, as there’s too much dust in the digging process for a human.

It’s estimated the phase one’s 22,000 crypts will be filled within 7 years. After that, more digging.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/running-out-of-burial-space-jerusalem-will-bury-you-in-a-cave/2015/05/20/

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