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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

The “One Day” Generation‏

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Depression is serious. But if there is anything that the news of Robin Williams’ death has taught us is that as long as there’s hope, hope for a brighter tomorrow, then God willing we will merit to see many light-filled days to come.

Each generation has its own lyrics that typify it. In the early 70s it was John Lennon’s Imagine. In the early 90s it was Nirvana’s Nevermind. And in this generation it is Matisyahu’s One Day.

mat

We were classmates so I’m partial. But I don’t care. I don’t care because the thought that I had for this article is a thought that may help someone out there.

Before I quote some of the lyrics, I should first explain the progression that is being made. In the previous article, we called the generation of the 60s and early 70s the generation of dreamers or imagination, which I related to the World of Creation in Kabbalah, the World of Thought. The “nevermind” generation of the 90s relates to the World of Formation, the World of Emotion and to the feeling of not being heard.

But now we find ourselves in the World of Action. On the one hand this means that we are living in a very special time. A time when actions are paramount as in the saying of the sages, “action is the most essential.”

There is also another saying, “the end of action is first in thought.” This is the generation to take all the good thoughts and dreams of the 60s and 70s (and all of human history) and finishes the job.

How do we finish the job? By moving mountains and shouting from the hilltops? Maybe that worked in the 60s for The Sound of Music, but this again was just another fiction, a dream. And as with any dream, there was some good mixed in with a whole lot of nonsense.

So what now? What is our job now? This may surprise you, but the biggest thing that most of us can do in this generation consists of the smallest acts. To smile and greet people on the street. To give tzedakah (charity) each and every day (except for Shabbat and holidays). And for those who struggle with life itself, to get out of bed each morning to live another day. In this generation it’s the small but repeated acts of goodness and kindness that count the most.

One more thing before I quote from the One Day lyrics. This time about the title of Matisyahu’s song itself. Why was the wording “one day” chosen?

The inner reason is that it reminds us about a seven week period each year called the Counting of the Omer, and the spiritual growth process during that period. To quote from Inner.org:

“Though the Counting of the Omer lasts for 49 days (from the end of the first day of Passover to the day before Shavu’ot) the way that we count explicitly states that we are adding days. We do not say “Today is the first day of the Omer,” “Today is the second day of the Omer,” etc… but rather on the first day we say, “Today is one day to the Omer”; on the second day we say, “Today are two days to the Omer” etc., and we do not “today is the second day of the Omer” and so on.”

The article then goes on to explain the significance of 49 (the sum of all numbers from 1 to 49).

Yonatan Gordon

NYPD Cop Arrested for Anti-Semitic Grafitti in Boro Park

Monday, May 5th, 2014

A former New York City police officer allegedly suffering from “mental illness” was arrested over the weekend for spray painting anti-Semitic graffiti in numerous locations throughout Brooklyn’s Chassidic neighborhood of Boro Park.

Michael Setiawan left the force in 2007 after two years of service, allegedly due to depression, according to a police source quoted by the New York Daily News. His younger brother, also a police officer, later committed suicide (in 2011), police added. Neighbors living near the family home told the newspaper that Setiawan “has got problems” but said “he’s a good guy.”

Currently age 36, the suspect is accused of having spray-painted 15 cars, three buildings, and a girls’ school with hate-filled words and epithets aimed at Jews.

The words “F — you Jew” and “Jew cheap s—-“ were sprayed on to the walls of the Bnos Zion Bobov School on 14th Avenue. Those phrases along with other words and swastikas were also sprayed elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The vandalism created havoc in Boro Park. Residents were terrorized; many are elderly Holocaust survivors with memories of how their nightmares in eastern Europe started — those nightmares began with similar epithets and words scrawled by the Nazis on the buildings around their homes decades ago.

Surveillance cameras caught sight of a bald man wielding a spray paint can on Saturday night in the graffiti attack who appeared to be Setiawan, according to a report published by the newspaper. He was arrested Sunday after detectives reviewed the footage and checked the registration of the car seen in the tape, a source said.

The former police officer was charged with 19 counts each of criminal mischief as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment as a hate crime in connection with the vandalism.

Local Jewish community leaders expressed shock that the perpetrator was a former police officer, but praised detectives for the quick arrest.

Hana Levi Julian

France in a State of National Depression

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

France is the sick man of Europe — at least, that is how the French themselves apparently see it. Last month, a survey published in the leading newspaper, Le Monde, found that a large majority of the French believe that France’s economic power and cultural influence have declined over the past decade. One in every two Frenchmen seems to have lost hope, evidently convinced that the decline of France — economic as well as cultural — is “inevitable.”

The French also seem to have lost faith in democracy. Le Monde described the survey’s findings as “alarming.” Three-quarters believe that French democracy is not working well. 62% believe that their politicians are corrupt. The survey indicated that authoritarianism is widely supported, by the Left as well as the Right. More than 70% of the French want a strong leader – a “real chef” – to restore order. So do, obviously, not only 97% of the right-wing Front National party voters, but also an astonishing 98% of the voters of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and 70% of the voters of the governing Socialist Party of President François Hollande.

A quarter of the French want to withdraw from the European Union; two-thirds want to limit the E.U.’s power and take a stronger stand in favor of France’s own interests. A majority of the French favor economic protectionism; 70% are convinced there are too many foreigners in the country, and 62% no longer feel as at home in their own country as they used to. Front National party leader Marine Le Pen said the survey shows that “The French agree with us.”

Dominique Reynié, a professor of political science at the renowned Paris Institute of Political Studies [Sciences Po], describes the general sentiment, visible in the survey, as “ethno-Socialism.” This is a Socialism that strives for Keynesian full employment and an elaborate social security system, underpinned by nationalist policies.

The survey also showed that 74% of the French consider Islam incompatible with French society, and 25% say that Judaism is incompatible with French society. Among the latter there might be a significant number of Muslims. Nevertheless, the figure is disconcertingly high. 11% consider Catholicism incompatible with French society.

According to the historian Michel Winock, another professor at Sciences Po, “the French are afraid.” They are afraid of unemployment, economic decline, globalization, the E.U., immigrants, Islam. They are suffering from a “profound despair,” which makes them long for strong leadership. In 2007, they voted for Sarkozy in the hope that he would be this strong leader. Last year, they voted for Hollande who promised a national resurgence. In both cases, they were sorely disappointed.

The national malaise also visible in the survey can be seen elsewhere in French society as well. The French are depressed: they are the world’s largest consumers of anti-depressants — twice as much as their English neighbors and three times as much as their German neighbors.

The feelings of national depression were not eased when two weeks ago Michel Sapin, the French Minister of Labor, said in a radio interview that the French state was “totally bankrupt.” Though technically not officially bankrupt yet, France has five major financial headaches.

First, there is the rising government debt. Between 1974, when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing became President of France, and today, France’s national debt rose from 21% to 90% of GDP. This year, interest payments on government debt amount to €45 billion, the largest item in government expenditure, and higher than the total education budget.

Second, there is the pension problem. France has a pay-as-you-go pension system. In order to keep future pensions payable, the French government either has to raise the working population’s pension contributions by 1.1%, cut actual pensions by 5%, or raise the retirement age, currently at 60, by 9 months. Last June, President Hollande cut the retirement age from 62 to 60, reversing the raise introduced by his predecessor Sarkozy in 2010. Minister Sapin, a pragmatic Socialist, opposed this move, but Hollande felt compelled to fulfill his electoral promises.

Third, there is the labor market. 18% of France’s active population is unemployed. Over half a million people have been out of work for more than three years. Three years ago, fewer than 300.000 people were in this situation. Wage costs are too high, productivity is dropping, and talented people are leaving France to work abroad.

Peter Martino

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/france-in-a-state-of-national-depression/2013/02/19/

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