Neta Rivkin, a returning Olympian in rhythmic gymnastics, sees participating in London 2012 and winning a medal as the fulfillment of a long-term dream. Her beautiful yet difficult training sessions show how she is preparing to make her dream come true.
Posts Tagged ‘dream’
Rabbi Meir Kahane published this in The Jewish Press 40 years ago. Some things just don’t seem to change:
The synagogue is filled from end to end. Every seat is reserved, every inch of space taken up. The Yom Kippur Neila service is drawing to an end. A day of repentance, prayer and charity fades to a close. A congregation, elevated for a day at least, watches as the Shofar is raised and a long, clear, vibrant blast fills the hall. Five hundred voices cry out spontaneously —
“L’Shanah Ha’Ba’ah b’Yerushalayim!” “Next Year in Jerusalem!”
The crowd files out to begin yet another year of bitter exile amidst television and Miami Beach.
The synagogue is dark and hushed. A few candles flutter in the corners, their flickering flames lighting the pained and saddened faces of the congregation sitting on low benches waiting for the Tisha B’Av services to begin, and the mournful tune of the Eycha — Lamentations — rises softly, punctuated by the sobs of the mourners of Zion. Every mind is shattered as the picture of the beloved homeland, bereft of its children, comes to mind. Every pious Jew sitting in the room sighs and dreams of the day — may it soon come — when God will allow him to, once again, kiss the soil of the homeland — courtesy of a three-week American Jewish Congress guided tour, and then back home again to the painful fleshpots.
A religion which develops a split personality is a religion in danger. A faith whose adherents begin to merely pay lip service to its tenets is in the first stages of atrophy. When individuals create a dichotomy between what they believe and what they practice, it calls for serious re-evaluation.
The dream of settling in Israel is a basic part of the Jewish faith. It is an obligation, but it is more than that; it is a dream. How many seas would the tears of our ancestors have filled as they wept for the privilege of returning to Zion? How piercing would have been the totality of their cries as they prayed to the All Mighty to “speedily bring us from the four corners of the earth and smash the yoke of the nations and bring us upright to our land!”
Who can begin to fully quote the letter of the obligatory law to settle in the Land of Israel, as expounded by our Rabbis, and who can adequately describe the acceptance of the spirit of that obligation by our ancestors, the dreamers of Zion? What would they not have given for the opportunity of returning and walking four cubits on its soil? How they would have flocked to the airports and harbors as the great vision approached fulfillment!
I write this as a traditional, observant Jew. For myself, I have written and spoken and pleaded a thousand times over to all Jews of America to leave and return to Israel — not for religious reasons — but for the elementary need to save their lives. I believe in the marrow of my bones that the days of the Jew in the United States are numbered and that there is coming a storm of physical brutality that portends a holocaust. What 48 prophets could not convince Jews to do, says the Talmud, Haman’s ring accomplished. There is a Haman’s ring in the American Jewish future, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, the time to evacuate is now. I have said this and will continue to say this to all Jews. But to the observant ones there is another, an added, perhaps, an even more important reason.
Every traditional Jew must take a long and deep look at himself. He must ask difficult and painful questions. How is it possible to honestly pray three times a day to the All Mighty to restore us to Zion when that restoration is ours at the cost of a few hundred dollars, courtesy of El Al? What rationalizations can we invent to answer those who question our lamentations for Zion when the Jewish Agency is prepared to grant long-term loans for housing and transportation for those who wish to settle in Israel? What can hide our shame as we fervently proclaim, “Next Year in the Land of Israel,” when next year has already come, when the gates of the Holy Land stand open, when the obligation to return can and demands to be fulfilled?
The AP has apparently caught the Israeli government red handed on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Jewish state, as said government has “quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements.”
It’s our habit at the Jewish Press to scrub the “west bank” thing and replace it with the more biblical “Judea and Samaria,” despite the inherent reference within that name to a period in the life of the nation in which it was split into two kingdoms, both of which were eventually scrapped by enemies from without and corruption from within. But in this case it makes sense to keep the WB in place, to retain the brazen cold heartedness of the AP report.
The AP reports that the planned construction has enraged Palestinians, although it is difficult to tell at this point what doesn’t enrage Palestinians. But in this case, the move – imagine, housing for 500 Jewish families – would likely also enrage Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is determined to “re-energize” the Mideast peace efforts.
Back in January, Netanyahu’s Cabinet identified more than 550 communities, “including 70 West Bank settlements,” as national priority areas, the AP reminds us. The list drew immediate protests from… you guessed it, the Palestinians. And so, shortly thereafter, Netanyahu quietly held a second vote in a phone meeting to exclude the settlements from the measure.
That figure of 500 housing units has been bandied about a lot lately, including as compensation for the court ordered demolition of a section of Beit El’s Ulpana Hill neighborhood.
The AP cites Israel’s Housing Ministry, saying that the government has approved subsidies for 24 homes in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, as well as “nearly 500 other homes” in Efrat, Beitar Illit and Ariel.
A Housing Ministry spokesman told the AP that construction bids for the 500 homes have not closed yet.
The AP story mentions the Levy committee’s ruling on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, but it suggests that with more than 500,000 Jewish settlers now living in “the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the Palestinians say their dream of an independent state is fading as it grows tougher to partition the land between Israelis and Palestinians.
And who among us is heartless enough to want to see a dream fading away?
Of course, each time Israel as much as hints that it is serious about facilitating this dream of binational coexistence based on mutual recognition, it somehow ends in rivers of blood, as the Palestinians are still unwilling to embrace the concept.
Some dreams are better defined as nightmares.
An amazing thing happened to me last night! While I was sleeping, an angel appeared in a dream and told me to start a new Jewish religion.
“A new Jewish religion?” I asked, bewildered.
“That’s right,” he replied.
I was certain that I was hallucinating because I had fasted yesterday and that my mind was playing tricks. So I went back to sleep. But the angel appeared once again and told me to start a new Jewish religion.
Two times is already a sign that a dream is true, so I was really at a loss for words.
“Why me?” I asked.
“You have a nice beard,” the angel replied.
“Lots of people have nice beards,” I answered.
“You have a nice smile, too” he said. “Looks are what matters these days. If you want to have lots of followers, you have to look the part.”
It sort of made sense. But who was I to start a new Jewish religion? True, Orthodox Judaism, while showing a definite resurgence in recent years, still wasn’t pulling in the masses. And all the breakaway movements hadn’t done anything to stem the tsunami of assimilation which was eating away at Diaspora Jewry. So there certainly was room for a new movement that would inspire the Jewish People back to the fold.
Needless to say, after my middle of the night encounter with the angel, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got dressed and sat down at the computer to print out an official Rabbi diploma. After all, if I was going to start a new Jewish religion, I’d have to be a Rabbi. So I typed up a very distinguished looking certificate with a picture of Jerusalem and printed out another 500 copies, figuring I would have to have a lot of assistant Rabbis to help me spread the new movement all over the world. Plus, I figured, I was going to need money to publicize the new Jewish agenda, and by selling official Rabbi certificates to as many people as I could, I could generate funds for the operation. So, if anyone would like to become an official Rabbi, and help out the cause, all you have to do is send me $5000, and I will mail the certificate to your home, and you can be an official Rabbi too.
When my wife woke up in the morning, I asked her to please start calling me Rabbi.
I won’t tell you what she answered, but as they say, no man is a prophet in his own home.
“At least just for show, honey,” I begged. “I’m going to become the new Internet Rabbi. Soon, I’m going to be world famous.”
“Famous, shmamous,” she answered. “Did you pray Shachrit yet?”
“No, I’ve been busy,” I admitted.
“Well, go pray, and then you can worry about saving the world.”
Why bother to pray, I thought? After all, going to minyan three times a day can be a big burden, and formalized prayer can turn a lot of people off. If I was going to start a popular new Jewish religion, I’d have to attract as many followers as I could, and any whiff of coercion was sure to keep people away. Tefillin too would have to go. What enlightened person wants to put a little box on his head and walk around with tzitzit? Ever try to make a pass at a shiksa wearing tzitzit and a kippah? They were a big turn off too. In fact, all of the Torah’s commandments were too heavy and time-consuming to expect people to follow, so why not do away with them all? The Jewish holidays too. Why should Jews feel different from their gentile neighbors, with separate Jewish holidays? The progressive and reform liberal movements still pretended to have some sort of parve Jewish holiday observance, but why continue the masquerade? It only served to separate us from the goyim. In my new Jewish religions, there wouldn’t be any commandments or holidays at all. Everyone would be free to do just what he or she wanted, and they could still be Jews. If anyone wanted to be a Jew, even gentiles, just wanting to be a Jew was enough. No need to study. No tests. No primitive mikvahs and ritual immersions. What’s important is feelings, right? If someone wants to be a Jew, or feels like a Jew, all he or she has to do is send me $2000 a year for a yearly membership in the new Jewish religion, and they will receive an official certificate that I will print out stating that they are 100% Jewish.
You know you’re a Jew when…
After decades of dreaming about everything from girls, to breathing under water , to girls – suddenly I’m dreaming of…bacon.
First things first: I am a “lucid dreamer.” Which means that, while I dream, I realize I’m in a dream, and I make conscious decisions within the dream to shape it or change it. As recently as the 1980’s lucid dreaming was thought to not exist. But now scientists believe that 50% of people have had at least one lucid dream in their lives, and 20% have about one lucid dream per month.
I’m having them constantly. About bacon.
The thing about dreams is: there’s no hiding from the real you in your dreams.
Take the classic “I’ve gone to work and forgotten my clothes” dream. In such a dream, you may find yourself giving a presentation to your colleagues – only to look down and notice that you are presenting far more to your colleagues than you had bargained for.
If your first reaction is to be embarrassed and cover up – congratulations – you’re normal. Being embarrassed and covering up is probably what you would do in real life, if you suddenly found yourself presenting to your colleagues your naked PowerPoint (ahem). On the other hand, if your first reaction in a naked-at-the-office dream is to find the nearest vertical poll and start spinning on it, then perhaps your subconscious is trying to tell you that an office job is not for you.
The way “you” react in your dreams is the way You would react. The “you” in your dream is you.
The “me” in my dreams is a Jew.
Even though (depending on when you read this) I am not yet a Jew, my subconscious – the real me – is already a Jew. And he’s not just a Jew – he’s Shomer Kashrut.
After a lifetime of not dreaming about bacon, I suddenly find myself thrust into a parade of dreams that have tested me, coerced me, and even conspired to trick me with swine.
The first dream featured a pulled-pork sandwich. In the dream, the person who served me the sandwich told me it was fake vegetarian pork. One bite told me that was a lie. So I spit it out, didn’t swallow, and woke myself up.
In another dream I was tricked with cheddar cheese. It seemed like normal cheddar cheese, but when I bit into it, all I could taste was bacon. I challenged my dreamworld bacon-pusher, but she claimed the cheese was just seasoned with fake bacon flavor. I sensed a lie. So again – ptuey-tuey – I spit it out and woke myself up.
The most recent dream was downright weird and complex. I was confined to a hospital bed, and a doctor gave me an injection. When the “medicine” hit my bloodstream, I sensed something wasn’t Kosher. I asked the doctor: “What did you put in me?” He brushed me off, so I raised the intensity: “Was there pork product in that syringe?” Again, he punked me off. So I grabbed the doctor by his lab coat, yanked his face closed to mine, and menaced him until I saw fear in his eyes: “Tell me doc: will that shot kill me now, or in the afterlife?”
A Jew not to be messed with.
In my dreams, I dream as a Jew. That’s who I am in the deepest part of my subconscious.
Back in my waking world, I now return to my Jewish studies. So I can turn my dreams into reality.
Minus the bacon, of course.
How do you make a million dollars in Israel? You start with two million.
The joke reflects a perception many “Anglo” Jews share regarding their financial opportunities in the Holy Land. The implication is that the only people who go on Aliya from English speaking countries are the very strong ideologically or religiously, while the rest simply don’t stand a chance to make it.
There’s a mass of talented, entrepreneurial Jews who have given serious consideration to making Aliya, and may have even been on a Birthright or Aliya pilot trip, but they hesitate. They’re stuck in that “how to make a million dollars” joke mode. They simply can’t imagine themselves surviving, much less succeeding, in Israel.
This negative way of thinking affects even some Anglos who have already taken the plunge and made aliya. Graduates of Harvard and other fine U.S. academic institutions, some find themselves in night-shift Call Centers or Technical Writing jobs, a self fulfilling nightmare.
“It’s because they are forced into a ‘survival mode’ instead of a highly creative and productive mode of being and working,” says David Goldberger, founder of the Aliya Incubator (AI), himself an oleh from the U.S..
“The fear of not making it puts psychological limitations on the realization of the American oleh’s true potential,” says Goldberger.
It turns out that this perception is wrong, and that Israel is ready to reap the benefits of absorbing a much larger “Anglo” population.
Israel attracts the highest rate of venture capital per resident anywhere in the world – in 2010, according to the Economist, it took in $170 investment dollars per capita, compared with $75 in the U.S. This money is hungry for new applications. If you ask David Goldberger, the time to take advantage of it is now.
Dan Senor & Saul Singer have drawn world attention to Israel’s amazing technological miracle in Their book “Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.”
Watch this interview with co-author Dan Senor on MSNBC.
This week, AliyaIncubator.com (AI) announced their plan to make a big impact catering to English speaking Olim with great ideas – by funding them.
“Our aim is to not only facilitate a red-carpet ramp for the up and coming innovators,” says Goldberger. “Through AI, we will manage the essential services which all entrepreneurs desperately need as part and parcel of launching a new company.”
David Goldberger lives and breathes Israel’s world of startups, having worked in several and launching his own. “AI intends to fund dozens of start-ups, bringing them on Aliya to build their dream. Starting at $500k per deal for the business launch, assisting in the Aliya process, and providing all the necessary business services.”
Jonni Nieman, an Oleh from Denmark, joined David as co-founder of AI. He also shares his vision: “The idea we are so excited about is to feather the nest so that landing in Israel will be the softest possible – easy entry, while almost all of the bureaucratic headaches are managed by the AI services. So the entrepreneur oleh is able to focus entirely on their main business vision. All the rest is managed by AI.”
AI is planning to launch multiple centers in Israel, so new Olim will have their optimal choice of living locations, including, eventually, in the Negev.
The process of moving to Israel is filled with challenges: housing, employment, education, choosing a community, coping with a myriad changes. AI’s role is to systemically plan for most of these considerations, transforming these challenges into opportunities, and thus reducing the stress factors.
Yair Almagor is an Israeli professional strategic business entrepreneur and founder of ID2B Consulting. He joined to partner in this Aliya dream to help reverse the brain drain often associated with Israelis who leave Israel for greener pastures.
Yair has been consulting innovators for years and is excited to provide AI entrepreneurs the same marketing, strategic, and business development mentoring, along with high level access to proven enterprise visionaries.
“I joined Jonni and David to build a true dream,” says Yair. “This is the dream of Israel, to succeed by helping others succeed, to grow a country – this is what start-up nation is all about.”
Aliya Incubator is an Aliya program focused on encouraging entrepreneurial super-talents from English speaking countries to make Aliya and to build a High-Tech Start-Up, in Israel.
Aliya Incubator aims to comprehensively fund motivated Aliya candidates who:
1. Have great ideas which are worth funding.
2. Are entrepreneurs who can focus on succeeding in Israel – who have the ability to launch a success.
3. Are ready to make Aliya upon funding.
Aliya Incubator‘s mission is to support Olim 100% — with more than just funding. AI will do whatever it takes to help score home run Start–Up companies. AI will enable the new immigrant to start and stay on solid footing in Israel, to create high value jobs for other immigrants, and lock in healthy returns for AI investors.
We will do this by framing an Israeli incubator model concept for a highly select segment of energetic and committed “next” immigrant entrepreneurial talents. AI introduces a new and unique evolutionary Israeli incubator model – a targeted hybrid. A turnkey customized program with an entire ecosystem of support services necessary to start up a new life and to start up a new company in Israel.
Lately it seems that in every other family there is a so-called black sheep who is either whispered about or completely disregarded and omitted from conversations at the dinner table, as well as from family functions. Sometimes it’s an estranged sibling, an aunt or uncle, or even cousins who haven’t spoken to one another in years due to a slight or a remark taken out of context.
I’m not talking about family members drifting apart because of years of physical distance between them and rare opportunities to get together — though this is no excuse nowadays when there are plenty of communication modes available to choose from. The cause of many of these breakups seems to stem from hostilities created by insensitive comments or criticisms directed at (sometimes over-sensitive) kin, and family disputes of all kinds, involving issues of either a personal or business nature.
As a baby boomer, I can’t recall so many splintered families in our communities when we were younger. Was I just not aware of them? Was it always like this? Or has the stress of the modern world gotten to us? One thing seems certain: with instant communication literally at their fingertips, young people are bound to experience difficulty in working things out face-to-face.
Not a good thing…
Never a good thing. And, no doubt, the cut and dried shorthand form of messaging has its drawbacks. For instance, should a warranted apology be forthcoming, the recipient would have a hard time assessing the sincerity of an electronically conveyed mea culpa and may, in addition, have too much time to dwell on whether to accept it or to continue harboring a grudge — whereas in person, one instant of warm feelings can lead to a permanent truce.
Have “black sheep” become more prevalent in families today? Possibly, though machlokes (contention) is not new. With more of us baruch Hashem inhabiting the earth, there is bound to be more of such instances. And of course, since news and gossip travel at a much greater speed today than they once did, we are more in the know — not necessarily in a good way. (This is partly why the laws of lashon hora have been so widely promoted over the last several years.)
And that’s the good thing to have emerged with the times. With predicaments arising to the fore, we are made to deal with them. If we’re lucky (and wise), we learn just by observing others. A fascinating story that has just recently come to light is a perfect example, and its powerful message happens to be relevant to your concern.
A short time ago, a man in Israel dreamed of his late father who came to him to let him know that he (the son) would be summoned shortly to a Heavenly tribunal to testify against someone coming up for judgment. In the dream, the father told his son that his teacher had once, long ago, embarrassed him in the classroom, and since the son had never forgiven him for this humiliation, his testimony would now be required.
The son asked his father whether he would then be allowed to return to earth, but his father didn’t answer him. Shaken over this dream, the son approached Rav Chaim Kanievsky, who annulled the dream. But this didn’t do anything to alleviate the man’s fear and apprehension, and so Rav Kanievsky assembled three witnesses for a beis din ruling. It was decided that the man who had the dream must try to locate his ex-teacher to grant him mechila (forgiveness).
After some tedious searching, this teacher was found to be in the hospital’s intensive care unit, gravely ill. The man went to the hospital, where he was informed that only family members were permitted to visit the very sick patient. This being Israel and the doctor frum, the man explained his dilemma to the doctor — who led him to the patient’s son sitting outside his father’s room.
Upon hearing the story, the son agreed to allow the visitor to try to communicate with his ailing father, now attached to a respirator. The man who had come to forgive his teacher was taken aback by the elder man’s condition (he hardly looked to be among the living) but sat down next to the bed and introduced himself.
These days, the dream of Aliya often goes hand-in-hand with the dream of making it big in hi-tech. An increasing number of immigrants are entrepreneurs.
It is no secret that all the hi-tech giants are big in Israel, too, because of the hi-tech brain trust that bustles within this little country. IBM, Intel, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sears, even the Ford Motor Company, each have made significant investments and inroads in Israel.
A group of highly educated, creative and motivated brainiacs is at the core of what is now commonly referred to as “Start-up Nation.” Indeed, dozens of Israeli start-ups have become funded and are recognized worldwide as leaders in their individual spaces, including: Conduit, Shaker, Wibya, Wix, Boxee, Face, Gigya, Soluto, Taykee, SmartApp, StartApp, and NDS (which Cisco just acquired for $5 billion).
QuizRevolution is yet another new Israeli company vying to become the next big thing. It is an industry leader in interactive multimedia engagement. Their platform offers an easy to create quiz or training window, currently on over 200,000 websites. Users simply go to the QR website and create quizzes which can include training videos and unlimited pictures, pausing between each question with a series of multiple-choice of fill-in answers. The number of questions on a quiz is unlimited and each quiz can be embedded and re-embedded on any web page. .
QuizRevolution just introduced a fast ramp to launching custom Facebook Game Apps. Anyone can create a quiz on QR – about anything – and quickly turn it into a Facebook-ready App. Play the demo here.
The JewishPress.com website runs its daily News Quiz on QR:
Over the last year, the company has added to its customer list Vanity Fair Magazine, The History Channel, Wired Magazine, the Governor of Hawaii, MTV, Popular Mechanics, and Monster. This in addition to thousands of individual users who have been flocking to their product.
Rich Brownstein, who moved to Jerusalem from Los Angeles in 2003, is QuizRevolution’s CEO. From 1990 until making aliyah, Brownstein was founder and owner of The Transcription Company, Hollywood’s premier transcription service, having built it from scratch in his apartment in Pico-Robertson.
By the time Brownstein sold his company in 2003, every movie studio and television network had become a client. His company was responsible for the production and sale of transcripts for NPR, ABC News, and Oprah.
In Israel, Brownstein met David Goldberger, a Netanya, Israel-based American ex-patriot, who introduced the former Hollywood executive (Brownstein had produced movies and videos in Tinseltown) to the idea that eventually became QuizRevolution.
Goldberger, the new company’s Chief Information Officer, had already spent three years developing and perfecting the QR technology. Their team was rounded out by Chairman Ben Turin, a Lakewood, N.J., resident, with his eye on Aliyah. The team has grown in the past months to include Answers.com founder Bob Rosenschein, who is chairman of the company’s Technical Advisory Board.
The Quizzes are fun and engaging. In a world of diminishing attention spans, the average time spent on web pages with QuizRevolution embeds exceeds 10 minutes, while a global standard is 30 seconds. To date, more than 45 million user-created quizzes have been served by QR.
For example, a Sudoku tutorial has been served over a million times. Monster.com uses the product for a Virtual Job Interview. And the Governor of Hawaii uses QR to highlight his accomplishments
And this multimillion dollar system – which is bullet-proofed on cloud-based technology – has been internally funded. When asked if the company is seeking investors, CEO Brownstein commented, “We would never turn away a good partner, our door is open.”
“We are very excited,” he added, “by our rapid growth and the potential for publishers worldwide.”
It is no coincidence that QR usage is high throughout the Internet in all languages. “Although we know we are not the next Facebook,” mused Brownstein, “our viral product has gained interest from many Fortune 100 companies because of its versatility and stickiness. We have a formidable team, we are an industry leader in our space, and the sky’s the limit!”