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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘equipment’

The Price Of Nice

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”

1.Meir, in need of an accountant, immediately thought of his wife’s cousin Sam who had recently opened up his own office. But Sam had severe ADHD. His office was highly disorganized and each time Meir needed a document, he waited uneasily as Sam frantically looked through the mess trying to find it. The result was that deadlines were missed and Meir often had to pay fines. Although Sam kept reassuring Meir that he was saving him money, Meir was torn. He knew he needed to get a new accountant, but he was afraid to hurt Sam’s feelings. How would he face Sam at family simchas if he switched? What if switching hurt Sam’s confidence causing him to drink, or worse? The price of nice: Meir kept losing money and couldn’t even look at Sam when at family simchas anyway.

2. Sara liked to please others. When neighbors asked her to watch their children, Sara always said yes with a smile, even if though previously they had stayed out two hours later then they promised. She always loaned out various appliances, even though in the past some had not been returned. However, when her mother asked if she could take her elderly grandmother into her home, Sara hesitated. With her tiny, two-room apartment, this would mean putting her three children to sleep in the living room so that Bubby could have a room of her own. Furthermore, Bubby, who was always a very critical person, was showing signs of dementia and the children were afraid of her. In addition Sara had a full time job. However, Sara wanted to be like the saintly people she read about who would have welcomed the opportunity. So, she said yes. At first, she tried to be happy. When she told her husband that it was all too much for her and she wanted to quit her job, he reminded her that they needed the money. The price of nice: two weeks after giving birth to her fourth child, Sara was in the emergency room having experienced a full-blown panic attack.

3. Eliezer was proud of his ability to relate to mentally disturbed people; he was always inviting them into his home and showering them with food and compassion. The most recent person he invited home was an eccentric man in his 60’s who believed he is a prophet who could predict the future and heal the sick. His specialty is warning people about demons, which he claims, lurk in inanimate objects. Eliezer called me after his children said that this “healer” had told them not to look at trees, as looking would activate the demons. The man had also acted inappropriately towards Eliezer’s daughters. When I asked Eliezer why he did not ask the man to leave, Eliezer replied, “I can’t kick this poor man out of my house. He’s already been here for two years. Where will he go?” The price of being nice: His children feel they have lost their home and no longer respect their father who pampers a man they consider dangerous.

4. Although Miri is only twenty-four, she feels like she has been buried alive. Soon after her wedding she discovered that her husband was an Internet addict who sleeps all day and is up all night. When I asked her why she stays with him, she said, “I felt so sorry for him. He seemed like such a nebbuch. I was afraid that if I rejected him, he would be devastated and then I would feel guilty for having ruined his life.” The price of being nice: She has ruined her life and the lives of her three children, who are learning from their father that it is normal to be depressed and dysfunctional.

5. Michael had been married only a short time when he realized his wife had extreme mood shifts. She would be seductive and sweet one minute and then suddenly start screaming, angrily accusing him of not caring enough about her and not making enough money. There were even times when she struck him, especially if he was late coming home. His mother gave him pep talks, saying, “Your love will heal your wife. With patience and forgiveness, you will have a wonderful marriage.” He was too ashamed to admit, even to himself, that he was a battered spouse and most times he felt like a failure for not being able to make his wife happy. He was told by a therapist that his wife suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and that such people are “unpleasable.” But when he told his wife that he could not go on, she became syrupy sweet, promising tearfully to change. Yet after a few fun-filled days, she found a reason to attack him again. As soon as he felt he wanted to leave, she became clingy and begged him not to abandon her. Finally he spoke to his mother-in-law hoping that she would be of some help. She basically told him hat if he left she would tell everyone that he had been abusive and make sure he would never be able to marry again. So he stayed, hoping that his wife would become more stable. And then, when the children came along, he stayed for them. The price of nice: a life of misery for both him and the children.

6. Zehava prided herself on being a patient and loving mother. Whenever her children asked for something she did her best to indulge them. When they spoke disrespectfully to her, refused to help with the chores or even kicked her when frustrated, she smiled and said, “I forgive you.” When teachers complained about their behavior, Zehava said, “I just don’t know how to say no.” Even when she found money missing from her purse, she remained in a bubble of denial; sure that time would solve all problems. When she asked her daughter where she got all the new clothes and jewelry she was wearing, she wanted to believe that her daughter was telling the truth when she claimed that friends had given these items to her. Zehava did not acknowledge the smell of alcohol on her daughter’s breath or the strange smell on her son’s clothing that made her head spin. Being such a nice person, Zehava kept trusting and forgiving. “Anyway,” she reasoned, “they won’t respect my rules even if I do try to set limits with them.” Zehava is a “pleaser” who feared losing her children’s love. But in her effort to be “nice,” she raised children who were narcissistic and manipulative, with no concept of what love means.

It takes courage to be honest, to stand up for our values and set firm limits with people who do not treat us with respect. When one’s physical or mental health are at stake, the Torah is clear that it is forbidden to do anything to harm oneself.

The Adahan Fund helps impoverished Israelis to buy food and other essentials, including medical equipment. Miriam can be reached at 011-972-2-5868201 or emett@netvision.net.il

Dr. Miriam Adahan

An Immigrant’s Tale

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

A friend of mine came to this country from China back in the eighties. China had little opportunity for people like him he tells me, especially after Chairman Mao had destroyed the country. To get anywhere you had to know people and pay them off. Everything, he adds, was corrupt and there was no freedom. America looked better and so he emigrated, married and raised a family here.

Today he works for a city agency as an air conditioning technician making a good salary with an excellent benefits package (including a health insurance plan and a government pension). And he gets lots of opportunity for overtime that supplements his already substantial regular income and contributes to the baseline against which his pension will eventually be calculated. He’s also active in the stock market and is a fairly successful investor.

Still he’s soured on this country of late. Americans live beyond their means, he complains. They spend more than they can afford and finance the difference by borrowing from countries like his former homeland. But why should China keep lending to us, he asks. The Chinese have to be crazy to do it because we’ll never be able to pay them back. Americans are living off the largess of the rest of the world and someday we’ll have to pay the piper, he points out.

In fact, he’s so frustrated over the recent turn of events that he has found himself wondering whether he made the right decision in coming here. When he did, America looked like the future to him but now it seems China is where the economic growth is. America is too full of financial inequities, too, he argues. A confirmed Democrat, he despised George Bush and the last Republican administration. Bush, he insists, spent too much. That’s why we’re in the hole we’re in.

And Barack Obama? In fact he’s a fan of the current president, especially his health care initiative. We need national health care, my friend tells me. When I protest that most people in the country are already covered, one way or the other, he responds by pointing out that there are still some who aren’t.

When I remind him of the good coverage he has for himself and his family under the current system, he reminds me of those who don’t.

What’s wrong with America, my friend goes on, is the big gap between the wealthiest and those who have less. On a personal level, it bothers him that while he is as competent as, or more competent than, the electricians and stationary engineers in his department, they get paid much more than he does while not having to work as hard. That’s a discrepancy that really galls him.

It’s due, of course, to the clout of the unions that represent these workers and the contracts they’ve extracted from the city. Although my friend is a one-of-a-kind tradesman in his agency – the sole staffer on board equipped to maintain and repair sophisticated refrigeration equipment in-house, an essential to that organization because of its heavy reliance on lab equipment, computers and major air conditioning systems – he has no powerful union to represent him as these other workers do and so watches with envy as people he believes less qualified work fewer hours while out-earning him.

Weren’t there inequities in China, I ask? Sure, he says, but in China such gaps are not so obvious. In this country, he says, you have all these Wall Street bankers and insurance industry executives making way more than the rest of us. That, he points out, simply isn’t fair. Are they really worth hundreds of millions of dollars while he is barely worth $80,000 a year before overtime and all the extra work his job requires of him?

And this is to say nothing of those electricians and stationary engineers, the latter of whom basically sit and monitor electronic signals on various pieces of equipment all day while he is running from site to site, getting his hands dirty. Why should others make more than he does if he’s just as smart and qualified?

Americans need to level the playing field, he says, and they need national health care like they have in other countries, including China, so everyone can have equal access to the same level of medical services.

Stuart W. Mirsky

What Can A Few Do?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

What would you do if you were confronted with a seemingly insoluble problem? Would you give up? Would you say, “Let someone else solve it; it’s beyond me?”

Now think of someone who has won your admiration. This individual is usually someone who was thrust into a challenging situation and was motivated to find a solution. Take a visionary with courage, moral values, determination and faith. Throw in a sense of humor. You will now have an ordinary human being, transformed into an individual capable of facing challenges and accomplishing the extra­ordinary!

Such was the situation that presented itself to the Gush Etzion community several years ago.

Two dedicated women realized that many children and young adults with special needs in Gush Etzion were not getting the assistance they needed. Some were categorized as retarded, autistic, learning disabled or simply problematic. These two women felt that with the right educational help, some of these individuals could be mainstreamed into the community. Others would need to spend all their school experience in a special environment.

These women undertook to organize a school for this population. The locale was the local Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim. There they began their project. The results were amazing. They created special programs and a school for 40 adolescent boys ranging in age from 10 to 20 years.

The school offers activities that give the students self-confidence and independence. They are taught to contribute − not just to receive. One of the activities is the therapeutic stables. There they are taught how to ride and take care of horses. There is also a small zoo where they learn to feed and care for the animals. They are taught the halachic principle that one feeds and cares for one’s animals before oneself. They milk the goats and make cheese and yogurt. On Fridays, they bake challah and bring it home to their families. These and many more activities give these young people the feeling of being capable of living normal lives under supervision. This is definitely much more than anyone would have expected. The school’s name is Reishit.

When these special students saw other youngsters involved in special plans during the hot summer months, they were dejected. They didn’t have special summer plans. Everyone seemed to be going to a camp but them.

That is where our B’nei Akiva parent came in. She saw a tremendous need for this population to have summer activities. She saw that she could also fill a void in the adolescent community of Gush Etzion and she combined these two elements.

There is a lack of summer activities in Gush Etzion for teenagers, so why not create a camp? Not an ordinary camp, but a very special camp for some very special people.

For the past few years, 50 B’nei Akiva youth have been running a one-week camp for these youngsters. Some of the activities included a visit to the fire department, a visit by soldiers and a performance by a clown who presented a show and donated her time and balloons to the group. Students from the neighboring Mekor Chaim Yeshiva high school came over one day and presented a play. There was also a fun day on the premises where the campers were able to enjoy inflatable playground equipment such as a water slide.

Their physical prowess was tested on some of the climbing, jumping and bouncing equipment. The most exciting trip was to the nearby Eretz Haye’elim Park.

Some of these activities were run by volunteers, but the supplies and other activities had to be paid for. The B’nei Akiva members ran fundraising activities for months in advance to provide for all the things they needed. Many interested individuals and organizations donated funds, equipment and T-shirts.

The end of the camp week left the B’nei Akiva volunteers tired but ecstatic. One had only to look at the campers’ faces to see their happiness and appreciation.

This is an instance of people who recognized community and personal needs. In order to achieve their goals, they used initiative, strength and creativity. Each step of the way was difficult. They persevered and proved that when one does chesed with emunah in Hashem, the results can be effective and genuinely gratifying.

For further information, contact Sadna at www.sadna.org or e-mail sadna7@bezeqint.net.

Suri Blank

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/what-can-a-few-do-2/2008/11/19/

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