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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘father’s’

Patriots’ Owner Cites Chapters of the Fathers at YU’s Keynote Address [video]

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Robert Kraft, founder, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots, last week delivered the keynote address and received an honorary doctorate at Yeshiva University’s 85th Commencement Ceremony.

Kraft told his audience that their warm welcome is “not the reception I typically get when entering sports arenas in New York.”

In keeping with his new doctorate, Kraft cited rabbinic teachings: “One of my father’s favorite teachings was from Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers): Ben Zoma taught ‘eizehu ashir? hasameach bechelko’ — who is rich? The person who is happy with their portion (Avot 4:1).”

“What do people want in life?” Kraft continued, “They want to feel connected; to do something larger than themselves… That sense of being connected applies to great sports teams like the Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings [whose owners, Mark and Zygmunt ‘Zygi’ Wilf, both on the YU board, were also present], it applies to great universities like Yeshiva [University], and it applies to the State of Israel.”

“I’m not a Starbucks guy. I’m a Dunkin Donuts guy, but I like to pay for the coffee of the other folks behind me in line,” Kraft revealed. “It typically costs me less than $10 and makes the other people feel good, but more importantly it makes me feel so good, and random acts of kindness change the world one person at a time.”

Kraft said that his dream has been owning the New England Patriots: “A number of factors made that dream wildly improbable,” he noted. “No. 1: I didn’t come from money. No. 2: I had no connection to the world of professional sports or the people in it. No. 3: Some of the greatest NFL teams are never sold. … Yet I used to sit in the stands of the old Foxboro Stadium with my sons on Sunday afternoon, and it struck me how the team was mismanaged,” he said. “Sitting there in the stands, I would dream of what our family would do if we only had a chance to own the team. As I said, it was wildly improbable that we would get to own it, but not impossible.”

Kraft also revealed his private religious feelings: “The best things we do, the businesses we build, the people we help, the championships we win, the tzedakah (charity) we give, and the communities we strengthen, are truly a gift from God. My father left me an ethical will. In that will he told me something that I think about, literally, every day of my life. He said: ‘At the end of every day, as we lay our head on our pillow, we should ask ourselves a simple question: are the people you touched today richer and better for having known you?’ Go forward from here, my friends, and make people’s lives richer and better because they have known all of you.”

JNi.Media

Ivanka Trump Says NYT Distorted Facts of Father’s Treatment of Women [video]

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Ivanka Trump accuses the New York Times of distorting the facts about her father’s treatment of women in a story she says is “pretty disturbing, based on the facts as I know them.” Trump’s daughter, an Orthodox Jew, spoke to CBS “This Morning” show host Norah O’Donnell in an interview to be shown Wednesday.

“And obviously, I very much know [the facts], both in the capacity as a daughter and in the capacity as an executive who’s worked alongside of him at this company for over a decade . . . I was bothered by [the story],” Ivanka Trump says.

The New York Times Magazine on Sunday reported interviewing dozens of women who had worked with or for Donald Trump over the past four decades, in real estate, modeling and pageants, women who dated him, interacted with him socially — more than 50 interviews over six weeks. “Their accounts,” the report suggests, “reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct.”

Those interactions took place in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. And even though to him they were probably unimportant moments, the NYT story suggests they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

But the NYT report is not entirely negative, which is often the case with the Republican presidential hopeful. “What emerges from the interviews is a complex, at times contradictory portrait,” it says. “Some women found him gracious and encouraging. He promoted several to the loftiest heights of his company, a daring move for a major real estate developer at the time. … He simultaneously nurtured women’s careers and mocked their physical appearance.”

Shortly after the magazine article had been published, Brewer Lane, one of the central figures being cited, who told of a humiliating episode where Trump displayed her before his guests at a pool party and forced her to put on a bathing suit, said in a Monday interview with Fox & Friends: “The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure my story that I was telling came across, they promised several times that they would do it accurately, they told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece and that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly and it absolutely was not.”

Lane said, “They did take quotes from what I said and they put a negative connotation on it. They spun it to where it appeared negative. I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump.”

The NYT report’s authors, Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey, told CNN, “We really stand by our story, we believe we quoted her fairly and accurately and that the story really speaks for itself.”

Ivanka Trump told CBS the Times distorted facts about her father to fit its “strong thesis” about him, and cited the “backlash” against the story since it published. “It’s been largely discredited since….Most of the time, when stories are inaccurate, they’re not discredited, and I will be frustrated by that. But in this case, I think they went so far. They had — they had such a strong thesis and created facts to reinforce it…. And, you know, I think that narrative … has been playing out now.”

JNi.Media

Translating My Father’s Holocaust Memoir

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Shortly after the end of World War II, a young patient told my father, Dr. Ernst Bornstein, that she was under the impression that stories about the gassing of women and children in Auschwitz was anti-German propaganda.

She asked my father if he was a Jew. When he responded that he was in fact a Jew, she asked if it was really true – were there really concentration camps? He recalled the scene in his memoir:

Until then she had been of the belief that reports of this nature were pure propaganda disseminated by the occupying army to damage the reputation of the Germans. So I understood that this was the opinion of democratically educated post-war youth. If this youth believed that the bloody era of the Nazis was only an invention of the propaganda, I will play my part in shattering these illusions.

Though my father already knew he wanted to write about his experiences in the war, it was that moment in his dental clinic that convinced him of the need to record his story.

He realized it was imperative, especially in a world that was all too ready to forget, that he dedicate himself to raising awareness about what had happened to his family.

As someone who witnessed horrors in no fewer than seven concentration camps, my father also wanted to publicly address the question of how it was possible that large masses of people, numbering in the millions, could be led to their extermination without a fight.

And as a medical doctor, he sought to explain to scientists the psyche and social profile of survivors so that they could receive appropriate help to rebuild their shattered lives.

After my father was liberated in the wake of the infamous Death March, he stayed in Germany where he documented the oral histories of other survivors while working for YIVO. He then went to medical school and graduated with a double doctoral degree (M.D./D.D.S) in medicine and dentistry/oral surgery.

Afterward, despite being busy rebuilding his life and setting up his dental practice, he did not delay in penning his own memoir spanning the years 1939-1945. He dedicated himself to writing while his memories were visceral and raw.

His memoir was eventually published in 1967 in its German original as Die Lange Nacht (The Long Night). As one of the first post-World War II memoirs available to the German public, it was covered in major international publications including The Times Literary Supplement in London.

Ironically, even though the original German edition of The Long Night had a proud place in the middle of our family’s living room, neither my siblings nor I knew much about its content while we were growing up. It took the birth of my youngest daughter, Nina, twenty-five years later to galvanize me to translate it.

At the time, I felt as if a flame were rising within me. I had a great urge to disseminate my father’s experiences in the concentration camps he survived and the Nazi barbarism he and the Jewish people suffered simply because they were Jews. But as my motivation to translate the book grew, I knew I would need a tremendous amount of inner strength to address my father’s past.

My translation of the work soon turned into a labor of love that lasted three years. David Arnold, MBE, who used to coordinate the annual Yom HaShoah program in our community, assisted me with the translation, as he is particularly sensitive to the subject.

He gave me the discipline to address the subject at times when I didn’t feel like it or found it hard to go on. Of course, that brought its own guilt. After all, how could I find this task difficult as I sat in the comfort of my home in the UK when, in absolute contrast, my father had lived through such horrors? How dare I not bear it?

Noemie Lopian

The Parameters Of Justice

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

In Deuteronomy 24, we encounter for the first time the explicit statement of a law of far-reaching significance:

“Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children put to death for parents; a person shall be put to death only for his own crime” (verse 16).

We have strong historical evidence as to what this law was excluding, namely vicarious punishment, the idea that someone else may be punished for my crime.

For example, in the Middle Assyrian Laws, the rape of a non-betrothed virgin who lives in her father’s house is punished by the ravishing of the rapist’s wife, who also remains thereafter with the father of the victim. Hammurabi decrees that if a man struck a pregnant woman, thereby causing her to miscarry and die, it is the assailant’s daughter who is put to death. If a builder erected a house that collapsed, killing the owner’s son, then the builder’s son, not the builder, is put to death (Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus, p. 176).

We also have inner-biblical evidence of how the Mosaic Law was applied. Joash, one of the righteous kings of Judah, attempted to stamp out corruption among the priests, and was assassinated by two of his officials. He was succeeded by his son Amaziah, about whom we read the following:

“After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he [Amaziah] executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. Yet he did not put the sons of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the Lord commanded: ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins’ ” (2 Kings: 14:5-6).

The obvious question, however, is this: how is this principle compatible with the idea, enunciated four times in the Mosaic books, that children may suffer for the sins of their parents? “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7 – see also 20:5; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:8).

The short answer is simple: It is the difference between human justice and Divine justice. We are not God. We can neither look into the hearts of wrongdoers nor assess the full consequences of their deeds. It is not given to us to execute perfect justice, matching the evil a person suffers to the evil he causes. We would not even know where to begin. How do you punish a dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of people? How do you weigh the full extent of a devastating injury caused by drunken driving, where not only the victim but also his entire family is affected for the rest of their lives? How do we assess the degree of culpability of, say, those Germans who knew what was happening during the Holocaust but did or said nothing? Moral guilt is a far more difficult concept to apply than legal guilt.

Human justice must work within the parameters of human understanding and regulation. Hence the straightforward rule: no vicarious punishment. Only the wrongdoer is to suffer, and only after his guilt has been established by fair and impartial judicial procedures. That is the foundational principle set out, for the first time in Deuteronomy 24:16.

However, the issue did not end there. In two later prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, we find an explicit renunciation of the idea that children might suffer for the sins of their parents, even when applied to Divine justice. Here is Jeremiah, speaking in the name of God:

“In those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes – his own teeth will be set on edge” (Jeremiah 31:29-30).

And this, Ezekiel:

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son. Both alike belong to me. The soul that sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:1-3).

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Looking For God In Our Skyscrapers

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Over the last decade, Tisha B’Av, the day that we traditionally mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, has been admitted to the pantheon of Jewish holy days that are not for the observant only: holy days that speak to everyone.

Yom Kippur has always been there. It is the private holy day, special to us all. A solid majority of the Jews in Israel fast on that day. Even those who do not fast feel something special: they respect the day and search for its meaning. Yom Kippur does not just pass us by like the holiday of Shavuot, for example.

Pesach is another holy day that has always been a holiday for all the Jews. It is the family holiday. The Seder night – kosher-for-Passover or not – is celebrated by Jewish families everywhere. It is a holiday that has not been separated from the nation by the walls of religion.

What we still lack is the national dimension, the dimension that retains a void not filled by banging on plastic hammers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Yom Ha’atzmaut always leaves us with a vague sense of emptiness.

The collective subconscious that pulls the young people of Tel Aviv’s trendy Shenkin Street to alternative lamentations on the city rooftops discovers something in Tisha B’Av. It longs for the spiritual national dimension. It searches for meaning and warmth.

Real Israeli culture, the authentic national creation that we are all looking for, the point that affords meaning and validity to our national existence, is there – in our Father’s house, from which we were exiled and to where we will return.

Return to religion enriches the returnee. But usually it is at the expense of the real achievement of the return to Zion, Israel’s rising and return from the dimension of community to the dimension of nation – at the expense of the return to reality and history.

Generally speaking (and yes, there are certainly exceptions), the returnee to religion is no longer interested in the news, politics or the state. He has found his personal happiness and leaves the rest to the Messiah. His God is not so relevant outside his home, study hall or synagogue.

The new generation, however, wants God to be relevant in all dimensions. It doesn’t want to escape into religion. It wants a grand message, rectification of the world; neither to go backward into pre-Zionism nor to be stuck in the place bereft of identity and meaning in which Zionism – which shed all regard for religion – finds itself today.

The new generation wants it all. It wants to go forward into religion, to a Torah that is also a relevant culture and to a God who is with us here, in our modernity. It wants to proceed in our multilevel interchanges, in our skyscrapers, and in our hi-tech. It is looking for a God who is with us in our most private moments, in our most national triumphs, and in our most universal aspirations. The new generation wants warmth, a sense of belonging and meaning. It wants to herald a great message. It wants a home: it’s Father’s home, the home to which we all belong.

It wants the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/looking-for-god-in-our-skyscrapers/2013/08/01/

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