web analytics
December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Huge Majority of Europe’s Jews Say They’re Staying Home for the Holy Days

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

A survey conducted last week by the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) shows that a huge percentage of Europe’s Jews are afraid to leave their homes and attend High Holy Day services this year.

Despite the increased security arrangements around Jewish institutions in Europe, 70 percent of Europe’s Jews do not intend to visit synagogues on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The survey was conducted on September 12-15, 2016 among a representative sample of 700 capital cities and communities in the periphery throughout Europe, from Britain in the west to Ukraine in the east.

The findings showed that more that 50 percent of Jewish communities across the continent reported a decline in the number of active members of the Jewish community, as a direct result of an increase of anti-Semitism.

Only about 11 percent of communities across Europe reported an increase in members, and 39 percent of the communities reported that there was no change in the number of registered community members. EJA and RCE General Director, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that 75 percent of the communities reported an increased vigilance by various governments to the dangers faced by Jews in light of the growing Anti-Semitism since last year’s High Holidays.

The vast majority of community leaders also reported having to increase security and policing measures around Jewish schools, synagogues and other affiliated institutions of the community. “The challenge for most of the Jewish communities has doubled in recent months,” noted Rabbi Margolin.

“On one hand, violence against Jews increased significantly — against individuals, institutions and communities (among other reasons by immigrants and Muslim refugees). On the other hand, as a result of the refugee crisis, there is an actual increase in the power of the far right across the continent as well. “Currently the focus of the extreme right and their activity is focused on Islam, but testimonies of rabbis and community leaders show a great deal of concern about the growing of nationalism and xenophobia (hatred of foreigners)” warns Rabbi Margolin. The rabbi also called for the European Union and governments across the continent to increase educational efforts and the fight against anti-Semitism as part of the curriculum in schools.

“Counter terrorism is of course an important measure to save lives – but not enough to solve the problem from the root. As long as there will not be an educational effort focused on the elimination of anti-Semitism, the problem will continue,” he warned.

Hana Levi Julian

‘What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland?’ Fear, Study Finds

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities recently issued the final draft of a report titled, “What’s Changed About Being Jewish in Scotland,” the catalyst for which was the huge spike in anti-Semitic incidents in August 2014 (the time of the Gaza War), when SCoJeC received almost as many reports in a single month as in the entire previous year:

“The large increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Scotland during the third quarter of 2014 following the war in Gaza came as an unwelcome shock, not only to the Jewish community, but to civil society at large. During august 2014 alone, SCoJeC received more than 25 reports relating to at least 12 separate anti-Semitic incidents, almost as many as in the whole of 2013, and police in Scotland advised us that they had received reports of threatening phone calls and e-mails, graffiti on synagogues, and two cases of incitement to break the criminal law. In addition, many people told us that they now felt uncomfortable, anxious, and in some cases even afraid, going about their day-to-day activities as Jewish people in Scotland. Although these absolute numbers may not seem high, the most recent Scottish government figures reveal that, when the size of the different faith communities is taken into account, Judaism is almost 8 times, and Islam 3 times as likely as Christianity to be the victim of religious hatred,” SCoJeC related on its website.

Like the 2012 study, the new report provides a comprehensive overview of what Jewish people in Scotland are thinking, feeling, and experiencing, based on responses from a significant cross-section of the Jewish population of Scotland, spread across the entire country “from the Borders to the Shetlands, from members of the larger Jewish communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the smaller ones in Dundee and Aberdeen, and also from Jewish people who live very many miles from the any Jewish facilities.”

“We heard from Jewish people whose families had lived in Scotland for generations, and people who had very recently arrived in Scotland from other parts of the world,” the organization says, adding, “We heard from members of the Orthodox, Reform, and Liberal Jewish communities, as well as from people with no connection to formal Judaism, from people who had no interest in the Jewish religion or Jewish ritual, but who, in a wide variety of ways, felt connected to Jewish culture or for whom particular foods or melodies evoked their childhood, as well as from people who only found out they were Jewish as adults.”

The following are quotes from the new report. For the full report click here.

“As a child and teenager growing up in Edinburgh, I was proud to say I was Jewish and it was viewed positively by Edinburgh people who often had memories themselves of growing up alongside Jewish people and spoke enthusiastically of that. I am very wary now to be up front about being Jewish in certain circles, and especially after the events this summer [2014].” (F, 60s, Edinburgh)

“As far as the children are concerned we are telling them to be less open about being Israelis. Two years ago it wasn’t like this. It is a question of safety now.” (M, 40s, Edinburgh)

“As more and more of my friends have moved away, I increasingly feel like a minority. I am not aware of any other Jews in my workplace (it is a large organization). I think this has made it even more important to me to represent my race in Scotland. It has also changed in the last year due to the Scottish reaction to Operation Protective Edge, in particular the raising of the Palestinian flag. I am using social media much more regularly to try and educate friends about the situation in the Middle East. (F, 30s, Glasgow)

JNi.Media

Shooting Medic to Prosecutor: ‘They Threw Me to the Dogs Because of their Fear of the Media’

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Sergeant Elor Azaria on Monday faced cross examination by the Military Prosecutor, Lieutenant-General (Ret) Nadav Weisman, and from the start accused his company commander of being a liar, and his battalion commander of forgetting things.

The cross examination began with a question from Weissman, one of Israel’s top litigators who has been conscripted by a military eager to convict its own soldier, regarding Azaria’s own assertion the day before, that his company commander, Major Tom Naaman, had slapped him. “Did you review the videos from your interrogation?” Weisman asked. Azaria said he didn’t. “In the video you are asked if Tom was angry at you and you answered No. How can a company commander slap you twice and you don’t report it?”

Azaria answered: “My latest version is the truth. Witnesses have forgotten to say a few things here.” As the prosecutor pressured him, he elaborated: “I don’t know why the paramedic testified the way she did. As I was hearing the testimonies I recalled images from the incident. I don’t think that the soldier who testified for the defense is a liar.”

The prosecutor went down the list of witnesses against Azaria and asked if they were all liars. “Absolutely,” the defendant answered, “the company commander is a false witness. A big part of the battalion commander’s testimony didn’t reflect everything that happened. I can’t say the that battalion commander is a liar, but on some of the things he lied. He forgot to say a few things… As to being slapped, absolutely the company commander slapped me in the field and I’m still under psychological care [as a result].”

The prosecutor accused Azaria of inventing the slaps, Azaria said he was in shock after the incident and that’s why he didn’t report the slaps at the time.

When Weisman told him, “In front of the battalion commander and your attorneys you first said the company commander told you, Let this stay between us, but you didn’t mention the slaps. And suddenly you added them.” Azaria answered, “I recalled only parts of the event.” At which point the judge interfered and asked Azaria, “When your company commander tells you to keep this between you, what did he mean?” Azaria answered: “My entire treatment throughout the event. He probably knew he made a mistake with me when he screamed without trying to understand why I did it. On the way to the trial he also told me, ‘Say that you’re sorry and it’ll be OK, you know I love you.’ His behavior towards me wasn’t good and he wanted to come out good.” The Judge asked, “Good with whom?” and Azaria answered, “With the whole event.”

Azaria testified that he was asked to remove the body of the dead terrorist, which he said shocked him. “The company commander told me, Good luck, pick up the terrorist’s brains.”

He also said, “They took me to court to appease the world and the media. I felt betrayed. The company commander humiliated me. Meanwhile I’m hearing the defense minister (Yaalon) and the chief of staff condemning me and not even waiting until the end of the process, to hear my version of things, and they come out with announcements. I’ve lost my entire faith in the IDF brass and the defense minister. They threw me to the dogs because of their fear of the media.”

David Israel

Analysis: Should Israeli Settlers Fear Trump’s Peace Negotiations? [video]

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Donald Trump’s website mentions only two foreign countries by name: in its Positions section it deals with “Reforming The US-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” and in its Issues section, which is a series of videos with the candidate spending about a minute speaking forcefully on the issues, the one country that’s mentioned as an “issue” is, you guessed, Israel.

Should Israelis and US Jews be concerned that the Jewish State is so clearly a burning issue for Trump? Not if you believe the opening, where Trump straightens his gaze at the camera and declares, “I love Israel, I’m very pro-Israel.” He hasn’t said it about any other country in quite this total fashion.

But what to Trump is the Israel issue begins and ends with what he considered, back in March, when he shot this video, a challenge to his skills as negotiator. You can be a Trump supporter and still be perplexed by the amount of personal prestige the candidate has invested in being that one American president who finally brought peace to “Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews,” Seth Lipsky wrote in the NY Post Wednesday, citing neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, who berated Hillary for the 2012 rejection by the Democratic convention of restoring both God and Jerusalem to the DNC platform.

True enough, but Trump was booed at his AIPAC appearance last December when he, too, refused to commit to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Trump’s also the candidate siding with religious Americans whose rights are in jeopardy from the proliferating series of laws and court rulings in which religious persons are being asked to bow to a liberalism hostile to religious law,” Lipsky argued.

But religious Jews are not under attack by the liberal government anywhere in America: unlike in Europe, Jewish rituals are not under attack anywhere, with the possible exception of the Bay area; why even the latest NYC policy on oral suction in circumcision is restricted to educational pamphlets, rather than court orders.

The problem with Trump regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (and, possibly, eastern Jerusalem) is the candidate’s eagerness to make a difference in the age old Israeli-Arab conflict.

Here is what Trump said on tape in March, which the campaign has chosen to keep up there as one of his key concerns:

“I would love to see a deal be made between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s probably the hardest negotiation there is. Great negotiators have tried and they failed. It’s just so deep seated, the hatred, the level of distrust.

“But I’m going to give it an awfully good shot. I want to remain as neutral as possible, because if you’re not somewhat neutral the other side is never going to do it.

“But just remember, Israel, I love you, we’re gonna’ see if we can get something done, it has to be done for both sides, it cannot continue to be the way it is. Let’s see what we can negotiate, let’s see if it can be done.”

Does the last paragraph strike you as something you might tell your child before taking him for his booster shots? It’ll hurt, for sure, but remember, Daddy loves you very much and when the doctor is done poking you Daddy will buy you an ice cream cone.

There’s no doubt that presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is easily as worrisome when it comes to Israel. She is surrounded by anti-Israel advisors, one of whom is a radical Muslim. It is a tough call to make — which Roman emperor will bring more trouble to tiny little Judea: Hillary, who might end up just talking the talk but avoid the actual walk; or Trump, who might just, God forbid, decide to test his skills — and then what would Israel do when the Arabs agree to some of his proposals and a victorious Trump turns to Netanyahu and says, Brother, I got you a great deal, just hand over control of eastern Jerusalem and take the Jews out of the “territories.”

We welcome a civilized discussion of the concerns raised in this article.

David Israel

Knesset Committee Slams Finance Minister on Fear of Fighting Monopolies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Five years have passed, and prices have not gone down, and in certain cases they have gone up,” members of the Knesset Finance Committee told government representatives during Monday’s meeting marking five years since the summer of 2011 popular social protest in Israel.

The committee members slammed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for “being afraid to fight the monopolies,” but members of Kahlon’s Kulanu party said in response, “We are advancing many reforms, and we can already see the results on the ground.”

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that “with all due respect to the Finance Ministry and talks of reform, in practice the prices have not gone down.”

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, “Five years after the ‘cottage cheese’ protest, not only have the prices not gone down, in real terms they have increased, because the prices of commodities around the world have dropped 30-50%, and this is not being reflected in the Israeli market. Prices are 20% higher, on average, than in Europe. The prices of inputs have also decreased, as has the price of gas and energy, but this has not had any effect. What happened is that the monopolies and chain stores have gained huge profits at the consumers’ expense.”

MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp) explained that “the expense basket of a young family has three main components: housing, education and food. In housing the prices have only gone up; in education there has been some progress regarding ages 3-4, but not a week goes by that we are not asked to answer questions regarding family expenses related to education. An average family with three children spends some $1,300 a month on education, day care, afternoon child care, camps, and more. As far as food is concerned, some positive steps have been taken, but that nut has not been cracked and, ultimately, too much power has been left in the hands of a small number of companies.”

MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) charged that the Trajtenberg Committee, which examined and proposed solutions to Israel’s socioeconomic problems, was established only to “ease tensions” and “take the wind out of the social protest’s sails.” In practice, he said, “nothing has been done.” Vaknin called to restore price controls, saying “in the absence of competition, this is the solution.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said the problem is “greed.” The chain store owners and the major wholesalers “earn tens of millions on the public’s back,” he stated. “And meanwhile, here in the Knesset, people are strong at talking. The finance minister can make bold decisions and change the market without fearing his friends the tycoons. Here in this committee we have the power to advance a plan to dissolve the monopolies. We will enact a law to that effect.”

MK Roy Folkman of Kulanu said, “We have waged an all-out war on the monopolies. In Israel there is a very high concentration of market controls, and a finance minister who does not fear them has now arrived. We launched reforms in the importing of fresh meat and the prices have dropped. With fish as well, we created parallel importing. For years no one has dared to deal with the monopolies, which maintain a stronghold on Israeli politics, and we have started doing so. A change can already be seen in toiletries, food items, children’s toys and other items. The fight takes courage and ability. Increasing competition is the only way. Price control does not work; [corporations] would only raise the prices of other items. The business sector is more sophisticated than the regulator.”

MK Rachel Azaria, also from Kulanu, said “We are making great efforts, but every issue that reaches the Knesset gets stuck there. Every reform encounters objections, and it is nearly impossible to pass anything, including the fight against black market capital. I belong to the finance minister’s faction and it is my job to pass things, but nothing can be advanced; there are always dramas here; in some cases it’s the kibbutzim, in others kashrut – everybody has an interest. We have to be brave and deal with the basic problems: monopolies, quotas and interested bodies that prevent change. In the Arrangements Law we will introduce important reforms, and then we will see if all those who are yelling here will support them. We are the cause of the high prices. We have an opportunity to lower the cost of living, and I hope everyone here will support [the measures].”

JNi.Media

Communist MK at Committee on the Status of Women: ‘Our Society Lives in Fear’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Israeli society lives in fear, and that is awful,” MK Dov Khenin, whose Communist party is part of the Joint Arab List, told the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on Monday, adding, “Unfortunately, there are those who build their politics on fear. There are different aspects to the Israeli women’s sense of lack of personal security – physical, sectorial, economic, and social. One of our most important challenges is dealing with this fear and creating a society in which people will feel safer.”

The committee discussed possible courses of action in light of a recent study that showed Israelis in general have a low sense of personal security. The study, conducted by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, examined various aspects of Israelis’ sense of personal security, ranging from how safe they feel in public spaces to how they rate their employment, health and economic security. The study, commissioned by the Committee on the Status of Women, surveyed a representative sample of 1,028 Israeli adults, more than half of them women.

According to the study, 59% of women and 54% of men said they worried about damaging behavior by state agencies that would negatively affect their personal security. Among Arab women the figure rose to 74%, compared to 59% of Jewish women born in Israel, 51% of ultra-Orthodox women and 49% of female immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

“The national-security discourse allows generals to exclude us from the debate and from many budgets, and only when we realize that cultural and economic security is just as important, the budgets will change accordingly, and the generals will discover that they have a lot to learn,” Committee head MK Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) stated.

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp-Labor) said that in Israel the family is not perceived as an “anchor of personal security,” and argued that the Knesset does not address the issue sufficiently. “The study found that there are 27 different types of families in Israel, and when we see that the family is the second most influential factor when it comes to personal security, then it is obvious that we have to deal with this issue and see how we can view the Israeli family in a different way.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) addressed Sunday’s assault on an Arab supermarket employee in central Tel Aviv by a group of Border Guard police who refused to identify themselves, and mentioned that the victim’s father is not sure about filing a police complaint. “The study includes data about the fear of turning to the police, which is the body that is supposed to offer solutions to the lack of personal security,” Lavie lamented. “I’m not sure what happened there, but it certainly must be examined, even without a complaint by the father.”

The study indeed showed that, overall, 20% of women and 24% of men said they wouldn’t feel safe calling the police.

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said she is very concerned about the fact that more than 20% of Israeli women are afraid to turn to the police. “Last week, the committee chairwoman and I met in Ireland with the local police commissioner, who told us that in the past some 80% of the population did not trust the police, but they managed to turn the situation around. Having 10% of women being afraid is problematic, but let’s start by trying to reach that number and return to examine the situation on a yearly basis.”

Chairwoman Touma-Sliman said the debate was aimed at “trying to figure out how we move forward from here, after being shocked by the study’s findings, which should terrify every man and women who cares about the sense of personal security of all Israeli citizens. This is merely the beginning of the path towards introducing a different discourse to the political arena and towards a conscious change of the concept of security.”

JNi.Media

Making Big Magic: Abandoning Fear And Embracing Creativity

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life:
You’re afraid you have no talent.
You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or – worst of all – ignored.
You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity and therefore no point in pursuing it.
You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
You’re afraid everybody else already did it better.
You’re afraid somebody else will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark.
You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously.
You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life.
You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing.
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration.
You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

 

Many of us have a creative side that we fear exposing to the world, possibly because of one of the reasons Gilbert, the author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, presents above. We fear failure and ridicule, and, therefore, decide that it’s not worth the risk. We choose to ignore our natural inclination to create in favor of our natural inclination to fear. This is perfectly normal and understandable; however, if we move past that fear, we might live happier and more creatively-fulfilled lives. Do you have the courage to incorporate creativity into your life?

Gilbert’s discussion of her fear is quite moving and relatable. It paralyzed her for many years, but when she realized that she could not get rid of it, especially when in regards to creative endeavors, she decided to not let fear control her. To that end, she wrote her fear the following letter:

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting – and may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still – your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even aloud to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”

 

Ok, so you must take fear along for the ride with creativity – and Gilbert writes in a way that is clear and convincing. In the later portion of her book, though, she doesn’t give concrete examples of how to cultivate creativity. For that, I turn to neuroscientists John Kounios and Mark Beeman and their book The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain. They explain that there is a science behind creativity and thus a way to incorporate more of it into our lives:

Rifka Schonfeld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/making-big-magic-abandoning-fear-and-embracing-creativity/2016/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: