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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘House’

Awkward Timing

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” where we answer any and all questions sent in by readers. It’s a lot like all the other “ask the expert” columns, except that, whereas the other experts are interested in giving you a well-researched answer, our interest is more in meeting our deadlines so we can get back to looking for our car keys. Most of the time, we tackle advice questions, but once in a while we have to take a break from those, because of the lawsuits.

Dear Mordechai,

Why do garbage trucks always come in the wee hours of the morning?

A.S., Monsey

Dear A.,

They want to beat traffic.

I don’t know how it helps, though. It’s not like they don’t stop in front of every house anyway.

Actually, it depends what you call “wee.” To me, the “wee hours of the morning” is anytime before noon. I think they like seeing you run out with your shirt half buttoned and one shoe on, screaming “Wait!” and holding a full, dripping garbage bag over your head, like they’re not coming again in three days. This is why they always make enough noise to wake you up.

For years, I always assumed that garbage trucks went around all day, and that they just passed my house early in the morning. But so far I’ve lived in several different places, and wherever I’ve lived, they somehow managed to get there between the hours of 5 and 8 in the morning. So I’m beginning to think those are the only hours that they work. I guess they know that if they did it during the day, people would be chasing them down the block half dressed all day long, and it would take them forever to get anywhere.

Another reason they take garbage early in the morning is that in total, it amounts to less garbage for them to take, because:

A. Chances are you’ll forget to bring out the garbage the night before, and

B. If you do remember, the garbage will sit out on the curb all night, and the longer it sits there, the more chance there is that people will drive by and say things like, “Hey, a broken toaster! I can use one of those!”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do there seem to be more Hatzolah calls on Shabbos?

Y.S., Queens

Dear Y,

Obviously, it’s because you’re in charge of your own kids. And by “in charge,” we mean letting them watch themselves while you take a nap. When do you suppose they came up with that contest to see who could jump off a higher step? There is only one way that game ends. Unless there’s an adult sleeping in the basement.

Another reason more people call Hatzolah is that Hatzolah members are more up-to-date on what you can and can’t do on Shabbos. For example, let’s say your kid is hurt – would you be able to drive him to the hospital? Or do you have to make him drive himself? Hatzolah knows these answers. My heart actually goes out to the people who live where there is no Hatzolah, and are never sure what they’re allowed to tell the non-Jewish ambulance drivers straight out, and what they have to hint to them.

“My son broke his arm.”

“So you want us to take him to the hospital?”

“Um… My son broke his arm.”

“Okay, I think the father is going into shock. Load him in as well.”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do things never work out when you try to show someone something?

A.J., Silver Spring

Dear A.,

I blame their negative energy, and the look on their face that says, “Really? This guy dragged me away from what I was doing for this?” And it never helps that he starts off with, “Okay, but this better be quick.”

This also happens when you’re trying to show someone something cute that you just discovered your kid can do. Your kid doesn’t want to perform for this guy. It’s usually something mundane that you would never make a big deal about if a bigger person did it, and the kid knows that. He’s thinking, “I didn’t learn to walk so I could perform. I learned to walk so I could stop dragging lollies across the carpet. I never would have shown you if I knew you were going to sell tickets.”

Mordechai Schmutter

J.E. Dyer: Ronald Reagan, 1982 – “A Test of Wills and Ideas, a Trial of Spiritual Resolve”

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Thirty years ago, on 8 June 1982, President Ronald Reagan addressed the British House of Commons, giving a speech that has since become one of his most famous.  In it, he proclaimed that “the march of freedom and democracy … will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history, as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

On this anniversary of that seminal speech, it’s worth taking a few minutes to review its quintessential Reaganisms.  Chief among them is his optimism – not a ditsy, foolish optimism, but a considered optimism about the biggest of things: the course of history and man’s future.

Equally important is his vision, which is part and parcel of the optimism.  Out of all of the Cold War’s premier analysts, Reagan was virtually the only one who foresaw the imminent end of Soviet communism, and who could utter this line in 1982:  “It may not be easy to see; but I believe we live now at a turning point.”  We were living at a turning point, and it was the one Reagan described in his next lines:

We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political order. But the crisis is happening not in the free, non-Marxist West but in the home of Marxism- Leninism, the Soviet Union.

“Democracy,” he said, “is proving itself to be a not at all fragile flower.”

A third and very important Reaganism is his willingness to identify evil and speak about it without demur.  The House of Commons speech mirrors in tone Reagan’s 4 March 1983 speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, in which he spoke this remarkable sentence:

[L]et us be aware that while [the Soviets] preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

Ideological statism is not a mere cultural alternative; it is absolutely evil.  Reagan had no doubt of what was right and wrong in this regard:  “It would be cultural condescension, or worse,” he said, “to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy.”

But Reagan’s refusal to gloss over evil never produced discouraging rhetoric.  It was always accompanied by a hard-nosed optimism about what was good in the Western culture of freedom and restraints on the state.  The contrast he invariably made, as in this speech, was between the power and effectiveness of human freedom, on the one hand, and the sclerotic, overstretched unsustainability of despotism on the other.  He knew, long before we began speaking of it today, that all attempts to put the people under harness and dictate to them the features of their lives end in oppression, poverty, and despair.

The political particulars of this next passage may have changed over time, but the underlying sense of it resonates today:

If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. We see around us today the marks of our terrible dilemma–predictions of doomsday, antinuclear demonstrations, an arms race in which the West must, for its own protection, be an unwilling participant. At the same time we see totalitarian forces in the world who seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit. What, then, is our course? Must civilization perish in a hail of fiery atoms? Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil?

To both of those questions, Reagan’s answer was no.

Reagan’s address to the House of Commons

8 June 1982

We’re approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention — totalitarianism. Optimism comes less easily today, not because democracy is less vigorous, but because democracy’s enemies have refined their instruments of repression. Yet optimism is in order because day by day democracy is proving itself to be a not at all fragile flower. From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than thirty years to establish their legitimacy. But none — not one regime — has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.

J. E. Dyer

J Street Endorses Senator Feinstein, Seeking to Access the Mainstream

Friday, June 1st, 2012

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein accepted the endorsement of J Street’s political action committee.

Feinstein (D-Calif.) joins Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as Senate candidates who have received JStreetPAC’s endorsement for the 2012 election cycle.

“Senator Feinstein joins a long and growing list of American politicians who recognize that there is significant political support to be found from Americans who support Israel and deeply believe that American and Israeli interests would be better served through active American diplomacy to achieve two states,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.

Feinstein, who is Jewish, has backed assistance for Israel, but in some areas she has departed from pro-Israel orthodoxy. She sponsored legislation in 2006 that would ban the sale of cluster bombs to countries that would use them in highly populated areas, which likely would have included Israel.

The legislation was defeated after a strong lobbying effort by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In 2010, Feinstein drafted a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she emphasized that “for too long,” Israel’s “expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined confidence.”

J Street has tried to recover from a blitz in 2009 and 2010 by right-wing groups targeting politicians who associated with the group; a number of Jewish Democrats now distance themselves from J Street.

Endorsing Feinstein, a Jewish Democrat whose influence as the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has helped shore up support for a tough posture on Iran, could regain some of that lost clout. However, J Street also endorsed Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) in his losing 2010 reelection bid.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, five Jewish Democrats have accepted J Street’s endorsement: Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Overall, in addition to the four Senate candidates, J Street is endorsing 47 House incumbents and eight House challengers.

JTA

US Congress to Give Israel $680 million for Iron Dome

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The US Congress is expected to pass legislation giving $680 million to Israel to pay for more Iron Dome anti-missile systems.

This is above the $3 billion in military aid granted to Israel yearly by the United States, and the second time the US has provided funding for Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems device this year.

In the next few weeks, the Israel Air Force will receive a shipment of the advanced Arrow-2 missile interceptor, built by Israel Aerospace Industries.

The Iron Dome bill brought before the House of Representatives by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, R-Calif.

Malkah Fleisher

Iran Supplying Weapons to Quell Syrian Unrest

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron has accused Iran of providing weapons for Syria’s suppression of the 10-month long civil unrest.

”There is now growing evidence that Iran is providing a huge amount of support,” Cameron disclosed to the House of Commons. ”There have been interceptions of some shipments by Turkey which are particularly interesting,” he continued. ”People should also know that Hizbollah is an organization standing up and supporting this wretched tyrant who is killing so many of his own people.”

Jewish Press Staff

Where I’m From, We Stand By Our Friends

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I’ve read suggestions by newspaper columnists and observers that events have overtaken Israel, that Israel is “isolating itself” in the Middle East. That view is wrong, and always has been wrong. Israel is not isolating itself – Israel is leading in the Middle East. Israel does not stand alone – Israel stands above as the one true beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Middle East.

We need to see to it that Israel continues to thrive – and to make clear it is America’s duty to stand by its side. Not just as a broker or observer but as a strong partner and reliable ally.

That’s why I’m pleased the House of Representatives has ensured – in this time of fiscal responsibility – that America meets its financial commitments to Israel. We will continue to do so.

I’m also pleased with the work being done by the House Foreign Affairs Committee under the leadership of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She led the charge to put the House on record opposing funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it aligns itself with Hamas. As Ileana put it not too long ago, “I don’t care if there is one or five or hundreds of members of Hamas involved; no U.S. funds can go to the PA.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’ve been speaker of the house more than eight months now and we’ve had some significant moments in the chamber. For me, one of the most powerful occurred in May when Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress. It was my honor to invite him. It was the least I could do for the leader of one of our closest allies in the world. Bibi didn’t disappoint. He received nearly 30 standing ovations – bipartisan standing ovations, all well deserved.

I invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress because the American people deserved to hear from him – and Washington, quite frankly, needed to hear what he had to say. For this to be a truly transformational time, one thing cannot change: America’s commitment to Israel’s future.

Something the prime minister said in his speech to Congress has stuck with me. He was talking about how the Middle East stands at a crossroads. And he said: “Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty.”

It is the path less traveled isn’t it? We know freedom and democracy don’t come cheap. They require vigilance – they rely on the tools of persuasion and progress. Among those tools are strategic alliances built on trust, not fear or coercion.

Our democracies are cut from the same cloth. Our peoples treasure the same values. The Israeli proclamation of independence imagined a state based on freedom, justice and peace, one that guarantees freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture. It spoke of a country that would foster economic development for the benefit of all its inhabitants. There are no shortcuts or loopholes – no talk of one election, one time. It’s about freedom and opportunity for all, and for all time.

Freedom is a universal right – but we have learned the hard way it is an earned right. The United States and Israel remain prime targets of terror. The recent anniversary of 9/11 was a reminder of our shared pain.

There is only one place in the world outside the United States that lists the names of all the innocents who died that day. It is located on a hilltop at the entrance to Jerusalem, built by the Jewish National Fund.

Over the last ten years, not only has Israel stood with us, it has done so from the front lines of the struggle to confront and defeat terror. The last time I was in Israel I stood at the northern border with Lebanon. From where I stood on that border, it’s about a hundred miles to Jerusalem. For Israel, the enemy is close – and committed.

This week, Israel faces a three-pronged assault when the United Nations General Assembly meets. There will be a “celebration” of the Durban Declaration, a document that charges Israel with racism. The president of Iran, who has called Israel a cancer to be annihilated, will take the podium. And the Palestinian Authority will seek a unilateral recognition of statehood.

Israel has demonstrated time and again it seeks nothing more than peace – a peace agreed to by the two states and only the two states. Like every Israeliprime minister before him, Prime Minister Netanyahu knows peace will require compromise – and he accepts that. He welcomes that.

Where I’m from, we stand by our friends, especially the ones who have always stood by us. Supporting Israel and its people has been the policy of this nation since Harry Truman sat in the Oval Office. Our commitment to Israel should be no less strong today. If anything, it should be stronger than it’s ever been.

John Boehner (R-Ohio) is speaker of the House of Representatives. This article was adapted from his speech in Cincinnati on Sept. 18 at the Jewish National Fund’s annual conference.

Rep. John Boehner

Honoring Rep. Ros-Lehtinen

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community attended a recent breakfast for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), hosted by Esther and Rafi Katz. Ros-Lehtinen, her state’s first Republican female elected to the House of Representatives, currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

Following Stanley Treitel’s introduction of Ros-Lehtinen and Robert Rechnitz’s presentation to her, the congresswoman said, “As chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I continue to support Israel in its struggle to combat violent extremism in the Middle East and isolation in the international arena.” Responding to the State Department’s negative comments regarding Israeli settlements, Ros-Lehtinen demanded that the Obama administration halt its “condemnations” of “an indispensable ally and friend of the United States.”

 


(L-R) Rafi and Esther Katz with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Photo credit: Arye D. Gordon

Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/honoring-rep-ros-lehtinen-2/2011/07/08/

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