web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘imagine’

Not Music To My Ears

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

I was at a wedding just the other day, and the music was deafening. A fellow Torontonian, not used to New York’s high decibel bands, asked me if I would write an article about too loud music at simchas. I thought to myself, radio stations take requests for songs, why not take requests for columns?

Besides, he was “preaching to the converted.” I protest anything that is excessive and unnecessary. Especially loud music. Having needed glasses for near-sightedness since I was eight years old – a disaster for a tomboy – I consoled myself on my ability to hear well. (Keen hearing is a valuable asset when playing “hide and seek” or “capture the flag.”) Hearing is the one sense I am sensitive about, and protecting it is the sensible thing to do.

So to the musicians who think that more is better – think again, because less is more in this case. When people at a simcha sitting next to each other have to yell in order to have a conversation; when the person sitting inches away keeps on asking you to repeat what you just said – which usually is a request for him/her to repeat what (s)he just said – then the music is way too loud and even risky to one’s health.

Chances are that the members of the band think they are impressing their audience with their talent by equating earsplitting with “cool.” In a misguided attempt to win over fans and potential bookings, they blast their music. But their reasoning is totally off. If anything, they are ruining their reputations and a chance to get hired by guests who are planning their own simchas.

For the guests do not hear music – they hear noise. And if the baalei simcha allow this noise to continue, then they are ruining their own simcha. The next day, when their guests are asked by friends, “so how was the wedding?” it is very likely they will be told how beautiful the kallah looked and how horribly loud the music was.

The only people who enjoy loud music are those who are already hearing-impaired from years of exposure to too loud music. For them, the music is at a level that they can hear well. They are like those annoying people on the subway or buses with earphones on. Their music is so loud that people can hear it. Obviously, they need to put the music onto the highest volume level because they can no longer hear it on a lower setting!

Unless the musicians have day jobs selling hearing aids, I can’t imagine why they play music that can damage eardrums. Not to mention that they are ruining their own hearing as well. I would not hire the band at the party wedding I attended to play at any party of mine. I liked their unique style – but not the noise.

Not everybody dances as soon as the music starts up. People want to continue their schmoozing, especially since simchas tend to bring people together who have lost touch or whose paths rarely cross during their day to day activities. For many, it’s a chance to catch up on each other’s lives. And they don’t want to get hoarse doing it!

Since I took care to look my best at this simcha, I was rather annoyed at having to walk around with my fingers in my ears (and my elbows up in the air.) I found myself admiring those guests who had the foresight to bring earplugs – as several did. (For any young entrepreneurs out there – instead of a lemonade stand, think about selling cotton balls on the sidewalk in front of the hall.)

If the host of the simcha knows that the band will likely will play loud music – which some do in spite of the host’s request not to – a selection of ear-protectors in the middle of each table – the kind you wear at shooting ranges – may be a more appreciated option than a floral centerpiece.

The bottom line is that music can make or break a wedding. Of course, the food and its service is also a big factor in how lovely the guests will perceive the affair to be. But the ability to enjoy the simcha and participate in dancing and socializing with friends and relatives is the key to its success. Music that is too loud is like scalding soup. It hurts. And the pain takes your focus off the simcha and on your discomfort. When a guest is in distress, then the simcha is no longer a simcha.

When one’s shoes are too tight, they can be removed. However, the only way to relieve oneself from destructive, painful noise/music is to actually distance yourself from it by leaving the ballroom and standing in the hallway or leaving earlier than planned. This is not fair to the guests who made the effort to come and share in the family’s joy. It is not fair to the baalei simcha to have their beautiful affair prematurely emptied of guests.

Ear shattering, guest-chasing “music” at my simcha? I wouldn’t hear of it!

Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo
Author: David Grossman
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, NY, 2003

 

Try to imagine that one of those many people in Britain who had lauded the Munich Accord as a great breakthrough for peace and who were certain Hitler would never violate it had decided after World War II to publish his old articles singing praises for Munich. Or imagine someone today reprinting his old Op-Eds from the late 1980′s about how the Eastern European Soviet system was here to stay.

If you can imagine such a thing, you have a pretty good picture of David Grossman’s new book. Grossman is one of the more extreme members of Israel’s Literary Left. He has published quite a few novels, and is regarded as a gifted writer of fiction. (Not by me, but then I am only an economist so what do I know about such things.) But Grossman also spends many a waking hour in turning out political agitprop and far leftist Op-Eds for the newspapers of Israel, the UK, Germany and France, including some of the worst Israel-bashing outfits.

Grossman suddenly has decided to collect some of these moldy Op-Eds and recycle them as a book. What we get are almost a score of Grossman’s silliest and worst-written Op-Eds. Even worse, these pieces have been so thoroughly belied and debunked by actual events that one would have expected anyone with a minimal sense of shame to have buried them in his
clippings box and never again make public mention of them.

We have Grossman’s early pieces singing the praises of the Oslo “peace process” and beatifying Yitzhak Rabin for his “courage” in establishing the foundations for a Palestinian state. Grossman repeatedly celebrates the fact that Arafat has abandoned his ambitions to see Israel attacked and destroyed, and clearly has renounced the so-called Palestinian “right of return.” Palestinians, insists Grossman, are downright embarrassed when they read the irredentist contents of the PLO’s “Covenant.” Embarrassed indeed.

Hardly controlling his ecstasy at the Rabin-Arafat handshake, he gushes: “I have always believed that when Israel agrees to grant this right (of self-determination) to the Palestinians, it will also win it for itself.” How inconvenient for Grossman that Israel spent the past decade granting such a “right” and got 1300 murdered Israelis in exchange, and nonstop war.

Grossman does not feel the slightest shudder when exhibiting for us all his political cluelessness. He reprints his old piece about the Palestinian boy Muhammed al-Durrah killed in a firefight started by the PLO, a piece attacking Israel and Ehud Barak neglecting to mention anywhere that it has since been learned that the boy was in fact killed by PLO fire. Grossman reprints his appeals to Palestinian writers and intellectuals – “all” of whom, he insists, seek peace with Israel (p.22) – to condemn the violence. Grossman then sighs when they never do, but fails to contemplate the possibility that these folks just might be endorsing the jihadniks and murderers. While the Left’s “concepts” turn out to have been completely wrong, one after the other, about absolutely everything in the era of the Oslo Euphoria, Grossman just
gets irritable and insists Oslo collapsed because the Left was not stubborn enough and militant enough and extreme enough.

After Grossman predicted one of the reprinted Op-Eds that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would never offer the Palestinians any land in, Barak offered the PLO virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, an immediate state, parts of pre-1967 Israel, financial tribute, and East Jerusalem with the Western Wall.

Being progressive means never having to say you are sorry.

The PLO then launched the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” in response to Barak’s offer. Naturally, Grossman sees the collapse of Camp David II as somehow all Israel’s fault.

While Grossman is possibly the most extreme among Israel’s Literary Leftists, even he dismisses out of hand any possibility of a Palestinian “right of return” to pre-1967 Israel. But that is precisely the little detail over which Ehud Barak’s insane offer at Camp David failed! Grossman never draws the conclusion that the PLO is seeking war and violence, not coexistence, and always was – in spite of its posturing when Rabin was still around. Nor does
he ever dwell on the meaning of those polls showing near-universal support among Palestinians for suicide bombings and atrocities against Jews.

Grossman, who even today “understands” why the Palestinians loathe Israel (page 7), also “understands” the PLO when it tries to smuggle in the Karin A ship of terror weapons (in another reprinted Op-Ed, p. 156), and unwaveringly believes that leftists never have to apologize for being wrong about what they say or write. There is one redeeming aspect to this pathetic little book and that is its ability to serve as an interesting personal documentation of the delusions and fantasies of the Israeli Left, which directly produced the Olso Bloodbath.

Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo
Author: David Grossman
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, NY, 2003
 
Try to imagine that one of those many people in Britain who had lauded the Munich Accord as a great breakthrough for peace and who were certain Hitler would never violate it had decided after World War II to publish his old articles singing praises for Munich. Or imagine someone today reprinting his old Op-Eds from the late 1980′s about how the Eastern European Soviet system was here to stay.

If you can imagine such a thing, you have a pretty good picture of David Grossman’s new book. Grossman is one of the more extreme members of Israel’s Literary Left. He has published quite a few novels, and is regarded as a gifted writer of fiction. (Not by me, but then I am only an economist so what do I know about such things.) But Grossman also spends many a waking hour in turning out political agitprop and far leftist Op-Eds for the newspapers of Israel, the UK, Germany and France, including some of the worst Israel-bashing outfits.

Grossman suddenly has decided to collect some of these moldy Op-Eds and recycle them as a book. What we get are almost a score of Grossman’s silliest and worst-written Op-Eds. Even worse, these pieces have been so thoroughly belied and debunked by actual events that one would have expected anyone with a minimal sense of shame to have buried them in his
clippings box and never again make public mention of them.

We have Grossman’s early pieces singing the praises of the Oslo “peace process” and beatifying Yitzhak Rabin for his “courage” in establishing the foundations for a Palestinian state. Grossman repeatedly celebrates the fact that Arafat has abandoned his ambitions to see Israel attacked and destroyed, and clearly has renounced the so-called Palestinian “right of return.” Palestinians, insists Grossman, are downright embarrassed when they read the irredentist contents of the PLO’s “Covenant.” Embarrassed indeed.

Hardly controlling his ecstasy at the Rabin-Arafat handshake, he gushes: “I have always believed that when Israel agrees to grant this right (of self-determination) to the Palestinians, it will also win it for itself.” How inconvenient for Grossman that Israel spent the past decade granting such a “right” and got 1300 murdered Israelis in exchange, and nonstop war.

Grossman does not feel the slightest shudder when exhibiting for us all his political cluelessness. He reprints his old piece about the Palestinian boy Muhammed al-Durrah killed in a firefight started by the PLO, a piece attacking Israel and Ehud Barak neglecting to mention anywhere that it has since been learned that the boy was in fact killed by PLO fire. Grossman reprints his appeals to Palestinian writers and intellectuals – “all” of whom, he insists, seek peace with Israel (p.22) – to condemn the violence. Grossman then sighs when they never do, but fails to contemplate the possibility that these folks just might be endorsing the jihadniks and murderers. While the Left’s “concepts” turn out to have been completely wrong, one after the other, about absolutely everything in the era of the Oslo Euphoria, Grossman just
gets irritable and insists Oslo collapsed because the Left was not stubborn enough and militant enough and extreme enough.

After Grossman predicted one of the reprinted Op-Eds that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would never offer the Palestinians any land in, Barak offered the PLO virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, an immediate state, parts of pre-1967 Israel, financial tribute, and East Jerusalem with the Western Wall.

Being progressive means never having to say you are sorry.

The PLO then launched the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” in response to Barak’s offer. Naturally, Grossman sees the collapse of Camp David II as somehow all Israel’s fault.

While Grossman is possibly the most extreme among Israel’s Literary Leftists, even he dismisses out of hand any possibility of a Palestinian “right of return” to pre-1967 Israel. But that is precisely the little detail over which Ehud Barak’s insane offer at Camp David failed! Grossman never draws the conclusion that the PLO is seeking war and violence, not coexistence, and always was – in spite of its posturing when Rabin was still around. Nor does
he ever dwell on the meaning of those polls showing near-universal support among Palestinians for suicide bombings and atrocities against Jews.

Grossman, who even today “understands” why the Palestinians loathe Israel (page 7), also “understands” the PLO when it tries to smuggle in the Karin A ship of terror weapons (in another reprinted Op-Ed, p. 156), and unwaveringly believes that leftists never have to apologize for being wrong about what they say or write. There is one redeeming aspect to this pathetic little book and that is its ability to serve as an interesting personal documentation of the delusions and fantasies of the Israeli Left, which directly produced the Olso Bloodbath.

When Religion Comes Between Husband And Wife

Wednesday, July 11th, 2001

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

Last year, I read your book, “The Committed Life,” and ever since, nothing has been quite the same for me. I don’t even know where to begin… everything is so convoluted and confused in my mind. I will try to be as brief as possible. I really don’t want to burden you with my problems, but I need guidance, so I guess I should start at the beginning.

My husband and I were married six years ago, and we have one child, a four year old little boy who is the joy of our lives. We both come from Reform backgrounds, although I think that my parents are even more secular than my husband’s parents. We had X-mas trees and Easter eggs, but, to be fair, we also had a seder and went to Temple on the High Holidays.

Bobby and I met in graduate school. We both studied at Wharton, and after two years of keeping company, we were married and settled in Dallas, Texas. Religion and G-d were never a part of the equation of our lives and although, as I said, our families went to synagogue on the holidays, we even gave that up, because we saw it as pointless and hypocritical. But then, two years ago, from nowhere, I was hit by a major trauma. At a routine examination, my doctor found a lump which he told me looked suspicious, and as you can imagine, I became somewhat hysterical. Among the people I called in my time of trouble was an old school friend who lives in New York and attends your Tuesday night classes at Kehillath Jeshurun. To give me strength and hope, she sent me your book, “The Committed Life?” as a gift.

At first, I resisted reading it and put it aside. I couldn’t imagine that it would have a message for me. But then, on the night before I was scheduled for surgery, I had difficulty sleeping and I picked it up. From the moment I started to read, I couldn’t put it down. I cried, I laughed, I identified with your stories – but most important, I felt an awakening in my heart, a yearning for G-d, a desire to connect with the Jewish people. The next morning, on my way to the hospital, I shared my feelings with my husband, and he attributed them to my condition.

“It’s not the book,” he insisted. “You’re just very vulnerable right now. Anything will get to you.”

In vain did I try to convince him that, while it was true that I was vulnerable, the truths that emerged from your book were unrelated to my vulnerability. But there was no talking to him, so I gave up. For the first time in my life, I prayed to G-d. I didn’t know any Hebrew prayers, but your chapter on prayer had such an impact on me that I just cried and beseeched G-d to help me, and I just know that He was listening.

The procedure was successful – the growth was removed and it was not malignant! I know that this was an open miracle. Prior to surgery, I had consulted three physicians who all seemed to feel that the tumor was cause for concern. My husband however, feels that we were just lucky, and all this talk about G-d and miracles is a lot of poppycock, without substance.

When I came home from the hospital, I knew that I could not go back to my old way of life. I asked the friend who gave me your book to get me some literature on Judaism, and she did, and she also sent me your Torah tapes, as well as your articles from The Jewish Press which, by the way, I love. They keep me going from week to week. And thus began my journey back to G-d. But I am in a very lonely and painful predicament. As my relationship with G-d intensifies, my relationship with my husband is dissolving. My husband refuses to join me on this journey, and what is worse, he has the support of my parents and in-laws as well. I feel like the ‘odd man out.’ I would like to keep Shabbos, but how? For my husband, Friday night is a time to play cards, watch TV, or go out for dinner and a movie.

To make things even more complicated, he loves seafood and mockingly told me that if G-d measures people by whether they eat shrimp or salmon, it’s pretty sad.

Our little boy is four years old. I would love to enroll him in some sort of Jewish program, but again, Bobby refuses to hear of it. He wants him to go to a private, but secular school. I am truly tormented, Rebbetzin. I know that G-d saved me. I feel it with such intensity, yet I cannot make my husband understand. I have tried to get him to read your book, but he categorically refuses to as much as look at it. “I wouldn’t waste my time reading that stuff,” he says.

Our marriage is definitely in jeopardy. We are fighting more than ever before. My husband says if that’s what religion does to a marriage, who needs it. I have tried to reason with him in a cool logical manner, but that hasn’t worked either. His favorite argument is that when we were married, we were not religious, and I have no right to change horses mid-stream. “I didn’t bargain for a religious woman, and I’ll be damned if I will agree to all this craziness,” he argues.

When he goes on one of these harangues, I don’t quite know how to answer him. I sense that he is wrong, but what do I say? In all honesty, I sometimes think there is some validity to his argument. After all, it is true that I wasn’t religious when we were married, and it’s understandable that he resents being pushed into a different life style. So you see, Rebbetzin, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Should I get a divorce and break up my home, or should I stay married and abandon my commitment to Judaism? In either case, it’s a no-win situation. I know how very busy you are, but I hope that you will be able to answer this letter through your column. Perhaps if my husband sees the story in print, it will make an impression on him.

Many thanks for having taken the time to read my letter.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/when-religion-comes-between-husband-and-wife/2001/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: