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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘information’

ZOA Loses Tax Exemption Status, Will Apply for Reinstatement

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The Zionist Organization of America has lost its 501(c)3 tax exemption status, due to failure to file tax returns for the last three years.

In an interview with JTA, ZOA president Morton Klein confirmed the loss, and stated that his organization has hired a tax attorney to help them bring their files up to date and apply for reinstatement of their status.

According to Klein, the error in filing was due to the failure of a ZOA-funded school in Ashkelon to provide correct information in time, as well as a misunderstanding on the part of the ZOA as to the amount of time it had left to file for an extension.

Report: Iran Moving Along on Ability to Build Nuclear Weapons

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Iran has moved further along in its ability to build nuclear weapons, according to some diplomats.

The diplomats say intelligence provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitor of the United Nations, shows that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years, The Associated Press reported.

The information comes from Israel, the United States and at least two other Western countries, according to the diplomats.

Iran denies it is working on a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA would not comment, but four of the six diplomats who spoke to the AP on the issue said an oblique passage in its August report on Iran saying that “the agency has obtained more information which further corroborates’’ its suspicions alludes to the new intelligence.

The information, if credible, could provide added fuel for the Israeli officials who want a preemptive military strike on Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for “red lines” to be set for Iran, and said sanctions have not worked.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said Tuesday at a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov.

He added, “Every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs. If Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there’s no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing: It’s continuing without any interference towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there nuclear bombs.”

Forester-For-A-Day: KKL-JNF Involves Citizens in Maintaining Israeli Forests

Monday, September 10th, 2012

KKL-JNF’s ( Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund) “Forester For a Day” program is a new ecological initiative that offers visitors a unique opportunity to assist in maintaining Israel’s forests, prevent forest fires and promote an overall atmosphere of environmental awareness.

The KKL-JNF owns 13 percent of the land in Israel, and has planted 240 million trees and establish more than 1,000 parks. Building on KKL-JNF’s  hugely successful flagship tree-planting project, the “Forester-For-A-Day” program lets participants connect with the soil of Israel in a very personal way.

Participants work side-by-side with KKL-JNF foresters to prune trees, prepare forest paths and fire breaks, and clear underbrush. The program is tailored to groups only (15-100 participants), and is available in English, French, German, and Spanish. Spread out in four locations across the country – Birya forest in the Golan, Carmel forest  in the Galillee, Ben Shemen forest in the Center, and Lahav forest in the South – the program runs 2-3 hours in its entirety, and provides an opportunity for volunteers of all ages to experience Israel in a unique way and make a direct contribute to its preservation.

The cost is $18 per person, and participants receive a bottle of water, KKL-JNF hat and pin, certificate of appreciation after their work is completed.

The Jewish Press sat down with Revital Ovadia, Coordinator of Forester-For-A-Day, to find out more about the program.

The Jewish Press (JP): How did the Forester-For-A-Day program get started?

Revital Ovadia (RO): Unfortunately, it was a tragedy – the Carmel Forest fire in December 2010 – that inspired the program. But we decided to take a tragedy and bring something positive out of it.

What has been the feedback? Have many people have participated in the program?

As of today – which is only a year into the program’s implementation – there have been hundreds of participants: bar and bat mitzvah parties, groups wanting to get involved, as well as workplace and family events.

The feedback has been great. The best indication of its success is the fact that when the Israeli public heard about the program – which was tailored specifically for non-Israelis – many requested to participate in it. And so we opened it up to Israeli participation as well!

Has the program had an effect yet on the environment? Has it helped with the rehabilitation after the Carmel fire?

The Carmel Forest has been rehabilitating at an impressive rate, thanks in  part to the program, as well as all the volunteers who came to help KKL-JNF after the fire.

Still, we are not permitted to plant new trees until next year – in order to let the soil regenerate. So we are looking forward to returning to planting trees and intensifying the Carmel Forest’s rehabilitation.

What are some other programs people can get involved with KKL-JNF?

KKL-JNF has a wide range of programs and activities, including bicycle and hiking trails in Israel’s forests and in the parks. Groups can also coordinate such activities to precede or follow the Forester-For-A-Day program.

For more information on the campaign, contact Revital Ovadia at KKL-JNF revio@kkl.org.il.

Dyslexia And Dysgraphia: Struggles With Reading And Writing

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Shifi and Shana were neighbors and their mothers had been getting together before they could even roll over. Now that the girls were in second grade, they did their homework together.

“Shifi, your ‘d’ is so funny! It looks like a banana,” Shana giggled.

“It’s not a ‘d,’ Shana, it’s a ‘b.’ And I can’t help it. It just comes out like that!” Shifi responded.

“What do you mean it’s a ‘b?’ It looks like a ‘d’ to me, but Morah says I keep making those mistakes anyway,” Shana said, blushing.

“Yes, but she keeps telling me I need to write neatly. I’m trying, but I can’t do it. Maybe we can trade. I’ll read for you. You write for me!” Shifi said eagerly, handing over her pencil.

While Shifi and Shana could be two girls who are experiencing regular struggles with reading and writing, if these issues continue, it is possible that they each suffer from a different learning disability: dyslexia or dysgraphia.

Dyslexia

The National Institute of Health defines dyslexia as characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, by poor spelling and decoding. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurological in origin and often runs in the family. Children with dyslexia experience trouble reading when taught through traditional instruction.

Though the symptoms of dyslexia manifest in different ways, some common symptoms for a kindergartener through fourth grader are:

* Difficulty reading single words not surrounded by others. * Slow to learn connections between letters and sounds. * Confusion around small words such as “at” and “to,” or “does” and “goes.” * Consistent reading and spelling errors, including: Letter reversals such as “d” for “b.” Word reversals such as “tip” for “pit.” Inversions such as “m” and “w” and “u” and “n.” Transpositions such as “felt” and “left.” Substitutions such as “house” and “home.”

Children with dyslexia are often well-adjusted and happy preschoolers. Research shows they begin to experience emotional problems during early reading instruction. Over the years, their frustration mounts as classmates surpass them. Often, these children feel they fail to meet others expectations. Teachers and parents see a bright child who is failing to learn to read and assume he’s “not trying hard enough.” This can cause children to feel inadequate.

Children with dyslexia frequently have problems in social relationships. This is because they have difficulty reading social cues or dyslexia affects oral language functioning. Additionally, without proper intervention, these children will fall farther behind their peers.

Dysgraphia

It’s hard for people to understand that children can have a learning disability that affects only writing. Most people assume that if you do not have trouble reading, then writing should be a cinch. Or, parents assume that trouble with writing is a physical impediment rather than a mental one. Dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects writing abilities, debunks these myths.

Dysgraphia can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Children who suffer from dysgraphia often have reading skills on par with other children their age. Dysgraphia is not simply a motor problem, but also involves information processing skills (transferring thoughts from the mind through the hand onto the paper). If your child has trouble in any of the areas listed below, additional help may be beneficial:

* Awkward pencil grip and body position * Illegible handwriting * Avoiding writing and drawing tasks * Tiring quickly while writing * Saying words out loud while writing * Unfinished or omitted words in sentences * Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper * Large gap between written ideas and speech

There are different effective strategies.

For young children, here are some suggestions:

* Use paper with raised lines so children can feel the lines on the paper, allowing them to stay on track. * Experiment with different pens and pencils. * Practice writing letters with exaggerated arm movements. This will help improve the motor memory without the pressure of the paper. * Encourage proper grip, posture, and paper positioning. If you aren’t sure how to help your child with this – don’t push it off too long! The later you correct these concerns, the harder it is to unlearn the bad habits.

Rabbi Reveals ‘Relationship Theory,’ his Secret to a Happy Marriage

Friday, September 7th, 2012
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch

Are you looking for emotional first aid for your marriage? If you are, you’re not alone. Today, engaged couples, newlyweds and couples who have been married for years are feeling insecure about their relationships and looking for advice on how to make their marriages work better or simply to heal their relationship wounds.

It’s no surprise that people are feeling unsure about the state of marriage in America. Take the latest studies on divorce. A 1999 study called The Effects of Divorce In America showed a significant increase in divorce over the last seven decades. The report found that:

“In 1935, there were 16 divorces for each 100 marriages. By 1998, the number had risen to 51 divorces per 100 marriages.” In addition, “over a twenty year period the number of divorced Americans rose from 4.3 million in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996.”

The statistics speak for themselves: relationships in America are in trouble and, as a society we are experiencing more divorce and dysfunction than ever before.

The good news is that I believe that most marriages can work. Often, all they need is a little guidance and direction, and when necessary, a bit of first aid.

It is true that the Torah community does not share these same statistics; our marriages tend to last longer and the viability of Jewish marriage is one of the great examples of the power and the wisdom of the Torah. However, over the last few years, we are beginning to see a new trend. Not a month will pass by when we don’t hear about a young couple getting divorced. The fact is, thirty years ago, “divorce” was an almost unspoken word in the Torah community. Today, divorce is becoming more common and we may be viewing the beginning of a new and dangerous trend. As a case in point, a colleague of mine recently mentioned to me that he stopped giving engagement gifts and preferred to wait until the couple took the final steps to the chuppah! These are signs that relationships are becoming harder to solidify and more difficult to maintain.

In today’s turbulent times, the entire notion of relationships is at risk, and the current tidal wave of divorce is causing a significant amount of anxiety. Worse, as skepticism about relationships grows, couples are becoming wary of promises that, “things will just work out” and “love will conquer all.” Many are willing to try just about anything to know for certain whether their marriage will succeed. In fact, some are so desperate for iron-clad assurances about their relationships, that they are willing to spend hours searching online for articles on marriage, participating in forums, and even taking illusive five minutes quizzes that promise to see if they have found their “true love.”

Here’s an ad I saw for one such dubious website: “Doubting if the person you are with is a right one for you? These tests and quizzes will help you to disclose his or her true essence.”

And that was just one site. There are so many others online that promise answers about romantic compatibility, how to know if you have found your soul mates, how much you have in common, and whether your love will last forever. It’s easy to get sucked into the appealing veneer of these quick and easy answers that aren’t based on fact or sound judgment.

Take Yossi, 25, and Deborah, 22, a young couple that came to talk with me about their fears of marriage and their inability to build a meaningful relationship. When they first walked into my office I was struck by how well they appeared – at least on the outside. They were in the prime of their lives, well dressed, soft spoken and well educated. Yossi was a systems analyst for a software company, and Deborah was a graduate student who had just started her first year in a master’s degree program in psychology.

Yossi, it turned out, was having difficulty deciding to get married. Deborah was scared that Yossi couldn’t make up his mind and that he was unable to commit to a stable relationship.

Yossi had other concerns about marrying Deborah. He was uneasy about the negative vibes he was receiving from what he described as Deborah’s “well-to-do” family. He was sensing that they would be unwilling to support them while Deborah was still in graduate school, and he was worried that he couldn’t carry the financial burden alone.

The Secret To A Happy Marriage

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Are you looking for emotional first aid for your marriage? If you are, you’re not alone. Today, engaged couples, newlyweds and couples who have been married for years are feeling insecure about their relationships and looking for advice on how to make their marriages work better or simply to heal their relationship wounds.

It’s no surprise that people are feeling unsure about the state of marriage in America. Take the latest studies on divorce. A 1999 study called The Effects of Divorce In America showed a significant increase in divorce over the last seven decades. The report found that:

“In 1935, there were 16 divorces for each 100 marriages. By 1998, the number had risen to 51 divorces per 100 marriages.” In addition, “over a twenty year period the number of divorced Americans rose from 4.3 million in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996.”

The statistics speak for themselves: relationships in America are in trouble and, as a society we are experiencing more divorce and dysfunction than ever before.

The good news is that I believe that most marriages can work. Often, all they need is a little guidance and direction, and when necessary, a bit of first aid.

It is true that the Torah community does not share these same statistics; our marriages tend to last longer and the viability of Jewish marriage is one of the great examples of the power and the wisdom of the Torah. However, over the last few years, we are beginning to see a new trend. Not a month will pass by when we don’t hear about a young couple getting divorced. The fact is, thirty years ago, “divorce” was an almost unspoken word in the Torah community. Today, divorce is becoming more common and we may be viewing the beginning of a new and dangerous trend. As a case in point, a colleague of mine recently mentioned to me that he stopped giving engagement gifts and preferred to wait until the couple took the final steps to the chuppah! These are signs that relationships are becoming harder to solidify and more difficult to maintain.

In today’s turbulent times, the entire notion of relationships is at risk, and the current tidal wave of divorce is causing a significant amount of anxiety. Worse, as skepticism about relationships grows, couples are becoming wary of promises that, “things will just work out” and “love will conquer all.” Many are willing to try just about anything to know for certain whether their marriage will succeed. In fact, some are so desperate for iron-clad assurances about their relationships, that they are willing to spend hours searching online for articles on marriage, participating in forums, and even taking illusive five minutes quizzes that promise to see if they have found their “true love.”

Here’s an ad I saw for one such dubious website: “Doubting if the person you are with is a right one for you? These tests and quizzes will help you to disclose his or her true essence.”

And that was just one site. There are so many others online that promise answers about romantic compatibility, how to know if you have found your soul mates, how much you have in common, and whether your love will last forever. It’s easy to get sucked into the appealing veneer of these quick and easy answers that aren’t based on fact or sound judgment.

Take Yossi, 25, and Deborah, 22, a young couple that came to talk with me about their fears of marriage and their inability to build a meaningful relationship. When they first walked into my office I was struck by how well they appeared – at least on the outside. They were in the prime of their lives, well dressed, soft spoken and well educated. Yossi was a systems analyst for a software company, and Deborah was a graduate student who had just started her first year in a master’s degree program in psychology.

Yossi, it turned out, was having difficulty deciding to get married. Deborah was scared that Yossi couldn’t make up his mind and that he was unable to commit to a stable relationship.

Yossi had other concerns about marrying Deborah. He was uneasy about the negative vibes he was receiving from what he described as Deborah’s “well-to-do” family. He was sensing that they would be unwilling to support them while Deborah was still in graduate school, and he was worried that he couldn’t carry the financial burden alone.

Democrat Convention Plan Shows Obama will Lose the Election

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

The Republican convention, whatever your critique of it, was designed to show that this is not a group of scary horrible people and that even if it is conservative this is also a moderate, rational group in the conservative solutions it proposes and in its broad appeal. Of course, the mass media did all it could to distort that fact but, of course, the terrible economic situation favors the opposition party.

The information released about the Democratic convention seems to show it is designed to prove how radical the party is, to play to the most limited possible sector of the population. There will be hatred and vicious character assassination. Of all the imams that could have been chosen, one with a radical background was picked to lead services while—from what I’ve read—Catholics were almost deliberately dissed. This is a convention featuring Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. There will be a lot of scary people and nasty rhetoric, sort of like a Keith Olbermann film festival.

I estimate that two-thirds of the Democrats in Congress are really moderate though they lack the courage to speak up. But will any of them be allowed to make any moderate statements that truly differ with the far-left line? No. Lots are staying away because they know this to be true; others will smile on the outside and be totally depressed knowing that the iceberg is on the way.

And the more the mass media gushes over this carnival, the more it will discredit itself and increase the cognitive dissonance (a fancy word for: What, are you guys nuts!) among a lot of Americans. When you are a wolf dressed up in a sheep suit you don’t want to unzip it, step out, and bare your teeth.

This is typical of a pattern often seen historically in democratic countries around the world, in which a party drifts so far to the left or right, is so dominated by ideologues, so arrogant in believing it is the only possible ruling party that it collapses.

I might be wrong but I think the design of the Democratic convention shows why Obama and his congressional supporters are going to lose the election big-time.

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

To Unite the Nat’l Religious Camp, U.S.-Born Candidates Offer Themselves as a Sacrifice

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

As the prospects for a merger between the two National Religious parties – the Jewish Home and the National Union – fall apart, the American-born candidate team, Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel have said they would be willing to sacrifice their own potential spot on the Knesset list for the sake of unifying the national-religious camp.

“Our primary goal has never been to make it into the Knesset” but instead uniting the national-religious camp, the two said in a statement released to the press today.

Therefore they will not “endorse a leadership candidate that refuses to support unity between the factions within the religious Zionist camp”

In an e-mail statement they went further, cryptically stating that their support for unity may cost them a spot in the Knesset, but stating that it is “a price we are willing to pay.”

What’s the Hold up to Unity?

The unmentioned hold up to the potential merger referenced by Abramowitz and Gimpel is likely newcomer Naftali Bennett, who, according Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post, said in a private meeting last week that if he were elected to the leadership of the Jewish Home, he would not allow three of the four Knesset Members of the National Union to run with the Jewish Home.

This would make it extremely unlikely that the National Union would agree to join with the Jewish home during the general elections.  It would essentially mean agreeing to disappear to make way for the Jewish Home, even though they currently have four Knesset seats to the Jewish Home’s three.

Unsurprisingly, the National Union’s Knesset Members did not react well to the alleged statements.

Bennett’s campaign told The Jewish Press over the phone today that no such statements were ever made.

Bennett, who is competing for party leadership against current party chairman Minister of Science Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz and MK Z’vulon Orlev, posted a statement on his facebook page today stating that “To remove all doubt, I support and urge the unity of the camp and to unite with the National Union party. I will work towards it with all my might. I won’t bar a single person. Period.”

The origin of the prospects for merger of the Jewish Home and National Union began earlier this year. When shortly after Pesach it seemed that early elections were imminent, the parties signed an agreement to run as a united list.

Since early elections didn’t occur, the agreement no longer applies. Nevertheless, there are many who want the joint list, including National Union Chairman MK Yaacov Katz.

Katz is one of the three MKs whom Bennett reportedly said he would not allow to run with the Jewish Home. The others were MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michal Ben-Ari. Bennett would reportedly be alright with MK Uri Ariel, the remaining National Union member.

The three on Bennett’s blacklist are considered to have bombastic political temperaments, unwilling to censor themselves, and Ben Ari and Katz in particular make a point of sticking it their opponents.

Ben Ari, for example, brought illegal African immigrants to swimming pools in posh areas of Tel Aviv. During the debate over his proposed “Arrangement Law” Katz said that anyone voting against the bill had “a heart of stone.”

But according to a political strategist who wished to remain anonymous, Bennett is not concerned with the party’s image, but making room on the list for his own political allies.

“Bennett has made many colossal errors,” the strategist said, “the biggest of which is that he has too many people that endorsed him – too many people he owes favors to.”

For Israeli politicians, who are chosen not in general elections, but by internal party mechanisms – often, but not always, primary elections, the real contest is securing a realistic, if not high spot on their party’s list.

If for example, a party gets 12 seats in the Knesset (10 percent of the vote), unlucky candidate number 13, will not get into the Knesset, no matter how popular he may be among the general public. The higher the candidate is on the list, the more likely he is to get into the Knesset and the more likely he is to be named a minister in the government if his party joins the coalition.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/to-unite-the-natl-religious-camp-american-born-candidates-offer-themselves-as-a-sacrifice/2012/09/02/

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