web analytics
August 1, 2014 /
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘job’

Davening with Baby

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Some 21 years ago I had the honor of being the stay-at-home father, while Nancy was the one with the grownup job that required leaving the house every morning and going to a remote work area that involved other people. With nothing to do but my weekly columns and phone interviews, I was the obvious parenting choice.

So I developed many different activities a father can do with a small child. I learned that a small child can be used as a dumbbell, both for leg and arm lifts. In fact, the older the child becomes, the better shape the father should get into, until she is too heavy for leg lifts (and starts attending school regularly).

I also acquired many skills which never again served me in life, most notably the skill of holding the baby in one arm, opening the fridge, grabbing a bottle, twisting it off with your teeth, holding the bottle between your chin and your neck while filling it up with milk.

I’ve seen some mothers perform these tricks giving the impression they possessed four and five arms. I could do three, max.

Here’s a guy at the Kotel, davening with his little baby on Sukkot. You can tell it’s Sukkot from the guy with the lulav in the back. You can tell the proud father is a Lubavitcher from his siddur (prayer book).

On Sukkot we are mesmerized by the fragrance of the etrog and the haddassim. But I’ll bet you this father is too preoccupied taking in the fresh baby smell… I know I would be.

The picture was taken during the priestly blessing, which is another thing fathers get to do with their children.

Our daughter is in America these days, and so I give her the priestly blessing over Skype. You do what you can.

Chag Same’ach.

U.S. Graduates Seek Work in Israel

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When Joanna Lieberman was preparing for graduation from Cornell University five years ago, her career options were unsettling. Dreaming of a job in the hospitality industry but lacking a degree in the field, she realized she needed hands-on work experience before pursuing a full-time position. Lieberman, along with thousands of other American college graduates, turned to Israel’s growing employment market for an answer.

“People are realizing the opportunities in Israel to get hands-on career experience in industries that are doing cutting-edge work,” she said. “Israel is known for its booming tourism industry and it seemed like the perfect place for me to test out working in the field.”

Lieberman’s hands-on work experience came from working with Career Israel, Masa Israel Journey’s five-month professional internship program that allows college graduates to explore their fields of interest. In addition to a life spent embracing her Jewish heritage, she points to her involvement with Israel-on-campus activities as a driving factor behind moving to Israel after she graduated. Participating in her Hillel’s Israel activities, she said, kept her feeling connected to the country.

Lieberman’s story is far from uncommon; since 2008, more than 2,600 graduates have taken internship positions in Israel with Masa Israel’s rapidly growing program. It’s no surprise that students are looking to Israel for career opportunities, in light of the ongoing weak domestic job market in the US. A recent Associated Press report found that more than half of America’s recent college graduates are unemployed or working in jobs that do not use their skills.

“As students and recent graduates continue to face a difficult job market, they are looking for ways to continue developing their career and also to stand out,” Masa Israel Director of Communications Miranda Bogen said. “Coming to Israel on internship and even volunteer programs offers them international professional experiences that are usually much more substantial than entry-level positions in the US.”

Between the underwhelming number of job opportunities at home and a love for Israel, the decision to work in Israel has been easy for some recent college graduates, including University of Florida graduate Robert Yanks.

Yanks was bitten by the Israel bug after he went on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip organized by his school’s Hillel. Being surrounded by his classmates in Israel not only solidified his love for the country, but also landed him a job offer in Israel. A friend Yanks met on Birthright put him in contact with internet-startup company Moolta, and soon after he was hired as its regional marketing director.

“I wanted to choose a job in Israel to experience a different way of living and to travel before life became too hectic,” he said. “I think it’s amazing what the country has accomplished; it’s almost a miracle in the middle of a desert. Just being able to support the country by living here may have made my decision to come a little easier.”

Yanks is three months deep into his Israel stay and will return to the U.S. in November to launch domestic marketing initiatives for the company. He says his work in Israel has broadened his professional knowledge while simultaneously allowing him a living experience unlike any other.

“There’s a different feeling here unlike any other country I’ve been to and that’s what makes Israel so appealing to the American student,” Yanks said. “I think the main reason why students take jobs in Israel after college is because it’s so easy to fall in love with the country and its people. Life moves at a different pace here. People of Israel know how to truly appreciate everything around them, and they all realize that nothing is simply given.”

Unlike Yanks, who realized his interest in Israel toward the end of college, Illinois State University graduate Tess Sevelow-Lee made her Israel decision early on during her extensive Israel-on-campus involvement.

An active StandWithUs campus leader, Sevelow-Lee spent her college career creating and distributing an ‘Israel 101’ presentation which teachers and faculty used to introduce Israel to Jewish and non-Jewish students.

“My involvement in college was the catalyst for my move,” she said. “I realized that while I was in the States, just talking about my love for this country wasn’t enough, I needed to be here.”

Parshat Nitzavim

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Colin Powell, despite reaching the pinnacle of power, has never forgotten his simple roots in the Bronx. This proud connection to his past manifests itself in many ways, ranging from his work ethic to his love of hotdogs. It also manifests itself in his appreciation of what the “regular guy” brings to the table in every organization. All too often people focus on the leaders and big players who are on everybody’s radar. But in a certain sense, it is the people in the trenches—the ones nobody knows—who are the real heroes; the people who really drive society forward.

One of the responsibilities of a leader is to articulate a vision and sense of purpose for the organization. This includes ensuring that every member of the organization understands the vision, buys into the vision, and appreciates his personal role in actualizing the vision. To illustrate this point Powell relates an interesting anecdote in his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership (2012). He was once watching a documentary about the Empire State Building. Most of the documentary focused on the building’s history, architecture and construction. But towards the end the camera showed a large room filled with hundreds of filled and tied black garbage bags. Deep beneath the powerful offices, majestic lobbies and observation deck was the trash room. Although it was obvious what the room’s function was and what the jobs of the men working there were the narrator nonetheless asked one of the workers, “What’s your job?” The man looked back, smiled and said, “Our job is to make sure that tomorrow morning when people from all over the world come to this wonderful building, it shines, it is clean, and it looks great” (p.24). Powell explains that this man got it. He was not merely a custodian. He was a key cast member of the Empire State Building.

I always wonder when I read stories like this if the writer truly believes what he’s writing or is just writing what he thinks sounds good. However, in this particular case Divine providence provided me an answer. The week before I read this book I had visited a private school in Manhattan to discuss curriculum issues. Amid our discussion the headmaster related that his daughter worked for the State Department; she had been initially hired by Colin Powell who was then secretary of state. Though she was a Democrat and Powell a republican there were a number of things that convinced her to take the job; what clinched it however, was this: at the conclusion of the interview, Powell showed her around the Department of State. Entering a hallway, they encountered one of the custodians cleaning the floor. Powell stopped, and addressing him by name asked how he was doing and how his wife’s doctor’s visit had gone. The man responded in kind. She saw how Powell genuinely cared about this person and viewed him as a valued player in the State Department. The headmaster told me that his daughter decided right there that Powell was the kind of person she wanted to work with.

The necessity for leaders to articulate a clear vision, explain it to the masses and inspire them to believe that they all have a role in its realization is underscored by the Torah at the beginning of this week’s Parsha. The Torah describes (29:9-11) how all of Bnei Yisrael were assembled in front of G-d to make a covenant with Him. The assemblage included the chieftains, constables, children, women, and converts – the full strata of Israelite society, from its leadership to its physical laborers. Nobody was excluded. The commentators discuss the Torah’s careful delineation of all the different categories of people present that day.

The Alshich comments that the Torah wanted to emphasize that in truth it is impossible to determine who is more important than whom. While it may seem evident to our earthly senses that person A is more distinguished and honorable than person B, the Heavenly perspective might be very different. The person who seems honorable to us might in fact have played a less significant role in the progress of history than the person who seems simpler. When Moshe assembled all of Bnei Yisrael that day as one group, people realized that they would each be accorded equal respect and attention.

Learning As I Teach

Friday, August 31st, 2012

This was my first teaching job. I was standing in front of a classroom of eighteen delightful third graders. I had tutored and taught small groups of children over the years but this was my very own class. I could barely believe it. I was all of nineteen years old and I was so nervous. My stomach hurt and I hardly slept the night before the start of the school year. Eighteen pairs of sweet, adorable eyes followed my every move, every day.

I had spent the past two weeks decorating my classroom. Creating a bulletin board that would be exciting and interesting, yet clear and informative. It was bright and colorful but defined and organized. I wanted my students to understand my routines, yet be curious to find out more of what I had in store for them.

I prepared and worked hard on my lessons. I taught with enthusiasm and energy. I brought in visual aids and props galore. I acted out stories in an intense and dramatic way that surprised even me. I captured my students’ attention and piqued their interest in learning. I honed in on their skills and challenged them in new ways. I built their confidence and motivated them to want to learn more.

But like every new teacher, no matter how much I prepared I still had loads to learn. And my students taught me. I remember the first time I announced, “Everyone, please hand in your homework from yesterday,” and eighteen worksheet papers went flying in my direction. Many of them falling slowly to the floor and bedlam ensued. The next day, I instituted the “Homework Collection” system which worked wonders.

Well, there I was, deep into a Chumash lesson, sing-songing the pesukim and translating word for word, adding my creative hand motions that connected to each word and hanging up sentence strips on the bulletin board; when I learned yet another valuable lesson from my students.

Tami G. was a tall third grader. She was only nine years old but she reached my shoulders and maybe a bit higher. She was almost double the height of some of the children in my class. Tami was the type of girl who had an easygoing smile and was happy to go along with whatever the class was doing. Her notebooks, loose-leaf binder, papers, and pencil case were always shoved into her desk and something, inevitably, was always poking out in a haphazard way. She was still able to find whatever she needed and as long as she was okay with it, I didn’t mind either. Naturally, as the tallest in the class, Tami sat in the back of the room. She had an extra tall chair and desk. Her legs were almost always restlessly moving trying to find a comfortable spot. She was involved in the class lessons and always had great comments to share.

As I said, there I was, in the midst of my captivating and well cultivated lesson when Tami moved her feet a bit in the wrong direction bumping her desk. Her whole desk knocked over and fell forward toward her. She caught the desk before it crashed to the floor but everything inside of it came tumbling out. Everything. And of course, her pencil case wasn’t zipped – so there was a nice mess on the floor and whole lot of noise. All eyes turned toward Tami. The room was silent.

There went my lesson.

Tami with her half-smile, hand raised, called out, “Clean Up in Aisle 4!”

And I burst out laughing.

Tami’s smile stretched further and happily joined mine, laughing. My class was pleasantly surprised to see their teacher laughing and started giggling, then laughing along with me.

That’s when I learned my favorite lesson of all. I realized that it is wonderful to find little moments of good, healthy, wholesome laughter. It puts a whole different spin in the classroom atmosphere and sprinkles the air with such a special happiness. It is a marvelous way to show that we enjoy learning and life.

Over the past number of years teaching, I learned so many lessons from my students but this one I treasure most. And I have found incredible, exciting opportunities to smile and laugh together with my students and it brightens the whole classroom.

Rolling on the Grass with Sasha

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

President Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, which means he just turned 51.

Here he is sitting with his daughter Sasha during a barbecue with family and friends in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House.

I turned 51 six years ago, almost seven years, really. My daughter Yarden was older at the time, so I don’t think we rolled in the grass back then. But we certainly did when she was Sasha’s age.

It’s one of the things fathers and daughters do.

Our presidents, like our kings before them, are symbols of our national condition, icons of our well being, avatars of our lives.

The president can’t really do much to, say, improve the economy. Anything substantial he would do would inevitably involve many other people and voices and opinions and influences and in the end would look nothing like what they had attempted to do in the first place.

But the president’s job in improving the economy, or the state of the union in general, is to get on his beloved horse Sparky every morning and ride down Main Street waving to the crowd and calling out: “Everything is great! Business is booming! Our country is the best in the world! Our people are the finest! Our children are the smartest! The future is bright!”

That’s really his job. That’s what he’s doing in this picture, rolling on the grass with little Sasha. His job.

Kinda’ sad, after all is said and done, don’t you think?

Florida debate: ‘Should Jews Vote for Obama or Romney’

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

If you are already bored with the US presidential campaign rhetoric, do we have a debate for you!

Tonight’s debate in the swing state of Florida will not be the standard snooze, and you can watch it on your very own computer screen.  Among the players are one vegetarian, animal rights, nuke-the-terrorists rabbi; a Christian Zionist whose opposition to Islamic terrorism has placed his group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups; a dyed in the wool Democratic Party leader; and a former high school teacher who debates as if his life depends on it.  He thinks it does.

Florida is one of the key swing states in play in this year’s US presidential campaign.   President Obama made a personal visit to  Century Village in Boca Raton, Florida last month, and newly-annointed Republican vice presidential candidate Cong. Paul Ryan (R-WI ) made one of his first official campaign visits there.  Ryan appeared with his Wisconsin-based mom, who lives part of the year in Florida.

Within the swing Sunshine State,  Florida’s 639,000 Jews are attracting a lot of the campaign attention.  According to a Boston Globe article this week, President Obama is losing some support amongst Jewish Floridians.   Although Jews constitute only 3 percent of Florida voters, their high voter turnout means they may account for as much as 7 or 8 percent of the vote.

Which brings us to tonight’s debate.

Rabbi Barry Silver is the religious leader of the 200-family Reform congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in Lake Worth, Florida.  His shul has been holding the Rabbi Sam Silver Controversial Issues Series for years.  Topics they have addressed include: “Which branch of Judaism is the most authentic?” and “Is vegetarianism consistent with Jewish law?”

On May 15, 2012, the Controversial Issues Series held the first debate in this year’s election series.  The question debated then was: “Is President Obama Good or Bad for Israel?”

Tonight’s question is a slightly broader one: “Should Jews Vote for Obama or Romney?”

The same quartet from May is back for tonight’s rematch.  In the blue corner, representing the pro-Obama vote, is Mark Alan Siegel, chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, and Rabbi Barry Silver.  In the red corner, speaking for the pro-Romney vote, will be Alan Bergstein, a transplanted Brooklynite, currently a South Florida pro-Israel activist and Tom Trento, president of The United West.  The United West describes itself as a counter-jihad organization.  It is adamantly supportive of Israel, which Trento describes as America’s beacon of light in the Middle East.  Siegel, however, described Trento and Bergstein as anti-Islamic extremists.

In the earlier debate, Trento seized on Siegel’s statement, that “there is more to this election than merely Israel.” To which Trento responded: “no, there isn’t, there’s one issue – it’s Israel.  It isn’t abortion, it isn’t healthcare, it’s Israel.”

This afternoon, speaking by phone to The Jewish Press, the Palm Beach County Democratic Chair said that in tonight’s debate he “will be presenting a drash, based on traditional Jewish sources, which make clear that Jews should vote for Democrats, because that party is more consistent with traditional Jewish values.”  Siegel especially focused on “the Democratic party being more representative of the Jewish belief in communal responsibilities, such as for education, than is the Republican party,” which he said “focuses on individual responsibility, in other words, everybody for himself.”

In contrast to Siegel, who is a party line supporter of President Obama, Rabbi Silver is less enthusiastic.  Silver told The Jewish Press that the president “speaks well, but what he does doesn’t match up with the rhetoric.”  The Republican challenger, however, fares even worse.  In Silver’s estimation, “Romney doesn’t even say the right things, and unlike Obama’s baby steps in the right direction, Romney is taking huge leaps in the wrong direction.”

But just when you start to chalk up the Reform Rabbi’s positions as predictable of a solid left-leaning Democrat, he shatters that stereotype.

“Israel and the US and the rest of the western world should declare war on terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and also Ahmadinejad,” Silver explains.

“How does the world expect Israel to achieve peace with those terrorists?” asked Silver.   “Just as during World War II we didn’t try to find a way to live with the Nazis, we defeated them militarily, and then we found friends with whom we could make peace.”  According to Silver, “the same has to happen with the Islamic fundamentalists.”

35 Hours

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/35-hours.html

“Camp directors waited about 35 hours before calling a criminal lawyer, who advised them to alert authorities.”

This line from a story in the New York Post about an alleged sex abuse case is why we ought to be reporting  suspicions of sex abuse directly to the police. The accused, 31 year old Yoel Oberlander is a delivery person for Golden Taste – a Kosher food company. He was delivering milk to Camp Shalva, an Orthdodox Jewish summer camp in Monsey. He snuck into one of the bunks at night under the cover of darkness when the boys were asleep.

Although according to the article there are no allegations of any sex abuse… this fellow’s hands are not clean. He is a convicted pedophile who in 2002 sexually abused an 11 year old girl.

The camp’s directors twiddled their thumbs for 35 hours and then called a criminal lawyer who advised them to make the report. 35 hours is a long time. As the advocacy group Survivors for Justice (who reported the incident to the police after they received reports of it and the fact that boys were told not to call their parents) said:

An immediate report would have protected kids in other camps where this driver was making deliveries that day and the next. We hope the children were not pressured into changing their stories.

Has this community not learned anything?  This community still feels that they can handle things. At the expense of the victims and their families.

And how in heaven’s name does a pedophile who is convicted and registered sex offender get a job delivering milk late at night to a summer-camp full of children? Don’t they do background checks?

I had a discussion recently with an individual who works very closely with victims of abuse and their families – a man who has been ‘around the block’ on this issue and knows the score. I happen to know that he is highly respected by the right wing and he knows that world well.  He is grieved by the way sex abuse is being treated there. He doesn’t seem to think there is going to be any change unless… (verbatim quote):

1) there are high-level arrests and convictions of their roshei kehilla and (certain) rebbes for the unbelievable terror campaigns they are conducting against the poor victims and their families.

2) there are huge lawsuits against their mosdos that result in yeshiva building sold at auction to satisfy tens-of-millions in damages.

3) both of the above.

Perhaps that is what it will take!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/35-hours/2012/08/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: