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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘kids’

The Numbers Game

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

There’s only so many ways to skin a cat or win an election. Like gambling, you don’t just take the easy money, you look for the big score. The Republicans have always taken the easy money, setting up their own dime store New Deal after losing to FDR and Truman, setting up affirmative action and HMOs after JFK and LBJ; scoring short term political victories and long term defeats.

As we speak, a small horde of consultants and would-be consultants is urging the Republican Party to take the easy money of amnesty, tax hikes and anything else that will make them an inoffensive version of last election’s Democratic Party. And if any of that is followed by a victory, then the consultants order an expensive bottle of wine and the left goes on planning another big score.

The key to winning the game is in the numbers. Demographics.

The weakness of the kind of state that Western liberals love to set up, the one with 4-day workweeks where everyone is either in a university or a union, where no one goes to church or synagogue, where having more than 2 kids is frowned on and retirement can be had before your hair goes white, is that it demographically trends conservative. Not necessarily what most conservatives think of as being conservative, but nevertheless those retired 60-year olds who have one daughter named Inga and take four vacations a year, don’t much like change. They don’t like America, Israel, banks, war, monarchy and a lot of the things that the left expects them not to like; but they also form societies that lack the left’s radical appetite for change.

Older societies trend conservative. And a low birth rate means that the society will be old and the growth in children will come from more traditional households. Those children can be broken down in the mandatory public education system and influenced through cultural dementia, but the long run prospects don’t look good for the left. Eventually you end up with a society where everyone expects to retire at 55, even though there aren’t enough younger workers to take their place, and half of those potential younger workers are getting useless advanced degrees or dreaming of moving to America, while the other half are joining some revivalist religious movement. And that’s a bad deal either way.

The left’s utopias are not only economically unsustainable (what else is new) but also politically and demographically unsustainable. The economics can’t be fixed, but the politics and demographics can. As with all of the left’s solutions, they involve finding ways of making things much, much worse. And their answer to the demographic and political problem is immigration. Bring in young people from elsewhere who will have lots of kids and vote the straight slanted ticket. Preferably the kind who won’t get along with the locals and will be taught to constantly complain about racism, even though back where they’re from, racism was as accepted as daylight drug deals and beheadings.

Bring them in, run their kids through the same system, add a few holidays to the calendar, enjoy the new ethnic foods and hopefully teach their kids to stop having so many kids if they want to retire at 55 and fill their house with knickknacks from their vacations in Greece and Brazil. And then fill the new gap with more immigrants. It’s a plan that makes as much economic sense as the European Union and is twice as sustainable. After all lots of people in the world want free health care and a passport from a country that won’t collapse into a murderous civil war when the price of bread goes through the minaret.

And if the assimilation program doesn’t work, well then you only have to bring in half as many immigrants next time around, because all those countries you brought those immigrants from are now in your own country. Saves on jet fuel and coast guards. Not to mention language lessons, though it usually turns out that you need them anyway because your excellent schools no longer seem to be doing such a good job of teaching your own language and what used to be your language is now an argot composed of the languages of your immigrants and bits of your own language processed into the fake street slang of rap stars. And before you know it, you’re using it too.

It’s a dead end. It’s Rome with the barbarians sorting through the loot. It’s China when the wall fell. It’s Byzantium when the Bedouin raiders poured through and began the centuries long process of tearing apart Middle Eastern Christianity, that Islam wrapped up. It’s the long fall of civilization into night with a bloody pension and a hell of a retirement plan lost somewhere in the middle of a pile of broken marble columns.

But it keeps the left alive. Without diversity, the left is a bunch of corpulent unions protecting their pensions while the young people look at brochures of London and Los Angeles and finish their fourth degree. Without it, the left eventually dries up, blows away in the wind and dies after running a few protests against austerity and then has to implement it anyway.

Diversity isn’t a moral principle. It’s oxygen for a dead movement. It’s the only way that the left can stay alive long enough to fulfill the accidental mission of every parasite by killing its host. It’s the numbers game and as long as the left can cobble together these coalitions built on the backs of immigrants and tied together with community associations and piles of free stuff, then it can go on squatting on a society, dipping its proboscis in the sweet nectar of wealth and power, and then when the nectar runs out, switching to sipping its blood.

The left needs immigration to run its numbers game. It needs immigration to survive. It needs immigration to force further change on societies that would be static if left to their own devices. It needs immigration to provide it with a permanently disadvantaged working class from an infinite supply of billions. It needs to make its own failed society fail in new ways by injecting other failed societies into it.

Play the diversity of numbers and the kids stop dreaming of London and LA and start hanging out at clubs where diversity seems to make life more exciting. The declining native upper class and the immigrant working class shake hands over the bodies of the native working class and the whole broken train rumbles forward into the night.

But this numbers game depends on no opposition party emerging to represent the people left out of this arrangement. And there are two kinds of opposition parties. The cheerfully capitalist party whose leaders have gone to all the right schools and are obscenely enthusiastic about bringing some fresh blood into the country. And the other kind. The ones who aren’t interested in fresh blood.

The opposition party and its composition doesn’t matter that much until the crunch kicks in. That is what happens when economic unsustainability begins to outrace all the imaginary numbers and the accounting tricks that involve selling debt in exchange for debt and building all the debt into a tall house of debt cards and the knives come out and the sacrifices begin. And like all cannibal feasts, it’s a question of who gets cut and who does the cutting.

The unofficial cutting order on the left, after everything else has been drained, the rich have fled to their tax havens and small businesses sell things that fell off trucks on the way to the government giveaway, is native pensions, immigrant benefits and then their own salaries. The natives will howl, of course, but the question is will they be able to do anything more than howl.

The left can control the table but democracy is also a number. The right amount of votes can change the nature of the game entirely. It’s all a question of thinking long term and planning for the right moment, instead of the right sellout. Compromises don’t win elections, strategic tactical grievances do. And then when the moment comes, the overton window opens, the grievance gets hurled and the game changes.

The difference between the left and the right is that the left has a five-year plan and the right has a five-second plan. The left knows what it’s going to do four years from now when the numbers look even worse than they do today. But what is the right going to do? Run another cheerful capitalist who promises to use his Olympics experience to fix the economy, but never really seizes those grievances and goes for the throat? That’s what the left is counting on.

And until then maybe it’s time to serve up some more amnesty. Because who can have just one portion of a delicious demographic treat like unsustainable economics fused with millions of free votes?

No game is unwinnable. But you have to know the odds and play to win. Demographics, like all other games, is winnable, but you have to know how to play the game.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

100 Hamas Rockets Targeting Israeli Schoolchildren

Monday, November 12th, 2012

It was a daunting, dismal weekend for Israel’s south, particularly for Israelis living in communities bordering the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Along with the rain, more than 100 Gaza rockets struck the south, wounding four Israelis and sending countless others into shock and trauma, while damaging homes, businesses and vehicles.

“I stood in my family’s bomb shelter on our kibbutz today during a siren warning and watched these two people try to run to shelter just as a rocket landed nearby,” said Shir Hermesh, a student at Sapir College who lives on a western Negev kibbutz. “They didn’t take cover in time and were wounded by rocket shrapnel.”

Remains of a rocket explosion near a residential home in Israel's south. Daniel Hagbi, Sderot Media Center.

Remains of a rocket explosion near a residential home in Israel’s south.        Photo: Daniel Hagbi, Sderot Media Center.

 

More than fifty-five rockets landed in or around residential communities located in the northwestern part of the Negev, including the Eshkol Regional Council, Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council and Sderot. Eshkol, made up of 13, 500 people living in 32 communities, has been one of the hardest hit areas of the region, suffering power outages on late Sunday afternoon when a rocket struck a power line.

“We are prepared for days like today—for this kind of heavy rocket fire– because we have no choice,” said Nikki Levy, the security chief of the Eshkol Regional Council. Levy has been a security officer in the region for five and a half years. He explains that the Eshkol Regional Council is one of the best prepared in the region.

“Each of the 32 communities within the Eshkol region has an emergency team which includes a social worker that is ready to respond to any situation— be it a rocket hit or someone suffering from shock. The emergency teams also address residents’ concerns and make sure that the security instructions from the IDF and the council are carried out. We have daily meetings updating one another on what is taking place,” Levy told Tazpit News Agency.

One of the most important priorities of the Eshkol Regional Council is ensuring the safety of children during rocket escalations. Because Palestinian terrorists time their rocket fire during the early morning hours to strike Israeli schoolchildren traveling on open roads to school, the decision to keep school open or closed in the southern district of Israel is critical.

“Today we have been forced to cancel school due to the Sunday morning rockets,” explains Ronit Minaker, the spokeswoman for the Eshkol Regional Council. “Although the high school is newly built and completely sheltered from rocket attacks, our concern is transportation safety—the kids are most vulnerable on the open roads and the rockets can strike anywhere,” Minaker explains.

“We can’t risk the chance of a rocket striking a school bus or bus stop with children in the vicinity.”

The Eshkol Regional High School was built in 2009, right after Operation Cast Lead, when more than 500 rockets were fired at Israel within a three-week period. The school’s concrete walls are 40 centimeters thick and the glass windows are shatter-proof, which allows the school’s 900 students to learn even during warning sirens and rocket fire.

Surprisingly, one of the quieter areas in Eshkol today was the resilience center, which is part of the social and welfare services branch of the Eshkol Regional Council. The Eshkol Resilience Center provides first-hand trauma treatment to shock victims and continuing therapy treatments thereafter. Every resident of the Eshkol Regional Council has a right to mental health treatment in light of the security situation. The center also offers community resilience treatments against anxiety and trauma resulting from rocket attacks.

“Today, it is quiet, because most of the patients have cancelled appointments due to the rocket fire,” explains Tamar Orbach-Avni, the director of the social and welfare services. “Many of our patients who are parents have to remain home with their kids. That means they have also missed work.”

“This is a violent disruption in daily routine. The fact that the kids aren’t attending school today is not a ‘fun day’ for anyone. It means that both the kids and their parents are home, trying to deal with all the stress and fear that accumulates during a rocket escalation,” said Orbach-Avni.

Title: Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: Hindy Jacobs
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

When the Fine family (not related to the Feiners from Alone in Africa!) move into a new neighborhood, the twin siblings named Nesanel (again, not related to Nesanel Feiner) and Nechama set out on a very important mission – finding friends to rescue them from their boredom. They went to a window and started looking for someone to play with. Naively, Nechama and Nesanel thought that a friend is someone exactly like them, so they had no luck in their search. They went to a grocery for snacks, but got lost on the way. A girl who Nechama previously saw from her window and didn’t want to be friends with showed them the route. The twins were ready to make a purchase, but then they discovered that they lost the money their mother had given them. The pattern continued and kids that Nechama and Nesanel rejected helped them out. Not only did Nesanel and Nechama find friends, they also learned what a friend really is.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” is one of the lessons we learn from Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind! Children can also expand their social horizons after absorbing this book.

The illustrations in this book are done in a very creative way – in a fascinating modeling clay format with a drawn background. I would recommend this book for children ages five and under. I know because my cousins were swiping it from me the whole Sukkos, and they are five and under.

Another Season In The Books/A Remarkable Brother-In-Law

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

What an unusual postseason it was.

The Yankees looked inept against the ferocious Tigers and the Tigers in turn looked toothless against the San Francisco Giants as they were swept in the World Series.

Until the World Series, it was a very successful year for Detroit. The team drew over three million fans during the regular season and downtown was humming before and after Tigers games.

On the last Sunday of October, when the Tigers went down to defeat in Game Four of the World Series, I attended the World Series of dinners.

I dodged the football traffic as the Detroit Lions were playing at home in Ford Field, only about 30 feet beyond the left field scoreboard at the Tigers’ Comerica Park home.

The afternoon football traffic was just leaving and the evening baseball traffic was just arriving as I went a few blocks further to Detroit’s largest hotel (adjoining the General Motors headquarters) for the annual dinner of Yeshiva Beth Yehudah. It’s the school I attended, the school my daughter graduated from, the school all my grandchildren went or go to.

I had harbored thoughts of leaving the dinner early in order to be parked in my favorite chair in time for the first pitch. But it wouldn’t have been fair to the guest speaker, former first lady Laura Bush. After all, I stayed last year for Vice President Joe Biden.

Mrs. Bush was a big hit and told of her three trips to Israel with her husband – two while he was president and one when he was governor of Texas. She also told of her father being in one of the military units that liberated a concentration camp and the effect it on him. He had photos he saved for the rest of his life.

As a former teacher and librarian, she bonded with the audience of over 2,000 (the largest Orthodox dinner of its kind) and I was glad I stayed to the end. The dinner ended at 8:07 p.m. – about the same time Game Four started. I made it home for the second inning and got to see nine innings as the game went 10 innings before Detroit’s great baseball season ended too early.

It will be a most interesting off-season, though. Especially in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. While the Tigers just need a bit of tweaking here and there, the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees need major overhauls. You can expect all the aforementioned teams to go after free agent Josh Hamilton, who hit 43 homers for the Texas Rangers.

But pitching stops good hitting, as San Francisco Giants fans know.

* * * * *

My brother-in-law was the most talented man I ever knew.

Rabbi Samuel Kunda, z”l, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 67. Illness robbed him of much of his unique creativity during his 60s, but his jovial personality, terrific smile and ever-present chuckle remained part of his DNA.

He was – if you’ll pardon the comparison – the closest thing to a Jewish Santa Claus there was.

Rabbi Kunda’s relationship with youngsters made him a popular yeshiva rebbe before he became an internationally known producer of Jewish educational materials for children and their parents.

Shum, as my sister, Naomi, a”h, called him when others were out of earshot, left us with numerous tapes, books and pictures and songs. His artistic talent adorned the walls in my home and sukkah for decades, but he never got around to the project I wanted him to tackle – “Boruch Goes to Ebbets Field.”

Samuel had his own memories of going to the fabled ballpark of the Brooklyn Dodgers and seeing his favorite player, Duke Snider, hit a home run.

With his talent and imagination and Dodgers players with names of Duke, Pee Wee (Reese), Campy (Roy Campanella) and Preacher (Roe), “Boruch goes to Ebbets Field” would have been a big hit.

Shmuel also experienced Tiger Stadium in an unusual way. On one of the family visits here in the 1980s, I took them to the Tigers’ old ballpark when the team was on the road and we had a picnic and ballgame.

Casey Kunda managed all of the kids and even hit an inside-the-park home run and circled the bases twice before allowing one of the kids to tag him out. He made sure the kids always won.

It’s Halloween, Let’s All Idol-Worship Tonight!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Tonight, Jewish youth all over the world – except in Israel– will celebrate the pagan holiday of Halloween.

Halloween is also called All Hallows’ Eve, because, for the gentiles, it is a hallowed evening, the eve of All Saints’ Day, a day which honors all Christian saints.

The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that in ancient Britain and Ireland, the Festival of Halloween was also celebration of the end of the fertile period of the Celtic goddess, Eiseria. It is said that when Eiseria reaches the end of her fertile cycle, the worlds of the dead and the living intertwine. This supposedly happens on October 31. Masks are worn to show respect for the Goddess Eiseria, who, like most Celtic gods, does not wish to be seen by human eyes. This is one of the reason behind Halloween costumes and for the holiday’s omens, spirits, demons, and witches.

This date was also New Year’s Eve in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons said to be roaming about.

It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes. These pagan observances also influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on the same date.

Jewish Law states:

A Jew should not follow the customs of the gentiles, nor imitate them in dress, or in their way of trimming their hair, as it says, ‘You shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I cast out before you’ (Lev. 20:23), and ‘Neither shall you walk in their statutes’ (Lev. 18:3). These verses all refer to one and the same matter of not imitating them. A Jew, on the contrary, should be distinguished from them and recognizable by the way he dresses, and in his other activities, just as he is distinguished from them in his knowledge and his beliefs, as it is said, ‘I have set you apart from the peoples’ (Lev. 20:26). (See, Rambam, Laws Regarding Idol Worship and the Ordinances of the Gentiles, 11:1).

When it comes to the question whether Jews can take part in gentile holidays, the halachic discussion differs between clearly religious holidays like Xmas, which are forbidden, and purely secular holidays like Labor Day, which are permissible. Halloween’s religious origins and pagan history place it in the category of gentile holidays that are forbidden to celebrate.

Though Halloween in America has been secularized and commercialized to the point where it is now a frivolous time of costumes, candy, and pranks, it is still celebrated in places like Scotland and Ireland as a Celtic festival of the spirits, and in other places as a holiday honoring the Christian saints. Therefore, there is good reason for telling the kids that “Trick or Treating” is a no-no for Jewish children.

The law prohibiting our participation in gentile holidays and customs comes to protect our special Jewish holiness and cultural distinction. If you allow your kids to participate in the pagan rites of a gentile culture, they are likely to grow up with pumpkin heads instead of Jewish heads.

On the other hand, if you try to safeguard our distinction as Jews and not let your children go “Trick or Treating” with all the other kids in the neighborhood, there’s a good chance that they will grow up hating both you and Judaism for turning them into freaks in the eyes of their friends. Either way, as a Jewish parent, you lose.

What’s the solution? Move to Israel. The only place you will see a pumpkin here is in the supermarket (a small yellow one that looks more like a squash). If you truly love your children and don’t want them growing up with pumpkin heads, then the only solution is to bring them to Israel where they will grow up with Jewish holidays like we’re supposed to.

Lucky Avraham Didn’t Have the Internet

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Good thing there wasn’t Internet and Facebook in the days of our forefather Avraham. If there had been, he may never have come to Israel. He may have decided to stay in Ur Kasdeem, and settle with being a vicarious Israeli via the Internet. That way he could have enjoyed the best of both worlds, rubbing shoulders with all of the wealthy and high-ranking idol worshippers in Ur Kasdeem, while at the same time sending in comments to The Jewish Press.com, critical of the way things were being run in the Holy Land.

After all, in Avraham’s time, there were savage Canaanites living in Eretz Yisrael. And there weren’t any kosher supermarkets back then, nor religious neighborhoods, nor Jewish Day Schools and yeshivot for the kids. In fact, there weren’t any Jews living there at all. Avraham would be the first. Who needed the hassle? It made a lot more sense to stay where he was, in Ur America, where everyone knew him, enjoying the good life with the goyim, wait for Moshiach, and pretend, via the Internet, that he was actually involved in building the Jewish State.

Lucky for us that The Jewish Press.com didn’t exist back then. It could have been a test that even Avraham might not have had the strength to overcome.

Jews Who Can’t Speak Hebrew

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Jewish Identity Quiz #2

אמרנו בעבר שכל ילד פורטוריקני בארה”ב יודע לדבר ספרדית בנוסף לאנגלית אף על פי שלא נולד בפורטוריקו. גם כל ילד סיני או קוראני באמריקה יודע לדבר בשפת אבותיו. רק היהודים לא דוברים בשפתם המקורית. אינני יודע למה. כנראה יש סיבה פסיכולוגית עמוקה מאד. אם לאחד ממכם יש את התשובה אשמח לשמוע.

Did you have trouble reading the Hebrew? That’s exactly my point. Some readers say that I’m a crazy fanatic when I say that Diaspora Jews suffer from schizophrenia when it comes to their Jewish identity. For example, even though they are Jewish, many don’t know more than a few simple words in Hebrew. After all, Hebrew is the language of the Jewish People, not English, or German, or Russian, or Yiddish.

Let me ask you, how many Puerto Ricans kids in New York don’t know how to speak Spanish? And look at the Koreans and Chinese in America. All of their kids speak Korean and Chinese as if they were still in Korea and China. And what Moslem kid in America, France, or England doesn’t know how to speak Arabic from the crib? But when it comes to Diaspora Jews, most of their kids hardly know any Hebrew at all. I know this, because we host a lot of Birthright youth at our home in Yerushalayim for Shabbat meals, and almost none of them know Hebrew at all! They are bright, university students, but when it comes to a knowledge of Hebrew, Yiddishkeit, Jewish history, or what’s going on in Israel, they are complete ignoramuses. Totally empty! Isn’t this strange? How can you explain this?

Certainly, Jewish kids aren’t less intelligent than Puerto Ricans and Arabs who have no trouble learning their own languages. Could it be that Diaspora Jews feel so compelled to prove that they are just like their gentile neighbors that they don’t learn Hebrew? Could it be that they are so afraid to have dual identities that they don’t want to learn a strange tongue? Or is it because they have been so long in exile that they don’t see any reason to learn the language of their Forefathers and pass it on to their children for the generations to come?

No wonder assimilation is such a great problem! First you give up wearing Israeli sandals, then you give up eating falafel, then you stop teaching your children Hebrew and tell them that they are Americans like everyone else – and then you’re surprised when Johnny comes home with a Protestant girl for Thanksgiving vacation. It’s as simple as one plus one equals two.

If a child speaks in English, he’ll grow up thinking that he’s English. If he speaks in French, he’ll grow up thinking that he’s French. So why not marry a French girl like everyone else? That’s why Rashi writes that a parent who doesn’t speak in the Holy Tongue to his children is considered as if he is burying them, G-d forbid (Devarim, 11:19). He buries them in a foreign culture which waters down, or cuts them off completely from Torah and their true Jewish roots.

In Israel, thank G-d, all of the children speak Hebrew. Even kids of the Olim, who insist on speaking Diaspora languages at home, learn to speak fluent Hebrew at school. And while there are readers who always cry out that Israelis marry Arabs – the truth is that it isn’t even one percent of the population, compared with the 60%+ assimilation in America and most every other place in the world.

You can get angry at me if you like and continue to keep your heads in the sand. But the writing on the wall is clear. The Diaspora is on the way out. The only future for our children is Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/jews-who-cant-speak-hebrew/2012/10/25/

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