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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘LIFE’

Life Chronicles

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I must admit I have been a closet reader of your entertaining column for many years, never once believing that the sordid and contrived letters and stories you showcase each week about infidelities, sexual deviances and corruption are anything but figments of a fertile imagination for entertainment purposes.  You can imagine my shock and chagrin when I overheard my daughter and two of her classmates discussing a letter recently featured in your column, about the young girl who defied her parents by staying friendly with a non-religious neighbor and attending a party with her that had a tragic outcome.

Mrs. Bluth, these are fifteen-year-old girls who obviously believe these letters are true!  My daughter and her friends were actually debating the virtues of your response and whether or not the girl should have heeded her mother’s warning to break off the friendship.  This motivated me to write this letter.

Perhaps you don’t realize that it is not just adults who read your column but youngsters and teenagers as well.  These kids are impressionable and naive and the stuff you print can have a terrible impact on them.  When I confronted my daughter about this, I was floored to learn that practically all the girls she knows read your column and accept your words as truth.  When I told her that all those letters and stories were contrived, make-believe tales, she told me I was wrong, the proof being that one of her friends had written in about her home-life issues and that you responded with information that has helped her cope.  Nothing I said could sway her belief that what she read in your column was anything but the truth.  I think you owe it to her to set the record straight, come clean and reveal the truth.

 

 

 Dear Friend,

Thank you first for being an avid reader of this “entertaining” column and for writing in about your concerns. It may interest you to know that this column highlights real life stories of people who exist in the Jewish world. So I thank you as well for giving me the chance to address any other “doubting Thomases,” and rest assured there have been many, who have raised the very same question about the validity of this column.  Every letter, story and phone call is 100% true. I would love to let you look through my many e-mails, phone records and file cabinet chock filled with them, however, my vow of confidentiality forbids this.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Or you can go back to secretly reading them for entertainment value.

I am saddened that you could find pleasure in reading even a “contrived” letter from an abused wife, a victimized and bullied child or a tormented husband.  Where is your heart?  These are real people who use this forum as a way of reaching out for help. The substance abuser, gambler and the petty thief, those suffering with eating disorders, questioning their personal orientation and those in the shidduch crisis, have all found a place here to voice their fears, pain and concern. Here is where we learn to be more compassionate with each other and how to better deal with adversity.  Life is a hard row to hoe for many people in unfortunate circumstances. Look around you and see the lonely and forgotten elderly, the poor and hungry who rummage through garbage cans in the late night hours, and the women with nowhere to live after being left homeless and penniless by a divorce. They exist below the surface of our lives, hiding their pain and shame so that no one sees, trying to maintain what little dignity is left to them.  And this is the place they pour out their sadness, frustration and pain.

And please remember: there is no way to stop anyone of any age from reading. If you stop your daughter from reading it at home, she will just read it at a friend’s.

I and this wonderful publication are extremely proud of and grateful for the assistance, resources and education we provide to those in need and the public in general, helping to create a heightened awareness of ahavas Yisroel.

Rachel Bluth

EU Counter-Anti-Semitism Czar: Our Goal to Allow Jews Fear-Free Life in Europe

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The EU’s coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, this week told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs about the European Union’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism. “The goal of all this activity is that Jews will be able to live in Europe without fear,” she said. “The fact that we have reached a situation whereby Jews send their children to schools behind barbed wire fences or send them to public schools without knowing whether they will be exposed to incitement there – this situation is unacceptable. The fact that we see security guards outside synagogues – and we have grown used to this – this is also unacceptable. But it doesn’t end there. There are security guards outside government buildings. The security situation is no longer limited to Jewish communities. We are convinced that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to combat anti-Semitism.”

Von Schnurbein said the general increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and the “atmosphere of hatred,” particularly online, are very worrying. She said that since her appointment in December, the EU’s activity against anti-Semitism has included dialogue with the major Internet companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft — which brought about the formation of the Code of Conduct. Under the code, the online giants pledged to fund organizations that would help them monitor the situation and train people who will report any inciting content online.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) thanked von Schnurbein for the Code of Conduct legislation, which he said would allow social media companies to “remove hate speech inciting to violence within 24 hours,” which is “a correct and important step, the fruits of which I hope we will see immediately.”

Neguise told the meeting, which was also attended by EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, of a survey conducted ahead of the meeting among rabbis and Jewish community leaders in Europe. The survey, commissioned by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, indicates that anti-Semitism is intensifying in Western European countries, but pointed out that the involvement of Muslim refugees in anti-Semitic incidents is marginal. The same survey showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe is decreasing.

“We are currently monitoring the process to see if there really is a change. We want to see a real change on the ground,” von Schnurbein said. “Today, only 13 of the 28 member states properly apply the [Code of Conduct] law . . . We are pressuring them to implement it.”

Rabbi Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Center of Europe said, “You cannot on the one hand constantly try to undermine the foundations of Judaism – be it brit milah (male circumcision ritual) or kosher shechitah (slaughtering of animals for food in accordance with Jewish law) – and on the other hand talk all the time about wanting to eradicate anti-Semitism.”

Yogev Karasenty, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry’s Director for Combating Anti-Semitism, said “It is not at all certain that the legislation trickles down to the ground level. There are Internet companies which declare a policy [of removing inciting content] but do not implement it.”

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, mentioned an EU survey conducted a few years ago which revealed that 74% of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks do not report them to the authorities. This indicates, he said, that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is significantly higher than what the official figures show.

Addressing von Schnurbein and Faaborg-Andersen, Haguel said, “These Jews are your citizens, they are European citizens, proud citizens who want to live in Europe, who want to raise their children in Europe, who pay taxes. Before legislation and enforcement and education – what kind of atmosphere is being created for your citizens there? For us, the Jewish people, it is very concerning, but you, who represent the sovereign governments of each country, are responsible for the Jewish citizens, just as you are responsible for all the other citizens.”

NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg spoke of the “new anti-Semitism” and said the rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents and terror attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions “is directly linked to the incitement we hear about every day in Europe and the world. It is obvious that phrases such as ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘violation of international law,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid’ — which are said repeatedly in reference to Israel — feed this anti-Semitism.”

Ido Daniel, Program Director at Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism, mentioned that in 2014 the organization filed some 14,000 complaints with new media companies regarding anti-Semitic content online, and in 2015 the number of complaints to Twitter, Google, Facebook and Instagram rose to about 29,000. The trend is continuing in 2016, and the organization expects to file over 30,000 complaints by the end of the year, he told the committee.

“The social networks allow many people to disseminate inciting messages which are then translated into physical acts against Jews,” said Daniel, who noted that Jewish students from Brussels told him that they conceal their real last names on Facebook to avoid receiving hateful and insulting messages.

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said, “History has already shown us what happens when displays of hatred and violence are not dealt with. There is terror all over the world now, and the social networks serve as a [broad platform] for this activity. This is not only Israel’s — it is the problem of entire world. Terror strikes in Brussels, Paris, Turkey and the United States. It’s a global problem.”

Rut Zach of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Antisemitism said that since von Schnurbein’s appointment “we can see concrete action against anti-Semitism in Europe,” adding that the left in Europe must take the lead on this issue. “The left is supposed to protect human rights,” she said.

Carol Nuriel, Acting Director of ADL’s Israel office, presented the findings of a poll showing that one in every three Europeans holds anti-Semitic opinions. Another survey conducted by ADL after the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket Hypercacher and the Jewish Museum in Brussels indicated a 10-20% decrease in anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Belgium.

“The awareness of the danger of violence against Jews created a sort of solidarity with the Jewish communities, and it is very important to preserve this solidarity,” Nuriel stressed. “Another conclusion is that when elected officials act – and we all remember French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s historic speech – there are results on the ground.”

Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen said, “We are all in agreement about the urgency of the battle against anti-Semitism, which is a despicable phenomenon. The EU is committed 100 percent to this fight.”

Chairman Neguise concluded the meeting by saying that the committee calls on the EU to act against anti-Semitism through legislation and education. He also urged the organizations combating the phenomenon to work together.

JNi.Media

Life Chronicles

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I write this with tremendous guilt for having married the wrong man many years ago.  You might ask why this still bothers me, as we have been divorced for so long.

The answer is that I see the pain my ill-fated marriage caused my child, who is filled with anger at both of his parents. I see the corrosive relationship he has with his father.  Father’s Day, Yomim Tovim, Shabbosim and simchas all bring conflict and resentment and breed so much emotional pain. Yet, when I try to intercede, I become the bad one!

I just don’t know what more to do. We have seen so many counselors and all their advice has fallen on deaf ears. It has reached the point where I leave my ex-husband and our child to battle it out, which is an unbearable situation for all of us.

I think that had I not married my ex-husband, none of us would be suffering this way. I feel that my bad marriage has destroyed so many of my loved ones lives; my late father, z”l, was terribly affected, and my child is dealing with so many issues, not the least of which was a difficult relationship with my ex-in-laws that took many years to normalize.

My point in sending this letter is to remind readers of the importance of marrying someone with whom one is compatible and of making smart decisions. I also want to convey the difficulties in the aftermath of divorce and the understanding that they can be permanent.

Mrs. Bluth, what can be done to heal the rift between my son and his dad?  My own relationship with my ex is better today since he has remarried and we have both grown and matured.

 

 

Dear Friend,

Your letter is filled with the pain that accompanies a dysfunctional marriage left to fester over many years, especially when those involved refuse to accept the help that was available to them through counseling. You bring up a number of painful observations and experiences and then ask how things can be fixed, but as I don’t really know you and your family, I can only answer in general terms.

The greatest truth is that a bad marriage is painful and if the spouses cannot or will not use the tools provided to them by a therapist, it can be devastating. A bad marriage that goes on for years, where children are fed a daily diet of toxic, dysfunctional interactions is decimating, as it guarantees the continuance of such behavior in the homes the children will create when they marry.

And so the chain of pain goes on and on. Early intervention in a young troubled marriage is the best hope for a good resolution and a saved marriage – in most cases.  Once a pattern of dysfunction and abuse is normalized, everyone in the family will become victims.

You ask what can be done to repair the relationship between your son and his father. The answer is nothing, if one or both of them make no effort towards that goal.  Perhaps too much damage has been done, too many years have gone by or too much hatred and bad blood has blocked out any hope for reconciliation.  Mending something that is broken, with effort and work on everyone’s part, is possible, however, a relationship that has always been based on hurt, pain and abuse may well be fractured and shattered beyond repair.

You begin with your guilt on marrying the wrong man and go on to send a warning about making sure people pick the right life partner or they may suffer the consequences as you have.  Your guilt is something you have not overcome even as you have changed and grown from the experience of your failed marriage. It seems you are retaining guilt for something you had little control over, an indication that there is still room for improvement in your life and that you would benefit from counseling even now.

As for telling people to be sure to marry the right person, that’s a pretty tall order.  Many things happen in a seemingly good and stable marriage that can lead to marital strife – there are no guarantees.  We have to do our best to make the right choices and hope that Hashem is in agreement and that the person we choose for ourselves or that our children choose as life partners, are indeed the right zivug.  If we have done our hishtadlus, there should never be a reason to feel guilty.

I hope that life leads you to peaceful places where you can be free of guilt and stress, and where you can find happiness.

Rachel Bluth

Life Chronicles

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

Years back, when I was fifteen years old, I did something unspeakable – because I was angry with my parents, hated my school and my teachers and because it presented itself at the worst point in my life.  Until then, I was, for the most part, a good, respectful and respectable Bais Yaakov girl, with ordinary misgivings and daydreams.  However, I did argue with my parents about my friendship with a neighbor girl whose family was not observant.  All my other friends came from ultra-Orthodox homes but I enjoyed hearing about “Dora’s” friends in public school, what she was doing and with whom.  Dora had a boyfriend!  Needless to say, for a sheltered Bais Yaakov girl like myself, this alone was what fantasies were made of and, at fifteen, what dreams were made of as well.  Dora would tell me what her friends wore, what parties she went to, and what she and her boyfriend would do when they met in the park.  I was mesmerized by her life, so very different than my own, even wanting to experience what Dora was living, knowing that this would never happen to me.

One Sunday afternoon, after spending time with Dora sitting on her stoop (I was not permitted to go into her house even though she lived only three houses away from mine) I could see I was in for another argument.  My mother was standing with her hands on her hips (a stance she took when something terribly wrong was about to happen) and told me that I was no longer allowed to speak to or be seen with Dora, as I was getting older and she was a bad influence on me.  What brought this on, I found out later, was that my principal had said that my attending school in good standing was contingent upon this.  As always, a full-blown argument ensued, accompanied by tears, loud interchange of words and slamming of doors.  In the end, I was allowed to call Dora on the phone to tell her that I could no longer be her friend.  As I spoke to Dora, through sobs, and explained that in my heart I would always be her friend, she said she always knew this day would come.  She also told me about a party at the home of one of her friends who lived nearby.  It was scheduled for a few weeks later on a Sunday afternoon and she invited me to come.  Feeling this would be my last chance to interact with Dora, I agreed, and we hatched a plan and an excuse to thwart any suspicions my parents would have.

The day of the party, I told my mother I was going to study with friends as we were preparing for finals.  Since I hadn’t fraternized with Dora for some weeks, my mother did not suspect anything and simply asked me to call in regularly to let her know where I was.  I put some “trendy” clothes in my book bag and left to meet with Dora who took me to a 7-11 where I changed in the bathroom.  She laughed at my version of trendy and said I still looked “nerdy” but she had some make-up with her that would make me look more like her friends.  I had butterflies in my stomach from excitement, I was about to step into Dora’s world, a place I only fantasized about but could never experience.  Until now.

The party was in full swing when we got there, boys and girls dancing and having a wonderful time.  Dora introduced me to her boyfriend who introduced me to his best friend “Andy,” and suddenly I got this queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I had thought this would be a girl’s party and was beginning to feel very out of place.  Andy got me a drink of what appeared to be orange juice, and I drank it in gulps trying to squelch the nausea and light headedness I was feeling and only tasted the bitterness in the last swallow. I said the juice was spoiled and that I was dizzy and not feeling well.  He led me downstairs to the basement, where it was cool and quiet, but I could barely walk and collapsed near the wall.  The room seemed to spin around me as I heard Andy laughing. The last thing I remember before passing out were his hands tugging at my clothing.  I came to as Dora splashed cold water on my face and asked me what I was doing in the basement with Andy and did I have a good time?  Slowly, it dawned on me what had happened and I threw up all over myself, horrified at what I had done.

I cleaned myself up as best I could, changed back into the clothes I had left my house in and on rubbery legs, walked home, never to be the same again.  I told my mother I got sick after drinking bad orange juice while studying and I just wanted to go to my room and rest.  Although concerned, my mother swallowed the explanation without question and even displayed sympathy.  In my room, the evidence was plain, I had done the unthinkable.  Having no one to talk to or confide in and knowing my life would be over if I told my parents what I had done, I remained silent, burying the incident so deeply that I even convinced myself it never happened.  And life resumed as before.

Fast-forward seven years.  I graduated, went to seminary and am now working as a teacher in my old school – I am also engaged to a wonderful young man.  My mother is insisting that I go for a routine check-up with a female gynecologist and suddenly, everything I have suppressed has come to the fore. Surely the doctor would be able to tell that I had been sexually active and the wedding would never take place.  I would be disgraced and shunned; my chances of ever marrying anyone would be zero to none.  Mrs. Bluth, is there any chance to salvage my life, or am I doomed for a mistake I made as a child?

 

Dear Friend,

I am trying to find consoling words, words of comfort and hope, words that will erase what is inevitable, but none present themselves.  I will say that you must speak with a rav you trust and relay everything that happened. It seems to me that as you were plied with liquor and passed out, thus making you unable to fight off your violator and not a willing participant but a victim, the situation is not as cut and dry as you think.

In addition, please make an appointment with a doctor; he or she will be prohibited from sharing information with anyone, including your mother or father, without your consent.

The pain you carry comes through in every word of your letter as does the fear that has you convinced that there is no chance for you to ever know happiness. That is why I urge you to speak with a therapist as soon as possible. You do have a chance at a great life filled with joy and simcha.

I hope that your letter, filled as it is with pain, will help young people understand that, for the most part, our parents love us and want what is best for us.

Never think its possible to try something “just this once,” and not suffer the consequences.  For every action we take, every choice we make and every thought we convert into reality there are grave consequences as well as great rewards, depending on the good or the evil behind those thoughts and actions.  Let that be the barometer that guides you and you will stay on the right path.  Sometimes, a misguided moment of fun and pleasure can be the ruination of an entire life.

Rachel Bluth

Life Chronicles

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have come to accept the fact that I am wrong on every level, that I refuse to help myself and that I will never amount to much should I choose to remain stubborn and refuse to co-operate.

To clarify, I find myself stuck in therapy with a therapist who does not hear me, refuses to understand my side of things and is always siding with my parents against me.  I have no chance to make any inroads in resolving the horrible state of affairs at home, in school or in life, as I am held hostage by this therapist who has won over the confidence of my parents and sees me only as a problem child who wishes to get his own way and make my parents miserable.  I’m sure she is also happy with the fee she collects every week when we go for our family sessions, or slugfests, as I see them.

For the past two years, we have been meeting with this woman who claims to “understand” and “empathize” with our fractured family relationship.  Her walls are lined with degrees from many prestigious colleges and institutions, but to me she represents someone who is no better than a thief. She takes my parents’ money while giving us (me, at least) nothing in return except another appointment for the following week. But my parents dote on her every word, because she hears only what they have to say and shuts me out completely.

I’m so tired of hearing the same thing over and over again: “Wake up and realize you have to change.” “Your parents want the best for you and you simply go against them.” “If you would only man up and conform, things would be 100% better for you.”

Can a person be 100% wrong all the time?  Even though I’m almost seventeen, I don’t think that I’m so wrong because I want different things than my parents want for me or that I don’t deserve any consideration in light of the fact that I have different friends than what they would like, or want to read books they don’t approve of – some are classics with diverse subject matter they feel is inappropriate for a yeshiva bochur and for which I got in trouble with my rabbaim two years ago, when all of this started.

I am a good person who wants to know about the world I live in, is that so terrible?  Does that make me a problem child who must go for therapy?  Well, I won’t be brainwashed into thinking that I am!  If only this therapist would put aside her prejudice and just listen to what I need to say without always cutting me off and putting me down, then maybe she and my parents would see that what they have been doing is only pushing me farther away and making me less willing to understand them!

 

 

Dear Young Man,

Your frustration comes across clearly in every line of your letter; so much so, it is almost a living thing.  I understand that you feel trapped in a windowless cubical from which you see no escape, no consideration or understanding for your pain and no resolution for betterment in this futile situation.  From your viewpoint, I can see that your therapist is, sadly, not in sync with your needs and is totally focused on those of your parents.  In fairness to her, however, I will not make any judgement as to why this is, simply because she has no say here, I have only your words to go by and so I will respond in a very generic manner.

Teenagers are wonderful people who remind us of things we might want to forget – like how we may have behaved when we were that age. Yes, your parents are “the adults,” whom you must respect and, if you are wise, listen to. Understand that your parents have already been where you are and know the pitfalls of doing what you think is okay. Maybe they’ve even made some of the mistakes they are trying to shield you from. Try to stand back and understand that what you take as indifference and opposition is actually motivated by love and experience. Give them the same honesty and fairness you so want for yourself.

As for your being ignored by your therapist, and if indeed this is true, I am totally in your corner on that one!  There cannot be any good in family therapy if a voice goes unheard or is dismissed.  Every client’s needs are valid and must be addressed and considered, certainly by the therapist. From your description, that is not happening with your therapist. There are many reasons why a good therapist may want to recuse her/himself from a case – if there is a lack of trust and faith in the process, if the therapist genuinely recognizes that she is not seeing valid progress over a considerable period of time or if he or she is burned out and simply going through the motions of trying to help.

Whatever the reasons in your case, I want to assure you that you are not a bad person, nor are you wrong 100% of the time.  Much of what you want is totally understandable and certainly not “a crime punishable by death!” But there is so much I don’t know from your short letter of complaint – your parents side of the story as well as the therapists response – so it is hard to know.

I will say that you sound like a solid young man who just wants to bite off a larger chunk of life than is good or healthy for him.  So, in the hopes that your parents or your therapist will read this, I would encourage them to make the next session about you, that they sit back and give you a chance to express yourself and how you feel.  And really, really listen!

Rachel Bluth

Life + 31 Years to Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Murderer

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Yishai Schlissel, who murdered teenage girl Shira Banki and attempted to murder others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade last August, to life in prison with an additional 31 years. The court also fined Schlissel about $530,000 as reparations to the Banki family and to the rest of Schlissel’s victims.

Judges Nava Ben-Or, Arnon Darel and Rafi Yaakovi wrote in their sentence: “We are dealing with a man who does not recognize a human before him, a cruel, dangerous and heartless man. A man for whom the Judaism of darchey noam-pleasant paths and roads of peace, which teaches that man—every man—is beloved because he was created in the Image [of God], is foreign.” Instead, the judges wrote, the defendant views himself as “He who kills and gives life, in the name of principles he appointed himself to enforce.” The judges ruled that “this dangerous man may no longer roam the streets of Jerusalem or anywhere else.”

The judges also wrote that “in his few days of freedom between arrests, the defendant extinguished the life of a young woman who was so life loving, Shira Banki z”l who was about 16 when she dies… He did not see her as a human being at all, he did not care a hoot whose body would absorb his knife.”

Schlissel’s sentence is comprised of a life sentence for the premeditated murder, 30 year for his six convictions of attempted murder counts and inflicting injury under aggravated conditions, and one additional year which is the suspended sentence for his previous sentence.

The judges were severely critical of police for failing to learn the lesson from the 2005 Gay Pride parade in which Schlissel had been arrested for attempted murder. They blamed police for failing to stop him from carrying out the same crime only a month after his release from serving ten years for the attempted murders.

The judges also criticized the legislator for failing to provide police with the legal authority to follow and supervise dangerous criminals who have served out their sentence.

JNi.Media

An Artist’s Life

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The glass sculptures and artwork of acclaimed international-artist Jeremy Langford grace hotel lobbies, synagogues, office buildings and religious sites. But it would seem that his greatest creation is a work in progress – himself. Langford has reinvented himself so many times and in so many ways one would be hard pressed to fit him into any mold.

Saltsman-061716-Jeremy-LangfordLangford’s most well-known work is the glass sculptures in the Kotel tunnels, but his creations grace Kever Rachel and the ohalim of the Rambam, Shmuel HaNavi and David HaMelech as well as secular locations like Trump Towers in Miami and various buildings in New York. His current project is a donor wall of stone in the City of David, depicting Jewish history from the time of David HaMelech to the Second Temple period.

Chain of Generations, depicting Jewish history from the Matriarchs and Patriarchs to the present day, and situated in the Kotel Tunnels, is his greatest work both in size (40 feet high and weighing 15 metric tons), depth, and in ambition. It’s also his favorite work and garnered the 2008 Thea award, bestowed by the Disney Corporation on projects whose achievement has been determined to be of “outstanding” quality.

Very holy work for a man who grew up in a Dutch-English family that was “Secular LeMehadrin.” Langford says he always felt there was something more, something beyond physicality, and he went looking for it. He found it as a student of Kaballah under the guidance of Rav Baruch Ashlag zt”l. After Rav Ashlag’s death, he founded the Ashlag Heritage Foundation.

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Though the native of Brighton is a serious artist and deep Kabbalist, Langford has an easy air about him and a sense of humor that sets his blue eyes twinkling. He is a believer in natural medicine and founded a floatation center, Galim, with his late wife, Yael, who had been a neuroscientist. His daughter Naomi, a naturopath who also coaches underprivileged youth in Rehovot, currently runs it.

“Neurofeedback and floatation [in an isolation tank] helps people relax,” he says. “Artists better access their creativity and children with ADD and ADHD reach calmer states without drugs.”

Besides Naomi, Langford’s other four children are also very accomplished in their fields. His son, Boaz is a cave researcher who recently unearthed coins from the Bar Kochva revolt. Racheli is a neuroscientist specializing in resuscitation and clinical death. She also founded JFriends, a non-profit in the UK to bring Jewish singles together for Shabbat meals and other social events. David runs a high-end glazing company and set up an organization for humanitarian aid based on similar work he did during his army service, and Ruta, an artist and architect, works in his studio in Ramat Gan. Langford himself has just turned sixty and married his second wife, Tamara, six months ago.

Saltsman-061716-Young-Israel-of-Cedarhurst

Young Israel of Cedarhurst

When still a child, Langford was curious to see what would happen if he dropped some glass in a kiln. Someone saw his early experiments with glass and suggested he apprentice. He did, but after a while, frustrated with limitations, he developed his own techniques and has been creating unique and beautiful designs ever since.

Interestingly, his family history reads like a who’s who in entertainment. His grandfather was a royal entertainer at the court of Edward VII. His father, Barry Langford, worked with Tom Jones and the Beatles and developed Israeli television as an advisor from the BBC when he made aliyah in the 1970s. When Langford walked into his father’s home for the first time sporting a kippah perched precariously on his Afro (this was the ‘70s), his father was in rehearsal with a rock band. The music stopped, literally, the drummer dropped his drumsticks and his sister wouldn’t talk to him for a week.

Rosally Saltsman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/an-artists-life/2016/06/20/

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