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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘living’

Hungarian Neo-Nazis Vandalize Holocaust Protest ‘Living Memorial’

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

The Living Memorial, a monument in Budapest’s Liberty Square, was vandalized over the weekend, after a call by the neo-Nazi website Kuruc.info to destroy it, the website Hungarian Free Press reported Sunday. The Living Memorial was erected back in 2014 in protest against the monument to the German occupation erected by the government, which deflects Hungary’s responsibility for the Holocaust and pins it solely on the Germans.

An estimated 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished in the Holocaust.

For more than two years, the Living Memorial has served as a site for regular talks, lectures, discussion groups, musical performances and commemorations.

One Alitea Guzmán wrote on Kuruc.info: “I promise that one night, in the beginning of September, I will walk by the Living Memorial and I will pack up four or five kilograms of  the display, which legally is considered to be garbage, into a strong bag. And putting that into my car, I will take it to where it belongs. Naturally, I won’t dump it into the Danube, because that is already very polluted.”

Now, as promise, hundreds of photographs which were on display at the site have been torn up and other memorabilia items which had been added to the Living Memorial by survivors and descendants of survivors have been destroyed or stolen.

The Living Memorial group issued a statement saying, “With the exception of a few smaller incidents, respect towards the victims of the Holocaust always protected the memorial from the worst attacks. But yesterday something happened, which until now nobody dared to commit.”

According to the Hungarian Free Press, the Living Memorial group filed a police report immediately after the attack on the monument. The activists noted that Liberty Square is well-equipped with CCTV cameras, so police should be able to identify the perpetrators. But they also revealed that they “do not expect any meaningful response from the state.”


Health & Living: August 2016

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Earning A Living: The Great Life Test

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

“Who feeds you manna in the wilderness, which your forefathers knew not, in order to afflict you and in order to test you to do good for you in the end?” – Devarim 8:16


For forty years living in the midbar, the Jewish people ate mon. The Torah explains that one of the reasons the mon was given to the Klal Yisrael was in order to test them. The Sforno explains the test: “Will you do His will when He gives you your sustenance easily without pain?”

It seems the Sforno is telling us that the fact that the Jewish nation didn’t have to work was one of the great trials it faced.

This Sforno is very difficult to understand. We know that Hashem metes out many life tests. But where have we seen that not having to struggle is a challenge?

This question can be answered by focusing on why Hashem wants man to work. The ox was created to plow, the donkey to haul loads, the beaver to dam streams. But, man was created for a very different purpose. Man was not created to be a beast of burden. So, why does Hashem want man to work for a living?

One of the reasons can be best understood with a mashol. Imagine that a man recognizes his eight-year-old son has difficulty getting along with his peers. The little boy is constantly getting into fights, and in general seems to miss social cues. The school psychologist tells the father his son has social integration issues. He just doesn’t understand the rules of social conduct.

The father takes it on himself to help his little Moishe become a mensch. As part of the plan, he takes time off from work and invites Moishe and his friends to a play date. They are on the floor playing Monopoly when an ambulance passes outside, siren blasting. As the boys look to the window, the father notices Moishe reach into the “bank” and take out a five-hundred-dollar bill. The father doesn’t say anything. A few moments later, the doorbell rings. Again, all the boys look up, and Moishe reaches into the box and takes out two thousand dollars. When this happens again a few moments later, the father asks Moishe to join him in the kitchen.

“Moishe,” says the father, “I couldn’t help but notice that some of the money that belongs in the bank somehow ended up in your pocket. Can you explain this to me?”

“Sure,” Moishe answers. “Last night I heard you and mommy talking about how you need a lot of money. So here, I took this for you!”

While the sincerity of the little fellow might be touching, he is missing the point. The only reason the father was involved in this activity was to teach him how to be a mensch. The father doesn’t need the money, and certainly isn’t taking time off of his busy day to earn Monopoly money. But Moishe in his naiveté missed the entire point of the exercise.

This is an apt mashol to man working. Hashem doesn’t need man to work to earn a living. Hashem has lots of money. Hashem created the situation that man has to work to earn his daily bread. Now man is dependent. Now man can go through one of the greatest of life’s tests: how will he go about this activity called earning a living? Will he be honest? Will he be ethical? When he has difficulty in earning a living, will he learn to trust in Hashem, or will he make that ultimate mistake – thinking it is the sweat of his brow and the strength of his hand that earns him his bread?

Man Needs Needs

This seems to be the answer to the Sforno. The generation of the midbar was on a lofty level. They had received the Torah from Hashem and were living in a virtual yeshiva. While the mon took care of their daily needs, it was also as a great social experiment: would they attain the same closeness to Hashem without having to earn a living? Would they still reach out to Hashem if they didn’t lack for anything? Would they still come to recognize their dependence on Hashem if they didn’t need to struggle to survive? The mon was a test to see if they could reach greatness without the normal life settings – without needs.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Anne Bloch: The Passion For Living

Monday, July 18th, 2016

How can one define this slim, diminutive ninety-year-old lady? An artist, English and music teacher, devoted mother, talented singer, and social activist?

Anne Bloch’s unique character began at birth. She was born to young Hebrew teachers, Eve and Noah Averbuch, whose Zionist aspirations drove them to leave their families in their Lithuanian birthplace and make aliyah to Mandatory Palestine in the early 1920s. Anne Averbuch Bloch was born in Tel Aviv in 1926, her birth certificate stating that she is a Palestinian.

When Anne was two years old, her parents, finding it difficult to provide for a growing family, were compelled to immigrate to South Africa. Anne grew up in Cape Town where the teachers in the local Jewish school recognized her exceptional talent and creativity at an early age.

She soon became known as an artist whose exhibitions were greatly admired. One of her admirers was a young student of medicine, Archie Bloch, a devoted Zionist. The two were soon engaged, with a major condition on the groom’s side – Anne would have to agree to move to the Land of Israel, which in the interim became the State of Israel.

The passionate artist was bursting with joy as they stepped ashore in Ashkelon to build their family’s future in her own birthplace, now the brand new Jewish State. Dr. Archie Bloch became the founder of Barzilai Hospital, and Anne, the devoted mother of three daughters, each a delightful spark in her new life.

Initially, before the establishment of Barzilai Hosptal, Dr. Bloch pioneered the mother and baby clinics in the Western Negev’s immigrant towns such as Sderot, Ashkelon and the moshavim.

In time, Anne became the center of Ashkelon’s world of art. She branched out from painting with oil and acrylic, to creating masterpieces from fabrics of all kind, wall hangings, dolls, and an endless variety of hats.

When her children grew older, she taught art to children and English through songs with infectious enthusiasm.

Her home, her kitchen and salon are a gallery of her paintings that include themes of nature – especially trees – collages, wall hangings, life-size dolls using every material imaginable and hats.

A review of an exhibition called “Lama Kova” (Why a Hat?) at Hankin Museum in Holon in 2006 describes her “colorful creations with humor and fantasy…” The pièce de résistance however, is a wall hanging inspired by her mother’s saying Money doesn’t grow on trees. Anne’s interpretation is a large wall hanging of a tree with green and silver leaves, and attached to each leaf is a silver lira, no longer in circulation as a monetary unit!

Today, at age ninety, Anne Bloch volunteers at a school, teaching the next generation the joy of art and music and a passion for living.

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

March Of The Living

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Rhona Lewis

Earning A Living Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

And Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon, ‘Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you will not bring this congregation to the land that I have given them.’ ”Bamidbar 20:12


For almost forty years while the Jews were traveling in the desert, their source of water was the be’er, a large rock that provided the water they needed to survive. The Jewish nation then consisted of about three million people. They had also taken many animals with them when they went out of Mitzrayim, so they required millions of gallons of water each day. The be’er provided all they needed and more.

When Miriam died, the rock disappeared, and Klal Yisrael recognized their survival was in jeopardy. Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to go out into the desert, speak to the rock, and bring the water back. When Moshe and Aharon went to the rock, they spoke to it and received no response. Moshe then assumed that just as it was necessary to hit the rock when the Jews first went out into the desert, so too now. When he hit the rock, it began pouring forth water.

Later, Hashem told Moshe and Aaron they had erred. Hashem had commanded them to speak to the rock, and it was through the power of speech that the miracle was to come about. On some level, they were lacking in their trust in Hashem, and this caused them to miscalculate. Had they been more complete in their trust, they would have used words alone, and the rock would have provided the water.

Rashi tells us that because of this mistake, the Jewish people lost out on a great lesson. Had Moshe only spoken to the rock, the Jews would have said to themselves, “A rock doesn’t require sustenance, yet it listens to the word of Hashem; surely, we who rely on Hashem for parnassah, must listen to Him.” However, since Moshe hit the rock instead of speaking to it, that lesson was lost.

Rashi seems to be saying that if Moshe had spoken to the rock, the Jewish people would have increased their level of service to Hashem. They would have realized their livelihood was dependent on doing mitzvahs, and this would have added focus and precision in the way they fulfilled them.

There are two problems with understanding this Rashi. One is that the Gemara tells us the reward for mitzvahs is not in this world. While it is true that Hashem rewards every good a person does, the place of that reward is in the World to Come. In fact, it is considered a curse to use up your payment in this world. So it doesn’t seem to be correct that their livelihood was dependent on listening to Hashem.

The second problem with this Rashi is that any motivational system must be tailored to fit the audience. The people of this generation received the Torah on Har Sinai. They spent almost forty years surrounded by the Clouds of Glory, completely immersed in Torah study, and sustained by the mon. They were on the highest madreigah of any generation in history. So even if their parnassah was dependent on their listening, how would they be motivated by something so mundane as earning their daily bread?

Obstacles that prevent us from serving Hashem

The answer to this question is based on understanding the Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah, Perek 9). He explains that even though we don’t receive reward for doing mitzvahs in this world, if a person keeps the Torah properly, Hashem will remove all the obstacles that normally prevent a person from keeping the mitzvahs. Sickness, war, poverty, and hunger prevent a person from learning or fulfilling the mitzvahs. If a person is happy and dedicates himself to keeping the Torah, Hashem will shower him with all of the requirements to better serve Him, including peace, tranquility, well being, sustenance, and all else a person needs to follow the Torah.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Living With Lists

Friday, July 1st, 2016

I recently read somewhere that the human brain can actively retain only four items at one time. It seems that more than four causes debilitating crowding as brain cells jockey for space. Inevitably, some thoughts are simply pushed out and away.

This means that if we want the important things to stay with us and receive the proper attention, we must limit our thoughts and prioritize. I found that comforting… a satisfactory explanation of why I forget so many things so often. Obviously, I simply have too many things to remember at any given time.

Unfortunately, four memory spaces are not sufficient. On any given day there are countless things to remember in the morning, plus items that can only be attended to in the afternoon, plus evening errands and chores. And on special occasions, the number of Things to Do increases exponentially. I have, however, a fool-proof method of dealing with the problem. It’s called Lists.

A list can contain not four, not fourteen, but even forty or more items all at one time (although, I’d suggest you try and limit yourself if you want to keep your sanity). Furthermore, lists are quiet. They don’t beep, click or blink. They just sit and wait patiently for you to notice them. They are pliable. If you ignore an item or change the order of things, they won’t make a peep, even if you neglected to do something vital. (Just remember… you will be held responsible for all damage and unsatisfactory results.)

Most gratifying, I’ve found that when items sit on my list long enough, they tend to shrivel up and fall off, proving that they weren’t all that important in the first place. Anything that’s really relevant stays put. As time goes on, as-yet-undone items are copied from list to list, sometimes advancing to the top, sometimes slipping down a bit, until they are either attended to or slide off completely and disappear.

At the moment of this writing, I am engrossed in the making of several lists: Laundry, Deadlines, Babysitting, Dentist & Other Medical Miscellanea and appointments while my husband is eagerly awaiting supper and three grandkids just called to say they are coming for a snack. It’s enough to overwhelm and paralyze even the greatest and most active of minds. But not mine. I remain calm.

Four sheets of paper are spread out before me as I neatly inscribe each item on the proper sheet, confident that nothing will get lost. I am filled with a feeling of great power and control. (Warning: Unfortunately, this often turns out to be a delusion.)

Male readers will probably think I am making a big deal out of nothing, but any female will immediately recognize a universal phenomenon. People wake up in the morning with great hopes and plans for the New Day. They expect everything to fall into place. But if they have not done their homework beforehand, if they have not thought, listed, worried and arranged, they are in line for a mighty disappointment. A neat list is as good as an hour of professional advice for keeping life on firm footing. It’s cheaper too. A lack of organization usually comes with a price – anger, frustration, pressure and other unwholesome things.

Sometimes my lists are so weighty that I divide them up by category. By Time – Today, Immediately, Sometime This Week, Next Week, Next Month, or, as we so often say in Israel, acharei hachagim… after the holidays are over. By Subject Matter – Iron, Shop, Phone Calls, Bills, E-Mail). There are Urgency Lists – Funerals, Doctors, Bank. And often, a topic will contain subtopics – Iron: Only the blouses for the girls’ school play this afternoon. Some topics may even appear on several lists at once.

The most important thing you need for lists is a proper notebook. Some like a spiral, where you can rip off lists as they are no longer relevant. Some prefer a permanent notebook where you can find a phone number from last week or last month which you happen to need again now. I also like a good pen which writes clearly and doesn’t smudge.

Lots of people walk around with smartphones and everything they’ll ever need or want to know is neatly tucked away in digital bytes. Heaven help them if the phone stops working or is lost. Besides, all that flickering on the screen gives me a headache. I stick with clean, old fashioned, paper.

I once tried using one of those erasable white black-boards instead of a notebook, but the lists were rubbed out by mistake once too often and vital items were lost. My grandchildren also tended to pick them up and scribble on them, totally oblivious to the fact that they were already in use.

I keep my notebook right next to the phone so I can always (usually) find it. Correction: next to the wall phone – which is my favorite kind. It doesn’t move around so I needn’t go around looking for it or for the list. I think that people who are always running around looking for their cordless or cellphones are hopelessly disorganized. And the ones who misplace their lists may be in need of emergency medical attention!

Once in a while, I flip the pages in my notebook back and look at older, expired lists and am left feeling overwhelmed at the unending amount of Things To Do. Most seem to return shortly after having been disposed of. Things like ironing, shopping, doctors, phone calls, and repair jobs get done, undone, and need to be redone in short order. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it. What would happen if I just tore up my lists, did whatever was urgently vital at any given moment and then sat back and relaxed until the next emergency?

But I’m not brave enough to try it. Giving up my lists just wouldn’t work for me. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. I have finally realized that even though I may not be able to control the world, the country or the weather (not even my finances), I have not yet given up hope that I can control my day. That too is often highly doubtful but I do try. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just thought of something I have to take care of that I almost forgot. Hmm… where the heck did I leave that list?

Yaffa Ganz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/living-with-lists/2016/07/01/

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