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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘matter’

Why They Love Osama, Hate Obama, and How Obama Uses the Same Tactics at Home

Friday, October 5th, 2012

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Why are tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims chanting about how much they love Osama bin Ladin and how much they hate Barack (Hussein) Obama?

Simple. Because bin Ladin was a Muslim and an Arab (for the Arab demonstrators) and thus he was one of their people, someone from their side, whatever tactical disagreements they might have had with him. And Obama isn’t. No amount of groveling, apology, or money will change that fact. Isn’t that clear?

I should quickly add that many Muslims don’t support the Islamists. In elections in Libya and Tunisia, a majority voted for non-Islamist parties. Even in Egypt when the showdown came in the presidential election the Muslim Brotherhood candidate won by only a narrow margin. Most Lebanese don’t support the Islamists (the main force of which is Hizballah, a Shia group). There are, of course, plenty of Islamists and they have lots of sympathizers. They can cite chapter and verse from Islamic holy texts.

Yet that doesn’t make all Muslims supporters of revolutionary Islamism or advocates of Shia totalitarian states, no matter how many times people who are ignorant about Islam and the Middle East run their little rants. Those rants are just as false as the “Islam is a religion of peace” nonsense.

But that’s not my point here. The key element for this article is this:

When solidarity along group lines takes priority and the line is that all of “us” must unite against the “other” no matter what truth, logic, or justice dictates then that means serious trouble.

Well, guess what? That is the line of the Obama Administration and its Newest Left supporters. All African-Americans should support the regime because Obama is Black and anyone opposing him is a racist. All “Hispanics” should support the president because he really wants open borders and the turning of all illegal immigrants into citizens, while everyone else is a racist.

All women should support the ruling group and leftist ideology because it wants to give them free birth control and anyone on the other side hates women. And everyone who receives a government check has to support the regime or someone might take away their check. Actually what’s most likely to take away their check is the bankruptcy of the programs due to over-spending.

In other words, the dominant forces in the mass media and academia and the current government and their supporters are tearing America apart by inciting interest groups to hate each other, make war on each other, and give loyalty primarily to their group no questions asked.

And this is precisely the kind of thing that makes Middle Eastern Muslims who even if they were Islamists–like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist groups—hated bin Ladin when he was alive opportunistically turn him into a martyr. The creation of a hysterical mob mentality for political gain is not restricted to the Middle East.

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Barry Rubin

Post-Mortem on the Muhammad Protests

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As Muslim crowds dissipate and American diplomatic missions return to normal activities, here are three final thoughts on the riots that began this Sept. 11 and killed about thirty:

The movie really did matter: The Obama administration dishonestly skirted responsibility for the murder of four Americans in Libya by claiming that the attack was a protest that got unpredictably out of hand against the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

In response, leading analysts have concluded that the video hardly mattered anywhere. Barry Rubin scorns the video as a “phony excuse for the demonstration” in Egypt. Michael Ledeen upbraids the administration for claiming “that attacks against Americans aren’t attacks against Americans at all, but attacks against a video.” “It is not about a video,” writes Andrew McCarthy, “any more than similar episodes in recent years have been about cartoons, teddy-bears, accidental Koran burnings, etc.” Hussein Haqqani dismisses the protests as a “function of politics, not religion.” For Victor Davis Hanson, the video and similar incidents “are no more than crude pretexts to direct fury among their ignorant and impoverished masses at opportune times against the United States, and thereby gain power.” Lee Smith speculates that “blaming the video is part of some complex public diplomacy campaign.” Cliff Kinkaid flatly calls the video “a diversion intended to save Obama’s presidency.”

I respect and learn from all these writers, but disagree about the video. Yes, individuals, organizations, and governments goaded the mobs – indeed, there always needs to be some instigator who mobilizes Muslims against an offending statement, text, drawing, or video. But it would be a mistake to see the mob as but a tool of clashing interests (such as Salafis vs. Muslim Brothers in Egypt) or American political imperatives. Rage directed at the video was heartfelt, real, and persistent.

The person of Muhammad has acquired a saint-like quality among Muslims and may not be criticized, much less mocked. German orientalist Annemarie Schimmel pointed out (in her 1985 study on the veneration of Muhammad) that his personality is, other than the Koran, “the center of the Muslims’ life.” Outrage among Muslims over insults to his person is sincere.

Note, for example, the notorious section 295-B of Pakistan’s Criminal Code, which punishes any defamation of Muhammad, even if unintentional, with execution. These regulations have so much support that two prominent politicians, Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, were assassinated in 2011 merely for voicing opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Their murders had nothing to do with the West and certainly were not diversions in a U.S. presidential campaign.

Trends: As someone who’s been watching that clash since Khomeini’s time, I ascertain three main trends. First, Muslims increasingly devote themselves to the political imperative of preserving Muhammad’s sanctity. Second, Western governments and elites (i.e., journalists, lawyers, intellectuals, artists) have become increasingly timid over time when facing Islamist fury, willing to apologize, appease, and placate; for one appalling example, see the U.S. embassy in Cairo‘s effusions on this Sept. 11, as a mob raged outside. Third, Western non-elites have increasingly responded to Islamists with a You-want-to-be-insulted-well-take-this! attitude that includes Koran burnings, “Defeat Jihad” ads, belligerently offensive French cartoons, and a promised roll-out of Muhammad movies.

Obama vs. Morsi: The American and Egyptian presidents offered starkly different views on the freedom to blaspheme in their speeches to the United Nations last week. Barack Obama insisted that “in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.” Mohamed Morsi disagreed: “The obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred.”

In brief, each side has an approach and method (free speech vs. prohibition of blasphemy) which it considers fundamental to its identity and forward with a certain reverence. Ever since the Khomeini edict against Salman Rushdie in 1989, each side intends to impose its way on the other side, suggesting that this clash of wills has just begun.

Daniel Pipes

Credible Suspicion

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Note from Harry Maryles: Yet again I am going to dispense with my usual pre Yom Tov D’var Torah and cross post this important message from Rabbi Yakov Horowtiz’s website. I’m sorry to have to post on such a sad subject on the eve of one of our most joyous holidays. But the urgency of this matter compels me to do so.

Rabbi Necheyia Weberman is about to begin his trial on charges of sexually abusing of a young girl. One may recall the massive fundraising event held on Rabbi Weberman’s behalf. One may also recall that that some of his supporters were caught by authorities trying to bribe the chief witness (the victim) in this case to drop the charges. I think we can be sure that his community will continue to do everything they can to get him acquitted.

To put it the way Rabbi Horowitz did, Rabbi Nechemia Weberman deserves his day in court. Let us do what we can to make sure that on that “day” justice will indeed be served. His words follow:

After many delays and much legal wrangling, Nechemia Weberman will finally stand trial in Brooklyn Criminal Court on October 30th for allegedly abusing a young girl in the Williamsburg community over a period of three years — beginning when she was 12-years old.

Mr. Weberman is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Having said that, quoting the Halachic terms employed in the Teshuva of Rav Elyashiv zt”l, there is clearly far more than raglayim l’davar (credible suspicion) in this case. In fact, all indications point to the inescapable conclusion that something is very, very wrong here.

What Parents Need to Know

One of the most important things frum parents – especially those in the “heimish” community – ought to be developing is a deep understanding of the norms and accepted practice in the mental health profession. Gaining this would allow devoted and caring parents the ability to obtain suitable professional help for their children who need it, and avoid the trauma associated with following the recommendations made by untrained, well-meaning folks (unfortunately, an all too frequent occurrence, one which sometimes creates horrific results).

Moreover, it would help undo the denial and cognitive dissonance of those who defend Weberman — by pointing out how disturbing were the circumstances of his “treatment” of the young girls referred to him.

Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs

Think of it this way. Wouldn’t alarm bells go off in your mind if a doctor performed an invasive procedure without using latex gloves or if he/she picked up a used syringe to give you an injection? Wouldn’t you think it strange if you were a single mother and were requested to meet with your son’s Rebbe or principal at 9 p.m. one evening in a deserted Yeshiva building to discuss your son’s progress?

What Went Wrong

Well, those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public that Weberman:

(1) Had unregulated access to many girls over a number of years in his inappropriate and illegal role as their unlicensed “therapist.”

(2) Had these young girls referred to him for counseling by very Chassidish schools, whose general level of gender separation far exceeds those of the typical “Bais Yakov” (and it would be exceedingly rare for non-Chassidish girls’ schools to regularly refer their Talmidos to a male therapist)

(3) Engaged in private, unsupervised counseling sessions with young girls — often in an office/apartment that contained a working bedroom — violating all norms of yichud and tzniyus.

In addition to all these disturbing facts, it has become clear that these serious allegations are in fact not isolated ones. In fact, since Mr. Weberman’s arrest, I was personally contacted by immediate family members of four additional alleged victims of his who are afraid to come forward, and those of us close to the community have heard similar reports from others as well.

All the victims – none of whom know each other and all of whom are terrified to go to the authorities because of fear of backlash from the community – report striking similarities in the MO of Weberman (his manner of working), fueling suspicion that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

What is most chilling is that each and every one of his victims who came to us is currently married; meaning that (1) this has been going on for a very long time and (2) if there are current victims who are single, they are even more terrified than the married women of coming forward, for fear that going public will ruin their chances of doing a decent shidduch.

Weberman’s case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of this courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did. Unbearable pressure is being brought to bear against her and her family to drop the case, which is one of the reasons that a show of support is so important.

Now That You Know

Those of us who work with abuse survivors respectfully implore you to please, please stand with this victim on October 30th and with the other silent and silenced victims who are watching this case unfold very carefully and with all survivors of abuse and molestation.

Please pass this on to your friends and family members and I hope to see you at the trial, heeding the timeless charge of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) (1:16) to “Seek justice [and] strengthen the victim.”

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Postcard from Israel – Mazkeret Batya

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

There are not many places in the Middle East (or in Britain, for that matter) in which one can still find an old fashioned British red telephone box with a working phone. In Mazkeret Batya, south-east of Rehovot, there is exactly that – a remnant from the days of the British Mandate – on the main street of the moshava, next to the museum.

Originally named Ekron after the Biblical city, the agricultural community was established in November 1883 by ten immigrant families from Russia who were joined the next year by eight other families. The moshava changed its name to Mazkeret Batya in 1887 in honour of the mother of Baron Rothschild who, at the request of Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever of ‘Hovevei Tzion,’ had purchased the land upon which the community was built.

Now a fast-growing  town, Mazkeret Batya retains many of its delightful original buildings, some still with the terracotta roof tiles and original timbers imported from Europe, including the ‘new’ synagogue built in 1927, the original well from 1883, the Rothschild farm building (now a community centre), the smithy, the pharmacy and original cow sheds since converted into cafes or houses. A feature exclusive to Mazkeret Batya is the ‘Kazramot,’ or dwellings built with a cow shed on the ground floor and accommodation for the farmers above – in order to get round the Ottoman prohibition of the time on house building for Jewish immigrants.

During the war of Independence, Mazkeret Batya served as the site of a field hospital for the injured from battles at Latrun and a starting point for convoys to besieged Jerusalem. One of the old armoured vehicles takes pride of place at the end of ‘Route of the Convoys Street.’

Visit CifWatch.com.

Hadar Sela

Looking Up

Friday, September 28th, 2012

In the hustle and bustle of New York City, it’s nearly impossible to stop and slow down – even for a second. The gulps of coffee, swish of a lipstick, and the tying of your shoelaces need to be accomplished in a matter of minutes. The clock is ticking. Everyone is perpetually on the go, not appreciating the present because the future is waiting impatiently. Though I am a New Yorker through and through, I’ve never stopped to ponder this hasty way of living.

A planned trip to an unexpected destination gave me an opportunity to experience another route to living. I’ve inadvertently popped the insular bubble that has enveloped me during my 22 years of existence and stepped into another perspective. A cruise to Alaska shed light on a world that may be worth investing time in. Alaska has a beauty that doesn’t shout for attention; it speaks for itself with its quiet and calm aura. The majestic mountains and turquoise waters are serene and contagiously tranquil. I automatically felt a wave of peacefulness, a rare feeling in New York City. It was as if my senses had been longing for this, gulping a glass of what Alaska had to offer me.

I imagined myself waking up to an Alaskan view, drinking my ritual coffee, and enjoying the sights. I envisioned a day where rushing wasn’t part of the schedule. In Alaska, life is calm, as if the environment commanded it to be. While the typical Alaskan individual works to make a living, there seems to be an ease that is indigenous to them. A New Yorker needs to be fast-paced in order to stay in the game called life. It would be nice to slow down once in a while. While a destination is the sole reason for a journey, why don’t we appreciate the road taken? Can’t we enjoy life for just a moment? We might miss out if we don’t look up and face the world.

After returning to my home turf, it’s hard to conjure up the same tranquility I experienced in Alaska. However, maybe I can take some of what I experienced and give back to my hometown. We should all try and enjoy the nature and beauty around us. G-d has given us a precious gift that we all need to appreciate. People have their eyes open, yet aren’t really looking. We need to stop and realize where we’re going. Is this the path we want to go? Are we haphazardly making our way to a place we’re not happy in? If we pause for just a moment, we may reroute ourselves to a place that may be greener on the other side and the journey is just as fulfilling as the destination.

Melissa Papir

‘Did You Add Salt to a Wound?’

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Just days ago on Yom Kipper, The Day of Judgment, Jews gathered as one in shuls, shteibels and temples and desperately and profusely promised Hashem that we would reform our ways and improve our behaviors and actions towards Him, our Father and Creator, as well as towards our fellow man, who, being made in His image, is deserving of our respect and compassion, and of being treated as an equal, no matter their social or financial status, age or gender.

Our prayers were saturated with sincerity, our pleas- passionate and pure. This time, we would amend our not so pleasant ways. Nothing motivates the determination to improve oneself than the fear of Divine Retribution. The knowledge that teshuvah – repentance and remorse and regret for less than stellar behaviors, attitudes and activities – can postpone, even cancel a stern, life-altering judgment is the best fuel to ignite an unwavering commitment to change.

And many of us are making a conscientious effort to keep our promise to be kinder, more ethical and more tolerant, both as Jews and human beings. But within weeks, ingrained bad habits will free themselves from the restraints we so self-righteously encased them in, and reclaim their turf in our flawed personalities.

So how do we prevent that regression? How do we fortify our resolve to self-tikkun in a way that will help ensure that on the final Day of Judgment in the Heavenly Court, our neshama will be headed “north” not “south?”

It is generally accepted that one of the questions people will be asked on That Day will revolve around business ethics. We will be asked if we were honest in our financial dealings with others.

Perhaps one question that we should expect to be asked of us is, “Did you rub salt into a wound?”

“Rubbing salt into a wound” is an expression that has come to mean adding tzaar – emotional hurt – to someone who already is in great pain and distress. It actually is based on a practice centuries ago when slaves, captured enemies or prisoners of war were lashed either as punishment or as a way of making them talk. Many were further tormented by having salt rubbed into their open, bleeding wounds, causing excruciating pain on top of the pain they were experiencing from the whipping.

(Baby-boomers no doubt remember all too clearly the intense pain that would have us howling and jumping out of our skin when iodine was dabbed onto a skinned knee or cut or scrape to prevent infection. The cure was worse than the sickness. Only much later did soothing, antibiotic ointments become available.)

Of all the “bad” behaviors we indulge in, whether through misguided “kindness” or deliberate maliciousness, enhancing the pain, grief or hopelessness of someone who is hurting mentally, emotionally or spiritually is especially harmful to the recipient – it is like rubbing salt in an open wound.

When I say,” kindness,” it is because there were times when salt was rubbed into an open wound to prevent infection and promote healing. Nonetheless, the resultant agony was just as horrific as when it was done out of pure cruelty.

So many people are what I call the “walking wounded.” Young and old, wealthy or poor, married or single; pillars of their community or barely visible in the crowd, no one is spared from torment, loss, loneliness, fear, self-doubt or the inevitable emotional battering and trauma that comes from being a breathing, sentient human being.

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children, teachers, rebbeim, acquaintances, friends, bosses, colleagues, even strangers like a bus driver or store clerk can deliberately or inadvertently, via “good” intentions, salt a wound.

This is clearly evident in the story of Penina and Chana, who became the mother of Shmuel Hanavi. In Shmuel 1 chapter I, verse 7, we are told that a man, Ephraim, had two wives, Penina who had many children, and Chana, who was infertile. Penina would torment Chana about being childless, but the Midrash says she did so out of kindness, to spur Chana to daven with more kavanah, and garner Hashem’s sympathy – but all it did was make Chana feel worse, so she did not even want to eat.

Cheryl Kupfer

The Curse Of Family Breakdowns

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Several weeks ago I shared a letter from a heartbroken mother whose children had shut the door in her face. Time and again she tried to open that door, but despite all her attempts she did not succeed. No matter how she humbled herself and begged, no matter how many people interceded on her behalf, it was to no avail.

Subsequently, I received many e-mails from people who, to one extent or another, found themselves in similar predicaments. The question we must ask is this: How can such tragedy befall the Jewish people, who throughout the millennia were renowned for their exemplary family life?

As I write this column, we are in the closing parshiot of the Torah. In Ki Savo, a litany of curses is proclaimed. Is that the way to bid farewell to the past year of Torah readings? It does seem odd, but those familiar with Torah study know that every word, dot and syllable is a blessing, even if at first glance it appears to be a terrifying proclamation. One of the curses pertinent to our subject is “Cursed be the one who curses his father and mother.”

How are we to understand this? The answer is simple and should give us all pause. The alienation between parents and children that shuts doors is in and of itself a terrible curse. It is a curse that is self-inflicted and does not require an outside force. Can there be anything more painful for parents than to have children and yet not have them? For children to have living mothers and fathers and yet feel like orphans? If that is not a curse, what is?

Surely that should serve as a wake-up call for families who have built walls of animosity, contempt and hatred in their homes. In short, that is the catastrophe we too often see nowadays.

So now perhaps we can understand why the Torah speaks of all these horrific situations as the curtain comes down on another cycle of Torah readings. Paradoxically, through these curses G-d offers us a blessing: “Leave behind the nightmare; consign it to oblivion; bring an end to your splintered, dysfunctional family. Start a new life and open a fresh, clean page in your book of life.”

But how we are to go about this? Perhaps our first step should be to attempt to comprehend the complexity of human nature.

“The heart of man is wicked from its very start,” we read in Bereishis. Contrary to what most believe, humans are not born good, compassionate, kind, giving or respectful. These are traits that must be learned and developed from early childhood.

When Hashem proclaimed the Fifth Commandment – “Honor your father and mother” – He provided us with the tools to enact it. In contrast to animals, who soon after birth are able to go off and fend for themselves, humans many years need the loving care, devotion and commitment of their parents. This is in order that a sense of gratitude, of indebtedness, might forever be engraved in the hearts of children.

As we noted above, these traits do not come automatically. They are not spontaneous. They have to be taught, and that is an education that can only be imparted in the home. It is something that even the finest schools or universities cannot teach. Tragically, however, in our 21st century culture this is a teaching that escapes most parents. Children’s obnoxious behavior is indulged and even considered “natural.”

Just contrast the manner of child rearing of years gone by with what we see today. Yesterday, we were taught to rise for our parents and our elders; to share our goodies with relatives and friends; to speak respectfully to one and all. Expressions such as “thank you,” “please,” “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” were all a part of our vocabulary. Even as we learned to speak we were taught these words; they weren’t just token phrases.

When a parent would come home, we rose in greeting. When grandparents came to visit, we ran to the door and kissed and hugged them, and when they departed we accompanied them to the door.

It goes without saying that curse words were foreign to us, as was violent and hostile behavior. On a personal level, I would like to share with you that in our family, every Shabbos eve when our parents blessed us we kissed their hands with reverence and love – a tradition that in our generation is unheard of.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/the-curse-of-family-breakdowns/2012/09/12/

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