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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘message’

Group Effort

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

These IDF soldiers decided to express how they felt about their political leadership using their most precious possessions: their uniform-clad bodies.

So they got together and formed the words “Bibi Loser” in the sand.

It’s grammatically incomplete, and the use of Hebrew letters to write an English statement is questionable, but there’s no doubt about the clarity of their message.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Netanyahu Offers Temporary Cease Fire

Friday, November 16th, 2012

IBA News reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to acquiesce to the Egyptian request to not shoot at the Gaza Strip during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, which is expected to take place Friday morning and last about 3 hours.

A diplomatic source says this was the message that was transmitted back to Egypt, that the IDF will not shoot, provided that during the visit there will not be firing from Gaza into Israel.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio that the IDF is prepared for a ground operation in the Gaza Strip if Hamas refuses to commit to along-term ceasefire. “We’ll wait and see when Hamas will understand the message; if the message does not get through via the Air Force – we will expand the operation, ” Ya’alon told Aryeh Golan on the “This Morning “show on Channel 2.

Ya’alon added that operation “Pillars of Defense” is being managed well and emphasized that one of the goals is the destruction of Hamas’ more advanced weapons they’ve acquired in recent years, especially the Iranian “Fajr” missiles which can reach Gush Dan (Tel Aviv). He said that only has a few missiles remaining of this type, and the IAF is now operating to also destroy the Grad rockets.

Social Networking And The Blended Family

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

It still amazes me how the Internet has completely changed our lives and how we view communication these days. My children hardly believe me when I tell them that there was a time when being in touch with someone, meant we actually saw them, spoke to them on the phone, or wrote them a letter and mailed it.

The word communication is defined as the act of sending a message and the completion of that act occurs when that message is received. Today, communicating is so simple, maybe even too simple. With just a quick “point and click” on your computer screen you can let people know that you “like” or agree with something “posted” on a “page.” You can even brighten someone’s day by forwarding on the joke you got in an e-mail. Just like that; instant communication.

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with my computer and certainly with the Internet. The World Wide Web played a role in my divorce; allowing easy access for my ex-husband to “step out” and get to know other women from the safety and comfort of our home. At that time, more than 17 years ago, I was naïve and did not even know such a thing was even possible.

That experience certainly made me more than a bit wary of spending time on the Internet at all, but over the past decade it has begun to take on a greater role in my life.

I love the ease the Internet affords me. I am able to work from home, look up new recipes and keep in touch with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoy seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews who live far away and have even had the opportunity to join in family smachot that I would have otherwise missed.

Interestingly “social networking” has us considering people we hardly know as “friends”. I even heard a neighbor remark that she was just talking to a “Facebook friend” meaning they never actually met and only knew each other through their network of “online” friends. Hey, I enjoy connecting to new people as much as the next person, but can you really know and befriend someone based on a string of “statuses,” “comments,” blogs and “posts?” Everyone knows what we “like” and we seem to be “sharing” more of ourselves with the rest of the world.

Lately I have taken notice of the many ways this new era of instant communication and “social networking” has affected families of divorce and the blended family.

Take for instance an acquaintance of mine who is unfortunately going through a nasty custody battle. I understand and appreciate the importance of a good support system during trying times – I honestly do. But when your network of friends has topped 1000 and you feel a need to update your “friends” on how your divorce proceedings are going on a constant basis, something is awry. Do you need your entire list of “friends” to weigh in on every battle? Does posting that you had a bad day in court make the outcome any better? Does inviting everyone into your sorrow lesson the pain?

The misguided belief that venting via “post” and receiving encouraging “comments” is in any way a healthy response to a very frustrating situation is foolish at best – and may even be harmful.

With claims of it being in the best interest of the children, claimants on both sides of a highly publicized divorce case have garnered support this way. Is this truly in the best interest of the children, or a means to gain publicity and exposure?

Another “social networking” issue that has had a personal affect on my family is that this is the way my children are kept updated on their father’s life. I think it has been years since my son has had an actual conversation with his father, but his dad will send a quick :) his way every so often. They found out about his third marriage, and his fourth divorce via Facebook. The message came through loud and clear when his status turned from “married” to “single.” On a positive note, a bond of sorts is retained and my ex-husband has a chance to become “friends” with his children and to meet his grandchildren.

How in Losing a Congressional Race I Found More of Myself

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

A few hours ago I lost my bid to unseat Congressman Bill Pascrell in New Jersey’s Ninth District. But thank G-d, I’m in a good place and miraculously in a good frame of mind. I’m writing this late at night to capture my thoughts and feelings after investing approximately seven months of my life in this endeavor.

Firstly, believe it or not, I don’t feel sadness but contentment (although I can’t predict how I’ll feel in the coming days). Why contentment and relief? I set out to accomplish certain goals, and though I wish I had been more successful at advancing them, I feel we met many of those goals and I’m grateful to G-d for having made it through the campaign with a positive message.

First, I wanted to be a voice for universal Jewish values in politics. For years I had felt America was becoming obsessed with talking about gay marriage rather than heterosexual divorce. Abortion rather than men respecting women and replacing the recreational nature of sex with something of its sacredness. Contraception rather than the joy of children. I wanted to bring something of the joy of Jewish values to supplant some of the austerity of the Christian social sexual values which have come to dominate our social discourse and divide our nation.

I also wanted to run an ideas-based campaign that focused less on fundraising and more on novel policies that could address the values rot in American culture. I didn’t want to talk only about economics, deficits, and national debt, but the value of human dignity that accrues through self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and economic independence.

Most of all, I wanted to demonstrate that religious Jews, running campaigns based on Jewish wisdom and values and founded on a platform of a proud Jewish identity, can compete as viable candidates in politics and in every other sphere of American life. From the constant, positive, national attention our campaign has thank God garnered, we have shown that being an orthodox, committed Jew is not in any way a hindrance or limiting factor.

I knew from the beginning that running in a race where Democrats outnumbered Republicans four to one was like climbing a political Mt. Everest. But it was the journey that mattered.

And here is what I have learned. Running for public office has a profound maturing effect on one’s character. You have to wake up every morning and figure out how will you maneuver to deliver your message through all the noise and clutter of the media and the friction of politics. It toughens you up and sharpens your instincts. It humbles you and makes you utterly dependent on all the people around you. People you might, in your arrogance, have otherwise overlooked are now your masters. Every single one matters. And whether they embrace you or reject you, it is always they who are important with you being subordinate.

Abraham Lincoln, on a day that happens to be my birthday (November 19), gave the Gettysburg Address where he spoke of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. For once, I wanted to experience what it was like to be ‘of the people.’

Never once in my campaign did anyone make me feel that being a Rabbi meant I could not be their candidate. True, many of the Arab-Americans in our district challenged my position on Israel. But they always did so with respect and hospitality. (Please read my column on all the people I met in the race).

The Republican party, which suffered a huge defeat on so many levels tonight, needs to make some serious changes. They cannot highlight the social sexual issues which distract us from fixing so many of America’s real social problems, like increasing narcissism on the part of our youth, a catastrophic divorce rate, the portrayal of women in much of the media as a man’s plaything, the absence of a year of national service, the increasing loss of intellectual curiosity on the part of much of the electorate as shallow reality TV shows make us think less, and our addiction to material objects to bring us happiness. We also have to deal with immigration in a compassionate and sensitive manner. True, people who come here illegally are breaking the law and being unfair to all those who wait to enter by legal means. But before we throw the full book at them – and let me be clear that they should not be breaking the law – let’s at least understand that so many of them do so to feed their babies or to send money back to very poor families. They are breaking the law, but that does mean that they are criminals in the usual sense of the word. Their humanity has to be preserved at all times and we have to find a way to deal with 12 million undocumented workers, many of whom have made America their home for many years. Not to address this problem is not only to risk further electoral defeat, but it is to compromise our values of compassion, even as we rightly insist on the vital framework of law.

Finishing my campaign with a positive energy and dignity, even as I keep the door open to the possibility of further political involvement, also allows me to put some of the unavoidable awkwardness of partisanship – much as I have tried to avoid it – behind me. Two hours after my defeat my dear friend and brother Mayor Cory Booker of Newark came to my home to hang with me and cheer me up. We had a great time discussing all the things that connect us, like a deep love and spiritual friendship of twenty years, without politics being on the agenda.

Now is the time for America to come together and fix its problems. I fought hard against Bill Pascrell. But when I called him tonight I told him he will be my Congressman and I bow fully to the majesty of the magical democratic system under which we are all so privileged to live. Likewise, President Obama continues as my President. I don’t agree with both men on many things. But I will work with them to create an America that is unified and that is fully focused on being the light of liberty, prosperity, and freedom to every corner of the earth.

God bless all of you and God bless America.

As Long as We’re Guessing at God’s Message…

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

It didn’t take very long for some holy rollers to pop up and tell us why God punished the East Coast with a devastating storm. Not only didn’t it take long, there seemed to be a rush to see who could come up with a reason first. I don’t know who actually won that race. But I do know that there are a lot of people who think they have a direct line to God and know exactly what He was trying to tell us.
Well, I’m glad I now know. Or do I? It seems that not everyone came up with the same reason. There are no fewer than 6 different people who seem to have intimate knowledge of God’s purpose in inflicting damage on America’s East Coast residents. One of them commented right here in a comment thread last Thursday.

Is the Lakewood community still not Frum enough? Was it because New York legalized gay marriage? Perhaps it is because Israel’s depends too much on America? How about an environmental message? Are we ignoring climate change? Is this God’s way of getting us to stop our earth destroying ways? Or maybe it’s Iran’s fault?

I’m sure this will not be the last of it. For example I have yet to hear the classic one about Tznius. I’m sure that is yet to come up from someone.

Needless to say, I think these people all have agendas driving their claims of knowing God’s intended message. But I do not think it helps matters to use a tragedy to push an agenda. It would be far better if these people would just keep quiet and instead do whatever they can to help their fellow man in need. People in distress do not need to be harangued about why they were punished. Especially if such statements are clearly speculation sourced in an agenda.

But now that everyone else is doing it, I thought I may as well join the fray. I have a few thoughts about God’s possible message too. If anyone want’s to accuse me of being agenda driven… go right ahead.

It seems like almost every day there is another report about a religious Jew abusing another human being sexually. Just last week there was a report by Miriam Shaviv in The Times of Israel about yet another prominent Charedi rabbi in England who was accused sexual abuse – some of it apparently shocking!

London’s ultra-Orthodox establishment is investigating one of its most senior rabbis following a barrage of rumors that he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a woman, The Times of Israel has learned.

The rabbi wields considerable influence in the city’s Haredi institutions.

Over the past few weeks, he has been accused in blogs and on the street of a variety of sexual misdeeds with at least one woman — for whom he was allegedly acting as a counselor — and possibly with others. The allegations range from serious criminal offenses to actions which, one rabbi said, may be halachically dubious, but “in the non-rabbinical, non-Haredi world, wouldn’t raise eyebrows.”

The rabbi at the center of the rumors did not return a phone call…

One local Haredi rabbi, who like all the British interviewees for this article requested anonymity due to the case’s sensitive nature, said he did not believe the rumors, which “seem incompatible with [the rabbi's] personality.”

Because of the accused rabbi’s senior status and popularity, if the most serious allegations were proven, “it would send shock waves through the community. It would be on par with the chief rabbi being accused of such a thing,” he added.

Shock waves? I have long ago stopped being shocked by such stories. I don’t know if any of these charges are true or even exactly what they are. Or how many victims there are – if any. But it seems the charges are credible enough to have a committee investigating them:

Since mid-October, his London colleagues have met twice to discuss the handling of the case, once in the Orthodox suburb of Golders Green in North West London, and once in the considerably more Haredi Stamford Hill.

Now a prominent London rabbinical authority has appointed a small committee to investigate the claims. The committee apparently includes a mental health professional and a legal professional; at least one of them is Jewish.

As I said such stories are no longer shocking to me. But the relatively common occurrence of this type of thing does not lessen the terrible consequences for the victims. Nor does the continued protection and defense by their communities (including their rabbinic leadership) of accused molesters like Mondrowitz and Weberman help either.

Which is more devastating, Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Weberman? Sandy may have hurt a lot more people. It will be difficult to restore their lives to some semblance of normalcy. It will certainly take time. It will also take a lot of work and help from friends and community. But Hurricane Sandy’s victims will God willing survive and resurrect their lives.

That does not happen for too many victims of sexual abuse. Far too often their lives are permanently damaged. Some to the point of death by their own hand.

Yes my friends there is a lot of Teshuva to do. And a lot of work to do to rid the Torah world of the scourge of sexual abuse in all its manifestations. In all segments of observant Jewry. All over the world. There is also a lot of work to do to try and make whole the lives of victims to the best of our ability.

Although there is progress in how we deal with these things now, we have a long way to go. As long as there are communities that protect their accused molesters and reject the pain of their victims – our job is not complete. By a long shot!

Why did the East Coast where the greatest numbers of religious Jews live get such a terrible blow last week? I don’t know. I am not a Navi. But the sex related issue of Tznius is almost always pointed to by some rabbinic leaders as the cause. I agree that it might be sex related. But not in matters of Tznius. Perhaps it is the way we deal with sex abuse. If there is any message from God in this, perhaps the first thing we ought to look at is how we still fail to recognize just how short we fall in this department.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

On This Day

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Ever have a day going along just fine until something comes and floors you? I wasn’t feeling well last night and thought of skipping work…but I had to do this, I had to do that…so I came in saying that maybe I’ll crash tomorrow.

Yesterday morning started sluggish, but I hit my stride and I chugged along happily cleaning things off my desk. I’m tried to watch what is happening with the massive hurricane hitting the U.S.; trying to switch windows, worrying about whether Gaza has decided to fire another rocket at Israel. And then, I saw this message on Twitter and I just stopped and took a deep breath.

They probably all died – those 2,000 elderly and sick Jews who were deported to Auschwitz. I clicked the link – there is a picture there, of the Jews being loaded on to trains for the trip to their deaths. The sun seems just a little bit less bright; my heart hurts just a little bit.My eyes are stinging. My brain, ever the smart one is telling the rest of me to get back to work. There are things I have to deliver, a website I have to build, a document I have to edit. It’s close to the end of the month and there’s accounting coming up soon.

It’s hard to get back to work without thinking about this little tweet. Two thousand people… two thousand Jews. On this day…on this day…

Visit a Soldier’s Mother.

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.

What Leftists Mean: Support the Savage

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a looney lefitist in the NY vandalizes approved ads in the subway, under the guise of  “freedom of expression” (while not allowing others to freely express themselves), her message is very clear.

She sides with the savages.  She finds it offensive that Jihad is considered “savage.”  Savages are those who murder in the name of Jihad; those that murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya are savages, those that attacked the World Trade Center are savages, those that stab to death Israeli infants and blow up buses are savages.  That’s Jihad.

See the Jihad Supporter here:

CNN and MSNBC Pundit Mona Eltahawy is a supporter of Savage Jihad.  Her billboard could be easily summed up as follows:

Make sure you know which side you’re on.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/what-leftists-mean-support-the-savage/2012/09/28/

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