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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘moment’

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.

Iran, Israel and America

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Wait?! …Wait for What?! This was the rhetorical question recently asked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the American refusal to draw a clear line whereby if crossed by Iran, it would act militarily.

The world wants Israel to wait and not take military action… to give sanctions a chance to work. Fine. I actually agree with that. But there has to be some lines drawn. If Israel keeps waiting – that could spell its end. That was the point.
I could not help but marvel at the simple clarity given to this issue by the Israeli prime minister. In what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, the “what” Netanyahu was referring to was the threat by the Islamic Republic of Iran to annihilate the State of Israel.  As soon as it has nuclear capability the likelihood of using it to achieve that goal is very strong.
They are progressing full speed ahead towards the development such weapons. They already possess delivery capacity.  Their religious beliefs include killing innocent people along with themselves in the cause of advancing Islam. The idea that Israel should wait and let sanctions do their job, is very nice – if you don’t live in Israel.
The problem with Iran is that the combination of all those factors means that it doesn’t matter what we do in terms of diplomacy. They are just biding their time until they can get the job done.
Sanctions? That will only slow them down. It will not stop them. That should be obvious to everyone too by now.
To be fair, the Obama administration has not removed anything including its own military action from the table. But the way things are going now and with all the talk of the devastating effects of a war with Iran – the military option will not have any real impact to them. Iran doesn’t think the United States under an Obama Presidency has the guts or the will to do it.
Iranian leaders can hear the United States expressing reservations about attacking them. Iranian bellicosity has added fear to those reservations. Their strategy of projecting resolve about their religious mission is working. They are pretty sure that they will not be attacked. They see see any sabre rattling by the US as no more than a paper threat. I’m sure they are giddy with joy about that and proceeding full steam ahead towards becoming nuclear.
The truth is that a military attack would not be pretty. Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It has a far more sophisticated and powerful military and a regime willing to die for Allah. Which of course include Israel’s destruction . There could very well be carnage unlike anything we have seen since the World War Two. Iran will not go down without fighting to its death.
Which brings us back to square one. Israel is the one with its head in the chopping block. It’s easy for others to say wait. They are not the ones about to get their heads chopped off.
This does not mean I think that Israel ought to attack Iran just yet. Israeli blood is not cheap and if they ever attacked Iran, I don’t even want to think about the consequences in lives lost. God forbid! And then there is the matter of the remaining Jews still living in Iran. I don’t want to think about their consequences either.
But at the same time, I cannot see fiddling while Rome burns either.  And if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Rome will burn!
I have to believe that the prime minister has red lines. He knows when they will be crossed. He is not going to wait a moment beyond that to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors. He knows that  if he doesn’t act decisively at the right moment –  the consequences of a nuclear attack against Israel will rival those of the Holocaust. Only this Holocaust will be nuclear.
It is my belief that the Obama Administration realizes this. They have recently said that there is no daylight between the two countries when it comes to dealing with Iran. It is my hope that the United States will stand with Israel in its time of need – if and when Israel sees that line crossed and acts militarily. If need be I believe that the United States will aid Israel if they need it. That is the only moral option.
In these days of awe before Yom Kippur, I pray that this does not need to happen. I would rather see a peaceful resolution. Or even better a regime change in Iran. But I think we will sooner see Moshiach. Iran is a brutal religious dictatorship that will do whatever is necessary to  keep its government in power. They consider it a religious imperative!  The last revolution that was tried there was very quickly quashed.
Just like an insurrection is unlikely in Iran so too is it unlikely that they will ever surrender in a war should it happen. In the event of war Iranian leaders – both political and religious – must be utterly destroyed. That will not be easy. But what alternative is there?
Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

For Love or Money – The Real Cost of a Wedding

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

When your child was a newborn baby, you probably thought that this moment would take forever to arrive. Think of all of the effort that you have put into your child over the years, with so many hopes and prayers that they would grow up to find a suitable spouse and one day you would proudly stand under the chuppah and watch the happy couple tie the knot.

Unfortunately, despite all of the hopes and dreams, many parents either don’t or can’t put so much effort into saving the money that goes into paying for the wedding. There could be many reasons for this. Maybe the parents didn’t think too much about it, and because the thought of a wedding always seemed so far away, they woke up too late and did not invest their money sensibly and in time. On the other hand, the parents may have tried their best to put money aside to pay for their children’s weddings, but try though they did, there was simply not enough. Perhaps their income was just not high enough, or maybe some other events happened within the family, like a sudden illness, that consumed all of their savings unexpectedly before they could be channeled into a wedding.

Unfortunately, another huge factor in this equation is peer pressure. Very often, families feel that they have to keep up with the Joneses in a big way. It becomes very important to them, for example, to hold the wedding in a certain, fancy hall. Even though the other hall down the road is large enough for their needs, “no one” gets married there because it is not quite as upmarket as the most popular hall in town, and therefore the parents feel the need to find the extra few thousand dollars that it costs to use the fancier place. And then of course, if you are using the fancy hall, then you can only take a fancy caterer, and so on and so forth.

Finding those extra dollars is not always so easy. And this is where the debt trap comes into play. As a financial adviser, I have often met families who are drowning in debt. To keep up appearances, they decide to borrow money from a loan fund. But when the time comes to pay off the debt, their financial situation has not suddenly improved. In fact, the additional expenses of the wedding have gobbled up most of their resources, and there is nothing left to pay back. So guess what happens? They go to another loan fund to obtain money to pay off the first debt … and so on and so forth until this unfortunate family falls even more deeply into a financial black hole.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this story. If the family had been content to make a more modest wedding, with fewer trimmings, they would not only have saved several thousand dollars, but they would have also saved themselves a lot of heartache.

Marriage is not meant to be a financial free for all, and using a topflight caterer will not guarantee anyone’s future happiness.

Before you decide to drown yourself in debts from banks, gemachim, and elsewhere, take a few steps back. Think about how much you really can afford to pay before taking on the bills, and where you are going to find the money. And once you know how much money you really have at your fingertips, decide which kind of wedding you are prepared to make.

For more information on how to plan a wedding wisely, read this article at the Profile Perspectives site.

My Interview with Marvin Hamlisch

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

As the lights dimmed on Broadway for 60 seconds last night in memory of Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died on Monday, I took a moment to reflect on the moment in 1976 when I interviewed Hamlisch – only 31 years old, but already famous – for The Jewish Press. At the time I was an 18-year-old Brooklyn College student unused to celebrity; Hamlisch, just 13 years my senior, had by then tucked away Oscars for his scores for The Sting and The Way We Were, not to mention a Golden Globe and a Tony for composing the songs in the Broadway musical A Chorus Line.

Our interview, though, was less about music than about the Jewishness which was, he said, the cornerstone of his life. To my surprise, he spoke a good deal about his Jewish identity. And other things, too: his religious faith; his feelings about marriage (he was still single at the time); his juggling of a very busy schedule to be home for Passover; and his deep feelings about Jewish music.

“I can empathize with the sadness in Jewish music…the listlessness that is familiar to every European Jew,” he told me. “I’m a little more sentimental than Americans because I’ve grown up on the melancholy of European music.”

While not a shomer Shabbos, Hamlisch had an unflagging belief in G-d. “When I win my awards, my first response is thank G-d…I know that He is responsible for leading me down the path of success.” He added, “There is a higher being who controls the world and I try to express my beliefs by going to shul on Shabbos whenever possible.”

His open religious sensibility was matched by a proud Jewishness. “I have never hid it from anyone,” he said. “In fact, I’ve candidly announced it on nation-wide television. People…never discouraged me from proclaiming my Jewish identity to them.”

Committed to Zionism as well, Hamlisch once raised $120,000 for Israeli bonds in a single evening.

When he described his inspiration to compose, I sensed a connection – if perhaps an indirect one – to the dynamics of ancient Jewish tradition.

“A composer is a mirror of the society,” Hamlisch said, “because he tries to get a feeling of the times and relate [to] it musically….I prefer…to write when I’m with the masses and a part of them,” he said – for instance, on New York buses or subways during rush hours. “This is the only way to compose, for it enables me to relate to what’s in everyone else’s mind.” In response, I suggested that music emanating from a connection “with the masses” dated back to Moshe: after all, the words “az yashir Moshe u’bnai yisroel” imply that Moshe could sing only when he was one with his people. Hamlisch didn’t disagree.

At one point, I asked him what he wanted from a wife. He laughed. “If I were ever to get married under the wildest conditions, with a Towering Inferno,” he said, referring to a film popular at the time, “I would marry a girl in my mother’s image.” His mother, Lilly, had in fact come by during the interview, to – what else? – cook some food for her son. She heard his answer and chuckled.

Later, Hamlisch sat down at the piano and played some original variations on “Hava Nagilah,” which he described as “a little rock, a little Jewish.” It was a playful performance I don’t think he ever repeated publicly; that he tossed off these impromptu variations just for me, a teenaged interviewer, a fellow Jew, is something I’ll never forget.

Hamlisch was a virtuoso performer and a prize-winning composer. But at his death he left behind another gift: a proud Jew, he was a source of pride to all Jews, just as he was the pride of the music, theater and movie worlds for nearly five decades. I’m very glad I met him.

Some See IOC’s Israeli Member Alex Gilady as Villain in Minute of Silence Defeat

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Was the only Israeli on the International Olympic Committee instrumental in stopping a tribute to the Munich 11 at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Games?

In the past few weeks, a war of words has erupted between the official, Alex Gilady, and the families of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games. They allege that his opposition hurt their cause.

Gilady actually covered the Munich Games for Israel TV and today is senior vice president of NBC Sports, where he focuses on international business. In 2006 he was inducted into Israel’s International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and was given a lifetime achievement award from the Hall.

The families failed in their bid for a minute of silence during the London Olympics opening ceremonies to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the terror attack. Their campaign could not persuade the IOC despite garnering more than 111,000 signatures on a petition from more than 105 countries, as well as support from President Obama and numerous other national leaders and legislators around the world.

Even after meeting with two of the Munich 11 widows, IOC President Jacques Rogge refused to budge on his opposition to the moment of silence.

Some Jewish activists point the finger directly at Gilady for the outcome.

“I believe he was part of the decision” not to go ahead, said Steve Gold, chair of the Munich 11 Minute of Silence Petition and vice president of the JCC Rockland in suburban New York. “By having an Israeli who’s on the IOC not supporting the minute of silence, it gave the IOC a bit more credibility.”

For his part Gilady, who refused to specifically discuss the issue with JTA, told Insidethegames.biz in May that when it came to the moment of silence, “The unity of the Olympic movement is the most important one” and “Therefore, I am not supporting such a move.” He added that “Such an act may harm the unity of the Olympics.”

Days before the London Olympics opened, Gilady told the Chicago Tribune that he was acting “in [the] best interest of Israeli sport. For me, the most important thing at the moment is that Israel have (sic) stages to compete on.” He recalled for the Tribune how Israel was thrown out of the Asian Olympic Association in 1981 and did not regain a continental sports affiliation until Rogge, among others, helped Israel become a member of the European Olympic Committees in 1994.

There would not be an “appropriate commemoration in the Olympic stadium,” Gilady told the Tribune, until “there is peace.”

Others, to put it lightly, disagree.

In a recent Foxnews.com piece that went viral, Guri Weinberg, son of the murdered wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg, published his own account of a meeting with Gilady in Atlanta in 1996, two years after Gilady was appointed to the IOC and as that city was hosting the Olympics.

Weinberg, an actor who is in the cast of the next installment of the hit movie series “Twilight,” alleged that Gilady told him that any memorial for the Israelis would necessitate a similar one for the Palestinian terrorists who died in the attack.

As one of the Munich 11 widows recalled her husband’s torture and murder, Gilady listened “stone cold with no emotion,” then excused himself from the meeting “without a hint of empathy,” Weinberg wrote.

Asked about the article in a telephone interview with JTA, Gilady angrily quoted Rudyard Kipling’s 1895 classic poem “If.”

“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken,

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools …,” he said.

In denying Weinberg’s story, Gilady said, “The Fox News story was misquoted already 16 years ago.”

Weinberg did not reply to an interview request for this article, but Ilana Romano, widow of murdered weightlifter Yossef Romano, was at the Atlanta meeting. She told JTA that Weinberg’s account was accurate, although it was her and another widow, Ankie Spitzer, who walked out and not Gilady.

“We got up and went because he was so insulting and hurtful,” she said.

As for Gilady’s opposition to the minute of silence, she said, “I think it’s terrible idiocy. It’s a lack of consideration, a lack of respect for those who were murdered. It’s giving in to terror.”

Why I’ve Always Written So Much With Such Intensity And Why I Won’t Stop Now

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/why-ive-always-written-so-much-with.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+Rubinreports+(RubinReports)

Nothing is stranger than having a normal life and then within a few hours knowing that it might end at almost any moment. That’s what happened to me when I was just diagnosed with what is called inoperable lung cancer. I am still waiting final results of the tests and the choice of therapies.

I have no desire to make this my focus but it’s been suggested that I write something about it that might be of broader interest.

First, for those of us whose understanding of cancer is based on past information, it is very important to understand that a lot has changed. That diagnosis twenty or thirty years ago would have given a person only a few months to live. Today, with many of the new therapies invented, one has a fighting chance. Still, it is tough to have your life expectancy lowered from around twenty years to a minimum of two within moments.

People always asked me why I wrote so much and so intensively. I never told them one of the real reasons: I always expected my life would be limited. My grandfathers died, respectively, at 42 and 44, both of things that could have been cured today. My father died of a heart attack at 62, and his life probably could have been extended many years today by all the new tests and drugs available. But I felt that once I passed that birthday, less than a year ago, I might be living on borrowed time.

They say that when you are fighting cancer that becomes a full-time job in itself. Supported by my truly wonderful family, I’m working on it. Right away one starts paring things down: unsubscribing to lots of things; knowing that I will never again have time for hobbies. The decision to start reading a book is like a major life choice.

And I know I won’t be going canoeing down the Jordan River with an old friend in August. In fact, having passed out briefly about a half-dozen times—though we think we’ve solved that problem—I’ll probably never drive again nor, after cancelling two trips, travel internationally. In fact, the way things are going at the moment, I might never eat solid food again.

The best thing to do is to accept everything calmly—bargaining, hysteria, rage, won’t do any good–and then decide that one is going to fight with the object of beating the disease. Unlike much of political life, this is not caused by malevolent forces.

This is not, however, the only transformative event I’ve had this week. I don’t want this to come out wrong but I have been touched and encouraged by an outpouring of emails from friends, acquaintances, and readers about how much they appreciated my work. Up until now, I’ve really thought that my articles have gone into a void.

As you know, we live in an era where many ideas, much truth, and certainly the kind of things that I think are largely barred from the most prestigious (although daily less so) media and institutions.  We are either ignored or vilified. Now, though, the counter-audience has grown so long and people are so hungry for accuracy and cutting through the nonsense that our ranks have grown into the millions. When someone tells you that you’ve helped them, informed them, encouraged them, or even changed their lives it is an immeasurable feeling.

And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the cost has been worth receiving these messages, it is closer than one might ever believe.

There are some constructs I’ve come up with that I find comforting. Briefly:

Every living thing that has ever existed has died, at least in terms of being on this earth. If they could do it I can do it.

I feel like I have been captured by an enemy force (you all can insert specific names) and they want to execute me. I hope to escape or to be rescued by my friends.

Even if I didn’t have this disease, I could leave life on any day due to many causes without warning.

For 2000 years my ancestors dreamed of returning to their homeland and reestablishing their sovereignty. I have had the privilege of living that dream. How amazing is that?

Costas Recalls Munich 11 During Olympic Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Sportscaster Bob Costas remembered the 11 Israelis killed in the 1972 Munich Olympics on air as the Israeli delegation entered the Olympic stadium in London.

“These games mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 tragedy in Munich, when 11 Israeli coaches and athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists,” Costas said during NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremonies last Friday.

“There have been calls from a number of quarters for the IOC to acknowledge that with a moment of silence at some point in tonight’s ceremony. The IOC denied that request, noting it had honored the victims on other occasions.”

Costas noted that International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge held a moment of silence in the Olympic Village earlier in the week.

“Still,” Costas said, “for many, tonight, with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how and why they died.”

After 12 seconds of on-air silence, Costas cut to a commercial.

(JTA)

Olympic Committee Builds Barriers Between Nations

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/olympic-committee-builds-barriers.html

The true nature of the Olympics has come out within the first two days. The Lebanese refused to train next to the Israeli team. The Olympics Committee quickly capitulated – and put up screens lest the Lebanese be forced to continue seeing the Israeli team.

Of course, the IOC will now have to explain how this isn’t politics – but then again, they should have no problems twisting lies and deception into their own unique type of reality. After all, after steadfastly refusing to honor the eleven Israeli athletes murdered at their Olympic games, on their watch, because of their failed security – they did allow a moment of silence for the London terror victims of July 7, 2005. Please don’t misunderstand – I don’t have a problem with the city of London remembering their own; I just find it grossly hypocritical that in that moment of silence, no one could think to dedicate it to someone else’s victims of terror.

It could have been a moment for all victims of terror; it could have been. It should have been. But it wasn’t. And according to the son of one of the Israeli victims, the International Olympic Committee had the nerve to tell the Israeli families that if they were to give a moment to the Israeli dead, they would have to likewise give a moment to the Palestinians who died at the Olympics games – to be fair of course.

Of course, the only Palestinians who died at the Olympics games were the terrorists themselves. Can you imagine the utter stupidity of that suggestion? But what becomes crystal clear, day after day, humiliation after humiliation, is that the Olympics are NOT about the brotherhood of man and the unity of nations. It is very much about politics and division and so very much about building barriers between nations.

Most of all, it is a reminder to Jews that in silence there is complicity; support; even agreement with the hatred of others. There are numerous examples of times when the Olympics has stopped for a moment to remember terror victims and fallen athletes. I do not begrudge anyone their moment of respect and honor. I am disgusted that while the Olympics can remember the terror victims of other nations and the memory of Olympic athletes that have died – they couldn’t stop to remember Olympic athletes that died in a terror attack on their watch (or lack thereof).

I am disgusted that after ordering all flags to fly at half-mast in 1972, the Olympics Committee rushed to raise the flags of 10 Arab nations who protested mourning the massacre of Jews/Israelis. And today, I am beyond sickened by the thought that complicity has turned to action; that the Lebanese could demand a wall be built – and the Olympics Committee complied.

They did not tell those Arab nations that it is not in the spirit of the games, they complied. They did not tell the Lebanese – NO – that is not in the spirit of the Olympics games – they built the wall. And they had the unbelievable nerve to tell Israel that there could be no moment of silence for the Israelis because they could not allow politics to enter into the games.

What they have allowed into the games instead, is something that is old, something that remains vibrant, something that slithers in the underbelly of Europe. It has a name as ancient as my people and as modern as the most amazing and innovative technology coming out of Israel. The old name is anti-Semitism. The new name is anti-Zionist. They are the same disease and the International Olympic Committee’s infection is both critical and contagious.

The only difference between now and 70 years ago or 700 years ago is that we recognize this disease for what it is and we recognize the games for what they are as well.

Brotherhood of man? Not even close. I pity the British people for having spent a reported billion dollars to be remembered for having hosted the Games of Hatred. All the gold medals in the world do not cover the ugliness that is being allowed, even supported by the Olympics Committee.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/olympic-committee-builds-barriers-between-nations/2012/07/31/

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