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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘past’

Many Happy Returns

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I never thought I would see the day when “Yossie” would smile. He was not an unhappy man, but rather very serious in demeanor. He never said hello, or any words, to his customers other than those absolutely necessary.

Whenever I went to his store, I felt uncomfortable. It was as if I was invisible. I would greet him when I entered and thank him when I left, but there was never any response. In time, I realized there would never be one. Despite this personality flaw, Yossie’s business was flourishing. His prices were fair, and he was an honest man.

I had not been in his store for a couple of years. My husband was not as bothered as I was by Yossie’s rudeness, and so he was the one who generally went there. Recently, though, I reluctantly found myself there. I’m glad it worked out that way for a number of reasons. I got to see Yossie in a different light, and I also got the chance to give my sister a special surprise.

I was waiting my turn to be served when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A woman’s lightweight jacket was hanging on a hook.

Without thinking, I called out to Yossie, “To whom does that green jacket belong?”

He turned to me and quietly responded that it had been left in his establishment about two years ago.

“It’s mine. I can’t believe it. I gave up on ever finding it!”

Yossie looked away, but not before I caught the pleased smile on his face. Who would have ever thought that he would hold onto an abandoned object for such a long time, hoping someone would one day claim it? Who would have thought this could make him smile?

The story does not end here, not without telling you of the story surrounding my missing jacket.

Over the past several years, my sister and I have found ourselves traveling back and forth from Israel to America in order to spend time with our elderly parents.

Whenever possible we chose to fly together, thereby giving each other physical, as well as emotional, support. Most of our trips revolved around our parents, but we also tried to squeeze in quick shopping trips, bringing back gifts for our children and their families.

Two years ago, during the fall season, we found ourselves packing our suitcases yet again. To my dismay, I discovered that I could not find my lightweight green jacket.

I searched everywhere, but concluded that I had simply left it somewhere and would have to buy a new one in America.

I take a limited amount of money with me whenever I travel, and I really am very careful with how I spend it. This way, I can buy something for everyone on my list.

Before I knew it, I had spent almost all of the cash I brought and did not have enough left over to purchase a jacket.

While shopping one day, my sister came over to me with a lovely jacket in her hands.

“Do me a favor,” she said, “and try it on for me. I am too tired to try it on myself, and we are the same size.” I knew she had been planning to buy this particular item herself, and so I tried it on for her.

In the end, she bought it for me. She refused to take it for herself, as she still had another jacket at home while I did not. She said she could always buy the jacket for herself on our next trip.

The next time we traveled to America, as well as on subsequent travels, we searched in vain for another jacket like the one she bought me. We either found one in the wrong size or wrong color, or not quite the same style. I always felt bad to be wearing her “dream” jacket, while she was still searching for hers.

Now, I finally had my chance to rectify the situation.

While still in Yossie’s store, I called her. “Rivky, what is that item you are always searching for in America? Well, guess what? I have it for you!”

The Conservatives’ Obama Delusion

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

For most of the past two years, if not the past four, many conservatives and Republicans assumed that Barack Obama could not be reelected. A poor economy, an unpopular liberal agenda shoved down the throat of the country, and a largely uninspiring presidential leadership style combined to create a widespread belief on the right that the 2012 election would be a lay-up for them.

We now know what some of us suspected for a long time: Republicans drastically underestimated the president’s appeal as a historic figure.

The postmortem on the Republican failure to defeat the president will go on until 2016, but the finger pointing within the party will largely miss the point. The big problem was not Romney’s moderation (likely to be the right wing’s favorite theory); the influence of the Tea Party (the standard liberal interpretation); the failure to do outreach to Hispanics (though Republicans need to address this problem); Romney’s inability to run against ObamaCare; the GOP standard-bearer’s decision not to talk more about himself and letting the Democrats define him; the decision not to hammer Obama more over the Benghazi fiasco or even Hurricane Sandy.

The main obstacle to a Republican victory was that the party was seeking to defeat the first African-American president – one aided by a supportive mainstream media and buttressed by the power of incumbency and what turned out to be a tremendously efficient campaign organization.

Contrary to the delusion that Obama was a loser waiting to be knocked off, beating him was always going to be a long shot. Most conservatives were prepared to acknowledge that the majority of Americans were still pleased with the idea of righting some historic wrongs by electing an African-American in 2008. But they failed to understand that even though Obama’s administration was not widely viewed as a great success, at least half the country was not prepared to toss him out of office after only one term.

As an incumbent, Obama was able to claim credit concerning things for which he did not deserve many plaudits, like the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the response to the hurricane in the last days before the election. He also could count on the unfailing support of much of the media even when he was embarrassed by events, such as the Benghazi attack.

These were strengths that many Republicans continually discounted or disregarded entirely.

The close nature of the loss at a time when the national economy is still stagnant will naturally cause many on the right to speculate on what Romney and his campaign could have done differently. They will be right when they point out he should have fought back immediately against the slurs on his character that were the focus of much of the Obama campaign’s early efforts.

Maybe a perfect GOP effort could have gotten that extra one percent of the vote that would have turned a few close states and elected Romney. That’s something that will torment conservatives as ObamaCare is implemented and Obama continues to govern from the left.

But even his sternest critics must admit that Romney ran a creditable campaign and was able to use the debates to make the race closer and even take a lead in some polls in the last month. They must also acknowledge that the conservative assumption that the electorate in 2012 would be very different than it was in 2008 was wrong.

The good news for the GOP is that contrary to those who will claim a permanent Democratic majority, the circumstances of 2012 won’t be repeated in four years. Obama will be gone in 2016 and anyone who thinks that Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo or even Hillary Clinton will have an easy time against the deep Republican bench that is ready to run next time misunderstands the nature of American politics.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama won the 2012 election far more than the Republicans lost it. Obama may be a remarkably unsuccessful president (he’s the first to win re-election by a smaller margin) but he was never the patsy most conservatives imagined.

Conservatives spent the two years since their 2010 midterm victory operating under a serious delusion about the president’s political strengths. That’s a terrible indictment of their political acumen, but it won’t affect their chances in four years when Obama is no longer on the ballot.

National Union Reaction to New “Israel Strength” Party

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi)’s reaction to Eldad and Ben-Ari’s announcement: “The Israeli political left-wing is elated at the news that our partners are splitting away and setting up a new party, because it means that tens of thousands of right-wing votes will be wasted, and that we have returned to the type of politics that brought about the Oslo Accords. We have always promoted unity in the National and National-Orthodox camps and we are sorry that our partners, who oppose running together with the Bayit Yehudi in the upcoming elections, have not learned the lessons of the past, which brought us the ‘victims of peace’. ”

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the US at a 20-Year Low

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States declined by 13% in 2011, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The annual ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported a total of 1,080 incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment, compared to 1,239 incidents reported in 2010.

It is the lowest number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded by ADL in the past two decades.

“It is encouraging that over the past five or six years we have seen a consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and that the numbers are now at a historic low,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “To the extent that these incidents serve as a barometer, the decline shows that we have made progress as a society in confronting anti-Semitism and pushing it to the far fringes, making expressions of anti-Jewish hatred unacceptable. These declining numbers, while promising, must nevertheless be viewed in the context of other factors, including online expressions of anti-Semitism that are impossible to quantify and often go unchecked.”

Among the more disturbing trends noted in the 2011 ADL Audit is the prevalence of reports across the country of incidents of school bullying, where Jewish students reported being harassed and intimidated by their peers using offensive anti-Semitic stereotypes or comments evoking the Nazis or the Holocaust.

“ADL continues to receive a distressing number of complaints about children, adolescents and teenagers engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, both on and off school grounds,” said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. “These have included physical assaults, treats of violence, and verbal and written taunts promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes or evoking disturbing Holocaust themes. We believe that these types of incidents show there is an ongoing need for comprehensive programming promoting diversity and tolerance and combating bullying of all kinds as well as a continued emphasis on Holocaust education in the schools, so that the next generation of students can fully understand the history of that period and the consequences of unchecked hatred, prejudice and bigotry.”

Read the full report.

10 Rockets Launched From Gaza at Israel

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

The “Red Alert” missile siren has been going off in cities and towns around Gaza for the past half hour. Residents have reported hearing explosions.

Ten rockets have been launched at Israel so far, including at Ashkelon and Gan Yavneh. No one has been injured from the strikes.

Islamic Jihad has been taking credit for the launches.

Earlier this evening, Gazans launched an anti-tank missile at an Israeli jeep, prompting Israel to strike back.

IDF Jeep Hit, Soldiers Injured, IDF Hits Back at Gaza City (Updated)

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

The IDF reports is reporting that Gazans hit an IDF jeep that was patrolling along the Gaza border with an anti-tank missile on Saturday night.  The jeep went up in flames. Four IDF soldiers were injured in the attack.

In response, Israel launched either artillery or tank fire at the Zeitun neighborhood in Gaza City.

Palestinians medical sources are reporting 20 injured, and 3 dead, but it is not clear how reliable their reports are, as different Gazans organizations have been the reporting exaggerated numbers of dead and injured.

Abu Ahmad, the spokesman for Islamic Jihad threatens escalation within hours.

There has been a serious escalation in Gazan attacks against the IDF over the past few weeks.

Our Best To The President

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

We salute President Obama on his solid reelection victory. Though we were highly critical of his performance these past four years in a variety of areas, we hope he succeeds in his second term, as his success is America’s success.

The challenges of the next four years will be the same had Mr. Romney prevailed. We have an economy headed toward disaster with out of control spending, spiraling deficits, limited growth and high unemployment. Iran’s threat to peace and international security continues, as do the provocations of terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanon and other parts of the world.

We hope the president will focus on these fundamental bread and butter problems and eschew any grand, Pollyannaish visions of changing the world. Only a strong and resilient America with its own house in order can reach out to help others.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/our-best-to-the-president/2012/11/07/

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