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

Posts Tagged ‘percentage’

The Emes Ve-Emunah People

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Frankly, I did not expect anywhere near the discussion that ensued here yesterday about my poll. Even though I asked for input as to why people responded as they did, I never expected a response like this.

The poll is now closed. There were are 352 people who responded. Based on my daily average of about 1000 unique visitors (not factoring in Shabbos and Yom Tov) that is about 1/3 of my readership. (Actually, it’s probably less because there are many people who visit this blog regularly but not daily – so they may have missed this poll.) But for purposes of analysis let us say that out of the one thousand people who visit my blog, about a 1/3 participated.

One of the biggest criticisms from some who responded was that my categories were inadequate for a variety of reasons. To an extent I concede the point. It is absolutely true that these categories are too broad. It was also pointed out that I did not list enough of them. Those I listed didn’t fit their definition of themselves.…or they straddle one or more of them. True again.

Some people said that these categories are no longer applicable and that entirely new categories should have been designed. Very possibly the case.

Others said they hate labels. I completely understand that. The argument has been made that labels can have a divisive effect. Without them we would all be in the same boat and get along much better. Not sure I entirely agree with that one. But let’s move on.

The biggest flaw in this poll is that I did not define each category well enough – or not at all. One poster referenced an Avi Chai segmentation as described by Professor Marvin Schick. It had an entirely different meaning for the term Modern Orthodox than I give it. Professor Schick defines it the way I define Left-Wing Modern Orthodox. Although he defined Centrist Orthodoxy in the same way I did- to me Centrism is really a part of Modern Orthodoxy too – the right wing of it.

There are also clearly identifiable groups – like Moderate Chasdim or Lubavitch – that did not have a category. In my defense, I meant to include the former into the category of Moderate Charedim and the latter into Charedi-Chasidic. But that may not fit them exactly either. In any case I didn’t specify any of that so it’s my fault.

Yet another difficulty here is the very unscientific nature of a poll like this. There are many things that can affect the results here so that in the end the numbers do not reflect the reality, thus skewing the numbers unfairly in favor of one demographic. Besides – even the most carefully designed polls have a margin of error. 352 people responding means that 648 people did not. Who knows what they really think?

So if one takes all of these criticisms in the aggregate, one has to wonder if there is any validity to this poll all!

That said, my gut feeling (and take that for whatever its worth) is that there probably is a degree of validity to these numbers. I believe that most people responded honestly and that it probably does reflect the proportions of each demographic I listed. Before I report those numbers, I am going to address some of the concerns expressed in the comments.

First – why the great big response (212 as of this writing)? I think the content of those comments themselves speak to that. They are in part an explanation for the success of this blog. People care passionately about their beliefs – or lack of them. Belief is one of the topics I explore here (although perhaps not often enough).

Given the opportunity to talk about them as this post did, enables people to actually put their beliefs down on paper (virtual paper at least) and organize their thoughts; to compare and contrast their own beliefs with those of others. It clarifies and refines those beliefs. This is the back and forth I noticed in some of the comment trails.

While labels can have a divisive effect, they also have a defining effect. By examining your beliefs against those of others it helps your understanding of who and what you are. I believe it enables one’s belief system to grow and mature. Even if one ends up finding that “none of the above” fits best.

As for the poll itself, I agree that thinking people are hard to peg. Thinking people tend to define who they are not by picking a pre-existing category, but by studying various ideas; accepting some and rejecting others; and then arriving at who they are. This usually means that they do not fit neatly into any one category. As more than one commenter said, they see themselves in X to a certain degree and in Y in another.Some people said that they grew up one way and still feel comfortable in that environment but that hashkafically find themselves in another category. In short, the most thoughtful people did not find an exact match. Some chose not to respond at all because of that. Others responded by picking the one closest to their beliefs but not really reflective of their views.

I am somewhat of an enigma myself in that respect. While I define myself ideologically as a Centrist (RWMO) I find that I am more comfortable socially in a moderate Charedi setting. In fact the community in which I live and the people I Daven with on Shabbos are mostly moderate Charedim. I should add (as one commenters said about himself) that in some areas I tend to be a bit more to the left and in others I tend to be bit more to the right of my Centrist colleagues.

Now to the numbers. 352 people responded. Here is the breakdown:

Charedi Chasidic – 21 (6%)
Charedi Yeshivish – 15 (4%)
Charedi moderate – 59 (16%)
MO Centrist – 132 (37%)
MO Left Wing – 36 (10%)
Orthoprax – 58 (16%)
Non Orthodox – 24 (6%)
Not Jewish – 7 (2%)

It seems like those who tend to fit into the Centrist camp comprise the largest percentage of my readership by more than double of any other segment. That should not be a surprise. We are all kindred spirits seeing the world in the same way and seeking the same goals – for the most part.

The next largest group is Moderate Charedim. Again no surprise, they too agree with many of my views. That is good to know. As I always say, these two groups are the wave of the future and have an almost identical lifestyle. I believe that they comprise the largest segment of Orthodox Jewry.

What surprised me is the number of Orthoprax that read this blog. The same percentage as Moderate Charedim at 16%. Not sure what to make of that. I hope it means that I am trusted to treat everyone fairly.

I am happy that Orthoprax Jews find value here. Their 16% translates to 160 Orthoprax Jews reading my blog on average every day. I am grateful that they respect the views expressed here enough to stick around and read the posts and – for at least some – the comments too.

10% of my readership is LWMO. Even though the issues that divide us are pretty “hotbutton” – our differences are far smaller than what we share as observant Jews. I think that in most cases they respect my views because I respect theirs.

I am also happy that non-Orthodox Jews read this blog. Especially since I am very critical of Heterodox movements. But they seem to forgive me and understand where I am coming from. At least I hope that’s the case. I honor them for that.

I also fully respect non-Jews that come here. At 2% that isn’t much. It means that about 20 non Jews read this blog on average daily. I welcome them and hope that I do my religion justice in their eyes and express our beliefs well.

Not too surprising at all is the number of Charedim and Chasidim who do not consider themselves moderate. A combined percentage of 10% of my readership is Charedi. That means about 100 Charedim on the average every day. Not too bad if you consider that so many of my posts are critical of their community or their leaders

I welcome them too… especially those among them who respond in the comments. The only thing I don’t welcome is the disparagement and ridicule of a few of them that occasionally accompanies a comment.

This pretty much sums up my analysis of the polling results- given space and time considerations. Of course there is a lot more to say, but I’ve already exceeded my usual post length. So I now turn it over to readers to make their own analysis – and if so inclined to post their views in the comment section.

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Cutest Time Bomb You Ever Saw

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

First, obviously, this has to be in the top 10 sweetest back-to-school or first-day-of-school images in the history of schools. These boys are lined up on a sidewalk in the ultra-Orthodox, super-Orthodox, mega-Orthodox neighborhood of Meah Sheaim, in Jerusalem, where even God has to show papers before they let Him in.

This year, as the Jewish Press has written recently, better than 50 percent of pre-school age children are religious.

Deputy Minister of Education Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) was quoted as saying that only 15 years ago the percentage of Haredim in Israeli educational institutions was only 12.6%. “Today we comprise 32%; and the National Religious are another 20%, and that included Chabad.”

First reaction: Yeah, more frummies!

Second reaction (half a shake later): Is the state of Israel going to come up with ways to make these children, in, say, 12 years, pull their share as soldiers and, later, as tax payers? Or are they going to be such a burden on the rest of the citizenry?

Third reaction: Yeah, more frummies, and God will provide. In 12 years who knows what will happen.

Fourth reaction: Seriously? That’s how you’re planning for the future? “God will provide”?

Fifth reaction: OK, G-d will provide. Feeling better?

Sixth reaction: You are a disgrace.

Final reaction: Oooh, look at the cute babies… Who’s a cute baby? Who’s a cute baby?

Been going on like this 150 years.

Three Reasons To Buy Dividend-Paying Stocks

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Have you thought about investing in dividend-paying stocks? As the name suggests, these are stocks that pay out a certain percentage of the company’s earnings as a dividend periodically (usually quarterly) to the investor. Recently, dividend-paying stocks have received a good press in publications such as The Wall Street Journal. Have you considered why dividend-paying stocks might be good for you?

Here are three possible reasons for thinking about dividend paying stocks:

1. You can reinvest the dividend payments in the same stock. Chances are you originally bought the stock because you believed in the fundamental strength and stability of the company. As long as you continue to believe in the strength of the particular firm, if you reinvest your dividend income in the company and continue to buy more shares of the same stock, you will increase your position in a company that you believe is strong. If you choose carefully, your investments might turn out like those of Grace Groner, a secretary at Abbott Labs. Her $180 investment in 1935 eventually grew to $7 million (which eventually went to fund a foundation to benefit students of Lake Forest College.)

2. Dividend-paying stocks have the potential to maintain a certain amount of stability when the market gets rough. Stocks that pay dividends are generally considered safer in a down market because they still keep a certain level of value and generate income in the form of a regularly paying dividend. Even if the stock value drops, unless the board of directors vote to eliminate the dividend, you can still anticipate receiving a periodic check.

3. The need to pay out dividends to shareholders can keep a company’s management in check. If the board of directors knows shareholders expect a dividend on a regular basis, they may be more likely to avoid embarking on risky projects that could end up fundamentally destabilizing the company. Since stockholders will only continue holding onto their shares if they believe in the fundamental stability of the company, both the board of directors and shareholders have a common interest in furthering the company’s profits.

If reading the above has convinced you that to buy dividend-paying stocks for your portfolio, wait a minute before you call me (or your broker). First, read my next post, to learn about potential problems with dividend-paying stocks. As always, don’t invest in anything until you get proper advice from a licensed financial advisor.

Study Shows Haredi and Secular Women Face Equal Risk of Eating Disorders

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Ultra-Orthodox and secular women are more similar than they may think — at least when it comes to disordered eating.

Disordered eating is the catch-all term for binge eating, out-of-control eating and other related problematic behaviors. (Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia are considered psychiatric disorders.) A landmark study completed in Israel discovered that across the religious spectrum disordered eating affects about 15 percent of Jewish women. The percentage is considered the norm for the general rate of disordered eating among adult women in the U.S.

Authored by Marjorie Feinson and Adi Meir, the study was published in The International Journal of Eating Disorders. The results surprised at least one of the researchers:

“I thought for sure there would be more eating problems in the [religious] Jewish community than in the general population,” said Feinson who is a  Senior Researcher at the Falk Institute for Behavioral Health Studies in Israel. “I was wrong about that. I also thought there would be substantially more problems in the Ultra-Orthodox community compared to the secular Jewish community, because of the number of ritual meals. In addition to Shabbat, there [are] holidays in which food is the central theme.”

The study followed 800 Jewish women between the ages of 21-80 recruited from health clinics across Israel. The women filled out a questionnaire and then participated in a lengthy phone interview.

The study reported that a high-number of Haredi women  responded to the survey, which is important because data on the Ultra-Orthodox is rare. Additionally, research and statistics about disordered eating among women above high school age is scarce — media attention is usually focused on eating disorders in adolescence.

“The eating problems you might have had transform [with age] and are no longer anorexia or bulimia,” she said. “It’s a combination of different types of eating symptoms. Anorexia and bulimia are what the media are interested in. We know nothing about serious eating problems over the age of 25.”

Haredi women suffering from eating issues also face a particular set of challenges.

“Women have more traditional roles in the Ultra-Orthodox communities,” Feinson said. “They’re primarily responsible for feeding the family and, in addition, there are exceptionally large families to feed on a regular basis. The average number of children in the Ultra-Orthodox community is 6-8, compared to 2-3 in the secular community.”

Feinson said that a preliminary analysis reveals a high percentage of women with disordered eating have a history of abuse in childhood.

Females have a higher risk of suffering from disordered eating behavior.

“The biggest risk factor for developing an eating disorder is being born female,” Said Adrienne Ressler, the National Training Director for The Renfrew Center, a 25-year-old institution that treats eating disorders. The institution opened a track for religious Jewish women in 2009. “Females are much more susceptible. Women are 90 percent more likely to develop an eating disorder than males within the Jewish community.”

The study also noted that belonging to the Ultra-Orthdox population doesn’t help prevent disorder eating either.

“Apparently, strict adherence to religious traditions and an insular existence do not protect Haredi women from serious eating problems,” the study concluded.

Former 5th Av. Synagogue President Returns $410 Million to Madoff Victims

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Former money manager J. Ezra Merkin has agreed to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars to duped investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

More than 30 charities invested with Merkin, many of them with a Jewish affiliation.

The NY Post reported at the time that members of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue, where Merkin served as president, “suffered a $2 billion bloodbath.” Madoff, a non-member, was introduced to them by President Merkin.

Those victims included Ira Rennert, Mort Zuckerman, and Elie Wiesel.

In a settlement announced Monday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Merkin agreed to pay $405 million to compensate investors over a three-year period, and $5 million to the State of New York to cover fees and costs. It is the first settlement resulting from a government action against Merkin.

A close business associate of Madoff’s, Merkin controlled four funds that invested more than $2 billion with Madoff on behalf of hundreds of investors, including many New Yorkers and charitable organizations.

While investors in Ariel Fund Ltd., Gabriel Capital LP, Ascot Fund Ltd and Ascot Partners LP, whose assets were largely handled by Madoff, lost in excess of $1.2 billion, Merkin received hundreds of millions of dollars in management fees.

“By holding Mr. Merkin accountable, this settlement will help bring justice for the people and institutions that lost millions of dollars,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

According to the statement, for nearly two decades Merkin presented himself as a skilled money manager and used his social and charitable connections to raise more than $4 billion from hundreds of individuals, charities and other investors. Merkin turned over to Madoff all of the money in the Ascot Funds, and a substantial portion of the Ariel and Gabriel Funds.

In misleading offering documents and quarterly reports, Merkin concealed Madoff’s role and misrepresented the role he was playing in managing the funds, the statement said. Acting primarily as a marketer and middleman, Merkin obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in management and incentive fees from his investors.

Investors could recover more than 40 percent of their cash losses. Investors who were not aware of Madoff’s role will receive a higher percentage of their losses, while those who were aware of Madoff’s role will be eligible to receive a smaller percentage.

Among the victims, according to The Associated Press, were the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, New York Law School, Bard College, Harlem Children’s Zone and Homes for the Homeless.

Merkin also is being pursued by Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with returning money to Madoff’s victims. Picard is trying to retrieve $500 million from Merkin and the funds.

Picard has entered agreements to recover $9 billion, more than half the cash claims related to the $64 billion Ponzi scheme.

JTA contributed to this article.

Rubin Reports: Hey, Kids! All Government Employees are Apparently Teachers, Police, or Firefighters

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/hey-kids-all-government-employees-are.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+Rubinreports+(RubinReports)
[Warning: sarcasm and irony are employed as devices in the following article.]
It is really wonderful how every day I learn something new. Now I’ve learned that all government employees can be divided into three professions: teachers, police, and firefighters. As to who busts people for drinking from excessively large cups in New York City or has the wrong sandwich in their school lunches of North Carolina; who protects the snail darters and makes sure that America doesn’t solve its problems of energy pricing and supply by new methods and pumping oil in the Gulf of Mexico; who enforces the 8000 or so pages of federal regulations; and who goes over all those forms people fill out and passes around all that paper and inhabits the EPA, departments of education, housing and human services, etc., etc., etc? Your guess is as good as mine.
There are thus two essential points to remember:
1. Government bureaucrats–be they on the federal, state, or local level–don’t exist.
2. If  they do exist they can never be laid off. Every single one of them is essential. Only teachers, firefighters, and police can be laid off if there isn’t enough government income. Get rid of the teachers and keep the bureaucrats who enforce increasingly more complex, restrictive, and intrusive regulations!
Oh, and remember that it’s better to run out of money and fire teachers than to ask them to contribute a percentage point or two of their salaries to their own pensions so that nobody need be fired (see: Wisconsin).
What nonsense and rubbish forms the basis for the way the currently dominant elite argues–and its tame mass media report–public issues nowadays!
And consider how the income of those Wisconsin state employees has dramatically risen now that they don’t have to pay union dues but can pocket the money themselves rather than donate it involuntarily to partisan political campaigns that are ultimately against their own interests.

Netanyahu Wins Big Over Feiglin in Likud Primary

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared victory over Jewish Leadership faction head and long-time activist Moshe Feiglin Tuesday night, after winning 75% of votes for leader of the Likud party.

“Today the real Likud won,” Netanyahu told supporters in Tel Aviv. “We proved that our strength is our unity.  We will continue to lead with responsibility for better education, economy, and security for all citizens of the State of Israel.”  He also said general elections will not take place for some time.

Just half of Likud’s 130,000 eligible voters came out to vote for Likud party leader and for new members of the Central Committee.  Despite what was considered a low showing – due to inclement weather and some voting station complications – it was a 10 percent higher turnout than during the last primary in 2007.

Though Feiglin’s loss was by a large majority, he did gain a couple of percentage points on Netanyahu since the last primary vote.  In 2007 he earned 23.4% while on Tuesday he earned 25%.

“I think we can be proud of our percentage in these primaries,” International Director of the Jewish Leadership faction Shmuel Sackett told The Jewish Press.  “we need to remember that Moshe’s opponent was a sitting prime minister whereas three years ago, that same opponent was just a regular member of Knesset. To increase one’s percentage against such odds is actually an incredible feat.”

He raised concern, however, that his supporters were purposefully thwarted in the voting.  Some polling stations in Judea and Samaria – Feiglin’s stronghold – were reported to have opened two hours late due to the eligible voters list going missing.  Approximately an hour before polling stations were scheduled to close, the Likud announced that voting would be extended for another hour until 11pm, to give members a final opportunity to vote.  A spokesman also reported that Feiglin representatives were illegally restricted from being present during vote counting.

A Likud spokesman said voting location problems occurred outside Judea and Samaria as well, in places where Netanyahu was believed to have a greater advantage.

Some voters protested Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies in Judea and Samaria by boycotting the vote.

Feiglin expressed satisfaction with the results, saying: “More than one quarter of registered Likud members voted for me and for a Jewish state.” “All politicians and Israeli media people were surprised by the results,” Sackett said.  “We plan on growing stronger from here.”

Cyber Attacks UPDATE: Pro-Israeli Hacker Claims Strike on Iranian Sites

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A pro-Israeli hacker going by the name “Hannibal” claimed to release files that contained confidential information on Iran.

Hannibal said the files he has leaked were only a small percentage of the data in his possession.

“Today I’m leaking confidential information of the Iranian Army, Iranian government and citizens,” Hannibal wrote in a posting on Pastebin, a file-sharing website. “It’s nothing compared to what I have. This percentage is very small.”

He also claimed that he was “working on hacking into the computers of Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

This represents another foray by Hannibal into the ongoing cyber war, and follows shortly after his release last week of the Facebook passwords and credit card information of thousands of Saudi nationals.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cyber-attacks-update-pro-israeli-hacker-claims-strike-on-iranian-sites/2012/01/26/

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