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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

How Peer Pressure Could Help Your Investments

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

While generally peer pressure is viewed as a negative trait, emulating successful people may help increase your own chances of success. Indeed, if you want to build your wealth, look at successful businesspeople and copy their secrets to success. Try following these golden rules in order to increase your net worth:

1. Have patience. Build your wealth carefully and patiently. As any successful businessman will tell you, wealth doesn’t grow overnight. Each decision was weighed carefully and thoughtfully, without making any rash or impulsive mistakes.

2. Create a financial plan. Successful businesspeople don’t just make random decisions. They have a specific business plan, and they employ others (money managers) to help them. You can do the same thing, albeit on a smaller scale.

3. Invest carefully. Successful companies reinvest their profits in their own development. Keep building your business rather than taking out dividends and resting on your laurels.

4. Consistently monitor. Don’t just open a portfolio and walk away. Keep an eye on your levels of risk and asset allocation, consulting with your financial advisor on a regular basis. Markets and personal circumstances never remain static. So monitor the changes and make sure that your investments keep apace with your changing world.

If you would like some more great ideas on how to build your wealth, consider emulating successful businessmen. I heard a number of great ideas when I interviewed Verne Harnish who wrote a book called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, which is endorsed by over 100 CEOs. Listen to that interview and please let me know what you think (doug@profile-financial.com).

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Dor Yeshorim’s take on a reader’s argument…
(See Chronicles July 20)

Dear Rachel,

We at Dor Yeshorim saw your response to the recent letter about our program and appreciate your thoughtful answer.

As you stated, we have upheld our rules for over 29 years, and as you discerned, the rules are based on experience and care. While some would accuse us of being self serving, we would only point out that serving the program to make sure it works as well for future generations as it works today would be described as “serving klal Yisroel.

Due to genetic screening and shidduchim being such sensitive issues, you can imagine how someone who doesn’t understand why we have a particular rule would tend to believe that there couldn’t be a good reason for it. Rather than go through all the reasons for the many rules the program must impose, we would like to ask that Torah observant Yidden at least give us the benefit of the doubt – even if they cannot “think favorably” – and assume that in light of our vast experience and knowledge of our program, we are doing the best we can, in their best interest and in the interest of klal Yisroel.

With regard to your reader’s specific concern, please know that it pains us not to be able to break the rules for him, but the program’s integrity and its confidentiality for all participants are at stake.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Rabbi Yosef Ekstein
Dor Yeshorim Inc.

Marijuana: A menace in our midst

Dear Rachel,

With sadness and distress, I wanted your opinion and advice about the terrible predicament – the rise in marijuana abuse within the frum community. I believe that this abuse has come about due to the mistaken notion that the use of marijuana is, firstly, not against halacha, and secondly, not harmful to one’s health. While to me it seems obvious that both of these notions are completely wrong, I feel that many find being a Torah Jew and drug addict not contradictory.

The use of marijuana is a violation of halacha. As Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l writes in Igros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah Vol. 3, Siman 35: “smoking marijuana is in violation of many of the basic laws of our Torah.” He explains that marijuana (1) causes physical harm to the person, (2) mentally affects the person by destroying the mind (one cannot properly perform any mitzvos, and doing them mindlessly is considered as if they were not done at all).

Rav Moshe also explains that a marijuana abuser has similar attributes to a Ben Sorer U’Moreh (the rebellious son), since they cannot control their addictions. He also sees marijuana abuse as a violation of the mitzvah of Kedoshim Ti’Hiyu (You shall be holy) and the mitzvah of Kibud Av v’Aim (respecting parents).

Marijuana is very harmful to one’s health as it damages the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decreases the ability of the immune cells in the lungs. Regular smoking has been shown to weaken the smoker’s various natural immune mechanisms, affecting the body’s ability to defend itself against infection.

As someone who knows many Torah Jews who justify the abuse of marijuana, I was curious what we as individuals can do about this horrific plight. I realize that your column is a forum for important issues facing our community, and it has been a source of inspiration and help to many in need.

What do you think is the most effective way to combat this pervasive problem facing the young Orthodox Jewish community?

Concerned…

Dear Concerned,

You certainly have right and reason to be concerned. As you so persuasively point out, the habit of smoking pot is detrimental to one’s physical and mental wellness. Are our young smokers aware that the cannabis plant contains over 400 chemical compounds and that use of its dried flowers, leaves and stems (marijuana) is known to affect not only their brains but their lungs as well — that marijuana smoke is more than twice as carcinogenic than cigarette smoke?

Saudi Will Shoot Down Israeli Planes to Iran

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The US has passed a message on to Israel that Saudi Arabia informed them they will shoot down any Israeli planes that flies over their territory on the way to attacking Iran’s nuclear weapon development facilities.

Some Israeli officials believe the idea for the message was instigated by the US in order to place additional pressure on Israel to not attack.

Rabbi Elyashiv, 102, Passed Away

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv passed away early Wednesday evening. His funeral will be conducted Wednesday at 10 PM Israel time, as is the custom in Jerusalem. (Update: Police estimate over 300,000 people participated in the funeral procession).

Since the early afternoon, Israel time, Rabbi Elyashiv’s condition was unstable and his blood pressure erratic. According to a report, his breathing was shallow, and he was anesthetized and ventilated.

Family members were called to stay at his bedside.

The doctors told the family that only prayers could help the situation.

Rabbi Elyashiv was the leader of the Lithuanian-Haredi community in Israel and the diaspora , and many Ashkenazi Jews regarded him as the posek ha-dor, the contemporary leading authority on Jewish law.

Israel’s Gas Cost Drops, Tax Still 55%

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

The price of gas was lowered overnight Sunday by 2.15%, making the maximum price of self-serve 95-octane gasoline 16 agorot per liter less – NIS 7.27.

According to a report in Haaretz, the price cut was reduced by the decline in European oil prices being offset by the strength of the US dollar and 15-agorot increase per liter in excise taxes on gas.

The excise tax on gasoline was temporarily reduced in April due to public pressure, but was not renewed despite a drop in world oil prices. 55% of the maximum retail price of gasoline is tax.

How Your Children Will Ruin You Financially

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

What are your biggest dreams for your child’s future? For most parents, it is to see him or her grow into a good person, get a top education, make a decent living, and settle down and get married to a wonderful spouse. All of these are worthwhile expectations, and many of us would say that this is why we work so hard.

Yet as a financial adviser, I have seen many families where, when it comes to marrying off their children, the dream turns into a nightmare. The wedding is a financial free-for-all, with the expensive flowers, a top band, luxury caterer, and the fanciest hall in the city. The young couple dance off into the sunset (possibly to the apartment that Mom and Dad are also paying for) while the parents are left with huge debts. Sometimes, desperate parents take on loans that they know they will never be able to pay off, and they end up borrowing from one loan fund to pay off another until they drown in their accumulated debts. Stories abound of the unfortunate father who dropped dead of a heart attack just after the wedding because he just couldn’t cope with the stress.

But let’s ask an honest question here: What is more important? The wedding itself or the years of marriage that follow? Even if you had the money to pay for a lavish wedding, wouldn’t you rather give it to your newlywed children so that they can start building their own home? Or put some of it aside for the next wedding or for your own retirement, as you don’t know how things will be in a few years’ time?

Part of the problem, of course, is what society expects. We wouldn’t feel any pressure to keep up with the Joneses if the Joneses weren’t so fussy about the name of the hall or the caterer, or whether the bride borrowed her dress or actually bought one.

It’s time to change our expectations when it comes to weddings. What’s more important? A happy bride and groom who had a simple wedding and whose parents are healthy (both physically and fiscally), or the young couple who had the “top” wedding, but whose families cracked under the strain? A marriage is supposed to last forever, not the expenses incurred from the wedding.

Kol Tzedek: A Proven Tool In Prosecuting Abuse Cases

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Prior to the creation of the Kol Tzedek program, only a handful of sexual abuse allegations from the Orthodox community were reported to my office each year. Our information was that victims of sexual assault in the community were afraid to come forward and report to secular authorities due to enormous community disapproval and pressure. In an effort to overcome these obstacles and encourage reporting of these heinous crimes, and to ensure the continued cooperation of the victim with the prosecution, my office launched Project Kol Tzedek.

Kol Tzedek was put in place to dispel the Orthodox community’s fears and misconceptions about the criminal justice system. It was also established to institute measures to make the criminal justice system more responsive to the needs of this community. Some of these measures include a culturally sensitive social worker to work with the victims and refer them for services to the appropriate agencies; intensive community outreach efforts to educate the community; a hotline for reporting; and, because many victims fear being seen entering a police precinct in their neighborhood, the opportunity to bring their case directly to the Sex Crimes Bureau of my office.

It was hoped that this would facilitate more people coming forward with their sexual assault allegations. It should also be noted that although Kol Tzedek was formally announced to the public in 2009, we had actually begun to focus our efforts to encourage reporting in this community in 2008, through community outreach and other services for victims.

Project Kol Tzedek has been extremely successful. Since its creation, my office has prosecuted 99 cases within the Orthodox community. These cases involve approximately 130 victims, as a number of cases involve multiple victims. We have also investigated at least 40 additional allegations that could not be prosecuted because, among other reasons, they were either beyond the statute of limitations or victims were not willing to go forward.

The program has created an environment for the community where victims are now more comfortable coming forward and maintaining their cooperation with the prosecution. The overwhelming number of these cases involves people who are known to each other – family members, teachers, tutors, neighbors, community members, etc. These cases come to my office in numerous ways, from the hotline that was established for Kol Tzedek as well as through direct referrals to the police and to members of my Kol Tzedek staff.

Coming forward, however, is only the first step. Once the victim makes that commitment, the second prong of Kol Tzedek begins. What makes prosecutions viable is developing the evidence and maintaining the cooperation of the victim. That is the essence of Kol Tzedek. My Sex Crimes Bureau, with its specially trained assistant district attorneys, works tirelessly to develop the prosecution of these cases. These efforts include developing all forensic evidence and attempting to secure any additional victims and other corroborative evidence to make each case as strong as possible.

A key component of the success of Kol Tzedek is, as mentioned above, the availability of a culturally sensitive social worker who works with each victim. This relationship is most significant, since criminal cases can be pending for well over a year.

Sexual assault allegations are difficult to report and even more difficult to sustain in any community. That is why such cases are historically underreported. The attention the Orthodox sexual abuse cases have generated in the press and on Internet blogs is not welcome by the victims. In fact, the majority of the victims whose cases have been publicized tell me they have felt violated and exposed. Many have also experienced relentless pressure from the community to drop the charges. Victims often fear that if they continue with the prosecution they risk being unable to arrange marriages for their children or to sustain membership in their synagogue.

Many victims who have had the courage to press charges have been ostracized by their community, shunned by their synagogue, had their children expelled from schools and been prevented from attending summer camps. In fact, it is not uncommon to see widespread support for the offenders, in the form of fundraisers and other events and public condemnation of the victims. This support often carries over into the courtroom, where supporters of the defendant turn out to further intimidate the victim who may be on the witness stand.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/kol-tzedek-a-proven-tool-in-prosecuting-abuse-cases/2012/06/20/

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