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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘problem’

A Worried Wife And Mother

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

I was pleased to see the letter from a reader titled “Not of This Generation” in your July 12 column, as well as your reply to her over the following two weeks.

I’m also one of those people who are “Not of This Generation.” My friends and I thought your response to the letter writer was perfect, so I thought you might just be the one to help my husband and I resolve our conflict.

We have five children who are all married with lovely families of their own. I know that is a great blessing. My friends always tell me how lucky I am, and I thank Hashem every day. But still have problems.

My husband has his own business. He worked very hard on building it and making it what it is today. In our younger years there were days he never came home. He actually slept in the office. Four years ago my husband started to turn over the business to our children. Two of my sons are professionals so they weren’t interested; our three other children – two sons and one son-in-law – became very much involved and are in the business today.

As you might imagine, there has been some sibling rivalry but my husband managed to smooth it all out. I just hope that (after 120, as we say) there won’t be any split in our family. I’m always frightened of that and my husband to some extent shares my sentiment; however, he does not think there is anything to really worry about. I think he is deluding himself because he doesn’t want to face such a possibility.

In one of our family conferences we pointed out to the children that there is room for everyone if they chose to live in peace but if they opt for acrimony and contention, not only will the business collapse but the entire family will be in jeopardy as well. They all nodded their heads and assured us it won’t happen. But I could see from their expressions that our words hadn’t penetrated.

When I mentioned this to my husband, he said I was getting carried away. Rebbetzin, I have seen families where cousins, aunts and uncles are not even invited to one another’s weddings. Several of my friends have this very problem and tell me that jealousy destroyed their families and businesses.

I have another problem. My husband is 69 and thinking of retiring and moving to Florida. I ask him, “What will you do there?” He replies, “I’ll do what other people do. I’ll play some golf. Maybe I’ll take on a hobby. I always wanted to paint but never had time for it. I’ll to the gym. I’ll play cards. I’ll go boating. I just want to relax and live my life without pressure.”

To make me feel better he tells me, “You can have a wonderful relaxing life. You’ll find many friends. You can learn new hobbies. And then there are things we can do together. We can go out to dinner, to lunch – you won’t even have to cook. There are so many great restaurants in Florida. The weather is good. We can join other friends and have a good time.”

It all sounds wonderful and under normal circumstances I’d love to move to Florida. My sister lives in Boca Raton and I could take a place right near her. Additionally, I have many friends in the area and I know I could have a nice social life. But I’m just so concerned about our children. Perhaps “children” is the wrong word because they are adults, but they will always be my children. My husband tells me I’m being ridiculous, that we can’t watch them forever.

We are not all that observant. We are not fully shomer Shabbos but we are traditional, keep a kosher home and go to synagogue. We support Israel. And we are regular readers of The Jewish Press who very much respect your views and opinions.

My husband is convinced you will agree with him. If that’s the case, I’ll accept it. My husband acknowledges that many families have become divided because of money but he assures me this won’t happen with our children. They come from a good home. Their parents and grandparents (maternal and paternal) imbued them with love and family responsibility.

The children are encouraging my husband to retire. “Dad, Mom,” they say, “just go; we’ll be okay. We won’t do anything radical without discussing it with you. And we’ll come down to Florida a few times a year and you’ll come visit us here.” And then they turn to me. “It’s not like you’re moving to a different country Mom. It’s no big deal. It’s only a two-and-a-half hour flight.”

And yet I’m still very nervous, Rebbetzin. I do hope you can address my problem and that you’ll do so sooner rather than later because my husband is ready to go ahead with his plans.

I wish you a happy and a healthy new year. Your column and books have been blessings in my life.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The Next Bloodbath : Lebanon

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

During the past two years we have become accustomed to the seemingly endless bloodbath in Syria, which has become a boxing ring for the many forces that are tearing it apart, while tearing its citizens apart in the process as well. But now the flames of the Arab Spring are threatening its western neighbor, Lebanon, the most democratic Arab or Muslim state in the modern Middle East. The Lebanese political system, which is built on a delicate balance among many sects and political bodies, has been directly influenced in the past two years by the events in Syria, because several Lebanese bodies are deeply involved in the Syrian tragedy.

Many have written about Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and one may assume that this involvement – together with the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria – was the basis for the EU’s decision to declare the military arm of Hezbollah as a terror organization. Hezbollah is the target of harsh criticism these days, both by Sunni groups that identify with the rebels against Asad in Syria, and by the Shi’ites who fear that the Syrian Sunnis will bring its revenge to Lebanon. However, Nasrallah does not listen to his opposition and continues to carry out Teheran’s instructions to help Asad survive at any price, even at the price of the lives of hundreds of Hezbollah fighters.

The Sunnis do their part too, by trying to attack Hezbollah in it’s own domain, in Lebanon. To date we have seen missile strikes on Dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, which is the Hezbollah stronghold, as well as a car bomb that exploded there in mid-June. Supporters of Syria are also targets of Hezbollah’s opposition: In the beginning of the week of July 21, a Syrian journalist of Kurdish extraction named Mohammed Dhirar Jammu, a supporter of the Asad regime, was murdered in the Lebanese city of Sarafand.

But lately reports have begun to appear in the Arabic media that a new Sunni front, the Lebanese branch of the Syrian group Jabhat al-Nusra, is steadily strengthening and consolidating in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra, which also has branches in Iraq, is part of the global system of al-Qaeda-inspired organizations that translate into practical terms the teachings of bin Laden, which are based on the ideology of his mentor, Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

First of all, the full, official name of the organization is “Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahal al-Sham” – “The Defensive Front for the People of Greater Syria.” The term “Greater Syria” expresses the organization’s rejection of the division of the modern Middle East into modern states – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel – because they were founded by Christian-European colonialism in order to serve its own interests. The “al-Sham” region includes West Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Land of Israel, which the Arabs call “Filastin”. Therefore, Israel must keep a watchful eye on this organization because it is theoretically possible that the Muslims in Israel will want to open branches of the organization in Israel as well. And this actually almost happened, but then was blocked when Sheikh Nazem Abu Islim of Nazareth was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon

The Christian writer Luna Khuri describes the structure of the Lebanese branch of Jabhat al-Nusra in the Elaph Internet site. The head of the organization is Muhammad al-Rish from Tripoli, whose brother, Samer abd al-Rahim al-Rish, was one of the leaders of the Jund al-Sham organization (Greater Syrian Army) and was killed last month in the battle of the Crusader fortress Krak des Chevaliers, near Homs. Muhammad al-Rish’s immediate task is to defend the budding development of Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon from attacks by the Lebanese military, which are carried out against it by instructions from Hassan Nasrallah.

In mid-June of this year, the Lebanese army eliminated the Sunni Salafi sheikh, Ahmad al-Asir in Sidon, and captured a truck full of military equipment near the town of Arsal, in Lebanon’s  Bekaa Valley. This town is apparently the logistical center of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in Lebanon, because of its location on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Its local commander in the town was Khaled Hunayd, who was killed by agents of Lebanese military intelligence. The present commander took a lesson from this event, so he now operates incognito, heading a group that includes approximately 200 fighters under the spiritual leadership of Sheikh Mustapha al-Hujairi – called Abu Takia (the turbaned one), who issued a fatwa – a religious legal ruling – that allows killing soldiers of the Lebanese army.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Israel: We Can Secure European Under-21 Football Championship

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Avi Luzon, president of Israel’s football association, said Wednesday that Israel’s hosting of next year’s European under-21 football championship would not pose a security problem.

Israel was picked at random for the June tournament, and will play England, Norway,and Italy in its group.  The drawing was held by the UEFA in Tel Aviv less than two weeks after rockets lobbed by Hamas terrorists in Gaza caused residents of the city to keep close to bomb shelters.

Other league coaches also expressed their belief that Israel would be a good place for the tournament, expressing trust and confidence in Israel to keep players safe.

Malkah Fleisher

Nazi Camp Barbed Wire Sale Cancelled

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

First, if you think that treating a post-holocaust story with humor presents a problem, kindly click away. May I suggest our gifted cartoonist JooHoon? Thank you.

I’m the son of a holocaust survivors, and so dealing with the horror with a touch of humor is both my prerogative and my therapy. OK, I hope that covers all the liabilities. Now the news item:

The management of a Nazi concentration camp in the Netherlands (no longer in service, please try again at a later time) on Tuesday decided to drop the sale of bits of barbed wire from the camp, because of protests from Jewish groups.

(Had we known it would be so easy, we would have protested back in 1941. Who knew?)

Harry Ruijs, director of the Kamp Amersfoort Foundation, told AFP he decided not to sell 50 pieces of wire for 10 euros ($13) apiece, which he was planning to sell hoping the income would pay for an exhibition of artifacts discovered at the site, around 30 miles south-west of Amsterdam.

“It seems we have hurt some people and it was not our intention at all,” Ruijs said. “That’s why we decided to halt the sale.”

The exhibition which the sold wire was going to fund (at around $500), was intended to “draw attention to the importance of physical evidence whose preservation costs money.”

Artifacts to be displayed at the exhibition included helmets, water bottles and 150 “mysterious name tags in which the names and addresses have been engraved in mirror image.”

(Sounds like they were used to print those names and addresses, but I’m no holocaust expert. The mystery of mirror-image name tags will linger on.)

Jewish organizations expressed outrage on Tuesday, following the announcement of the barbed wire sale.

(There’s a first – Jews upset at a sale.)

“Barbed wire is the archetypal symbol of the concentration camp. It should not be put up for sale at all,” said Esther Voet, deputy director of the Dutch Center for Documentation and Information on Israel (CIDI).

“Imagine if some of these pieces of barbed wire are ultimately bought by a neo-Nazi. That would be horrible,” Voet said.

(Is there a sanctity of concentration camp barbed wire clause I haven’t heard of? If you ask me, let those neo-Nazis contribute their share to the commemoration effort.)

A spokeswoman for the Netherlands’s Central Jewish Council who asked not to be named said that idea was “completely tasteless and lacking in respect for the victims and their families.”

(As opposed to displays of concentration camp artifacts which are tasteful because they’re supported by government?)

Between 35 000 and 40 000 people were processed in Kamp Amersfoort, at least half of whom were deported to Nazi death camps. The current camp manager Ruijs said he consulted former prisoners at the camp and their relatives before the sale and their reactions had been positive.

“We’ll now give away the barbed wire pieces to those who ask for it and had relatives who passed through the camp,” said Ruijs.

But not even an inch goes to the neo-Nazis!

Yori Yanover

Yeshivish, the Language

Monday, November 26th, 2012

One of my personal pleasures these days is listening to an Iyun Kal (“lightly in depth”) Shiur on Shas Illuminated. This is a website designed for people who learn Daf Yomi and want t go into a bit more depth on the subject matter discussed in that day’s Gemarah. I have promoted this website a couple of times since my own son is one of the Magidei Shiur (lecturers). He did the first Perek (chapter) in Shabbos and is due to do the 12th Perek. Having it ‘spoon fed’ to me daily is quite a treat.

I love listening what various Rishonim, Achronim, and modern day Poskim have say on the those Sugyos (topics). I get quite a bit out of someone else’s hard work researching those sources.

But I wonder how many people are able to understand the language spoken by some of the Magidei Shiur. One might ask, “Don’t they give those Shiurim in English?” The answer is, sort of. The language they use is something called Yeshivish. That is a combination of English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Aramaic.

For most people who have attended a Yeshiva through high school and beyond – this is not a problem. This is the way most of us have learned Torah. We use this “Language of Learning”. It is in our blood. Using words like “Mutar and “Assur” are far more natural for us than using their English translations of “permitted” and “forbidden”. It is far more comfortable for us to use the language of the Talmud itself in certain words and expressions.

In fact this is one of the problems I have with ArtScroll English Shas. They translate too much. But I am not criticizing them for that. I actually applaud them for it. They should use as pristine a version of the English language as possible so that everyone can study the Talmud despite their backgrounds.

So what’s my problem? It is the following. If one becomes accustomed to using Yeshivish instead of English one may actually come to forget how to speak the language. Not everyone will be able to understand them. In some cases the Yeshivish becomes so ingrained and so extreme that they become completely incomprehensible to the untrained ear. They may not even realize that normal English speaking non Yeshivishe people have no clue what they are saying.

I will never forget a Sheva Brachos I attended one time. The Chasan’s older brother who was born and raised in America but had been learning in a Yeshiva for over a decade after he was married was asked to speak. He realized that not everyone in the room understood Yeshivish and said so.

He therefore said that he was going to say his D’var Torah in English. And he proceeded to speak incomprehensible Yeshivish anyway. Makes me wonder what his actual Yeshivish sounded like. The point is, however, that he actually thought he was speaking English!

This is a tremendous failing in the right wing Yeshiva world. Secular studies are denigrated so much that the ability to communicate with the non Yeshiva world is completely hampered. These students are either never taught or they completely ignore English grammar and never try to increase their vocabulary.

I don’t think I am alone in noting that this is a problem. I believe that many even right wing Roshei Yeshiva believe it is a problem. I recall reading that Rav Avreimal Ausband, the Rosh HaYeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva of Riverdale saying he felt this way. And yet I don’t believe that any Roshei Yeshiva are doing anything about it.

If the right wing wants to communicate their ideas to an educated Orthodox public, speaking or writing in Yeshivish will not do the trick. They should be able to put together complete sentences that do not contain Yeshivishe words.

Nor will they be able to even teach Torah to anyone who has not gone through the Yeshiva system. Which brings me back to The Magedei Shiur at Shas Illuminated. They are all Tamidei Chachmim, Talmudic scholars. But not all of them speak English – even though they think they are.

My son does. In his Shiurim on that website, he utilizes the vocabulary and English grammar he learned in high school and college. Although he also uses some Yeshivishe words, they are only the ones that are most commonly used. His Shiurim are therefore more broadly understood. But some of the other Magidei Shiur use a Yeshivishe jargon that only those with a serious Yeshivishe background will understand.

Harry Maryles

His and Hers Ballot Boxes

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu cast his vote yesterday, November 24, 2012, together with his wife, Sara, at the Likud primary elections. I suppose he voted in the box marked 1 and she in the box marked 2.

The primaries ended up being such a holy mess, the Likud is considering a suit against the computer company that organized them. Our own Malka Fleisher was there and reported on the three-ring circus scenes. But I watched Netanyahu speaking to the TV cameras early in the day, saying everything was going smoothly, problem-free. He was bright eyed and jolly, leader and commander in chief.

I suppose after coming out of the Gaza pillar of whatever explaining how everything went really well there, all our initial goals achieved, mission accomplished, describing a crazy out of control mess at the polls as problem-free should be no challenge at all for our prime minister.

Hey, and no one got killed at the Likud primaries! Well, so far, anyway.

To paraphrase the late Abbie Hoffman, Netanyahu gives cynicism a bad name…

Yori Yanover

Who Won the Latest Israel-Hamas War? (You’ll Be Surprised)

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Naturally the question of who won any given war preoccupies people’s minds. And I’m amused by those who think that Hamas won the recent conflict. Winning has to mean something real, not just bragging to reassure oneself.

Let’s begin by examining the causes and goals of each side. Hamas’s goal was to be able to attack Israel as much as it wanted without significant retaliation. This time, as in late 2008, the war began because Hamas escalated the level of its attacks on Israel to unacceptable levels (more on that phrase in a moment). The same might be said of Hizballah in 2006.

Israel’s goal was to force Hamas to the lowest possible level of attacks and to make such attacks as ineffective as possible. Incidentally, that was also Israel’s strategy in dealing with the PLO. Attempts to “solve” the problem once and for all, varying from the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the Oslo peace process of the 1990s didn’t work too well.

Nevertheless, Israel was able to achieve its more limited aim against Hamas in the later 2008-early 2009 campaign to gain four years of relative quiet. With Hizballah, this goal has now held for six years. That’s not bad given the reality of contemporary international politics and the Middle Eastern situation, both of which keep Israel from gaining a “total victory.”

Ideally, of course, there is no good reason that the world ensure the survival of a terrorist, totalitarian, illegal, and genocide-oriented regime in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, that is the reality. If the idea of Israel going in on the ground into the Gaza Strip provoked so much international horror, imagine the reaction to Israel overthrowing Hamas altogether.

And for Israel to overthrow Hamas it would either have to govern the Gaza Strip itself, restarting the whole post-1967 process and facing daily gun battles there or to turn over the territory to someone else. Since the Palestinian Authority isn’t interested in such an arrangement and is incapable of even making a serious effort to overthrow Hamas nobody else is going to do so or take power there.

So Hamas’s survival as ruler of the Gaza Strip was not some victory in a war that lasted a little over a week but is guaranteed in effect by the international and regional order. Can Hamas continue to violate the ceasefire? Of course, because Israel’s only way of enforcing it is military retaliation and now, as has been true for the last five years, Israel has to consider how to do each one without being blamed for a breakdown in the ceasefire. That won’t stop Israel from hitting back with the goal of minimizing Hamas’s attacks.

After these two significant factors–which both existed beforehand–it’s all downhill for Hamas. Given the destruction of its weaponry, Hamas is less able to attack than it had been and while every Hamas leader denies it, the vision of their colleagues getting killed does have a deterrent effect on their boldness.

The amount of regional support Hamas received during the recent war was remarkably low. The anti-Islamist Arab states wanted Hamas to lose. Iran cheered and sent missiles which is quite significant but only gets you so far. The Arab street didn’t do much; Syria’s regime is busy with the civil war; Iraq is for all practical purposes out of the conflict. Whatever lip service it gives, the Shia Islamist Hizballah didn’t lift a trigger finger to help Sunni Islamist Hamas.

It was these factors that led Fareed Zaharia, the influential American commentator—no friend of Israel—who has Obama’s ear to write a Washington Post piece entitled, “Israel dominates the new Middle East.”

As for Egypt, while the Muslim Brotherhood regime is 100 percent pro-Hamas, it isn’t going to be dictated to by its much smaller brother. The Egyptian government has bigger fish to fry. It is busy consolidating its dictatorship and reeling in almost $10 billion in foreign aid.

Hamas didn’t consult Cairo over the escalation that led to this war. Equally bad, Hamas has become entangled with small jihadist groups that attack both Egypt and Israel. Naturally, the Cairo government doesn’t care if Israel is the only target but reacts strongly to being hit itself. So before the escalation the Egyptian government was angry at Hamas.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/who-won-the-latest-israel-hamas-war/2012/11/25/

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