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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

Investing In Your Relationship

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

I often share with my clients a simple yet powerful analogy: think about your relationship as you do about your bank account. That’s because investing in your relationship is similar to saving money; the more you put into your bank account or relationship, the more you can take out when necessary.

The way to develop your emotional wealth is to invest as much equity as possible, so when the going gets tough, you can dig into your savings and avoid going into the red.

Investing in your relationship takes time and effort and is a challenge for all couples. In my own life, for example, I believe my relationship is so important that my wife and I try to schedule time alone together at least once a week to focus on our relationship. Despite the pressures of our busy lives, we try to creatively make sure we are investing in our marriage. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant to eat or just take a walk down the block together. Other times, we go grocery shopping or head to the local convenience store in order to enjoy a few minutes alone just schmoozing about our day. When life goes into overdrive and time is limited, we take a “time out” for ourselves, and spend a few minutes in a quiet and secluded room in the home just talking to one another.

It really doesn’t matter what you do or what you talk about during your private times together. What matters most is to give your spouse the feeling that he or she is the most important person in the world.

Of course, the way to build emotional equity in a marriage is to make as many deposits as possible. In general, positive statements like complimenting one another, sharing appreciations and speaking kind words are “deposits.” Every time you tell your spouse that you appreciate them, or their actions, you are building more emotional wealth. You can even think of a compliment as a dollar. Imagine how rich you could become if you increase the amount of times per hour you compliment your spouse!

And it’s not just complimenting that works; actions speak louder than words. Helping each other with daily tasks such as shopping for food or just cleaning the house are ways in which couples can increase their emotional equity. The point is that it doesn’t take a large budget, or a lot of time, to build a relationship. Even the simplest gestures can make a difference.

The opposite is also true. Couples will deplete their emotional savings by criticizing and exercising external control. Trying to force one another via manipulation or by insulting each other decreases emotional wealth, and can even put some relationships into bankruptcy.

At the end of each month, I suggest that couples take a look and see how their emotional savings account is developing. They should check how many deposits they’ve made and how much was withdrawn. The goal is to become aware of the overall growth of the relationship and to see if it is getting stronger, or needs more nurturing.

The Miraculous Bamboo Tree

One way to illustrate the need to invest in the long-term sustainability of your marriage is to look at the miraculous growth pattern of the Chinese bamboo tree.

It seems that this tree when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season doesn’t outwardly grow as much as an inch. Then, after the second growing season, a season in which the farmer takes extra care to water, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree, the tree still hasn’t sprouted. So it goes as the sun rises and sets for four solid years. The farmer and his wife have nothing tangible to show for all of their labor.

Then, along comes year five.

In the fifth year that Chinese bamboo tree seed finally sprouts and the bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season! Or so it seems….

Did the little tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer, of course, is obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people.

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch

Why We Stay Away from the Interfaith Roundtable

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Sometimes, only a period of separation will save a troubled marriage. That is why the Simon Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish groups are pulling out of the Christian-Jewish Roundtable. Fifteen liberal Protestant leaders, including those of the Presbyterian, Lutheran and Methodist denominations, chose the Jewish High Holiday season to urge Congress to curtail U.S. aid to Israel.

We were expecting a different initiative from our dialogue partners, one focusing on the tens of millions of Christians under siege from Nigeria to Afghanistan. The oldest Christian communities on earth in the Assyrian Triangle of Iraq have been all but ethnically cleaned. More than ten million Coptic Christians in Egypt live in perpetual fear of a government controlled by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. Practicing Christians in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are incarcerated on charges of blasphemy; in North Korea, they languish in huge concentration camps. As for the plight of the Palestinians – more have been killed in Syria in the past few weeks than in almost four years of conflict with Israel, since the end of the Gaza War.

After decades of breaking bread together, we would have expected these church groups to ask us to join with them to shake the rafters with a prophetic scream on behalf of a religious minority under siege – Christians.

Instead, these groups stand mute while their own brothers and sisters are persecuted, and seek to invoke the wrath of Heaven and Congress on the Jewish state.

We’re not happy about the breakup of a relationship forged with optimism and sincerity. After WW 2, many Christians felt some responsibility for the theological anti-Semitism that set the stage for the racial anti-Semitism of Hitler’s Germany. For many, in the wake of images of Auschwitz, building bridges of understanding and respect to the Jewish world became a priority. At the same time, Jews saw the need to begin a new chapter in Jewish history, one in which Christian friends and neighbors were able to look to their own theology to find the dignity and validity of the Jewish experience. Decades of fruitful conversation and education followed.

There were always bumps in the road, particularly regarding the Jewish State. Unlike Evangelicals who were enthusiastic in their support, liberal denominations had a hard time fully accepting Israel and understanding its centrality to Jews. When Arab armies threatened Israel’s existence in 1948, ’67, and ’73, these denominations did not speak up, to the deep consternation of their Jewish partners. Both parties, however, remained in a less-than-perfect relationship, believing that a core mutual understanding could guide future dialogue. In the case of some signatories of the letter, there never was a relationship. The Mennonite “peace” church has never had anything but unvarnished contempt for Israel; the Quakers may be friends to many, but not to the Jewish people.

Now, with the latest threat to vaporize Israel still ringing in our ears from Ahmadinejad’s soon-to-be nuclearized Iran, with millions of Israelis living within the target range of Hamas and Hezbollah rockets—these erstwhile friends choose this moment to call upon the U.S. to cut into Israel’s defense capabilities.

Why the slap in the face? Thank God, their call to Congress will fall on deaf ears. Americans’ support for Israel remains bipartisan and strong. Did these church elite believe their initiative would lead to more scrutiny of foreign aid? Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt and the Palestinians would likely lose more from calls for greater transparency, not the Jewish state. Israel provides U.S. with vital intelligence, technological and military cooperation, and military aid to Israel creates American jobs.

If peace is these churches’ sole objective, shouldn’t they also criticize the PA’s corruption that led to losing the trust of their own people?

Why else release such a letter? Some suggest that the signatories are seeking to placate the entrenched, vocal anti-Israel extremists in their own churches. Those activists were incensed when the rank and file of several denominations adopted a policy not of divestment but of investment, a strategy that actually produces tangible benefits for the Palestinians.

Alas, we sense there is also a more basic reason at play. Some at this table really don’t like us. How else can we account for such a selective moral outrage, pounding the Jewish State for real and imagined sins, but yet to demand that the U.S. take action when their co-religionists face murder and ethnic cleansing? Only a deep-seated hatred could turn these leaders deaf to all the other urgent issues raging around them.

Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

Why Most Marriages Can Work

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Mordechai, 36, and Chani, 35, were married for six years and came to me for advice on how to save their relationship. They seemed to have everything going for them. They were working professionals, successful and upwardly mobile; they shared many common factors including similar religious beliefs, intelligence levels, and were both pleasantly extroverted.

Yet, soon after marriage, it was apparent that they didn’t get along very well. Little things like the cleanliness of the house, or who made dinner, became mountain-sized issues that were often blown out of proportion. The quality of their relationship was going downhill and their marriage was in crisis. Only six months had passed since their chuppah and they were beginning to feel that they were unequipped to deal with each other’s emotional needs. Instead, they tended to withdraw from one another and were avoiding taking the obvious step of working together to solve their issues.

On the outside, they seemed to have everything going for them, yet now they had little to show for it.

What was causing their marital stress? Did they share some deeply-rooted negative patterns? Was it a question of personality differences? Did they have trouble managing their anger?

Mordechai and Chani were also scared, because some of their lifetime friends were also experiencing similar difficulties in their marriages, and the prior year, two of them had gotten divorced. They wanted to know if they were heading in the same direction and if there was anything they could do to sustain their marriage.

Before I began to advise them on ways to improve their marriage, I asked them to draw an imaginary circle in the middle of the room, to represent their relationship. I then asked them to take their chairs and sit in the middle of the circle if they were committed to their relationship. If they weren’t able to sit in the circle together, then, I believed, their marriage would have little chance of succeeding.

I also made it clear to them that, statistically, the overwhelming majority of failed marriages (between two emotionally healthy individuals) end because couples are having trouble building and staying committed to their overall relationship. In fact, many of the negative statistics about marriage boil down to the prevalence of couples losing interest in developing the quality of their marriage.

A 1995 statewide survey in Utah, for example, examining why marriages end in divorce, found that the lack of commitment to the relationship was the top reason for the growing phenomenon.

Specifically, the Utah Marriage Survey asked Utahns who had been divorced to answer the following: “There are many reasons why marriages fail. I’m going to read a list of possible reasons. Looking back at your most recent divorce, tell me whether or not each factor was a major contributor to your divorce. You can say, ‘yes,’ or ‘no,’ to each factor.”

The following responses show the percentages of those respondents who answered, “yes,” to each factor that they felt was a major contributor to their divorce:

Men/Women/The Mean

Lack of commitment: 87%/79%/83%

Too much conflict and arguing: 48%/58%/53%

Infidelity or extramarital affairs: 47%/56%/52%

Getting married too young: 39%/43%/41%

Financial problems or economic hardship: 31%/35%/33%

Lack of support from family members: 21%/20%/21%

Little or no helpful premarital education: 19%/29%/24%

Other: 17%/28%/22%

Religious differences between partners: 13%/16%/15%

Domestic violence: 6%/37%/22%

The table clearly reveals what Utahns who have experienced divorce perceive: that the lack of commitment was the number one contributing factor to their divorces. Commitment often involves making one’s partner and relationship a priority, investing in the marriage, and having a long-term view of the relationship.

That’s why the most important issue in marriage needs to be the couple’s focus on the quality of their relationship.

Couples like Mordechai and Chani are a perfect example of a relationship that had migrated onto the back burner. And, as I predicted, after several weeks of counseling, it became apparent that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with this young couple. Neither was particularly high on “control.” Neither of them had a history of serious emotional illness. And both came from parents who were happily married.

Mordechai and Chani needed to learn more about how to negotiate their emotions, how to communicate in a more effective way, and how to begin to recommit to their relationship.

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch

All You Need Is Breslov

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

A planeload of frum guys made its way on Wednesday to Uman, in the Ukraine, for the Rosh Hashanah festivities, despite some unexpected delays (wildcat strike) at Ben Gurion airport. As most everyone visiting these pages knows, Uman is the burial place of Reb Nachman of Breslov.

Reb Nachman, the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of modern chassidut, taught us how to speak to God in regular conversation “as you would with a best friend.” And he taught us about hitbodedut – self-seclusion, through which we can establish a close, personal relationship with God and gain an understanding of ourselves.

I don’t expect there will be much room for seclusion in Uman this coming holiday, what with thousands of Breslovers roaming the streets and packing every standing edifice. But, maybe, if you’re really good at it, you can find yourself even in a huge crowd.

Yori Yanover

US Must Drop Obsession with Peace Accords or Drop Israel

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The “Special Relationship” between America and Israel that trips so easily off the tongues of politicians addressing Jewish groups, in between mentions of their affection for Jewish deli food and Fiddler on the Roof, may be coming to an end. The relationship has gone through an extremely rough patch over the last few years, but even before that it had foundered on one impossible problem. The problem of peace.

Arab kings and dictators have used the existence of Israel as an excuse for everything from terrorism to totalitarianism and attributed it all to the regional instability caused by the Jewish State. An American diplomat, politician or general who visits with Saudi, Qatari or Kuwaiti leaders is told repeatedly that most of the problems in the region revolve around the Jewish State and the Occupation. Even pro-Israel Senators and Congressmen can’t help walking away from meetings like these feeling that Israel is the key to solving all the problems in the Middle East.

The United States expects Israel to make peace, not just with the groups of terrorists squatting in the West Bank and Gaza, but throughout the region, to avoid alienating Washington’s Muslim allies. Those same allies turned Israel’s existence into a problem for the United States and the United States turned it into a problem for Israel. Israel has tried to solve the problem of Muslim enmity with negotiated peace accords and territorial concessions, without ever achieving anything more than glorified truces.

The Israeli problem has become more urgent for the United States after September 11 when winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world became a diplomatic and military obsession. But for Israel, the American problem is that the “Special Relationship” has shifted from a strategic alliance based on mutual interests to a single issue. The only thing that Washington wants to hear about from Jerusalem is progress in the peace process.

Israel has signed treaties, parceled out crucial strategic territories, evicted its own citizens from their homes and polished a battalion of chairs around negotiating tables. The undoing of the Camp David Accords and two decades of terror stemming from the Oslo Accords have destroyed the credibility of the peace solution. And Israel no longer has the breathing room for strategically risky peace experiments.

Only the fading threat of regional war made it possible for Israel to risk turning strategic border zones into an autonomous territory run by the terrorist clients of its enemies. With the Muslim Brotherhood at the helm in Egypt, the old specter of regional war is back and that transforms Gaza and the West Bank from domestic terrorist threats into weak points in Israel’s defense lines against an external invasion.

Under the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian tanks in the Sinai are likely to eventually show up in Gaza and they may not stop there. And that prospect may achieve what two decades of bus bombings could not. If Egypt shifts into the enemy camp, then an autonomous Gaza run by the Muslim Brotherhood’s local arm may be a political luxury that Israel can no longer afford. And what is true for Gaza will eventually be true for the West Bank as well.

The time may be approaching when the United States will be forced to decide whether it is willing to accept a relationship with an Israel that is no longer committed to a peace process with its enemies. Ever since Oslo, the American relationship with Israel has revolved around the pursuit of a Two State Solution, and few in Washington seem to realize that the process expired a while ago and has been running on fumes, facts on the ground and foreign aid.

No country and no people have been more hopeful that a new era of peace had come than the Israelis. The sheer number of peace songs that thrived in Israel during the 90s would embarrass a Woodstock reunion. But Israelis have been forced to accept that just because you want something, does not mean that you can have it. And the United States will have to either accept that as well or end its relationship with Israel.

Israel’s relations with the United States have declined notably each time a peace accord was signed. After the brief euphoria of handshakes and congratulatory press releases, frustration sets in on the Potomac that the latest accords have not noticeably changed the situation in the region. Israel’s attempts to make peace have only raised expectations that are doomed to end in disappointment.

Each president has come into office wanting to stand where Carter and Clinton stood in those famous photos. They will now have to decide whether they want to stand with Israel or whether without the illusion of peace, the special relationship between America and Israel will turn out to have only been a brief affair.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Daniel Greenfield

Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York and Potential Solutions

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by alternative peace activist Baruch Widen. Together, they discuss the declining relationship between the United States and Israel and how the relationship between both countries is being strained due to Iranian aggression. They move on to talk about how Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s upcoming visit to the United States in order to attend United Nations General Assembly should be cancelled and how there is an inequity between the handling of Israel and Iran within the UN. The segment ends with a discussion about how there are many within the United States, including Jews, that are actively working to prevent Jews from moving to the Land of Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

The End of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation?

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

“I don’t want to be complicit if they (Israelis) choose to do it (attack Iran’s nuclear program),” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.

News flash, General Dempsey: You are complicit in the way that counts; you are trapped: the Iranian leadership does not care what we say — or what we do — about our military relations with Israel. The Iranian leadership needs the U.S. as its adversary and will not allow you deniability. If there is a strike on Iran, they will need for it to have been the U.S. – will need, General Dempsey, for it to have been you.

It is unlikely, General, that you spoke on your own hook as you are still wearing your stars. The last General who spoke to journalists out of turn and out of the country was Stanley McChrystal – and he lasted only as long as it took to arrive in the Oval Office. Your Commander in Chief appears to have used you to hammer another nail in the coffin of a relationship that had, until he got here, been remarkably productive for more than 30 years.

Since the Reagan administration, U.S.-Israel military relations have generally been buffered from US-Israel political relations. They were not always smooth, but the military establishments were largely left to determine their interests together and separately. The late Caspar Weinberger was not enamored of Israel (certainly he was not enamored of the late Prime Minister Begin nor of the 1982 war in Lebanon), but the designation and early growth of “U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation,” and the designation of Israel for Major Non-NATO Ally status came in those years.[1] The Sixth Fleet came to Israel and the Haifa USO was built then to handle the enthusiastic crowds of American sailors and Marines.

Israel had the first wartime operational drones in 1982. The war that Weinberger opposed was a catalyst for U.S. thinking about remotely piloted vehicles. I took a small group of retired American military officers (including the former head of DIA, the former commander of US Air Forces Europe and the former commander of NATO’s Southern Command) to Israel in September 1982 so they could put their hands on the drones that emerged from an Israeli model-airplane-flying club. The officers compared it to the US Army’s then-unsuccessful drone program and the rest is history. U.S. conceived and built drones carry the weight of the Afghan war, but they also carry the history of 1982.

The First Gulf War complicated the relationship when President Bush (41) built a broad Arab coalition to rescue Kuwait. Israel withstood Saddam’s rocket barrage without retaliation because that was what the U.S. wanted, setting into motion deterrence difficulties for Israel that played out later as its closer neighbors acquired and used rockets and missiles. But it also set in motion Israel’s rapid quest for missile defense capabilities, which became an area of close U.S.-Israel cooperation.

After 9-11, Americans instinctively understood that we had been hammered by something with which the Israelis were familiar. “We Are All Israelis Now” was the headline in a major American paper. The Israelis “opened their closets” to help the U.S. deal with Islamic terrorism, urban warfare and counter-terror operations. Israel taught members of the U.S. Army to train bomb-sniffing dogs. While the work was going on, Israel loaned I.D.F. dogs to the Americans – Hebrew-commanded dogs were in Baghdad.

As the U.S. has become more adept in the ways of Middle East ground warfare, it is the Americans who have technology, tips and training to share with Israel.

“Complicity” is the wrong word for a relationship between countries that was grounded in the most fundamental agreement on democratic governance, civil liberties, minority rights, rule of law, and what constituted the enemy – at least until now.

General Dempsey meant Iran, but there is more than a divergence on Iran going on here. There has been a determined shift of emphasis in the current administration. President Obama has elected to focus on how and where the U.S. might find partners in the Arab/Muslim world – not itself a bad thing, but dangerous if it means a) eroding the definition of an ally to mean anyone with any set of political/religious/strategic beliefs that does not involve killing Americans outright; and b) throwing the Jews down the well (to channel Borat).

Shoshana Bryen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-end-of-u-s-israel-strategic-cooperation/2012/09/08/

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