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Parents often bring children into my office when they are already failing several subjects in school. These students are dejected, frustrated, and often depressed. They believe that because of their past performance, they will never succeed in school. It is not strange that constant effort and subsequent failure have taught them to believe that failure is the only option.
We are used to assuming that Rosh Hashanah is a holiday of repentance and atonement, a holiday of judgment, and the holiday when our fate for the coming year is determined. The Selichot prayers before and after Rosh Hashanah add to the sense of personal days of judgment, an obvious truth.
The mainstream Australian media are reporting with astonishment on the sight of elementary school children being pushed front and center by radical adults to embody the lust for Islamist jihad and to advocate the killing of unbelievers.
When all the bubbles of rhetoric pop, there are still the hard unpleasant realities to deal with.
Ironically, the much maligned Obama administration has been the perfect antidote to Israeli capitulation to American whims. President Obama exudes an open hostility towards Israel, and real favoritism towards the Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk. The average Israeli can sense this new distance between the US and Israel and this has resulted in a an unusual feeling around here, a feeling that scares many - the feeling of independence.
They are known as the Greatest Generation, and for good reason. As children of the Depression, they learned to make do with little, and lacked, most significantly, a sense of entitlement. As they came of age, they were called upon to serve and defend their country, and they did so magnificently, many with their very lives. They then went on to raise families and build the country into the superpower it has become – all with little noise and fanfare; continuing, through it all, to quietly do their duty.
Everyone knows the feeling you get when you want to do something you can’t do. There is always that temptation to do - especially because you know you can’t. Or sometimes it’s because you want to prove you can. Sometimes it’s because people expect it of you. Sometimes it’s a combination.
And so it was, every 9th of Av, the men would enter the mass grave for the night and another 15,000 would perish by the morning. The night of the living zombies. 15,000 men for 40 years. In the 40th year, the remaining men entered the mass grave but nothing happened. They remained there through the 15th of Av, when they realized that nothing was going to happen. The decree of the plague had ended! So they climbed joyously out of the grave. This was on Tu B’Av.
As'ad Abu Khalil, tenured Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus: My favorite Zionist delusion is the notion that the Arab people don’t hate Israel but that the Arab governments incite the people to hate Israel, when it is the other way round.
Within the last few days, with weeks of summer still ahead of us, I have read and seen news reports regarding very young children who tragically drowned in backyard swimming pools, despite being in relatively close proximity to parents and other adults.
As a frequent traveler abroad, I rarely see a community where everyone is alike. Though the comfort of "living with your own" is understandable, there is much to be said for a Jewish community in which Streimlach walk on the same sidewalk with Kippot Serugot, and girls wearing heavy stockings walk to shul on Shabbat together with those wearing sandals without any socks.
I have said this before. The previous generation of Gedolim, of which Rav Elyashiv was a member, were in a class by themselves. They had continued a tradition of Gadlus that existed in pre-Holocaust times. They were ‘old school’ in the best sense of the word. With Rav Elyashiv’s passing that generation is almost gone.
During The Three Weeks between 17 Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, as we recall the destruction of the Temples, we read three of the most searing passages in the prophetic literature, the first two from the opening of the book of Jeremiah, the third, next week, from the first chapter of Isaiah.
The period of the Obama tenure, and now the 2012 election, are forcing Americans to reconsider, in a way I’m not sure we have for a good 200 years, what the vote means, and what politics means to our lives. Since 1792, the sense has gradually crept upon us that when we elect a president, we are electing our collective future. That sense took a giant leap forward with the FDR presidency, and frankly, it took another one when Reagan entered office.
In retrospect, the Cult of Obama had much in common with other cults. Like them it recruited young volunteers on campus. Its recruitment materials leaned heavily on books by its beloved leader. It promised them that a new age was coming and that they could be a big part of bringing it about.