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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘sense’

Jihadists Make No Secret of Their Ambitions in Sydney

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

This past weekend, we blogged here about foaming-at-the-mouth proponents of jihad rampaging through the streets of Australia’s largest city, Sydney [see our blog post here].

Today, 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.

*An eight year-old Australian girl called Ruqaya, reading a prepared speech promoting jihad at a Hizb ut-Tahrir (“Party of Liberation” in Arabic) conference for “Islamic fundamentalists” in the western Sydney community of Bankstown this past Sunday, a day after the riot. [The video is here - she starts in Arabic, and then switches between English and Arabic.] The name of the conference: Muslims Rise. More than 600 people took part.

*A second child, probably younger than the girl, is photographed today in several Australian papers, holding a placard that reads “Behead all those that insult the prophet.” It’s unlikely he has the ability to read the sign, let alone write it.

Jared Owens writing in The Australian [here] says, without much evident conviction, that these unsettling developments amount to a challenge for moderate Australian Moslems to stand up and speak out. Speaking in customarily measured and moderate Australian tones, he uses the word ‘set-back’ in describing the general mood among Australians exposed to the events of the past four days.

Our familiarity with Australia gives us the sense that, after showing considerable tolerance and exemplary patience to their newly arrived Islamic neighbours over several decades, a sense of alarm and dismay at what these people are ready to do to their own children has begun setting in, along with a sense of dread about what they are willing to do to other people’s children

We wonder how much Australians in general know about the emerging calls to restore this thing called a caliphate. Following is a brief extract from Wikipedia’s “Caliphate” entry:

“Al-Qaeda has as one of its clearly stated goals the re-establishment of a caliphate. The late al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, called for Muslims to “establish the righteous caliphate of our umma.” …Ayman al-Zawahiri (Bin Laden’s mentor and al-Qaeda second-in-command until 2011), once “sought to restore the caliphate…which had formally ended in 1924 following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire but which had not exercised real power since the thirteenth century.” Once the caliphate is re-established, Zawahiri believes, Egypt would become a rallying point for the rest of the Islamic world, leading the jihad against the West. “Then history would make a new turn, God willing,” Zawahiri later wrote, “in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world’s Jewish government.”

In the videos of Saturday’s Sydney Islamist riots, the clearly-heard rallying cry of the men bashing the police was “Obama, Obama, we love Osama” [check it on the RT (Russia Today) video here]. Understanding what they mean is child’s play.

Crossword Puzzle – K2

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Across

1. Yearn

5. Number cruncher, for short

8. Tiny creature (var.)

13. Little buffalo

14. Get an F

15. Kind of position

16. Perfume brand by Dana

17. Coffee dispensers

18. Kind of line

19. Doeg’s horrible sin

22. Poet’s palindromic preposition

23. Sense of self

24. Richard ___

25. Yummy pastries with very few stores in the northeastern United States.

31. Camp or kibbutz

34. Stan who created Spider-Man

35. Apiece, in scores

36. Actress Moran from “Happy Days”

37. Injury

39. Sage

40. Sensitive subject, to some

41. Meal source

42. All over again

43. (Obvious) name for a Jewish eatery found at an angle

49. C.I.A.’s forerunner

50. Aquarium denizen

51. Have a run

54. Famous Jewish entertainer who is yellow

59. Indian coin

60. Dumbfounded

61. Earthen pot

62. Part of a tennis court

63. “Buenos ___”

64. Pizzeria output

65. English university city

66. Queen, maybe

67. Genesis son

Down

1. Jewish seasonal treat

2. Kind of personality

3. Majestic

4. Frenchman, once

5. Some shorts (pl.)

6. Girlie color

7. “Not to mention …”

8. Important occasion

9. Hardly Mr. Nice Guy

10. Small case

11. It’s soothing

12. Cockpit reading: Abbr.

14. Mushrooms, e.g.

20. Occupational suffix

21. Did Half Dome

25. Folks, e.g.

26. Cartoon canine

27. Hankering

28. Primary

29. “… or ___!”

30. Knocked off, biblically

31. Tap trouble

32. Jason’s ship

33. Struggles

37. Least good

38. Furniture wood

39. Yom Kippur, e.g.

44. Did hachnasat orchim

45. College application parts

46. Fix, as leftovers

47. Exigencies

48. Caribou kin

51. Often photographed actress

52. Young night flyer

53. Grind

54. Cabbage like vegetable

55. Agitate

56. “Etc…etc…,” when tripled

57. Kind of bed

58. Cuts off

59. Amigo

The Crossword puzzle appears on this page the first week of every month.

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yoniglatt@gmail.com.

Visiting Residents: the Daily Plea of Elul

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

“Resident”- a person who maintains residency in a given place.

“Visitor”- a person who pays a visit; caller, guest, tourist, etc.

School has begun anew on this side of the ocean. It’s hard to find adequate words to describe the joy of parents during the course of this week. Beyond having their children fill their days with study rather then play, having them use time rather than waste it, and being in a secure environment rather than everywhere and anywhere, there is an added benefit to having our children back at school- routine!

No longer will parents have to rack their brains in finding past times and activities to fill the days and weeks of this pro-longed vacation. Each morning, they will wake up at a given hour, eat their breakfast at a fixed time, and have a schedule of classes and objectives that they will meet…each day.

Routine is a blessing: it provides an on-going consistency to our lifestyle, and creates a sense of devotion, as it’s done each and every day. It’s no wonder that when the Sages debated as to the most important verse in the Torah (introduction to the “Ein-Yaakov”) the verse that surprisingly “won” the debate was the verse that commands the Kohen (on-call in the Temple) to offer (Bamidbar 28/4) “The one lamb…in the morning, and the other lamb… in the afternoon.” As surprising as it sounds that such a technical command should triumph “Hear Oh Israel the Lord is our G-d the Lord is one,” or ” you shall love your fellow as you love yourself,” it seems clear that consistency in performing the commands of G-d each day supersedes the sporadic, one-time thrillers of sorts. It is therefore not surprising that our religion has always favored action over (just) thought (Tractate Avot 1/17) with even the intellectual exercise of studying Torah being a means for us to fulfill the commandments (conclusion of the Talmudic debate, Tractate Kidushin 40b).

But while a consistent, steadfast routine is indeed a value, and while remaining a devoted “Shomer Torah Umitzvot,” consistently adhering to the dictates of Jewish law, is a daily, elevated, worthy, and obligatory aspiration, there is also an undesirable side-effect to it as well; it becomes boring:

I don’t know many who have great joy to wash their hands three times each morning (Code of Jewish Law, 4/2), brush their teeth twice each day, or pray the same exact prayers (with the small exception of Monday/Thursday, and the “Psalm of the day”) each morning, afternoon and evening every day.

I have failed to see the “Minyaner” frequenting the synagogue thrice daily, who indeed feels the words that open the Code of Jewish Law (1/1- “One should rise like a Lion to stand in the morning to do the will of the commander”) when he walks into the shul in the early AM. The fatigue of waking up so early, together with seeing the same Tefillin & Siddur, usually does not allow the “lion” in him to express himself.

I am still waiting to see the smile and joy that one should have when he has the privilege of stating a blessing before and after eating his breakfast/lunch and dinner.

The list can easily go on, and I’m sure you can fill it with many more examples from your daily routine. But let’s take the example most fresh in our mind as August comes to an end: driving around the neighborhood on the first day of school. I’m sure you see excitement, smiles and a sense of anticipation in the air (at least in the eyes and lips of Parents…!) But will we see that same scene during the fifth week of school?!

Our Sages, while clearly giving credit to the consistent routine (as shown above) also stated (Yerushalmi, Tractate Megilla 4/1) that when hearing the semi-weekly Torah reading, one is forbidden to lean on the Bima, as; “…just like it was given with fear and awe, so we must act with fear and awe.” Did any of us feel this “fear and awe” during this week’s laining?

Continuing on the same theme, while many naturally “shuckle” while learning Torah, how many feel the verse, describing the feeling of the Jews at the tip of Mount-Sinai, where (Shemot 20/15)…” the people saw and trembled,” the source for swaying to and fro during study (see Baal HaTurim ibid, Machzor-Vitri 508) Is the movement of the body during the daily Daf-Yomi a reflection of a “trembling” sensation when trying to decipher the holy word of G-d? Or more logically a Jewish habit?

Everything is Fake Now: The Virtual Reality of Politics

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” Philip K. Dick said, when asked to define what reality is. Dick was a Science Fiction writer and that seems appropriate enough we are living in a Science Fiction world where there is no reality anymore, because the real goes away, but the unreal does not.

Virtual reality, it turned out, was not some complicated gizmo that made you look like a blind skier and allowed you to enter into another world, instead it was an unreal world being comprehensively overlaid on top of our own. The lines between the real and the unreal haven’t blurred because the unreal has gotten so much more sophisticated. The unreal is more fake than ever, but discerning that has become more difficult now that the real has gone away.

As we watch the news covering a story, what we are actually watching is the media making up a story and then telling that story incessantly and embedding it in every nook and cranny of their coverage. This blurring of the lines between the real and the fake is not happening thanks to the magic of technology, but the prosaic methods of complete insincerity.

The fake is being overlaid on the real, like men fighting on top of a board with a movie of a train passing by in the background to give the impression that they are fighting on top of it. Such cheap trickery defines our media environment where reporters barge into events and badger the participants into playing along with their movie. Or they just play the clip of actual events and frame them so that everyone hears their version of what is going on.

There’s Godzilla and we know he’s real because we can see Tokyo in the background. There’s the latest media narrative and we know it’s real, because we can see Tampa in the background as some blow-dried buffoon does breathing exercises before commencing to tell us that the Republican Party, which supports things that would have made Ike and Ron have coronaries, has gone so far to the right that it might as well be a Godzilla of reactionary running dog capitalism.

This is our shoddy virtual reality with a CNN or MSNBC logo planted on top. There is you still sitting on your same old couch, watching Chris Matthews yelling himself hoarse about racism, because racism is our virtual reality. It is the world that we are supposed to live in and Chris’ job, for which he receives some 5 million a year, is to convince us that we are living in it.

“Racism,” Chris yells at the screen, like the idiot shaman of some stone age tribe, and those dull-witted enough to believe him nod knowingly, because it makes them feel as if they know something. And in a world where nothing is real, knowing something makes them feel a little less confused. They don’t understand why the prices are suddenly so high and the bank won’t give them a loan– but they can understand that Republicans are bad people and somehow responsible for it.

Some 70 percent of Barack Obama’s Twitter followers may be fake, but why quibble at such numbers. The people who decided to make Obama popular did so through constant repetition that translated into the peer pressure of the trend. Obama became a trending topic and everyone followed along because in an unreal world, you follow the unreal leader.

Obama is fake, his popularity is fake, but it’s also real, because fake is now the ultimate reality. The purveyors of fakeness have demonstrated their ability to transform the unreal into the real through manufactured consensus. By insisting that something unpopular was popular often enough, they made it popular. And by insisting that something popular is really unpopular, they did the opposite.

The Solomon Asch study showed that people will change their correct answers to conform with the wrong answers that are being given by others. The false consensus has operated on that same paradigm, convincing people of two lies. The first lie is that the wrong answer is the right answer. And the second lie that everyone else has already agreed that the wrong answer is correct.

Romney Bad, Obama Good, for Israel

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Why are some people in the Jewish world so convinced that a victory by Mitt Romney is good for Israel? I am not sure who is good for the future of America, but it might be that the pro-Romney crowd has it backwards when it comes to choosing the US presidential candidate who is best for Israel.

Under President Obama, Israel has not been forced, in any meaningful way, to cede land at a negotiation table. President Obama’s demands to begin such negotiations with the premise that a Palestinian state is to rise on all the land liberated from Jordanian occupation in the Six Day War have been so outlandish and obviously biased that it has been easy for Prime Minister Netanyahu to say no. This fierce policy debate has also lead to a palpable enmity between the two leaders.

Now, while our PM is a doing great job standing up to bad suggestions this round, that was not always the case. Remember the Wye Accords and the Hebron hills giveaway? Given more “friendly pressure” Bibi has a tendency to fold so, ironically, Obama’s “unfriendly pressure” is good for Netanyahu and makes him act and look strong.

Whether the lack of progress on the old ‘peace process’ is a good thing depends on what end goal one favors. I prefer to see Israel continue to move away from the ‘Two-State’ concept both in reality on the ground and in incremental policy steps. Eventually, this will make Israel’s assertion of sovereignty over its ancestral lands a natural step forward and finally end the dark and bloody age of the land giveaway. Those who have made careers from the ‘peace process’ will not give it up until they retire on lucrative pensions, but already some of the intellectual elite on the both the pro-Arab and Jewish nationalists sides, have come to the conclusion that the ‘Two-State’ concept is untenable and that a new paradigm is needed.

And while President Obama and PM Netanyahu continue to bicker, the ‘Two-State’ concept continues to fade. Why not keep it that way?

Daylight between the US Foreign Policy and Israel

The current administration loves to say that there is “No Daylight” between Israel and the US. Now there’s a heap of diplo-jargon balderdash. For a long time, US foreign policy (not just Obama’s) has been miles apart from Israel on important issues like American non-recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, America’s cruel and unusual punishment for Pollard, and America’s billion dollar a year sponsorship of a treacherous Fatah and murderous Hamas. So what’s wrong with little daylight? A little distance from bad State Department policy is a good thing.

But until now we have not had daylight. We Israelis love to be loved by something bigger than us and therefore we want America to embrace us, even if it means ‘No-Daylight’ smothering. For too long Israel has been treated, and at times even sees itself, as a puppet state, banana republic or a 51st state, quietly accepting bad US policy as unchangeable reality.

Recently, the mass campaign for Israelis with US citizenship to vote in the US elections (IVoteIsrael.com) has taken Fifty-First Statism to a logical extreme. We are being asked to vote in US elections to affect Israel’s national destiny through actions of the American government. Not surprisingly, the whole IVoteIsrael effort is focused on trying to help get Mitt Romney into office, unofficially, of course. And it makes sense that this group of Jews is pushing so hard to get Romney in: Obama scares them to the core of their being as he shaking the fundamental pillar of their world outlook, namely, US and Israeli closeness. Romney, on the other hand, allays their fears by hitting all the bumpers on the ‘Special Relationship’ talking points.

Too bad that it’s all a bluff. Romney’s policies will include a push to shrink Israel’s borders, he will not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he will not release Pollard, he will keep funding Fatah and Hamas, and he will be in bed with Saudi Arabia, and do nothing about Iran. Like his predecessors: Bush, Bush, Clinton, and the rest, Romney will say the right things but will continue to fulfill the State Department’s anti-Israel agenda. However, because of his perceived friendliness to Israel and to Netanyahu, Romney will be far more insidiously dangerous. And isn’t it a shame how much Jewish time and money gets wasted on this guy?

Elul in Kibbutz Chafetz Chayim, 1960

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Elul is in the air. Saying Psalm 27 every morning (and afternoon – or evening, for Litvaks) brings on that sense of a new beginning waiting right around the corner.

One thing I ask from God, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of God all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of God and to seek him in His temple….

Though my father and mother forsake me, God will receive me…

Anticipation…

A Jewish American Veteran

Friday, August 17th, 2012

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.

For an example, par excellence, of this Greatest Generation, meet Harry Rosenthal.

Mr. Rosenthal served for three years in the U.S. military during World War Two as a member of the 100 Signal Company, where he repaired radios for the military. After the war, he married and settled in Brooklyn, where he raised his son, while playing an integral role in building up The Jewish Press, both as its director of advertising, as well as by bringing in many new printing jobs, essential to the paper’s financial viability. But what strikes one most upon speaking with him and his wife Rivi (long-time political cartoonist for The Jewish Press) is their humility. Refreshing in today’s age of self-promotion, there is a lot to learn from Mr. Rosenthal’s self-deprecating smile and shrug, and the strong conviction he gives over, that, far from doing anything great, he was merely doing his duty.

But, then again, having that sense of duty is the beginning of greatness.

Ita Yankovitch: How did your serving in the military during WWII come about?

Harry: Unlike many others at the time, who were drafted, I actually enlisted in the army. There was a radio repair course I was interested in taking, and in order to register for it, one had to enlist. In the end, it was actually a blessing in disguise because due to this course, I learned a specialized skill which spared me from being on enemy lines or from being drafted to G-d knows what location. I served from 1942-1945.

Can you tell us about a little about your background?

I was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Russian parents. I attended Torah Voddath high school and then Brooklyn College. Let me tell you, it was a different world then. We were poor, of course, but it was the Depression, and everyone was poor. My father bought a house on Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, but after a while he couldn’t afford the mortgage so he sold it and we moved into an apartment. Not only did I not have my own room; I didn’t even have my own bed! I shared one with my brother. Still, poverty didn’t stop my mother from helping out needy immigrant families. She did this so modestly that I didn’t even find out about it until her funeral, when I saw some unfamiliar faces crying, and I learned how she’d been helping them.

I sang in a boys’ choir, performing in shuls and at weddings. We got paid for the wedding performances – ten whole dollars! Actually, that was a nice amount of money in those days. Seymour Silbermintz, one of my fellow choir members, later became a name in his own right, going on to direct his own choir. Many years later, he even had my granddaughter in one of his elementary-school choirs.

What was your parents’ reaction to your enlistment?

My mother passed away before the war. My father was not too happy about it.

How did the neighborhood react to you joining the army?

People didn’t have strong opinions on the matter. Citizens today don’t respect veterans like they used to. I recall feeling, while serving, that society appreciated my duty. They didn’t let soldiers pay for anything in those days. I went to a baseball game and a Broadway show for free and I remember being charged $1 for eating at a fancy restaurant. Today there is a shift in attitude.

What was the overall Jewish reaction to you joining the war?

Many had ways to avoid being drafted. I remember one guy from yeshiva who was puzzled as to why I enlisted and asked why I don’t sit and learn to avoid serving. But I could never do that. I don’t harbor any ill feelings towards those that did and I don’t judge them, but I could never do that.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/a-jewish-american-veteran/2012/08/17/

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