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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘street’

New Israeli TV series Challenges Thinking on Europe’s Muslims

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

An extraordinary four-part television series is unfolding in Israel, called Allah Islam, which deals in a unique and extremely effective way with the mutual interaction of European society and Islamic immigrants.

This is a tense and highly loaded subject, one that can easily be ruined by an overdose of political commentary or pandering to prejudices. Only three of the four parts have so far gone to air, so it’s unfair to judge the whole work yet. But for us, what we have seen so far constitutes a compelling instance of first-rate reality television. Unfortunately, it exists only in a made-for-Israel television version. So there are no English or other sub-titles, and the audience is assumed to have a basic grasp of an Israeli viewpoint.

The series, “Allah Islam”, is a collaboration between Israeli film director and journalist David Deri (he’s interviewed at length in this Haaretz article from September 12, 2012), and Zvi Yehezkeli who is Israeli Channel 10′s senior news reporter on Arab affairs.

Yehezkeli speaks Arabic well, and the series follows him as he meets – from very close up – Muslims on their European home turf. His interview subjects appear to be at ease in his company, believing he is a fellow Moslem, a Palestinian film-maker, and providing him with access to their candid opinions in ways that it is hard to imagine European or American film-makers ever achieving.

What emerges can be startling – even shocking – to those of us accustomed to smooth-talking community representatives explaining the disturbing aspects of what passes for everyday life in today’s Europe.

Even for viewers lacking familiarity with the Hebrew language, the scenes of Yehezkeli doing street interviews in Malmo, Sweden, in Paris, in Brussels, in London and especially in Luton will be understandable enough. He goes into mosques, is invited into private homes, walks around with young Muslims who open up to him and to the viewers. Once the series is repackaged with subtitles in European languages, it’s likely to have a significant impact on the public discourse about the effects on European life of the massive, and growing, immigration of Muslims and the wrenching changes this is causing in Europe’s cities.

Those who want to see Islamophobia in these programs will find it. But for our taste, the film-makers have done a serious job of allowing the street and its people to speak for themselves without imposing their judgments or clear conclusions.To be direct about this – overall it delivers a very deeply disturbing picture: Yehezkeli finds no shortage of immigrant Muslims who heap scorn on the societies that have granted them shelter, unemployment payments, lives immeasurably more safe and comfortable than those they left behind. There are religious leaders here, not suspecting the man with the microphone is an Israeli, who speak directly into the camera in support of terrorism and terrorists. Even some of the migrants for whom Yehezkeli has obvious feelings of sympathy who confess without embarrassment to lying and subterfuge in order to get what they need from their European neighbours.

Two small vignettes to watch for:

*A young Belgian Muslim describes (Episode 3, at 23m 20s) with utter disdain the education he received at a Belgian Catholic school. To the appreciation of his buddies sitting in on the interview, he mentions some of the totally useless pieces of learning (“stupid things”, he calls them) the system forced him to accept: washing hands after going to the toilet, for instance. He was born in Belgium. So were both of his parents. It was the grandparents who made the transition from Morocco to give their children a better shot at a good life. Three generations into the process of European acculturation and the grandson – disenfranchised, alienated in his native land – burns with zeal and indignation. He seeks to bring his parents back to the true religion.

*Another young Belgian Muslim describes (Episode 3, 22m15s) in good English how he and his friends seek to provoke anger among their non-Islamic neighbours by very publicly praying in the street or in front of the famous Belgian Atomium monument. Provocation, he calls it – over and again. They do this because of the effect, he tells the camera.

Below are links to the Hebrew-only versions (we don’t know of any others at this point) of the first three programs in this excellent series. They might not remain online much longer, so we want to recommend to view them while you can. Each runs for about 45 minutes.

Iranian Woman Strikes a Few Blows (and Kicks) For Freedom

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Reported:

Iran Cleric Pummeled by ‘Badly Covered’ Woman After Warning

An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being “badly covered,” the state-run Mehr news agency reported.  Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied “you, cover your eyes,” according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

“I fell on my back on the floor,” Beheshti said in the report. “I don’t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.”

Visit My Right Word.

Iranian Cleric Pummeled After Telling Woman to Cover Up

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

An Iranian cleric who warned a woman to conform to standards of modesty and cover her eyes was subsequently beaten so badly by the offending (and offended) female that he spent three days in the hospital.

According to a report by Bloomberg News, Hojatoleslam Ali Behesti encountered the woman on the street in the town of Shahmirzad.  When he told her to cover her eyes, she began insulting and kicking him.  Behesti called it “the worst day of my life”, and said he had to be hospitalized as a result of his injuries.

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

A Hose By Any Other Name

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Residents of Du-Pia Street in Rehovot, Israel, recently petitioned their City Hall to change the name of their street, which they believe is not respectable.

The unusual name commemorates an old term, indigenous to Rehovot, describing a local… garden hose.

Du-Pia means a two-mouthed hose, which, way back when, was considered a technological achievement significant enough to justify naming a street after it.

Don’t belittle the magnitude of this time saving invention. Using a hose that points in two opposite directions at once saves half the time when watering one’s lawn. In a country where it is crucial to water the lawn while the air is still cool enough, so the water won’t evaporate as soon as it leaves the hose, this is a big deal.

“I think the name is derogatory, we deserve a street named in honor of a great Zionist leader, or a fallen hero,” Du-Pia Street resident Israel Sela told MyNet.

Another resident added: “I think it’s a badge of shame to the municipality. Never mind that we were not included in picking the name, but now, after so many complaints, we’re yet to receive a satisfactory answer.”

The City of Rehovot’s response was: “Indeed, there was a request to change the name of the street, the subject has been discussed several times, but the motion to change the name was voted down every time.”

Some elected officials consider the name to have historic value, which is why they refuse to let it be changed.

You see, there is a local dispute among several towns and villages, including Givat Brenner, Kvutzat Schiller, and Akron, over who deserves the credit for the invention of the name.

“Differences of opinion around the street name have not been resolved to this day,” concludes the note from the Rehovot municipality, which is, incidentally, home of the Weizmann Institute of Science, where many useful inventions are added every day.

The Secret of Happiness

Monday, August 20th, 2012

This month, we will be dedicating our blogs to the subject of t‘shuva, as illuminated in the writings of Rabbi Kook. So you can look forward to daily light bulbs of inspiration and self-improvement, taken from our commentary, The Art of T’shuva, which I had the privilege of writing with Rabbi David Samson. It very well may be the most exciting and worthwhile voyage you ever experience.

Be Happy!

Dear Reader — if you are looking to be happy, creative, in harmony with God and with the universe, Rabbi Kook has the answer — t’shuva.

For Rabbi Kook, t’shuva is a concept much deeper than the common understanding of repentance. It is much more than penitence over sins and the remorse a person must feel when he strays from the pathways of goodness and truth. While t’shuva includes these factors, the phenomenon of t’shuva spreads out over all the universe, bringing harmony and perfection to all of existence.

Return to the Source

While t’shuva is normally translated as penitence or repentance, the root of the Hebrew word t’shuva means “return.” T’shuva is a return to the source, to one’s roots, to one’s deepest inner self. Rabbi Kook writes:

“When one forgets the essence of one’s soul; when one distracts his mind from seeing the true nature of his own inner life, everything becomes doubtful and confused. The principal t’shuva, which immediately lights up the darkness, is for a person to return to himself, to the root of his soul. Then he will immediately return to God, to the Soul of all souls. And he will continue to stride higher and higher in holiness and purity. This is true for an individual, a nation, for all of mankind, and for the perfection of all existence….”

Anything which is a return to the pure, original, natural state, whether it be physical, moral, or spiritual, is a part of t’shuva. As Rabbi Kook develops his ideas about t’shuva, he speaks not only about the individual, but about the Jewish nation as a whole. T’shuva encompasses the nation of Israel, and more. All of humanity is destined for perfection and upliftment. Rabbi Kook even writes about the t’shuva of the heavens and earth — when the bark of a tree will be as edible as its fruit, and when the moon will return to its original size, as big and bright as the sun. In effect, t’shuva is the force which pushes all physical and spiritual worlds towards completion.

One can readily understand that to reach fulfillment and happiness, a person must be his true self. In modern times, this basic understanding has been corrupted into a “do your own thing” attitude. Rabbi Kook is advocating a deeper, inner search, far beyond the surface passions and emotions which often lead people to express their every desire and lust. Rabbi Kook understands that the individual, and all of existence, has a deeper, spiritual source. In the depths of this ever-pure realm, our true essence lies. A person who makes the inward journey of t’shuva comes to encounter his soul and the Creator who gave it. As Rabbi Kook writes:

“It is only through the great truth of returning to oneself that the individual, the nation, the world, all of the worlds, and all of existence, will return to its Maker, to be illuminated by the light of life.”

Throughout history, man has been searching to discover the driving force of life. To a capitalist, money makes the world go around. To a romanticist, love is what impassions mankind. Freudians claim that man’s unconscious desires and libido are to blame. Peering into a microscope, a modern physicist declares that atoms and neutrons cause the world to spin. For biologists, the uniting power resides in strands of DNA. When Rabbi Kook gazes into the inner workings of the soul, the soul of the individual, and the soul of the world, he sees that the force behind all existence is t’shuva.

The Age of Anxiety

It is no secret that there is great darkness, confusion, and pain in the world. Bookstores are filled with self-help books on how to be happy. Layman’s guides to psychology line shelf after shelf. Our generation has been called “the age of anxiety.” People often live out their lives plagued with depression, sickness, a sense of unfulfillment and constant unrest. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and humanists like Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney, Fromm, May, Erikson, Dr. Dryer, and dozens of others have become the prophets of the moment, proposing dozens of theories to explain man’s existential dilemmas. Whether it is because we suffer from an Oedipus complex, or from a primal anxiety at having been separated from the womb, from sexual repression, or from the trauma of death, mankind is beset with neuroses. Vials of valium and an assortment of anti-depressants and “uppers” can be found in the medicine cabinets of the very best homes. Not to mention the twenty-four-hour bombardment of work, television, computer games, discos, and drugs which people use to blot out the never-ending angst that they feel.

Balabasta Nutty Summer Festival

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Just in time for its 100th birthday, the ever-evolving Machane Yehuda market has transformed itself once again, this time into one of Jerusalem’s hottest summer cultural venues. On Monday nights throughout August, the shuk hosts “Balabasta” (literally, “come to the shop-stall”), a centennial carnival of sorts, complete with street performances, a collaborative wall-of-origami project, live video art projections, watermelon giveaways, chili eating contests, concerts, giant puppets, sets by DJs and bands, produce carving workshops and the first-ever “Shuk Olympics.”

It’s a veritable cacophony of music, art and food – with many of the cafes and restaurants staying open late to serve the crowds and culinary tours of the shuk’s hottest kitchens. The Hagigit collective, which strives to bring art to a wider public audience, is organizing production-set photo shoots (pictured, with white backdrop) and walking around in costume throughout the Balabasta events.

Read and see more.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/balabasta-nutty-summer-festival/2012/08/06/

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