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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘thought’

NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Gets a Watchdog

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

On the NY Times Public Editor’s blog, Margaret Sullivan talks about the leash they’ll be putting on Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief.

After Rudoren’s not very well thought out foray into the world of social media, and the serious missteps that followed, the NY Times has decided to appoint an editor to handle Rudoren’s social media interactions, for the purpose of “not exposing The Times to a reporter’s unfiltered and unedited thoughts.”

The NY Times has some broad guidelines for their reporter’s use of social media.

Take care that nothing you say online will undercut your credibility as a journalist.

Newsroom staff members should avoid editorializing or promoting political views.

And we should be civil – even to critics – and avoid personal attacks and offensive remarks.

Some might say that Rudoren’s choice of twitter links, topics, and statements didn’t exactly meet the standards set by the first sentence in that guideline.

 

Two Years Ago – Two Very Special People

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I have not done this before. I have never memorialized two of the closest people to me in one article. I gave it a lot of thought, and it is not just because they died within hours of each other two years ago that I decided to do this. It is also because there was a tremendous connection between them, and as I thought of each one I was overwhelmed by the similarities.

My mother, Irene Klass, was one of the smartest women I have ever known. She was truly an intellectual. She loved to spar with my husband, Ivan Mauer. He too was brilliant and a true intellectual. They had running debates about the likes of Henry Clay and others from American history. They both liked to cite Shakespeare and challenged each other to finish their quotes. And that was only the beginning. When the two of them were together in a room, it was never boring. I used to marvel at the extent and the depth of their knowledge. And I thrilled at the love and camaraderie that existed between them.

In later years when we would enter Mom’s house, she would say, “Doc take my blood pressure.” He would oblige and say, “Mom you’re like a young girl. If only all my patients had your numbers.” She would smile and then bring up something in the news, and they were off, discussing and debating.

My mom grew up during the Depression years and did not have the luxury of a college education. But no one who knew her could believe that. She was blessed with a photographic memory and a love for learning. She read extensively, and my husband would refer to her as “my mother-in-law the Ph.D.” I was always so proud that I was her daughter.

My husband was also one of the smartest people I ever knew. And his knowledge was so widespread. He read extensively and always had a number of journals he was in the middle of, aside from the daily newspapers. Of course, both my mother and my husband liked The Jewish Press best of all the newspapers.

I always thought that Eishet Chayil could have been written specifically for my mother. She was one in a million. She was full of charity and loving kindness, her hand outstretched to all who needed. I learned so much from her.

All the years I was growing up, my mother was my best friend. She was so different from everyone else. She was ahead of her time in matters of health and raising children. When I had children of my own, I marveled at how right she was long before her ideas were widely acknowledged as the correct way. When she felt something was right, she wasn’t afraid to take a stand. And she recognized quality when she saw it. She was a right hand to my father throughout their married life, and the success of The Jewish Press was no less due to her efforts than to his.

She was open and honest with me and with my sister, Hindy. There was nothing we couldn’t ask her. And from our earliest years we knew that whatever she told us was the absolute truth. She was consistent and fair – the kind of mother others wished was theirs.

My mother did not have the benefit of a yeshiva education, as in those years it was not so accessible, but she was religious to the core of her being. I do not refer to what passes for religious today, when many just look at the outside appearance. Her belief in the Almighty was absolute. She prayed the standard prayers and many of her own.

She was not only modest in dress but also in speech and action. She treated all people with a smiling countenance and asked after their welfare. She helped every type of person, including those whom most others would not even look at.

She wrote countless articles for The Jewish Press that garnered her praise from readers ranging from the author Herman Wouk to Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm.

In a sense she was indescribable, and here I am trying to describe her.

Thanking Our ‘Squantos’

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

It’s the classic image – the pumpkins; the berries; the squash, the turkey. It’s the beginning of a season that brings with it a sudden, exciting feeling. It’s the crisp fall air turning to gray winter; the strings of perfect, colorful leaves decorating doors and houses, the bright hues of reds and oranges. It almost feels like the cinnamon in the pumpkin pie is somehow in the air.

It’s Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. It’s a time of gratitude. Gratitude for the freedom we have in the United States. So many Jews celebrate this holiday, thankful that after so much oppression, Jews can live peacefully in this great country.

The theme of the season forces me to think back to the very first Thanksgiving. This was a celebration the pilgrims made when they first came to America. After so many hardships in the New World, they finally harvested food and had a chance of survival. They were thankful for Squanto, a Native American, who helped the early settlers through.

These thoughts overwhelmed me with a sense of gratitude I feel the need to express. Have you ever thought about who holds up our Jewish communities? Who keeps the world turning? Whose zechuyos keep us alive? Have you ever stopped to thank the people who keep our chinuch system going?

What about thanking our gedolim?

I once heard a teacher say, “At a certain point in my life I knew more names of actors and singers than I knew of Gedolei haTorah.” It struck me. We spend our lives chasing after a society and culture which have so little to do with us, and we never stop to notice what is right in front of us. Do we ever stop to contemplate and appreciate the people who devote their lives to disseminating Torah?

Your son’s Rebbe deserves respect; no matter what grade he gave your son on his Gemara test. The rav of your shul deserves a lot more respect than chatter during his short lecture. The Gedolei HaDor deserve much more than a careless shrug of the shoulder at the news of their illness or petirah.

Most of the time we do not focus our appreciation on the talmidei chachamim in our neighborhoods – that includes the young men sitting in kollel, the balabatim who run to shiur before or after work and the retired men who after years of working are now spending their time in a yeshiva setting. How much do we appreciate the rabbanim who lead our communities? Do we thank them for their time, for their hours of service?

What generation has had access to so much – shiurim on a variety of levels, website where one can download divrei Torah, at no charge? When in our history were there any so many schools to choose from? When did we ever have so many interesting speakers, teaching Torah on a daily basis?

There is so much knowledge available, and yet, many of us don’t even stretch out a hand to grab onto it. So many opportunities, yet we don’t care. So many lessons, yet we never take them in. We chase after a government. We chase after their way of life. How many names of gedolim do you know?

This lesson is clearly evident in the Purim story. The spiritual leader of the time, Mordechai, advised the Jews not to attend to royal party. The Jews scorned his opinion, claiming he was “an old Rabbi, stuck in ancient times and unaware of the political dues they had to pay.” Then tragedy struck, and all the Queens connections were worth nothing; what saved them was following the “old leader’s” suggestion to pray and fast.

We can chase after all the political leaders we want, but at the end of the day, what will save us is the Torah learning of our talmidei chachamim and of our young children.

It’s the season. It’s Thanksgiving – let us give thanks for what we have that actually matters: our Squanto, the people who throw away careers, throw away sleep and are there, twenty four hours a day, supporting our world with Torah.

Chazal teach, “Asay licha Rav”; I’ve heard it paraphrased numerous times to, “Asay licha Rebbetzin.” Each of us needs a guide or a mentor who can see clearly when we can’t.

What if the Siren Goes off When I’m Alone?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m in the office today until late. I spoke to Aliza shortly after she came home. I explained I’d be here for a while, at least. She’s home alone until my husband returns from work and some errands.

“Ima, what if the siren goes off when I’m alone?” she asked me.

“Go quickly into the bomb shelter and close the door,” I told her, my heart clenching at the thought of her in a  bomb shelter alone.

“I’ll take my phone with me,” she said, and I quickly agree.

“I’ll call you right away and you can call me,” I answer back.

“Can I take Simba in with me?” she asks. Simba is our dog.

“Of course you can. That’s wonderful. You take care of Simba and call him into the room.”

What world do we live in that a 12-year old has to consider going into a bomb shelter alone? If I could leave now, I would but Al Jazeera English contacted me and asked me to be on their show. Check out my next post on that…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

It’s My Opinion: Time To Talk Turkey

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Turkey, cranberry sauce and a harsh lesson in the reality of “land for peace” deals.

America will celebrate Thanksgiving on November 22. Tremendous effort has always been focused on portraying this time in a lovely, romanticized light, in which pilgrims and Native Americans worked together in harmony. The reality, however, is quite grim.

The Indians were the original “land for peace” advocates. They believed a nation has to negotiate with its enemies, not with its friends. They wanted to give peace a chance.

The Native Americans gave away their land for worthless peace treaties. They did not want to be viewed as “intransigent.” For the most part, they acquiesced. They thought that two peoples could share one land.

There were some who took the white man’s desire for their land as a declaration of war. These tribes fought fiercely to protect their domain. Perhaps they were viewed as misguided right-wing zealots.

The “peace now” contingent believed it could give the interlopers their own state within America’s borders and they would be satisfied. They thought wrong.

Their “peace partners” wanted it all. Their “road map” was called “Manifest Destiny.” The once proud Indian nation was crushed. They are now an insignificant minority in what once was their exclusive homeland.

The misguided attempt to be compliant ultimately led to the decline of the entire nation. For the most part they live in ghetto-like areas called reservations. The recent acquisition of Indian reservation casinos is a poor exchange for the pride of a viable nation.

We are taught, “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.” Israel could learn a lesson from the Native Americans, who gave “land for peace” and lived to regret their naivety.

The giveaway of Gaza is a prime example. Israel again acted in the mistaken belief that surrender of land would lead to peace. Instead a terrorist state now looms alongside its border.

Rockets fire down on innocent citizens. The dream turns into a nightmare. Israel now faces the threat of war.

Israel needs to stop the cycle of unilateral concessions and ceding of its land. Doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results is insanity. It’s time to talk Turkey.

War Knocking at Israel’s Door, Update on Upcoming Israeli Elections, and an Update on the Situation in Syria

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Mordecai Taub, an advisor for the Likud party and formerly involved with the Republican National Committee. Together, they talk about rocket attacks on southern Israel and the thought of a potential ground incursion by the Israel Defense Forces being used as a political movement by top Israeli leadership. They move on to talk about upcoming Israeli elections and how for the first time, Israelis are generally unsure of what party they will vote for in the elections. They end the segment by talking about the unsettling situation in Syria and how the Israeli government is working to ensure they aren’t drawn into the civil war that is raging there and also by discussing up and coming candidates to Israeli politics.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Many Happy Returns

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I never thought I would see the day when “Yossie” would smile. He was not an unhappy man, but rather very serious in demeanor. He never said hello, or any words, to his customers other than those absolutely necessary.

Whenever I went to his store, I felt uncomfortable. It was as if I was invisible. I would greet him when I entered and thank him when I left, but there was never any response. In time, I realized there would never be one. Despite this personality flaw, Yossie’s business was flourishing. His prices were fair, and he was an honest man.

I had not been in his store for a couple of years. My husband was not as bothered as I was by Yossie’s rudeness, and so he was the one who generally went there. Recently, though, I reluctantly found myself there. I’m glad it worked out that way for a number of reasons. I got to see Yossie in a different light, and I also got the chance to give my sister a special surprise.

I was waiting my turn to be served when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A woman’s lightweight jacket was hanging on a hook.

Without thinking, I called out to Yossie, “To whom does that green jacket belong?”

He turned to me and quietly responded that it had been left in his establishment about two years ago.

“It’s mine. I can’t believe it. I gave up on ever finding it!”

Yossie looked away, but not before I caught the pleased smile on his face. Who would have ever thought that he would hold onto an abandoned object for such a long time, hoping someone would one day claim it? Who would have thought this could make him smile?

The story does not end here, not without telling you of the story surrounding my missing jacket.

Over the past several years, my sister and I have found ourselves traveling back and forth from Israel to America in order to spend time with our elderly parents.

Whenever possible we chose to fly together, thereby giving each other physical, as well as emotional, support. Most of our trips revolved around our parents, but we also tried to squeeze in quick shopping trips, bringing back gifts for our children and their families.

Two years ago, during the fall season, we found ourselves packing our suitcases yet again. To my dismay, I discovered that I could not find my lightweight green jacket.

I searched everywhere, but concluded that I had simply left it somewhere and would have to buy a new one in America.

I take a limited amount of money with me whenever I travel, and I really am very careful with how I spend it. This way, I can buy something for everyone on my list.

Before I knew it, I had spent almost all of the cash I brought and did not have enough left over to purchase a jacket.

While shopping one day, my sister came over to me with a lovely jacket in her hands.

“Do me a favor,” she said, “and try it on for me. I am too tired to try it on myself, and we are the same size.” I knew she had been planning to buy this particular item herself, and so I tried it on for her.

In the end, she bought it for me. She refused to take it for herself, as she still had another jacket at home while I did not. She said she could always buy the jacket for herself on our next trip.

The next time we traveled to America, as well as on subsequent travels, we searched in vain for another jacket like the one she bought me. We either found one in the wrong size or wrong color, or not quite the same style. I always felt bad to be wearing her “dream” jacket, while she was still searching for hers.

Now, I finally had my chance to rectify the situation.

While still in Yossie’s store, I called her. “Rivky, what is that item you are always searching for in America? Well, guess what? I have it for you!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/many-happy-returns/2012/11/14/

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