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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Conversations with Heroes – Can Israel Trust the Leaders of America and England? [audio]

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Major media news outlets report that U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia acted covertly to boost Donald Trump in the Presidential election race. Heather’s guest, Abe Katsman from Republicans Overseas Israel says this story is not the bombshell that the CIA or the media would have you believe. He also reasons that Hillary Clinton would be a far more preferable U.S. President for Russian interests had she won the election.

And how do you solve a problem like Steve Bannon? Is he really a dangerous alt-Right anti-Semite? Well, Katsman met and worked with Bannon before he became Trump’s controversial chief strategist and senior counselor. His take on Bannon will surprise you.

Katsman will also weigh in on this week’s CBS “60 Minutes” interview with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Is it a sure thing that Trump and Netanyahu will continue their friendly relationship? And after he takes office, will Trump visit Israel?

Later in the show, David Olesker from The Jerusalem Center for Communication and Advocacy Training will discuss Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party in the U.K., who has come under increasing pressure to make amends with the Jewish community after a litany of shocking anti-Israel statements and actions.

For more information about Republicans Overseas: Israel, visit:
RepublicansOverseasIsrael.org

For more information about The Jerusalem Center for Communication and Advocacy Training, contact David Olesker via his website: jccat.org

Conversations with Heroes 14DEC2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Survey: Only 22% of Israeli Jews Completely Trust Supreme Court

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

A new survey published by Prof. Avi Degani, founder and President of the Geocartography opinion and marketing institute, points to a sharp, 25% drop in the Israeli public’s trust, Jews and Arabs alike, in the Supreme Court. Only 22% of Israeli Jews expressed their complete faith in the court.

A similar survey that was done in 1991, 25 years ago, showed that 80% of the Israeli public, including Arabs, had a high or complete trust in the Supreme Court, compared with only 56% today. 12% of the Jews say have no trust whatsoever in the court, as opposed to only 3% that held the same view in 1991.

41% of Israelis had complete faith in the Supreme Court in 1991 – today it’s down to 22%.

Another institution that has suffered a severe loss of prestige is the State Auditor. In 1991, 80% had complete or high trust in this institution – today only 55% do. In the Arab sector, the drop was from 57% in 1991 to only 47% today.

The Knesset has maintained most of its status, but that’s only because it was very low 25 years ago – 27%. Today it’s down to 23%.

Prof. Degani cautioned that the fate of democracy is uncertain when the two branches of government whose job it is to restrain the executive branch are being held in such low regard by the public.

JNi.Media

‘Can I Trust Him?’ (Part II)

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.

  * * * * *

Last week we featured a letter from a young woman who found herself caught in a web of indecision – “to marry or not to marry.” Her conflict stemmed from the fact that while she is observant, the young man she is dating is marginal in his commitment. He promises that after they are married he will change and become more committed to a Torah lifestyle. But she wonders if she can trust that promise.

The following is my response.

I’ve been involved in outreach for over 50 years and, Baruch Hashem, I have seen so many Jews who were once totally divorced from their heritage become committed bnei and n’shei Torah. And this is not a new phenomenon. We have had examples of such rebirth throughout our history. Some of our greatest people were ba’alei teshuvah.

But those individuals all arrived at a place in their lives where they were ready to sincerely commit to a life of Torah and yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven). Please do not take umbrage if I question your statement that “In every other way, we are totally connected.” What other way is there?

I realize this may be a difficult message, and you might not wish to hear it. Should you argue that you are willing to take your chances with a spouse who enters the marriage without having already made a commitment to a life of Torah, know that you are embarking on a potentially disastrous course that can have painful consequences – not only for you but for future generations as well.

The Torah way of life is not just customs and traditions that can be adopted or discarded at will. Torah is our covenant with G-d, our raison d’etre, our very breath, our very life, and if we abandon it, our very survival is at risk.

To be shomer Shabbos doesn’t only mean refraining from travel or work on Saturday. It’s bringing Shabbos into your home, into your life. Kashrus doesn’t only mean avoiding certain restaurants or abstaining from certain meats or fish. It’s living with a whole set of disciplines through which what you eat becomes yet another way of connecting with G-d and attaining sanctity.

Mikveh is not just immersing yourself in a pool of water; it’s an act that invests the husband/wife relationship with holiness. We bring children into the world not so that they can attend Ivy League schools and become successful achievers, but rather that they become builders of Torah who transform the world with Hashem’s Word.

If the young man you’re dating is sincere, he has to demonstrate his commitment now, beginning with regular and intensive Torah study. If he doesn’t study, there will nothing to inspire him to observance. It’s all too easy to say “I’ll do it later, after we’re married.” But my experience has proven that people who put things off until tomorrow hardly ever deliver.

This of course holds true in all areas. So, for example, if someone has a short fuse and promises to control his temper after marriage, don’t trust him. The magic word is now. He has to demonstrate his ability to control his temper now.

You have some leverage during the courting period, but after marriage things usually go downhill. Yes, people can change. The desire to do so must, however, spring from their own hearts, not from a spouse who imposes it upon them.

In a home where shalom bayis – peaceful harmony – reigns, husband and wife have something more to connect them than merely having a good time together. For a marriage that is lasting, for a marriage in which love prevails, husband and wife must have a spiritual connection, and that appears to be lacking in your relationship.

Moreover, a woman loves a man she can respect. But how can she respect him if his life contradicts everything she cherishes and holds dear?

The questions you and every young woman should ask when considering a marriage partner are “Do I respect his values and his goals?” and, most important, “What sort of father will he be to our children?”

Once you become a mother, your children become the focus of your life, and if your husband cannot be a role model, it will destroy you and your children. If children are to be nurtured in a healthy environment, father and mother must speak with one voice. The damage conflicting messages can inflict on innocent souls is inestimable. In my work I have seen too many such casualties, too many weeping women who lamented to me, “I made a mistake; I thought if I loved him, I could change him.”

I understand you want to get married. I appreciate that it was difficult for you to see your younger siblings going under the chuppah and your friends wheeling baby carriages, but to embark on a marriage that likely will result in disappointment and pain is not a solution.

In conclusion, then, tell the man you love that you believe he’s being sincere when he promises to change. But the issues that separate the two of you are life questions and therefore you cannot rely on abstract promises. Let him demonstrate now that he is living a Torah life.

You are more than welcome to come to Hineni with him and we will be happy to set both of you up in a Torah learning program. We will work with him and accommodate him, but it must happen now. And if he gives teeth to his words and demonstrates his sincerity with a genuine commitment to and observance of mitzvot, I am certain your parents and all of us will be happy to wish you a full-hearted mazel tov.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

‘Can I Trust Him?’

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.

 * * * * *

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I feel troubled and confused. I have to make the most important decision of my life and am very conflicted. I am 26 years old and sick of the dating scene. It’s been a long haul for me. I feel very depressed and frustrated due to my single state.

I am a graduate of a prominent day school. After studying in a Jerusalem seminary I returned from Israel and entered the shidduch scene. When my friends and I would sit around discussing the future, the general consensus was that I would be bombarded with potential shidduchim. Indeed, my mom received many phone calls and recommendations and it appeared I would be among the first in my social circle to be married.

But now, seven years down the road, after more dates than I care to count, I’m still single while most of my friends are married with children.

Most of the boys I dated liked me but I just couldn’t connect. As the years passed I received fewer and fewer calls; I guess people gave up on me.

Additionally, when it comes to marriage there is a double standard in the Jewish community. As a boy gets older, he can still get younger girls, but the same does not hold true for girls.

With time, girls are put on the shelf, and I must tell you that sometimes I feel as if the world is passing me by.

Two of my younger siblings are already married. I am very happy for them but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt. I hope you don’t think badly of me for this, but I want to be honest.

Since nothing was happening in my personal life, I decided to continue my secular education. In my younger years I always saw myself as a stay-at-home mom, busy caring for her children and doing chesed for the community. I eventually went on to law school, and today I am an attorney. I bury myself in my work and, Baruch Hashem, I do very well – but I derive no satisfaction or joy from it and have discovered some guys are intimidated by the thought of marrying a lawyer or a doctor. So my career has presented me with yet another handicap.

And now to my current predicament: Four months ago, by pure chance, I met a terrific guy and really connected with him. We share the same likes, conversation flows easily, we have a great time together. In short, we enjoy each others’ company. He just feels “right.”

So what’s wrong? Well, there is a problem, and it’s huge. He is not observant of mitzvot. He did go to a day school and a religious high school, but his commitment is marginal. He’s not really shomer Shabbos, and while he doesn’t eat treif, he has no problem eating fish in a non-kosher restaurant. He has a Shabbos table, makes Kiddush, etc., but more than that, I don’t know.

He tells me that at this point in his life he is involved in many business dealings and cannot suddenly make a radical change, but he assures me that once we are married he will become fully observant. He comes from a traditional background, so it’s not foreign to him. I tried to get him to a Torah class, but he just doesn’t have the time; he promised me that if we marry he would attend classes.

On the plus side, he is very kind and considerate. But can I trust him to keep his promise?

When I discussed the matter with my parents, they were very frank and said they would never have considered such a shidduch in the past, and they have strong reservations about his religious commitment – but because of the shidduch difficulties I’ve encountered, my age, and the fact that my younger siblings are already married, they would not stand in my way if we were to become engaged.

Bottom line, it’s my call, and that to me is very frightening. Rebbetzin, can I trust him? He says that after marriage he will grow in Torah and take on the observance of mitzvos, but can I believe that? I would be grateful for your guidance.

(To Be Continued)

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Gam Zu L’tovah – True Trust In God

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Bitachon is trust in God – a trust that He will make things end up all right. The word bitachon is connected to the Hebrew root of tach (Vayikra 14:42), which means to plaster, to cling, and to cause to cling closely.

Bitachon thus is more than faith and belief that God is able to extricate an individual or a community from a difficult situation.

Belief and faith are called emunah – which is inherent in every Jew’s nature, even though it is not always internalized and part of his or her consciousness.

Emunah in God’s omnipotence does not necessarily comfort or remove anxiety and worry from someone confronted by a threatening situation. Bitachon, though, is a state of mind that can be likened to the firm reliance one has in a good friend or relative, someone to whom we are closely attached and who we know for sure will rally to our aid.

The person who possesses bitachon implicitly trusts that God’s help will be forthcoming if and when he needs it. He will not worry about his predicament but act to the best of his ability to resolve it, confident that God will add His help to pull him through. Such trust generates peace of mind. But how is it possible to have such implicit expectation of God’s help?

There is a well known saying of the great chassidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789–1866) which, translated from the Yiddish, goes as follows: “Think well, and it will be well.”

The implication of this statement is that a positive outlook not only is good for one’s frame of mind, it enhances one’s ability to function more efficiently and the very thought itself can generate a positive power that will improve the situation so that “it will be well.”

How does this work?

Bitachon and the positive outlook and thoughts constitute an avodah, a form of service of God, a rigorous mental exercise. Spiritual stamina has to be mustered in order to combat the bleakness and seeming hopelessness of a given difficult situation. One must work arduously at maintaining the “think positive” process. It often involves shifting from an ingrained negative attitude in which a person may sometimes wallow to a totally different, positive, trusting one. This can be accomplished by constantly habituating oneself to thinking well.

One’s intellect can be trained to learn, understand, and interpret data the same way the hand can be trained in all kinds of precise, coordinated movements. One’s attitude can thus be rehabilitated by a conscious effort to constantly think well – i.e., good and positively. Through the repetition of habit, this will eventually become second nature.

Once the mental attitude or thought process has become a positive one, it then becomes the proper instrument to elicit God’s Goodness so that things become “good” in the real material sense. Why is that? Because this mental service – avodah – serves as an “arousal from below” which has the ability to generate a reciprocal “arousal from above.”

This process is described at length in the Zohar and chassidus. God decreed at the beginning of Creation that for every good action, word, and thought of man, there would be a reciprocal reaction from on High, resulting in many Divine blessings.

As if measure for measure, God says: “If you rely on Me against all odds and beyond all calculations, I too, will relate to you beyond the calculation as to whether you deserve My help or not.”

What about the phenomenon of “bad things happening to good people”? These individuals may have strong bitachon and yet things don’t end up OK. They get sick, or are involved in a bad accident, or are laid off, or a relative dies unexpectedly, etc. As a result, some may lose their bitachon.

In answer, it can be said that in general we do not know the absolute definition of “good” and “bad,” since we view life only within our narrow, finite terms. The true definition is much more encompassing and takes into account the spiritual, otherworldly realms. Hence, what seems to be “bad” to us may ultimately be the greatest good. This is reflected in the statement of Nachum Ish Gam Zu. He used to always say, “gam zu l’tovah – “this also happened for the good.”

Even in the grimmest moments, he ascribed goodness to whatever circumstances confronted him. The Talmud relates wondrous stories about the happy denouement of many of Nachum’s experiences that looked very bleak at the outset. There may have been many situations that did not turn out so well, but he nevertheless would continue to say, in all circumstances, gam zu l’tovah. He did not predicate the goodness of the situation on his human perspective. When he said gam zu l’tovah, he meant it fully and about every event in his life.

He knew – and so should we – that we can only gain by adopting a cheerful, positive, bitachon-filled disposition.

Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic

Shelach: How Can I Trust God When I Don’t See Him?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

This week, we read about the tragic sin of the spies. It’s a very frustrating story. Every time we read it, just as the spies are about to give their report, we want to scream out, “NO – DON’T DO IT!” How could they have doubted God? How could they have sinned so egregiously?

 

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It’s About Time: Government Trust Fund for Every Israeli Child

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

For the first time in the history of the state, starting January 1, 2017, every Israeli child below the age of 18 will receive a trust fund in which the National Insurance Administration (Israel’s Social Security) will be making monthly deposits. Parents will be able to select an alternative financial institution for their child and be allowed to invest in the fund from the government child allowance.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the new trust fund for every child will go a long way to “narrow the social gaps in Israel, and promote equal opportunities for middle class and the weaker sectors, as well as raise awareness about saving.”

As it was laid out on Tuesday, the plan will allow an 18-year-old Israeli who has been enrolled all his life to embark on his adulthood with about $5,000. The trust fund plan is based on National Insurance making $14 monthly deposits in the funds. The hope is that with interest and added investments the fund would yield an even higher amount, enough to carry the young person through college, help start a small business or make any other worthwhile investment.

If the young Israeli opts to delay withdrawing the funds until he or she turns 21, National Insurance will add a 500 shekel bonus ($180) to the account at that point and the government would pay all the fees on the fund.

The obvious problem is that $5,000, which will be pulled out of the war on poverty budgets, is not a lot of money, and the future may be paved with Israeli young adult driving cheap cars or going on that incredible trip to India or the Amazon forest, rather than using the money for its intended purpose.

It would have been much more meaningful had government invested those $5,000 in the fund up front, which at 2% would yield more than $7,000, an end amount that could be boosted by the parents and the child over the years. With only $14 monthly deposits by the parents, the fund would be doubled by the end of the 18-year term.

But to do that, with about 200,000 babies born annually, Israel would have to divert about $1 billion from its budget to those funds. Not an impossible figure for a country with a $300 billion annual GDP. The upside would be a population that’s more serious about saving and investing, and young people who have a stake in the stability of the system. Those would include young Israeli Arab, by the way.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/its-about-time-government-trust-fund-for-every-israeli-child/2016/06/21/

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