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Don’t Drink Alone

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

It occurred to me that with so much of this website being devoted to politics and the Islamist threat, we should probably use some of our space contemplating the simple pleasures of life. So, today, when both the United States of America and the NRP-Bayit Yehudi Party are facing the vote that will decide their foreseeable future, I figured it was a good time to contemplate the notion of having a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper with your dog sitting in your lap.

The picture was taken in downtown Jerusalem this week, and in my humble opinion spells out the idea of civilization most successfully.

We have cats, so we can only do the coffee and paper thing with them at home. But I assure you it is just as civilized.

Recharge Your Neighbor

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

I visited my friend Ed Litvak’s news website thelodownny.com, for news from the old neighborhood following Sandy. Among the reports I ran into this image, of Seward Park Co-op residents helping each other recharge their laptops and phones.

Meanwhile, those co-op residents (which are about one-third Jewish and half of that frum) have put aside their own post-hurricane aches and pains to organize to take care of the numerous elderly residents in the buildings, who have been turned into shut-ins when the power went out and the elevators stopped running.

There are a little over 4500 apartments in those complexes down Grand Street and East Broadway, from Essex Street to the battered East River Park. I’m sure they’ll get it together.

Authentic Israeli Doggies

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Here are Canaan puppies playing with their human at a dog kennel at Sha’ar Hagai, on the road to Jerusalem, where they are housed and bred

The Canaan Dog is a native of the deserts of Israel. The original breeding stock at the Sha’ar Hagai kennel was collected from the wild and from the Bedouins, and, over the years, the folks at this kennel have added to this stock “whenever we had a chance.”

According to the kennel’s website, the Canaans are as close as you can get to the original dog, before our ancestors integrated them and started breeding them for fun and profit. These are raw dogs, with a temperament to go with it – not for your average apartment dweller, unless your apartment in in dire need of massive redecoration. They’re not cute, but they’re smart as a whip and can be very friendly and attentive. Obedient is already a different story – it’s something they need to be taught.

Today, more than ever, because of urban sprawl which is causing the gradual disappearance of the Canaan’s natural habitat, making its extinction in the wild a real possibility, This kennel is working to bring in more dogs from the wild and from the Bedouin tribes while they still exist.

They’re in a bit of trouble with the authorities these days, and are facing an eviction. Check out their website: Shaar Hagai Canaan Dogs.

Shidduchim: Why Personality Compatibility Matters

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Dear Readers:

Much of my private practice is devoted to helping couples in conflict resolve their differences. I have discovered over the years that personality compatibility is an essential component of a happy marriage. Many of the couples I see in therapy struggle with reconciling radically different modes of communicating and coping with life’s issues. As a result, it is often the case that arguments ensue, empathy is strained and estrangement sets in. With that as a backdrop, here are several fictitious vignettes of couples that are personality incompatible.

Devorah prides herself on being punctual. She views it as a mark of responsibility and respect for others to be on time. As a matter of fact, she almost always gets to meetings early. Her husband Yaakov usually arrives for appointments 5-10 minutes late. He always has what he thinks is a valid reason: something came up that he had to attend to. He prides himself on his flexibility and multitasking. Devorah is frustrated because she thinks Yaakov could be more organized and prioritize his life better. The two frequently argue about this issue and it negatively affects their relationships.

Malkie is sensitive to people’s feelings and will go to almost any length to avoid a dispute. Her husband Baruch is strong willed and factual and will press his case even if it involves some degree of dissension. Malkie feels that Baruch is insensitive and bullying. Baruch believes that Malkie is too much of a pushover and that she should stand up for what she feels is right – even if it involves a disagreement. He contends that disagreements are necessary because they lead to a clarification of the truth. This difference in approach leads to frustration for both of them.

Moshe believes that the best way to raise his and his wife’s children is to set firm rules and impose natural consequences for breaching those rules. He doesn’t believe in making exceptions, as it will teach their children to shirk their responsibilities. “The law is the law” by him. His wife Ruchie is very attuned to her children and is more inclined to view non-compliance as stemming from an emotional issue. She gives the benefit of the doubt to her children in many situations. As a consequence of their differing personalities, Moshe and Ruchie frequently argue over their different child-rearing styles.

As you can see, these couples are incompatible in certain defined aspects of their relationship. Neither spouse is right or wrong; they simply have very different personalities. These differences can be difficult to detect during the dating process, when singles are in situations that do not normally pose conflict. However, after the couple is married, these incompatibilities soon assume center stage. If differences are relatively few in number and the spouses possess significant skills in empathy and acceptance of difference, things are manageable. However, the cumulative effect of profound incompatibility is that feelings of trust and intimacy are compromised.

Of course, when couples differ in some ways, they can help each other grow. However, when couples’ personalities are significantly different or incompatible, it can become more of a problem in their marriage. Personality traits that at first seemed appealing because they were different than one’s own eventually become a source of frustration and are seen as a flaw in need of rectification. Individuals who seek to change their spouses’ traits will surely encounter failure. People cannot be coerced into changing their essential nature.

What emerges is that compatibility makes it much easier to establish a happy and successful marriage. Research studies in the field of psychology have demonstrated that compatible couples are more satisfied in their marriages. Moreover, Torah hashkafa emphasizes the importance of being diligent in identifying compatibility in prospective spouses. We need to communicate this knowledge to young adults and their parents who are now actively engaged in shidduchim. We must give them the necessary tools to be able to identify personality-compatible marriage prospects.

To that end I strongly endorse an exciting resource that has just burst onto the frum dating scene, one that will hopefully result in hundreds, if not thousands, of marriages. The website ZivugZone.com uses a sophisticated, state-of-the-art software program to match singles according to their personality compatibility, hashkafa, age and other key personal preferences. My friend and colleague Moshe Coan, with whom I’ve worked closely with in the past, is the website’s founder. ZivugZone.com is free and has become hugely popular since it launched in July. The first two months saw over 1,300 singles register.

Sarah Silverman Took Us Down

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Apparently nothing is more important in the world than Sarah Silverman and her uterus. As the entire world, and her father, have decided to visit (and revisit) the website to read and comment on Rabbi Rosenblatt’s article.
Unfortunately, our server is having trouble keeping up with this unbelievable volume of traffic.

We apologize if you’re among those who haven’t been able to access the site (but then how are you reading this?), and congratulations, if you’ve made it to this point.

We’re temporarily tweaking the server’s capabilities right now to handle this very incredible spike, and appreciate your understanding. If you can’t get on, please try again in a few minutes.

Must Have More Babies

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

This is the babies room at the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem.

It’s a picture of the future. It’s a picture of a well functioning society aware of the fact that even after every single of its living members is dead and buried, it will continue to live and even thrive – because of the assortment of cute munchkins lying helplessly in their mobile cribs.

It’s a very serious picture, with unimaginably crucial consequences.

Nothing is more important than babies, not national security, not the economy, nothing, because without them there IS nothing.

So what are you doing reading this website instead of populating the planet? Come on, get married and get busy!

‘Caught’ Using an iPhone, Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak Scorns his Detractors, While Urging Visitors to Carry a ‘Rabbi in Every Pocket’

Monday, October 15th, 2012

While senior Haredi rabbis are intensifying their battle against smartphones, and have begun as of late to levy personal sanctions against people using these devices, ostensibly to isolate them so they cannot inflict their cultural/spiritual damage on society – one notable and extremely influential Haredi star, Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak, continues to use this dangerous device unheeded.

Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak claims that Torah sage Rabbi Aaron Leib Steinman granted him and his assistants special permission to use the iPhone “for the purpose of hachzara b’tshuva,” encouraging people to return to observance of Torah & mitzvot.

Of all the people I disagree with ideologically, Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak is by far my favorite. When I’m feeling down I go to You Tube and pick a clip of his at random and let it run for thirty minutes or so. For me, it cures the blues. Because the good rabbi never cowers before anyone, and if he thinks he’s right he is visibly happy to let out the most unpopular statements, if only to watch the heads of his detractors explode with frustration.

One of his favorite sports is to pick up off the cuff debates with people in his audience, many of whom come specifically to duke it out with him. Not all of them pose much of an intellectual challenge, but I’m sure the outspoken rabbi can hold his own against anyone.

So I was curious to read his reaction to the allegations regarding his use of the verboten instruments, after social media users and several websites publicized pictures of him with the little box that made Steve Jobs king.

Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak addressed the issue on his own website, “Shofar,” calling his critics “fools” and saying they insult God.

He cited our sages, who warned that “anyone who doubts his rabbi, it is as if he is doubts the Divine Presence.” He then added another warning, citing the sages who taught that “he who casts suspicion upon the innocent will receive bodily punishment.”

Referring to the topic at hand, Rabbi Yitzchak published an ad on his website titled “Clarification to Eliminate Stumbling Blocks and Slander,” with the explanation: “Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak is against the iPhone and similar devices. Regarding the question of stupid and uninformed individuals, who ask how come Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak uses an iPhone, let it be known that the eminent Torah sage Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman gave personal permission to the rabbi and to his staff to use iPhones for the purpose of bringing Jews back to Torah observance.”

Last week, Rabbi Moshe Tzadka, dean of Yeshivat Porat Yosef, gave an order to smash the smartphone belonging to one of the boys in the yeshiva. Before breaking the phone, Rabbi Tzadka remarked that this is fulfilling the commandment of sanctifying God’s name and the act of destroying the device is like the Torah passage referring to idol worship: “And their altars you shall shatter and their monuments shall be broken.”

After the owner of the phone broke it in two pieces with his own hands, the rabbi called upon all present to declaim the passage together with him, “So shall all your enemies be smitten, God.”

An “iPhone smashing” ceremony was held several weeks ago, in the Maayan Shalom synagogue in the Pardes Katz neighborhood of Bnei Brak, where another smartphone was smashed to pieces. Presiding over that ceremony was Rabbi Lior Glazer (the Magid Meisharim) who peppered his words of rebuke with loud pounding of a wooden gavel, and called the religious users of the various “impure” smartphone devices despicable, villainous abominations.

The anti-smartphone forces in the Haredi world compare it to something like a house of ill repute right inside your pocket. But, much like the folks over at Chabad.org, Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak has devoted his life to loading positive, God fearing and extremely enjoyable messages online.

Which is why the “Shofar” website, that serves as an enormous archive of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak’s articles and videos, also celebrates the fact that from now on subscribers to the website as well as free users (for a limited time only) will be able to get pocket versions of the rabbi’s wisdom.

“With mazal tov, we’re on our way: the Rabbi in every pocket. You can watch the films of the Rabbi, may he live long, on iPhone and iPad as an application in the new website under the category of Edited Films. Enjoy!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/caught-using-an-iphone-rabbi-amnon-yitzchak-scorns-his-detractors-while-urging-visitors-to-carry-a-rabbi-in-every-pocket/2012/10/15/

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