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The Chesed of Satmar and of the American People

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

There’s a story on a website called Behadrey Haredim (in the rooms of Charedim). This Hebrew language – Israeli based website is now available in English. It tells of how Satmar Chasidim, at the behest of their Rebbe have pulled out all the stops to help fellow Jews in neighborhoods such as Far Rockaway and Bayswater that were suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
It is quite in character for Satmar to help fellow Jews in need. They are well known for their Chesed towards their fellow Jew. One may recall that their Bikur Cholim Society is internationally recognized for just that. Chesed. They visit sick Jews in hospitals and provide for more than their needs regardless of how religious they are. It doesn’t matter if a patient is a Satmar Chasid or not. If you are in the hospital and a Jew they are there to help you. In spades!

So this story is not all that remarkable. They are simply living up to their reputations as Baalei Chesed.

But it occurred to me that what they are doing is already being done in spades. Not by Satmar Chasidim but by the good people of New York City – Jew and non-Jew alike – to all people in need, not just their co-religionists.

This too is in character. Of the American people who comprise this Medinah Shel Chesed. There has been story after story of people helping people in need during this crisis.

Two examples come to mind.

One is about how many of runners who were scheduled to run in the NYC marathon used that time to distribute supplies originally reserved for the runners.

Then there was the story of a gas station owner who stayed open despite the fact that electric power was cut off and his gas pumps weren’t working. He somehow found a hand pump and started pumping gas manually to anyone who came to his gas station. And he did not charge them an extra dime for the gas. There have been hundreds of stories of people helping people without expecting anything in return but out of the goodness of their own heart. All of it non discriminatory. None of it selective – based on what religion you are.

So when I hear about how caring the Satmar community is for their fellow Jews and how much they are doing, I feel it is imperative to note that they are not alone. Nor is it uniquely Jewish. Non-Jews are doing it too. Only they are doing it more inclusively than Satmar.

This is not to take away from the great work Satmar is doing. It is only to praise the even greater work is being done by the good people of this great country. To that end I would also note that MASBIA a soup kitchen in Boro Park founded by Chasidim is extending their hand to all in need – Jews and non Jews alike. That is what I like to see. A real Kiddush HaShem.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/must-have-more-babies/2012/10/16/

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