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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘working’

Netanyahu to Cabinet: ‘Working Overtime’ in Search of Amona Solution

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning told the weekly Cabinet meeting: “We are working overtime to find a responsible solution to the issue of Amona and for similar cases in the future.

“We are working to reach a rational solution and I expect all of you, ministers and MKs, to respect it,” the PM reiterated, adding, “We must act responsibly and prudently here for a common goal: to defend the settlement, and to defend the court. We are working in both spheres.”

Netanyahu also told his ministers about new progress in the Israel-Jordan-PA Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal. “Last week we crossed another stage en route to realizing the canal between the seas project,” he said. “The US, the EU and Japan are financing this joint Israel-Jordan-Palestinian Authority project, and it includes desalination for communities in the Israeli and Jordanian Aravah desert alike, and channeling salt water to the Dead Sea. According to the plan, in 2020 fresh water will be supplied to the residents of the Aravah and salt water will finally be channeled to the Dead Sea.”

Netanyahu pointed out that the project “ties in with Herzl’s vision in his book Altneuland. He foresaw the canal between the seas and we now have the great honor and opportunity to realize this vision. Of course, this is also a project that constitutes an additional strategic anchor in the peaceful relations between Jordan and Israel, peaceful relations which are more vital than ever in light of what is happening in our region.”

The PM thanked Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara, “who is responsible for this project on my behalf; he is doing important work. Thank you, Ayoob.”

David Israel

Working Boy: A Mother-In-Law Responds

Friday, December 2nd, 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:

My husband and I read the letter to you from the young man who is upset that “working boys” like him are not considered prime marriage material by many girls, parents, and shadchanim, who place a greater emphasis on learning than on earning. We also read your response with great interest.

I would like to present a different perspective on this problem.

When my daughter graduated high school, she, like many of her friends, went to study in Yerushalayim for a year. When discussing her hopes and dreams for the future, she expressed the desire to marry a “learning boy.” With our blessings, she chose a seminary that advocated that lifestyle. My husband and I had no problem with that. We were in a position, Baruch Hashem, that enabled us to undertake full-time support.

Our daughter is a beautiful girl who throughout her school years excelled not only in learning but also in acts of chesed, and was always in the forefront in spearheading bikur cholim projects.

When she returned home after a year of study, we were bombarded with shidduch recommendations. Friends as well as shadchanim kept calling, suggesting boys of the highest caliber. Baruch Hashem, she found her basherte, and like many other young couples they moved to Yerushalayim, where her husband continued learning full time.

Our in-laws are lovely people but are unable to participate in supporting the couple (they weren’t even able to contribute to the wedding). My mechuten is a yeshiva rebbi with a large family and struggles to make ends meet. However, this was not a cause for concern to us. We were pleased that our daughter had found her basherte and that she was happy.

Our son-in-law is an outstanding Torah scholar with fine character traits, and we have much to be grateful for. We rented a lovely apartment for them in Yerushalayim and gave them a credit card (which they never abused). Everything seemed to be fine.

Today, six years later, with three small children and a fourth on the way, there are major problems. Unfortunately my husband has had severe business reversals. It’s much harder now for us to support our other six children – yeshiva tuitions, camps, clothing, etc. – and to keep up with our many other expenses.

Sadly, we were forced to inform our daughter and son-in-law that as reluctant as we were to do this, we would have to discontinue our support. This came as quite a shock to them. What was my son-in-law to do? What sort of employment could he possibly find?

He was anxious to continue learning and my daughter was determined to make it possible for him to do so. She was prepared to go to work, but then who would care for the children? Hiring help presented an additional expense that the meager salary she would earn could hardly justify. Our hearts broke, but what could we do?

My daughter came up with an idea. She started a small business out of her home, providing services that were much needed by other American families in Israel. Since she would be working from home, she would not need to engage help to care for her children. Baruch Hashem, she’s been managing, although it hasn’t been easy.

My son-in-law has taken on some tutoring jobs but, as you can imagine, the income from that is very small. He says that this year he will try to find full time employment as a rebbi. But not only are the salaries of rabbeim in most Israeli yeshivas inadequate, most of those yeshivas are in the red, and months can pass before rebbeim get their paychecks.

So yes, while my husband and I are all for learning, I am also deeply concerned with what I see going on in so many frum communities. I feel this entire mindset about full-time learning needs to be re-examined, especially given the uncertain economic times in which we live.

I realize there are no easy solutions, and for most of those who are determined to stay in learning or in chinuch, there are no viable options. They have already made a life commitment to learning and teaching Torah. But I wonder how this lifestyle will be sustained on a mass scale, especially when the parents who are supporting full-time learners begin passing from the scene and the current generation is faced with the dilemma of how to make a living.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Working Boy (Part II)

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Last week I published a letter from a young man who felt he was treated unfairly in his quest for a shidduch. A yeshiva graduate who excelled in learning, he was also determined to become a professional and that is where his woes commenced. He complained that the Torah community was intolerant of someone who earned a livelihood and was not a full time learner.

Born into a good, observant family in which he witnessed his parents’ devotion to Torah and their commitment to the work ethic, he wondered how earning a livelihood could be regarded as a negative.

This young man never anticipated that he would encounter difficulties finding a shidduch. To his dismay, however, shadchanim informed him that “good girls” were simply not interested in “working boys” even if they followed a disciplined regimen of daily Torah study.


My Dear Friend:

I understand and sympathize with your disenchantment. It’s very hurtful to be treated unfairly. Obviously, you are devoted to Torah study and are at a loss to understand why you are being labeled. But in all fairness, aren’t you doing some labeling yourself when you write, “All the good girls are looking for full-time learners”?

Is that really a fair statement? I happen to know many girls committed to Torah who come from excellent families and who are desirous of marrying young men like you who maintain a regular regimen of daily learning, daven with a minyan, and at the same time have become professionals. So it’s not as black and white as you make it out to be.

I believe we have altogether too little tolerance for anyone who doesn’t fit into our mold. So while you may have been unfairly judged, I am afraid that you are also judging unfairly.

As for your claim that most girls who spend a year studying in Israel are inculcated with the notion that “the only way a girl can obtain the kind of yiras Shamayim required of her as a Jewish wife and mother is to marry a boy who will learn in kollel or, at the very least, for several years after marriage,” here again it depends on how you view things.

Certainly, rabbis and teachers have the right to impart to their students the values their institutions represent. Girls and their families generally do their homework when choosing a seminary, so they are aware of and agree with the values espoused by the school of their choice.

Today, Baruch Hashem, there are many seminaries in Israel reflecting various shades and attitudes, and people are free to choose the school that best reflects their priority. What is important to remember, however, is that even if we do not personally subscribe to that particular point of view, we should regard it with respect.

We read in the Torah that even though each of the tribes of Israel had its own flag that symbolized its own unique gift and mission, the tribes were united as one. They were united because at the center of their encampment was the Mishkan – the Tabernacle of Hashem. Similarly, we too must forge our unity through our common love of Torah. The classic example of this is Yissachar and Zevulun. The tribe of Yissachar was devoted purely to Torah study, while Zevulun undertook to support Yissachar, but the Torah regards them as equal – as one.

So let us not deride those rabbis or seminary teachers who focus on learning, and by the same token, let us not label yeshivas and seminaries that are supportive of programs committed to learning and work.

We are too few in number to allow ourselves to be further fragmented by finger pointing and labeling. The Torah is the center of our lives and every Yid has a place in the great mosaic of Klal Yisrael.

After our liberation from Bergen Belsen, my beloved father, HaRav HaGaon, HaTzaddik Avraham Halevi Jungreis, zt”l, with tears flowing down his holy face, would say in Yiddish: “Noch a zoie churbon, men darf kushen yeden Yid” – after such a catastrophe, we have to kiss every Jew.

Now let’s get down to tachlis – a shidduch for you. May I suggest you come to our Hineni Heritage Center in Manhattan. We offer Torah classes, lectures, singles events, and so much more. As I mentioned above, there are many fine and good girls who would cherish someone like you, someone committed to learning, davening with a minyan, and giving tzedakah, and at the same time pursuing a profession.

B’Ezrat Hashem, we would be honored to help find your shidduch.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Working Boy

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I am a single male in my mid-20s. After learning all my life in mainstream yeshivish schools, I decided on a professional career and enrolled in college. I recently graduated and am currently working. A few years back, when I was learning in beis medrash during the day and pursuing my undergraduate degree in the evening, I began going out on shidduch dates and quickly realized I had an obstacle to overcome: I was labeled a “working boy.”

My parents raised me with a sense of responsibility and it was always expected I would have a career so that I’d be able to support a family comfortably. I was brought up with the idea that working is a good thing and not at all contradictory to living a proper Jewish life. Little did I know how much resistance I would face when seeking a mate.

Shidduch candidates, as well as shadchanim, asked and continue to ask whether I’d be willing to take time off to learn full-time for an unspecified number of years. I reply that while Torah is my life, I prefer to stick with my profession rather than create a glaring gap on my resume. That answer brings me rejection after rejection.

I have always taken my learning and Yiras Shamayim very seriously. I maintain the same level of Torah observance I grew up with. I daven with a minyan three times a day, maintain a daily seder with my chavrusah, and now that I have the means to do so, I have become a regular donor to several charitable organizations and yeshivas.

I keep up with my rebbeim, seeking their guidance at every step of the way. I attend occasional shiurim and regularly listen to Torah tapes. So, am I any less frum now than I would have been had I remained in yeshiva for an additional few years? Our community’s shidduch standards seem to shout “Yes!”

Despite my stated preference for a very frum girl, shadchanim call me and talk exclusively about girls from fairly modern families. When I reiterate that I am looking for someone from a more yeshivish background, they insist that such girls just don’t go for a “working boy” like me. They only want “learners.”

But look at the boys who are engaged in full-time learning. Undoubtedly many of them are fine young men, striving to grow in Torah and yiras Shamayim. But are they the best learners and the most “ehrlich” simply because they have remained in yeshiva well into their 20s (or older)?

Recently, a friend told me he would be entering a prestigious yeshiva for men who learn full time. He had always wanted to become a doctor like his father, so I asked him why he was putting off his dream for probably several years.

“I need a good shidduch and this is the best way to get it,” he said.

I find this so ironic. One can strive his entire life to be the best Jew possible, yet the moment he decides to pursue a career he is no longer “good enough” to marry many of the girls in our community.

What is behind this trend? As any girl who has studied at a mainstream right-wing seminary in Israel can confirm, teachers in such schools stress that the only way a girl can obtain the kind of yiras Shamayim required of her as a Jewish wife and mother is to marry a boy who will learn in kollel or, at the very least, for several years after marriage. Anything “less” is unacceptable, to be looked down upon and shunned.

Those who accept this approach might argue that although it is understood that some working boys are “shtark” and “ehrlich,” the foundation of the home is built on the first years of marriage and the husband should spend those years learning full time.

At face value, it may sound plausible to some. Does this mean, however, that nothing else will do? Do people really believe a young man who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning in order to learn Torah before going to work and then, after a full day at the office, learns late into the night is somehow not “good enough” for the girls in our community?

Additionally, what kind of precedent do we set by raising an entire generation of Jewish youth who have not worked a day in their lives and are accustomed to accepting handout after handout?

I understand the beauty of learning and the lifestyle that follows if done properly. It is my hope that after I find my kallah, guests who enter our home will not see any difference between it and homes where the husband learns full time.

Rebbetzin, is it too much to ask that at least some of the girls in the frum olam (and their parents) make an effort to get past the stigma they’ve attached to young b’nei Torah who work?


(To be continued)

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“Arab States Working with Israel to Replace Abbas with Dahlan”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Elder of Ziyon website}

From Middle East Eye:

The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan are planning for a post-Mahmoud Abbas era that would leave his Fatah archrival Mohammed Dahlan in control of the Palestinian presidency, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority, Middle East Eye has learned.

Senior Palestinian and Jordanian sources told MEE separately of the plan. Although there were differences in emphasis – the Jordanian source added caveats about Dahlan’s known weaknesses – they independently corroborated the existence of a joint plan of action.

Abbas has been a dominant figure in Palestinian politics since the 1990s and Palestinian president since 2005.

Dahlan is a former leader of the Palestinian political party Fatah who has been exiled from Gaza and the West Bank and has close ties to the UAE monarchy.

The UAE has already held talks with Israel about the strategy to install Dahlan, and the three parties will inform Saudi Arabia once they reach an agreement on its final shape.

The key objectives of the plan are to:

• unite and bolster Fatah for the forthcoming elections with Hamas
• weaken Hamas by dividing it into competing factions
• conclude a peace agreement with Israel with the backing of Arab states
• seize control of sovereign Palestinian institutions, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the PLO chairmanship and leadership of Fatah
• choreograph the return of Dahlan as the power behind the throne of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA)

One of the prime movers of the plan is Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who made clear to Jordan that differences over Palestinian President Abbas affected bilateral relations.

At one point, the Emiratis demanded the arrest of Abbas as well as a ban on him entering Jordan or using Jordan to travel abroad.

“The Emiratis, particularly Mohammed Bin Zayed, absolutely reject Abbas on the personal level, to the extent that they told the Jordanians explicitly that the reason the UAE is negative about Jordan is due to the fact that Jordan did not take a stand against Abbas,” a senior Palestinian source told MEE.

The three Arab countries have enumerated the steps needed to implement this plan and have allotted roles for each actor to play.

This is a fairly long and elaborate article, and it is intriguing, although I would take it with a large grain of salt.

There is no doubt that Dahlan is a wily politician who has a fair following, but since he was exiled his influence has waned. He is also a thug who has not hesitated to use violence against his political enemies when he was in charge of security in Gaza.

It does mention obstacles to Dahlan’s triumphant return:

  • He is considered to be unpopular among Palestinians and is accused of corruption and links to the Israeli security services.
  • His “zero sum” relationship with Abbas, who sees Dahlan as the main threat to his presidency, is also considered problematic, as is the fact that he works outside of the territory controlled by the PA.
  • The Jordanians believe the decision by Abbas to replace Yasser Abd Rabbuh as secretary to the PLO executive with Saeb Erekat shows Abbas is aware of the potential for a palace coup, and could work against Jordanian interests in Jerusalem.
  • It was, however, noted that Dahlan had influence in the Palestinian refugee camps inside Jordan and could constitute “an important card to impose control inside the camps.”
  • Weighing up the various pros and cons of Dahlan’s offer, Jordan opted to stall, according to the source.
  • The policy was to continue to enhance contacts with Dahlan and to show interest in embracing Fatah’s reconciliation, but to tell him to wait until after the US presidential elections and to ask for US help in pushing Abbas towards a reconciliation.

I have no idea if Israel supports Dahlan–it seems like a long shot. Positioning him as an alternative to Hamas when Abbas dies may make a little sense; Hamas leaders are more charismatic than Abbas’ heir apparent Saeb Erekat.

The article is detailed enough to make it seem at least a little plausible that such a plan is being hatched, although the chances of it actually being implemented seems very low.

Elder of Ziyon

Netanyahu Circle Working Overtime to Pushback Claim of German Rift

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The headline of Sunday morning’s Israel Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu daily freebee bankrolled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was: “Jerusalem Sources: ‘Relations with Germany Tight.'” The optimistic message came in response to an embarrassing probe by Der Spiegel this weekend pointing a finger at Israel Hayom as the source of a grossly misleading story in February, which attempted to assign to German Chancellor Angela Merkel a position she never knew she held.

Whenever Merkel meets with Netanyahu, according to Spiegel, you can count on Israel Hayom to publish the confidential content of their discussion shortly thereafter. But this time, they went ahead and wrote this headline: “Merkel: This Isn’t the Time for Two States.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this headline, and many rightwing Israelis were delighted to see a leading Western leader coming to her senses in these trying times; the only problem was, of course, that Merkel never said nor even hinted anything of the kind. Merkel and her advisors were furious, naturally, because Netanyahu, the obvious source for the “leak,” had twisted the chancellor’s warnings against his policy in Judea and Samaria into an endorsement.

“Merkel had repeatedly made it clear to Netanyahu that she believes the effects of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories are disastrous,” Spiegel reported. “The settlement policy, she believes, makes it unlikely that a viable Palestinian state can be established in accordance with plans aimed at a two-state solution. Any other approach, Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are convinced, would ultimately transform Israel into an apartheid regime. Netanyahu, however, has not shown himself to be the least bit impressed by such arguments.”

What emerges from the Spiegel story is a growing German concern that Netanyahu has been taking advantage of Germany’s support, cooperation and friendship and is using Berlin as a bulwark against policies Berlin supports. “The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship,” Rolf Mützenich, deputy floor leader for the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament, told Spiegel. The SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Foreign Minister Steinmeier is an SPD leader.

According to Spiegel, what Netanyahu has been doing these past few months, is turn warnings from Merkel and other senior German officials, such as Foreign Minister Steinmeier, that Israel’s settlement policy is making it impossible for a future two-state solution to ever work — into seemingly throwing in the towel and accepting this reality as inevitable. And nothing could be further from the truth. According to Spiegel, Germany, like the rest of the EU, is hell bent on establishing two states in Israel, because they are convinced that, with the Arab demographics being what they are, the only way open to Israel to remain a Jewish state otherwise is by a system of apartheid.

We can argue against this concept until we’re blue in the face, we can point to declining demographics on the Arab side, we can show a growing wave of Arab immigration from the PA and Gaza to Canada and the US, we can point to Israel’s history of an unwavering democratic approach to its minorities — the Europeans, at this point, aren’t prepared to buy any of it. And spreading headlines that they do when they don’t doesn’t change their minds, unfortunately.

The Israel Hayom Sunday article is an attempt to blame the Germans for the February faux pas. They cite “sources in Jerusalem” who say the Spiegel story is “an internal-German attempt to attack Merkel over her good relations with Prime Minister Netanyahu.” That statement could only be made by someone who didn’t read the Spiegel story, in which named sources in Merkel’s circle are accusing Netanyahu of misusing his friendship with Germany.

Then the Israeli paper claimed that this is what they heard in the Hebrew simultaneous translation, which is their version of the dog ate my homework. And finally, they pin the whole thing on Netanyahu, who pointed the entire Israeli press in that direction following the Chancellor’s remarks, saying she had finally come to her senses regarding the current slim chances of negotiations based on the two-state solution. For his part, Netanyahu pinned the blame for why the 2-state is dead for now on the “situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian Authority.”

The real problem is that the Netanyahu approach no longer works, at least according to Spiegel. The Chancellery has indeed lost hope that the peace process can be revived — “so long as Netanyahu remains in office,” the magazine insists, describing the visit of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to Berlin two weeks ago, when Merkel was “demonstrative in her support,” when she said, “I understand why President Abbas continually seeks out the Security Council.”


Finally, according to Spiegel, accusations from Netanyahu that the EU labeling of products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria are essentially an anti-Jewish boycott “are no longer taken seriously in the Chancellery. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen is supportive of the EU approach.”


Israel Corners Itself

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I’ve been reading Harvard University literature professor Ruth Wisse’s new book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor. In her chapter on Israeli humor, Professor Wisse discusses the comedy trio HaGashash HaChiver (The Pale Trackers) and writes about a 1981 post-election skit of theirs:

“The three then launch into a musical number that interprets avodah, the national ethic of labor, as ovdim aleynu, ‘They’re Working Us Over,’ in which each stanza spoofs the promises made by politicians when running for office…The song’s refrain [was], ‘They’re working us over…and we never learn…”

That refrain remains valid in both claims.

In response to a recent blog about the 104 terrorist releases, a Bayit Yehudi voter from Efrat comments, “It helps show the world the corner they’ve painted us into with this prisoner release. It shows the world their shame.”

This is not the language of vigorous, sovereign citizenship—what Israel’s national anthem calls an am chofshi b’artzenu (free people in our land). This is the language of evasion, feebleness, and dependency, confirming those who describe Israel as an American protectorate.

Addressing similar claims by Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, an excellent blogger from Jerusalem remarks:

“The last time I checked, [U.S. Secretary of State] Kerry does not work for Israel and does not represent us. Shaked’s party leader, Naftali Bennett, her Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Shaked herself do represent us. If Israel is making admittedly stupid moves like releasing terrorist murderers—especially when we get nothing in return—maybe we need to be looking at our own leadership and not at the Americans.”

Compare these essentially “America made us do it” claims with the recent observance of Tisha B’Av and associated lamentations about European Jews during the First Crusade in the 11th century. Those ancestors had neither an army nor a state as they faced demonic hordes seeking to destroy Judaism.

Yet despite such physically superior aggressors, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l noted about the many Jews who chose death rather than apostasy, regarding the lamentation Hacharishu Mimeni Va’adabera (“Be quiet, allow me to speak…”): “The enemies had a simple demand: all the Jew had to do was kiss the cross. The Jews could have saved their lives, but they would not agree to become apostates.”

Now consider the State of Israel in 2013, which has one of the strongest militaries in world history and a Yom Ha’atzmaut. How perverse is the claim that this superpower releases murderers of its citizens due to being “painted into a corner”?

The painted into a corner mentality always means rationalizing and mitigating injustice, the terrorist releases being the latest catastrophic example. Before that, it was blame Obama and the EU when the government froze construction in Yehuda and Shomron.

Or blame John Kerry and Catherine Ashton when Hamas attacks cities like Sderot with what amounts to impunity.

Or blame their predecessors when Israeli soldiers expelled 8,600 Jews from Gush Katif.

Do anything except reflect upon one’s own society and the regime it has produced. As Rabbi Yehuda Balsam commented this month in a related context, “If you’re not so happy with your leadership, perhaps it’s worthwhile to take a look in the mirror.” (See 5:00 here.)

The awful truth is that Israel corners itself and shames itself. The awful truth is that Israel invites foreign contempt because it shows contempt for itself.

“When you have no self-respect, you cannot expect anybody else will respect you,” Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo has noted. Specific to the religious Zionist sector—of which Bayit Yehudi is the latest political incarnation—Rabbi Bar-Hayim observes:

“One of their characteristics is a tremendous naiveté regarding the authorities, the powers that be. They’re always trying to read into their actions more positive motivations than truly exist. They’re always willing to overlook evils done by these people.” (See 34:50 here.)

To paraphrase the The Pale Trackers in 1981: Some people get worked over, and they never learn.

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-banner-raised-high/israel-corners-itself/2013/08/25/

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