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    Jewish Comedy

    26. April, 2016BlogComments are off

    Comedy has long been a mainstay of the Jewish people; during both good and bad times helping to bring a smile to our faces. Maybe that’s why there were and still are so many Jewish comedians in Hollywood.

    Below is a cute joke that will perhaps bring a smile to your face. It tells the story of a very bright young Jewish man who has a problem and goes to Temple to pray for guidance from God, but rather finds it in his Rabbi who just may have been inspired by God.

    The Jewish Engineer Who Learned A Lesson About Passover

    Benjamin, a young Jewish boy, decided he wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and build the fastest and best airplanes in the world. Over the years he studied hard, went to the best schools, and finally got his degree Aeronautical Engineering. It didn’t take long before he gained a reputation as the finest aeronautical engineer in all the land, so he decided to start his own company to build jets.

    His company was such a hit that the President of the United States called Benjamin into his office. “Benjamin,” the president said, “the President of Israel wants to commission your company to build an advanced jet fighter for his country. You have our approval– go out and design him the best jet fighter ever made.”

    Needless to say, Benjamin was tremendously excited at this prospect. The entire resources of his company went into building the most advanced jet fighter in history. Everything looked terrific on paper, but when they held the first test flight of the new jet, disaster struck. The wings couldn’t take the strain and they broke clean off of the fuselage!

    The test pilot parachuted to safety, thank God. Benjamin was not devastated; and so his company redesigned the jet fighter, but the same thing happened at the next test flight, the wings broke off again.

    Benjamin started to really worry. He was beside himself with worry because of the two failures, which was new to Benjamin because he had never failed before. Being a traditional Jew, Benjamin decided to pray and so he went to his Synagogue to pray… to ask God where he had gone wrong. The rabbi saw Benjamin’s sadness, and naturally asked him what the matter was. Benjamin decided to pour his heart out to the rabbi.

    After hearing the problem with the jet fighter, the rabbi put his arm on Benjamin’s shoulder and told him, “Listen, I know how to solve your problem. All you have to do is drill a row of holes directly above and below where the wing meets the fuselage. If you do this, I absolutely guarantee the wings won’t fall off.”

    Benjamin just smiled and thanked the rabbi for his advice… but the more he thought about it, the more he realized he had nothing to lose. Maybe the rabbi had some holy insight. So Benjamin did exactly what the rabbi told him to do. On the next design of the jet fighter, they drilled a row of holes directly above and below where the wings met the fuselage. And…it worked!!

    The next test flight went perfectly!

    Brimming with joy, Benjamin went to the Synagogue to tell the rabbi that his advice had worked.

    “Naturally,” said the rabbi, “I never doubted it would.”

    “But Rabbi, how did you know that drilling the holes would prevent the wings from falling off?”

    “Benjamin,” the rabbi intoned, “I’m an old man. I’ve lived for many, many years and I’ve celebrated Passover many, many times. In all those years, not once, NOT ONCE, has the matzah broken on the perforations.”

    Ted Cruz Embraces Preacher Who Said Jews Will Die If They Reject Christ

    1. March, 2016BlogComments are off

    There is a rather famous saying that politics makes for strange bed- fellows and the article that follows by author Sarah Posner bares this out big time. She has studied this man (by attending many of his meetings and speeches), and his preachings and one can draw their own conclusions from her well-written piece. But there is one conclusion that any reader will walk away with: and that is that Mr. Bickle is very important in Mr. Cruz’s campaign to become the leader of the free world. If you think that this is frightening, then read the article below.

    Mr. Bickle is an evangelical leader who claims that God sent Hitler to hunt the Jews. How did he know this? Well, God speaks to Mr. Bickel, that’s how. Isn’t it a great thing for God to speak to him and just him about the Jews and Hitler? Why didn’t God tell Mr. Bickle about the newest and greatest stock to invest in? And why just the Jews? There are one billion five hundred million Muslims in the world and God speaks to Mr. Bickel about eighteen million Jews? Why not change them and forget about the Jews? Look how many Christians in the world there would be; three billion Christians. Now
    that’s a number that would impress everyone.

    Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has come under fire from Jewish groups after touting his endorsement from Mike Bickle, an evangelical leader being scrutinized for preaching that God sent Hitler to hunt the Jews.

    This single statement, though, is just one element of Bickle’s divisive repertoire. Bickle, a charismatic Christian who believes he receives prophecies and visions directly from God, teaches that the best Jew is a messianic Jew, one who has accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Bickle’s ministry, the International House of Prayer, in Grandview, Missouri, is defined by a quest to cure Israel and Jews around the world of their “spiritual blindness” to Jesus.

    Despite what many Republicans — Jews among them — would have us believe, there is no way to consider a man like Bickle pro-Israel. Cruz’s campaign has responded to criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and the National Jewish Democratic Council by reacting to Bickle’s statement about Hitler, not to the entirety of his controversial teachings. Nick Muzin, a senior adviser to the Cruz campaign who is Jewish and well known, and liked by Jewish Republicans, told Jewish Insider that the preacher was “paraphrasing the words of the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah.” Bickle, Muzin insisted, “has made support for Israel and the Jewish people a central part of his mission.”

    Cruz subsequently told the Times of Israel that he rejected Bickle’s statement about Hitler and the Jews, but made clear that he still welcomed his endorsement. Bickle took to the pages of the Times of Israel to charge that his words had been “misinterpreted” by a “secular media” for whom “taking Scripture out of context is routine.”

    “Let me be clear,” Bickle wrote, demonstrating that he and Muzin were reading from the same script, “I have made support for Israel and the Jewish people a central part of my ministry.” Bickle is right that Israel and the Jews are a central part of his ministry. But for Jews, his vision of what Israel is or should be, and what Jews are or should be, would be frighteningly unrecognizable. In reaching this conclusion, I have not taken Scripture out of context. I have not relied on mere snippets of Bickle’s teachings. I have based this assessment on years of reporting on Bickle, spending hours in the IHOP prayer room in Grandview, covering him speaking on the National Mall in 2008, at former Texas governor Rick Perry’s 2011 prayer rally in Houston and at his own Forerunner Christian Fellowship in Missouri. I have listened to hours of his sermons and pored over his extensive writings. I have visited houses of prayer modeled on his, from rural South Carolina to Jerusalem. I have interviewed his admirers, his detractors and his disillusioned former followers. In 2012 I spent two weeks in Israel, immersing myself in the small community of messianic Jews and their Christian supporters, many of whom affiliate with Bickle and IHOP.

    Regardless of whether you are on the right or the left, a hawk or a dove, AIPAC or J Street, a full accounting of Bickle’s teaching would lead you to conclude that Bickle is not interested in Jewish history or in Israeli reality. He does not address the political alternatives Jews themselves argue over, such as Jewish nationalism versus pluralistic democracy, or continued settlement building versus a two-state solution. It’s impossible to place him on this ideological spectrum, because his public views on Israel are entirely devoted to an end-times prophecy in which Jews and Israel must repent for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

    Bickle’s teaching is unequivocal: Jews must accept Jesus in order to accomplish God’s will that Jesus return to Jerusalem to rule the world from his throne on the Temple Mount. It’s hard to imagine how a Zionist of any stripe would define this position as pro-Israel.

    In a 2009 speech, Bickle said, “The Jewish people have a temporary spiritual blindness,” and Israel has “stumbled” by not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. God wants the gentiles to “provoke Israel to jealousy” over their lack of belief in Jesus, Bickle said, after which the Jews will say to the gentiles, “’I want what you have in God.’” He argued that a “massive invasion of holy spirit power” is far more
    important than politics when it comes to Israel’s future. “I appreciate marches and lobbying and different things that guys do in the political arena,” he said. “But the only way that Israel has a chance is through a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the return of Jesus.”

    In a 2014 speech at his annual Israel Mandate conference, “The Battle for Jerusalem,” Bickle acknowledged that his beliefs “would not go over very well” in the Knesset. But he nonetheless made the farcical prediction that there will be a “complete shift in view of the Israeli government about Jesus.”

    According to Bickle, God will send Jesus back to Jerusalem only “after the Jewish people repent.” He urged his followers to drop everything and attend to instigating this collective repentance. “Whatever else we do, there are a few other things we need to do. We need to see Jews in Jerusalem connecting with Jesus,” he said. “Absolutely top priority.” In Israel, I met Messianic Jews and Christians alike who shared this outlook. Jewish leaders who embrace Christian Zionism have long claimed that theological differences are irrelevant when Israel needs its evangelical allies. “I’m not here to question people’s motivations,” Republican Jewish Coalition President Matthew Brooks told me last year, speaking generally about evangelical support for Israel. “It’s not for me a theological discussion, it’s a question of who’s standing by Israel when Israel needs it the most.”

    But messianic Judaism is growing in popularity in some evangelical circles, including Bickle’s. It has become mainstream enough that former president George W. Bush headlined a fundraiser for a major messianic Jewish group in 2013 with little consequence. The question now is how much longer Jewish leaders will continue to pretend that such people’s activities represent “support” for Israel, and how much longer they can keep saying that theology is irrelevant.

    CHINA’S SEARCH FOR THE SECRETS OF JEWISH SUCCESS

    1. February, 2016BlogComments are off

    For many years the Chinese government has looking to find out why the Jewish people are so successful in the medical, academic world as well as the business world. Besides all of that success, the Chinese people believe (along with the Christian and Moslem world), that the Jewish people are more intellectually gifted than the rest of the world. Why has this occurred? Why do people across the planet actually believe that the Jewish people are more gifted intellectually then the rest of the world’s people. Why are the Jewish people so successful in the business than any other group, bar none! Why, as a group are they so wealthy and why is poverty so unknown to that group? There are of, course, exceptions to this, but on the whole, there is very little poverty among the Jewish people as a group. To this is also connected the problrm of anti-Semitism? Why is there anti-Semitism in the world when the Jewish people have made so many contributions to it the Chinese people want to know? In a fascinating and informative article excerpted from The Image of Jews in Contemporary China: An Identity Without a People, edited by James Ross & Song Lihong, copyright 2016 by Academic Studies Press they present not only some of the answers we are looking for, but questions as well.

    During my first trip to China in the summer of 1985, I visited English Corner in People’s Park in Shanghai one Sunday afternoon. It’s one of the places where young Chinese people used to practice their English with visiting foreigners. Officials from the university where I was teaching in Shanghai escorted me there, and a big crowd quickly gathered to talk with me—a tall, curly-haired foreigner—and pushed closer to shower me with questions.

    Some of the questions seemed strange to me (“Do all Americans have AIDS?”) but most were routine, such as, “Where are you from? How do you like China? Are you married? Do you like Chinese girls?” After two months in China, none of this was surprising to me except for one additional question: “What is your religion?”

    I was taken aback at first—it’s not a question I often hear when I travel abroad—but after a brief pause I answered, “I am Jewish.” The young questioner gave me a thumbs up and said, “Jews are the best.”
    I got a similar question—and similar response—everywhere I traveled in China later that summer: Kunming, Chengdu, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Guangzhou. My unscientific survey suggested that the Chinese liked and admired Jews, although they didn’t seem to know much about them. I knew that there had been Jewish communities in Shanghai and other Chinese cities until shortly after WWII but that there was little evidence of their presence after the Communist takeover in 1949. There were a handful of Jewish tourists and visiting faculty at the time of my first visit. But I was curious about how average Chinese people had developed an image, seemingly a positive one, of Jews.

    I visited China several times after that summer, but it wasn’t until 2008, when I was selected as a Fulbright lecturer at Nanjing University, that I had a chance to explore the popular Chinese image of Jews. By then, there were many Jewish visitors and business people from the United States and Israel. And economic reforms were transforming the country. Making and spending money seemed at least as important as Communist ideology.

    When I first arrived to teach in Nanjing in the fall of 2008, I was joined by Yan Li, a history graduate student from my home university who had been staying with her family in Beijing. Yan and I visited bookstores throughout the city. We started at a small bookstore that featured books about evangelical Christianity. Yan asked the young woman who worked there if they had books about Jews, but the clerk had trouble answering the question. She didn’t know what Yan meant by “Jew.” At larger bookstores, we found entire sections devoted to books about Jews. Most of the books focused on finance, such as 16 Reasons for Jews Getting Wealthy by Chu Ke; The Secret of Talmud: The Jewish Code of Wealth by Jiao Yiyang; and Secret of Jewish Success: Ten Commandments of Jewish Success by Li Huizhen. Yan helped me translate the books and we found they were filled with misunderstandings and stereotypes. And books purporting to be based on the Talmud were mostly pithy sayings about wealth with little or no connection to actual Talmudic passages.

    Some of the misunderstandings are almost comical. One of the best-selling books is What’s Behind Jewish Success by Tian Zaiwei and Sha Wen. “It is said that Jews are distinguished by their noses,” the authors write. “All Jews have hooknoses. This is not accurate. Despite hook-nosed Jews in cartoons, only Jews in Russia and the Near East have hooknoses in real life.” They also write that “to save time, Jews never beat about the bush in negotiations as Chinese often do.” Jews control the diamond market, the authors also write, since diamonds are “valuable and easy to carry which is ideal for Jews who are always drifting.”

    The most prominent author and editor of Chinese books about Jews is He Xiongfei, who identifies himself as a literary critic, orator, Jewish studies expert, and visiting professor at Nankai University. He is director of Xiongfei Limited in Hainan and has edited a number of book series on intellectual, literary, and cultural studies. His most popular series is titled “Revelations on the Jews Superior Intelligence,” launched in 1995. His books include Jewish Wisdom of Family Education: The Cultural Code of the Most Intelligent and Wealthy Nation in the World (2005); Secrets of Jewish Success: The Golden Rule of a Miraculous Nation (2004); and Uncovering the Enigma of Jewish Success in the World (2002). He also has edited Collection of Jewish Strategies (1995); Jewish Life of Money (2002); Jewish Magnates of Ideas (1995); Legend of World Famous Jewish Celebrities (1996): Riddle of Jews (1997); and Jewish Bigwigs’ Skills of Making Money (1996). His most recent publications are cartoon books for children about Jewish wisdom and the Talmud.

    In the best-seller The Spirit of Jewish Culture (the English title on the cover is Whats [sic] Behind Jewish Cleverness) by Sai Ni Ya, one of He Xiongfei’s pseudonyms, he writes that Jews “are the most intelligent, mysterious, and the wealthiest people in the world. In a sense, not knowing about Jews equals not knowing the world! When Jews sneeze at home, all the banks in the world would catch a cold one by one. Five Jews together can control the gold market of the humankind; the antagonism between the East and the West, in a sense, can be said to be that between two Jews—Jesus and Marx.” The book continues with a series of lessons. Lesson 1 tries to define “who is a Jew.” It starts by discussing maternal descent then states:

    Yet the chief criterion is whether one’s religion is Judaism. In the Jewish perspective, Judaism and Jews are integrated—Jews are the materialization of Judaism and Judaism is the spiritual kernel of Jews. Thus Jews have identified themselves with Judaism: those who believe in Judaism are Jewish, and Jews all believe in Judaism. This outlook that unifies religion and ethnicity is closely related to their unique history and experiences. It is not because of religious radicalism.
    These oversimplifications are typical of He Xiongfei’s work. Other lessons focus on Jewish rituals, such as circumcision, and great Jewish figures in philosophy, finance, science, art, and politics. (He mistakenly identifies a number of people as Jews, such as the Rockefellers.)

    Another lesson discusses anti-Semitism:

    [T]his hatred toward Jews has gone deep into most non-Jewish people’s consciousness with no sensible reason and has been passed down from generation to generation. Jews have become the object of persistent and conventional worldwide hatred and genocide. Orthodox Jews are charged with ethnic chauvinism; Jews being assimilated are accused of being the Fifth Column of contaminating non-Jewish people by way of assimilation; rich Jews are regarded as the vampire of the nation; poor Jews are looked down upon as the burden of society…

    The main reason for this hatred is their “Jewishness,” he writes. Their belief in one god is “so conceited as to be disrespectful of gods of other religions. Their ‘Jewishness’ is also embodied in their strict adherence to the 613 doctrines, which has made them an eccentric community that is hard to coexist with and merge into other cultures.” There is also a brief lesson on the Torah and chapter on Jewish humor.

    He Xiongfei was a Buddhist who eventually turned to Christianity through his study of Jewish culture. In an interview with Christian Times, he discussed his feelings toward Judaism:

    Though I have long since studied the Jewish culture, I always have a feeling that I am a spectator rather than a practitioner. Through my study I know the progenitor of Jewish culture is God. If you do not believe in Him, all of the study are in vain, so I think it is imperative to accept God if I want to study the Jewish culture, otherwise I will remain a spectator for good.

    He also developed new ideas and patterns for his “Project of Jewish Education.” With projects like “Bar Mitzvah: Training Camp of Jewish Wisdom,” he hopes to help more Chinese children get an opportunity not merely to learn Jewish wisdom but also to know God. The interviewer referred to He Xiongfei as “the doyen of Jewish education in China.”

    Another popular book is The 101 Business Secrets in Jews’ Notebook by Zhu Xin Yue. It suggests that the Jews’ systematic experience and knowledge are part of their secret for creating wealth. In addition, Jews are born with the ability to make money. There is a classic saying that ‘the world’s money is in the pocket of Americans while the Americans’ money is in the pocket of Jews.’…For smart Jews, everything has its own value, and everything can be regained except priceless wisdom…The most important point is Jews’ attitude toward money. In their view, money is the gift for God rather than something shameful. You can get respect, high social status with enough money.

    Other popular book titles include The Secret of Talmud: The Jewish Code of Wealth by Jiao Yiyang; Secret of Jewish Success: Ten Commandments of Jewish Success by Li Huizhen; Stranger from Mars: Nobel Prize and Jews by Yang Jianye; Voice of Wisdom: Speeches of Jewish Celebrities by Yu Xin; and Jewish Conspiracy of Destroying the World by Zhang Daquan.

    Most of the Chinese authors who write about Jews really don’t know much about them. They use the success of Jews, especially in business and education, to promote values the Chinese traditionally cherish, such as hard work and knowledge or, in China’s burgeoning market economy, getting rich. Perhaps the Chinese are fascinated by the characteristics they see in Jews that correspond to their own concepts and outlooks.
    Some of the books available in China have been translated from English, including Jack Rosen’s Jews: The Secrets to their Success. Many other books about Jews that are popular in China have been translated from Japanese. Japan, like China, has had a long fascination with the Jews and also has virtually no Jewish population. Best-selling books blame international Jewish cartels and conspiracies for Japan’s economic problems. Masami Uno, a leading Japanese anti-Semite, has sold more than one million copies of two books, If You Understand the Jews, You Will Understand the World and If You Understand Jews, You Will Understand Japan.

    Best-selling Chinese books have been filled with outrageous claims about Jews for decades. Most of the claims create a positive attitude about Jews, but they also perpetuate stereotypes and misunderstandings about how Jews make money and raise their children. In recent years, however, much of China’s popular discussion on Jews and Judaism has appeared on blogs. In a July 2012 blog titled “Jewish Education,” Wang War writes that the “Jewish nation is the world’s smartest, richest and most mysterious nation.” He cites Marx, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Mendelssohn as “Jewish gurus,” notes the high number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners, and praises Jewish success at business. “Seventy percent of world trade is controlled by the Jews,” he writes, and Jews account for 25 percent of the 400 richest Americans. “It is said that most of the world’s wealth is in the pockets of the Jews,” writes Wang.

    One of the main sources of Jews’ success, according to Wang, is education. Learning and education are “spiritual beliefs,” he writes, and part of the “national spirit.” In Israel, Wang writes, pregnant women are always singing, playing the piano, and reading from mathematics textbooks. He also writes about the myth that Jewish mothers place a drop of honey on the Bible and have their young children lick it off so they learn the Bible is sweet. In “How to Train Children to Study Jewish,” another blogger writes that “in every Jewish family, shortly after birth, the mother would read ‘the Bible’ (Hebrew Bible) to him. And after reading each paragraph, let the child lick honey. When a child is slightly bigger, the mother will present the ‘Bible’ with little drops of honey on top, then have the child lick honey off.” (A similar myth is repeated in evangelical Christian websites.)

    Wang also writes about the respect Jews have for teachers: “In the Jewish community, teachers are even more important than the father. If both father and teacher are sent to jail and only one person can be rescued, then the child will decide to rescue the teacher, because teachers impart knowledge in the Jewish community.”

    A similar blog, “How to Train Children to Study Jewish,” repeats these myths. The author, who is not identified, writes that “in ancient times, many Jewish cemeteries were often stocked with a variety of books, because the Jews believe that in the dead of night, dead people will come out reading, which of course is impossible. But it has a certain symbolic significance: even at the end of life there is a never-ending quest for knowledge.” (This is apparently based on a misunderstanding of the Jewish custom of burying damaged prayer books and sacred documents.)

    The blog also notes: “The Jews are indeed a great race and account for America’s 200 most influential celebrities, Jews account more than half of the 100 Nobel laureates; one-third of the professors at prestigious universities in the United States; one quarter of the nation’s lawyers; 60 percent of the nation’s leading writers of literature, drama, and music; and one half of the world’s richest entrepreneurs and one-third of the millionaires in the United States.”

    Although many of the blogs are exaggerated or false in their praise of the Jews, some seem openly anti-Semitic. One recent blog suggests the Germans traditionally hated Jews because they believed the Jews killed Jesus but in Hitler’s time they despised Jews because of their prosperity. Another blogger wrote that Germans believed Communism was the beginning of a Jewish conspiracy to conquer Germany and the rest of the world.

    Stereotypes about Jewish wisdom are common topics in Chinese blogs. Blogger Zhou Biao speculated in October 2009 as to why so many Jews have won Nobel Prizes in science and literature. (The Jewish Virtual Library notes that 193 of the 855 Nobel Prize honors have been Jewish [about 22 percent] since the prize was first awarded in 1901. Jews make up less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population.) Zhou Biao suggested that “misfortune” is probably the reason. He notes that Jews [actually, ancient Hebrews] were slaves in Assyria and Babylon and that their cities were destroyed by the Roman Empire and they were driven out.
    “Later in the Middle Ages,” Zhou Biao wrote, “they had to survive in the Islamic world and Europe ruled by Christianity where their legal and political status were very low, many rights were deprived of, even sometimes they might suffer expulsion and genocide. Faced with the difficult situation which lasted for at least two thousand years, they were forced to develop a unique lifestyle.”

    He then discussed Medieval Europe and how Jews did not have the right to own land and that “forced them to turn to more knowledgeable and skillful industries, such as the handicraft industry, financial industry and so on…” Jews used their savings, he wrote, to develop the lending industry and, “because of their instability and high risk, the decent middle class despised them.”

    In the capitalist era, Zhou Biao wrote, “the inferior position of the Jews can quickly turn into a huge advantage.” He compared this with unemployed and educated youths in China who succeeded under Chinese economic reforms in the late twentieth century. “The Jews are the pioneers of business and they have done business for two thousand years,” he wrote.

    Zhou Biao argues that Jews did not have financial support from states or other organizations but succeeded because they were “far from power, casting off the control and keeping tolerance and independence.”
    Another blogger, Liu Kai, discussed the “unique family education” of the Jews in his posting. For the Jews, he writes, “their property is not money but books since books are carriers of knowledge…[E]very Jewish child likes reading. When they grow up, parents put books everywhere to make sure that their children could reach them anytime.”
    In his blog post “Why are Jews so clever?” Gao Feng suggests that diet and “fetal education” are keys to Jewish success. He notes that “all Jews firmly believe when meat and fish are mixed together, it will do harm to their body.”

    Stereotypes and misinformation about Jews remain widespread in China. But they seem to have inspired admiration for Jews, rather than anti-Semitism. Despite the lack of a significant Jewish presence in China, Jews remain a model for success.

    STOP WORRYING ABOUT ISRAEL

    15. January, 2016BlogComments are off

    The Jewish State ‘has never been in a better strategic position than where it is today’

    If you’re a Jew you always worry everything. You worry about the weather, what’s for dinner, the price of gas today versus what’s it going to be tomorrow, the political in the USA peace in the world and Israel, and everything else in the entire world. At the front of all our worrying is the future of Israel and whether survive the anti-Israel onslaught that always pervades the world.

    Below is an article that was written by Josef Joffe, who wrote his article for the Tablet, an online newspaper, addressed the condition of our people in Israel and what their chances are for survival in the new world order. In his interesting and informative article, Mr. Joffe discusses at great length the survival of the Jewish people through the Bible and onto the Hasmonean period, through the Holocaust and right up to day’s problems with the Arab world and the nations that are using anti-Israel verbiage to further anti-Semitism around the planet. Despite all of the bad press that the Jewish people of Israel are getting they are not only surviving, they are thriving and will continue to thrive. His conclusion, and mine as well is that we have survived for over 5700 years and we will continue to survive and thrive for another 5700 years.

    To kvetch is as Jewish as guilt-tripping, gefilte fish, and gloom. But the ne plus ultra of Jewish is angst—that sense of dread and foreboding that keeps whispering: “The universe is out to get you!”Given the Jewish experience of the last 5776 years, this take reflects realism rather than paranoia. Start with the eviction from Eden and the Deluge, which left only Noah’s clan alive. Continue with the Pharaonic slavery and God’s vow in the Desert (Numbers 14) to strike the Children of Israel “with pestilence and disown them.” And so it goes: the Babylonian captivity, Haman, Masada, the destruction of two temples, the dispersal. It is an unending epic of persecution, expulsion and slaughter culminating in the Shoah.

    In Fiddler on the Roof, Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye put the existential curse in a nutshell: “I know, I know,” he pleads with the Almighty, “we are Your chosen people. But once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?” Without the gift of irony and gallows humor, Jews might not have made it to 5776, but there isn’t even a sub-atomic particle of this wondrous antidote in Ron Rosenbaum’s “Lamentation for the State of Israel,” published in these pages on Dec. 14, 2015. Here is the gist of his dirge:

    I believe the State of Israel may not survive. That its days are numbered. I can hardly bear to say it. … But now the children of Holocaust victims and survivors and the children of those who came to Israel as refugees from pogroms in Islamic lands—now they too, face a future not merely bleak, but perhaps blank, empty, ended.

    This time, the author believes, it is finito for good—“blank, empty, ended.” Or as the ancient Romans used to chant: “Hierosoluma est perdita”—Jerusalem is lost. It is still there while the Roman Empire is history—as are all the other empires in the Middle East that have routinely vanquished Israel. Also still there, and stronger than ever, is the State of Israel that barely escaped extinction at birth 67 years ago. Today, the former land of orange groves, swamps, and dunes is the Middle East’s little superpower.
    So why, as Rosenbaum imagines, would Israel’s enemies do better now than in five wars since 1948, not counting a slew of lesser battles from Lebanon to Gaza? Why would 7 million Jews do worse today than those 600,000 who fought off five Arab armies in 1948-49? Rosenbaum marshals two arguments reflecting sheer angst, not analysis.

    One data point is a declaration by Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei following the JCPA, the nuclear deal that is to keep the bomb out of Tehran’s hands for 15 or even 25 years. According to the ayatollah’s rant, Israel does not gain safety, but only a reprieve. When the agreement will have run its course, “the Zionist regime—with the grace of God—will no longer exist in the region.”

    So, according to our doomsayer, it will be curtains for the Jewish state no later than 2040, a few years short of its 100th birthday. Nor is it just Iranian nukes that will undo Israel. “The second development that made me fear for the worst,” Rosenbaum continues his dirge, “was a recent poll that “reveals 80 percent of Israeli kids traumatized by terror-attack videos” making the rounds in the current “war of the knives.”

    Actually, it wasn’t the kids, but their parents who reported the formers’ “traumas” to the pollsters, and parents are wont to dramatize whatever may ail their little darlings. Actually, these moms and dads might have done better by their offspring if they had fed them Grimm’s fairly tales, gruesome stuff where witches are burned alive and grannies are eaten by wolves.

    It is not clear what such a survey, as hyped by The Algemeiner on Nov. 5 and loaded with suggestive language, is supposed to prove about Israel’s impending demise. Especially since Israel has prevailed in the two intifadas preceding the waves of stabbings Palestinians unleashed last fall. In the first one from 1987 to 1993, 160 Israelis were killed. In the second from 2000 to 2005, the toll soared to 1,010, overwhelmingly among civilians.

    Did Israel bare its throat in surrender? Did its “traumatized” youth refuse to serve in the army? Did they and their parents abscond by the millions, like today’s Syrians and Iraqis fleeing to adjacent Muslim lands and to Europe?
    Every survey this author knows proves the opposite: Terror does not pay; it invariably hardens a nation’s resolve. This is how America reacted after Sept. 11. This is how Israel responded to two intifadas with a death toll of 1,200. “Keep calm and carry on” is how the British behaved during the Blitz—the terror bombing of English cities by the Luftwaffe in 1940-41 that claimed about 40,000 civilian lives in eight months. Nor have the French caved to last year’s ISIS-inspired massacres in Paris.

    But let’s not dwell on polls, nor on 35 years of murderous rhetoric routinely spewed forth by the Iranian regime since the Khomeinist revolution of 1979. Or for that matter, on the anti-Arab slogans of Israel’s extremist right. Let’s instead look at the realities. Let’s focus on what the Soviets loved to call the “correlation of forces”—the real stuff that includes not only bombs and bullets, but also Israel’s economy, demography, technology, and diplomacy.
    Since Iran, Israel’s strongest foe, looms supreme in Rosenbaum’s lament, we should start with the Islamic Republic. What do Allah’s self-proclaimed servants observe when they look at the “Zionist usurper” they want to “wipe off the map”? Above all, they see a country credited with 80 to 200 nuclear weapons.

    Such bare numbers don’t mean much by themselves. The magic word here is what strategists define as “second-strike capability.” It signals to a would-be aggressor that he cannot, repeat, cannot disarm his victim in a surprise attack. If he shoots first, he will die second. That is the essence of deterrence. It has kept the peace among the great powers for two generations.

    Israel is not a great power, but in nuclear terms, it is America writ small. Like the United States, it possesses a second-strike arsenal. Like the United States, it boasts a “nuclear triad” that cannot be pre-empted in one fell strike. The threesome consists of attack aircraft (which are aloft when tensions rise), land-based Jericho intermediate-range missiles, and, best of all, four (soon to be five) missile-carrying submarines hiding somewhere in the ocean. These German-made, state-of-the art Dolphin U-boats are invulnerable to a first strike because they cannot be located, hence not targeted. France, by the way, has only four strategic subs of the Triomphant class.

    At this point in the debate, the “yes, but” killer argument is invariably trundled onstage. Deterrence, the Cassandras claim, requires rational actors who will weigh the existential risks of going first. But not those crazed Iranians! It is worth recalling that we thought the same about the “Life is cheap” Soviets during the early stages of the Cold War.

    Didn’t the heirs of Karl Marx see themselves as agents of History? To redeem mankind from Capitalist oppression, they would gladly sacrifice millions of their own. Substitute Allah for History. The pious revolutionaries of Tehran, like the Blues Brothers, are on “a mission from God.” To wipe the “Little Satan” off the planet in 25 years, as Khamenei has pledged, they would likewise pay with millions of incinerated citizens, especially since their end on earth would take them straight into martyr’s paradise.
    So much for consigning entire nations to the asylum. Now do the ghastly arithmetic. With, say, 50 nukes, Israel can obliterate Iran not just as a country, but as a civilization—and still keep enough warheads in reserve to deter whoever else might want to wade in. Revolutionary Iran may well believe in executing Allah’s revealed will, but psychotics they are not.

    Nothing in its past behavior, malicious and grasping as it is, suggests that the Islamic regime will court Armageddon to destroy Israel—and to kill neighboring fellow Muslims in the cataclysm, to boot. “Yes, but” is angst-mongering, not cold-eyed strategic analysis honed in the reassuring experience of the past 65 years. The Iranians, like the Soviets yesterday, are as crazy as foxes.

    So, what about the other Arabs and their eliminationist fantasies? Again, it helps to look at the military realities. Israel has beaten the Arabs over and over again. Now put its clout in perspective. The Jewish state has a standing army of 133,000; that’s more than twice the British total. It has 500 main battle tanks, twice the number of the Germans whose panzers once went to the gates of Moscow and Cairo. The Israel Air Force has some 440 first-line combat aircraft—more than Britain, France, or Germany. And it can mobilize 400,000 reserves, a number dwarfing the back-up forces of any NATO country.

    Yes, but. The Arab League boasts a population of 365 million, as compared to a paltry 7 million Jews in Israel. A more interesting measuring rod is GDP. In terms of economic prowess, Israel puts $306 billion on the scales. All the four “confrontation states” together—Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria—come in at $400 billion (a conservative estimate because nobody knows Syria’s GDP after four years of war).

    Suggesting a kind of balance, such aggregates do not bespeak economic strength. The population of this foursome is 15 times larger than Israel’s. So, let’s look at per-capita income as a measure of real muscle. A fourth-world economy in its infancy, Israel now boasts a per capita two rungs behind France’s and one above (!) Japan’s. Egypt’s is less than one-tenth of Israel’s income per person. So much for those “plucky Jews” who started out with citrus, potash, and bananas back in 1948 and now sell advanced weaponry to the United States, India, and China. While Israel generates $37,000 per man, woman, and child, the numbers for Egypt and Jordan are $3,400 and $5,400. Syria, a battlefield rather than an economy, no longer shows up in the tables of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Another useful comparison: Israel has seven great research universities; the Arab world has none. Nor has it attracted Google’s and Microsoft’s research divisions, as Israel has.

    Now look at the strategic setting. When five Arab armies were marching on Tel Aviv, not even a mentally unhinged dreamer could have foreseen Israel’s miraculous position 67 years later. Jerusalem has peace treaties with Cairo and Amman. It has just opened a quasi-diplomatic representation in Abu Dhabi. More outlandish still, Israel now enjoys a silent alliance with Saudi-Arabia and the other Gulf states. The strategic landscape has changed beyond belief, with Israel as key beneficiary.

    A “conventional war that ends in Israel’s defeat,” as Rosenbaum surmises? Who would fight it? Not Egypt that has its eyes on Hamas in Gaza and, farther afield, on Iran. Not Jordan, a security client of Israel ever since the IDF deterred Syria from invading in 1970. Syria? It is a failed state that will eventually break up into Kurdish, Alawite, and Sunni sub-states. The Palestinian Authority, which hasn’t dared to go into an election for ten years, owes its life to the IDF and Israel’s security services.

    Hezbollah, ranging across the Levant, is man-for-man the best Arab force in the region. But then look at the tacit alliance between Israel and Russia, once among Jerusalem’s worst foes. Israel will not interfere with the Russian air campaign in Syria. In exchange it gets a free hand to bomb Hezbollah’s arms pipe line from Iran into Lebanon. In short, Israel has never been in a better strategic position than where it is today.

    This is a time to kvell, not to kvetch—though there is a lot to bemoan, as always. Jerusalemites don’t walk their dogs at night any more, not if they live near Arab quarters. The politics are atrocious, but no more polarized than in the U.S. Congress. (There are just more parties in the game.) Those with longer memories will not remember the era of Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir as a heaven of Swiss-style consensus-building. Or bereft of corruption and profiteering by privileged vested interests like the labor unions.

    Inequality is rising. The tie to Barack Obama’s America has been fraying while the European Union is playing with boycotts of Israeli goods and, as in Britain, Israeli academics. There won’t be peace with the Palestinians in this generation, not with the failing state that is the Palestinian Authority. Nor is Israel exactly pining for a two-state deal, not after 20 years of rightward drift. So the pessimists may well be the realists in the accursed lands of the Levant.

    But sheer angst à la Rosenbaum? Israel’s strategic and economic superiority is the fitting antidote, as least for level-headed analysts. To boot, there are always miracles afoot in the Not-So-Promised Land. Jewish immigration to Israel reached a 15-year high in 2015, with around 30,000 new arrivals. They come from France where terror against Jewish institutions has become the New Normal. They hail from economic basket cases like Putin’s Russia and war-torn Ukraine. These folks apparently don’t believe that Israel is doomed.

    Israel’s Bureau of Statistics projects a population of 11 to 12 million for 2035.

    “Traumatized,” as Rosenbaum claims, Israel is not. To the contrary, Israel ranks No. 11 in the World Happiness Report, ahead of Canada and the United States. In the world’s fertility ranking, Israel is No. 1 among all Western nations—with 3 births per woman of child-bearing age; the United States comes in at 1.9, and the Europeans at around 1.4. Just to keep the population constant requires 2.1. Fertility isn’t just a statistic. It reflects a nation’s trust in the future. With a rate way above replenishment, Israelis don’t seem to believe that their country is headed for a speedy demise, as foreseen by Rosenbaum.

    He approvingly quotes the Jewish thinker Emil Fackenheim who invoked the “614th Commandment” (after the 613 traditional ones): “Thou shall give to Hitler no posthumous victories.” That victory is now “so close,” our soothsayer avers. As a trope of Jewish angst, “Hitler” is of course impossible to beat. As any psychiatrist will tell you, “don’t be afraid” is as productive as homeopathy. It is more reassuring to tally the economic and strategic trends that favor Israel more than at any time in its existence. They don’t corroborate Rosenbaum’s prediction that Israel’s “days are numbered.”

    If you don’t trust the hard stuff, take a cue from Sholem Aleichem who quipped: “No matter how bad things get, you have to go on living, even if it kills you.” This is how Jews have survived for 5776 years.

    The Jewish Definition of Courage And How Rosa Parks Fits It

    7. January, 2016BlogComments are off

    “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ― Winston Churchill

    “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” ― Winston Churchill

    The word “courage” as defined in the dictionary is, “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” It’s also defined as “bravery.” But the definition of courage, is, I believe, misunderstood. My understanding of what courage doesn’t really have anything to do with emotions; it’s not how we may feel about something; rather, it’s how we act or react to some event in our lives.

    Everyone is afraid of something, that’s normal and when someone says that they not afraid of anything, they are lying. Feeling fear is unavoidable. Some people are afraid of another person, or the dark, or dogs, or heights, or just about anything.

    My question to you, is what do you do when YOU have those fears? Do you avoid them as much as possible? Hide from them? Or do you face them and face them and consequences of facing them?

    This is the essence (essence used here means, the meaning of) of courage—getting up the strength and will to do something you strongly believe has to be done, even though you might be afraid to do it. Aristotle, one of the world’s greatest philosophers said, “We become brave by doing brave acts.” What do you think he meant by that? …………………………………… I believe that it means, even though we might be afraid to act, we do act and that makes us brave and courageous. Sometimes that helps us overcome our fears, but that’s not what is important…it’s our actions that are important.

    Courage also requires wisdom. You have to understand what the consequences of your actions are going to be and be totally honest with yourself about the possible consequences. For example: If someone was on a window ledge, five floors up, would you walk out on the ledge to try and convince the person to walk towards the window and come back into room, or would you speak to that person from inside the room to come towards you and come back into the room? Which would be the best solution to this problem? Years ago I was a lifeguard at a hotel named, The Granit Hotel in Kerhonkson, NY. As sometimes happens, I, as the lifeguard was put in a position to save a man’s life.

    I was watching the pool and a man yelled out, “save me, I’m drowning.” He was in the deep end of the pool and I dove in to rescue him. As I swam up to the man he was in panic mode and I tried to calm him be telling him I was there to help him. He wasn’t listening and grabbed me around my neck, trying to climb up on me as he did that. He pushed me under the water and I let that continue he along with me would have drowned. My training kicked in and I automatically kicked off, which means that I pulled my legs to my chest, put my feet into his chest and I pushed off, separating myself from him. He was still in panic mode, but I calmly told the man that I would save him if he would not struggle and fight me and to turn around with his back towards me. He said, “Okay,” and I turned him around and brought him to the edge of the pool where the other lifeguard was waiting to assist me. He was taken out of the water and was fine. My question to you is, what do you think would have happened to the man if I let him continue to climb up my body? What would have happened to me? What do you think I should have done if the man didn’t listen to me and continued to climb up my body?

    My whole point is to let you know that there is nothing courageous about taking unnecessary risks. Courage requires wisdom and knowledge about the consequences of your actions. To illustrate further my point; President Kennedy’s older brother Joe was a pilot in World War II and in 194 he volunteered to go on a secret bombing mission which was photographed by a second plane. This particular mission had never been attempted before and that was why it was filmed. During the mission, Kennedy and Willy were supposed to drop a 21,000-pound bomb on enemy territory, but the bomb exploded before it was dropped, killing Joseph Kennedy, Jr. and Wilford John Willy were killed instantly. Both men knew the risks involved and decided that it was worth it to take the risks because it would help America defeat their enemy. They were courageous men who are deserving of our respect and admiration. But there are some people that just run into situations without thinking and hurt either themselves or others. We must be very careful about taking chances.

    We as Jews are supposed to, as a matter of law, are required to help the needy, the oppressed and those wrongfully accused. That is why so many of our people over the ages have sacrificed much in order to help those less fortunate than we are.

    One such person was a poor woman named Rosa Parks. Rosa was an African American woman working to help her family survive in Montgomery, Alabama. She had no money for a car and had to take public transportation to and from work every day. On a Thursday December 1, 1955 Rosa bordered the green and white bus. She was very tired after a long workday of ironing and stitching shirts and was thrilled to find an empty seat on the bus.

    At the next stop, a white man boarded the bus. Because there were no empty seats he had to stand. The bus driver, James F. Blake noticed this and called out to the four black people who were sitting in the “white” section of the bus that they had to get up and move and give up their seats. No one stood up. Mr. Blake said, “You’d better make it light on yourself and let me have those seats.” Question: What do you think Mr. Blake meant by that statement? Three African American men who were sitting in the white section got up and moved to the rear of the bus and stood. But Rosa Parks refused. She had been in this situation many times before and had always gotten up and given her seat to white people. She always felt humiliated for having to do this because as she later said, “It meant that I didn’t have a right to do anything but get on the bus, give them my fare, and then be pushed around wherever they wanted me.” It is interesting to know that this same bus driver a year before had removed Rosa from the bus because she refused to get on the bus from the back door. Rosa was tired and wasn’t in the mood to be pushed around again and told the driver that she wasn’t in the white section. He shouted to Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus or else he was going to call the police and she was going to be arrested. Rosa Parks told the bus driver that he could do whatever he had to do because she wasn’t moving. Question: Do you think that Rosa Parks was being brave? Why or why not?

    Since there weren’t cell phones in those days, the driver, Mr. Blake had to stop the bus and make the call to the police. The police came and as he placed Rosa Parks under arrest she asked him, “Why do you people push us around?” The officer looked at her and responded, “I don’t know. I’m just obeying the law.” Question: The officer sounded like he didn’t like the law, but he decided that he had to obey it. What would you have done if you were that officer? Would you have been willing to face the consequences of not orders from your superiors?

    Rosa Parks was arrested and taken to the police station, where she was booked and while she was being fingerprinted she said that she was thirsty and asked if she could have a drink of water. She was told that the only water fountain in the police station was “for whites only,” by the policeman. Then, a policewoman was called and marched her to her cell and locked her inside. Rosa Parks had never been arrested for anything before this incident, and now she was considered to be a criminal by the officials of Montgomery, Alabama.

    Because Rosa Parks decided to fight her arrest in court instead of just giving in and pleading guilty led to the black community of Montgomery to organize a bus boycott (refusing to do something), of the transportation system. This started on December 5th of 1955 and lasted 381 days. That’s correct, the African American people of Montgomery, Alabama refused to ride of the buses to work, to go shopping, or to go to the movies, or to do anything else. Some of the people that refused to ride the buses to work walked as far as 20 miles each way to work. Question: Since cars were expensive, most working people could not afford to own them, so most people walked to work, while those lucky enough to afford a car drove their friends to and from work. Were these people courageous? Why or why not? What do you think you would have done if you were in their situation?

    Rosa Parks went to court and pleaded innocent to the charges, but was found guilty of breaking the bus segregation (segregation here means to keep separate), and was ordered to pay a fine of $10.00, plus $4.00 in court costs. She refused and appealed the court’s decision, which meant that the case would go to a higher court.

    While Rosa Parks was in the courtroom a large crowd made up of her neighbors waited anxiously outside for her to appear. Many of these people were worried that Mrs. Parks was going to be harmed because it was not unusual for African American men and woman back then to be harmed if they fought the segregation laws of the south. Some of the men in the crowd were angry at the way their people had been treated in the south and had come to the courthouse with shotguns, ready to force their way into the courthouse to make sure that Mrs. Parks was safe. Rosa Parks finally appeared after her trial and a great roar went up from the crowd.

    After the 381day boycott of the bus system in Montgomery the city rescinded or repealed (took back), it’s laws requiring segregation on public buses. Just to be clear, the politicians of Montgomery, Alabama didn’t repeal the bus segregation laws because the realized that it was a terrible thing. They repealed the law because the boycott was hurting the financial system of Montgomery so badly that there was a possibility of the city of going bankrupt.

    However, when the case came to the Supreme Court of our country (the highest court in our country), the bus segregation law was declared (decided) unconstitutional (which means that it was against our constitution and not allowed. But all was not good for Rosa Parks. She was fired from her job and for years after that she receive death threats (that means that people threatened to harm her).

    In her struggle against segregation, Rosa Parks was not alone. She had the help of many people and organizations. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. offered and his organization offered her legal and financial help. Also, the NAACP, (the National Association of Colored People) which in its beginning years was foundered not only by African Americans, but by a large number of Jews as well helped Mrs. Parks, but in the end it was the black population that refused to takes the buses and stood up to the terrible segregation laws of not only Montgomery, Alabama, but the rest of the south and many also in many parts of the rest of our country.

    For many years, the Jewish people in our country have faced laws and customs of discrimination and we fought long and hard to defeat these laws and customs and to a large extent we have been successful, although anti-Semitism still exists in our country. This would have been the same case for the African Americans of our country, except their skin color sets them apart from some people in our country that are still living like it’s 125 years ago. It is my hope and prayer that as Dr. King, said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color or their skin, but by their content of their character.” We are still very far from that day, but we are inching towards that wonderful dream of his. I would truly love to see that day become a reality and we Jews have to have the courage to fight this great fight with our African American brothers and sisters to help them achieve this goal.

    Vatican Says The Catholic Church Must Not Try to Convert Jews

    25. December, 2015BlogComments are off

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    When I was a young kid, I lived across the street from my synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. I was walking on a beautiful spring day with best my friend, Anthony, a devout Catholic, who glanced at the synagogue across the street and out of the clear blue sky asked me why “I killed his God?” I was stunned, to say the least. This was a close friend whose house I used to go over and help decorate their Christmas tree. He was my very best friend and out of the blue he asks me why I killed his God. Killed his God? I asked him why he’s accusing me of killing his God when I, as an twelve year old was shocked to be accused of any crime, especially killing his God. Anthony then explained to me that the Jewish people, two thousand years ago were the killers of his God even though it was the Romans who crucified him (crucifixion was the Roman method of executing men during that era).

    That incident happened around nineteen fifty-five. That kind of thinking had been going on for nearly two thousand years and had been the cause of prejudice, isolation, discrimination and death to countless millions of my people. Even today, among some “Born Again Christians,” there is the belief that somehow all Jewish people are to be punished for the miss-guided belief that our forefathers killed Jesus. Now that my people’s numbers have been put on the endangered species list this old miss guided belief is to simply be erased from the one billion three hundred million Catholics and the seven hundred million Protestants’ minds. That will probably take another two thousand years, and by that time our numbers should be even lower.

    I know that I sound somewhat bitter, but the Christians have to understand that I lost most of my family in the Holocaust, pogroms, the Inquisition and all those thousands of other ways of killing Jews; among them forced and “voluntary” conversions.

    However, there is a modicum of hope on my part that something new is happening with this new pope. Perhaps his beliefs and feelings of inclusiveness, acceptance and kindness will spread to all Christians and be a model for other religions to follow. During this holiday season of hope, peace and miracles certainly hope so. Below is an article from Reuters by Philip Pullella that was copied by an online news organization and edited just a tad by me.

    The Vatican has declared that the Catholic Church must not try to convert Jews to Christianity.

    Instead, the Catholic Church has decided that it must work with Jews and Jewish institutions to further dialogue and mutually understand and fight anti-Semitism, according to the Vatican, which pledged, “to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies.” My comment: wow, that’s a tall order; to try and persuade one and a half billion people to change their minds after indoctrinating them in anti-Semitism for two thousand years to change and love and accept us.

    The statements came in a major document released Thursday by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. It was issued to mark the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, a declaration promulgated in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council that opened the door to formal Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

    The new document, titled “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable,” discussed at length how Christianity is rooted in Judaism. Because of this, it said, the Church is “obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.”

    It added, “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”

    Goals in Jewish-Catholic dialogue, according to the document, include “joint engagement throughout the world for justice, peace, conservation of creation, and reconciliation” in a way that would make the religious contribute toward world peace. “Religious freedom guaranteed by civil authority is the prerequisite for such dialogue and peace,” it said. “In Jewish-Christian dialogue the situation of Christian communities in the state of Israel is of great relevance, since there — as nowhere else in the world — a Christian minority faces a Jewish majority,” the document said. “Peace in the Holy Land — lacking and constantly prayed for — plays a major role in dialogue between Jews and Christians.” Among other goals, the document said, were “jointly combating all manifestations of racial discrimination against Jews and all forms of anti-Semitism, which have certainly not yet been eradicated and re-emerge in different ways in various contexts.” It particularly stressed the need for “unceasing vigilance and sensitivity in the social sphere” and called for tangible joint Jewish-Catholic cooperation, such as in charitable activity to help “the poor, disadvantaged and sick.”

    Chanukah, Myths and Legends

    15. December, 2015BlogComments are off

    The very happy holiday of Chanukah is slowly creeping upon us once again. This year it is coming “early,” (December 6th – December 14th). Just as with most popular holidays there are myths and legends about this gift giving (recent addition to this holiday), dreidle paying, gelt giving, candle lighting holiday, that was a fantastic military victory of the few over the many.

    Below is a story by Hilary Leila Krieger who is the Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post. She wrote and I somewhat edited.

    When my brother was in kindergarten, where he was the only Jewish student, a parent organizing enrichment activities asked my mother to tell the class the story of Hanukkah. My mother obligingly brought in a picture book and began to read about foreign conquerors who were not letting Jews in ancient Israel worship freely, even defiling their temple, until a scrappy group led by the Maccabee family overthrew one of the most powerful armies in the world and won their liberty.

    The teacher, a woman was horrified and after a long pause spoke up. The Hanukkah story, she interrupted, was not about war. It was about the miracle of an oil lamp that burned for eight days without replenishing. She urged my mother to close the book. My mother refused.

    The woman wasn’t alone. Most Americans, Jews as well as Christians, think that the legend of the long-lasting oil is the root of Chanukah’s commemoration. And perhaps that mistake is no surprise, given that for many the holiday has morphed into “Christmas for Jews,” echoing the message of peace on earth accompanied by gift giving. In doing so, the holiday’s own message of Jewish survival and faith has been diluted.

    Chanukah is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays in America. But unlike Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover (or even the lesser-known Sukkot and Shavuot), all of which are explicitly mentioned in the Torah, Chanukah gets only a brief, sketchy reference in the Talmud, the voluminous collection of Jewish oral law and tradition written down hundreds of years after the Maccabees’ revolt.

    There for the first time the miracle of the oil is recorded: the ancient temple in Jerusalem held an eternal flame, but after the desecration by the foreign invaders — including the sacrificing of pigs, a non-kosher animal, on the altar — only one day’s worth of purified oil remained. Yet the faithful went ahead and lighted it. The oil burned in the rededicated temple for eight days, long enough for a new supply to arrive. Hence the practice of lighting candles for eight nights to observe Chanukah, which means dedication in Hebrew. Perhaps just as significantly, the reference to oil also gave rise to a holiday tradition of eating foods like potato pancakes and doughnuts that had been cooked in it.

    Though Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday, 19th-century activists in America promoted it to encourage their coreligionists to take pride in their heritage. During the 20th century it was embraced more broadly by Jews who wanted to fit in with other Americans celebrating the holiday season — and to make their kids feel better about not getting anything from Santa.

    It helped, of course, that Chanukah falls near Christmas on the calendar and traditionally involved candles and small monetary gifts. Over time, children began receiving grander presents, and Chanukah-themed season’s greeting cards proliferated. Some families even started to purchase “Chanukah bushes,” small trees often decked out with Stars of David and miniature Maccabees, although these “Chanukah bushes” were regarded as being Christmas trees in disguise.

    By the 1980s, menorahs had been placed next to mangers in the public square and Chanukah songs had been incorporated into winter holiday concerts. Despite this recognition, I still felt excluded enough to brag to classmates that my holiday was better than Christmas, since it had eight days of gift giving, instead of one. While elevating Chanukah does a lot of good for children’s morale, ignoring or sanitizing its historical basis does a great disservice to the Jewish past and present.

    The original miracle of Chanukah was that a committed band of people led a successful uprising against a much larger force, paving the way for Jewish independence and perhaps keeping Judaism itself from disappearing. It’s an amazing story, resonant with America’s own founding, that offers powerful lessons about standing up for one’s convictions and challenging those in power.

    Many believe the rabbis in the Talmud recounted the miracle of the light alongside the military victory because they did not want to glorify war. That in in and of itself is an important teaching, as are the holiday’s related messages of renewal, hope and turning away from darkness. But it’s a story with dark chapters as well, including the Maccabean leaders’ religious zealotry, forced conversions and deadly attacks on their neighbors. These transgressions need to be grappled with. And that is precisely what the most important Jewish holidays do: Jews on Passover spill out wine from their glasses to acknowledge Egyptian suffering caused by the 10 plagues, and congregations at Rosh Hashanah read and struggle with God’s order to Abraham to bind his son Isaac as a sacrifice.

    If we’re going to magnify Hanukkah, we should do so because it offers the deeper meaning and opportunity for introspection that the major Jewish holidays provide.

    The Fabulous Miracles Of Chanukah

    6. December, 2015BlogComments are off

    The Fabulous Miracles Of Chanukah and why the Jewish people not only survived but defeated the most powerful army in the world!

    In today’s Jewish world we basically think of Chanukah as an eight day holiday where Jewish kids light candles, sing some songs about the Maccabees victory over the Assyrian Greek army, play dreidle, eat chocolate candy in the shape of coins, eat tons of fried potato pancakes with sour cream, apple sauce, or both and wait excitedly for presents; one for each day of our holiday. We Jews certainly know how to celebrate.

    This year, our happy and gift filled holiday will come “early” this year. It will fall out between the sixth of December and the fourteenth of December, or Kislev twenty-four through Tevet two in the Jewish calendar.

    There is a long and well-written article in the online newsletter, JewishHistory.org, which I believe, accurately describes the story of Chanukah which was told by Mr. Berel Wein, and which was adapted by Yaakov Astor. These gentlemen added some new twists and turns to the story which I found particularly interesting and so I decided to post it on my website. I took the liberty of greatly editing their article with the hope that I didn’t change their intent of educating people as to the true story about Chanukah. I would highly recommend the website, JewishHistory.org if you want to read a more sophisticated version of my edited article. Go to JewishHistory.org, Crash Course and you will find the article in its entirety.

    Chanukah was a fantastic and miraculous military victory, but a tiny jar of oil may just have proven more miraculous and lasting in the memory of the Jewish people than the military victory. However, there are those that believe that the true miracle is that a small rag tag army of know more than ten thousand men, with virtually no weapons were able to defeat the world’s most powerful army and retake Jerusalem and the rest of what was then, Israel. The story begins after Alexander the Great has just about defeated all the armies of the world and now stands outside of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

    The Jewish people sent a delegation to meet with Alexander and plead their cause for him not to destroy their capital and kill everyone. They promised to pay heavy taxes to him and also promised to name every male child born that year, Alexander. To their surprise, he agreed to their proposal and withdrew his troops.

    In the wake of Alexander the Great’s appearance just outside of Jerusalem and then his departure, relations between the Jewish people and the Greeks became so good that an exchange of cultures actually took place. Each influenced the other. For the Jewish minority, however, what began as a small amount of assimilation (the way assimilation is used here means to blend in or become part of)— such as giving children Greek names and speaking the Greek language and celebrating Greek holidays. These changes in the Jewish way of life became a surprisingly powerful way of threatening to drag the caught-off-guard Jews into becoming completely assimilated and becoming totally Greek. Question: Does situation during the Greek era sound like the way we are acting today in our country? In other words, back in that time, we as a people would have disappeared if we had become Greeks in every way. Do you think that the Jewish people in the United States will disappear if we keep on taking the Christian holidays as our own? This didn’t happen in Israel during the reign of the Assyrian Greeks, however, the Jewish people and Judaism could have completely disappeared. It didn’t happen because a very special group of people, the five Maccabee brothers, with their father, Mattathias, (who were also known as the Hasmoneans), became warriors and created a small, but effective Jewish army. They defeated the Assyrian Greek army, which was the most powerful army in the world at that time.

    On the other hand, Jews who decided to become part of the Greek culture became known as Hellenists. A Hellenist is a person that wants to basically convert from being Jewish to being just like the other Greeks living around him. Question: How do you feel when you hear that someone Jewish converted to another religion? Some historians believe that as many as a third or more of the Jewish population converted and became Hellenist, including those who stopped circumcising their sons, ate pork, bowed to idols and even sided with the enemies of Israel. Hellenism threatened to annihilate the Jewish world through assimilation in ways that general, kings and Pharaohs tried but could not do by force. But the Maccabees and their army were going to try and stop them. This was the first time in the history of the world that a group of people that was defeated in war, rose up to fight because of their religious beliefs. Ours was and is a monotheistic (one God) religion, while the Greeks had many, many gods. We were fighting to have the right to worship the way we want and the Jewish people during that time (two thirds of them) were willing to die for that right. Question: Are you willing to fight for your right to be a Jew?

    Had the Greeks simply left the Jewish people alone they might have won the battle by allowing the Jewish people to choose the Greek way of way over the Jewish way of life. The Jewish way of life had and still has that some find tough to follow. Then there are laws and customs about how we should treat each other, to be honest and to thank God for their good lives. The Greek culture was much easier to follow. They had many gods that fought with each other and often acted in ways that were not respectful to others.

    The War With The Greeks

    At the beginning of the year 190 BCE, the situation between two great post-Alexandrian empires, the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic, deteriorated badly. The Seleucids mounted an invasion that took their army through the Land of Israel, which was sandwiched in-between.

    Whenever a foreign army comes into a country it changes the view of the populace. Instead of an attractive culture, the Greeks were now an occupying enemy. Instead of something to be imitated, now they became something to be resisted.

    The Jewish people are very stubborn. The same person who is so stubborn that he will not observe the Torah in freedom will observe it with passion if forbidden from observing it. He becomes stubborn the other way.

    A good case could be made that if the Communists in Russia would have left the Jews alone they would have completely assimilated. However, once told that they could not be Jewish a certain percentage of Jews decided to be Jewish at great risk. That happened with the Greeks as well.

    More And More Unbearable Laws

    The Greek army applied a very heavy hand against the Jews (In other words, the Greek army made life even more unbearable. First, they forced Jews to finance their war through collection of taxes. Then they forced them to quarter their soldiers in Jewish homes. Finally, the Greeks were determined to crush the Jewish religion.

    First, they took the statue of Zeus and mounted it in the courtyard of the Temple. Next, the Greeks banned the observance of the Sabbath on the pain of death. Then, the Talmud (Kesubos 3b) records, there was a period of time which lasted a number of decades when the Greek officer in town had the right to “live” with a woman on her wedding night before her husband-to-be.
    The Greeks also banned circumcision. Whoever circumcised his child was put to death; both child and father were killed. Then the Greeks demanded that altars to the Greek idols be established and that sacrifices be offered on a regular basis in every Jewish town. Finally, the Jewish educational system was entirely interrupted.

    The Jewish Rebels

    About the year 166 BCE, a group finally stood up to the Greeks: Matisyahu (Mattathias) and his family, known as the Hasmoneans. We do not know much about them except that they were of noble descent from the priestly class (Kohanim), including those who had served as High Priests. They lived in a small town called Modin, which was about 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem. (The town exists today, and is about 20 miles west of modern Jerusalem.) One day, a Greek contingent marched in, set up an altar, gathered all the Jews and forced them to sacrifice a pig to Zeus. They then asked for a Jewish volunteer to perform the sacrifice. One stepped forward. As he approached the altar Matisyahu stabbed him to death. Chaos broke out. The Greek army attempted to subdue the crowd, but the Jews were armed and slaughtered the entire Greek patrol. There was no turning back now.

    The Fighting Maccabees

    Matisyahu had five sons, all of whom were people of great organizational leadership as well as pious, committed Jews: Johanan (Yochanan), Simon (Shimon), Jonathan (Yonason), Judah (Yehudah) and Eleazar. They ran to the caves and organized an army – not to fight an open war, but a guerilla war. Originally they organized of force of about 3,000 men. Eventually it grew to 6,000 and never reached more than 12,000 men. The General of the Army was the great Judah, known to the world as Judah the Maccabee (or Judas Maccabaeus as he was called in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost). “Maccabaeus” is the Greek word for hammer, but the Jews took it, as Jews are wont to do, and made it Jewish by declaring that “Maccabee” stood for the first four letters in Exodus 15:11, meaning, “Who is like You, God?” — which was said by Moses and the people after the miraculous drowning of the Egyptians at the Sea of Reeds.

    An enormous Syrian-Greek army, numbering almost 50,000 men, marched into Judea. Judah the Maccabee marshaled his forces and with guile and courage outmaneuvered the far larger Greek army, forced it to divide and then destroyed its various components, killing many thousands and forcing the survivors to flee north to Syria. It took many years, but their hit-and-run tactics wore down three great Greek armies. However, the Jews paid a very heavy price in terms of blood. Matisyahu died in the early going. Judah Maccabee was killed in the third great battle. Eleazar died while attacking an elephant. Johanan and Jonathan were killed as well. The only Maccabee brother who survived was Simon.

    The Miracles

    The last famous battle was for the fortress of Antonius, which guarded the Temple. When Antonius fell, the Jews came back to the Temple. They shattered the statue of Zeus and cleaned the Temple to the extent that they could. Any priests who worked for the Greeks were sent away or executed. They only found one small flask of uncontaminated oil with the seal of the High Priest. By Torah law, the flame of the Menorah (Candelabrum) in the Temple could only be lit with specially prepared pure olive oil. The amount of oil remaining in the one uncontaminated flask was only enough to burn for one day, and it would take eight days to produce a new batch of pure oil.
    What could they do? They lit it — and it miraculously burned for eight days. That is why Chanukah lasts eight nights (the festival was established a year later by the Rabbis).

    What is Chanukah

    The Talmud does not say much about Chanukah, but other books do. There are perhaps forty lines spread out in different volumes, whereas almost all the other holidays have an entire Talmudic volume about them. In addition, the few words the Talmud has to say about Chanukah are cryptic. Perhaps that is why Chanukah has been subject to reinterpretation, as it has been in our time. People make whatever they want to make out of it. However, that is a mistake, a tragedy.

    In the Western world, it has the misfortune of falling out in December. Therefore, in the homes of many Jewish people it has sadly became the Jewish version of the December holidays, a mixture of commercialism and non-Jewish traditions and ideas.

    What the Talmud does say is that the important thing is to “advertise the miracle.” People have to recognize that a miracle took place. It is vital to keep the wonder in Chanukah. That is why the rabbis gave more emphasis to the miracle of the lights than the military victory. Wars come and go. Even the glow of miraculous victory can fade. Young people today do not think that Israel’s War for Independence in 1948 was such a miracle. In 1967, Jews expected a second Holocaust. Now people brush the miraculous Six Day War off as nothing special.

    History provides numerous examples of outnumbered forces defeating a superpower using guerilla tactics. Was the Maccabean victory so miraculous? That was the question Jews at the time must have asked themselves. However, when the small flask of pure oil that could only last one day lasted eight days it proved that there was a miracle that happened there. The little flask of oil shed light on the big military campaign. “Not by the army, not by power, but through My Spirit, says God” (Zechariah 4:6). Chanukah is about the little light that sheds a great light.

    There is an indefinable, spiritual, electric charge that binds the generations together that cannot be found in any book. It can only be had when parents and grandparents do things like sitting together with their children around the Chanukah lights celebrating, discussing and advertising the miracle; experientially getting in touch with the wonder of the past, the wonder of the present, the wonder of life.

    Whatever Happened to the Hellenists (The Greeks)?

    Chanukah is a very popular, emotional and beautiful holiday. However, the necessity for Chanukah begins with the story of the invasion of Greek culture and the weakness of the Jews in responding to it. It originates from the growth of an enormous sect of Hellenists within the Jews, who even supported the Greeks during the war. What happened to the Hellenists? Their influence all but collapsed in the wake of the defeat. They would never return again as Hellenists, because the war brought out their true colors as traitors and they lost whatever appeal they could have had to the Jewish people.

    Most of them retreated to the city of Caesarea, which remained a Greek city (and later would become a Roman city). They were just not part of the Jewish people any longer.

    Their demise punctuated the fact that more than a military victory, the miracle of the oil signified that Chanukah was a victory of the spirit of the Jewish people, a victory that granted them the right to observe the Torah. That is why its memory and the people who observe it have endured.

    A Boy’s Story About Messing Up And Learning

    25. November, 2015BlogComments are off

    There are many stories throughout all of our live that our parents, teachers, and all other people in positions of authority teach us. But if the truth is told, we know the answers to the problems that we ourselves create.

    This particular story can be any of ours and is representative of how parenting done the correct way can lead to lessons learned and will probably never be forgotten. I give a tremendous amount of credit to Mike Schneider for telling his story about his experiences as a youngster, messing up and then thinking about it, doing some soul searching and then telling Nance Schneider. I have edited it in places because I wanted this story to be relevant to my student population. I even slipped in some of my own life experiences and the lives of some of the kids I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know.

    The other day at school we had an assembly. When a speaker is talking, we are supposed to be quiet and listen—–sound advice, and that’s what I usually do. But this time I kept talking to my friend, Jamie. My Spanish teacher, Mrs. Nussbaum, got up and walked around, trying to figure out who was talking, so I looked innocent and kept quiet until Mrs. Nussbaum, gave up and sat down.

    Then I started again. What I didn’t see was that our Physical Education teacher was sitting two rows ahead of me. She got up and came over to me to behave and listen, and then she went back to her seat.

    After the assembly, Mrs. Nussbaum asked me if I had gotten into trouble. “Not me,” I answered. “It must have been someone else.”

    Mrs. Nussbaum looked at me and said, “It’s a good thing it wasn’t you, or you wouldn’t be going on our trip to Amish country next week.” Then she excused our class and sent us outside. I thought I was off the hook until we came into the building after lunch. I saw that Mrs. Nussbaum and my P.E. teacher were speaking to each other, and they were looking my way.

    Our class’ next period was Spanish and when we got to our Spanish room Mrs. Nussbaum told our class that we had some thinking to do. She said, “someone” had caused a disturbance in t he assembly, and until she found out who it was our special trip to the Amish country was on hold; which means that we might not be going at all. When some of my classmates pointed to me, Mrs. Nussbaum said she had already asked me, and that I had said it wasn’t me. She went on to say, that I was an honest kid, and had no reason to lie to her. She was looking right at me in a kind of funny way when said that and then turned away.

    Jamie looked at me and said, “You are guilty of causing this problem, why don’t you admit it”?

    “Because then she’ll call home, and I’ll be in lots of trouble and probably won’t be allowed to go on our trip and my parents will probably add on to my punishment by not allowing me to play soccer playoff game tomorrow night.”

    “So, we all have to suffer because of you? That’s not fair.”

    Mrs. Nussbaum heard us talking and said, “Did you was want to say something, Jamie?”

    Jamie looked at me. I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn me in or not. Then he said, “No nothing,” as he glared at me.

    After school, I waited until everyone had gone. I decided not to take the bus with the rest of my class. It was a lucky thing for me that I lived pretty close to school. I really didn’t want to face the rest of my classmates because of what I had done.

    Why did I have to talk when I wasn’t supposed to? Worse yet, why couldn’t I just admit it and apologize and hope that the punishment wasn’t being held back from going on this special trip. Now, I had gotten the whole class into trouble…big trouble.

    I got home twenty-five minutes later stood by the kitchen door with butterflies in my stomach, knowing what I had to do. I walked in and saw my dad.

    “Hi Mike, mom is running late, so I’ve started supper. You know that you have soccer practice tonight before tomorrow’s playoff game. You’d better change.”

    I looked at my dad. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

    I lowered my head because I was so embarrassed and quietly told him the whole story. He looked at me, clearly disappointed in what I had done and told me we had to call Mrs. Nussbaum right away. My dad called the school and because there was a faculty conference that day, all the teachers were there. When the operator answered the phone my dad told her who he was and asked to speak to Mrs. Nussbaum. When she picked up the phone, my dad introduced himself and asked Mrs. Nussbaum to please hold on for a moment. He then handed the phone to me. My response was to my dad was, “Do I have to speak to her?” He then said, “Yes you do, you were the one who caused this and you will be the one to fix it.”

    After I told Mrs. Nussbaum that I was the bad kid in the auditorium and then again in the classroom for lying, she said that I wasn’t a bad kid, I had just messed up, but in the end, I had been honest and confessed everything. She also said that she wasn’t going to punish me.

    When I got off the phone, my dad said, “I’m proud that you finally admitted what you had done, but I think it’s sad that Mrs. Nussbaum had to almost punish you and the entire class for you behavior.

    “Does that mean that I can’t go to soccer practice tonight which would mean that I couldn’t play in the playoff game because one of the rules of our soccer coach is that if you miss a practice before a game, you don’t get to play in the game.

    My dad’s answer stunned me. He said, “That’s up to you. You decide if you think that deserve to go to practice.” I looked at my dad and immediately knew the answer. I said to my dad that I would call the coach and tell him that I wouldn’t be at practice and tell him why? I was really upset because I would be embarrassed by having to tell the coach the whole story. I called the coach and told him the story. He said that he understood and then asked to speak to my dad. They had a very short conversation and they said, “Goodbye.” I was happy about finally telling the truth, but I was devastated that I would miss the big playoff game. I had looked forward so much in playing in that game. Last year the Red Hawks had beaten us 2-0, but our team had improved greatly this year. I was the starting goalie and we had beaten the Red Hawks both times that we played them this year. With me out as goalie our chances for us to beat them tomorrow was greatly diminished (lessened). Now I believed I had let my soccer team down. I didn’t know if I could ever face them again.

    When my mom and big brother came home later they asked why we weren’t going to soccer. My dad looked at me and explained it all. “Wow,” my brother said. “What?” I asked. He said, “Well, I think it’s great that you told the truth, even though you knew that you would miss practice today and the playoff game tomorrow. I respect you for that.” I like my big brother and I look up to him. Originally, I thought that he only respected me because of my goal keeping. Now I knew differently. He respected me because of my honesty. That helped ease my pain some, but I still felt terrible.

    Later that night, my brother helped me write a letter apologizing to Mrs. Nussbaum and the class, and also my soccer teammates. Even though I was nervous about going to school and later that day, to my soccer team. But I knew what I had to do.

    The next day in class I was shaking as I read from my paper in front of the classroom. When I finished, I didn’t know what to expect. Some kids were upset with me, and I don’t blame them, but other kids came up to me and thanked me for being honest.

    Later that day I read the same letter to the soccer team and they were disappointed in me for getting into trouble and the punishment, but they really understood. I sat on the bench for the first period and we were down 1-0 when my family appeared at the game. I was surprised, but the coach didn’t look like that he was surprised. My father walked over to the coach and they spoke for a moment or two and then my dad turned to me and smiled and said, “Mike, I think it’s time that you suit up and get ready to play goalie for the second period. You’ve served your punishment.”

    My heart jumped for joy as a cheer went up from the team. I hurriedly put on my uniform and gear and got ready for the game. Five minutes later we went out and played our hearts out and I am proud to say that we won 2-1 in double overtime.

    For sure, I do not talk during assemblies anymore, and I have learned my lesson well. And, I don’t lie anymore because in the end, it makes life simpler to simply tell the truth, even when I do mess up.

    What would you have done when Mrs. Nussbaum first asked Mike if he was the one causing a problem? Why?

    Do you think that Mike’s father acted the correct way when he handed the phone to Mike and told him to apologize to Mrs. Nussbaum? Why or why not?

    Do you think that Mrs. Nussbaum handled the situation correctly?

    Why didn’t she punish Mike?

    Why didn’t Mike’s father tell him about his punishment of being held out of half the game?

    What effect did that have on Mike?

    How do you think your parents would react if they were in the same situation as Mike’s dad?

    Do you think that Mike’s coach was fair? Why or why not?

    If Mike were not the starting goalie would the coach have played him? Why or why not?

    Do you think that Mike learned his lesson? Why or why not?

    Jewish View of Stress and of Life

    15. November, 2015BlogComments are off

    Throughout the years, we Jews have faced incredible levels of stress. Just like all families everywhere, the Jewish population has faced the “normal” amount of stress. Marriage brings along with it, a whole host of responsibilities (and of course, incredible happiness), and stress. But the Jewish people everywhere face certain kinds of stress that until recently, no other people faced … and that is anti-Semitism. We, as a people have dealt with anti-Semitism in a number of ways; running from it, fighting it, converting (try that and see how anti-Semites still think of you as a Jew), comedy and legally. Despite all these different ways of fighting anti-Semitism, it is still around and very healthy. But the type of stress expressed here can be found in all cultures and this is what this article is all about. It starts off with a short story about a woman entering a room holding a glass of water. She then asks the group a number of questions and then speaks about the kind of person that she hopes you are, or one day will become.

    Below is the story:

    A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile.

    Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

    She replied , “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.

    If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an Ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

    “As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

    So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… pick them up tomorrow.

    1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!
    2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
    3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
    4. Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
    5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
    6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
    7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
    8. Never buy a car you can’t push, or call the AAA to push.
    9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
    10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
    11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
    12. The 2nd mouse gets the cheese.
    13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
    14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
    15. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
    16. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
    17. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
    18. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
    19. Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!* I THINK !!!!

    Be the kind of person that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says ~~ “Oh, they’re up, maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow!”

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