Sunday, June 30, 2013

Seven Wonders of Jewish History and Barbara Streisand singing for 90th birthday of Peres

One evening an old Apache told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is The Spirit  - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Apache simply replied, "The one you feed..."
Barbra Streisand singing for the 90th birthday of Shimon Peres
Seven Wonders of Jewish History

Seven Wonders of Jewish History

Seven remarkable milestones that defy historical patterns and fulfill ancient prophecies.

by Rabbi Motty Berger and Rabbi Asher Resnick
TEST: $site_isSpanish English no hoot lat:

Imagine an alien landing on this planet. On his first day here, he witnesses two events: the parting of the Red Sea and the birth of a baby. Which would he say is the greater miracle?
Most aliens would say that the birth of a child seems a greater miracle than the parting of the waters. However, if we asked you whether the birth of a child is a miracle, you might not agree. Why is that?
Because childbirth happens all the time, about every seven seconds or so in this country. When something happens all the time, we take it for granted and think it's natural. But when we look at it, as an alien, we can see what an incredible miracle it is.
Now let's look at Jewish history from a similar perspective, putting aside any prior knowledge we have. Do the events of our nation throughout the past 3000 years seem like ordinary events, or is something unique and perhaps miraculous going on here?
As a matter of fact, let's pretend we've never even heard of the Jewish people. And let's decide: Are these events coincidental or providential?
King Louis XIV once had an interesting discussion with the famous 17th century Roman Catholic philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal. The king asked Pascal to show him evidence of the supernatural, and Pascal responded. "The Jews, Your Majesty, the Jews!"
Everyone who studies Jewish history perceives that there's something unique about it. What many people don't know, however, is that the unusual and illogical course of Jewish history was predicted in detail in our Torah. Let's examine seven phenomena unique to Jewish history and seven prophecies precisely forecasting these phenomena. Then it'll be up to you to evaluate whether these events could have occurred through the natural channels of human history or whether, perhaps, someone's been pulling the strings, behind the scenes.
In Bereishis 17:7, God promises Abraham that the Jewish people will be eternal. God says:
"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout the generations, an eternal covenant to be your God, and the God of your descendants after you."
Now we all know that treaties are only as good as the two sides who keep up their part of the bargain. If one party bails out, the treaty is void. What will happen if the Jews don't keep their covenant with God?
Take a look at this prophecy:
"Yet even so, even while they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject or spurn them, lest I break My covenant with them by destroying them, for I am their God. I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the Land of Egypt under the eyes of the nations, so that I might be their God." (Vayikra 26:44-45)
In other words, even when things go sour, even when the Jewish people stop following the Torah, the covenant will not be breached. God promises that this relationship will exist forever.
Now if you're at all familiar with world history, you'll notice right away that this is a very strange prediction. After all, nations rise and fall. They don't exist forever. Do you know any Edomites personally? Anyone have a good friend who's a Moabite? History has seen the rise of many powerful civilizations: the Persians, the Babylonians, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Romans. But they've long since disappeared.
Why would the Torah predict eternal survival for the Jewish people? Even more strange, how is it that the Jews, a civilization way older than the Persians or the Babylonians, are, indeed, still around?
Many people have noticed this strange phenomenon. One of the most famous is Mark Twain who wrote an essay called "Concerning the Jews" (The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, p. 249):
"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Persian, rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dreamstuff and passed away. The Greek and the Roman followed, made a vast noise and they are gone. Other peoples have sprung up, held their torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weaking of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
Leo Tolstoy, a believing Christian, also wonders about this. He writes (Jewish World, London, 1908:
"The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He whom neither slaughter, nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he whom neither fire, nor sword, nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth; he who was the first to produce the oracle of God, he who has been for so long the guardian of prophecy and who transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as eternity itself."
Have you heard of a book called: "The Protocols of the Elder of Zion"?
The Protocols is a book that claims to be the minutes of secret meetings held every hundred years by Jewish rabbis around the world, for the purpose of plotting the course of world history for the next hundred years.
The Protocols, by the way, has sold more copies than any other book in history, except the Bible. Why do people swallow it? People have hated blacks, people have hated Orientals, but you don't find books called "The Protocols of the Elders of Motown." Somehow, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" makes sense in people's minds. People read the book and think, "Yes! Those Jews get together every hundred years and plan out world history!"
Somehow, in their collective consciousness, the world has noticed that we Jews are always around.
Paul Johnson, a non-Jewish historian, wrote a bestseller called A History of the Jews. At the end of the book, he gives us a thesis as to why the Jews have survived so long: "The Jews believed that they were a special people, with such unanimity and passion, over so long a span of time, that they became one." In other words, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Two problems immediately emerge. First of all, does anyone here think Jews can believe anything with unanimity? You've heard the expression, "Two Jews, three opinions"?
(As a matter of fact, we were once in Phoenix, Arizona, and a teacher said, "You know how it is - two Jews, three opinions...," when a gentleman raises his hand and, in all seriousness, says, "Rabbi, I heard it was three Jews, four opinions." The teacher looked at him and said, "Thank you, Sir. You've just proved my point!")
Second - does it make sense that only the Jews willed themselves into becoming an eternal nation?! And all the other nations thought, "Nah, that's okay. We've gone on long enough. Suppose it's about time to get conquered and become extinct..."
Finally, even if the Jews did believe they were an eternal people, does simply believing something make it so?
If I just keep believing I'm a doctor, will I eventually become one?
Obviously things don't work that way. Nations don't will themselves into destruction. Neither do they will themselves into becoming an eternal nation.
The fact that we are an eternal nation becomes even more amazing when we consider that the Jews don't even possess the basic characteristics that define a nation:
Land, language and history.
Do the Jewish people have a land in common?
Well, for 2000 years, the vast majority of the Jewish people never set foot in the land of Israel. All other nations in the world had a land in common that they settled and lived in, but for the majority of our history, the Jews never had a land to call their own. Israel was a common dream, yes, but not a common land.
Now how many of you speak Hebrew? How many speak it well? For the vast majority of our history, most Jews didn't speak the language. Sure, the Torah portion was read aloud in Hebrew, in shul, but the spoken languages were Aramaic, Ladino, Yiddish, French, English and many others.
How about a common history? Well, you've got to go pretty far back in time to get to one. For the last several centuries, Jews have been scattered across the globe. We certainly don't have a history in common.
So, not only are the Jewish people poor candidates for being an eternal nation - without a common land, language or history -we're hardly candidates to be any kind of nation at all!
Let's look at the flip side. What are the three factors that cause nations to disintegrate and disappear?
First, they're conquered by another nation and eventually they assimilate into the dominant culture. But what happens between conquest and assimilation?
The stronger nation comes in and says, "We don't like that you dress differently, speak a different language, worship differently... We think you should be like us."
Sociologists call this "The dislike of the unlike."
Eventually, someone figures out, "Hey, you know why we're being persecuted? It's that 'dislike of the unlike' business! Let's drop our differences and we'll be treated better."
And it works. The more they drop their differences, the better they're treated. Before you know it, they've been absorbed into the conquering nation.
You ever hear anyone say there's too much Edomite influence in the government nowadays? The Babylonians are controlling the media? Of course not. These nations have long since lost their identities. That's what happens when nations assimilate into the dominant culture.
So what happens when the Jews try to assimilate?
Where do we find that the Jews, en masse, try to assimilate into the surrounding culture?
Germany. In Germany, 150 years ago, we find one of the most concentrated attempts on the part of masses of Jews to assimilate into German society. After generations of intolerance and persecution, the Enlightenment came and many Jews thought they finally had a way out. "Now's our chance to get rid of all this 'dislike and unlike,'" they said. "The Germans say they hate us because we eat differently, dress differently, worship differently, don't marry their daughters. So we'll drop all our differences and become just like them!"
And what happens? A historical anomaly. For the very first time in history, instead of the dislike of the unlike, suddenly it's the dislike of the like! The Nazis say, "We don't hate you because you're different; now we hate you because you're trying to become like us!" And they respond with the most vicious brutality the world has ever seen.
What's going on here? The more we drop our differences, the easier it's supposed to be to blend in with the dominant culture! The Holocaust was completely contrary to all normal rules of history!
Why is it that, in some strange way, all the rules of history are overturned when it comes to the Jews?
It's a basic law of physics that the colder something is, the denser it becomes and therefore the heavier. Heat causes molecules to expand and therefore become lighter. For example, hot water rises and cold water, being heavier, falls to the bottom.
If you stand in a bathtub, for instance, you'll notice that the warmer water is at the top and your toes are probably colder because the cold water has sunk to the bottom.
What's the coldest water possible? Ice. Take a look at the cup of soda when you put ice cubes in. Have you ever wondered why the ice flows to the top? Of course not. It just does.
What happens in the winter when a lake freezes over? Where does the ice form? At the top! Isn't that strange? If ice is the coldest form of water, it should naturally be more dense and sink to the bottom.
Ask any physicist, why is it that ice floats? And he will tell you that it's a fundamental law of physics. The molecules in water become denser as they get colder, until they reach a degree and a half above freezing, whereupon the molecules suddenly start to expand and get lighter. So when it turns to ice, it naturally floats.
But why does the law of physics work that way? Why does water suddenly become lighter when it was previously getting heavier?
And your friendly physicist has an explanation for that too. He will say, "Because it's an exception."
We have a different answer. The physicist didn't create the laws of physics. God did. Now, God may not care if ice floats to the top of your soda cup, but he does care that ice floats to the top of a lake.
What would happen if all the ice sunk to the bottom? All plant and animal life in the seas and oceans would freeze and die, and when the ice defrosted in the spring, the waters of the earth would be putrid and vile. So God says, "I did not make a world to be uninhabited. In the case of ice, I'll just overturn the natural law."
Similarly, God says to the Jews, "I did not make a world for the Jews to become extinct. You are to be an eternal nation. So, in your case, the laws of history are going to be overturned. For every other nation ever persecuted, there will be 'the dislike of the unlike.' They'll drop their differences and disappear. But when you Jews try to shed your national identity, I will not allow it to happen. Instead of assimilation easing your persecution, you'll be hated all the more for it."
God controls history the same way He controls physics, science and nature. If God promises the Jews that they will be an eternal people, then the laws of nature will just have to cooperate.
How would you fill in the following blank?
"The Wandering ____."
Did anyone write "The Wandering Italian"? "The Wandering Ecuadorian"? We Jews are known throughout the world as the nation that wanders. We've lived most of our national life in exile, dispersed throughout the globe.
Can you think of anything less conducive to being an eternal nation?
We're intelligent people here; let's try to figure this out logically. What characteristic could this nation have that will keep them unified despite their dispersion?
How about this: The Jews will be so beloved in the eyes of the entire world that the nations will make sure they continue to exist, no matter where we are. "Ah, those wonderful Jews, we must keep them alive and well, forever."
Oh, yeah?
This reminds me of a story. A new electronics store opened up in Texas and announced that it would giving away free TV sets to the first hundred people who walked into the store. Already the night before, there were about three hundred people in line. At the front of the line was this huge Texan, so excited he could hardly wait. Suddenly this little Jew comes walking up from the back of the line and, without so much as a glance around, goes right up to the front.
The Texan looks at him and says, "Where the heck do you think you're going?" The Jews says nothing; he just keeps walking. The Texan picks him up, punches him in the face and knocks him out on the floor. The poor little Jew struggles to his feet, dusts himself off and again starts walking towards the front. The Texan says, "I said, where do you think you're going?" The Jew doesn't say a word. The Texan picks him up and knocks him down again.
Suddenly, a policeman comes by. "What's goin' on here?" he says to the Texan.
And the Texan says, "Ah been waitin' heah all night. I'll be darned if I'm gonna let this little Jew get in front of me!"
The cop turns to the Jew and says, "And what's your story?"
The Jew says, "If this guy knocks me down vun more time, I don't open up de store."
Are we so beloved by the world that they've made sure of our continuing existence?
I don't think so.
No matter where they go, the Jewish people suffer from a hatred the likes of which the world has never seen. It's not just: "We don't want these people in our country club." It's not just: "We don't want them in the front of the bus." It's: "We don't want these people alive."
Not only is anti-Semitism intense, it is also irrational. We're the only religion that absolutely prohibits the eating of any kind of blood, yet we are plagued with blood libels. They say we're poisoning the wells of Europe, yet they completely ignore the fact that we're drinking from the same wells! Anti-Semitism is a hatred unbelievably intense, totally irrational and absolutely universal.
In Israel, in 1987, there was a colloquium on anti-Semitism, commissioned by President Chaim Herzog. Professor Michael Curtis of Rutgers University spoke on the irrationality of anti-Semitism:
"The uniqueness of anti-Semitism lies in the fact that no other people in the world have ever been charged simultaneously with alienation from society and with cosmopolitanism, with being capitalistic exploiters and also revolutionary communist advocators. The Jews were accused of having an imperious mentality, and at the same time they're the people of the book. They're accused of being militant aggressors, at the same time as being cowardly pacifists. With being a chosen people, and also having an inferior human nature. With both arrogance and timidity. With both extreme individualism and community adherence. With being guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus and at the same time held to account for the invention of Christianity... Everything and its opposite becomes a reason for anti-Semitism."
This is how irrational anti-Semitism is. Whatever you hate, that's what the Jew is.
How have other nations, China or India, for example, managed to stick around for so long? Maybe their success can help us understand what happened with the Jews.
The Chinese and the Indians obviously have the advantages of land, language and history. But there have definitely been conquests of these civilizations. Why didn't they disappear?
Their sheer numbers! There are so many of them that when the conqueror comes in, the conqueror gets swallowed up! There are just too many of them to simply fade into extinction. Put it this way: If any of you here are contemplating conquering a country in the near future, stay clear of China and India.
So maybe that's the secret! Maybe the Jews will be so numerous, they'll be unable to overpower. True, it's strange to predict an eternal nation. True, exile and dispersion don't make sense. True, there'll be tremendous anti-Semitism. But maybe there'll be so many of them that they just won't be able to be swallowed up.
There's a story about an old man who moves out to California. He gets ill and gets worse, and as he's on his last breath, he calls his friend in New York.
"Irving," he says.
"This is Harold."
"What is it, Harold?"
"Come to California, Irving. I'm dying and I have something terrible to confess."
So Irving flies out on the next flight and goes to see Harold on his deathbed.
"Irving," Harold whispers, "I have a big confession to make."
"Tell me, Harold, what is it?"
"I converted."
"You converted???"
"Yeh, I converted."
"I can't believe it, Harold. All your life you were a good Jew! And now, in the last few months of your life, you've converted?" "Well," he says, "I figured it out... You know how many gentiles there are in the world? You know how many Jews there are in the world? Better one of them should die, than one of us..."
That's what you call a Yiddishe kop!
Do you know how many Jews there are in the world? I would estimate about 14 to 15 million. There's a graph from Lashinsky's The Jewish Dispersion. At the very bottom of the graph, there's a little broken line that keeps bouncing along the bottom of the graph. That little line represents the number of Jews in the world. During the Roman Empire, the Jews constituted 9% of the population. Simple demographics tell us that without the Crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust, assimilation...the Jewish people today would number well into the hundred millions.
We've lost 90 to 95% of our nation. We keep diminishing and diminishing, yet we're still bouncing up and down there, barely hanging on, at the bottom of the graph. Demographically, we should just pack it in. Why don't we?
"And you shall remain few in number among the nations to which God shall lead you." (Devarim 4:27)
Despite the fact that our tiny size would almost guarantee the failure of the prophecy of an eternal nation, the Torah predicts precisely this. Yes, you'll be persecuted, yes, many of you will be wiped out, but you'll remain a nation.
The Torah tells us, "Zechor yemot olam." Keep your eyes on history. And when you do, you begin to perceive that something or someone is pulling the strings. It doesn't matter if the world hates you, persecutes you, scatters you throughout the globe...somehow you're going to remain with your identity intact, even if you're the tiniest nation in existence.
The Jews are told that they shall be, "A light unto the nations."
What does that mean?
How is it possible for a tiny people, exiled and dispersed around the globe, despised by every nation on earth, to be "a light unto the nations?" Now this is getting totally unreasonable. Who's even going to pay attention to us?
There's a book called Great Religions of the World. Who would you think is in there? Christianity. Buddhism. Islam. And, of course, there's a chapter on the Jews.
What makes Christianity one of the greatest religions in the world? A billion and a half adherents! What makes Islam one of the great religions in the world? 800 million people, maybe more. How about the Jews? With only 12 or 14 million people, why are we one of the "great" religions of the world?
If not for the Jews, you wouldn't have Christianity; you wouldn't have Islam. Both are built on the foundations laid by Judaism. Prior to the Jewish religion, the world was paganistic, with no concept of monotheism. The Jews changed all that, and now half the world believes in the concept of one God.
We're tiny, we're scattered and we're hated. Likely candidates for world influence? Clearly not. Yet somehow, just as the Torah predicted, we're the ones who have made more of an impact on the world than any other nation.
Rabbi Motty Berger, a well-known Discovery lecturer, once had a young Chinese artist by the name of Jin Gan living in his house. Now Jin Gan was a very bright fellow who had come to America to study. He was very eager to learn the English language, so every day he read the entire front page of the New York Times. After a while, he began to notice that there were three countries that almost always made the headlines: The United States, the Soviet Union and Israel.
Not being very familiar with Israel, Jin Gan asked Rabbi Berger where this country was. Rabbi Berger pulled out a map and pointed to the Middle East.
"You see the brown space over there?"
"Okay, that's Egypt. Now you see this country over here, the little green area?"
"That's Syria. Now, come a little closer. You see this little thing over here, this dot on the map? The one that's so small, the cities have to be written out in the Mediterranean Sea? That dot there -- that's Israel!"
"That's Israel?" he says. "I can't believe it! That tiny dot is the country that makes the front page every day? How many people live there?"
"Oh, about 5 million Jews."
"Five million Jews? In a recent census conducted in China, there are now over one billion, one hundred million Chinese -- with a statistical error of 48 million! That means," he said, "that there are 12 times as many people statistically unaccounted for in China as there are Jews in Israel!"
If you want to read a story about China you have to turn to Page 17 in the New York Times. To get on the front page, they have to kill thousands of students in Tiananmen Square. For Israel to get on the front page, you need six kids throwing rocks at a Chevy. Why is this?
Somehow, small as we are, the world is always watching.
There's a book called "The Jewish Mystique," written by Ernest Vanderhaag. He writes that in the last 50 years of Western civilization, there were four people who shaped the world: Marx, Freud, Einstein, and Darwin. (Three of them were Jewish - and one of them was wrong!) And this is only in the last 150 years of western civilization; just decades after Jews were even permitted into universities!
The eternal nation, dispersed throughout the world, few in number, enduring anti-Semitism the likes of which the world has never seen - and at the same time, we're a light unto the nations.
Ridiculous? It's just what the Torah predicted, that at the time of the Messiah, the nations will beg us, "Teach us about God. You seem to know a lot about Him."
People sometimes explain this by saying that since the Jews were such a persecuted, downtrodden people, the prophets made this up to give them hope and encouragement.
Now I don't know about you, but if I were a downtrodden people, would that pick me up? "Just keep on going, even though you're down and out, because some day every nation in the world will come to you to teach them about God???"
If I wanted to be picked up by the Prophets, I would have them say something like, "Some day, God will meet your enemies and utterly destroy them. And you will go in and take over their property and money. Then, you'll live happily ever after."
But, no. No matter what we suffer, we are to be a light to the nations.
The land of Israel was known to be fertile for millennia. When you were back in sixth grade, learning about the Middle East, do you remember what that region of the world was it called?
It was called, "The Fertile Crescent." The Middle East was strategically important. It controlled the trade routes from Europe, Asia, and Africa. All of ancient civilization wanted to possess it and keep it flourishing.
But we see a very strange thing. As long as the Jews are living in the land, the land remains fertile. As soon as the Jews leave, the land becomes a desert and no other nation is able to cultivate it.
There is a fascinating quote from Mark Twain, who visited Israel in 1867.
"We traversed some miles of the desolate country, whose soil is rich enough but is given wholly to weeds, as silent, mournful expanse. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tavor safely. [Tavor is in the north, in the Galilee, the most fertile part of the land.] We never saw a human being on the whole route. We pressed on towards the goal..., renowned Jerusalem. The further we went, the hotter the sun got, the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bound the approaches to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is mournful, dreary and lifeless. I would not desire to live there." (Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad, Vol. II, Harper and Brothers, 1922, NY)
Has anyone been to Israel recently? Does this sound accurate to you? Once again, a startling and strange phenomenon, completely defying the laws of nature: When the Jews are not in the land, the land becomes a desolate wilderness.
Has this ever happened anywhere else in the world? The white men came to this country and took it over from the American Indians. It had amber waves of grain. Did the land suddenly become a desert? Of course not! It doesn't make a difference who's living in the land. If a land is fertile, it's fertile; if it's a desert, it's a desert.
Not so with the land of Israel. Only there does the land become uninhabitable when the Jews are exiled.
In the seventh and final wonder, the Jews are promised that they will one day return to their land. And they are told what they will find when they do: Suddenly, after years of desolation, the land will come to life again.
If you've been to Israel recently, you've seen this with your own eyes. The land has indeed begun to bloom and the markets are full of produce.
Cecil Roth, an Oxford professor and non-observant Jew, wrote a book called, "The History of the Jews." At the very end of the book, he writes as follows:
"Our survey of three and a half millennia of Jewish history is closed. But the story which we have set ourselves to tell is unended. Today the Jewish people has in it still those elements of strength and endurance which enabled it to surmount all of the crises of its past, surviving thus the most powerful empires of antiquity. Throughout our history, there have been weaker elements who have shirked the sacrifices which Judaism entails; they have been swallowed up, long since, in the great majority. Only the more stalwart have carried on the traditions of their ancestors and can now look back with pride in their superb heritage. Are we to be numbered with the weak majority or the stalwart minority? It is of course, for ourselves, to decide, but in a reading of Jewish history, one factor emerges which may perhaps help us in our decision: the preservation of the Jew was certainly not casual. He has endured through the power of a certain ideal, based upon the recognition of the influence of a higher power in human affairs. Indeed, time after time in his history he has been saved from disaster in a manner which cannot be described as anything but providential. This author has deliberately attempted to write this book in a secular spirit, but he does not think that his readers can fail to see on every page, a higher immanence."
Obviously, when Cecil Roth looked at history, just as you're looking at it now, he saw the impossible contradictions: an eternal nation, exiled and dispersed throughout the globe; subject to intense anti-Semitism which should assure their extinction; few in number, and yet, despite that, a light unto the nations. One contradiction after another. The land produces nothing when their enemies inhabit it, yet when the Jews return, the desert blooms once again.
You know, the idea of the Jewish people returning to their homeland was truly seen as absurd by most of the world. When the Reform movement was founded in Germany in the 1820's, one of the first elements of Jewish belief that they rejected was the concept of a return to the land of Israel. They declared, "Germany is our fatherland. Berlin is our Jerusalem." They understood it was ridiculous to think of going to settle the desert of Palestine. "Here we are in Europe - it's obvious that we're here to stay - look how well we're accepted."
Were they idiots? No, they were rationalists. They just didn't understand that in a world run by God, it doesn't matter how things seem to be.
Imagine if I told you that when we walk out of this building, to-night, fifty red Maseratis will pass by, all in a row. And then you go out and see that it really came true. Would you be impressed with me? I would assume so. Let's say I told you that they would all have consecutive license plates, one after the other. Would you believe that I had some sort of prophetic ability?
We have an incredible history, a history that makes absolutely no sense and follows no rules. No other people have ever experienced a history like ours. Yet, every single piece of our history has been predicted beforehand by our Torah.
The Seven Wonders of Jewish History as Predicted in the Torah
We have seen the Jewish People survive for more than 3000 years. This was predicted beforehand!
"Thus says God, 'Who establishes the sun to light the day, the laws of the moon and stars to light the night, Who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, Whose name is the Lord of Hosts? If these natural laws should ever give away before Me,' says God, 'only then shall the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before me for all time.' " (Yirmiyahu 31:34-36)
In other words, as long as there's sun, moon and sky, there will always be a Jewish people.
Rule number one of world history is that if you're going to scatter a nation all over the globe with no common land or language or history, they're going to lose their identity! And yet we are eternal.
This dispersion was predicted beforehand!
"That they shall know that I am God, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them over foreign lands." (Yechezkel 12:15)
We have survived thousands of years of turbulent exile. This was predicted beforehand!
"Among those nations, you shall find no respite, no rest for your foot, for there the Lord will give you an anguished heart and wasted eyes and a dismayed spirit. You will live in constant suspense, and stand in dread, both by day and by night, never sure of your existence." (Devarim. 28:65-67)
We mentioned the strange fact that when every other nation tries to assimilate, the persecution stops. When the Jews try to assimilate, the persecution intensifies. This was predicted beforehand!
"For that which comes into your mind shall never be. That which you say, 'Let us be like the nations, like the families of other lands, serving wood and stone.' 'As I live,' says God, 'with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and with outpoured fury, I shall be king over you.' " (Yechezkel 20:32-34)
We mentioned our lack of numbers. This was predicted beforehand!
"You will remain few in number, whereas you could have become as numerous as the stars of the heavens, because you would not obey the voice of God, your Lord." (Devarim 28:62)
Those same nations that persecuted and denigrated us will come to us for wisdom and guidance? This was predicted beforehand!
"Thus says the Lord of Hosts: In those days, [the time that Messiah will come] ten men of every nationality, speaking different languages, shall take hold of every Jew by the corner of his garment, and say, let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." (Zecharia 8:23)
Could anyone have known that the land would produce only for the Jewish people? This was predicted beforehand!
"And I shall make the land a desolate waste so that its proud strength will cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate that no one will cross them. Then they shall know that I am God when I make the land a desolate waste because of all the abominable things they have done." (Yechezkel 33:28-29)
From where would the prophets get this strange agricultural expertise? Is there any other country on earth whose land responds to only one nation?
We, today, are witnesses to the miraculous return of the Jewish people to their homeland. This was predicted beforehand!
"Behold, I will raise my hand to the nations and my banner to the peoples, and they shall bring your sons in their arms and your daughters on their shoulders." (Yeshaya 49:22).
Not only are these seven wonders so paradoxical, so outside the pale of logic, but each one was clearly predicted in the Torah!
Imagine a friend calls up and says, "Listen, I got a sure thing in the market. All you need is $10,000. Plunk it down with me. I guarantee the stock's gonna double tomorrow."
Now you're a conservative kind of guy, so you say, "Well, thanks, but no thanks."
The next day you look at the paper and guess what? The stock doubled.
"Wow, that guy really knows something," you say to yourself. "Seems like he's got inside information."
Next day the phone rings again. It's the same friend. He says, "Hey, did you check the paper?"
"Yeah, I saw it."
"Well, what do you think?"
"Pretty good."
"Tell you what. Put down the $10,000 now. The stock's gonna double again tomorrow."
Well, now you have to think twice about it. But you're still a bit cautious, so you say, "Um, thanks but no thanks. $10,000 is a lot of money. I'll leave it for now."
You check the paper the next day, and sure enough, the stock doubled again. The portfolio is now worth $40,000. And you missed it twice.
Next day another phone call. This time, you're afraid to answer it. Eventually, after eight rings, you pick up.
"Did you check the paper?"
"Well, whadya think?"
"Pretty good."
"Tell you what. You put down the money now, the stock's gonna double again. Check the paper tomorrow, you'll see it."
This time you're tempted. You think about it for a few minutes, but then you say, "You know, I'm not really sure..." and you hang up the phone.
In the end, you leave it alone. You just can't deal with it.
You check the paper the next day, and, sure enough, the stock has doubled. It's now worth $80,000.
The guy calls you up a fourth time. He says, "Listen, did you check the paper?"
"Stock doubled."
"Portfolio's worth $80,000. If you come in now, it's still gonna double tomorrow. You coming in?"
Now you've been playing it safe all along. You invested in a high level CD, and your $10,000 is now worth $10,032.06. His is worth $80,000.
He tries again. "Come on, are you in or not?"
You can't deal with it. You say, "I just can't," and you hang up. The stock doubles. It's now worth $160,000.
He calls you up again. He tries a few more times. "It's gonna double, you coming on?"
"No. Can't deal with it. Not going in yet."
The stock doubles again, now it's worth $320,000. It's doubled seven times. A couple more times and now it's worth over a million dollars.

Finally he calls up one last time and says, "Listen. I want to tell you something. Since you're such a good friend, the whole time I was investing my own $10,000, I've been investing another $10,000 for you in a second portfolio. You didn't know it, but you were right there with me all along. The second portfolio is waiting for you. All you have to do is come in right now and claim it. Are you ready or not?"
We can look at the seven fundamental wonders of Jewish history and know that our ancestors have been steadily investing for us in the portfolio of Judaism, for generation after generation, up to the present time. It doesn't matter if you've been conscious of this or not; you've been investing all along. And now you can come aboard and reap your rightful payoff.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Understanding Each Person's Uniqueness and STU-PID signs

Choose Your Thoughts to Avoid Worry   
Worry is when you choose from millions of possible thoughts, only the few which deal with a potential misfortune or problem.
Once you accept your worrying as the act of choosing specific thoughts, you can consciously make an effort to avoid those thoughts that cause you needless pain and choose more constructive, positive thoughts.
Love Yehuda Lave

Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Understanding Each Person's Uniqueness

Bamidbar, 27:15-16: Moses spoke to God saying, May HaShem, God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly...
Bamibar, 27:18: HaShem said to Moses, 'Take to yourself Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him."
Rashi, 27:16: sv. God of the spirits: For what [reason] was this said? He [Moshe] said before Him, Master of the Universe, it is revealed before you the nature of each person and that they are not similar to each other - appoint a leader who can bear each person according to his nature.
Rashi, 27:18, sv. In whom there is spirit: As you asked - that he can guide corresponding to the spirit of each person.
Moses, realizing that he will not lead the people into the land of Israel, asks God to appoint a successor. Within his request he describes God in an unusual way; as the 'God of the spirits of all flesh'. Rashi explains that he was alluding to God's ability to understand the different natures of every single individual, and he was requesting that his successor emulate this quality as much as possible. It is illuminating that of all the possible qualities required for leadership that Moses seemed to consider this in particular as the most important. It comes to teach us the importance of understanding the different natures of people, and the accompanying need to treat them differently. This trait is not only relevant to a leader of the Jewish nation - it is necessary for any person in a position of authority over others, including a teacher or parent.
With regard to how we bring up children, King Solomon teaches us this idea through his well known exhortation, "Chanoch lenaar al pi darko", (1) 'educate the child according to his way'. The wisest man teaches us that there is no single correct way of bringing up a child, rather one must understand each child's unique qualities and challenges and act accordingly.
There are many examples of this concept; below we will discuss one of the less well-known but vital applications, through a woman's person account of a challenge she faced in her life. As a child, Rachel always found school very difficult, and it was apparent that she had some kind of learning disability but the experts were unable to detect what it was. She had one particular teacher who seemed to relate to her struggles more than the others, and gave her extra leeway. On one occasion the girl did very poorly in a test. Instead of berating her, the teacher gave her the opportunity to take the test again, but this time the teacher gave her significant help before the test. That evening, the girl worked very hard on the test and was happy to receive an 80% - not an outstanding result by any means, but given her natural challenges she felt redeemed. However, her teacher was not so satisfied: "Rachel, I understood why you did badly on the test the first time, but the second time I gave you so much help, you could easily have achieved a far higher grade than 80. When I was a child I also did badly in school until I realized that if I work harder I can do well; from then on I succeeded. If you would act the same way then you will do far better."
This rebuke struck Rachel very hard, especially since she felt that she had genuinely worked hard. As she grew up she came to recognize that her teacher made a serious mistake. Up to that point she had empathized with Rachel because she had endured through similar difficulties as a child, but she assumed that Rachel's problems were the same as hers and consequently the solution would be identical as well. When this didn't happen she became angry at Rachel, thinking she was lazy, when in truth Rachel had totally different issues from her.
As she grew up and learnt to deal with her learning difficulties, Rachel felt a special affinity to children who had learning difficulties and she took a job as a teacher who's focus was on helping such children. There was one girl in the class who, like Rachel, didn't seem to follow what was going on, and would daydream throughout class. Rachel, relating to these problems, tried the very teaching techniques that had helped her as a child but to her chagrin they did not work. She felt herself getting frustrated at the child but soon realized that she was falling into the same trap as the teacher from her own childhood.
She approached the child therapist of the school with her difficulties with this child and how her techniques had failed to help. The therapist told her that there are two types of people who become teachers of children with learning difficulties; one group are those who always found learning easy and want to help those less fortunate than themselves; the other were people who struggled with those difficulties and wanted to help other children in similar situations. One benefit of the second group is that they could empathize with these children however there was also a danger - they expect that the child's problems are the same as theirs, and that the same solutions should work, when that often isn't the case. The therapist suggested different techniques to try with this girl.
This story teaches us a number of important lessons. Firstly we learn that we are prone to expect other people to function in a similar way as himself; this is natural because the only way we know how to view the world is our own. Yet when we are in a position of authority over other people, whether it be our own children, students, or employees, it is essential to avoid this trap and recognize that their strengths, challenges and outlook are likely to be very different to our own, and consequently the methods that may have worked for us may not succeed for others. In this way we can strive to somewhat emulate God's quality of relating to each individual in the way that will best bring out their potential.

1. Mishlei, 22:6.

You just can't fix Stupid. . .

Did we elect these people?? 

Civil War planes?
Let me know how that works out.

I'm saying GREAT paint job.

'We had no idea anyone was buried there.'

I didn't know we could choose.
This one says it all.

Please, anyone, if you've seen this man....

What are the odds of that?

I would have guessed 20.

OK, that's just mean. 

And just think, they live among us 

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Would Rabbi Kahane Say Now? and the Great lakes in WW II

  Acquire Inner Wealth

Only what you have acquired spiritually is truly yours. Therefore your main focus in life should be on acquiring positive inner traits.

A person who seeks only to increase his external possessions is lacking internal possessions, which are what really count.
Love Yehuda Lave

What Would Rabbi Kahane Say Now?

In 1985, he described programs of "secular Zionist gentilization" designed by the Ministry of Education.
Published: June 23rd, 2013

Rabbi Meir Kahane as a young man.
Rabbi Meir Kahane as a young man.
Yori Yanover recently posted Rabbi Meir Kahane's speech at the National Press Club in 1985. Last week, I had an interesting discussion with a couple of friends about whether Rabbi Kahane's views on Zionism and aliya would have changed had he lived through the Oslo Accords and subsequent disasters.
On the one hand, this was the man who made aliya with his family in 1971 and wrote books such as Time to Go Home (1972) and Our Challenge: The Chosen Land (1974). This was the man who wrote in The Jewish Press in 1979 that "Zionism is Judaism, because it was not Herzl who created Zionism, but the Holy One, Blessed Be He." (Unless otherwise indicated, this quotation and subsequent ones are from Rabbi Kahane's collected articles in the Beyond Words series.)
Rabbi Kahane wrote a lot more than that about Zionism, however.
In 1985, he described programs of "secular Zionist gentilization" designed by the Ministry of Education that involved children temporarily living with non-Jewish families, mixed summer camps, etc. Rabbi Kahane wrote the year after in "Fear, the New Zionism":
"…Israel is in the process of creating a new Minsk, Pinsk, Sa'ana and Brooklyn. Fear has become a permanent resident of Israel, moving into the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of Jews who fear the night…fear to allow their children to play alone in the streets."
On Yom Ha'atzmaut in 1989, Rabbi Kahane similarly reflected on Israeli society:
"I stood in broad daylight on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road, where two Jews had been murdered in cold blood and considered the fraud of the words of Hatikva, 'To be a free people in our land'! Free people? Say, rather, a terrified people. Terrified of being murdered in our capital city, in broad daylight. Terrified of walking in the eastern half of our Jerusalem. A 'free people'? Hardly. And 'our land'? Every day, it becomes a little less than that."
The previous year, Rabbi Kahane wrote the following startling words a few months before the "High Court" upheld the Central Election Committee's banning of the Kach Party, in the context of leftists whose objective is "the un-Jewing of Israel" (sounds like a certain former failed kickboxer):
"Clearly, that means the turning of Israel into a state that is so lacking in special Jewish meaning that not one sane, rational Jew would ever wish to give up the luxury of a wealthy, comfortable non-Jewish state called America, Canada, England, or Australia for the problems and burdens of a tiny, poor non-Jewish state called Israel.
And clearly, that means turning Israel into a state that is so lacking in any Jewish and Zionist content that only the legendary frayer [sucker] will find any reason to suffer in it when he could find comfort and respite from army duty and taxes and constant tension, in London, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Melbourne."
One way to describe this evolution of thought would be a shift from Zionism to what might be called Judeanism, referring to Rabbi Kahane's announcement in 1989 of forming in Yehuda and Shomron a State of Judea (wherein he described Kiryat Arba as "the Jewish ghetto that overlooks the city of Hebron"). His ultimate goal with this project was that it would "push and drive Israel into annexing the territories. On that day, Judea will quietly integrate into the State of Israel and cease to exist as an entity."
In a speech on the State of Judea where he talked about the growing fear in Israel and the government's failure to protect citizens, Rabbi Kahane discussed aliya in prescriptive but realistic language:
"If you think that aliya from this country [America] to Israel without a change in Israeli policy is going to make things better, it's not so. It's not true. Indeed, one of the reasons why there is such a paucity of aliya is because a state which was once such a great, great dream is now a kind of a nightmare."
A similar bluntness characterized Rabbi Kahane's remarks on aliya in an interview from 1987:
I live in this country because it is an obligation ordered by G_d. Otherwise, why would I want to live in a country which, from my point of view, is miserable and uninteresting? If G_d hadn't ordered us to live in this country, I really wouldn't want to have anything to do with it. Because this country is an absolute disaster, from a geographical as well as a material viewpoint."
(On material considerations, the Pele Yoetz stated about aliya, "Even if this mitzvah is greater than the mitzvah of lulav and similar Biblical commandments, nonetheless, one who cannot afford [to make aliyah] is not obligated, and he does not have to beg door to door in order to fulfill this mitzvah." Rabbi Shlomo Kluger likewise wrote, "Even those who hold that we force people to make aliyah, and that it is a mitzvah, agree that this applies only to one who has enough [money] on which to live during the trip, and to someone who will not need to rely on others once he arrives. However, a pauper who does not have the means with which to pay for the trip and sustain himself once there certainly has no obligation to make aliyah…" These sources and additional related ones appear in Rise from the Dust: Eretz Yisrael in Halachah and Hashkafah by Tzvi Glatt Hy"d.)
Along with the horrors that followed Oslo and Gush Katif's destruction, there has been another major change since Rabbi Kahane's murder in 1990 that might have affected the degree to which he advocated aliya. I refer not to external threats like Iranian nuclear development but an internal threat: the attack on people's God-given right of self-defense through the disarmament of citizens that went into high gear after Yitzhak's Rabin's assassination in 1995.
A Reuters article soon after the assassination that foreshadowed this change began, "Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are allowed, even encouraged, to arm themselves against Arab attacks." In stark contrast, an ominously titled report from last month quoted Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch as saying, "Over the past decade the number of weapons permits has been reduced from 300,000 to 160,000, and now we are working to reduce the number of people holding weapons permits by 10,000 per year."
I wonder if that reduction extends to the "public security" minister's own protection entourage?
As a gun store owner in Jerusalem said in December, "In Israel it is not a right to bear arms, but a privilege." A friend from Be'er Sheva likewise comments, "I have looked into owning a handgun in Israel. It's pretty much impossible."
Call me warped from having grown up in a diasporic land that relatively honors the right to bear arms, but this situation brings to mind what the American jurist St. George Tucker observed in 1803 about the Second Amendment to the Constitution:
"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…The right of self defence is the first law of nature…Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."
It doesn't seem most Israelis share this conviction. David Hazony was likely accurate when he wrote in April that "Israelis do not believe they have a 'right' to bear arms. Israel has no Second Amendment, nor would it ever dream of introducing one."
Consequently, there has been no large-scale outrage over the growing repression of firearms ownership, including weapons seizures that in at least one case might have resulted in the murder of four citizens. A friend of those victims said, "There are four bodies today because the government, instead of fighting terrorism, is fighting citizens."
Rabbi Kahane wrote in 1976, "The government of Israel is the greatest danger to the State of Israel that exists today." How timely and how sickening are these words.

The Great Lakes provided vital support for the war effort in WWII,
from building 28 fleet subs in Manitowoc to providing the bulk of US
industrial output, we could not have won the war if not for the
benefits of the Great Lakes and their related industry. However there
was another benefit of the lakes that is often overlooked. Japan
quickly lost the war because, among many other things, its navy could
not replace its carrier pilot losses. We could. But how did we train
so many pilots in both comfort (calm seas) and safety (no enemy subs)?

We took two old side-wheel Great Lakes passenger steamers and turned
them into training carriers on Lake Michigan ! Virtually every carrier
pilot trained in the war got his landing training on these amazing
ships! Sadly nothing but these great photos and the wrecks of the
aircraft that ditched alongside them remain to tell their fascinating
story! Thanks to Tom Ursem for sending this link!

Check this out! USS Sable and USS Wolverine...

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

IRS----We Targeted Supporters of Israel’s Disputed Territories and Monet paintings slide show

Happiness Comes From Within

In the Talmud (Pirkei Avos 4:1), Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from every person. Who is strong? He who conquers his desires. Who is rich? He who is satisfied with what he has. Who is honored? He who honors others.
The Torah is teaching us to not to seek or demand happiness through any external factors, but rather to depend only on ourselves.
How do we see this concept expressed? The wise man learns from everyone (independent of any intellectual deficiencies in himself); the honorable person honors others (independent of whether others honor him); the wealthy person is satisfied with what he has (independent of how much
Love Yehuda Lave

We Targeted Supporters of Israel's Disputed Territories
On Monday the IRS provided the 'smoking gun' pointed at its own head, in reports and information showing that the government agency made decisions based upon the views of pro-Israel groups which disagreed with the administration about the 'Disputed Territories.'

Published: June 25th, 2013
tell a friend
IRS documents revealed the Service had been targeting pro-Israel groups whose view on the territories differed from the administration's.
IRS documents revealed the Service had been targeting pro-Israel groups whose view on the territories differed from the administration's.
Ever since the beginning of the scandal concerning the United States Internal Revenue Service and the claims that it had a policy of treating differently – as in worse – organizations seeking tax exemptions if those organizations held positions in conflict with this US administration, there have been doubters.
And, of course, the way the story has been spun fans the flames of doubt – yes, the IRS finally admitted, after years of denial, that it had targeted certain groups and subject some groups to extra scrutiny, but there was no political impetus for the inappropriate action, there was just poor oversight of overworked civil service employees who were just trying to streamline their jobs.  Heck, the claim went, that was wrong, but what we now recognize as inappropriate actions weren't taken for political purposes. That was the claim.
And the IRS is trying desperately to make glib admissions, have some heads roll, even parade some of those heads around to show how seriously the IRS takes its need to be punished.  But now, it's time to move on.  The IRS is even providing a kind of amnesty for many of the politically conservative groups that complained – they are getting hand-delivered approval letters, and future applicants will be assured of an easier time going forward.
So, maybe it's time to move on.
Well, one little organization (the one this reporter founded and of which she is the president) refuses to go flying no matter how hard the IRS is shaking its leg to free itself.
Z STREET claimed when it filed its lawsuit for viewpoint discrimination against the IRS in August, 2010, that the IRS treated Z STREET differently subjecting it to additional scrutiny, because of its ideological views.
Two things happened on Monday, June 24, that proved, finally, that Z STREET – and others similarly situated – was correct.
First, the IRS released its 83 page document, "Charting a Path Forward at the IRS," in response to the Treasury Department's Inspector General who found that the IRS had engaged in inappropriate targeting of certain groups which had sought tax exempt status from the IRS.
The IRS Path Report begins:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.
Well, there you have it.  The IRS admitted that it made decisions based on policy positions, rather than on prohibited activity.  That is exactly what Z STREET claimed – that it had been discriminated against because it holds positions that "contradict the Administration's public policies."
The second revelation was one made by Bloomberg News.  That media agency obtained IRS documents revealing that, in addition to the terms Tea Party and 9/12, other terms were used in flagging organizations seeking tax exempt status for additional scrutiny.  While the headline of the article, and what was the object of most media attention, was that terms that suggested not just conservative groups, but also liberal or progressive groups were given the IRS evil eye – words such as "occupy" and "progressive" were allegedly triggers, as was the word "Israel."
But far down in a long article the Bloomberg reporter explains that, "Disputed Territories" was considered problematic.  To wit:

'Disputed Territories"
The November, 2010 [BOLO - Be On the Look Out] list also has terms that could be related to Israel, looking for applications that 'deal with disputed territories in the Middle East' and 'may be inflammatory.'
Well, golly!  What kind of a group calls a particular area of land "disputed territories," which the vast majority of people, either for ideological or simply conformity refer to as the "West Bank?"  Yes, that would be strong Zionist groups such as Z STREET.
That the IRS chose to handle Z STREET's application in a particular way on the basis of our organization's position on this issue, and the fact that someone within the IRS even took the time to think such a position might 'be inflammatory,' is about as close as can be to a smoking gun revealing the IRS engaged in naked viewpoint discrimination.
That foul activity cannot be waved away.  Its stench is one that will only dissipate after there is a thorough investigation into how the  decision was made to use this particular criterion for evaluating an application.  Who approved that decision?  How many people knew about it?  How many organizations were subjected to it?
IRS documents revealed the Service had been targeting pro-Israel groups whose view on the territories differed from the administration's.
IRS documents revealed the Service had been targeting pro-Israel groups whose view on the territories differed from the administration's.
And now there are other delicate issues which demand attention.  If this was the basis for a decision, why were three IRS agents allowed – or were they forced? – to suggest under oath that there was another basis for delaying Z STREET's application? First there was the claim that perhaps Z STREET was really an "action" organization whose mission could only be accomplished by legislation.  Then there was the claim that Israel is a country where there is a "heightened risk of terrorism," and of course Z STREET required special scrutiny because it might be providing funds to terrorist groups.  Except, of course, Z STREET doesn't fund anything, and then there is the little matter of Israel being the object of terrorism, not the source of terrorism.
And, further, on the subject of Israel and terrorism – how is it that the IRS felt comfortable making the argument, presenting as a legitimate basis for giving special scrutiny to pro-Israel organizations the likely possibility that it meant those groups might engage in supporting terrorism, is an additional cause for alarm.  Where was the so-called "Israel lobby" and why weren't its members screaming at the top of their lungs that such an explanation was being offered?
The IRS scandal certainly isn't over.  But with respect to the portion that has to do with the Service's treatment of pro-Israel organizations, it looks like the IRS no longer has much basis for denying it engaged in viewpoint discrimination.  Now the question becomes how to make sure the prior wrong behavior is ferreted out, the wrongdoers are punished, and mechanisms are put in place that ensure such wrongdoing does not continue.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught.

Monet paintings in a slide show
monet(FILEminimizer).pps monet(FILEminimizer).pps
7016K   View   Download  

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Modern Orthodoxy’s Welcome Alternative and NEW CPR technique

  Do It Once

When fighting against the evil inclination, use the same strategy he uses. When he tries to prevent you from doing good deeds, tell him, 'It's just for this once,' or, 'I'm only going to start doing a little bit,' and similar statements that will enable you to get started. This way of talking to yourself lessens the difficulty of a task.
Think of a good deed that you would want to do, but don't do because you feel it will be difficult for you to continue doing it. Imagine that you will do it only once. Then take action.
Love Yehuda Lave
Subject: Learn SHeart Center's Continuous Chest Compression CPR | Arizona Health Sciences Center

This is really important. Don't pass it up.

Modern Orthodoxy's Welcome Alternative

Many of the talented and motivated individuals who leave the Haredi world could choose Modern Orthodoxy, but they don't.

Published: June 20th, 2013
Latest update: June 21st, 2013

haredi dropouts
In the last number of years there has been great media and literary attention paid to the phenomenon of members of the Haredi community who choose to leave their lifestyle and neighborhoods – in some painful instances even becoming estranged from their families, as they move into mainstream secular society.
Books, investigative essays, interviews and websites have highlighted various elements of this phenomenon, while organizations have been formed to offer support to such individuals.
Particularly striking is the swing from one extreme to another, as many who once were intensely Haredi end up living an extremely secular lifestyle, detached from halachic observance of any kind or affiliation with any Jewish community.
To the best of my knowledge, there have not been systematic peer-reviewed studies of the extent of this phenomenon and whether the cases highlighted in the media are representative. Nevertheless, it is increasingly obvious to those who keep a close watch on the situation that a good percentage of those who leave the Haredi community end up rejecting halachic observance.
And that is a real tragedy, because so much of what these individuals wish for in their public comments – to study secular subjects on a high level, to participate in and enjoy the cultural and leisure activities of mainstream society, to find themselves in educational settings where rigorous questions and inquiry can be pursued, to encounter a less restrictive atmosphere surrounding male-female interaction – is available to them in the various shades and sub-communities of Modern Orthodoxy.
Many of these talented and motivated individuals, if they investigated and sought out Modern Orthodox settings, could find their niche as well as many of their most profound human, psychological and spiritual needs addressed in a community of committed Jews who engage fully with the modern world while remaining committed to their core religious values.
In addition, many of these individuals could contribute in positive ways to the Modern Orthodox community, bringing with them their life experiences, their feelings and struggles, and, in many cases, a deep knowledge of classical rabbinic literature.
Many of those who grow up in an intensely insular environment internalize a "black and whilte" view of the world. In this context the message one has imbibed is that if one does not fully embrace the cultural norms and religious assumptions of the community, one must therefore totally reject any connection to the values, practices and core beliefs of that community, along with its peripheral trappings and sociologically based norms. One leaves the community one was brought up in and passes "go" without stopping to consider alternatives and options.
This is reminiscent of the stories of Eastern European immigrants at the turn of the previous century who, upon realizing it was not socially acceptable to wear a kippah at their place of work, simply gave up the entire enterprise of living a Jewish life.
Or to take another example, one reads Bialik's classic poem "Hamatmid" today with a certain wistfulness of missed opportunities. In the poem, Bialik expresses his longing and appreciation of what the traditional bet midrash had given him and the Jewish people. Yet he feels he can no longer remain in that place, given his desire to experience the world and all its knowledge. For Bialik, as for so many young men and women of the late 1800s and early 1900s, religion and modernity could not co-exist under one roof. They felt they had to make stark choices, and no middle ground was available.
I still recall reading the poem close to thirty years ago as a junior at Yeshiva College and thinking, What would Bialik have done if a thriving Yeshiva College had existed back then and been supported by the traditional religious establishment? Or what would Bialik have done if the "acceptable" choices in Eastern Europe for a rabbinical education were not only Volozhin and Slabodka but also the equivalent of a Yeshiva University/RIETS or a Yeshivat Har Eztion or a Beit Morasha or a Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School?
Had the ethos and openness of a Modern Orthodox education been more readily adopted by the rabbinic elite and communities in those days, how many of our greatest minds and spirits would have developed without rupturing their entire connection to traditional observance and creativity?
It is time to reach out loudly and clearly to all those in the Haredi community who are struggling to find their niche in the Jewish world and declare: Come and be part of this thriving fellowship of Modern Orthodoxy. Of course we also have problems and challenges and disappointments and unfinished business to address, but we have strong, motivated people who are trying to find their way through their daily challenges in a spirit of integrating Torah and life, in all its majesty and grandeur.
We are committed to Torah and Jewish observance coupled with an openness to God's wonderful world – to appreciating the value of all human beings, to being ennobled by the best of general culture, to supporting the state of Israel, and to helping foster Jewish nationhood. You don't have to write yourself out of that grand Jewish story, and you have so much to add and contribute. Welcome, and let us grow together.

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