When to Upgrade Your Level of Trust
When to Upgrade Your Level of TrustHow can you tell when you need to upgrade your level of emunah and bitochon? Your nervous system gives you feedback. View anxiety and nervousness as a message, "Time to elevate your level of emunah and bitochon." Don't become upset about this. That's not very helpful. Rather, be appreciative of the feedback. The message you are receiving is immensely valuable.
The below article is very interesting..You don't have to agree to find it interesting.
A Universal Jewishness
More of the Jewish tradition is vanishing in present conditions of security and prosperity than ever vanished in past conditions of oppression and poverty
This is the text of a speech delivered in honor of Theodore Bikel, the noted Jewish actor, singer, and activist, when he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by YIVO. The ceremony took place at the Center for Jewish History in New York on June 18.
In America, Jewish heritage is a lively and noisy affair. We have correctly understood that we live in a country that does not require anyone to inhibit themselves in the assertion of identity, and we have tossed aside our inhibitions. We celebrate our origins, our characteristics, incessantly. It is a rich era for Jewish expression, for Jewish identification. All the realms of our existence, all our values, all our interests, all our pleasures, all our pains, are given a Jewish gloss or a Jewish source. American Jewish culture, high and low, is a plenitude, a cacophony, of Jewishnesses.
By the standards of Jewish history, then, we are almost unimaginably blessed. Or more precisely, by certain standards of Jewish history. We are free, we are respected, we may formulate our universality in the terms of our particularity without embarrassment and without opprobrium—but there are qualities of Jewish identity, parcels of the Jewish tradition, that are being lost or renounced amid all our good fortune. There are many disappearances and many abandonment's, and they are drowned out in the festive din. More of the Jewish tradition is vanishing in present conditions of security and prosperity than ever vanished in past conditions of oppression and poverty. Speaking strictly, what we are celebrating in America is not Judaism and the Jewish tradition and the Jewish difference, but what is left of Judaism and the Jewish tradition and the Jewish difference.
We in this room are among the saving remnants, gathered to honor one of the greatest saving remnants of all. The joy on our lush island of Jewishness is real, but we must soberly recall that it is indeed on an island that we are toiling and flourishing and reveling. We are surrounded by a vast sea of Jews who are not Jewish except ethnically and biologically. Many of them take pride in a tradition that they know almost not at all. Not long ago Theo Bikel came to Washington and performed his magical one-man show about Sholom Aleichem. The theater at the JCC was full, and the men and women in the audience glowed with enchantment, and when he spoke or sang in Yiddish they understood little or nothing. The less they grasped, in fact, the more they glowed. They were enjoying a warm experience of contentless authenticity.
The diversity of Jewishnesses in America today is no doubt some sort of cultural strength; but I want to suggest, as a way of expressing what I admire about my brother Theo, that it is also some sort of cultural weakness. The Jewish tradition in our community has been splintered and customized. Even when we go deep, we do not go wide. We live in a golden age of partial Jewishnesses. The American Jew is, to borrow a term from a scholar of Jewish law, ayehudi l'hatza'in—a partial Jew. Religious Jews know almost nothing of our secular traditions and secular Jews know almost nothing of our religious traditions. Jews who live in Hebrew know almost no Yiddish and Jews who live in Yiddish—now there is a saving remnant!—know almost no Hebrew, and the overwhelming majority of American Jews anyway live, arrogantly and ignorantly, in no Jewish language at all. Jews who are fluent in the siddur are strangers to Bialik and Amichai. Jews who still sing the old Zionist songs are dead to klezmer, and Jews who are devout about klezmer sometimes act as if their music is all that is required for Jewish continuity. How many students of Jewish film are also students of Talmud, and how many students of Talmud have a shred of an acquaintance with the history of Jewish art? An alarming number of poor souls among our brethren seem to feel that all they require for a genuine Jewishness is Woody Allen and Philip Roth and Jerry Seinfeld.
Everybody appropriates only what suits them, what tickles them, what affirms them, without any sense of obligation toward the totality of our resources. The only Jewish thing that every American Jew knows about is politics.
I am not against any of these parts and pieces of our culture. I am for all of them—but all of them is precisely what almost none of us any longer commands. There are currents and strains, movements and organizations, but almost nowhere is there a general Jewish cultivation. As we edit and shrink our patrimony to suit our tastes and our moods and our ideologies, we become masters of subtraction; but we must teach ourselves to add. Not Maimonides or Mendele, but Maimonides and Mendele: a universal Jewishness. Philosophically, of course, all the Jewish figures and the Jewish ideas do not go together—indeed, they are sometimes bitterly at odds with each other. Feuding is also one of the great Jewish traditions. But there is an important way in which they emphatically do cohere, and that is as the elements of a civilization.
What is missing from American Jewishness now is a sense of the whole—a robust and natural awareness of our inherited abundance. We lack the consciousness that we are nothing less than a civilization. A great Jewish historian, adapting an ancient Latin adage, famously remarked that "nothing Jewish is alien to me." Who can say this now? Who has, or aspires to have, an appreciation and a knowledge and a love of this scope? Who any longer remembers how to be an heir to it all?
I have at least one answer to that question. The answer is, Theo Bikel remembers. He is a man of the whole. The range of his Jewishness is as exhilarating as it is rare: He is immersed in the entirety of Jewish expression. He possesses the languages and he possesses the literatures. He knows all the songs, and the meanings of all the songs. He knows how we daven and he knows how we demonstrate. He is a son of Vienna and a son of Tel Aviv and a son of New York and Los Angeles—of the center and the peripheries, the homeland and the dispersion. He does not choose among them; he represents, and cherishes, and refines, them all. His Jewish cultivation is breathtaking. His many agitations on behalf of human rights and social justice have always been conducted in a Jewish vocabulary—he has been an ambassador of our ethics to the world.Theo is one of the greatest of our culture's guardians, and of its connoisseurs. His company is an intense—and almost giddily delightful—experience of Jewish cultivation. His laughter is itself a high form of yiddishkeit. A culture's best shorthand, after all, is its humor; and if one of the measures of the decline of a grander and more synoptic Jewishness is that there are fewer and fewer people to whom one can tell our jokes, then I wish to proclaim, as a summary of Theo's reach as a Jew, that he is the man who gets all the jokes and tells all the jokes. He relieves a certain Jewish loneliness. So here at YIVO you have chosen brilliantly: I can think of nobody who more richly deserves an award that extols Jewish heritage than this man, this universal Jew. It has been one of the privileges of my own life as a Jew to have been a Jew together with him on this cruel and beautiful earth.
Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide
By ADAM LIPTAK JUNE 26, 2015
Slide Show|14 Photos
"No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."
Marriage is a "keystone of our social order," Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.Photo
The court's four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion. Each member of the court's conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.
In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.
"If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision," Chief Justice Roberts wrote. "Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
In a second dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation's most important judicial champion of gay rights.
"The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic," Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague's work. "Of course the opinion's showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent."
As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion from the bench on Friday, several lawyers seated in the bar section of the court's gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.
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Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision, and many of the justices' clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced. The decision made same-sex marriage a reality in the 13 states that had continued to ban it.
How a Love Story Triumphed in Court
John Arthur died in 2013, but the legacy of his marriage to Jim Obergefell, center, is at the center of the Supreme Court same-sex marriage case.By Samantha Stark on Publish Date June 26, 2015. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. "Love has won," the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory.
In remarks in the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed the decision, saying it "affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts."
"Today," he said, "we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect."
Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court's previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 12 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.
In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.
"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times," he wrote on Friday. "The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning."
This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the Constitution according to the original understanding of those who adopted it. His dissent was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.Photo
"They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment," Justice Scalia wrote of the majority, "a 'fundamental right' overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since."
"These justices know," Justice Scalia said, "that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry."
Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Of special importance to couples, he said, is raising children.
"Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers," he wrote, "their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples."The court decided in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Full analysis »
Mostly true …
50 Crazy Facts About Japan You Won't Believe. VERY, VERY INTERESTING
Would you like to know 50 crazy facts about Japan that you would probably never guess? For westerners, the Far East remains a mystery still, and the Japanese culture is no exception. When we think about that baffling nation, a number of different things come to mind: sushi, anime, kimonos, sumo, chopsticks, geisha, Tokyo, the atomic bomb, origami, samurais, weird beautiful writing, manga, rice… This country has a rich culture to offer to its visitors, and this is widely known and appreciated, but Japan also has bizarre aspects and insanely fun facts that should not be overlooked.
50. Late-night dancing is illegal in Japan
49. Japan has more than 50,000 people that are over 100 years old
48. Japan has only 2 gun-related homicides a year
47. The world's oldest company operated in Japan from 578 AD to 2006
46. Japan consists of over 6,800 islands
45. The average delay of a Japanese train is just 18 seconds
44. Square watermelons are grown in Japan
43. There are more pets than children in Japan
42. More adult diapers are sold in Japan than diapers for babies
41. 98% of all adoptions are of male men
If you thought those facts were crazy, wait until you see the remaining 40 crazy facts about Japan, with 40 to 31 on our countdown found on the next page.
40. There are over 5 million vending machines in the country
39. In Japan, sleeping on the job is acceptable
38. There's a highway that goes through a building in Japan
37. For the Japanese, black cats bring good luck
36. More paper is used for comics than for toilet paper in the country
35. Japanese Haiku poetry, which consists only of three lines, is the shortest in the world
34. 70% of Japan's surface is covered in mountains, with over 200 volcanoes
33. Japan's literacy rate is almost 100%
32. There are approximately 1,500 earthquakes yearly in Japan
31. Rice is eaten in every meal in Japan
30. Japanese people live an average of four years longer than Americans
29. 'Karaoke' means 'empty orchestra' in Japanese
28. Raised floors help indicate where to take off your shoes
27. There are almost 130 voice-acting schools in Japan, due to anime's success
26. There are coffee shops in Japan where you can play with kittens
25. Japan has produced 18 Nobel Prize winners
24. The Japanese population is 98% Japanese; there are almost no immigrants
23. Japan's unemployment rate is less than 4%
22. Going to KFC is a Christmas tradition in Japan
21. In Japan, it is rude to say "no" directly
20. In Japan, flower arranging is a form of art
19. For the Japanese, it is impolite to tear a gift's wrapping
18. Snowmen in Japan are made of two snowballs, not three
17. Japanese people carry around a small towel to wipe their sweat off
16. Most homes have extra shoes for guests
15. Drinking or eating while walking is considered to be rude
14. Bus drivers turn the vehicle off at red lights to reduce pollution
13. At Japanese train stations, there are staff workers whose job is to help shove passengers inside the train, as they are so crowded
12. If you are sick in Japan, you should wear a mask to prevent spreading your disease.
11. The most popular pizza topping is squid
10. There are lactation bars where you can get fresh human breast milk: a shot, or straight from the nipple even
9. The Japanese police have paintballs to shoot at fleeing vehicles so as to identify them easily
8. There's a sacred shrine in Japan that is rebuilt every 20 years
7. 'Yaeba', crooked teeth, is considered attractive; so much so that girls go to the dentist to get their teeth unstraightened
6. In 1949, India sent the Tokyo zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire
5. Every year in Japan men compete to get the title of "fastest shirt ironer"
4. The Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji is a traditional suicide spot.
3. The 'ganguro' Japanese fashion (literally 'black face') consists of dying your skin as dark as possible
2. In Japan you can find the world's shortest escalator, it only has 5 steps
1. Slurping when eating noodles is polite and indicates that the food is delicious