Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Why Must I Work at My Marriage? Isn’t Love Natural? and Jerry Seinfeld: So You Think New York Is ‘Dead’ and My bar mitzvah portion 69 years ago commanded we pursue ‘justice, justice.’ By ALAN DERSHOWITZ and making a NEW Year and Presidential Message on Rosh Hashanah, 2020 and Dr. Marc Siegel reacts to Trump challenging Biden to drug test before debates

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Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.

Love Yehuda Lave

The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Make it a New Year
As the Hebrew New Year 5,781is now here, we would like to dwell on the concept of this special date.

The words "Rosh Hashana" רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה sound so familiar...

"Rosh" means head."Shana" – means year. Rosh Hashana – literally means "Head of the Year".
Even without the knowledge of Hebrew, just about everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year.

Flat design rosh hashanah concept Free Vector

Yet, there is probably much more in the concept of a "new year" than just referring to a different calendar date. What is it then?

The answer to this question may be hidden in the three-letter root of the Hebrew word "shana" - שנה. It shares the same root with the word "shinui" שִׁנּוּי- change. שׁוֹנֶה - 'Shoneh' - different
Thus, we can think of "Rosh Hashana" as of "Head of a Change", head of something different in comparison to the previous year.

So, the name "Rosh Hashana" seems to insinuate to ask the question: "What's really going to be NEW and DIFFERENT about this year?" Change lays at the very heart of the Ten Days of Repentance -עשרת ימי תשובהperiod, which begins on Rosh Hashana and ends on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

We are asked to go through this process of repentance and atonement every year of our lives, and it means that there are still things we need to rectify, improve and change. Widely known are the words from Albert Einstein: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". This is the essence of a change.

And we can make a decision to change, to improve, to do better and accomplish more during the coming year.

The Shofar tells us "A new year is waiting to begin", but "the sort of the year" will depend on us.

If we keep on doing what we have been used to, it will be just another year.
But, if we do make a change for the better, this year will truly be NEW!

Presidential Message on Rosh Hashanah, 2020

Issued on: September 18, 2020

The First Lady and I wish our Jewish brothers and sisters Shana Tova and hope the millions observing this sacred day in America and around the world have a blessed start to the High Holy Days.

As this 10-day period of celebration, devout prayer, reflection, and repentance commences, we are reminded of how important faith, family, and fellowship are to each of us. Particularly during these challenging times, the sense of peace and reassurance that comes with these observances has never been more important in helping us seek His wisdom and understanding as we continue to grow in our faith.

This year's High Holy Days come with a sense of optimism for the people of Israel, as my Administration continues to make great strides in securing a more stable, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East region. Last month, we secured a historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel—the first between Israel and a major Arab country since 1994—that normalizes relations between the two countries, including the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, as well as enhanced cooperation in a broad range of fields including education, healthcare, trade, and security. And, just days after Bahrain reached a similar deal with Israel, we were proud to host the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain at the White House earlier this week for the signing of these agreements and the Abraham Accords as a whole. As the High Holy Days begin, this momentous milestone in geopolitical relations is a reminder that we can create a coalition of nations that have shared goals of eliminating extremism and promoting security and prosperity, while also respecting religious freedom and building a more hopeful tomorrow for future generations.

Melania and I pray that He blesses all Jewish people throughout these High Holy Days. We hope that these 10 days provide those observing this special time a respite to build their faith and better experience the many blessings of the Almighty's love and mercy.


Dr. Marc Siegel reacts to Trump challenging Biden to drug test before debates

Why Must I Work at My Marriage?

Isn't Love Natural?

By Yossy Goldman

Why is the world so mesmerized by weddings? What exactly is it that so avidly captures the imagination? We wait with eager anticipation, we dress up, we get emotional at the ceremony, and even for the guests it can often be a romantic experience. One woman I know attends every wedding I conduct in my synagogue - whether she is invited or not! She is always there in the gallery, watching and enjoying.

Part of it, I think, is that a young bride andMaybe we are trying to get re-inspired ourselves groom starting afresh bring with them a sense of new hope. Especially for older, married veterans who may have become somewhat staid and perhaps even jaded, it represents a new beginning, a new opportunity, and a chance to do it right. Love will blossom again and hope springs eternal once more. Maybe we are hoping to get re-inspired ourselves.

The trouble is that fairytales are in books, movies, and maybe every now and then in Buckingham Palace. But in the real world we don't just ride into the sunset and live happily ever after. Love is a four-letter word that brings another one in its wake, W-O-R-K! Without work, even the most ardent love cannot survive. The wedding is but the beginning of a life-long journey of learning to communicate, understand, respect, and nurture our marriage partner.

We even have to learn how to fight! No matter how many years a couple may have been going steady, they would do well to attend a marriage preparation course before they marry. Along with improving communication skills, they will also learn about conflict resolution. In any partnership, conflict of one kind or another is inevitable. And there is a right way and a wrong way to fight.

I'm very proud of the marriage preparation programs we've developed for brides and grooms today in our own community. It has helped many couples understand themselves and their partners better. It has also taught them that counseling is an important option to consider should problems arise during their marriage. It wasn't always so. Generations of new couples, myself included, were just 'thrown in the deep end' - with no swimming lessons. Some learned, others swallowed lots of water, and sadly, many drowned.

I will never forget a wedding ceremony I conducted when the groom was the 'mushiest' young man I'd ever encountered. He was simply swooning over his bride. I was actually concerned that he was going to literally collapse in love under the chuppah. At one point during the ceremony, while the choir was singing, the photographer leaned over and whispered to me, "Just look at him, Rabbi. You'll never have problems with this one."

Well, what should I tell you? Not a year later, this same swooning bridegroom had an affair with his wife's best friend. So much for romantic love alone as a recipe for marital longevity!

I recall a couple that once came to see me about their own marriage problems. I asked how long they had been married. 18 years. I asked how long they'd been having problems. 18 years. I asked what they had done about it. They said they had just kept trying. I said it was like a guy driving on the highway who hears a noise from the back of the car, but he is determined to get to his destination, so he just keeps on driving. The noise gets louder, but he just keeps on driving. Now, surely, simple logic suggests that one should actually stop the car, get out, and see what's going on. And if the tire has a flat, you'd better fix it before you damage the wheel, the chassis, and more.

In marriage too, we sometimes have to stop toSometimes we have to stop to fix the problem fix the problem. And if we cannot do it ourselves, we should call in someone qualified to help us. Just to keep trying on our own with no professional intervention is the same as the guy who keeps driving with his flat tire. He's going nowhere fast.

Too many men have this macho attitude when it comes to counseling. "I'm not crazy. I'm not going to any shrink!You wanna go? You go!" Clearly, that is a formula for failure. And the happy truth is that many struggling marriages have been saved (and transformed into beautiful, lasting relationships) thanks to a sustained period of counseling with a trusted therapist.

Of course, love is natural. But so is life. Life doesn't always run on auto-pilot. Problems and unexpected issues regularly crop up in life, and marriage is part of life. Life takes work, and so does marriage. But when we are prepared to put in the work, it can work very well indeed.

By Yossy Goldman

Jerry Seinfeld: So You Think New York Is 'Dead'

(It's not.)

By Jerry Seinfeld

Mr. Seinfeld is a comedian.

Aug. 24, 2020

When I got my first apartment in Manhattan in the hot summer of 1976, there was no pooper-scooper law, and the streets were covered in dog crap.

I signed the rental agreement, walked outside, and my car had been towed. I still thought, "This is the greatest place I've ever been in my life."

Manhattan is an island off the coast of America. Are we part of the United States? Kind of. And this is one of the toughest times we've had in quite a while.

But one thing I know for sure: The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, "Everyone's gone! I want 2019 back!"

Oh, shut up. Imagine being in a real war with this guy by your side.

Listening to him go, "I used to play chess all day. I could meet people. I could start any type of business." Wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together.

He says he knows people who have left New York for Maine, Vermont, Tennessee, Indiana. I have been to all of these places many, many, many times over many decades. And with all due respect and affection, Are .. You .. Kidding .. Me?!

He says Everyone's gone for good. How the hell do you know that? You moved to Miami. Yes, I also have a place out on Long Island. But I will never abandon New York City. Ever.

And I have been onstage at your comedy club Stand Up N.Y. quite a few times. It could use a little sprucing up, if you don't mind my saying. I wouldn't worry about it. You can do it from Miami.

There's some other stupid thing in the article about "bandwidth" and how New York is over because everybody will "remote everything." Guess what: Everyone hates to do this. Everyone. Hates.

You know why? There's no energy.

Energy, attitude and personality cannot be "remoted" through even the best fiber optic lines. That's the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.

You ever wonder why Silicon Valley even exists? I have always wondered, why do these people all live and work in that location? They have all this insane technology; why don't they all just spread out wherever they want to be and connect with their devices? Because it doesn't work, that's why.

Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City. Feeling sorry for yourself because you can't go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again.

You found a place in Florida? Fine. We know the sharp focus and restless, resilient creative spirit that Florida is all about. You think Rome is going away too? London? Tokyo? The East Village?

They're not. They change. They mutate. They re-form. Because greatness is rare. And the true greatness that is New York City is beyond rare.

It's unknown. Unknown anyplace outside of New York City.

You say New York will not bounce back this time.

You will not bounce back. In your enervated, pastel-filled new life in Florida. I hope you have a long, healthy run down there. I can't think of a more fitting retribution for your fine article.

This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have.

We're going to keep going with New York City if that's all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back.

Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it.

See you at the club.

Jerry Seinfeld (@JerrySeinfeld) is a comedian who lives with his family in New York.

The Biblical command to pursue justice is as relevant today as it ever was

My bar mitzvah portion 69 years ago commanded we pursue 'justice, justice.'


Saturday was the 69th anniversary of my bar mitzvah. To celebrate it, my son videotaped me chanting from the same Torah portion I chanted 69 years ago in the Young Israel of Boro Park. The words I intoned were written three thousand years ago. And yet not a single revision is required to make them relevant to today's world.

My portion begins with a command to the Israelites to "appoint judges and magistrates in all your cities." The judges are then commanded not to pervert justice by showing favoritism or taking bribes, "for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words."

Then comes the central command, perhaps of the entire Torah: "Justice, justice must you pursue." Actually the word pursue is not as strong in the English as it is in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word "tirdof" literally means to chase or run after. It is as if God was telling his people that the quest for justice never stays won. It must always be actively pursued. No one can ever rest satisfied that justice has been achieved.

Think of that demand for active justice in the face of the racial injustice that had plagued our country since its founding. In the 1940s many thought that racial justice had been achieved when the army was integrated. In the 1950s we thought that justice had been achieved when the Supreme Court ordered desegregation of the public schools. In the 1960s the civil rights and voting act promised equal justice.

In every generation the quest for justice has achieved better and better results. There is far more racial justice today than ever before in our history. But no one looking at today's America can rightfully conclude that we have achieved ultimate justice for African-Americans. The same is true of other disadvantage and discriminated against groups. We are on a road that never ends.

We must never be content with the status quo, certainly as it regards justice. There is a line in the Merchant of Venice that implicitly makes this point. Shylock has been forced to convert on threat of death. When he is asked whether he has truly converted from Judaism to Christian, he replies "I am content." I have always thought that his answer proved beyond a doubt that he was no longer a Jew.

Because no Jew is ever content. It is not in the nature of Jews to be content and it is not in the nature of anyone who believes in the Bible to be content with the current state of justice.

Latest articles from Jpost

The commentators on the Bible frequently ask why God repeated the word "justice"? Wouldn't it have been enough for Him to command, "Justice must you pursue?" But no: God says, "justice, justice."

There are no extra words in the Bible. Every word has a meaning. So various commentaries have been offered in the meaning of the duplication. Some say that one reference is to substantive justice while the other is to procedural justice. Others say that one justice is for the victim, and the other for the accused.

Still others say that there is no single definition of justice: we know injustice when we see it, but there is no agreement about what constitutes perfect justice. It is in the nature of biblical commentary that it never ends. Every generation comes up with new interpretations and new insights as to the meanings of ancient words.

I was fortunate to have my bar mitzvah fall on the week in which this particular biblical portion is read by Jews all around the world. I always believed that it sent me a message. I have devoted my life to seeking justice for others, from my earliest opposition to the death penalty while I was in high school to the current pro bono work I do with Aleph, the wonderful Chabad organization that provides services to imprisoned men and women all over the world.

Now at 82 I am demanding justice for myself. I have been falsely accused by a woman I never met of having sex with her. I have already achieved justice in terms of the evidence that conclusively proves to any open-minded person that it is impossible that I would or could have done what she falsely accused me of.

Indeed, the best evidence of my innocence is in her own words: a series of emails and manuscript that she tried to suppress in which she essentially admits that she never met me. Her lawyers own words – she is "wrong… simply wrong" in accusing you – constitutes an admission attributable to her.

Another of her lawyers has acknowledged that she lied about other prominent men. She told her best friend and her best friend's husband that she was pressured by her lawyer to falsely accuse me. You would think that would be enough. But no, not in the age of cancel culture and #MeToo where evidence and lack thereof counts for little.

What is most important in this age of identity politics is the identity for the accuser and the accused: Always believe women, regardless of their history of lying; or regardless of the accused's history of truth-telling and sexual probity.

The Bible teaches otherwise. In my portion judges are directed not to take identity into account. The words in Hebrew are "Lo takir panim," which means do not base your decision on the faces or identities of the litigants. Base it instead on the facts and the evidence. I wish people today would abide by that 3000-year-old wisdom.

I also wish judges and prosecutors paid more heed to another command of my Bible portion: "The judges shall inquire diligently; and behold if the witness be a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother [or sister], then shall ye do unto him [or her] as he [or she] had proposed to do against unto his brother [or sister]." I have invited prosecutors and judges to "inquire diligently" into my accuser and me. If they do, they will conclude that she has "testified falsely" and should be punished under the law of perjury.

I, for one, will continue to live and work in the spirit of the commandment to chase after "justice, justice." Justice for those who have been sexually exploited. And justice for those who have been falsely accused – as Joseph in the Bible was – of sexual misconduct. I am confident that justice and truth will prevail in my case, no matter how long the road or how exhausting the chase.

The writer is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019.

See you tomorrow bli neder

Enjoy these 10 days of rependence between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipper

We need Mosich now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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