Posts in On Our Mind

Addendum to Purim Musing

March 10th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 8 comments

Important: Do not read this if your maiden or married name is Lapin or if you are married to a Lapin. For everyone else, I’ve got to tell you what happened. Carlisle, while your scone recipe would have solved my baking problem,  I needed a frosted cake for the Sunday Purim feast because I had made books from fondant to go with our theme and they will sit on the frosting. (I do hope to try the scone recipe another time.) We will be about forty people, so I actually need two cakes. I found a chocolate cake recipe that, doubled, called for everything I had in the ‘couldn’t use for the hamentaschen’ bag and it was a mix in one bowl recipe. Perfect! Of course, I had to add other ingredients too. Lots of them. And then – and I promise you that I am not normally a scatter-brained individual – I forgot that I already had baking powder and baking soda in the mix and I added them. Do you know how if you put in too much salt or too much sugar you can adjust a recipe? Well, when you put in too much baking powder or too much baking soda, the advice is to throw it out and start over! It will make your cake bitter. AARGH! This is why you should not read this if you are going to be at the Sunday special meal. I tried scooping out as much baking powder as I could and I am going to bake it anyway. I will at least have a base for my fondant creations and everyone will have had so much sugar through the day anyway that if the cake is inedible so be it. Please keep my secret and don’t think too harshly of me.

What Do Strong & Independent Women Really Look Like?

March 7th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 6 comments

Parents are constantly advised to raise strong and independent daughters. Schools, and then college stress that girls must be strong and independent. Women entering the workplace are told to be strong and independent. The big problem is that most women want to be in a happy marriage. (Most men do as well but in most cases men with advanced cases of prolonged adolescence don’t realize it until close to the expiration date) Here’s the problem: not only do most women want to be in happy marriages but they strongly prefer to marry men who are stronger and more independent than they are….and the stronger and more independent a woman becomes, the fewer available men who are stronger and more independent exist in their marriageable demographic. So, after a long and fruitless search, many women end up marrying a man less strong and less independent than they are. And these marriages have a horrendous failure rate. ( I explain why in my soon to be released book on money and marriage). So the big question: Is it really good for parents to strive to raise strong and independent daughters and is it good for women to strive to become that? Or is there a better way? Could strong and independent actually be a good thing if we knew what it really means? More in my newest podcast you can hear for free here: https://soundcloud.com/rabbi-daniel-lapin-show

That Old Time Religion

March 1st, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 4 comments

May I introduce you to one of the most anti-Semitic songs in our popular culture? The lamentable lyrics can be heard in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye strides center stage, flings his arms wide, and to a bewitching beat, bellows the word “Tradition.”

I dislike that song because it offers a false explanation for religious ritual. Saying that we Jews observe many of the rituals that our grandparents did is true. Saying that we do those things because of our reverence for tradition is utterly misleading.

If tradition were everything in Judaism, it would raise the question of why Orthodox Jews should be allowed to travel by Cadillac or fly the Concord rather than confine their transport to wagons or even camels. I dislike this distortion of Judaism because it has helped to fuel mass defection from the community. Indeed, it is hard for me to see how I myself could embrace a rigorous regimen of religious observance strictly because my father did it before me and his father, in turn, before him. I am not a mindless automaton and I don’t care to ape ineffective activities of our ancestors just because they are ancient. No, I prefer my actions to have good reasons. One good reason might he that God commanded me to do them, which is quite different from saying I do them because of tradition.

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Sadly Saying Goodbye to My Friend, the Late Great Michael Novak

February 27th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

Michael Novak has gone home to our Father in Heaven. He was a good friend, mentor. I always felt privileged to stand stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him whenever we shared a platform defending God’s plan for human economic interaction. About ten years ago he showed me a book he was working on with his daughter Janna and soon thereafter that wonderfully moving book was finished and published. In the 90s Michael encouraged me to write a regular column for his newly founded magazine Crisis which I did.
http://www.crisismagazine.com/search-results?cref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crisismagazine.com&ie=utf-8&hl=&q=Lapin&sa=Search The process taught me more than my columns taught my readers I am sure.

Raised as a Roman Catholic, Novak believed as a young man that socialism was the ideal economic arrangement. But he began to notice a flaw: While socialism sounded good in theory, in practice it didn’t work—and non-elites fared the worst.
Capitalism had little high-minded theory, but in practice it literally provided the goods. If ordinary folks did so much better under capitalism, maybe the caricatures—e.g., that it is all based on greed—were wrong. Maybe free markets had their own virtues and were defensible, and even superior to other economic systems on moral grounds.
From this recognition sprang his most important work, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” which changed America’s public debate when it was published in 1982. “Democratic capitalism,” he wrote, is “neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse…….

https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-novak-crafted-a-moral-defense-of-democratic-capitalism-1487948401

Governments Can Be As Immoral As Individuals (or even more!)

February 20th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 5 comments

California is only one of many states that have routinely been neglecting infrastructure maintenance for decades. Why? Surely not for lack of money. After all, California has found money for eye-poppingly expensive boondoggles like the bullet-train to nowhere or economically insane wind farms and solar energy experiments outside of Palm Springs. So why no proper maintenance of gas lines, (see the San Bruno explosion of a few years ago) water lines, and yes, dams. Oroville Dam, in no danger of catastrophic failure, nonetheless has had its twin spillway systems virtually destroyed because needed maintenance over the past two decades has been neglected. Why? For the same reasons that you can drive through certain areas and find neglected and run-down houses being lived in by people who have the money for an expensive car or two sitting in the driveway. It is just more fun buying new stuff than looking after old. For politicians there is far more opportunity for graft and patronage on glitzy new projects than on the decidedly unglamorous work of routine, timely maintenance of older infrastructure and equipment. I discuss this further and show the Biblical morality that is being violated by both government and individuals who neglect the material possessions they have. click here https://soundcloud.com/rabbi-daniel-lapin-show

Was Pres. Trump Wrong To Critique Judge Robart? It Depends…

February 9th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

We always opposed so-called Hate Crime Legislation enacted under President Clinton in 1994. Whether in favor or against, you’d have to agree that it allows the state to impose different penalties upon two people who committed the identical crime based entirely on what the government decided was in a citizen’s mind. It is usually only God who knows what is in a person’s heart and mind. We humans have the capacity to judge only one another’s actions.
The collapse of this principle has now brought us to this time when the same action condoned when perpetrated by a Democrat is roundly condemned when done by a Republican.
In his State of the Union address in January 2010, President Obama, in an unprecedented breach of decorum, harshly criticized and insulted the Supreme Court to the faces of the six justices sitting right in front of him. There was almost no press criticism of the president.
Recently President Trump issued a tweet critical of a Seattle District Judge who had just issued a ruling against him unlikely to stand. His 140 characters unleashed a firestorm of press protest.
We think that the only people entitled to condemn President Trump’s tweet are the few people who similarly condemned President Obama’s far worse finger in the eye of the entire Supreme Court in 2010.
Either the behavior of insulting the judiciary is wrong or it isn’t. The answer should not depend upon the political affiliation of the perpetrator.

There are currently 500,000 unfilled high-skilled IT and computer science jobs in the U.S. Hmmmm….. I wonder…..

February 2nd, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 13 comments

From today’s Wall Street Journal: The draft order [to slow the importation of high tech foreign workers] “if signed, risks serious consequences for US-based tech companies’ ability to hire elite global talent,” Blake Irving, chief executive of GoDaddy Inc., said on Wednesday. “To be clear, the entire US economy is at stake with this draft order and tech leaders need to speak out on its dangers.” There are currently 500,000 unfilled high-skilled IT and computer science jobs in the U.S., Mr. Irving wrote.
The order, if issued, would be the latest effort by President Donald Trump to make good on his promise to preserve jobs and put “America first.” It would also mark his fourth action on immigration, following moves on border security, deportations and refugee admissions.
Wall Street Journal Thursday Feb 2. https://www.wsj.com/articles/draft-of-executive-order-looks-to-re-examine-visa-programs-1485956237

So, let me get this clear…The only way to fill half a million high paying jobs is by bringing foreigners under a special visa program. Yet, last time I checked, there are more than half a million Americans looking for jobs. “Oh” you tell me, “they are not educated enough to fill those jobs!” Oh, I get that, so let’s stop perpetuating the educational mistakes of the past sixty years and confirm Betsy DeVoss for Sec of Education. Maybe it’s time to really fix American education so Americans can get a decent education for their children. Stop indoctrinating those children with sexual deviancy propaganda and stop wasting their time with lying environmental hysteria. Maybe start teaching them math, biology, chemistry and physics. While you’re at it also teach them a bit about money and economics. Oh but wait, such well educated youngsters, the day they reached age of 18, would vote out the teachers’ unions who for so long sabotaged their success by obstructing real education. Yes, right, that would just be collateral damage. Meanwhile, those half million great jobs await them….

For Yoruba, press 6

January 30th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 4 comments

We were living in Washington State at a time when popular culture decided that loggers were one of the greatest threats to society. Good men lost good jobs as media and politicians treated them with disdain. Exhibit number 3,295 in why I think our government is out of control recently came in the mail. I received a six page insurance statement. One of the pages, on both sides, told me in twelve languages that I was entitled to have the statement translated. Somehow, I don’t think the insurance company decided on their own that it was a good business decision to ask me if I wanted to read what it has to say in Tagalog, Russian, Bengali or Farsi. I feel the heavy hand of government here. Now, I know people who do speak some of those languages and who might prefer to read a statement in their native language. But does every subscriber need to get a page with that information each time the company sends any notice to them? How many trees are cut down because of ludicrous government paperwork? Is it more or fewer than the number of men who lost their jobs because the same people who demand that their Congressional representatives support this ridiculous language policy also had scorn and derision for loggers?

Time for a Mirror?

January 24th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 7 comments

I’m having trouble understanding how people who have spent fifty years advocating for vulgarity in our culture can profess shock at vulgar comments by a presidential candidate and then protest his inauguration by spouting vulgarities. At a certain point, doesn’t hypocrisy have to smack you in the face?

Welcome President Trump

January 20th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 7 comments

The last time we welcomed as president someone who was not of the anointed political elite was 36 years ago when we watched Ronald Wilson Reagan take the oath of office. I am struck by three things about him that I think are as true for President Trump. (1) He may not have been elected were it not that he followed one of the worst presidents in living memory (2) He understood that many Americans had come to view the government and its vast army of unelected bureaucrats as the biggest threat to freedom and their way of life. (3) Recognizing the threat he posed to the unwholesome alliance of the DNC, unions, media and the professional intellectual class he was loathed, vilified and insulted personally before he even took office. Since March 2016 when I began supporting Mr Trump’s candidacy, I have felt that God-willing, President Trump and President Reagan might just might share another similarity–lifting America up out of its cultural, economic, and military malaise.

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