Posts in On Our Mind

It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic

October 31st, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

A passing look at the Drudge report showed the following juxtaposition of links, one after another. 1) Family brutally beaten by group of teens in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor 2) Rising crime in Asian community has residents arming themselves 3) Update: Young Americans flock to paganism.

 

What Happened In Vegas Did Not Stay in Vegas

October 4th, 2017 Posted by AAJC Happenings, On Our Mind 13 comments

What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. Its pulsating shock waves raced out across the country, whiplashing into every American heart. The very thought of that merciless rain of hot lead thudding into the flesh of unknowing innocents just elicits sad gasps of incredulous agony.

It only took a few hours for the predictable flood of media and political responses. Many were the standard clichés mentioning prayers, thoughts, shock and horror. Others sought explanations for this massacre or explored the means to prevent similar events from ever happening again.

We human beings are created with both head and heart. This means we should always respond to circumstances both intellectually and emotionally, but never both at the same time and never confusing head and heart.

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Silence

October 3rd, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

What does one say about the carnage in Las Vegas? Sometimes, silence, along with prayer, is the best response.

Gender Equality?

September 26th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 4 comments

An online CNN headline reads: How to teach children about gender equality. The closing sentence after a fairly well-sized article and accompanying video says, “When I asked them [5th and 6th grade students] if they would tell their sons and daughters that girls and boys are different, they unanimously said they would tell their kids that girls and boys are equal.”

Perhaps an English lesson might be helpful. Different and equal are not antonyms. Furthermore, equal is a meaningless word if you don’t define what you are comparing. So two dimes and one nickel are equal in monetary value to one quarter, but they are not equal in weight or number.

A lesson in logic might be helpful as well.  Stating that women as a group prefer A while men as a group prefer B or that men and women tend to excel in certain areas doesn’t say anything relevant about a particular woman or man or limit an individual in any way. The fact that my friend Robin happens to be a computer geek does not prove that if an overwhelming percentage of top software engineers are male, discrimination or social conditioning is to blame.

The article suggests examining ads and magazines for depictions of men and women and discussing stereotyping and misleading pictures. I’m all for that. It is important to understand how false airbrushed pictures are and how the media seduces us into believing and craving certain things. The author of the article and I would probably agree on some ads that we would both condemn. However, I would also include in the category of awareness learning how prevalent social conditioning is that is trying to do away with the idea of two genders because, subconsciously or not, there is a societal rebellion against the Creator of the concept expressed as, “Male and female He created them.”

 

 

Encouraging Loneliness

September 13th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

A headline from the Wall Street  Journal, “Innovation in Health Care” report reads: Government Role in Fighting Loneliness. More accurate would be: Government Role Over the Years in Causing Loneliness. So many government policies have been factors in breaking up families, reducing the need for belonging to churches and social groups, and making people think that they can “make it on their own” (with government assistance) rather than needing human support and connection. Before spending taxpayer money to combat loneliness maybe we could just roll back all sorts of government innovations that increased it.

9/11 and Hurricanes

September 11th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

As devastating as the weather has been to so many people, neighborhoods and cities, it is better to face the ‘wrath of nature’ than the hatred and evil of people as America did 16 years ago today.

Dreadful Weather

September 7th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

The powerful storms that we have watched battering cities, islands, farms, and every kind of human habitation have brought pain and suffering. They have also exposed human heroism and sadly also human venality and evil. The one thing they haven’t done is “prove” the evils of climate change, global warming, or the need for the so-called “Paris accords”. The callous cynicism exhibited by those environmental activists and professional agitators at this time is shameful.

Your Next Postcard = The Transcontinental Railroad of The 1860s

August 15th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

When the Golden Spike was driven in the spring of 1869 to join the railroad that came from the east to that which came from the west where they met in Utah, a new era of human productivity began. Anything that facilitates human connection brings positive results whether it was the telegraph in 1844 or the telephone, radio, television right up to the Internet in our time. Every time you pick up the phone to connect with someone, positive steps are set in place even though you may not know the eventual result. When you write someone a postcard and drop it in the mail, it might end up as significant as the first time it became possible to ride the rails across the continent. We never know what can grow from the seeds of human connection. Try it!

The Bluest Skies

August 4th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 3 comments

The bluest skies – are not – in Seattle, amazingly enough. We landed here last night and there is a smoky haze obscuring the sky and much else due to fires in British Columbia. Years of experience tell us that the skies are still blue and the water is still actually glistening. It’s just obscured right now. We need to see past the haze, just as we need to do with much else in life.

How My Israeli Children Are Different from Me – guest post

July 25th, 2017 Posted by On Our Mind 1 comment

I love reading the blog posts of a woman who writes from Israel under the name “Jewish Mom.” She has given permission to repost what she wrote after the slaughter of the Salomon family at their home on Friday night. I have put an asterisk next to terms that may be unfamiliar to many of you and written a glossary at the bottom. I apologize if that makes the article more difficult to read, but I think it very worthwhile.

When I was growing up in Baltimore, I learned which neighborhoods were safe and which neighborhoods were dangerous. Which places I could go to, and which places I should carefully avoid.

And since I moved to Israel 24 years ago, I’ve been doing the same thing.

When I heard that 2 Israeli police officers had been shot to death and, later, there was rioting in and surrounding the Old City, I shook my head with concern and decided to nix the outing I had been planning to daven* this week at the Kotel*. When I heard that 3 members of the Solomon family celebrating the Shalom Zachar* of a newborn baby boy, were murdered by an Arab terrorist around the corner from my daughter’s high school in Neve Tsuf, I got more scared and started keeping our doors and windows locked at all times.

Looking out for Number One, just like when I was growing up.

But my kids and kids around Israel have been responding differently to the recent tragedies here…

Yesterday, my bat mitzvah girl’s summer camp cancelled their planned outing to the Jerusalem Forest and took all the girls to the Kotel instead.

Another daughter’s youth group decided to move the location of the scavenger hunt they had planned from downtown Jerusalem to the Old City.

And it’s not just my kids.

Yesterday, several high school girls approached me and my daughter when we were in a store and handed us a slip of paper they had prepared with a psalm, urging us to read it for the safety and security of Am Yisrael*.

Then this morning at the light-rail station, some elementary school girls handed me a toffee attached to a note that read, “The Race to a Million Blessings: Say a blessing over this toffee for the elevation of the souls of the Solomon family victims HY”D*.”

Seeing how my kids and their peers are reacting to current events has made me realize that when I get scared, I do what I did when I was growing up. I look out for Number One. I stay away from the Old City, I lock my doors, I nervously check out the Arab passengers standing beside me on the light rail (that man’s too old to pull out a knife, that woman’s with her baby, so there’s no way she’s about to start stabbing people with a pair of scissors.)

And these Israeli kids, in their own way, are also looking out of Number One. But their Number One, I’m realizing, is different than mine. For them, their Number One is Am Yisrael* and Eretz Yisrael*. The Jewish people and the Land of Israel. And praying for Hashem’s protection and mercy upon them.

A year and a half ago there was a terror attack next to the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, and the young father of a large family was brutally murdered while walking home from work. That Friday night, my then 15-year-old daughter informed me after candle-lighting that she and her friends were going to daven at a minyan* next to Jaffa Gate that night.

And I told her: “You can’t go to Jaffa Gate! There was just a terror attack there yesterday!”

“Eema*,” she responded slowly, as if speaking to someone who didn’t fully understand her language, “of course I know there was a terror attack there. That’s why we’re going there!”

I recently heard a French-born father of 11 Israeli children speaking about what it’s like moving to Israel. And this what he said:

“Moving to Israel is like climbing a very high mountain. You are climbing and climbing, you are breathing hard and sweating from the steep climb. And then you achieve the impossible–you reach the top. And when you get there, you sit down to catch your breath, and you turn around and find your children sitting there, at the peak.

‘How did you possibly make the climb up here? It was so steep and high and difficult!’ you ask them.

And your children answer you, ‘We didn’t have to climb at all. We were born here.’”

*Glossary:

daven: pray

Kotel: The Western Wall; The Wailing Wall

Shalom Zachar: a celebration that takes place the Friday night after a baby’s birth

HY”D: God will avenge their blood

Am Yisrael: the nation (people) of Israel

Eretz Yisrael: the land of Israel

minyan: a prayer group

Eema: Hebrew for Mommy

 

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