Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A word about Zionism, in response to an anti-Zionist Jew

A few weeks ago, at a potluck Shabbat dinner, I got into a discussion about Zionism and made a serious error:  I talked about Zionist as a response to the Holocaust.

That was a mistake on my part:  I should have said that the founding of the State of Israel was not intended to be a response to the Holocaust--on the contrary, it was supposed to have prevented a holocaust.

Unfortunately, it came 20 years too late.  :(

The following is from a Jewschool post for which the link that I saved,, is no longer functioning:

"when the right speaks of “fighting” antisemitism, it does not and never can mean eliminating or overcoming antisemitism. Instead, it takes the perennial existence of antisemitism for granted as the foundational justification for Zionism.

By contrast, when the left talks about fighting antisemitism, just as when it talks about fighting racism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and capitalism, it envisions a world in which these phenomena do not exist. This is the source of its utopian energy, and this is why conservatives have always been skeptical of the left."

I do not believe that it's only the right that "takes the perennial existence of antisemitism for granted as the foundational justification for Zionism."

From the Encylopaedia Brittanica:

"A profound change began in Herzl’s life soon after a sketch he had published in the leading Viennese newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, led to his appointment as the paper’s Paris correspondent. He arrived in Paris with his wife in the fall of 1891 and was shocked to find in the homeland of the French Revolution the same anti-Semitism with which he had become so familiar in Austria. Hitherto he had regarded anti-Semitism as a social problem that the Jews could overcome only by abandoning their distinctive ways and assimilating to the people among whom they lived. At the same time, his work as a newspaperman heightened his interest in, and knowledge of, social and political affairs and led him to the conviction that the answer to anti-Semitism was not assimilation but organized counterefforts by the Jews. The Dreyfus affair in France also helped crystallize this belief. French military documents had been given to German agents, and a Jewish officer named Alfred Dreyfus had been falsely charged with the crime. The ensuing political controversy produced an outburst of anti-Semitism among the French public. Herzl said in later years that it was the Dreyfus affair that had made a Zionist out of him. So long as anti-Semitism existed, assimilation would be impossible, and the only solution for the majority of Jews would be organized emigration to a state of their own."

Imagine what would have happened if the Jewish People had had a home of our own in 1928.  I think that the main reason why so many Jews died in the Holocaust was that there was nowhere else for them to go--even the United States turned away the ship St. Louis.

But I do not believe that anti-Semitism is the only foundational justification for Zionism.  Imagine what world Jewry would be like without a Jewish state.  This ancestral homeland, for which our people prayed for centuries, is much more than just a "start-up nation."  It's an inspiration for the renewed flourishing of Jewish arts and culture, and of religious studies by Jews from the most "ultra" Orthodox to the completely secular.

Anti-Zionists, such as my conversation partner, often ask why Jews had to take over Palestine and create a Jewish state in a place where there should be a Palestinian one.  My response is this:  Given that no existing country wanted us Jews, we had no choice but to found a Jewish state in order to save Jewish lives, and where else were we to found a state of our own if not in the land of our ancestors to which we'd dreamed of returning for over 2,000 years?

The bottom line is that I am a Zionist, and you're an anti-Zionist.  But here's one ancient Jewish tradition on which I hope we can both agree--we Jews have always made it a point to speak respectfully with those with whom we disagree.  Let's continue to follow the ways of the Talmud, and keep talking to one another.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The price of denial: When disabilities aren't dealt with

My husband and I have seen this with our own eyes.

The parents refuse to acknowledge that their child has a disability and/or they choose to shelter/protect their child rather than helping the child learn to deal with their challenges, and the child gets no special education and/or treatment (as appropriate).  They use their connections to help their child get into and/or through school and/or college.

Result:  The child never learns to cope with their challenges, and never becomes truly self-supporting, always relying on their parents to help them with their careers and/or to assist them financially.

As I said, my husband and I have seen this with our own eyes.

One such child was sheltered all of their life and unable to manage their own financial affairs.  Unable to keep a job, they started a business that did not enable them to be completely self-supporting, and depended on their parents to supplement their income.  When they lost that business through no fault of their own, they were unable to obtain anything but sporadic freelance work, and ran through their entire inheritance in less than 5 years because they continued living in the manner in which they had lived for decades rather than doing whatever was necessary to at least try to live within their means.  That person ended up homeless.  (Now hospitalized, they are finally getting at least some of the treatment that they probably should have been getting since early childhood.)

Another such child is now president of the United States.

Judging by what I've seen on televised news and/or read in print or online, it appears that Trump may not actually have been as successful in the real estate and/or construction business as he claims--he seems to have been bailed out by his late father whenever he ran into business and/or financial difficulties, and seems to have earned most of whatever money he really has by figuring out how to "game" the media and become a celebrity.  I also wonder how a person who clearly hates to read and has no interest in learning even got admitted to the prestigious Wharton School of Business, much less earned a degree from it.  (Money and/or connections talk[s]?  That's how our homeless friend graduated from college without necessarily fulfilling all of the standard requirements.)

And now, this country is stuck with a president who has absolutely no interest in learning how to do the job for which he was elected, not only because he hates to read, but also because he actually believes that he already knows everything he needs to know about just about anything (been there, blogged that?).  

And like our homeless friend, he thinks he's perfectly normal.

What really startles me, and what inspired this post, is that many people other than Trump also think that Trump is perfectly normal.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ms. Tech-Challenged makes a fool of herself, again :)

On Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 4:55 PM Real Name < e-mail > wrote:
Some of us who are too tech-challenged to figure out how to download podcasts onto our smartphones (or who fall asleep on the subway when listening to lectures :) ) have a real problem trying to listen to recordings on the Hadar website--the recordings have no "time-elapsed bar," or whatever that's called.  Instead, we have to work with the "round timer" (for lack of a better description) the way a blind person works using an analog clock as a model--just as one can tell a blind person that the fork is located on the table in front of her "at 7 o'clock,"  so, too, I'm trying to remember that I paused Rabbi Tucker's "Sharing Burdens Equally in a World without Adjuncts" at about "5 o'clock." Is there any way that you (or perhaps another technology expert at Hadar) can replace all of those impossible-to-work-with "donut timers" with real "time-elapsed bars, instead, so that we low-tech Hadar enthusiasts can stop playing guessing games regarding how far we're gotten in a recording?  It would be so much easier to know that I can re-start a recording at, for example, the 1 hour and 12 minute mark.  Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Feb 10, 2019, 12:56 PM
In case my description, "time-elapsed bar," wasn't clear enough, just click on Adon Olam to see what I mean, and enjoy!

In case you're curious to see and/or hear what I was writing about, here's the lecture in question.

It wasn't until almost a week later that it dawned on me what my real problem was:  No one listens to podcasts directly from the original website--those who can't, or don't want to, download podcasts to their smartphones simply download them to their computers, instead!  (Duh!)  So I downloaded the podcast to my computer--and couldn't find it.  "Check your Downloads folder," said our son.  (Double Duh!  Feel free to insert a "roll-eyes" emoticon here :) .)  I opened my Downloads folder and tried to save the file.  Um, where was I going to put it?  The only place I could think of was my Desktop, so I moved it there, clicked--and got a Groove Music pop-up "window," (or whatever that is) that showed just about every CD from my personal collection that I'd ever copied to my computer.  The lecture, however, was not anywhere where I could find it.

Take 2:  I created a new folder named "Lectures, etc (non-music audio & video files)," and moved Rabbi Tucker's lecture into that folder.  Finally, I could find it!  But when I clicked on it, I just got that darned Groove Music window again!

Take 3:  I right-clicked on Rav Tucker's lecture, clicked on "Play with Windows Media Player," and voila--there was Rav Tucker's voice, and the lecture came complete with the requested "time-elapsed" bar!

Try not to laugh too hard.


Monday, February 11, 2019

A new meaning for "double-click," or social media rules the world :(

I check my e-mail for the time of a social-action group's next meeting, and find that I have to click again--I can't get that information without going on Facebook.

I check my e-mail for information about a free pot-luck Shabbat dinner sponsored by a local Jewish group, and find that I have to click again--I must go to a site that reserves tickets, even though there are no tickets for this event.

I check a website to find some information about another social-action group that I just heard about recently and find that I have to click again because, aside from the introductory video, almost no information is available on the actual website--if I want to know anything about the local chapter, I have a choice of Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

What's the point of having a website if all it's there for is to direct people elsewhere?

What's the point of sending e-mails if the reader can't find any information about the subject allegedly being discussed without going elsewhere?

I feel that I'm being forced to participate in social media whether I want to or not, and I resent it.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Happy Birthdays to us (To the tune of the Beatles' "Hey, Jude")

I sang this to my husband after spending an hour cleaning the kitchen:

Hey, Dude
Go put soup on
Heat some veggies
and make us dinner
Remember to cook a pot of brown rice
It would be nice
to eat together.


In honor of my 70th birthday (Friday, February 1) and my husband's 77th birthday (tomorrow, February 4).
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