Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Aladdin’s Lamp


The week before last (last week’s album) the 52 frames photo challenge theme was “Lamp”. (I have been doing this weekly for 360 weeks.) I was terribly busy (it was the middle of Passover, and I was cooking for 12 people for the last two days of the holiday). BUT I had a good idea: Aladdin’s lamp. I had thought of the idea ages ago, and previously had purchased a lamp that suited the theme, saving it for when the 52 frames theme would “fit”. I asked my son to come pose as Aladdin, but I guess he forgot, never showing up. So I “posed” myself, using light painting. The results were not that great; hopefully someday I will shoot the idea again, better.
OK, I can hear you all saying: ”Ahhhhhhh- WHAT has THIS to do with weight loss?” Well, here is how:

One of the fellow members on the 52 frames site wrote a comment on the photo: “I hope he granted your WISHES!” I replied: “Actually, it was me, so I guess I will need to do it myself!”

Yep...... there is no fairy G-dmother, no magic Aladdin, no “Wish and it will happen”.
If you want to get the “good things” you wish for, you will need to make a plan to reach those successes, and work on carrying out those plans. There are no shortcuts. The good news is that by changing our actions, we CAN work "magic"!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A Shattered Peace



[photo:  a glass paperweight of a dove, and a collage of same piece. Photo is mine; do not copy!]

Well, it’s early January, and the traditional attitude is “A new year! A NEW chance! How exciting!”


    But honestly, that ”new year excitement” just didn’t register at all with me this year. And judging from what I have been reading online, I am not the only one.


  Oh last year I WAS excited! After some nine months of virtual house arrest, the vaccines were coming out soon. I had hopes that soon I would be getting the jab that equaled a “get out of jail free” card.  Hopefully this nightmare of COVID would soon be behind us and we would be (pretty much) back to “normal”.

    But of course it didn’t happen like that, and we are facing a brand new 2022 with COVID rates soaring, threats of hospitals collapsing, and again needing to stay away from (or be extremely cautious around) the people we love.  Our anticipated dreams of a peaceful 2022 were shattered as if it were made of glass. And after last year’s big letdown, it is jolly hard to get very enthusiastic about seems a pipe dream of normalcy.


   People are tired of all the restrictions. And all the fighting over politics, COVID, etc has wrecked havoc in many families and friendships, let alone the devastation from lives lost.  So how can we get some of that excitement over life and the opportunities ahead? How can we tap into the shrivelled-up optimist lost somewhere deep inside us?


   The answer is to look on the good side. Yes, the last two years have been tough.  First let us acknowledge that.  But good things have happened too! Can we wash off the black mud of disappointments, stress, death, and loneliness that has dirtied the diamonds of the last year? Can we also note the good things, and be grateful for them?


   If we make an effort, I am sure that we can. And we will be better people for it. And happier ones as well.

Monday, April 26, 2021

“I SHOULD….” OR “How do we get OUT of here?”

    (Photo is mine, all rights reserved)

Do you feel a bit like these figurines? A bit trapped by bad habits, and wondering how in the world you are going to get out?


   Well, if you read magazines, talk to your doctor, or talk with friends, you will probably get a lot of suggestions. Or may you are even telling yourself: “I SHOULD do this and that, I SHOULD do such and such….”


  Frankly, the lists of things I SHOULD be doing hounds me.


And the reality that in NO way can I fit into the day all the things I SHOULD do – at least not without giving up a lot of other stuff. (And then some of THAT stuff will comprise my NEW “I should do” list LOL.)


   So let go of the long “should list”.  Instead make an “I can” list. A list of POSITIVE actions.  And tailor that list  to the goals you want to achieve, and the time and resources at your disposal. What CAN you reasonably do?   


Make a “I can” list, and THEN you will transform it into a “I WILL” list. Because “can” is not enough.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

I will emerge stronger

 Let's face it-we are living in a time of historic challenges, and just about EVERYTHING seems "topsy-turvey".
    But we need to grab the opportunity underlying this situation. Let me explain.

    One of my many (grown) sons has ONE  (15year-old) son whom he has been having trouble to get to conform to "social distancing" rules. [No surprise here. This grandson is the one who somehow ALWAYS  misses the first bus home that the remainder of his family goes on.] I tried to call all of my grand-kids just before or in the middle of Passover; he was consistently "not at home". Finally a week after Passover, I managed to catch him (by phone). 
   We talked for about an hour. Without attacking him directly for his irresponsible behavior  (his father said "been there, done that") I just slowly, on the side fed him pertinent info. I did this all with "My friend who has Corona"... "Did you hear that..."  etc   Info such as:
-the virus can be in the air if someone coughed there 4 minutes ago, and you don't know it 
-a full third of little kids with COVID 19 are asymptomatic
-even a "mild" case feels like being run over by a tractor, can cause lung damage, and even they suspect liver damage (ie, You do NOT want to get this!!)
- that this will not be finished in another week, but that people like me may need to stay indoors until there is a vaccine, and if the rate doesn't go down (due to lack of social distancing),  MANY in the community (like a best friend's Dad- I did NOT say HIS dad) will have no income.
-Even though a very small % of younger and middle aged people die from this, it can happen. I had a 3% chance or less of having a child with Down syndrome, but when I had her, she had 100% Down syndrome. 
   He really paused when he realized that I had NOT allowed my son who lives nearby to come for Passover, and that our foreign worker is scared to leave the house.

    At the end, I told him about someone who had "lost" a year of his life due to cancer- he was too ill too weak, to do ANYTHING. This person's response now was "I am not going to waste a year on Corona", and he is sticking to a daily schedule, albeit at home.: I continued:
      "You know, as I see it, we all have three choices.  ONE: We can waste this time just staying at home, being bored, overeating. TWO: We can say "To hell with this, I will do what I want and go where I want" (But then, if we DO get sick , and infect someone, and THEY die, will we EVER be able to live with ourselves....?) OR THREE: We can make a vision of where we want to be in 6 months, a year from now.  And work on that. I want to exercise daily, study photography every week, spend time studying Bible. You might want to make up a study time with your dad, do a kindness daily  ---like read a story daily to your siblings and give your mom a break ...." (I admit he snorted at that! LOL), "spend some time learning English, etc.  THEN WHEN THIS IS OVER WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONGRATULATE OURSELVES ON A JOB WELL DONE AND FEEL A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT."

  So I throw the question out to you: Besides just being alive, WHERE do you want to be when  this is over? It won't happen by itself.  What do you need to get there? Are we going to act like a stubborn  (STUPID) 15 year old  or do we want to say a year from now- "I survived; I accomplished". 

   So let us all think of goals for the next few months: personal, ATTAINABLE long term personal goals- and make a concrete plan to reach them!!

(photo is mine, do not copy)

Monday, September 2, 2019

“I’m OK”-Is that ENOUGH?

We all have a tendency to be hard on ourselves- to be aware of our own failings
     “I didn’t exercise over vacation”
     “I ate WAY too much last night!”
     “I weigh too much”

  These self-condemnations lead, in general, to lack of action, rather than attaining our goals of self-improvement.  So society (at least the psychologists) tell us: “You are OK as you are”. These have lead to all sorts of inspirational songs. "You are perfect" etc.....
   But is the serial murderer also telling himself “I’m OK”? Can we really believe “I’m OK”?
   After all, there is a flip side, too. As much as we may tell ourselves that we are OK as we are, society still honors the athelete who attains success at great sacrifice.  Our women’s magazines will hold aloft that inspiring story of the couple who adopted  10 kids, and the clothes catalogues do not post photos of size 20 models.

    I have a lending library of English books in my house. One of the books is Sarah Rigler’s Emuna with Love and Chicken Soup, about the incredible Henny Machlis, who regularly hosted 150 people for shabbat each week, and who extended love and hospitality to all she came in contact with. Most women return the book with comments about how inspiring it was. But a few women react differently.  “Gee, I could NEVER do that. It is so far beyond me….”

    [Caveat: I am bringing in Jewish sources 
(because that is what I am familiar with),
 but you can take these lessons and apply them,
 no matter what your belief (or lack thereof.)]

    This month is the Jewish month of Elul, the month leading up to the Jewish New Year and the day of Atonement (“Yom Kippur”). And we are expected to try and improve ourselves in some way.
   But if ‘I am OK as I am”, why should I change? And if I should be a perfectly righteous person, how can I say “I’m OK”? How should we view this dichotomy of ideas?

  The word “ELUL” (remember, that Jewish month) is spelled  (inHebrew) alef-lamed-vav-Lamed. These letters are also the first letters (in order) of the Hebrew phrase “Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li"), which is Song of Songs 6:1-4.  Loosely translated, it means "I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine". Now many see the Song of Songs as a simple love song. So how did it end up in scriptures? Because it is also an allegory of the love between man and his creator. Therefore, say our ancient sages, we can see that ELUL is a good time to work on ourselves and draw closer to G-d’s expectations of us.

    However, Rabbi Leff, the Rabbi of our Moshav, points out that the first word is “ani” (I)!  If we want to improve, we first need to know our “I”.  What are my strengths? What am I capable of? What are the things that realistically are limiting us?

   So as I see it, when we enter a (any) period where we want to improve, we need to know our strengths. Yes, “I AM OK… I don’t need to be perfect”, but I am also capable of SO much MORE!!  I have capabilities, and with these gifts that I have come a responsibility. A responsibility to improve. For my family. For the world. But especially for myself. The moment we realize what we are capable of, we realize that staying in a static state is not enough. I do not need to be perfect. But no, “I am OK” is NOT enough. Because you are capable of SO much more!!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Totality was TOTALLY Awesome! Photos from Total Eclipse USA August

One Of Us - a review and remarks on "children off the derech"

Last night I had occasion to see Netflix's new movie "One of Us".  This movie follows fragments in the lives of a few individuals who have left the Chasidic Satmar community in the United States.
    I am writing this from the viewpoint of  an Orthodox woman (although not chasidic), who is the mother of four children who have "left the 'derech' (path)" of Orthodoxy. I will add that I have an excellent  connection with these children, as good as I have with my religious ones. This doesn't mean that I always agree with them, but occasionally I disagree with all of my children.
     First I must mention that I have absolutely no knowledge of the families/cases/ incidences portrayed in the movie, or any deep knowledge of the community involved. I HAVE seen how the community here has reacted to children "leaving the fold", reactions which can be quite diverse.

[Photo: two of my children, quite diverse, but who love each other despite it all....]

 I was happy to see that the director did allow some coverage of community members who apparently were open-hearted enough to befriend the subjects, realizing the underlying pain there. On the other side, we do see incidences of apparent violence directed against a woman who had claimed abuse from her husband.
       Unfortunately, in every religious group there are people who are not living up to the ideals of the community. Every community has its rapists, child-molestors, and peodopiles.  Yet this is NO reason to condone it. However, Orthodox Judaism and chassidut is a FAR cry from cult-like groups such as that run by Warren Jeffs and his ilk. (Even if the dress of the women may at first appear similar. )
       Unfortunately,  there ARE those who take advantage of the groups reluctance to involve the police, the tendency of people to blame the victims, etc. And rarely there ARE women who may falsely accuse men of certain acts, if it seems expediant to do so- for  reasons of financial gain, political expediency, custody battles, or perhaps revenge....  Yes, there are two sides to every coin, and unless there is some type of coaberating evidence, it may often boil down to his word against hers.
       And as much as outsiders often cannot fathom the mindset of arranged marriages, the system does work in general... and I suspect that the rate of satisfaction and happiness in such marriages is no less then those in the general population. Yes, there ARE cases where young women were coerced into marriages by parents who did not have their daughter's best interests at heart- but these are few and far between. Most parents are committed to finding a spouse who is not only fitting religiously for their child, but fitting their personality, and dreams as well.
    All that being said, there are problems of abuse in the community that need addressing. Part of the Orthodox world have started addressing these problems, although these efforts are not nearly enough (something shared, incidentally, by the secular world). How much of these efforts have filtered into the more closed community of Satmar, I do not know. What I would have liked to see in the movie "One of Us" would be some exploration of these topics.
   Another thing that needs noting is the high rate of drug abuse and poor job opportunities for those dropping out of the community, and indeed in some cases, for those in the community. These problems are also being dealt with to some degree in parts of the orthodox world, although probably less so in the more closed community of Satmar.
    Much of this all boils down to a cultural battle between those realizing that the world has changed, and we must adapt carefully to those changes, in order to preserve our underlying values, and those who believe that the only way to deal with society's headlong pursuit of hedonism (like lemmings running into the sea) is to detach themselves from it as much as possible.
     Quite frankly, there is what to say for both sides of the argument.  For example, I use the internet, knowing that I have no desire to use it for sexual purposes- I use it, theoretically at least, solely for staying in contact with my non-religious children, to stay informed about various things (wikipedia, "how-to" articles,and the like), and for weight-loss support. However, I have gradually seen a slipping lately into using it as a source of entertainment, and I am as likely to watch a movie today as to pick up a book.  And this I am realizing needs to change... too much time online is definitely anti-family, and the often warped values of secular society impregnate every inch of  the entertainment industry. Yet I find tearing myself away from the screen  extremely difficult. It is indeed a mud puddle with quicksand propensities.
    Where do we draw the lines between educating our children enough so that they can work as something more than a clerk at Target... and embracing the vulgarities  of secular culture?  How much do we need to protect ourselves as a community vrs being confident enough that if a potential Torah scholar is exposed to the opportunity to use his intellect in other ways, he will still chose to remain a Torah scholar because of the beauty of Torah? How do we promote acceptance of individuals who are NOT cut out to stay in Kollel for life, and retain them as valued members of the community, while not making children of Torah scholars feel left behind compared to their richer classmates whose fathers are professionals? These are all areas that need discussion, and sadly the Orthodox community will probably often have divisions within due to discussions and conflicts along these lines.
   Re the movie "One of Us" , I found it rather disjointed, with no clear explorations of  any of the above topics. The movie was sorely about the pain felt by those who left the community, but even that exploration was rather haphazard.
 My personal advice to parents in the Orthodox community:
1) (And this is by FAR the most important!!) :
 Spend time with your children, let them know that you love them.   Always. (You can disapprove of actions but not stop being a parent.)
    And doing stuff for them is not enough. They need hugs and good words. Value their individual skills and talents. Be willing to leave the house a wreck at times in order to get out and do stuff with them. Discipline without anger.

2) If your children do not get any English/ science/ geography education, supply it at home. Do science experiments for fun. Teach them about the wonders of the human body. (Just this last shabbat, by granddaughters had a blast listening to their own heart beats with a stethoscope.) Have frum books about science, history, etc. around. And talk with them about them! Buy and play games which teach basic cognitive skills.

3) From even a young age, teach children (gradually) about their body, modesty (in talk and action), and appropriate social boundaries. Be sure they have enough vocabulary to report abuse/ crossing of  bouldries/ "bad secrets"
[My previos posts on this topic gives some ideas/info:
see HERE
and here   ]

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Where to, America?

    I haven’t been posting here in quite a while. And when I do it generally isn’t about politics. There is a lot involved in the political sphere, and generally I feel, both in Israeli and in American politics, that I really have nothing to add to what is already being said by people who are more well-informed than I.
-I tend to vote conservatively.
- I am a supporter of Israel’s right to exist.
- I PERSONALLY believe in family values. (However, I have learned over the years that people who are gay are real people, and while I do not agree with them, I do not feel it my right to bash them for this, nor to deny them the right to make their own choices.)
- I believe that there may be at times a need for capital punishment, but believe equally that  the way to decrease crime  in the long run is to make having a job feasible, and good education.
-I believe that we need to help the poor and insure health care for all, without encouraging people to just ride on the backs of people who DO work.
- In addition, I feel that America must wake up to the dangers of terror attacks without vilifying everyone who is extremely religiously observant, or non-Christian.

   All of the above is to give you an idea of where I am coming from. But now to my main point.

     I have often wondered how the American political system manages to choose candidates that are so inept at times for the job. I often have said, “My Mom has more common sense than all of them together.” (Not that she would want the job!)  Over the last few years I have become much more aware of the roles that big business and funding plays in elections. I understand that big business wants to protect their interests, and frankly we need business for the economy.  We need somehow to find a way to protect business’s legitimate interests while not letting them trample pell-mell over the little guy.  And I hope that we can control the power of business without becoming a socialist state. These are all important election issues this year, ones which I feel inadequate to address fully.
      But there is a point that I feel must be made. For the first time I am wondering if America is on the brink of disaster.  (I felt a bit like this after Hurricane Katrina, but not as much as now.)  I see society becoming more and more fragmented, more and more extreme (in BOTH directions). When we have movements like the BDS refusing to let Israelis tell their side of the story, and on the other side, a candidate like Trump condoning violence, it seems to me that we are becoming more and more polarized.  How have we managed to become a society where if you disagree with me, I am your enemy?
   I used to think that the radicals were the fringe of the society. That most people had more sense.   But as Trump wins state after state, I am, quite frankly for the first time in my life embarrassed to be an American. When did we become so decisive? (And this is not just a criticism of the conservatives. Super liberals who go around with an air of “free speech for all unless you disagree with me” are equally guilty.)

   And if Trump  gets elected, I dread to think what would happen, with his ineptitude at diplomacy, if there would be the equivalent of a Cuban Missile Crises on his watch. I think that we better all re-watch  Fail Safe and The Day After.

   But equally dangerous is how our society will self-implode if we cannot learn to help and care for each other, even when we disagree.  AND to  work on making basic health care, education, and economic security  available to all, or most, of our citizens. Even if that means not being able to afford the latest iphone.

   And, just for the record, I DID take the time to vote, and plan to do so in November. I just hope that the “least-terrible” candidate that I vote for will be someone I can stomach casting a ballot for.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why Is the World so Blase' About Terror in Israel?

   One thing over the last week has rankled many Israelis over the last week.  While we also showed our support for France after the last attack, we noted very carefully how that type of  support never seems to come our way.  Yes, the terror attack in Paris was larger, but population percentage wise, probably not.  The world noted that Parisians have to deal with a new reality… a reality that we in Israel have been living with, 24/7 for a LONG time.  Why is there such a discrepancy in the attitude towards Paris/Israel by the world at large?

   While some may be because of anti-Semitism, I think the answer is much simpler.
   The average American, while he may sympathize with Israelis who experience terror, probably does not feel threatened by it.  The Israelis, by their thinking, are experiencing terror because they do not reach peace with the Arabs, because of the Gaza wars. They theorize that the Arabs, reacting to their situation, attack Israelis. This is no threat to the American in Indianapolis, Memphis, or Chicago.
   However, when Arab terrorists hit Paris, the gut reaction of the average American is probably, “there, but for the grace of G-d, goes I”.  The target this time was not soldiers, not Jews, but your normal-everyday citizen.  I suspect that this feeling of vulnerability is what led to the wide outpouring of support for Paris this last week.
   Well, Americans, please note that the Islamic terrorists are set on wiping out Western culture. This is not a political issue, but a religious/cultural one. And when you side with terrorists, WHEREVER they strike, “legitimizing” their actions, you just help to spread their lies.

   Folks we are in the long haul here. America and Europe will need to do what is standard here in Israel: search bags of people entering malls, movie theaters, government buildings, and the like. But if we want democracy to survive, we will need to call terror what it IS, and work against it. That does not mean that political solutions can not help. They may at times. But the extremist will not be satisfied by these “solutions”, and we need to wake up to that fact, FAST.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hikers

    I have done a fair amount of hiking in my life, a lot of it in the Rocky Mountains. There, on the trail, it is quite common to give a nod or a good word to fellow hikers you pass. Sometimes as you “leap-frog” each other on the trail a few times, one can even strike up a conversation, ask them to take that perfect photo with you in the foreground….
      While we would never do such a thing in the city, somehow in the park trails we do. Perhaps part of that is because in case of emergency, our lives may well be saved by that fellow unknown hiker. 
        [Once when I was young, my parents and I, along with my older brother  (who was  about 14-years old????)  went on a hike to either Fern or Odessa lake. Suddenly we heard an SOS whistle from the “little Matterhorn” which towered above us. My Dad quickly pulled out HIS whistle to signal them that they had been heard, and my brother ran the (considerable) distance down to the trailhead in order to alert the park rangers. We heard later that one of the rock climbers had broken their leg.  Our hike for the day was interupted …  but we would have never dreamed of not helping another hiker.]
    But the hikers who always puzzle me are those I see sprinting along the trail. I realize that they are doing it for their fitness goals…but besides the dangers** of running along a rocky trail, I am flabbergasted that they would willingly let such gorgeous scenery pass by in a blur.  Even when going up rocky paths slowly, I need to remind myself to occasionally glance up from the stony path at my feet, and note the beauty and wildlife around….(That’s one reason hiking I enjoy so much hiking with my brother. Besides the added safety, and his knowledge, even if one of us is oblivious to the deer ahead, the other will often catch it and cue off the other!)

[image: deer near the trail]

** It is easy to fall if running, and generally the few big cat attacks in the Rockies have been on runners.
   OK, ladies, you may all be asking by now, “OK, nice story, but WHAT the H*LL does this have to do with me?”
   The point I am going to make is this:
      Often we set goals for ourselves. Whether it is to climb a peak, fashion the greatest Halloween Decorations on the block, or loose ten pounds….. we often get so set on our goal that we miss the wildflowers growing at the side of the trail.  We often think “When I get to my goal weight, THEN I’ll be happy!”  We envision being pleased with ourselves and having peace of mind upon reaching our goals…

[image: bee on flower, with saying: "Enjoy the journey".]

     But allowing ourselves to only be satisfied on reaching our goal will only lead to frustration. YES we will reach our goal, but then we are likely to set a new goal for ourselves… and once again we will be “hiking with our eyes stuck to our boots and the rocky path”.  
   We must allow ourselves to revel in the joy of the journey…..to celebrate even small successes….. to enjoy the journey itself as part and parcel of the entire package! 

[image: view from Flattop mountain]

   However, as a final note, let me add that there is a flip side to all this.
     Last summer I managed to hike to two places I had never been able to hike to as an adult: the summit of Flattop mountain,  and blue lake.

    I accomplished neither of these with wishful thinking. It took daily walks to increase my stamina, and to acclimate a bit to the altitude. It involved getting up well before dawn so that we could reach our goal and get below tree line before the rains might arrive. It meant climbing Twin Sisters as a preparatory hike, even though the trail there was rough in places due to a washout.
   Yes, we need to enjoy the flowers on our way to the summit of weight-loss and maintenance. But we also need to tread the trail, even when doing that is a bit difficult.
     Set that alarm for an hour early so that you can get a quick jog in.
     Buy that good windbreaker so that the rain won’t stop you.
     Decide that you can celebrate Shabbat without gorging on sweets and nuts.
     Do a slightly better strength training than last week…

Please share  something you ENJOYED this week .

[image: wildflowers, with saying: "Your best moments are those you live in, not those you rush through."]

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Other Words: a Lynching

   Last night a foreign worker was mistaken for a terrorist and was basically lynched .  I remember how in a previous terrorist attack a sephardic Jew was also killed when mistaken for a terrorist.

   And here comes the rub: quick reaction to terror is needed to prevent further casualties. Yet caution is needed to avoid mistakes.

   HOWEVER, the foreign worker who died yesterday was killed not just because of being shot, but due to the subsequent lynching.  ONCE A TERRORIST has been unarmed, there can be no excuse for a lynching. We are allowed to defend ourselves, but we should never descend to the level of our enemies.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Simple Truth

   There is a lot of accusations flying around about the video showing the Arab youth bleeding while passer-by curse him.  First, let it be clear that the youth is alive.
   I saw the video, and yes it appears at first glance to be shocking. HOWEVER let us look at the simple truth:

Every culture has people who get excited and curse during conflict.Yes, there is someone cursing him. That someone is being kept away from the youth by the police.

  But the way our societies view these hotheads is VERY different:

    I would add that if a Jewish extremist were actively involved in a terror attack, and would not stop, he would also be shot by responding police or soldiers.

   And yes, the ambulance passed the Arab in the video. Does he really deserve to be treated BEFORE his victims?!???!???!  Eventually he was taken to the hospital, where he receives the same care as any Jewish patient. (Although he IS handcuffed, so that he can not carry out any further attempts to hurt others.)  [And he is in better condition than his victim..........]

Monday, October 12, 2015


   I saw a post on the NBC news site today. While I am used to a lot of slanted reporting, I must say that NBC outdid themselves.

Some samples:

NBC:  "So far, 23 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed. Around 20 Israelis and more than 500 Palestinians have been injured."

NO mention that the Israelis killed and injured were all hurt /killed as victims of terror attacks. Many were innocent civilians just minding their own business,  NO mentiion that almost all the Arabs killed and injured were hurt/killed while they were either committing a terror attack or engaged in VIOLENT demonstrations, doing acts which can be lethal to others.. 

NBC: "On Thursday night a right-wing mob marched toward the Old City in East Jerusalem, many of them chanting "Death to Arabs" and with the stated intention of looking for Arabs to attack.
"They chant 'Death to Arabs' and nothing happens to them," says a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem who asked not to be named. "If I said 'Death to Jews' I would be killed."

REALLY?  The Arab clerics and media are full of incitement, urging arabs to kill Jews.  In the few cases were Jews attacked Arabs, they were stopped by other Israelis, and these acts were roundly condemned by Netanyahu, and the IDF. (Israeli army). 

3) The piece is full about Arabs being afraid to walk the streets. I guess we Jews are not afraid; we are used to to getting stabbed outside of the local shopping mall.

Note: since I wrote this, the article has been changed a bit.and is a bit more balanced. RE the  stabbing attack in Pisgat Zeevthe  13 year old victim is  barely hanging on to life. He was BIKING home, and on the way stabbed 25 times!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Terror, Life, and Prudence

 Yesterday (Wednesday)  a terrorist stabbed a man at the bus stop (in Petach Tikva)next to a mall that I occasionally go to. Also buses in Jaffa got stoned (I travel by bus on that street to go to Rina's grave, and often I walk in Jaffa).  (And as I write this, I hear of another attack, noontime today (Thursday). A yeshiva student is stabbed in Jerusalem. I pray that it is not my grandson. Or a friend of his.  Or the son of a friend of mine.)
   While I always know in theory that terror can happen anywhere, and that no one is guaranteed immunity, the sheer number of attacks yesterday (and this week), along with the proximity of the attack in Petach Tikva, drove home the gut-wrenching realization of “There, but for the grace of G-d, goes I”.  Just two days before I had called my “ultra-Orthodox” son and daughter-in-law in Jerusalem, who do not listen to radio news, to be sure that they aware of the escalating violence and atmosphere.  Luckily, the word-of-mouth-news  network works quite well in their neighborhood, and they knew of the need to be extra vigilant when outside.
   Later on Wednesday, my husband informed me that I need to be more careful when out “walking”.  Knowing that any belittling of the danger would only increase his anxiety, I agreed with him. But, realistically, I thought to myself, I am much more likely to be hit by a SMS-messaging car driver than to be killed by a terrorist.
   Yet, despite the clear calculation just mentioned, I was much more alert on my walk to and from the swimming pool last night.  It was not a disabling fear, but an extra awareness of my surroundings.  “Why,” I wondered to myself, “am I apparently more afraid of the miniscule risk of terror, than the possibility of a car accident, or of having a heart attack in the pool, both of which are statistically much more likely to occur?”
   The answer, I believe, is that with accidents and health concerns, we feel that at least to a certain extent, that we can take precautions.  If we eat healthy, exercise regularly, don’t text-and-drive, and cross the street carefully, we have a fairly decent chance of reaching 80 or 90. With terror (whether in Israel or elsewhere) we are much less in control. Yes, there are things we can do as a country perhaps to decrease these incidents, but when a fanatical or deranged individual goes on the rampage,  only chance, or by G-d’s grace, are we not among  the victims. Realizing that vulnerability can be quite unsettling.
      Then today, a friend sent me this link:  This is a Ted-Talk about a dance group of “senior citizens” the “Hip Op-eration Crew”( and the philosophy behind it). The organizer was asked (seriously!) “What if one of them dies (ie. dancing, or on the plane)?”   And the response of the organizer (“Well, what if they did?”)was correct. After all, if we let fear of dying stop us from living, what worth is living then?
    Yes, as countries we need to work on security, mental health, and combat terrorism.
    But as individuals, in our private lives, the reaction can only be one:
MAKE TODAY COUNT. We don’t know-ever- how long we have to remain on this globe.   

[As religious believers, we can try and “curry favor” with G-d, by doing good deeds. These activities may perhaps affect things in a spiritual sphere. But we should not kid ourselves that those deeds will guarantee our safety. Sometimes G-d feels the best thing   for us is to experience suffering.]

Friday, October 2, 2015

The un-News

    Just out of curiosity, I went to NBC’s news page to see what they would write about the incident. Seeing nothing at all, I went to the “world” page. There it mentioned the Palestinian flag having flown at the UN, but the story I was looking for had not been mentioned.
    You can be SURE that if an Israeli soldier had killed two Palestinians at point-blank range, with no provocation, the news would have been explosive.
   But the fact that a young Jewish couple were gunned down and murdered in front of their 4 under-age ten children last night is not news.

   May their families be comforted. 
 Photo: The murdered couple, Eitam and Neama Henkin

Note and Update:
    I rechecked the NBC news page Saturday night (Israeli time). The video about the Palestinian flag at the UN is still up. The Henkins still don't matter it seems. And the  murder today of two Israelis (and the critical wounding of another, and the attack on a baby) are apparently not news either. Now I know some will say "Not every murder gets told on NBC." But as I said before, you can be SURE that if Israelis were randomly killing Arabs, it would definitely "make the grade".....
Further update: Is now on NBC site, and the headline is actually OK

Thursday, October 1, 2015

G-d Save us From the Idiots

   Today I saw a lovely video on facebook (see HERE), of an Israeli hula-hoop artist, Tal Fransky . She is very extremely  talented.
    What got me riled up (enough to sit down at 10 AM to type this up) were the numerous people who felt it absolutely imperative to note in the comments that the performer was on the plus-size side.

   Tell me, do these idiots really believe that the other viewers could not see this? Did they imagine for a moment that the performer herself is not aware that she is overweight?!??? And of course, what the (*&^%^$#& does her weight have to do with her wonderfully talented performance?

    Do people who make comments like this REALLY think that by making these comments that they will increase the chances of ANYONE losing weight?

   Shaming people does not lead to weight loss. NO ONE who has lost a considerable amount of weight has done so due to self-hate.  Weight –loss comes when you love yourself enough to stop overeating. It comes when you can figure out what is causing you to over- eat (when you KNOW that it is not good for you, but you do it anyway…), and finding other ways to deal with those “triggers”.

       I was extremely overweight for most of my life. I knew I was, I wanted to change, but it took me MANY long years to figure out HOW to do it! But all those years, my mother, while letting me know that my weight was not healthy, did NOT bring it up constantly. (Although I confess to giving my overweight kids a nudge every once in a blue moon, I bite my tongue 95% of the time.) And she would certainly not have done this publically, for example in a store while buying clothing. [Thanks, Mom!]
    Just yesterday I saw a man who was our guest shaming his wife for her weight. I felt so terrible for the lady, and wondered if he really thought that this was the way to effect a change in her.  (I finally told him point blank why he was doing things wrongly. But I doubt that it will help.)

    And another point: As this video shows quite aptly, weight need not be an impediment to exercise. I weighed MUCH more than Ms. Fransky  when I started my weight-loss journey. I started with walks of 20-30 minutes. From there I gradually built up to an hour or more daily. When hiking in the Rocky mountains, I took TONS of photos, using those moments to catch my breath, and  hoping that  my mother would not notice HOW out of breath I was! (On that first trip, nearly EVERYONE on the trail said “Good for you!” as they passed me. I felt a bit like a circus elephant clambering up the trail.) SO if you are overweight, try and find some exercise that you enjoy, whether it is walking, swimming, hula hooping, biking, dancing......because you will be healthier and feel better for it (even if you don’t lose a gram!).

   And by the way, hula-hooping is great exercise. It is excellent to do when watching a movie, or inside on a broiling HOT or RAINY day.  All you need is a few meters of open space, and an adult-sized hoop. (It should reach to about your waist).  For example: