Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taking a stand

Every few years, without fail, there comes a point during Chodesh Irgun when the typical Anglo parent decides that he or she is fed up and isn’t going to take it anymore.

Helpless in the face of paint-splattered clothes, late nights, and kvetchy kids, said Anglo parent finally declares that it’s time to take a stand.

After all, online griping or even commiserating with other beleaguered parents in real life only goes so far.

Unfortunately, however, seeing as we don’t live between the covers of a melodramatic Gothic novel, locking the kids in their rooms and forbidding them from participating in Chodesh Irgun isn’t really an option. And given the current political climate, neither is demanding that the Education Ministry, the Knesset, or even the Supreme Court outlaw the entire endeavor.

But one is determined not to give up without some sort of fight, and so one makes a tiny, insignificant gesture that fools no one but oneself.

For instance, as one’s beloved offspring head out to the snif (the inevitably rickety caravan or lean-to that serves as the youth group’s headquarters) to “paint walls,” “rehearse,” or whatever it is that they’re calling it these days, one demands, “Call me when you get there! And don’t forget to take your umbrella!

If all goes according to plan, the offspring in question obligingly groan and hopefully even roll their eyes before shrugging and doing as they’ve been told.

Ha! Take THAT, Chodesh Irgun!” one secretly exults.

Of course, since it’s been raining rather steadily all week, and since making a phone call isn’t a big deal, deep down one is well aware that the kids would have taken the phones and umbrellas with them anyway.

But then again, during Chodesh Irgun, even the most meaningless parental “victory” is as good as it’s going to get…

Open-mouthed smile

!שבוע טוב ומזל טוב לשבט החדש

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Much ado about nothing

To read the international press over the past few days, or to listen to the ranting and raving of certain members of Israel’s political and chattering classes is to be told that liberal Western values - democracy, equality, civil rights, nondiscrimination, and so on – have come under attack.

Over and over, the self-styled protectors of all that is good and noble intone that any version of the proposed law to define Israel as the Jewish national homeland is a despicable piece of legislation being shoved down Israel’s collective throats by racist and fascist right-wingers.

But as Haviv Rettig Gur demonstrates in his excellent analysis, the reality is very, very different. And in fact, what is actually going on is far more disturbing:

“Ministers shouting untruths about a constitution-altering bill at the cabinet table and then proudly leaking news of their bickering; an attorney general lecturing ministers against approving private member bills on constitutional matters, without mentioning that that was precisely how previous constitutional revolutions, ones with which he more readily agreed, had been passed; centrist legislation that is transmuted through sheer political posturing and media ignorance into a far-right proposal...”

If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to read the whole thing.

May we soon be privileged to witness besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Euphonic Friday: Yearning For Hashem’s Salvation Edition

In light of recent events, the conclusion of Yaakov Avinu’s blessing to his son Dan in Parshat Vayechi perfectly encapsulates Am Yisrael’s collective mood – especially here in Eretz Yisrael:

לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִיתִי ה’.

“For Your salvation I yearn, Hashem!”
(Breishit 49:18)

Shlomo Katz recently released a hauntingly beautiful rendition of this pasuk:

From Shlomo Katz’s new “Likrat Shabbat” album

שבת שלום וחודש טוב!

Shabbat shalom, and may the coming week and month be filled with besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

It’s the dark flip side of living in a small, remarkably interconnected country.

It’s the sobering, solemn fact that nearly every terror attack is bound to affect someone separated from you by a mere degree or two of separation.

And as the number of victims of a specific terror attack increases, the likelihood that you have a personal connection with the victims and/or their families increases as well.

Because each and every victim encompasses an entire world, and the holy victims HY”D of the shocking massacre in Har Nof were no exceptions.

The four Torah scholars, who died al kiddush Hashem, and the heroic Druze police officer, who gave his life for Am Yisrael, were husbands, fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and cousins.

They each left behind beautiful families and close-knit communities, neighbors and friends, coworkers and fellow congregants.

In this particular case, we know the brother and parents of one victim very well, and sadly, we also have direct and indirect ties to several of the other victims.

ה’ יקום דמם ויהי זכרם ברוך.

May Hashem avenge their blood; may their memories be blessed; and may their dear families be consoled among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.