Monday, June 26, 2006

At least we don't use it as an opportunity for propaganda like you do!!!

I am not the world's biggest futbol (uh, Soccer to my fellow Americans) fan, but during the World Cup I must admit I caught a bit of Football Fever. While Israel tends to excel in many sports on the international scene, soccer isn't one of them. If I am not mistaken, Israel has never been in a world cup. Yet somehow, the lowlife spin doctors in the Arab World have decided to use the World Cup platform as a way to take further potshots at Israel.

First, there was the whole John Pantsil incident. John Pantsil, who plays on the Ghanian national team, is also a member of Hapoel Tel-Aviv. When Ghana one its first Game against the Czechs, he celebrated by waving an Israeli flag as a tribute to his fans who came from Israel to see him play. Of course all of the Arab members of FIFA complained.

Now, Al-Jazeera is arguing that Israel has launched a Genocide campaign agasint the palestinians while the rest of the world is watching the world cup. Of course the propagandists at Al-Jazeera also neglect to realize that this campaign was actually started by Hamas who decided to kidnap Israeli soldiers and fire missiles on Israeli cities.

Even during an event that is supposed to stop wars and bring peace, somehow the hateful arabs of the world and their propaganda press have found a way to create another web of lies surrounding Israel.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The most demeaning Yeshiva Punishment?

As one would imagine, there has been a lot of buzz lately discussing the spate of abuse scandals within the Brooklyn Orthodox community. First, there were the very serious allegations of sexual abuse in a Brooklyn Yeshiva - strong enough that they are battling it out in court. Now, a friend of mine pointed out posts on the 'Chaptzem Blog' and a new blog entitled Rebbes and "Mechanchim" who will live in infamy
that harp on the notion of 'Abusive' Rebbeim.

As a child in a Brooklyn Yeshiva in the 80's, I got my fair share of corporal punishment. I also received punishments that were both mentally abusive and demeaning. But, thankfully, I can look back at those years and laugh. Our Rebbeim were tough on us. Some of them were off the deep end and definitely crossed the line into abuse. Others were more stable, but ocassionally had to use a 'frask' as a reminder to a student (and to the rest of the class) as to who exactly was the 'Rebbe' in the room.

However, there is a big difference between punishing a student and abusing them mentally or physically. For example, my Grade School Principal, who was unequivocally unqualified for his job or a teaching job (and I'm being nice), once suspended me for getting a 73 on a Gemara (Talmud) exam, because he felt that I could do better (I am not making this one up, I hope my grade school buds will comment and vouch). Or the Rebbe in Junior High that made me right 1000 lines of 'I will not hang out the window like an illiterate on welfare'. Or the third grade Rebbe whose favorite punishment was to put kids in his 'Doghouse' - as he like to refer to the footwell of his desk.

Those individuals were abusive, and in retrospect had abusive personalities. Personally, the Rabbis who doled out the punishments above shouldn't have been teaching anyone's kids.

So I'll ask you this - what was your most demeaning Yeshiva punishment? Didn't go to yeshiva - that's okay, feel free to post!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Zimirot - Oh Baby !

As a kid, the highlight of the Shabbat table was singing zimirot. Zimirot are ancient kabbalistic hymns that are sung to accompany each sabbath meal. Each of us had a favorite song and a favorite tune to go with it, and when we couldn't agree on which tune to use - fast vs. slow MBC (Miami Boys Choir) vs. MBD (Mordechai Ben David) - we would oftentimes sing both. We sang sefardic tunes and even matched our lyrics to the beach boys.

This was something that until recently was lacking at my own table. But now that my big guy is old enough to sing along, we have started singing zimirot on Friday night and on Shabbat afternoon. My son is really getting into it, and despite his butchering of some of the words, seems to enjoy it with the same enthusiasm that my siblings and I had as children.

Enjoying your religion is great, but enjoying it through your children's eyes is greater - because that is pure nachas.