Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Evil is Alive and Living in Beit Shemesh

There's a film that has been going viral and causing all kinds of excited conversation, a whole lot of it so skewed as to make truth an obsolete idea. It's called "Between the Suns" and deals with the situation taking place in Beit Shemesh in Israel. I'm providing the link below and adding a warning that this film can cause nausea and violent headaches, among the mildest symptoms.

Grown men, daring to call themselves religious, have, among other heinous acts, been spitting on little girls and calling them whores and prostitutes, all because they attend a school for girls that is too modern for these monsters and dares to be across the street from a community they live in (if one can say that such disturbed individuals are actually alive in a human sense).

The whole film is disturbing, but among the worst of the words spoken is the man who insisted "I am a healthy man." Healthy?! It is healthy to attack little girls because they dare go to school--a religious school--in a school that does not meet this man's perverted standards? Healthy to call a 7-year-old a whore? Healthy to declare that their women know their place and keep to it, no matter what God may have decided? Healthy to hurl sexual epithets at a six-year-old?

Someone in Israel, a whole lot of someones, needs to come down hard on the lunatics in Beit Shemesh. Where are the rabbonim of the community they live in, and where are their words of condemnation? Where are the municipal leaders, whose job is to keep all citizens of the city safe from attack? Where are the voices, hundreds and thousands of voices, raised in righteous indignation that disturbed and violent men are allowed to prey on innocent children?

Among other things, we will be judged on how well we protected the weakest and most innocent among us, and when we let such madmen attack our innocent children, then just who are we?!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just Whom Are We Kidding?!

If you get squirmy reading about "those things," you might want to skip this posting.

A lot has been written about the YU club newspaper which published a fictional piece the subject of which was premarital sex. The club has lost the University funding for its newspaper. People are gasping that anyone "frum" could write such a thing. After all, that kind of shmutzy sex doesn't happen in the frum world. For those who believe that, they aren't just wearing blinders--they've gone blind. Nothing like trying to sweep under the rug anything you don't want to have to admit happens--and has been happening for centuries.

Just why is it do you suppose that the old Yiddish of pre-war Europe had a word in it referring specifically to a child clearly conceived before its parents were officially married if premarital sex didn't exist back then? And yes, in chasidishe and yeshivishe and more modern communities. Such a child was called a "zibele," a seven-monther.

And if we are talking about hypocrisy and blindness and things that get published that "shouldn't" be published, how about an offering from one of the KosherKouponz providers. The Davida company advertises itself as purveyors of aprons, dish towels and the like. So imagine the 'fun" to be glancing through their offerings and smack dab in the middle of all those aprons and towels is a "faux fur jock strap," illustrated no less. Going to see any outrage? Not likely. We pick and choose whom we will skewer and what we will admit exists.

Good old Klal, with its "out of sight, out of mind" attitude.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life is Like That

It hasn't just been raining and pouring on us these past few weeks--it's been a category 1759 hurricane. But here's a lesson I've had drummed into me during this time--life is like that, so make the best of it. Here's another one of those lessons learned: life doesn't have to be all bleak if you 1) don't let it be and 2) look for the silver lining in those clouds. There have actually been a few times where smiling/laughing took place. Please God, in the months to come there will be more of those light occasions.

Mom's recovery is going as it should, even if not as quickly as she and we would have liked it to go. Along the way I've had to be a mother to my Mother while still remaining as her daughter--not an easy balance but a necessary one. And yes, sometimes I've taken comfort from that old saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

For those of you going through your own version of hell, hang in there. It really is true that when today ends, it's over, and tomorrow is a new day with new chances to get things right. And if you get a chance to say Mazal Tov to someone, don't put it off--it could be just the tonic to cure what ails you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Murphy's Law

Yes, everything I ever needed to know I learned in grade school, because that is where I first learned about Murphy's Law. All the rest of my education is just commentary. The Law, briefly stated: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. We'll never know just when it will go wrong, or quite how it will go wrong, or where it will go wrong. We'll never know if that "wrong" will be short lived or long lived. A correlative to Murphy's Law: Knowing that something can go wrong doesn't mean that we can fix things so they won't go wrong. I'll call that correlative "Man tracht und Gott lacht."

Back in an older posting on preparing services for the elderly who will need them, a whole lot of readers were in agreement that because today's families are larger, thus supplying more "manpower," there will always be someone in the family available to care for an older parent or grandparent, lots of somebodies available. Uh huh. See Murphy's correlative #2: just because something is going wrong for you doesn't mean that it isn't also going wrong for someone else in your family at one and the same time. And it also doesn't mean that something has to be going wrong for that someone else either; something good can be happening which makes it impossible to help you out when that help is needed, something like the birth of a new baby. And let's not forget to mention that close family can be spread out across the country.

Over the last two weeks we have had three different family members hospitalized for acute care, a few "regular" cases of stomache viruses, a sinus infection, a case of bronchitis and a ruptured vessel in the knee area. That's in addition to any regular allergies or conditions. And we have a couple of newborns. And for a lot of the family they are either facing the end of a school term and final exams or the craziness that comes to some businesses at the end of the year. And that's without adding in a few simchas--and yes, those, too, take a lot of effort and time for the baal simcha. We now have our second family member in long-term institutional care. And yes, this is business as usual for families of any size.

Yes, somehow everything that must be taken care of is being taken care of, but not without cost. Until you find yourself in the position my family is in at present you can have no idea of just how much time, effort and money is needed to keep on top of things. It's way too facile an answer to say that today's families are large so there will always be someone available--ready, able and willing--to take care of what may be necessary, all with no problems. And no, the organizations that Klal has available for situations such as we found ourselves in are not sufficient in many cases. One major hospital in Manhattan prides itself on it's bikur cholim activities and services to patients in the hospital, such as a kosher kitchen to provide fresh kosher food and meet special dietary requirements. Uh huh. Perhaps if you happen to find yourself entering that hospital on a Monday thru Thursday. If you come in on a Friday thru Sunday you just may find yourself in trouble if you are counting on that bikur cholim help.

When something moves out of the theoretical into the real you just may find out real life is not all that simple. And yes, Murphy is alive and well and practicing in our area.

Note: B"H the prognosis for my mom is good. The doctors are certain that she will walk again, albeit with a walker or mechanical aid of some sort. We're still some ways away from that point. Keeping her spirits up (and ours too) is a major part of our agenda.