Tuesday, September 19, 2006

L'shana tova!

L'shana Tova...May 5767 bring happiness & peace to us all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Rabbis of Israel

A thought-provoking piece about Israel's politics and religion -- which happen to be completely intertwined. Definitely read!

Don't Put Your Faith in Rabbis

[President Moshe] Katsav has been unable to bring himself to address the
leader of the largest Jewish religious movement in North America by his rightful
title of rabbi. Katsav chose a nationally broadcast interview marking Rosh
Hashanah, by tradition the period when all Jews are called to search their souls
and re-examine the wrongs they have done to others, to explain why he had
snubbed Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.Katsav
explained that he grew up in a home in which the only people recognized as
rabbis, were those who had received a recognized Orthodox ordination."As soon as
the Knesset of the State of Israel decides to recognize a Reform rabbi as such,
the president will have to as well," Katsav said."As long as the State of Israel
does not recognize him, I will not be the first to do so."
Moshe Katsav will, however, be the first president of Israel to have faced
the strong possibility of indictment on a number of counts of allegations of
rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

Be sure to click on the title to read the whole story. Makes you want to support the Reform Movement in Israel even more:

World Union for Progressive Judaism
Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism

Monday, September 04, 2006

What is our mindset?

When I have a little bit of spare time, I like to catch up on my blog reading. I find it so interesting to read what others have to say; it's really like being able to peek into so many different people's minds and hear their thoughts, and sometimes rants.

Today I read a about the Beloit College annual "Mindset List."

From the introduction by its creators (and hopefully a better explanation of what the list is than I can give you):

...the list is a general statement of the experiences and events that shaped the view of the world maintained by entering students. We take a risk in some cases of making general statements, particularly given that our students at Beloit come from almost every state and dozens of nations. We inevitably find someone who still has an 8-track tape player or whose television station still signs off with the national anthem. Some of these events occurred some years after they were born, but they are important events in shaping the mindset of the entering students. Our effort is to identify a worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2006.

So what's so interesting about it? Well, the list makes statements about these young people (most of them around the ages of the counselors I worked with at camp this summer...think of your own teenagers and college students) and about the world in which they grew up, the state of their thinking that they take with them into college...

But I wonder, as I read over the list, whether this is really the best use of the time of these professors. Perhaps they should be, instead of thinking about what these students didn't have in their young lives (a knowledge and fear of the Soviet Union, hearing things "rung up" on a cash register, live music in lobbies, vehicles other than minivans, smoking on airlines, food on airlines...you get the idea) - perhaps they should be focusing in some way on what the goals of educating these young people should be, and how these "shortcomings" in their lives (and things they do have, also on the list, like instant messaging, wireless communications, Google, faux fur, "big box stores") will affect them as they grow up. What made our parents into activists and so many of our young people into acceptors? What is the differences between the generation that experienced Vietnam and the generation that is experiencing the War on Terror? The world they live in is so very different from the world these professors live in -- in some ways so very different than the world I live in, and I feel my age is probably closer to the age of these young people than to the professors -- shouldn't there be some kind of dialogue that goes along with the Mindset List? I'd be so curious as to how the freshmen at Beloit College and other institutions would respond to the list themselves. How do you respond?

What is your mindset? Can you construct a similar list for your own generation?

(In a sense, reading over this list as well as previous year's lists was definitely like a walk down nostalgia lane. These students are considerably younger than I, yet much of what they experienced or did not experience is familiar to me as well....)

P.S. If you are interested in checking out the world of blogs, I recommend the following method...I pick a topic of interest to me and find a blog that I like (you can search for blogs at blogger.com amongst other blog-creating sites) and that has a long list of links to other blogs. Then I sort through them until I find ones that are worth reading on a regular basis. Sometimes this list is long, sometimes I end up with only a few "favorites" in any given topic. I try not to be too obsessive about this -- but I do like to keep up with one or two blogs at a time...in case you're interested in what tickles my fancy these days, I read blogs from Israel, miscellaneous Jewish blogs, blogs on babies and parenthood, and most oddly, perhaps, food blogs. My favorite of these is a blog I found called veganlunchbox.blogspot.com -- a stay-at-home mom who makes her kid these incredible lunches each day. After school let out, she slowed down her blogging and I'm not sure what she's doing this year for his lunches, but it was fun while it lasted. Each day, a new lunch! Crazy but so fun and cool. There are tons of weird and wonderful things out there in the elusive world of interneting....

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Legislating Sin"

Hard to believe that this one isn't front page....from the JTA Daily Briefing:

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), the leading GOP contender for a Florida U.S. Senate seat, said not electing Christians amounts to “legislating sin.”

“If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin,” Harris told the Florida Baptist Witness in an interview last week. “Whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is Jewish, told the Orlando Sentinel that Harris’ comments were “disgusting.”

Harris, who also described the separation of church and state as a “lie,” later issued a clarification to Fox News saying that she is pro-Israel and supports Holocaust education.

And do we think that our local Republicans feel any different? I like how she covers it up by saying she supports Holocaust education. Hard to believe there's anyone out there who doesn't.