Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ezzie's Blog Roundup 11/27

Hit expand for excerpts.
  • Jacob da Jew is looking for contacts in the jewelery industry. If you can help him out...
  • Treppenwitz is both proud of and sad for his son, who is doomed thanks to his dad.

    I didn't have the heart to tell him that he had just set out upon a lifetime of giving terribly inappropriate and/or ill-conceived gifts to people of the opposite sex. Not only that, but that he comes by this particular talent quite honestly since his old man has handed over some gift-wrapped bombs in his time.

    In the silence that stretched between us there in the dining-room I could clearly visualize a series of girl's faces flashing by... each with a more horrified/disappointed look than the previous one, as I handed over one stinking dud after another.

  • A great YU Observer article on the value of AIM, and to me, GChat.
    But for me, Instant Messenger is so much more.

    I have had some of the most meaningful conversations of my life via that medium; fascinating and thought-provoking conversations about topics that range from the death of a friend to emotions of empathy, anger, and arrogance, and above all else, the subject of people. I do not refer to petty gossip, to an indulgence of my baser nature in a furious attempt to keep track of everyone's social moves and mores-who is going out with whom and when this occurred. I am referring to people discussing themselves and what is important to them, the things that make them tick. People describe their feelings and their thoughts, wonder about whether they are normal and their problems legitimate. They come for guidance, for conversation, for an entertaining interlude to break the monotony of their otherwise boring day-but they come nonetheless.
    Those who know me well know how I love using GChat to talk and discuss life and its issues. Amen to the piece.
  • WildTumor writes about the humanity of cadavers in medical school - fascinating and touching.
    When temped to think that I was actually dissecting a human, I chose the basic belief of many in the medical field. In medicine we are often faced with a difficult dilemma. We are expected to develop a deep relationship with our patients on both an emotional and personal level. Every attempt is made to make them feel comfortable enough to discuss the most private aspects of their lives with us, their physicians. At the same time, however, we are expected to detach ourselves from our patients and recognize that while the doctor-patient relationship is crucial to patient care, if the line separating the doctor and the patient is too thin the relationship can suffer.

    This is how I approached my cadaver for the first few weeks. I understood that this was a human being who donated his body to science. I also recognized that focusing too much on the human aspect would make the dissection – and the learning experience – extremely difficult. To a certain extent, I guess, I bought in to Dr. Stern’s philosophy which he expressed to us in the beginning of the semester. He said “while I respect and admire the generous gesture of these people who donated their bodies, you need to realize that at the end of the day they are just specimens.”

    I thought I could handle that philosophy.
  • Cross-Currents has a great piece on secularism by R' Yitzchak Adlerstein. R' Dr. Fried was an old family friend when I was a little kid, in addition to being my principal.

    Those of us who could not make it might find solace in the recent availability online of a classic from a previous convention, in this case the West Coast Agudah Convention. Although sixteen years have passed, many of us vividly remember the debate between Prof. Aaron Twerski and Dr Aharon Hersh Fried on the topic of “Are Our Children Too Worldly?” Prof. Twerski was powerful and engaging, but it was Dr. Fried who dropped the bombshell in his opening lines: “The question is not whether our children are too worldly, but whether they are worldly enough!”

  • LWY returns with a new moniker and a good post on the 2nd Amendment.
    First of all, note the location of the 2nd Amendment. It's in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is all about an individual's rights in relationship to the government. Context matters. If the right to bear arms was a power granted to the States, then it would be in Article 4 of the Constitution.

    Second of all is the argument that the 2nd Amendment only protects weapons that were available at the time the Amendment was ratified, like muskets and flintlock pistols. That argument only works if you're going to limit the First Amendment to newspapers speeches in the town square.
  • PsychoToddler points to a great review of the Battle of the Bands. I'm really impressed.
    Perhaps it's not surprising then that the experienced Yaakov Chesed scored the loudest applause-and the first-place award of opening at the YU Chanukah concert-mostly by eschewing gimmickry. Through layers of cascading drums and abbreviated, lush acoustic chords, Yaakov Chesed fashioned a connective simplicity. They didn't jump or strut, and their music, heir to the gold-standard Blue Fringe, followed safely in the footsteps of radio-friendly alternative bands like the Goo Goo Dolls; but like both of those groups, Yaakov Chesed conveyed emotional sincerity and even a touch of melancholy with their full, rich sound, tamer and yet more satiating than the preceding acts.
  • Jameel discusses the lack of free speech in Israel, and how that has affected at least one blogger so far.
    While Freedom of Speech is protected by the US Constitution, it's a whole different ballgame in Israel. Disagree with your local municipal council? One blogger did...and found his blogger anonymity disappearing under court order to Google.
  • R' Gil criticizes R' Shafran's article about sex abuse in the Orthodox community. I agree - when I saw the piece by R' Shafran, I didn't get the point; it does nothing to minimize the problem, but there are those who would use those doubts to again pretend the problem doesn't exist.
    While the many accusations about abusers may or may not imply something about the general Orthodox community, the cover-ups, the diminishing of the seriousness of these accusations, and the belittling of the victims and the immense courage that many of them have shown by coming forward, is in my mind a greater indictment of our community than any Brooklyn courtroom can issue.

    There are public figures who have said that we should not report to the police the wrong-doings of abusers but the greatest rabbis of our times – including those to whom the Agudah looks for guidance – have disagreed. Whatever Chillul Hashem emerges is saddening but the protection of past and future victims is a more overriding concern. Let us not belittle the ongoing revelations but instead work together towards ensuring that these abuses never happen again.
  • Bad4Shidduchim questions the prevalence of shadchanim really watching every move everywhere you go. Really funny.

    I was insulted. Every other single woman in the tri-state area has a dozen shadchanim scrutinizing her at weddings, but not even one deems me worthy of attention?

    Then I thought perhaps I need to be more approachable, so I began smiling at strange women at odd moments. All I got were polite “who the heck are you?” smiles back. Another dead end. A heretical suspicion began to grow: maybe these women don’t exist.

    So I started lurking around the edges of the room observing people surreptitiously, looking for the ones who were looking at others. But everyone always seemed busy chatting with their friends or stuffing their faces with expensive meat from the carving stations.

    Eventually I gave up and concluded that they are a myth created by the establishment to keep in line the young women who might otherwise feel liberated and get a bit wild.


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