Monday, January 31, 2011

EZ Reads 1/31/11

  • Okay, so Federal Judge Vinson's ruling of ObamaCare as unconstitutional isn't an "easy" read, but it's really interesting to read through and follow not only the logical flow, but also the history (Judge Vinson seems joyful to give a bit of a Constitutional history lesson), analogies, and the way law flows and why it's important to set stop points.
  • A Mother in Israel has an incredibly well-done video of how teens are impacted by the amount we're tuned into technology. It's a bit scary how real much of it really is.
  • Neil discusses one of our favorite people in history, R' Salanter, in honor of his yahrtzeit.(The rollover on the title of this blog is a reference to my favorite quote, which is R' Salanter's.)
  • Interesting piece on .299 and .300 hitters in baseball.
  • An interesting pair of pieces at Dealbreaker and Lifehacker on first impressions and interviews, with Lifehacker noting how important first impressions are for interviews, while Dealbreaker discusses how some firms essentially interview people for a weekend to test their social acumen.
  • Daled Amos asks if anyone's taking bets on when Obama's next speech in Cairo will be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

EZ Reads 1/29/11

A few quick reads for a Saturday night/Sunday morning:
  • A great short news clip on Mystical Paths about a recent accidental archeological find - an open sewer path from the time of the Second Temple that goes right under the Temple Mount.
  • R' Natan Slifkin comes to a realization that an obvious point is often being missed vis-a-vis the brain death discussion (currently occurring in many places) and the gemara on the subject.
  • Consumers misled by labels, such as a kosher symbol on a product that is not Kosher, can sue.
  • A Negative Benefit has a clip from The Today Show in 1994 - "what is the internet?"
  • Ten tips to trick, train, and exercise your brain, via Lifehacker (my favorite site).

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Cleveland Helps

    A nice story from this morning (my brother had told of the Dessler aspect of the story when he came home from davening this morning; they showed up at shacharis pretty unexpectedly) -
    The return flight from Eretz Yisroel for Rabbi Eli and R’ Reuven Dessler and family was set to arrive in Newark this morning and then transfer to Cleveland later, but due to the weather had to be redirected. ...Cleveland was somehow chosen.
    ...other stranded passengers from this flight, 40 of whom were dependent on kosher food and various Jewish necessities...
    Immediately upon hearing about this flight being redirected, Yaakov Moshe Berkovic of  Davis Caterers and Mrs. Sara Shapiro of Bikkur Cholim (and the many people who volunteer for them) got the ball rolling to get much needed food and other things to this group of people. Kinneret Pizza was churning out pizzas, Dovid Greenberger and his Bagel Shoppe made an innumerable amount of bagels and baked goods.  Other people stepped in to help in a variety of ways.
    (Note: I'm guessing it was a Continental flight, and was rerouted so they'd have planes at another hub of theirs, the closest of which is Cleveland.) Anyway - great story, and a nice testament to the frum community of Cleveland.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    EZ Reader

    It appears the birthday boy's surgery went well, thank God. Thanks to all those who had him in mind.

    I'm going to start/test a new feature (really an addition to an old one) as I start blogging again after the nightmarish past year and a half (not all of it was nightmarish, and it's not quite over, but I'm finally able to move on with life). On the right side is an EZ Reader where I'll link to posts from my own Google Reader. This won't eliminate EZ Reads, which is a more effective way to share good posts, but it'll at least keep me from saving things forever and then never getting around to posting them.


    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Please Pray for Halfway to 72

    Please have in mind Yehudah Baruch ben Rivkah Mindel tonight and tomorrow morning; he's an all right guy (I guess) whose 36th (HA!) birthday is tomorrow, in honor of which he is having surgery at 8:30am on his second ear to restore hopefully 80% of his hearing in that ear. He previously had successful surgery on the first ear.

    His dear wife SIL noted that the doctor's office did note that they cannot repair selective hearing - ah well for her.

    Also worth noting is that I was born exactly 8-1/2 years after my brother, so I'll be halfway to 55 tomorrow. Nice.

    Funny (?) Question

    It's one of those chain emails, received from my Dad, but I think it says it well:
    Let me get this straight . . . .
    We're going to be "gifted" with a health care
    plan we are forced to purchase and
    fined if we don't,
    Which purportedly covers at least
    ten million more people,
    without adding a single new doctor,
    but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
    written by a committee whose chairman
    says he doesn't understand it,
    passed by a Congress that didn't read it but
    exempted themselves from it,
    and signed by a President who smokes,
    with funding administered by a treasury chief who
    didn't pay his taxes,
    for which we'll be taxed for four years before any
    benefits take effect,
    by a government which has
    already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
    all to be overseen by a surgeon general
    who is obese,
    and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!
    'What the hell could possibly go wrong?'

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    R' N. W. Dessler, zt"l Kevura and Shiva Info, Obituary

    Via my parents:

    R' N.W. Dessler (Plain Dealer via Dessler family)
    The body will be at Newark Airport Cargo Area D at about 5:15pm today (Monday), but you should confirm with Newark Airport; the levaya in Cleveland was this morning at Yavne's building. The kevurah will be Tuesday at (can't remember if it's 6:15 or 6:30) at Shamgar.  They didn't say anything about shiva in Israel, but in Cleveland it's at Reuven and Naomi Dessler's house on Shannon Road.

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer published an obituary of Rabbi Dessler.

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Petira of HaRav Nachum Zev Dessler, zt"l

    Rabbi N.W. Dessler of Cleveland has passed away, shortly shy of his 90th birthday. The levaya is this Monday morning in Cleveland, and the kevura will be at Har Hamenuchos in Yerushalayim.

    He was a mensch, a tzaddik, and a gadol. He founded, built, and grew the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, and helped build the Jewish community in Cleveland.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Addressing Abuse in Our Community

    These were sent by a friend recently, and I requested and was given permission to post them publicly. While I'm posting this, it's a good place to write that I've also been pointed recently to a new book called Hush by "Eishes Chayil", reviewed in Tablet, by Chana, and by Bad4. It apparently is rather highly regarded by all who've read it that I've seen.

    Addressing Abuse in Our Community
    By: Shloimie Zimmerman, Psy.D.
    General Community:
    • Annual – Children’s safety shabbos- Rabbonim and/or professionals address these topics
      • Educating the community and normalizing addressing these issues
    • Creating universal precautions and guidelines
    • Education, Education, & more Education!
      • Aimed at prevention & intervention
      • Must be ongoing & developmentally appropriate – Cannot rely on a one-time “talk”
      • For: parents, school personnel, children, Rabbonim and community members
      • (Areas of education to focus on are contained below)
    • Reporting alleged abuse to civil authorities (RCA resolution 2010)
    • Adjudicating cases in civil courts (RCA resolution 2010)
    • Publicizing the policies of organizations regarding abuse (e.g., reporting, adjudicating, behavioral guidelines, dealing with allegations, etc.)
    • All pediatricians are instructed to inform children at their annual checkup (and initially at their next contact) that any unwanted approach/touch/threats should be dealt with by running away and yelling for help as loud as they can (R’ Matisyahu put this in place in Lakewood and it has met with success)
    • Remember the majority of perpetrators are familiar to the child and/or family and utilize the relationship to gain access to and the cooperation of the child
      • It is much harder to see/ respond when it’s our “own” / when we know the person
      • Remember: Abusers don’t wear a sign & nobody is infallible
      • Combat the drive to ignore the signs and to maintain the status quo
      • Stanger abduction/abuse is rare- yet it gets much more of our attention
    • Children should never request or take rides from individuals they do not know and do not have express permission from their parents to take rides with
    • Children should not have their names (even just their first names) visible (e.g., on Yarmulkes, Backpacks, etc).
    • Parents should be advised to supervise any meshulach and /or guest and not allow them unrestricted access to their children.
    • Child Protective Services (CPS) attempts to keep children in homes and families together
      • They will work with our community and its resources to serve the family
    • The Orthodox community has professionals/ organizations to help you through this
    • How the parents and community respond is predictive of how the victims will fare
    • Collectively we can literally save countless lives
    • Children can heal and lead healthy, productive, and happy lives after abuse

    • What does NOT Work:
    • Ignoring the victims!
      • We must take allegations very seriously and ACT thoughtfully and appropriately
      • Sweeping it under the rug fosters the continuation of the abuse cycle
    • Threats: including exposing perpetrator to family and/ or community, any form of harm e.g., physical, emotional, financial, etc. (Actual public exposure can help maintain safety)
      • This is a serious illness that needs to be addressed –they know they are doing something that can lead to all the aforementioned forms of harm but do it anyway!
    • Relocation – They will just prey on other innocent victims
    • Silent Resignation (i.e., allowing individual to leave position without disclosure)- If there are grounds for resignation there are grounds to protect others outside that organization as well

    Shuls/ Mikvaos/ Community Centers:
    • Youth events/ groups (e.g., shabbos groups, pirchei, melava malka) should always have at least two staff members present at all times and staff should not be allowed to split off with individual children (see bathroom policy under yeshivas)
    • Parents should be encouraged to be present as chaperones and/or to check frequently and randomly on the children
    • A child should never enter/ be sent to the mikvah alone. A parent should always go with the child or only allow the child to go when there are many people present
      • Teach children  that no one (only parents) should ever ask them to go to the mikvah

    • Absolutely no concealed private time with students- Concealed private time is immediate grounds for firing
      • Policies must be clearly stated and publicized
      • Strict and immediate consequences for any policy infractions must be enforced
    • Windows on all classrooms and meeting rooms
    • Any private meeting takes place in a room with window and/or with another staff member in hearing / seeing distance
    • [If unable to have windows – video cameras in all class/meeting rooms with banks of monitors in multiple locations (e.g., secretary’s desk as well as at least one other location). Additionally, information should be stored (easy to do digitally) in case no one is manning the bank and to deal with any allegations.]
    • No male staff member is to take children to bathroom alone – always need a 2nd staff member present (advisable for female staff as well)
    • No staff member to take children to any secluded area alone e.g., park, museum, etc.
    • Require criminal background checks for workers with youth (see RCA resolution 2005)
      • Should also include all school staff e.g., janitors, cooks, etc. & outside contractors
    • Reduce access to any potentially secluded areas

    • Employees and other customers (non-caregivers) never allowed to be alone with children
      • If a child goes to a part of the store not visible to the staff, a staff member should maintain the child in his/her sight at all times (similar precautions used by stores suspecting someone of shoplifting).
      • If there is only one employee in store, all dealings with children should be done as openly as possible (e.g., close to the store window, front door, main part of store, etc.)

    Some Areas of Education to Focus on:
    • Greatest preventative measure is having a healthy relationship with children and children feeling good about themselves and the supports around them- the Relationship is Key
    • Encourage open communication in families- develop safe, supportive, & secure relationships
    • Expressing that you always want to know what happened to them or they did- even if they feel bad about it or think you will be upset
    • Teaching safety around abuse just like we teach all other safety (e.g., fire, strangers, etc.)
    • Explicitly teaching about secrets that don't feel good & that they should never be kept
    • Reiterate that you will always love them no matter what they do
    • If you don’t teach your children about their bodies, sexuality, and intimacy who will?
    • Address issues of body awareness, good/bad touch, right to say “NO”, etc.
      • Give children language to talk about these issues
      • “Your body belongs to you. No one has a right to tickle you or touch you in a way you don’t like” (Uncle Willy’s Tickles, p. 20)
      • Model dealing with uncomfortable situations
      • Utilizing Role Plays / What if game (e.g., unwanted hugs/kisses, unwanted tickles)
      • Utilizing Books e.g., Uncle Willy’s Tickles by Marcie Aboff (Magination Press)
      • Teaching that it’s not chutzpa to say “No” regarding their bodies even to a grown up
      • They SHOULD tell another grown up about something uncomfortable someone did
        • Even if another grownup says not to tell (tell a parent!)
    • Encourage children to keep seeking help until they feel like they are safe and being heard
    • Reinforcing “running and screaming” and any material/ skill used in a curriculum in a different setting (e.g., review/ practice what was learned in school)
    • Attempt not to leave it up to children (especially young ones) to avoid harm - Supervision
    • Create relationship where they can talk about anything (even if it is wrong/ inappropriate)
    • Not addressing abuse properly is much more detrimental to life e.g., mental health, shidduchim, becoming “at- risk”, etc. than addressing it
    • Do not cave in to fear tactics e.g., threats of ruining shidduch, community alienation, ostracism, not being accepted in yeshivas, etc.
    • Supply information regarding community resources for prevention and intervention
    • Just scaring people does not help, they need to feel motivated, encouraged, and optimistic

    Additional points for parents addressing abuse with their children:
    Reasons for not disclosing (bus study):
    • Tell my parents the disgusting things Mr. Bob did to me, they would kill me!
    • Abuser threatened the kid

    Approach to Education:
    • Process not Proclamations – need ongoing dialogue re: all safety issues
    • This is a safety issue like any other – matches, walking safety (street, dark, etc), what happens if you get separated from parent, a stranger offers you candy or tries to talk to you, etc.)
    • Kids don’t panic or become fearful unless you convey high levels of anxiety. At worst what you say may go over their heads and they will look at you funny
    • There is a latent effect where they may not show a response now but should the issue arise they may remember

    4 major points to convey (exact words not important) from D. Pelcovitz’s talk citing Susan Schulman, M.D.
    1. Mommy and Daddy love you and nothing you do will change that and nothing will take it away. If you did something bad I may not like what you did but I will always love you. I want to hear the good and bad things that happen to you.
    2. Three kinds of touch: Yes: like when mommy hugs you and you feel good. No: Like a friend hits you and it feels bad. I don’t know touch: Doesn’t hurt but makes you feel funny. Say no, run away, and tell mommy.
    3. No one is allowed to hurt you or make you feel sad or scared. If someone hurts you or makes you feel bad tell me about it, I will try to find out what happened and stop it.
    4. The area covered by your bathing suit is your private area. Sometimes when your little your teacher may help you in the bathroom and that’s ok other than that you are not allowed to touch someone else and no one is allowed to touch you in the area covered by your bathing suit. You are not allowed to show those parts to anyone and no one is allowed to show you. If anyone does this say:  no, my mommy doesn’t let me, go away from the person, and tell your  mommy.

    • No secret that is supposed to be kept forever is ok – have to tell mommy or daddy about any secret that is supposed to be forever

    • Can educate through and in play – puppets, people, imagination, role-play – create scenarios in play for child to process and deal with.


    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Educating Annoyed

    Welcome back to YD of Adventures in Chinuch, with a very good post on what teachers' emphasis should be. An all-too-familiar story he uses to make his points:
    Taking this further, the same can be said about the most common approach to teaching Tanach (this may sound familiar to many who have gone to school):

    Step One: "who wants to read passuk gimmel?"
    Step Two: "okay, no volunteers except annoying kid that always raises his hand? David, you read."
    Step Three: "What's that David, you don't do reading? Okay Jonny read."

    Step Four: "Jonny doesn't have the page. Jonny doesn't even have a chumash. Okay annoying kid, you read."

    Step Five: "Who has any questions on this passuk? Nobody? Okay let's read Rashi."

    Step Six: "Can anyone tell me Rashi's question?"

    Step Seven: "No, none of those are even close to Rashi's question. Did anyone learn anything this year?"

    Step Eight: "Here is Rashi's question with three more answers. Write them all down in the column next to the vocabulary words"
    Step Nine: Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Presidential Kudos

    President Obama spoke last night at the memorial for the victims of the attack in Tuscon, Arizona. I was able to watch most of it and read through the entire speech online, and he was fantastic, even if the forum ended up seeming a bit... pep rally-ish, as someone put it. If there were any Presidential moment that someone such as he was made for, it was this - with even the concern that he doesn't give off emotional depth proving to be untrue, at least on this occasion. He thankfully also implicitly chastised those who blame this on political debate, much like his former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was distraught (as mentioned on Best of the Web here) when a Newsweek piece utilized an old Emanuel line to argue for capitalizing on the tragedy for political gain.

    On top of that, the President is finally seeming to take heed of the results of this past Congressional election, learning from his mistakes and working toward reshaping his White House staff. Karl Rove (!) heaps praise on Obama and his interim advisor Pete Rouse today in his weekly WSJ article, which is obviously saying quite a bit. To see that Obama is willing to change is quite refreshing, and hopefully he'll work closely with the GOP members such as Paul Ryan to actively cut spending as well, though this seems less likely at the moment. Certainly, though, these are steps in the right direction.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Democrat to introduce bill banning crosshair graphics in wake of AZ shooting Continue reading on Democrat to introduce bill banning cro

    From Here

    Politicians love a crisis. It gives them an excuse to push silly freedom-killing laws that will do nothing to address a perceived problem, but makes them feel good.

    Case in point:

    The Caucus Blog at the New York Times reports that Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Brady plans to introduce a bill banning symbols like "that now-infamous campaign crosshair map."

    The map in question is one used by Sarah Palin in an ad showing targeted districts in the 2010 elections.

    The left wing Daily Kos used a similar map targeting blue dog Democrats for defeat, but little mention is made of that map outside conservative web sites.

    Apparently, the mainstream media thinks such graphics are only dangerous when used by conservatives.

    Nevertheless, if Brady has his way, such graphics may become illegal in campaign ads, even though there is no evidence such graphics had any role in the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Federal employees would be protected from such graphics as well.

    "You can't threaten the president with a bullseye or a crosshair," Representative Brady said, Brady admitted to the Caucus that he had no idea if the graphic had any part to play in the assault.

    "I don't know what's in that nut's head. I would rather be safe than sorry," Brady told the Caucus, adding, "this is not a wakeup call. This is a major alarm going off. We need to be more civil with each other. We need to tone down this rhetoric."

    So, Brady is willing to shred the First Amendment for a false sense of security.

    Given the new rules in the GOP-led House, his Constitutional citation should be very interesting.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Cleaning out the inbox: Rogue Nation

    I've been meaning to post this for a while. (Hat tip: Shragi) Elder of Ziyon is one of many linking to this great story about a 19-year old in Cambridge who was given the unenviable task by the Cambridge Union debating society of being 'pro' a proposition stating that Israel is a rogue state. The student, Gabriel Latner, who is pro-Israel and had served in the Israeli Army (?), decided to do exactly that - while praising Israel in the process.  
    His conduct earned him a lifetime banning from the Cambridge Union.  You might want to know that Lauren Booth was on the proposing side too - no surprise there then! I know its incredibly long, but just imagine the scene - most of the room are obviously NOT Jewish and time and time again these debates will never go in our favour. However Gabrielle  won this for the opposing side.  He received a standing ovation from the majority of the room,  obviously not from Lauren Booth!!  Please pass this on as it truly is an amazing speech from a young boy, 19 years of age, swigging from a hip flask for Dutch courage!!!
    The actual speech he gave is brilliant - read the whole thing at EoZ.

    EZ Read 1/10/11

    What You Didn't Think About by SD. Excerpt:
    Dear Yid,

    I know it was a cold and snowy night. I was armed with warm boots, warm coat and warm gloves, and still the treck from my parking spot to the entrance of the rest area on the Garden State Parkway was frigid and miserable. I understand wanting to park closer to the door. But I would have never actually entertained thoughts of doing it.

    And yet, there I was, approaching the door, and I saw the sight I wished I hadn't. But even if I had walked in two or three minutes later, it would have effected me. You see, when you parked next to the door, rather than in a legal spot, you weren't just risking a ticket. You were angering the lady who works there, who witnessed you pulling up. You were in a haste to get out of the cold, so you missed her reaction, but I didn't.

    "Must be handicapped," she declared.

    Sunday, January 09, 2011

    Goldish Goes to Lakewood

    Hattip: RK

    I saw this link on someone's Gchat status, and clicked on it. It's a reasonably entertaining rap on an annual fellowship done in Lakewood for college students from all over; then I realized that it's actually my cousin Shimmy Goldish performing (ironically, was in Providence this weekend and someone asked if I was related to him), which is pretty cool. He's far more talented than I, certainly. Anyway, enjoy!

    Wednesday, January 05, 2011

    Golden Radio Voice Signs With Cavs

    This is a really cool story: A homeless man with an amazing voice for radio was, shortly after a video of him went viral, offered a job by the Cleveland Cavaliers - and a house. Check out his interview and original video (by the Columbus Dispatch) below. (via Deadspin) The humanity of people who tried to help him out is also really something (see the YouTube video comments).

    Tuesday, January 04, 2011

    Pita and Taxes

    Serach went to buy pita for dinner from a local establishment. She asked the person behind the counter, who's Chassidish, if they took the Lander discount card (a card issued to Lander students, kollel members, alumni, and their spouses), to which the man replied "I remember the guy came in here... you know what, yes, I'll take it." He promptly took off 10%, leaving the bill at about $3. Serach then asked about paying using a debit card, to which he replied "Why not?" When she asked if there were a minimum, he noted simply "No, that's illegal."

    This is in stark contrast to another establishment which was happy to take the card... but only if you paid cash. As the owner told Serach, "If I take credit then I have to pay taxes on it!" Serach replied that he has to pay taxes either way, and left.

    The best way of putting it: A family friend of my in-laws (IIRC) tells customers who ask about tax, "I don't charge tax. I just collect it."