Posted by Beit T'shuvah
By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Here we go again! It is like 1964 all over again! We find the rhetoric of the Republicans (at that time Barry Goldwater) distasteful and the Democratic President (at that time LBJ) doing exactly the same things! This latest disclosure about Verizon and Internet spying on any and all Americans shows President Obama to be a hider and, a person who is unwilling to speak "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God!” What is going on?
It is especially noteworthy to me that 69 years after D-Day, the war against fascism and hatred and secrets, we learn of this latest betrayal of transparency, openness and commitment. Barack Obama, the candidate, railed against abuses of power and hiding. Barack Obama, the President, relishes in the abuses of power and hiding. I am most upset at his arrogance. President Obama, you are a leader "by the people, of the people and for the people" as Abraham Lincoln so poetically taught us some 150 years ago. In today's vernacular, I ask WTF???
I also am aghast at this latest betrayal because President Obama presented himself as a Democrat in the style of John and Bobby Kennedy. Oh, Mr. Obama, you are so far from having the soul, style, caring and compassion of Robert Kennedy. You are so far from having the advisors those two men had. You are so far from the sense of justice, the search for Truth, the openness, the kindness and the love of people of Robert Kennedy. It is, of course, ironic that this latest disclosure of betrayal of promises, transparency and truth came on the 45th anniversary of Bobby Kennedy's murder.
Ultimately, I have to take my part of the responsibility for these transgressions as I bought President Obama's lies; I bought candidate Obama's lies. I haven't asked enough questions and shouted loud enough about these lies. Neither, my friends and enemies, have you. This is not the shouting of the Republicans who are hiding and lying themselves. This is the shouting of decent people of faith who believe that without Truth, we are not alive. This is the shouting of faithful people who hold all of our governments and leaders to the same standards as Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Buddah, the standard of God—take care of the poor, the widow, the orphan and the stranger. Do not hide from others, as each person is a reminder of God, ergo hiding from us is hiding from God, Mr. President.
I ask you all to join me in being open and transparent. I ask everyone to join me in demanding the same of our government and leaders. I ask everyone to remember what our fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, relatives, siblings, etc. fought and some died for 69 years ago on D-Day. I ask everyone to remember that the Kennedy's and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed for their championing of workers, poor, widows, orphans and strangers. I ask everyone to join me in making sure that these men and women who fought and died for our ideals, our way of life, our faith in humanity and God's Principles and God's Will have not fought and died in vain!
12.6.13 at 2:19 pm | Last night, as we were getting ready to go to the. . .
12.5.13 at 10:12 am | Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, my entire. . .
11.29.13 at 11:12 am | As we celebrate Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, I keep. . .
11.22.13 at 1:38 pm | As I sit here this morning, 50 years to the day. . .
11.15.13 at 12:38 pm | I have been thinking about this week's Torah. . .
11.14.13 at 10:48 am | These past couple weeks my anxiety has been. . .
10.31.13 at 2:12 pm | Why is it that girls feel compelled to dress in. . . (66)
12.5.13 at 10:12 am | Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, my entire. . . (64)
2.25.13 at 2:00 pm | Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions. . . (45)
June 4, 2013 | 1:37 pm
Posted by Beit T'shuvah
By Matt Shapiro
Every parent’s dream, a free babysitter we trust, was available to us, and we didn’t know what to do. With my mom in town this past weekend, my wife, Sarah, and I had earmarked Sunday as a date night; the only problem was that we didn’t know what to do. Our standard has become dinner and a movie, and while there was no shortage of movies we were both interested in (I’m blessed to spend my life with a woman who enjoys action movies over romantic comedies), it seemed stale to do the same old thing. Every idea we had was immediately crossed off for one reason or another—City Walk closes early on Sundays, LACMA isn’t open that late, the funky mash-up dance party I discovered online was the previous Saturday night. Each failed idea made me feel more and more discouraged, ready to just wave the white flag and stay home or, even worse, resign myself to the standard date night option.
After much encouragement by Sarah, I finally dragged myself off the couch to, at the very least, go out to dinner. Not surprisingly, once I was finally out of the house, I started feeling much better; ordering a delicious dinner certainly didn’t hurt either. As we were sitting there, Sarah suggested something that, upon Googling, turned out to be completely doable: the Santa Monica Pier. A favorite of ours during the day, somehow we hadn’t ever been there at night. After finishing our tasty dinner, we zipped down the 10 to our destination (a complete lack of traffic was a major plus, too). We sat on the beach, walked the pier, and bought tickets for some of the rides. We had a blast doing the bumper cars together, and the only thing more fun than the roller coaster was hearing Sarah talk herself into why it wasn’t that scary as we were going up the first incline.
Even though I woke up this morning to the stress of a Monday, even though this was just one small outing, there’s also no doubting how much better I feel. Maybe it’s still the residual rush from the roller coaster (like I said above, I don’t get out much), but seeing that we could fight through that place of being stuck, go out, do something a little different than usual, have a good time together…it’s invaluable. It’s all too convenient to get seduced into the idea that life should be easy, that once a relationship, a job, a schedule gets set, it can run on auto-pilot. In my experience, there are few impulses more dangerous than this one. When I’m on auto-pilot, I’m not present, and if I’m not present, I’m not able to really pay attention to what’s happening, to either what’s going well or to what needs work. Putting effort into the important parts of my life (being a husband, being a father, getting better at my job, etc.) isn’t something that one day, ideally, I won’t have to work at anymore. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to work at each of those things every day of my life. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once suggested that each of us should view our lives as a work of art. Therefore, each moment is a brushstroke, either contributing to or detracting from the overall work. It can be easy for this concept to be overwhelming, but it also speaks to the power of each moment, that at any time I can decide to take one more step toward creating the artwork I envision. Especially if there are bumper cars.