Posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
The 270 victims of Pan Am Flight 103 can rest easier now that their murderer has been toppled from power. And even as the world searches for Gadhafi’s whereabouts, a day of reckoning must arrive for all the Westerners who supported him and kept him in power.
For decades, the world tolerated the crazed and bloodthirsty Libyan leader for one reason: He had oil. And scores of people were prepared to sell their souls for money. The most egregious violators were the British. Prime Minister David Cameron and Labor leader Ed Miliband are late to the table in pointing out Britain’s loss of morals, evidenced, they say, by the recent News of the World tabloid scandal and the riots that had London burning. In truth, the greatest evidence of the UK’s moral bankruptcy was the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man Scottish authorities assured us was at death’s door but who ironically might outlive Gadhafi himself. Not only must he now be recaptured and brought back to rot in jail, but all the documents detailing the secret deals that were done for his release must also see the light of day so we can know whether the sacred memory of 270 innocent victims was sold so that British oil companies like BP could benefit. We also need to know which British officials negotiated his release. Cameron himself condemned “the appalling dodgy dealings with Libya under the last [British] government.”
Which bring us to Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who the Daily Mail says reportedly went to Libya “on behalf of J.P. Morgan, an American bank which pays him a mere £2 million a year, and which has been keen to develop banking opportunities in the country.” Will Blair and JPMorgan Chase clarify exactly what transpired between them and Gadhafi?
The Daily Mail also reported that the London School of Economics awarded Saif Gadhafi a doctorate even though there are suggestions, which the school is now investigating, that Saif cheated when submitting his thesis. Could the degree have had anything to do with the £1.5 million gift the school accepted from Gadhafi’s son after his graduation, though only £300,000 has been paid thus far?
In our own town of Englewood, N.J., where the Libyans own an official residence immediately next door to me and which has been tax-exempt for nearly three decades, millions were spent to ready the derelict embassy for Gadhafi’s use in the summer and autumn of 2009. Were permits granted too readily, allowing the construction to proceed at such a hasty pace? I have a video of the time I confronted the contractors working on Gadhafi’s home, after they cut down my trees and removed my fence. City official Peter Abballe, who was in charge of Englewood’s Department of Building and Code Enforcement and was responsible for enforcing the construction code and inspecting residential and commercial properties and issuing certificates of occupancy, was present in the contractor’s trailer inside the Libyan compound. He intervened and said the camera should be turned off. The same official was later arrested on charges of official corruption, having accepted payments in another case, and was recently sentenced. Did anything untoward happen when the same official worked with the Libyans, and was anyone else involved?
It would also be nice if our Congressman from New Jersey’s 9th District, Democrat Steve Rothman, who originally joined us in strongly opposing Gadhafi’s stay in Englewood, would apologize for the public advice he gave to me and the other neighbors of the Libyan residence, including the Jewish day school Moriah, when he told the press after my objections to Gadhafi’s U.N. ambassador moving into the residence, “I hope everyone will be appropriately good neighbors.” Advocating friendly, neighborly relations with the representative of a murderous, terror-sponsoring regime is surely advice the Congressman regrets and should publicly recant.
Speaking of Gadhafi’s former ambassador, Mohamed Shalgham, my next-door neighbor, after serving for eighth years as Gadhafi’s foreign minister and then as his ambassador, he did an about-face when Gadhafi seemed doomed and denounced him at the U. N. Security Council. But if Shalgham is sincere in his renunciation, what is he doing sitting on millions of dollars of New Jersey real estate when the compound presumably should be sold and the money given to the new government, which will need every penny to rebuild after the damage of a devastating civil war?
And what of Natural Selection, the Los Angeles-based film production fund founded by Matty Beckerman that accepted a $100 million investment from Gadhafi’s son Al-Saadi Gadhafi. In February of this year, Bloomberg News reported that that money was being used to bankroll a film called “The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer,” starring Mickey Rourke, and that the fund was also backing “Isolation,” a thriller with Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri. Will we all be entertained with this blood money or will it be returned to the Libyan people?
And then there is Louis Farrakhan, the obsessively anti-Semitic head of Nation of Islam who condemned the United States last March for taking military action against Gadhafi and defended the murderer of the Libyan people. At a press conference in Chicago, he said, “It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that. Even though the current tide is moving against him ... how can I refuse to raise my voice in his defense? Why would I back down from those who have given so much?”
In September 2009, while I spoke outside the U.N. at a Libyan dissident rally attacking Gadhafi while the gave his rambling address to the U.N. General Assembly, which included the allegation that the Israelis were involved in the murder of President John F. Kennedy, we were all but drowned out by hundreds of Nation of Islam followers who were bused in to support Gadhafi. Will the Nation pay any price for supporting a tyrant and a murderer or will we who are responsible for the memory of the Lockerbie victims and the U.S. servicemen whom Gadhafi killed be silent as his friends now go mum?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who served for 11 years as rabbi at Oxford University, is founder of This World: The Values Network and will shortly publish “Ten Conversations You Need to Have With Yourself” as well as “Kosher Jesus.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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August 18, 2011 | 11:01 am
Posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Who is a responsible for the moral rot that has set in Britain? The police are blaming the youth for being hooligans, as if young people are supposed to learn values on their own when almost half are growing on the streets without fathers. The politicians are blaming a culture of selfishness, egged on by Wall Street, as if bankers staring at wads of cash would garner inspiration to put the communal interest before their own pockets.
No, Britain has become a rotting carcass due to the failure of a moribund, stultifying, and amoral religion, more concerned with propriety and causing no offense than simply teaching right from wrong.
I lived in Britain for 11 years where I slowly watched the Church of England and other mainline Christian bodies succumb to PC correctness, refusing to ever condemn immoral behavior. Six of our nine children were born in Oxford and London and on virtually each occasion the three other women who shared my wife’s hospital room had their parents present for support rather than a boyfriend or husband. Even so, religious leaders failed to ever condemn the narcissistic, selfish, womanizing men who behaved like Neanderthalic inseminators rather than gentlemen.
Contrary to public opinion, values do not come from schools or University professors but from the Ten Commandments. Teachers merely convey an established moral system to their pupils. But if that system is allowed to rot by religious leaders forgetting that their first responsibility is to communicate moral behavior and courageously criticize actions that unweave the fabric of society, the result is newspaper editors who will listen in to a dead girls messages to boost circulation and youth who feel the right to burn down a city when angry.
A quick summary of the Ten Commandments and its application to Britain’s problems.
I am the Lord Your G-d. I am watching you even when the police aren’t. So put down the darn television and your fraudulent claims that breaking into a convenience store has anything to do with social justice.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me, so stop obsessing over the false celebrity gods and royals that led to the disgusting tabloid mess in the first place. You shall have no gods of silver or gold. Money is a means to an end rather than an ultimate goal. Selling your soul to steal a microwave is simply worshiping the wrong things.
I could go on.
Honor your father and mother. Now that’s rich. Many of these youth don’t know who their father is or were scarcely raised by their own moms. TV was their babysitter, friends, their guides and companions. It was the blind leading the blind, all while clerics watched silently rather than thundering from the pulpit: ‘Mom, Dad. You’re hear in Church by yourself? I don’t want to see you without your kids. Your first responsibility is to them, even before G-d. Now go and raise them. They’re not supposed to be clubbing in their teens. You’re supposed to inspire them to be good people.’
Thou shalt not steal. Yes, no matter what the grievance. You’re pissed off at the cops. What does that have to do with breaking into an insurance office? What did they do to harm you? Indeed, their stores are in your neighborhood to help your community. But we feel disenfranchised. The government is controlled by the rich. We get crumbs. Really? We’re sorry you feel that way, but ultimately, we don’t care how you feel. Feelings are nothing when it comes to morality. We care how you act. You feel left out? Then organize politically. You live in a democracy. Make your voices heard. March peacefully to achieve your ends. Speak out at giant rallies. But there is no excuse for stealing anything and we clergymen condemn it. But the bankers stole everything and got bailed out? One wrong doesn’t make a right.
Do not commit adultery. Sex is sacred. Religious leaders, afraid to cause offense, have refused to condemn the culture of easy sex in Britain. Anyone who has witnessed the nightclub scene in Britain on a Saturday night would be staggered by the amount of drunkenness when young people emerge from the clubs at the mandatory closing time of 2am. Still, religious leaders won’t get up and belt out a sermon that a child is supposed to be disciplined by a mother and father rather than the police.
Do not covet or lust after that which belongs to your neighbor. Jackpot. Notice the Bible does not say, ‘Don’t be jealous,’ which is allowed, but do not envy. Jealousy is where you righteously safeguard that which is yours, like feeling jealous if your spouse flirts outrageously with a member of the opposite sex. Envy is where you crave that which legitimately belongs to someone else. You feel left out? Opportunity has passed you by? We get it. So go out and work hard. Study. Get educated. Religious leaders should be inspiring youth to be people of the book rather than people merely of Facebook.
In the United States 92 percent of the population believe in G-d. In Britain it’s half that. And what Britain needs is courageous religious leaders who make the case for a sanctified life in place of the increasing decadence that the tabloid scandal and riots have exposed.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is in the midst of launching GIVE, the Global Institute for Values Education. He recently published “Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life” and will shortly publish “Ten Conversations You Need to Have with Yourself.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
August 17, 2011 | 10:55 am
Posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Birthright Israel is now 11 years old and has brought some 300,000 young Jews to Israel. I recently led another Birthright trip for Mayanot, one of its best and most professional providers, and learned a great deal about how a spectacular program could be made even better.
I knew of Birthright at it conception. Its co-founder, Michael Steinhardt, was sharing with me the scope of the idea as he traveled with Charles Bronfman around the United States raising large sums to get the idea off the ground. It’s one thing for a rich man to give money. It’s an entirely different level of commitment when he traverses city to city soliciting friends and acquaintances. It solidified in my mind that first, Michael was a great man, and that second, Birthright is something to which I should devote myself.
So I packed up myself and my wife and travelled to Israel for our second Birthright jamboree. And boy was it a celebration. Ten days of no sleep and constant discussion, laughter and tears. Inspiration from watching young Jews connect to their land and their people and pain at hearing the participants who had lost parents, seen their families torn asunder by divorce, and found comfort, for the very first time, in knowing they were a wider part and an eternal people. In life we all search for a place called home, an identity, and a place to belong. No Jewish organization on earth provides it more inspirationally than Birthright.
Still, it can be made better.
Here is how:
1. On day one when you read all the rules to the newly arriving participants, don’t treat them like children. These are young adults. Threatening them to be dumped from their trip if they get blotto presupposes their hearts can’t be touched. This is the speech that should be given: “Welcome to Israel. You are home. We are thrilled to welcome you back to the Jewish family. Please understand that unlike the Bahamas, Israel is surrounded by those who believe Jewish people should have no home. It is protected by a nation of humble men and women who serve their country for three years in their teens and watch as loved ones sometimes never come back from war. What we’re saying is, you’re in a sacred place. Please allow your conduct at all times to reflect the dignity of this magical country whose democracy was carved out in the harshest of neighborhoods. These Israelis you see around you, they do not earn the same amount of money as Americans. Yet, they contribute one third of the entire budget that allows you to come to Israel as a free gift. Show them your appreciation by drinking in moderation, partying amid a sense of purpose, and at all times, your thirst, not for booze, but to drink in all that Israel is. If you stay up so late at bars that you can barely function the next day, you are showing the Israeli people that you have no desire to understand their story and their history, something which, as a Jew, you are a part. We know you understand and we’re sure you’ll cooperate. Get ready for a life-changing experience.”
2. Birthright needs substance, and I suggest a stronger values-based component. A young woman sitting next to me on the plane got all excited about our conversation until she discovered that she was with a different Birthright provider. She had shunned the group I was with, all non-observant Jews, because she read that the provider was Orthodox. Here, a young woman who feared religion was denied the pleasure of my engaging company (please stop the laughter and show some dignity) because she’s afraid of religion being shoved down her gullet. Now, of course Birthright should not be in the business of peddling religion so much as attachment to Israel and Jewish identity. But that should not make the trip free of substance. The impact I was able to make on my group stemmed from engaging them in values-based discussion that related to everything they saw. You’re at Yad Vashem: 6 million Jews dead, murdered. Question: Anyone here believe in vengeance? Hands go up. OK, what about forgiveness. Can we forgive something this gruesome? Jesus said love your enemies? Is that something we Jews ought to embrace? Which are the real Jewish values? To be sure, the many speeches I gave were delivered amid healthy doses of humor (you can watch them on YouTube and please try and laugh with me rather than at me). But I was intent on making the Birthright experience not just about Jewish history and geography, but about Jewish values and Jewish wisdom.
3. Expect something in return. I know that the founders of Birthright, Michael included, correctly insist that this is a gift and a gift comes with no strings attached. But doesn’t a gift usually inspire a feeling of reciprocity? I would require all Birthright participants to give one third of what they received, three days, of volunteer work to the Jewish communal charity of their choice back home. They could vacuum the floors of their synagogue, serve as counselors in a camp or work in a local hospital. This would create a mini Jewish Peace Corps, for just three days, inspired by Birthright. Everyone knows you have to give something back. To those to whom much is given, surely something very minimal should at least be expected.
4. Continuity, continuity, continuity. Its absence is the biggest problem of all for Birthright. The trip is so inspirational, so moving, so transformative, that it inspires many to ask, as John did on my trip, “How do I keep this feeling once I return.” I responded, “You can’t.” Emotions by their very nature are ephemeral. They don’t last. What does last are actions inspired by emotions that in turn continue the cycle by further inspiring deeper feelings. In other words, when you get home, you need to do something about your feelings. Your hands need to mold your heart. Hence, my suggestion. Birthright must immediately hire the 30 most charismatic Jewish personalities it can find, and match them with the 30 best administrators it can find. Give them a limited budget to get started as, in 30 cities and towns across America, they begin to provide a monthly large educational event, defined by big-name speakers, twice-monthly Shabbat meals and a weekly class and discussion, coordinated by this duo. You may not get all the alums to participate. But even a third would mean a transformation of the face of young American Jews.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a writer and broadcaster who did not drink on his Birthright trip and has 40 young Jews to back him up, because the evidence he has against them is so much more serious by comparison. So can’t we all just get along? Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
August 8, 2011 | 11:25 am
Posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
I am currently in Israel leading a Birthright trip where the consumption of alcohol by the participants is largely discouraged. It’s a policy that Israel should perhaps enforce among its members of Parliament because whatever Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has been drinking lately, it’s got to be some powerful stuff. As the Arab world applauds the spectacle of Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak being tried for crimes against his people, including mowing down peaceful demonstrators, Ben-Eliezer seems to be shedding tears for his buddy Hosni.
In a bizarre interview with the Jerusalem Post, Ben-Eliezer said, “It really pained me to see him the way he was today. He was the leader of the Arab world. The Middle East after Mubarak is a different Middle East, a worse region. His people who he fought for showed him their back. He loves his people. I think he is a great Egyptian patriot. I hope he comes out of the trial alive. He is facing the pressure of the masses seeking revenge. But such a great leader deserves to be treated respectfully and not as the lowest criminal in a cage.”
Are we talking about the same guy who ruled Egypt with an iron fist and used secret police and the military to quash all democratic movements and stay in power for four decades? When Ben-Eliezer calls Mubarak a great patriot, is he perhaps conflating the term with despot?
We welcome Mr. Ben-Eliezer to pray explain how he, as an elected representative of a flourishing democracy committed to the highest ideals of human rights, can praise a man who brutalized his people and robbed them of their freedom – not to mention their money – for four decades.
A short history lesson for Mr. Ben Eliezer’s edification is in order.
It was George Washington who was the patriot and George III who was the tyrant. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who was the patriot and Bull Connor who was the persecutor. It was Nelson Mandela who was the patriot and P. W. Botha, ‘the big crocodile,’ who was the oppressor.
What Mr. Ben-Eliezer and other misguided Israeli leaders who are currently lamenting the fall of Mr. Mubarak misunderstand is that the Egyptian leader loved power rather than his people. George Washington who in 1783 resigned his commission as the most powerful man in the newly formed United States – thus liberating his people from the possibility of yet another tyranny – was motivated by principle rather than ego. Mandela who refused to run for reelection as South Africa’s president and risk becoming another Robert Mugabe loved his people more than power. But Mubarak had contempt for Egyptians and took them to the cleaners to make himself and his children rich.
That a former deputy Prime Minister of Israel can praise an autocrat like Mubarak is embarrassing and points to the incredible error that Israel is currently making in these unprecedented Arab uprisings.
Israel’s voice has largely failed to blossom during the Arab spring. As Mubarak shot protestors, Kaddafi bombed cities, and Assad flattened his people with tanks, Israel’s protests have for the most part been missing. Like President Obama of the United States, who has a curious relationship with other people’s freedom, Israel has kept a low profile throughout the Arab protests. It’s no secret why. Israel is banking on the belief that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. And this fear that something worse is going to come after Mubarak or Assad, like the Muslim brotherhood, is causing Israel to violate all its most deeply cherished beliefs.
For decades Israel’s argument has been that it is the sole democracy in a sea of Arab tyranny. That the principle cause of Middle East war was that tyrants were scapegoating Israel in order to distract from their ongoing suppression of their citizens’ rights and that good times would come to Israel and the Arabs if these countries would finally democratize.
I heard Binyamin Netanyahu make this argument passionately and eloquently when he delivered a lecture that I organized at Oxford University in 1992 while he served as deputy Foreign Minister. Bibi argued that in the history of the world no two democracies had ever gone to war against each other and challenged his student audience to name a single instance. The Arabs had to taste the economic and political benefits of freedom if there was to be peace. Yet now, as Prime Minister, Netanyahu, Israel’s most persuasive spokesman, has seemingly chosen not to openly champion Arab freedom, partly out of fear of what comes next and partly out of trepidation that his voice will give credence to those Arab tyrants and enemies of Israel who argue that the Jewish state is the secret instigator behind the unrest.
But there is an equal fear that Israel, in its silence, or worse, in the case of the open encouragement given to Arab autocrats by people like Ben-Eliezer, will be seen as sympathizing with dictators who brutalized their people for decades.
Indeed, few of any of theses people were friends of Israel, especially Mubarak. It was Sadat who made peace with Israel, which Mubarak inherited, transforming it into an ice-cold peace. For many years the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel remained permanently recalled in Cairo while state-sponsored media organs under Mubarak became some of the foremost purveyors of anti-Semitic propaganda in the world, including an infamous TV miniseries promoting the validity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which was broadcast throughout the Arab world. For those who argue that at least Mubarak kept the peace, what choice did he have, dependent as he was on $2.5 billion in annual American aid and risking losing the Sinai peninsula, with its considerable oil and natural gas fields, had he gone back to war.
But regardless, the unseemly spectacle of the Middle East’s sole democracy failing to support a revolutionary freedom movement sprouting in Arab countries is a stark omission that the Arabs are not likely to forget.
The ancient Jewish toast of ‘L’Chaim,’ to life, connotes a universal Jewish commitment to every human life. And rather than elected officials like Ben-Eliezer getting drunk on their own pro-dictatorial rhetoric, Israel’s voice should be loud and clear that it denounces tyranny in every form.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of This World: The Values Network, will be publishing his newest books, ‘Ten Conversations You Need to Have with Yourself’ and ‘Kosher Jesus’ in October and December respectively. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
August 1, 2011 | 11:33 am
Posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
My eldest daughter, Mushki, is engaged and will be married in a few months, G-d willing. I’m surprised at how well I’m taking it given that all my friends had warned me that I would feel like a stranger was stealing her. Luckily, she’s marrying a really great guy who makes her happy. Happier than her father? Come on. Let’s not be ridiculous. But he’s a close second (I hope he’s not reading this).
The strange thing about a child getting married is that just as soon as it’s announced you have very little time to enjoy it. Immediately, the wedding thrusts more work on you than an Egyptian taskmaster. There is an engagement party to be organized in under fifteen minutes. And before the hangover has even passed, you’re identity is subsumed entirely under the rubric of wedding organizer. You are no longer a doctor, an accountant, or Rabbi. You better hone up on your impresario skills because you’re putting on a party. One big party. You quickly adapt and become conversant in the new language of wedding halls, invitations, and caterers. Like the culinary critic of the New York Times, you’re a wanderer, scouting locations, trekking from hotel ballroom to country club, tasting liver and borscht, deciding what you can afford and checking on Ebay to see what a kidney fetches on the open market.
I spent 22 years raising my daughter while my wife watched (I hope she’s not reading this either). I still remember carrying her, as a baby, up the innumerable steps of Tintagel Castle, the domicile of the legendary King Arthur whom you discover didn’t even exist but only once you lumber to the top. She was tiny then and I had to handle each step with extraordinary care, made much more difficult by my wife’s incessant hollering that I was crazy and what fool doesn’t know that King Arthur was a myth anyway. Now that my daughter is big enough to handle this and other challenges on her own, I thought, having invested considerable time in shepherding her through the dating process – that is, when she actually remembered I was a cognitive being to whom she could turn to for advice rather than just part of the furniture – I would be afforded an opportunity to enjoy the moment. She is a kallah, a bride. Free at last, thank G-d Almighty, I’m free at last. But no, the prophet Isaiah was right. There is no rest for the wicked. And clearly the sin of raising a child to maturity was to be punished by the gods with endless labor in ensuring that we hand her off to the man who will now be the center of her life in an extraordinarily complicated right of passage known as a wedding.
I have written many columns lambasting the opulence and braggadacio of weddings and Bar Mitzvahs that lack spiritual content and seem designed primarily to impress parents’ friends. In our case, resources alone will prevent us from being guilty of that transgression. But even a budgeted wedding should be beautiful, at best, and respectable at least, and my wife and I, as well as the groom’s parents – really nice people whose stock has plummeted considerably as a result of this merger (a reference to me rather than my daughter) know enough people that at a minimum have to be invited so that this special occasion is shared with friends we dare not insult so that they continue to buy my books.
It turned out that we were extraordinarily lucky in finding loving and professional family businesses that are nursing us through the byzantine process of marriage and are taking over the yeomen’s labor of preparation. Main Event Caterers, caring and consummate people who did a stunning job at our children’s Bar and Bas Mitzvahs, and the Rockleigh Country Club – striking and elegant without being gaudy and run by a wonderful Italian family who seem to know more about orthodox Jewish weddings than most Rabbis (yes, another reference to myself, but it is my favorite subject) are lifesavers and G-d bless them.
Still, it seems to me that the Talmud had it right two millennia ago when it envisioned a wedding in a totally different light. A couple gets engaged. It’s their time, their celebration. So rather than having them spend all their time putting on a party for friends, the very reverse happened. Friends got together and found a venue, everyone cooked a dish, and they put on the party for the bride and groom. After all, it does seem somewhat odd that the bride and groom are suddenly hit with such incredible pressure to stage a celebration for their friends that they end up not enjoying the special time of their engagement as it is slowly taken over completely with guest lists, party preparation, and band selection. Who are the ones getting married anyway? It’s not the friends, right? It’s the bride and groom. So why are they doing all the work? And this paradox is one that affects every family, in every culture and every religion.
And while it’s too late for me and my ever-expanding impresario skills, perhaps it’s time to do things a little bit different.
At this point in this column, having alienated my wife, my future mechutanim, and by now, even my own daughter, let me say something inspiring. Would it that all of our problems revolved around the responsibilities and pressures of joyous family occasions and I am so grateful to G-d that my daughter has found a man of substance and caring to share her life with, even as he steals her from me and takes her thousands of miles away to live in a state far, far away where I can’t interfere in their lives (I know, I’ve now alienated my future son-in-law as well. But why not be thorough).
Still, there is a healthy middle ground. I know parents who borrow up the wazoo to put on a wedding that will make a lasting impression when, in reality, the only meaningful impact of a wedding is the one that will be made by a man and woman who find love in an age of endemic divorce, fidelity in an age of public sexual scandal, and a soulful connection in an age where the material and the practical have come to dominate.
So thank you, Lord, for the blessing of my daughter’s engagement. And while I am truly grateful, would it offend some great celestial plan if I were to win the New York lottery?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has eight children to marry off after his daughter, G-d willing. So would it kill you to buy his books? The author of “Renewal: A Guide to the Values Filled Life,” he is about to publish, “Ten Conversations You Need to Have with Yourself.” (Wiley) Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley