Parents From Hell

My middle son came home from his dormitory for a quick visit yesterday. (In Israel the boys who learn in Yeshiva get out of class early on Tuesday afternoons. Sometimes they stay in the dorm and sometimes they come home overnight.) We enjoyed our visit and he shared some stories about his classes and some of his friends.

One story was completely appalling. His particular yeshiva gives out report cards three times a year instead of twice, so most of the boys received them by mail during the Chanukah break. One friend received some grades that his parents weren’t happy with, so they decided some disciplinary action was warranted. Ok, so far everything seems normal, right?

Here is where it gets creepy. Number one, instead of discussing the problem with their son, they sent him off to school after the break with all kinds of treats. In the bag with these treats they included a letter, in which they told him that they would be taking away computer priviledges, and suggesting that it would be better for him to stay at school on Tuesday afternoons  to study instead of coming home.

Understandably, the kid was furious at his parents for writing this in a letter instead of discussing it face to face. He was probably really hurt, too, at the rejection. He even said that he wants to go live with his grandparents instead of going back home.

What the hell is wrong with these people? How could they be so cruel to their kid? How could they possibly think that rejecting him would be a way to motivate him to study harder? How could they be so cowardly as to write this in a letter instead of talking to him face to face?

Whenever I find myself getting very angry and exasperated with my kids, especially as they go through their teenage years, I make myself stop and think, What kind of a relationship do I want with my sons when they are adults?(which, when you think about it, isn’t very far in the future….) I then tell myself that what I say and do NOW will affect that relationship, and I should try my best to get a grip, even if it means biting my tongue and ignoring something for a little while.

Sometimes this trick works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I am aware that how I relate to my kids now is important. I am afraid that this other family is headed for trouble – over nothing.

Ignoring the Elephant on the Plane

After the Christmas day terrorist attempt on a plane landing in Detroit, the TSA in America has posted a list of crazy new regulations, including  requiring passengers to stay seated for the hour before landing, and banning the use of blankets and pillows or having personal belongings on a person’s lap for the hour before landing.

I personally think these regulations are both ridiculous and unenforcable – especially for those traveling with children. What is a stewardess going to do, keep a kid from going to the bathroom when he needs to? Rip off a blanket from a sleeping passenger when the clock strikes a certain hour?

The American people have to acknowledge that they will not be safe on airplanes until they allow the security personnel to profile. This way they will be able to focus on the potential threats.

I travel to work every day through a checkpoint. Recently the army took away the soldiers and there is a hired security team working there. Every car is stopped, and the driver is asked to roll down the window. The guard looks at both the driver and the other passengers, and does a quick scan of the car. He or she asks a simple question (where are you coming from? How are you this morning?) and he looks at you when you answer the question. He doesn’t really care where you are coming from or if you are chipper or grumpy this morning – he is getting a general feel from you when you answer. If he thinks something is suspicious, he will ask you to pull over the car to the side. (There is a separate lane for trucks – these are checked more thoroughly).

The bottom line is that these guards are trained to focus on the person in front of them, and they are encouraged to listen to their gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, they have the right to take action – even if it is “politically incorrect”.

I’ll Call Baila Hosts This Week

Havel-Havalim is over at I’ll Call Baila. Please go over and check out what is happening in the Jewish blogosphere.

Checkpoints Save Lives

Yesterday my son came home from school and told me that there had been a terrorist attack and that one person was killed. The bus driver had received a phone call while taking them home to alert him, and on their way home the kids saw many army and police cars heading to the scene. (My son travels about 45 minutes each way to a school in the Shomron, and by law his bus must be bullet-proof. Every once in a while we get a sad reminder about why this law was implemented.)

Today I read that the person killed, Rav Meir Chai z”l, (Hashem yikom damo – G-d should avenge his blood) was killed in his car by a drive-by shooter, who riddled his car with bullets. This happened a little after four in the afternoon, about 500 meters away from where a checkpoint, until recently, was manned by IDF soldiers. A fellow resident of Rav Chai from Shavei Shomron, speaking at a protest las night, summed up many of our feelings when she said the following:

“I already have several friends who are widows, and I’m simply fed up of the fact that no one cares when roadblocks are removed and we pay with our lives,” she told Army Radio. “We have been abandoned and the government is busy fighting settlers instead of terrorists. I don’t know what the defense minister is doing, but he’s certainly not handling defense.”

Checkpoints save lives. Many on the left protest the inconvenience to the Arabs that must wait to be checked through, but they ignore the reason for them. Some American diplomats have also tried, unsuccessfully, to get through them without presenting documentation for everyone in their vehicles. One even tried to run over the soldier blocking their way, which prompted a pointed complaint by Israel to the American consulate. (They were probably very embarrassed to find that the whole incident was video recorded too.)

Time after time, when the Israeli government is strong-armed into making “gestures”, we pay the price with Jewish blood. This time it is especially bitter, as many of our soldiers are wasting their time keeping us from building homes instead of protecting us. 

No Arab was ever killed by a home being built in Judea and Samaria (and many are making a living doing the building!!!). Many Jews have been killed by Arab terrorists. It is time for the Defense Minister to get his priorities straight.

More Good Music

This time it’s Meir and Evyatar Banai in a slow rendition of a favorite Israeli song:

Havel-Havalim Is Up

Welcome to Tevet is the title of this week’s HH at FrumSara’s. Go check it out!

Operation Cast Lead, One Year Later

Oferet Yetzukah – Operation Cast Lead, started on December 27, 2008 (the 29th day of Kislev) and lasted until January 18, 2009 (the 22nd day of Tevet).  This operation by the IDF came in response to literally years of terror, where thousands of kassam rockets were launched by Hamas from Gaza into cities and towns in the south of Israel.

As in every war there were the heroes, the wounded, and the fallen. As in every war there was the enemy, and despite the lies of the propagandists, they were soldiers, not civilians!

Perhaps for the first time, the access of the media to this war was controlled by the IDF, and Youtube played its part in hasbara.

For a look back at how it really was, check out this video (Hebrew with English subtitles)

Burnt Out Or Just Taking A Break?

We moved to Israel in 1991, and to our yishuv in the Shomron (Samaria) in October of 1992. Not long after that the whole Oslo peace process disaster started, and so did my “career” as a protester. I went to so many demonstrations in the last 17 years that I can’t possibly remember them all, but I do remember almost getting run down by a horse once, (this was WAY before Amona) and pushing my second son in the stroller to another (after we had three kids we decided that one parent would be at home with the kids and one parent would go to protest. That parent was usually me, since I felt the need to DO something). I remember camping out at the rose garden in Jerusalem and being called a “propeller” by Yitzchak Rabin (this is an Israeli expression which means you can do whatever you want but it is useless, you will just go around in circles. This is how our politicians treat their constituency). I remember going through the darkened roads to protest near Schem (Nablus) after Rosh Hashana in 2000 when the Arabs started what was afterwards called the Second Intifada. Our car came through unscathed but another one from our yishuv was pelted by rocks, and a few men were injured.

Of course the longest run of demonstrations concerned the disengagement expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, including three days in Kfar Maimon. The only type of protest that I did not take part in were those where demonstrators blocked roads – although I thought very seriously of doing it too.  In the end I decided that my children needed their mother, and I couldn’t take a chance of landing in jail.

After spending the whole day of the expulsion crying (those who know me will know that I don’t cry that easily, but once I get started it is hard for me to stop!) I decided that I would put my energies into helping the people from Gush Katif, but that I was finished with protests.

Now there is a demonstration planned for tomorrow evening. Westbankpapa keeps trying to convince me to go. His reasons are sound. Intellectually I know that it is important to make an effort now so that this freeze really does stop in 10 months. I know that the politicians (both Israeli and American) need to see that those of us living in Yehuda and the Shomron (Judea and Samaria) will not “go easily”, and that further expulsions will be much too costly to even think about. The only way to do that is to make a big noise now, even when ostensibly it is “just” about stopping building for a short time.

So my brain knows it is important – but my heart is just not in it. We’ll see which part of me wins out.

My Favorite Holiday is Coming Up

I love Chanukah. I love the fact that it is a week long, so there is enough time to enjoy it with both my nuclear family and my extended one.  I love the cozy feeling of being inside and enjoying good food while it is dark and rainy outside, while the lights of the chanukiah (menorah) dance. We follow the custom that everyone lights their own chanukiah. The men in the family light with olive oil, but I still enjoy lighting candles, and I take a childish pleasure in picking out which colors I will use each night. I love the symbolism of both a victory for the underdog and for the faith of those who lit the menorah despite the worry that there wouldn’t be enough oil.

The food is great also. My first Chanukah love is of course potatoe latkes (livivot in Hebrew). But I have been persuaded to indulge in sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). My favorite flavor is ribat chalav (dulce la leche).  Just five more days….

Batya and the Balagan

Batya hosts this week’s Havel-Havalim, and calls it the Balagan edition. Go on over and find out why.

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