A Modern “Heretic”

The New York Times has a well written profile by Nicholas Dawidoff about Freeman Dyson, a brilliant scientist who has been branded a “heretic” because he disagrees with the prevailing “wisdom” about global warming.

I don’t follow the topic of global warming that much – but I am amused by the hysterics of those who predict the end of the world as we know it, based on very little data.

It seems that there are others, much more qualified than I (at least from a scientific standpoint) that are also somewhat bemused by the “new religion”, and have no problem questioning it.

“When Dyson joins the public conversation about climate change by expressing concern about the “enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories,” these reservations come from a place of experience.”

…writing in an essay for The New York Review of Books, the left-leaning publication that is to gravitas what the Beagle was to Darwin, that climate change has become an “obsession” — the primary article of faith for “a worldwide secular religion” known as environmentalism. Among those he considers true believers, Dyson has been particularly dismissive of Al Gore, whom Dyson calls climate change’s “chief propagandist,” and James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and an adviser to Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Dyson accuses them of relying too heavily on computer-generated climate models that foresee a Grand Guignol of imminent world devastation as icecaps melt, oceans rise and storms and plagues sweep the earth, and he blames the pair’s “lousy science” for “distracting public attention” from “more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet.”

This is a worthwhile read, especially for those who admire people who call the shots as they see them – even if it is against the prevailing wisdom.


Jack Has Havel-Havalim This Week

Jack hosts Havel-Havalim this week here.

Don’t ask me what the title means – perhaps I need to see the video clip first?

Theme Music For the Last Few Days

I’m sure many of you have already seen this clip of Yaakov Shweiky and Yonatan Razel singing “V’Hi She’Amda”. I thought of this song a number of times this week.

Once on Sunday when I read the news of the terrorist attack that miraculously didn’t happen on Motzei Shabbat at the mall in Haifa.

Last night when my husband called to say he was stuck on the road leading up to our yishuv because there was a “suspicious object” and the police needed to check it out before letting him get home. My two sons were also stuck on their bus home from yeshiva. We were invited to a Bat Mitzvah on the yishuv and we were late because of it – but thank G-d it was not a bomb.

Just five minutes ago when I saw a number of IDF soldiers driving jeeps down my road – because I recalled that they are having a “practice session”  with the local response team to get ready for possible terror attacks right here where I live.

The meaning of the lyrics of the song, taken from the Passover Haggadah, is that in every generation “they” rise up against us to kill us, and G-d rescues us from their hands. Sometimes G-d does it on his own, and sometimes through his messengers – this time the soldiers who are always ready to protect us.


You Go Girls!

When I turned 12 I refused to have a Bat Mitzvah, even though my parents offerred me one. I was petrified of speaking in public (still am!), so I opted out of a ceremony. I think I made the right decision, as it turns out that the Yom Kippur War started just two days later. It would have been weird to celebrate while a war was going on, even one thousands of miles away.

The New York Times has an article about a group of ninety-something women finally having their Bat Mitzvot. Although written a tad condescendingly (suggesting that the women were concerned about the overall lenght of the ceremony because of weak bladders was in poor taste) on the whole the article is upbeat.

If you want to read some other great stuff, go on over to What War Zone and see this week’s Havel-Havalim….I have to completely agree with Benji about Bank Looney – Yiyhe B’Seder my foot!

And last but not least, check out this month’s Kosher Cooking Carnival…..

When In Doubt, Keep the Sentimental Stuff

It is that time of year again. The real intensive Passover cleaning is still a ways away (you can’t really do most of the kitchen until a few days before kashering anyway), but many women need to start doing something now – even for the psychological feeling of getting started.

I cleaned my little freezer today – so that I can buy the chickens for the holidays.

I also did my closet – which includes cleaning out a basket with all kinds of miscellaneous stuff that sits on one shelf.

Every year I find all kinds of weird things – and I have to decide whether to throw them away. This year I found an extra handle from our kitchen cabinets, and I finally realized that it was useless. Into the garbage. I also found a little plastic bag with buttons that go to a skirt that I don’t own anymore – another thing for the trash.

Luckily I found a list of things we need for Passover, and this went onto the front of our fridge so that I will remember what to put on my shopping list.  For the past few years I kept forgetting  that we need more silverware for our dairy dishes (a family of five cannot survive with only three teaspoons, even if it is just for one week!). Last year I got the bright idea to make a list, and put it in a place that I would see before Passover itself.

One completely useless thing I found was the little cloth cap that my firstborn received from the hospital. I debated throwing it away – but kept it for sentimental reasons. Another sentimental keepsake is a pair of white cotton gloves, perfect for a little girl around four years old. My mother was very much into dressing me up like a princess, and after she died and I went through her things I found this pair. I don’t have a daughter, and I can’t really imagine a grandchild ever really wearing anything like this – but I can’t seem to part with them!

How is your Pesach cleaning coming along?

Jewish Brains Solving Global Problems

There are some people who claim that one way to save the environment is zero population growth. Their viewpoint is that less people mean less problems.

The Orthodox Jewish view is to encourage large families – the viewpoint is that people have the potential to bring light into the world, and one way that this manifests itself is by solving problems.

Jewish brains here in Israel have proven themselves in many areas – medical breakthroughs and hi-tech solutions come to mind. Recently I have come across a lot of articles about these same Jewish brains coming up with ideas to help the environment.

The most famous one, of course, is Shai Agassi and his electric cars. Things are progressing nicely, and a number of Israeli companies have agreed to have their company cars use the new technology when it becomes available.

Another Israeli company has come up with a turnkey project which enables solar energy production on a relatively small scale, without the need for huge tracts of land.

Another revolutionary product invented by Israelis is one that extracts water from the air. This is not only practical for poor rural areas but I think can be used as emergency back-up systems everywhere.

An Israeli has invented a way to “de-claw” plutonium, rendering it fit only for peaceful use. 

And to think, if the Jews had believed all of the nonsense about zero population growth, these breakthroughs may not have happened at all…..

Happy Purim Everybody

I have been catching up on all kinds of stuff that I neglected while planning my youngest’s Bar Mitzvah, so blogging has been pretty light lately.

I hope to get back into the swing of things after Purim. Meanwhile, enjoy the holiday (a junk food junkies dream!). And be sure to check out this week’s Havel-Havalim, at the Real Shliach.

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