Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Video on Yom Kippur

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympian lessons learned

Lessons to be learned from the Olympians?

By Melissa Isaacson | Chicago Tribune Olympic Bureau
August 20, 2008

BEIJING — Forty years ago this October, Bob Beamon stood ready to accept his gold medal in Mexico City following one of the greatest athletic feats of our time. He was struck by an anxiety so great he remembers it vividly.

"The strangest thing happened on the medal stand," Beamon said. "I was very happy to have represented the United States and my family, and then the most interesting feeling came over me. I suddenly thought to myself, 'What do I do next?' "

His perspective has shifted with the passage of time, the answer to his question so long ago answered many times over.
What were Olympic champions thinking as they accepted their medals? And how have the memories and perceptions of their feats changed over the years?
Kwan, now 28, also thought of the years of work she had put in just to be able to stand on that podium.
"That really does flash back at you, and all the wonderful moments, all the falls, the spills," she said. "But being up there, you're like, 'Wow, this really is what it's all about.' "

"But the first time, yes, it is a blur. In swimming, you're paraded up to the medal podium immediately after the swim, so you still have all the endorphins and adrenaline. … I hate to use the word 'surreal' because it's so overused, but it's a word that's appropriate when you're up there and hearing the national anthem played and you're receiving a medal that justifies a lifetime spent working toward one goal."

For Beamon,.. said he spoke to himself as the national anthem played that day in Mexico City.
"As I stood on that stand, I started to understand there are other things in life to address," he said. "Graduation from college was one."He would accomplish that in 1972, graduating from Delphi University, and he worked to shake the thought that nothing could match up to his almost supernatural feat, which broke the existing world record by 213/4 inches."Basically what I was looking for was anything to outdo that experience," Beamon said. "But as the years went by, I think other experiences became peak experiences. I have a wonderful daughter (Deanna) who's 24. I got married to my high school girlfriend (Rhonda)."


"I haven't always had perfect days," he said, "but I've always used it as a way of bouncing back. I also use it as a hook for younger kids to have some visual understanding of how hard work and great effort can bring you good results."

"My father always said, 'Appreciate everything,' " she said. "The life of an athlete is short, so I've always known that. I'll just be telling more stories when I'm old and gray. You can paint them a little more colorfully then."

1. Regular experiences can be peak experiences-life cycle
2. After a peak experience what is next? Use it as a way to bounce back and reminder hard work can pay.
3. Life is short. Appreciate everything.

Bored with shull? Its healthy

Come to shull, be bored and grow from it

Bored? Don't shrug it off

By Benedict Carey
Published: August 5, 2008

Even the most fabulous, high-flying lives hit pockets of dead air, periods when the sails go slack. Movie stars get marooned in D.M.V. lines. Prime ministers sit with frozen smiles through interminable state events. Living-large rappers endure empty August afternoons, pacing the mansion, checking the refrigerator, staring idly out the window, baseball droning on the radio.

Wondering: When does the mail come, exactly?

Yet boredom is more than a mere flagging of interest or a precursor to mischief. Some experts say that people tune things out for good reasons, and that over time boredom becomes a tool for sorting information — an increasingly sensitive spam filter. In various fields including neuroscience and education, research suggests that falling into a numbed trance allows the brain to recast the outside world in ways that can be productive and creative at least as often as they are disruptive.

In a recent paper in The Cambridge Journal of Education, Teresa Belton and Esther Priyadharshini of East Anglia University in England reviewed decades of research and theory on boredom, and concluded that it's time that boredom "be recognized as a legitimate human emotion that can be central to learning and creativity."

Using brain-imaging technology, neuroscientists have found that the brain is highly active when disengaged, consuming only about 5 percent less energy in its resting "default state" than when involved in routine tasks, according to Mark Mintun, a professor of radiology at Washington University in St. Louis.

"When the external and internal conditions are right, boredom offers a person the opportunity for a constructive response," Belton, co-author of the review in the Cambridge journal, wrote in an e-mail message.

Missteps in biggest race of life

Are some days bigger than others?
Are some events on some days more important than other days?
How do we make sure on Yom Kippur we are able to hit all 10 hurdles and be a champion in a contest where we are the only participant?

Ignoring her jitters and the gasps generated when leader and seemingly certain winner Lolo Jones stumbled over the next-to-last hurdle, Harper won the gold medal in a personal-best 12.54 seconds. She couldn't believe it at first, or for hours afterward.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," she said. "I have the medal and I'm holding it but it's so surreal. It's a blessing. It's going to hit me maybe in the morning and I'm going to cry, thanking God."

Jones did her crying on the track at the Bird's Nest on Tuesday, bemoaning the fate that led her to take such an ill-timed misstep. She wasn't alone in her misfortune.

In the preceding race, the women's 400, overwhelming favorite Sanya Richards faded from first to third when her right hamstring tightened and consigned her to run as if in quicksand.

At least Richards won a medal, finishing in 49.93 seconds, behind Britain's Christine Ohuruogu (49.62) and Jamaica's Shericka Williams (49.69). Jones, in the hurdles, finished seventh...

"You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race," Jones said. "It's a shame it happened in the biggest race of my life. It's hurdles. You have to be over all 10 or you're not meant to be the champion. Today I was not meant to be the champion."

and when fail
“It was difficult to get back up,” Jones said. “Tonight will be hard, tomorrow will be hard. I just have to get myself back up.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't let mind limits limit

2 stories

1. Scientists agreed it was impossible to run mile in under 4 minutes until Roger Bannister did it and then in decade following 336 people did. He did not let impossible stop him

2. Most famous athlete in the world David Beckham soccor reported that when he was 13 he was told "you'll never play for England, because you're to small and not strong enough."

He did not let others poor estimation of his ability deter him.

What binds us Jews?

We Are All Implicated in the World’s Repair
The Hour

By Leonard Fein
Thu. Aug 14, 2008
Forward Forum

There’s considerable talk these days about Jewish peoplehood. Is the sense of it sustainable? For that matter, is it still alive? And on what foundation does it rest?

What is it that connects one Jew to another? And what connects the two largest communities of Jews, here in America and there in Israel, to one another? Is their bond merely the residue of an earlier time, a characteristic of people “of a certain age” whose lives began in a world without a Jewish state and who themselves witnessed the extraordinary transformation that the creation of Israel embodied? Is that bond significantly reciprocal, or does it come down to our dependence on them for psychic needs and theirs on us for financial and political contributions?...
There is, I believe, one core idea that defines us and could, perhaps, bring us together, make of us one people. To be a Jew is to know, fundamentally, that this world is not working the way it was meant to, or the way it is supposed to. It is badly broken.

In that sense, we are all — all of us — in exile, whether we live in Jerusalem or in New York. Exile is not a place; it is an existential condition. And the meta-understanding that Jews bring to that condition is that we are implicated in the world’s repair.

The most obvious challenge to such a formulation is, simply, “What’s so Jewish about that?” After all, you don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish rye or to be passionate about tikkun olam. (Given our paltry numbers, that’s good news for both the Levy’s people and for our compoundly fractured world.) The good news is that the challenge can be met.

$100 million for synagogue buildings, no money for education?

1. From the Forward
Bitton, like many other Jewish families, is facing harsh financial realities as the economy continues to slow down. For people like the Bittons, who had managed to create a comfortable middle-class life while giving their kids a formal Jewish education, paying tuition in full is harder these days. As a result, Jewish educational institutions are feeling the pinch.

Around the country, Jewish day schools and high schools are coping with dropping enrollment, more requests for financial assistance and reduced fundraising dollars

“The impact is felt in the Jewish middle class, which is either not enrolling because they know they can’t afford it, or they’re leaving because even with financial aid they can’t afford it, or they’re embarrassed to ask for financial aid, because they never had to before,” said Mark Kramer, who is executive director of Ravsak, a national network of Jewish community day schools.

2. Supplementary schools in trouble
Study Provides Snapshot of Struggling Supplementary Schools

By Nate Sugarman
Wed. Aug 13, 2008

America’s Jewish supplementary schools are struggling to remain relevant as a torpid American economy and higher rates of intermarriage and religious apathy take their toll. Many Conservative and Reform Jewish parents are opting out of giving their children a religious education...Jack Wertheimer, of the New York-based Avi Chai Foundation, has conducted a new census, which provides a good snapshot of the current state of Jewish supplementary schools.

The study, for which data was collected between May and December 2007, covers students from grades one through 12 and includes data from 1,720 schools, up to 90% of the nation’s total. Because a study of this scale had not been undertaken previously, there are no numbers from years past to use for comparison. Wertheimer, a former provost of Jewish Theological Seminary and presently director of the Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism, instead has relied upon testimony from those who attended these schools in their heyday — in the 1950s and ’60s...Jonathan Woocher — chief ideas officer at the Lippman Kanfer Institute, a Jewish education think tank that is part of the Jewish Education Service of North America — recognizes that because of a variety of external forces, including growth of day schools, declining population of young Jews and the rise of intermarriage, this segment of Jewish education is in a temporary state of doldrums. Though he doesn’t dispute the lower enrollment numbers, he is optimistic about the future of Jewish supplementary education. “There is good reason to believe things will improve qualitatively,” Woocher said. He cites that many initiatives are taking place to improve the quality of Jewish supplemental education. “Many foundations and organizations are stepping up and designing new curricula, becoming more interactive with students and parents, and developing more facilities,” Woocher said..Margie Berkowitz, director of Prozdor at the Hebrew College, agrees, and said that “the current system was designed for the children of the 1950s, and it needs to be changed to fit the needs of students today.”

3. Storied L.A. Shul Thinks Big, Seeks $100 Million

By Rebecca Spence
Wed. Aug 06, 2008
Los Angeles — Wilshire Boulevard Temple is no penny-ante shul. L.A.’s oldest Reform congregation, the synagogue has long served as a spiritual home to Tinseltown’s titans and loomed large on Southern California’s Jewish landscape. Today, it boasts 2,500 member families, and three separate campuses spread across the metropolitan area — including a 200-acre summer camp and conference center in Malibu.

It’s no surprise, then, that this larger-than-life synagogue is led by a rabbi with correspondingly grand ambitions.
“Part of my job is being CEO of a medium-sized company,” said Rabbi Steven Leder. “I don’t really care that our marketing materials, for example, are as good or better than most synagogues. I want to know why they aren’t as good as Apple, or Coke or Pepsi.”
Now, Leder — who meets with an executive coach nearly every month and calls the business-management book “Good to Great” his “bible” — is leading his congregation in the most ambitious fundraising drive of its 146-year history. The Wilshire Boulevard Temple is seeking to raise $100 million over the next few years to refurbish its historic sanctuary and build a sprawling campus that will serve as the hub for Jewish life on the city’s east side.

Jewish Olympians 2008

Jewish Olympians Swim Like Fish

By Lana Gersten
Thu. Aug 14, 2008

AT THE GAMES: American fencer Sada Jacobson, top, won a silver medal; Jason Lezak, above, broke the world record in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay team.
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At 46.06 seconds, the fastest split of all time, Jewish athlete Jason Lezak swam the race of his life to achieve a gold medal for the American 4x100-meter freestyle relay team. In the process, he broke the world record and kept Michael Phelps’s bid for eight gold medals alive.

At 32, making him the oldest male on the American swim team, Lezak had to play catch-up in his anchor leg, hitting the pool a whole half-second behind Alain Bernard of the favored French team. But Lezak pulled one of the most impressive comebacks in Olympic history.

“I knew I was going to have to swim out of my mind,” he told the International Herald Tribune. “I just happened to have the swim of my life at the right time.” Also swimming for the men’s 4x100-meter freestyle relay was Garrett Weber-Gale, a 23-year-old American Jew who came out fast after a strong start by Phelps.

With all their triumph and glory, those two men are not the only Jewish Olympians making headlines. American swimmer Dara Torres, who at 41 is the oldest swimmer in the Beijing Olympic Games, became the oldest swimmer ever to receive a medal in the Olympics when she won silver in the women’s 4x100-meter freestyle relay.

American fencer Sada Jacobson won a silver medal after being defeated by fellow American Mariel Zagunis, and Israeli windsurfer Shahar Zubari captured first place in his first race and finished third in his second and fourth races.

Israeli swimmer Alon Mendel, whose father died just two days before the Olympics started, set a new Israeli record of 1:59.27 in the preliminary heat of the 200-meter men’s butterfly, good enough for fourth place. Although he didn’t make the semifinals, he did record his personal-best time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

psalm 23 in hebrew Lord is My Shepherd

On Eikev

t 18, 2008
Parashat Eikev

Below is a condensed summary of AIPAC's Synagogue Initiative Sermon Tidbits for Eikev. The complete version of Tidbits is two pages long and a quick reading of the summary below should indicate if this Tidbit interests you.

Have No Fear - Moses directs the Jewish people not to fear going into battle because of God's commandment to defend the nation. Today it remains important for us to be assertive in defending the Jewish people by working with Congress to ensure that the U.S. remains committed to Israel 's qualitative military edge. Click here to view the complete Tidbits for Eikev.

Words of Thanks - Reciting blessings instills in us the value of hakarat hatov – expressing appreciating for the good that God and others do for us. Today we have a wonderful opportunity to express our hakarat hatov to the majority of Congress who recently voiced their support for tougher sanctions against Iran . Click here to view the complete Tidbits for Eikev.

Looking for Trouble - Moses tells the Jewish people that they will emerge victorious in battle because their adversaries, like Sichon and Og, had instigated unprovoked aggression towards the Jewish nation. Today, like Sichon and Og who suffered for their acrimony, so too the Iranian government is suffering for their own animosity, in the form of increasingly harsh sanctions. Click here to view the complete Tidbits for Eikev.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

For this week's parasha

New video on Dvarim, Tisha Bav, Olympics
on youtube
Get off the mountain and possess the land jewu 429

This wek's parasha is Vetchanan. It has the Ten Commandments and the Shma/Viahavta. Watch my videos on nthese two topics and the one on chanting the shma
Ten Commandments JewU 22

The Shema-Hear O Israel Lord our God Lord is One JewU 89
Shma first and last paragraphs sung JewU 149

It also contains the mitzvote on mezuza, tfillin, jewish education. Watch these videos
Mezuza-what is that box on a Jewish home? JewU 41

Tfillin Phylacteries JewU 187
Raising Children to be Jewish JewU 92 Raising Children to be Jewish -2 JewU 115

Homework this week
Shema, Yisrael, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad.
Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt
2. You shall have no other gods before Me.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness.
10.You shall not covet

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

This man was thought dead and is alive

Man presumed dead in 1976 Colo. flood found alive
Sun Aug 3, 9:48 PM ET

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A man believed to have died in a Colorado flood in 1976 has been found living in Oklahoma.

Who will live in and who die? drama of Yom Kippur ishow will we respond if granted a reprieve another year. This man was thought dead and is alive

Sixty-three-year-old Darrell Johnson told the Fort Collins Coloradoan for a story Friday that he didn't know he had been counted among the 144 victims of the Big Thompson Canyon flood until a resident called him last year.

Barb Anderson said residents didn't want his name on a memorial plaque without proof he was dead.

Johnson and his family had decided to leave their shabby cabin the morning of the flood after just one night. A few hours later, the resort was washed away.

How Johnson ended up on the victims list remains a mystery.

He now directs funerals in Oklahoma City and acknowledges he was lucky to get the bad cabin.