Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the Week: Horses and Bayonets

‎"There are also a lot less horses and bayonets than there were in 1916." -President Obama
This is my quote of the week, because it makes me laugh. Enjoy this tumblr to laugh along with me.

On a serious note, though, I have to quote the candidates on Israel:
"Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. America will stand with Israel." -Obama
"If I'm president of the United States - when I'm president of the United States - we will stand with Israel." -Romney

This was supposed to be a foreign policy debate, and while the candidates got a little off topic with a lot of domestic policy talk, there was plenty of talk about the international scene. Almost all of that talk focused on the Middle East and, not surprisingly, Israel. This is a topic I have been waiting for all month and both Obama and Romney expressed unwavering support for Israel, as quoted above. I wouldn't expect anything less, since I don't think you can win a debate without expressing unwavering support for Israel. Because of this, I was listening for how the candidates spoke about Israel. To explain my understanding of the Israeli mindset, here is a story from my days teaching Jewish Sunday School pre-k:

The smallest boy in our class was also the youngest and newest, having just moved to Nashville from Israel. One day, while the other teacher and I were setting up for snack time, this boy and the largest boy in class (who had some aggression issues) got in a fight on the other side of the room without us noticing. We noticed quickly and broke it up. The first reaction of the Israeli boy's father was not: "How could you, as his teachers, let this fight break out in class?" or "How did this start?"

His first reaction was: "Son, when we get home, I'm going to teach you how to fight."

The Israeli mindset is self-defense. The Israeli mindset is not to confer with others when something happens; it's to react tough, immediately.

Here's what stuck out to me about the candidates' Israel rhetoric:

Romney, on one hand, seems to think he has a good enough relationship with Israel and Bibi that Israel would call him before deciding to defend itself militarily. I don't claim to have any great and deep understanding of the Israeli mindset, but what I do know is that Israel is proud, independent, and progressively defensive. I think Romney is kidding himself if he thinks Israel would include him in a decision-making conference call.

Obama, on the other hand, steered clear of talking about "what Israel would do" in any given situation. Instead, Obama spoke about visiting Yad Vashem and meeting the victims of terrorist attacks on Israel's border.

What do you think about Obama's and Romney's views on Israel? Who do you think has a better understanding of the Israeli mindset?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quote of the Week: Binders full of women

"They brought us binders full of women." -Mitt Romney, Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, October 16, 2012
While answering a question about gender and pay equity, Romney attempted to explain that when he was Governor of Massachusetts he actively sought women for his cabinet. Romney found these women by approaching women's groups to find appropriate female candidates for the cabinet positions. The fact that those groups gave him "binders full of women" to look through really wasn't a necessary detail and only detracted from his point, but it is an excellent example of the laughable/frustrating way Romney talks about women. The substance of his statement was great - he made a "concerted effort" to diversify his all-male pool of applicants and include women. I'm glad. If he had stopped this story there, that would have been weird, but fine. Instead, he went on to talk about understanding the needs of women in the workplace. His example: women need more flexible hours so they can come in late when they have to get the kids to school in the morning or go home in time to make dinner.

First of all, I would prefer to hear about Romney's plan (if he has one) to close the salary gap between men and women. Second, I can't cook, so my husband will be the one making dinner. Most importantly, even if women can't have it all, that's not something I want Mitt Romney (or any man) to tell me or even hint at.

Want a good laugh? Check out:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom everyone! From my home to yours, have a restful Shabbat.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quote of the Week: A Bunch of Stuff

Biden: "This is a bunch of stuff!"
Raddatz: "What's 'a bunch of stuff'?"
Ryan: "It's Irish."

The Vice Presidential debate tonight was fast paced and exciting, with a qualified moderator. Even more exciting for me, there was a question about religion in today's debate! Ryan and Biden were asked how their religion would inform their vice presidency.

Ryan said that as a Catholic and a father, he believes that life begins at conception. He wants to see the abortion issue addressed by laws, not the "unelected judges" of the Supreme Court.

Biden said that as a Catholic he follows Catholic doctrine regarding abortion, but he wouldn't impose his religious beliefs on "equally devout Christians, Muslims, and Jews."

What role, if any, do you think religion should have in politics? If you watched the VP debate, who do you think won?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Etrog

A Sukkot story, courtesy of Rabbi Fred Kazan at Kesher Israel in Philadelphia:

Once upon a time, there was a king who was unhappy. One night, the king had a dream in which God told him that he would be made happy again by a citrus fruit. In the morning, he summoned his advisors and asked them to find him this fruit. The advisors put their heads together to think about which fruits brought the most happiness and they came back to the king with a round orange fruit.

"Oranges," they said, "are the happiest fruit. They smell good and taste good."

So the king ordered orange trees planted throughout the land and soon he had orange groves and became rich(er) off the sale of orange juice. But the king was still unhappy.

His advisors thought some more and came back with a large round fruit. "The grapefruit is healthy and will help lower your cholesterol," they told the king. So the king had grapefruit trees planted throughout the kingdom. Eating the grapefruits helped him lose weight and he became more physically fit. But the king was still unhappy.

His advisors brought him one last fruit. "This one is great," they said. "You can put it in your water and use it to season chicken or fish. It is zesty!" The king had lemon trees planted and they did put zest in his life. But he was still unhappy.

The king's advisors were out of ideas. "Isn't there anyone in this kingdom who can help me?" the king asked. His advisors responded, "There is a man, a Jewish sage. He is a learned man who has a close relationship with God. He may know the fruit you seek." They brought the sage before the king and the king said, "I am unhappy and God has told me that only a citrus fruit can restore my happiness. Do you know of such a fruit?"

The sage smiled. "Of course," he told the king. "The answer is obvious - the fruit you want is named for citrus. It is called a citron, or an etrog."

"Perfect! What will it do for me?" the king asked.

"Nothing. It can't be used to cook. it doesn't taste good, and it won't help your diet."

"I don't need any of those things," the king said. "I have become wealthy from orange juice sales, my health is excellent because of all the grapefruit I eat, and I feast on lemon chicken every night. This etrog can't do anything else for me?"

"No," the sage responded. "The etrog is a fruit for the man who has everything."

The king thought. He had wealth and health and delicious meals. He did indeed have everything. So he took the etrog and he was happy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quote of the Week: The Role of Goverment

"The first role of government is to keep the American people safe." -Obama
"The role of government is to protect and promote those documents [the Declaration and Constitution]." -Romney

I jot down random words that catch my attention as a listening tool. Here are my notes from tonight's debate:

Presidential Debates 2012, October 3
I did notice that there was very little mention of religion, except when Romney quoted the Declaration ("that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights") and talked briefly about the importance of religious freedom. What did you take away from the debate?