Thursday, January 31, 2013

The federal elections - a gift to the Coalition

Wonder why Julia Gillard called the elections so early and gave us all a day near the end of the year?
Well, she may have reasoned by that time the media furore over Craig Thompson will have died down and we have all been good little sheep and forgotten all about it.

BBBAAA, NOT LIKELY JULIAR!  I kid you not, but we all think that the electorate is wising up. Julia has played down her own little indiscretions from a few years back, but this has really bitten Labor's butt big time and I am sure Tony Abbott will be laughing all the way to the election. It will not be the last piece of feces to hit the fan before the election. Of that I am sure. Tony Abbott has hit the nail right on the head. It is about the Prime Minister's woeful judgement. She did not distance herself from Craig Thompson who in his arrogance, believed himself more omnipotent and untouchable than those he was supposed to represent. We all have to follow rules and regulations in society Craig and one of them is DO NOT STEAL. Ten commandments this week. A thief is a thief is a thief. There are those who steal by mouth and those who steal financially and those who steal people's spirit. Craig Thompson has done all three. He has betrayed his wife and family, his electorate and his fellow MPs and the union members who paid their dues to get representation, not so this bozo could go and get laid in some brothel. The guy is a total jerk...
Any person with a shred of decency in him would have resigned and gone down to Melbourne to face the music. This arrogant idiot thinks like Hitler, if he says something often enough and loud enough, he will make it true. NO NO NO. It ain't gonna work.
Why didn't he just resign last year and face the music? His poor family is all I can say. What a jerk.

Yitro and the 10 commandments

This week is one of my favourite parshas. I do have many. Parsha and Tanach are somethings one never tires of reading, discussing, thinking/reflecting/meditating on.
Why Yitro - one may ask. Ahah, he is a convert, maybe that it is? No, not really, but it is a small part of it. In this week's parsha we are asked to recall Mount Sinai and in doing so, the point in time and place where Bnai Israel received the Torah. Har Sinai is a small mountain somewhere in the Negev desert around which 600,000 Jewish Neshamot were camped to receive the Torah.
In this week's parsha, the ten commandments are read and I always get the hairs on the back of my neck raised. It is a powerful moment. It is both a time of fear and awe and we should have the appropriate response to such a reading and endeavour like never before to be better at observing mitzvot not just on the superficial level but through every cell of our body and every thought should be directed towards Torah and learning Torah as well as living Torah.

Who was Yitro? He was Moshe's shviger - father in law. In other words, the father of Moshe's wife Zipporah and the grandfather of their two sons Gershom and Eliazer. Who was his wife, Zipporah's mother? You do not hear about her. Yitro being at one stage a pagan priest or Cohen of idolatry, perhaps she was a minor wife or the child of a temple prostitute. Often the pagan priests had many wives or they consorted with the temple maidens who were there to provide services for the worshippers and some were there exclusively for the priesthood in the idolatrous religions.

Yitro came because he had heard about the splitting of the Reed Sea (Yam Suf is the sea of reeds in Hebrew and not Red Sea as it is so commonly called.) and he heard how Moshe and Bnai Israel had defeated Amalek when they were attacked by them.

Yitro was a very clever human being. He had learnt and practised many religions and yet he did convert to be a Jew. Just shows you that despite all the prejudice and other stuff, it is really worth while to stick to the true path of freedom both spiritually and psychologically.  When he leaves Moshe, he goes to travel to bring other people closer to Judaism. They also say that Zipporah was black.
The reading of the 10 commandments is the sixth section of the seven sections read on shabbat. Moshe gives over to the people what Hashem said to him for the people could not set foot on the sanctuary of the mountain. If they did so they invited destruction. Moshe ascended to speak and hear Hashem and Aaron was allowed to come closer at the next level and then the priests, but the people had to stay within and behind the boundaries set around the mountain for the mountain was sanctified ground.
chapter 20 Verse 15
Ve col ha'am roi'im et hakolet ve'et halapidim ve'et kol shofar ve'et hahar ashan ve'yire ha'am va'ynu'oo vayamdu merachok.
This verse tells us that there was not one blind person, nor one deaf person nor a mute among the people gathered at the foot of the mountain. They all bore witness to the wonders before them and with awe, they trembled in fear. They all responded in the affirmative to the positive commandments and in the negative to the negative commandments. All their senses were opened to the holiness of Hashem and the magnificence of the gift that was bestowed on them was not lost. In fact, there were not just six senses opened and working, but the seventh sense of divine spirituality and mystical wonder was revealed and for those few moments all B'nai Israel understood the nature of Moishiach and his coming and then the portals of knowledge were closed until the redemption. We need to work to build the world and the land of Israel to become worthy of Moishiach. The generations just before Moishiach can be compared to those  before the Mabul (flood). There are some very corrupt and difficult people in the world. But Hashem does operate Neged Ke Neged and metes out the appropriate justice to everyone eventually.
G-D should bless us all for a good shabbes and just a link to a very interesting blog. This on going war. David Cameron had a very sharp put down for Galloway an British MP who is a notorious supporter of Terrorism in the UK and elsewhere.

On that note Shabbat Shalom for the first of February and one month of the Gregorian year gone and eleven to go.Eight weeks to Pesach or is it seven now!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Election on the Day of Atonement


Well I had to suppress a chuckle when I realised that the day of the Federal Elections is Yom Kippur. While we - most Jews,  are fasting and praying for a good year in all ways, many others will be going to the polls to decide the future government of the nation for the next three years. Interestingly enough, if we believe that what happens down here has a spiritual mirror in a different dimension, then it may mean our prayers will bear fruit for a good year.

It may be one of the biggest mistakes of her political career or one of her best manoeuvres to outfox the opposition. Personally I think Labor have done their dash for at least two elections, although with five years, nearly six of government under their belts they are finding their feet. It could well be too late to save them,  as while they are a more cohesive political fighting force than before, they are still awkward in government and make gaffes that the opposition have drilled out of their ranks.  The PM's unlicensed bedside attendant Tim's gaffe about 'small female Asian doctors' doing his and other men's prostrate checks just makes the mind boggle about the real approach to a multicultural society.
Is it because of their small neat hands Tim, or is there an element of macho Caucasian male fantasy here about Asian females? Gee, I bet the Chinese and Vietnamese communities, male and female, were impressed with that comment.
I can imagine your next visit to see your 'small Asian female doctor'. I won't do the old fashioned Asian accent because most Asians can speak and write English pretty bloody well and often, Velly much better than the yobbo bozos who try to take them off.

Tim enters. SFAD is busy with some scalpels and scissors to one side.
Tim: Hello, Dr Nguyen. Good to see you. Here for the old prostate tickle again.
Dr Nguyen: Ah Tim so happy to see you. I am well prepared. ( She takes out a new freshly sterilised scalpel and inspects the edge of the blade. ) I can fix it for you that you never need see me about this
annoying prostrate problem again. (She smiles - an enigmatic lifting of the left hand corner of her mouth.)
Tim looks a bit nonplussed. The SFAD walks over to the stretcher and pats it invitingly with her gloved hand and points at the draped white linen cover.
Dr Nguyen: Everything is sterile. We are all ready. Take your pants down and hop up here. Spread your legs. (She pauses a moment.) Would you like a nurse to be present? ( She leans in close to Tim's ear .) She is Indian but small and also can be classified as a small Asian female health professional.

Tim is beginning to look quite nervous now and he has begun to sweat profusely. His fantasies of being handled by Julia's Minister for Finance and Deregulation are beginning to take on dangerous proportions.  It had fascinated him that she was studying medicine before developing an aversion to blood. She had become a lawyer instead and went into politics. Apparently the aversion to political blood was never fully developed.

What do you mean I will never have to come back?
Dr Nguyen did a quick swish, swish, swish of the scalpel through the air in front of Tim's nose.
Well, we will just cut out the offending articles that cause the problem. Stitch you up and no more problem.
  She smiles kindly.  Would you like nurse Lily to come in? She is very good. A very good pair of hands too. A small dark Asian female.
Tim clutches the front of his pants and flees the surgery.
Lily enters. Dr Nguyen ... What happened to Tim the PM's sleaze sorry, squeeze. Has he developed incontinence?
Dr Nguyen quietly puts her scalpel away. I guess you could say he has. Send me in the next patient please. Thanks dear.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Defence of Bernard Gaynor and Tess Corbett's Democratic Rights


One important aspect that the bully gay rights lobby seem to ignore, along with all their 'supporters' and what not, is that Australia is still a democracy. Anyone who does not support the gay rights push for marriage rites and who dares suggest that they may not be totally happy with 'different families' on the education curriculum are called 'bigots' or worst. Bernard Gaynor has had threatening emails and offensive comments made with regard to his Iraq service that he should not have returned. Lovely. If that is what giving gay people rights entails that allows them to stomp on the rights of others and to curtail freedom of speech and choice, then they should all go back into their closets and close the doors and shut up for good. If this is what gay rights means, then frankly as I have said before, I want no part of it.
Yes, there are decent homosexual people and there are some real odd bods  who I frankly do not want teaching my child either. That is why I may end up home schooling. At least he will get an education that is in keeping with normal decent family life and not about all sorts of odd ideas.
Gaynor voices a view which I believe he has a perfect right to do so, without being called a bigot. Being a homosexual is not the same as being black, indigenous, Asian or Jewish, Catholic or Muslim or Hindu or whatever. It is a lifestyle choice and I can see when people could say,'poor little pedophile, he cannot help himself. He was born like that. It is a chemical imbalance of the brain.'
If a person cannot control his sexual desires to that extent, he or she needs help. Serious help, especially if it involves children.
Do I want my child growing up thinking it is normal sexual behaviour for two grown men to stick their willies into each others bottoms? Please excuse my frankness, but that is what it is and it is very unhygienic and not what a bottom was created for. It was created to take excess waste matter - fecal material out of the body. That is natural behaviour. You want me to allow my child to be brain washed into thinking that the former behaviour is normal  and that defecating is not normal and what the anus is created for? Think again and I am glad that there are a few more intelligent people out there who see through all this gay rights brainwashing bull dust and their propaganda and calling people who decry the lack of moral standards and a moral compass in everyday life, bigots. People do get afraid to speak out. The gay lobby gets on its hobby horse and ride 'em cowboy until people just feel scared to say the truth. It's a bit like the Emperor's clothes. Does anyone know that story?

Two very clever conmen convinced an emperor that they were making him the most exquisite suit of clothes and really they were not doing anything. They convinced him that he had the most magnificent suit on and that only the most refined and intelligent of beings could see it. All his courtiers agreed with these two devious devils that the suit was truly magnificent. Until there was a parade and then a small boy spoke the truth, asking why was the Emperor not wearing any clothes?
Look Brendan Gaynor is a committed Catholic and he probably would not want a Jewess teaching his children, nor a Muslim and nor a Hindu. He wants a Christian and that is his right. I can cope with him not wanting me teaching his child because I am a fully committed Jew and I would not want someone with a strong Christian viewpoint teaching my child religious topics. I am ok with them being taught maths, social sciences and the like, so long as their religious viewpoint is not the basis for delivering the topics. A Muslim wants a Muslim world view and a Hindu a Hindu world view.

 We have got to get a grip in this country and remember it is a democracy. Everyone is getting so politically correct, we are building walls of political BS that allows Minister Penny Wong to intimidate and cow anyone who does voice a valid viewpoint.
We are allowed to educate our children within the moral compass of what we feel is correct. I do not want my son growing up thinking two women together as a 'couple' is normal sexual behaviour either let alone two men.
What are we doing to kids these days? We are confusing the hell out of them. YES,  we can be respectful to homosexual people and give them rights due any human being, but we do have a right to not condone their behaviour and their lifestyle. NO NO NO. They cannot take our democratic rights away and shame on Bob Katter for not sticking to his guns and allowing this man to stand. We need normal people and people who will say the Emperor has no clothes when clearly he or she is naked.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Summer Months in Australia

Smoke clouds settle uneasily
Over the mountain range
Artistic smudges of a worried artisan
That makes us all
Watchers on the edge
Standing tall
To gauge the direction of winds
Turning up or blowing down
Rain clouds heavy
With the farmers’ blessing;
Although plenty
Can turn to curse;
That will extinguish the heat.
January and February
Are nervous months
Of fire, wind and flood
Never in between
It seems
The complacent are tested
The tough are bested
But take it in their stride
To rise again and ride out
The storms of hail, fire, wind and flood
There is no room for doubts
Just sheer tenacity and giving it all
Until that last gasp
When the Creator calls you home
You are here to stay
Broken or whole
Burnt out or flooded out.
Grass grows again as do trees
Houses can be rebuilt
Stronger and more wisely
Than before.
For those who were lost in years past
Would not expect any less
And in their memories sweet
You build anew
With no ending, only the beginning….

What's your fire plan? Child first, goats and cat and self out of the house to a safe place!


After dinner at friends' house in Melbourne, and driving back through Pakenham on Tuesday night the smell of burning grass was distinct. There was a slight acrid smell of smoke. Not strong but noticeable. Nir coughed and coughed around midnight and I had to move him to my bed because I wanted to keep a check on his breathing and it took three puffs of the ventolin to settle him down. Yes, he has had some asthmatic cough in the past. Yesterday we went to the doctor to get a new script as he has not needed ventolin for ages and I was not sure how much was left in the puffer we have. Checked the use by date which was Nov 2013 so that was good but still it is handy to have a spare.

We had to go into Warragul to fill the script. Looking at the sky there were clouds of smoke covering the horizon and in some places you could smell the smoke. I saw some Highway police and stopped them to ask where could I get the latest information on the fires and what was happening. The young policeman said to me, 'Oh, that's only smoke. It's miles away.' I looked at him.  ''Yes', I told him, 'But I do like to know where and how because you don't know how fast a fire with a decent wind behind it moves. You need to be aware of what is going on.' Later talking to my neighbour Julie and her family we agreed on a plan for the eventuality that a fire did race through Drouin and down onto our area where to meet about a kilometre from our houses which are about 600 metres apart. (Chatting over the fence takes on a new meaning here) They have a paddock which they lease out to a neighbour that does not have much grass at all and it is cleared. They also have a caravan and invited Nir and I to share with them in the worst case scenario.
The older police woman who was with the younger guy said to me, 'We are in real trouble if a fire comes down the hills to Drouin.' I agreed with her. It is a beautiful place. Lovely people and very pictureque, but very heavily wooded and a decent fire on a scorching day like Black Saturday and the town would be hard to save. Warragul is far more fire proof in that respect.
Our area is not so heavily forested. However the line of dead cypress trees on one side of the long driveway of our farm house would mean a fire would roar down the drive to the house and the open hay shed facing north which is filled with dry hay from the farm which is leased by a farmer from our landlord would mean that our house would be very unlikely to be saved in a big fire. J's family have the same problem. A huge hay shed filled with hay, facing north that would become an inferno in minutes or seconds in a fire and they have decking out the back which would mean they could not save their house. She said they would try but safety and lives come first. You don't take risks with the lives of your family and sometimes the safest option is to get to a safe area.
I think about our landlord's place further north and realise that he and his wife have a pretty fire proof place. There are no trees in close vicinity to the house and I think now I know the reason. He is a smart dairy farmer of Italian descent. When he spoke about not having trees close to the house, I understand totally what he means. Trees while great to have around the house, in times like this can be a death sentence and you need to have a fire plan.
Apart from going to the neighbour's field with wet blankets and the two air matresses and the air pump which charges off the car, I do have a plan to save probably only my laptop, Ipad and some flash drives if I can find them. That is possessions, of course, number one is getting my son out of there fast, with the two goats in the back of the car and the cat may have to take her chances if she is not around. It is very important to Nir to save Mitzi the cat. If Dolly is too hard to get into the car and we have a fire approaching, I will probably leave the old bugger. I am not about to risk my son's or my life by trying to push a stubborn fat old Boer goat into the back of the car. If she is too stubborn and difficult to move, she may end up a bbq'ed goat which the neighbours will enjoy. We will not be able to eat her as she has not been shechted properly.
Just as an aside, the vet came this morning and gave them both a booster vaccine and did the CAE testing on them. Osnat was simple to do. She is such a good little goat and very tame now. Follows me like a puppy whenever I go outside. Ma'aing and talking to you. We backed her up and took the blood from her neck, no problems. Not Dolly, of course. The vet and I had to jam her against the fence and it took three goes to take the blood for the CAE test.
The vet had to get her hair clippers and clip the hair away, because as she said, 'Boer goats are meat goats and very tough and have more flesh around the neck than dairy goats. Dairy goats are thinner and more elegant looking creatures.' Plus Dolly being an ex poddy goat (hand reared) has absolutely no respect for people and is not at all compliant with anyone's wishes except Dolly's desires which revolve mainly around food and more food and food and food and food.
Osnat I have trained to milk and to stand and I guess I could even train her to do a few tricks if I had the time, which I do not. She now ties up without almost killing herself through strangulation. When we first tied her up about four weeks ago, Rocky the landlord told me,'That new goat of yours will end up with a broken neck.' He had come through the laneway in his ute and Osnat has fled until the rope had snapped her onto her back, literally.  I answered, 'Either that, or she will work it out and learn to tie up on a lead.' She is a smart goat. She learned to tie up. Dolly broke her collar the other day when the farmer who leases the fields for his calves came through in the lane where they were tied with a hay cutting tractor. Dolly took one look and leapt through the cypress trees and fled in fear. Being quite strong and muscular, she broke her collar and crashed through the dead cypress trees into the next paddock and if a goat could have screamed she would have. She was shaking in fear and it took me a few minutes to calm her down.
I have already put aside blankets for soaking in water and before I go to sleep at nights, I will pack up the laptop and a change of clothes. The main thing in a fire is to save yourself and your child/ren and animals if you can.
Seeing the sun rise this morning there is a red haze on the horizon but according to the weather forcasts, it will rain later tonight, so I guess we really have nothing to worry about. Our prayers should be for those up in Harrietville, Rawson and Walhalla. Walhalla is a lovely town set in the hills and is an old gold mining town. Beautiful place and we should all pray for the safety of everyone in that town.
People in the northern areas of Victoria have lost a lot and need to move stock to a safer area where there is feed. Fire and flood are a way of life in Australia and droughts too. That is just the way this land works and you have to deal with it. Up in Queensland, they have floods now.
Gotta go, the goat is getting into the Breed and Grow.
For those who want to check on the fires here is a link.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Biological parent vs Genetic parent

I was asked something very interesting the other day in Centrelink. Because my son has a darker skin than I do, people often assume in error that he is adopted. He is not. I was asked by this Centrelink employee 'Are you Nir's biological mother?' I answered 'Yes, I am.' He looked very surprised. I further clarified and said that his father was or is African.
This is an extremely interesting posting and is similar to what I believe.
Here is the transcript of what another woman wrote.
As many of you know, I have been researching donor eggs.  I'm also a lawyer, so definitions of words and precision are something that I am used to considering. I've been giving a lot of thought to the words "biological mother."
Of course, you know that a donor egg recipient gives birth to the baby. But, did you know that a donor egg recipient/birth mother's genes will affect how the donor egg's genes are expressed?  It's true.  Did you also know that a donor egg baby has the blood of the birth mother in him/her and lives off the birth mother's cells while in utero? That's also  true.
My doctor, who is RE, has told me that she believes that a DE Birth Mom is a biological mother.  I've also heard some say that a DE baby really has two biological mothers.   Obviously, the baby only has one genetic mother. 
I have to tell you that as someone who is seriously considering DE that I have become very aware of the different terms - biological and genetic. 
I would suggest to each of you that the most proper, most precise, most sensitive term to call the donor is the "genetic mother."   The birth mother and the genetic mother are also both biological mothers. 
We can look to various dictionaries, regular and law dictionaries, to see what the two words mean. However, I suggest that our current vernacular has not kept up with science and is less than precise in our new world.  Indeed, different dictionaries would yield different results in in this context in what the word "biological means." Science indeed moves faster than our vocabulary does.
Some dictonaries define "biological" to include "related by genetics." But, some define it as to include "related by genetics or blood."  (And, we know that a donor egg baby has the birth mother's blood. But we also know that genes will influence blood type).  Also some dictionaries define "biological" include "related by birth."
The 6th edition of Black's Law Dictionary doesn't define "biological." But it does define "natural child" to be "child by natural relation or procreation" (whatever that means).  Even if you were to think that that means the biological mother is (only) the genetic mother, the law dictionary  also defines "natural child" to include "child by birth, as distinguished from a child by adoption."
Among those of you have experienced RPL or are considering DE's for other reasons, I hope that you will join me on educating people that there is a difference between "a genetic mother" and "biological mother"  and you would urge precision, using the word "genetic mother" instead of "biological" mother when referring to a donor.
My personal belief is that a donor egg baby has two biological mothers  (1) the very special one who delivered her/him and (2) the very special one who contributed her egg (and thus her DNA/genetics).  I find it hurtful when people ask questions that suggest that a donor egg recipient is not also a biological mother.  Clearly she is. 
Also, you should know that in most (if not all states) that legally a donor egg baby is the legal child of the birth mother.
Thanks for listening. 
It is worth reading some of the comments by others in relation to this.
I have found it extremely hurtful at times when people have referred to my son as 'not your real child' or he has been told at school he was adopted and also having dealt with the hurt from an Israeli woman and her children who were 'friends' with us for a while and who continually in a very ignorant way referred to him as someone else's child not mine. I usually just shut up and say nothing, because sometimes when people get an idea in their head they fix on it and you literally cannot educate them otherwise.
The relationship between a ED and the ED recipient is usually a special one and to be honest, one never forgets the generosity and the absolute compassion of a woman who does go through a stim cycle with all the drugs and the other hassles in order to produce eggs that will enable another family to be created.  I went through five IVF stim cycles of my own in Israel and I do know a little of what it is about. Needles in the arm and butt, plus the ultrasounds to check how the eggs are coming along and the blood tests. I think I really hated the blood tests for pregnancy the worst. You would go in with hopes. Really hoping for this to be the one, but to have the girl at the other end of the phone who probably hated giving the bad news as much as the recipient felt down at receiving it, say that no, this time no.
I remember doing three pregnancy tests in one day, just before my blood test in December 2002 to confirm my pregnancy. I got different tests just to make sure and it was mind blowing seeing that heart beat on the ultrasound screen and through out my pregnancy I blessed the woman who made it all possible. I still do and I hope one day my son will meet her again and she will see what a fine young man he is growing up to be.
However, I do not think she would consider herself the biological mother of the children that were created through her generous donations to create families. I consider her a genetic mother, but biological, I do not think so. A lot more research needs to be done. And it probably is being done at this very moment.
A genetic mother means that a small part of the beginning of a new human being was made possible by some person contributing to a child being made. It is very different to sperm donation. A man contributes sperm half the genetic material to create a child , but does not carry that child within him for nine months and have his blood and hormones pumping through the child and nourishing him for all those hours, weeks and months.  I do know that there are people who can give birth to children and abandon them to hospitals or institutions because these children are not perfect or they are 'flawed'. If you ask me honestly, I could not do that.
One of the most painful stories I ever heard while taxi driving was a girl who was left in Shepparton hospital over forty years ago because she had 'water on the brain' and some other health problems.  I used to do a lot of the government fares for people with disabilities and I took this courageous woman several times. The first time she told me her story, I sat in the car by the side of the road and wept for half an hour and thought how could someone do that to a baby. Just leave it in the hospital like something unwanted despite that connection of carrying it within and even a genetic connection. Luckily she was given up for adoption and a wonderful family adopted her and raised her as their own.
There are women who are surrogates and these women are also special women in that they help others to have children. I think it must be a wrench for them to give up the child after nine months.  It is a very difficult and sensitive situation and it calls on the women who do do this to have a lot of love for others. In some countries in the UK women are paid but that does not make it something that others would do without thought or for money. It is more than money and it is more than just being able to get pregnant easily and having babies for others.
If I had been in my late twenties and early thirties and had had a family after being through what I went through, I would definitely do a cycle for a person unable to produce her own eggs for what ever reason.  I think to have a child or to have children and a family is what women are created to do with a man as their partner/ husband / spouse. (I do know and acknowledge for some that my 'limited' perception of what I consider family is repugnant and narrow, but I am not defending that here and now.) It is a natural and strong desire within most of us. Most of us want children and not just for narcissistic reasons. We learn so much about ourselves in caring for someone else. We become deeper and more fulfilled human beings. We deal on a daily basis with situations that broaden and deepen our responses to another through our child or children. We have to. We cannot pull out of the relationship and say, I am outa here, this is in the too hard basket. A small child depends on us for many things and we need to fulfil at least the basic requirements if not much more to sustain that child and help him or her to develop into a whole and healthy human being and he or she depends on us for protection, emotional and psychological nurture.
A genetic parent does not have the responsibilities of a biological parent and it was never intended that they should. That is asking more than should be from an already generous and caring human being who has her own family needs to meet. It is the duty and responsibility of the biological parent to support and nurture the child in every way. The problems start when biological parents feel they cannot deal with what most parents worth their salt, see as part and parcel of being a parent. When a biological parent reneges on his or her responsibility and feels that he or she can just dump a kid because they fall into the 'too hard basket', then that neglect is a form of child abuse. It means that person is a limited and flawed parent and needs help being a better parent. However, they have to recognise that and seek help or allow themselves to be helped to be a better parent. It is when they absolutely deny that there is anything wrong, that becomes very problematic.
I do not want to get people angry, but we are very spoilt in this day and age. There are people who deal with kids with multiple disabilities and those kids are loved and cared for by their families and made a real part of the family. If you cannot deal with your sibling or child or grandchild with a disability, that is your problem. G-D sets each soul, each person into this world for a reason. It is to teach those around him or her how to be better and more caring and deeper individuals on a level that they would not necessarily have reached without the challenges. Einstein was considered stupid and inarticulate for many years.Look what happened there. Plenty of people with disabilities have hidden genuis.  It just has to be revealed and shown for what it is. I read the most disgusting manuscript once and it came across as all about the writer who fostered an aboriginal kid with some health issues and then she ended up giving him up to DOCS when he was nine or ten. I found myself fuming with anger at the patronising and sanctimonous tone of the writing and what she wrote revealed more about her deficiencies as a person and I came away admiring this poor kid for having to endure what he did healthwise and having to deal with the woman who fostered him.
Everything G-D gives us is a test and the thing is not to give up and to see it out to the bitter end whatever is thrown at us. It is all for the greater good and we must pray and hope and pray some more for things to go well for us and that we get work at some stage this year, sooner rather than later. Tests are about refining the soul and to be a better person in all ways. That does not mean putting oneself in danger or others and to keep away from people and things that are detrimental to the health of yours truly and those you love.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The spider's Worm


Gut wrenching coils
worm from spider
its abdomen
trembling sinks inward
Eight hairy legs
spasmodically lift
wavering and flailing.
its tiny jaws gasp
to reveal dying eyes
with a thirst for life
but death has been waiting
for sometime now
neatly coiling itself
around vital organs
waiting for that moment
of timed exit
to discard the spider
to its fate after
snacking on its gonads
intestinal juices, then it removes

itself just as one would
a shoe that pinched toes
So the story goes
on and the spider dies.
The worm wiggles on
Searching for another hostage
or unwilling host.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Loshon Hara and how rumours start and people get hurt

I have been doing a bit of reading on the laws of Loshon Hara. I have read a little over the years, but lately have found cause to study them even more intensively. I was shocked to read on a Facebook page that some kosher cafes in Melbourne were supposed to be run by people who were not shomer Shabbat or Mitzvot when I know personally for a fact, that they are definitely so.
Amalaya's was mentioned. What was even more shocking was that the person who put this rubbish on the Facebook page had not an inkling of what they were talking about. The original owners of Amalya's Cafe were an Israeli couple who are most definitely frum and 100 % kosher in their kashrut and also in their hashgofa or approach to Jewish life. They have since returned to Israel with their children after taking a lot of care that their cafe would continue with the healthy lifestyle approach and of course, 100 % kosher. They used only Halav Israel products which means that the vast majority of the community can eat there. All milk is kosher, we are not going to get into an argument over that point, but some of us do take extra precautions and do drink only Halav Israel milk. The wife of the couple had done a course in Chinese medicine and was a practitioner as well as well as being versed in different food mixtures and types of food that were ultimately 'medicine for the body and not just nourishment.' They both believed that good food nourishes the neshama (soul) as well as the body.
They sold the business to a couple from a well known Melbourne Chassidishe family who are also observant and shomer shabbes. I did not know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of the statements made about this cafe as well as others in the Melbourne area. Of course, you can have non Jewish workers and non Jewish managers working in a kosher establishment and there often are. These people are usually very well trained about the proceedures and the kashrut supervisor does make frequent unanounced calls to the establishments that he or she supervises.  Often these non Jewish staff can be far more cautious about kashrut matters than say a Jewish person who is not shomer kashrut. All the establishments mentioned in this post were closed and are closed on Shabbat and Yom Tovim. So, it was indeed a weird and defamatory statement to make. I will not add further fuel to the fire by saying exactly what establishments were mentioned or who said what.
We need to check facts before we publish anything and also to check whether it is really necessary to publish something that is verified. What is our agenda in other words and what impact will it have on those it is about and those reading it?
I will give you an example of nasty loshon hara. I was rung the other day and told a person I have had something to do with was a thief. 'Why are you telling me this?' I asked the informer.
  'I just want you to be careful and protect yourself.' said my caller. I got the feeling that was not the main reason. So I asked this person, 'Do you know this for definite or is it just hearsay?' 
  'No no,' she said to me and mentioned the name of a person that the subject of this conversation had recently fallen out with. 'She said she was definite that she had stolen stuff.'  I was beginning to get quite angry. I felt more and more that there was something behind this. I did not believe that this person was a thief and I did not want to listen to any more. So after a bit tartly telling the person telling me this gossip, which I was beginning to get the feeling was a bit malicious and I was feeling that the person ringing me was being used by another to discredit or spread loshon hara about another,  to check and suggest to the person making the accusations that they should talk with the alleged thief and check really whether something had been taken and not just lost in the mess of their place, I resolved that I would not listen to that sort of talk from anyone. I believe that if you think something of someone, it is best to talk to the person direct and not go around spreading tales and creating a false image of this person in the minds of others. What happens if the articles you think are stolen are found after you have told all these people rubbish about a person and then they have carried it further. How do you take all that nonsense back? How do you salvage the reputation of a person you have ruined in the eyes of a community?
Better not to say it in the first place.
I do want to say that I had a great meal at Amalya's recently. It is 100% kosher and under KA which is Rabbi Modechai Gutnick. He is the Dayan of the Melbourne Beth Din and furthermore is the Rav of several friends of mine.  I do not know whether I could say I trust him with my life, but definitely with my kashrus and that is on very good authority. 
I have had Mexican Eggs at Amalya's and they are great. A spicy dish that is very reasonably priced. Just recently when I had a lunch with friends I also had the Enchilada. That was a tasty and filling meal at $14. One of my friends (non Jewish) was very impressed with the Avocada and Pomegranate Ensenada which she said was both delicious and a good sized portion with interesting combinations of fruit and vegetables.  The other friend, not as adventurous as we were, stuck with the Lentil soup which is a great staple at Amalya's and something that I love to eat when I can afford in winter.
I have also began to frequent Milk and Honey which is just a block away on the corner of Hawthorn and Glenhuntley Roads.  They are open quite early in the morning and closed on Shabbat and Yom Tovim. I have not been able to afford much eating out of late, but they do have a special of eggs and a coffee for $9. They tell you that you can choose how you have your eggs. It is an all day special and they also have a good selection of cakes to go with coffee and other meal delights are on the menu.
I will, I guess get a chance to try them once I get work and get paid for writing or teaching or both.

The one suggestion that I want to give Milk and Honey is to put a sprig of parsley or 1/2  teaspoon of chopped parsley with the eggs. Doesn't cost much but it adds colour and taste to the eggs. It is the art of the thing. The eggs were great tasting without it, but just for my discerning eye for flair, it is touches like this that make customers remember you. They should not have trouble though with that as they are always almost full and the atmosphere is lively and I am sure it will remain so.

There are now plenty of coffee shops that are 100 % Kosher to service the Jewish community as well as the non Jewish clientele who like something different. In Glenhuntley Road, we do have Savion up at the corner of Beavis and Glenhuntley Road near Orrong Road and we also have Amalya's and Milk and Honey as well as two other cafes Nogga's in Carlisle Street and Sweet Crumble in Glenferrie Road.
Why are these coffee shops or cafes succeeding so well? They do offer something individual and different. To find out why and their individual styles and menus, you will have to visit them.
Here are some of the websites.

Milk & Honey
Their Facebook page as I keep getting an ad for web design everytime I try to access their website. It could be me.

Sweet Crumble


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Breath taking hypocrisy in The Age Opinion piece "Shutting out the Sinners Feeds Bigotry".


I read this article in The Age this morning with a mixture of disbelief, wry amusement and cynicism.

'Allowing religious organisations to discriminate undermines the true meaning of faith.' trumpets Joumanah El Matrah. Her piece is remarkably well written and logically argued. Top marks for essay writing, but it is the content and the seductive tone of conciliation, which when put in context, is worrying. What is her real agenda? Is it really religious tolerance and inclusiveness she is after or the opposite. I am guessing she is a full on adherent to the Muslim faith and therefore, seen in the light of her religion's actions and practice, it would seem surprising.

I do not see Muslim schools hurrying to hire Jews, Christians or Atheists or Hindus or same sex attracted people. Quite the opposite. To be honest, not allowing religious organisations to discriminate positively and hire their coreligionists or people who are sympathetic to their beliefs, is anti diversity and requiring that we all believe the same and conform to an ideal which may not be in keeping with the beliefs and values of individual faiths. Especially in education and in welfare organisations, these are organisations that are set up to cater to the cultural beliefs, customs and values of individual groups. Such organisations need to have a certain flavour. Jewish Care for example, has a very wide umbrella and would be seen to assist people who are both halachically Jewish and who identify as Jewish because a male parent is Jewish and has, I have heard, even helped the non Jewish spouses of Jews. The Salvation Army, The Sacred Heart and other Christian Mission organisations also help people across a wide denomination of beliefs, cultures and ethnic backgrounds that are not of their particular faith. There has yet to come to mind an Islamic Charity organisation that helps us 'infidels' because we are described as dogs and less than women??? We Jewish infidels come in for some interesting tags such as apes, donkeys and pigs. Whenever I come across these full on Muslims in their white PJ's with their white knitted skull caps, wielding rubber hoses at the livestock market, belting young steers over the head, trying to drive them down a race by just belting them with their length of black hose, unmindful of the fact that they are standing in the steers' path screaming and belting and then they think the steers are stupid for crashing into a closed gate at the back of the race in their efforts to get as far away from these madmen as possible, I want to do monkey or gorilla impersonations, scratching under my armpits and jumping up and down going 'WHHOOOO, Whoo WHOOO'. Either that or grab the hose from one of these morons, tell him that this is Australia, we are no longer in Bagdad or Cairo and we know how to handle stock and either he wants this hose rammed in one of his orifices or be belted across the head with it, or he learns a little about how animals work and deals with them compassionately and with respect.

When we do away with the rights of religious organisations to hire and fire staff as they see fit, then we are on the path of autocracy and the democratic rights of the individual and individual organisations are removed. I received a letter from a Christian School rejecting my application to work as a CRT because I am a committed Jew and observant. I respect the right of that organisation to tell me that 'we only hire teachers with a Christian world view,' and so they should, if that is the type of person that they are educating and they want them to be Christians. I have a committed Jewish world view and we allow diversity and differences of opinion within Judaism as well as outside the Jewish belief structure. It is called respecting others. I understand who I am as they understand who they are.

I found Ms El Matrah's opinion piece extremely hypocritical because to be honest, same sex attracted people are not particularly welcomed in countries like Syria, Iraq, Persia or Iran and Egypt, just to name a few. I bet you do not have too many rainbow organisations in Egypt, but they are tolerated in Israel and they are not beaten, stoned or hanged. We may not approve or promote their lifestyle but they are allowed to live and do live well there with citizenship rights etc. The push for same sex marriage is not even on the agenda, because it is a non issue. If you want to get married, marry a person of the opposite sex. The rest is a matter of choice and those who say it is not, need to learn a bit of self control and work at being a normal person.
The most troubling of Ms El Matrah's opinion piece are these snippets:
Placing restrictions on the rights of faith-based organisations to discriminate against those who do not comply with or embody their view of religious doctrine is not an attack on the freedom of religious belief.
 Oh yes it is an attack Ms El Matrah, and a very clever one at that. To have religious diversity, we must tolerate the fact that some groups want to hire those who support their values and their beliefs. To deny them that right is to say that their belief systems are not relevant and are disallowed or socially unacceptable. We are on a very slippery slope here.

In allowing religious organisations to discriminate, it is not religion that is protected but the institutionalisation of conservative religious forces who no longer have a meaningful moral vision of what it means to be a person of faith in today's society.
We need to examine the forces that are shaping today's society and investigate their agenda. Why do religious institutions no longer have 'a meaningful moral vision of what it means to be a person of faith in today's society'? I am sure that both Christian and Jewish and Hindu or other religious leaders would disagree. We need to meet the changes and challenges of the contemporary society within which live and we need to understand that some values are a constant, despite the fads of the times. For some it is fashionable to be gay, goth or whatever, but some of the values of marriage and family and generational interaction are constants that have maintained us throughout the generations and set us apart from the animals. There was a philosopher called Jean jacques Rousseau in 18th Century France some of his ideas are quite interesting.
I do not say I agree with him in entirety but he does make some interesting points. I find it also incredibly ironic that all of his five children to an illiterate chamber maid, his lover were deposited in a foundling hospital in France. So here we do also have a person expounding some wonderful ideas but woefully inadequate practice of his ideas.

The government has privileged an extremely conservative reading of faith that is problematic. It is increasingly a minority view: it does not represent the breadth and depth of religious thought and debate within religious communities about issues of sin and sexuality.         
Actually it is not the government's 'conservative reading of faith' that is problematic. What is problematic is the expectation of this author that we should not allow diversity of opinion and faith. The minority view is Ms El Matrah's. The government's view does represent the 'breadth and depth of religious thought and debate'. By not allowing this diversity of opinion and the freedom to choose, we will kill debate and destroy the breadth and depth of religious thinking in its tracks. The government is on the right track. When we destroy freedom to debate and freedom to choose, then we destroy the rights of the individual. Part of the 'same sex attracted' debate for marriage hinges on the idea that 'they cannot help themselves' as 'some people are just born that way'. I find that insulting to all of us who are human beings and capable of forming and shaping our lives and future through our self determining intellect and innate intelligence.

Read more:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why Grammar and perfection in expression is the Key to Clarity and Clear Thinking

Today correctness in expression is out of fashion. Grammar is so passe. It is for idiots like me who do worry the nuances of expression and try for abstractness, as well as concreteness in meaning. Yes, you can start sentences with 'and' or 'to' or 'but', but first learn to recognize the parts of speech, their proper use, understand when and how tenses are used, how to construct a simple, compound and complex sentence that has meaning for an audience and most of all how to structure a short and extended piece of writing that has relevance.
I have great problems with primary school teachers who cannot seem to differentiate finer points of grammar and even the most basic grammatical errors are brushed over as 'unimportant'. It is the socialization that is important, I was told. 'Who cares whether your son can read and write or spell correctly. You are making too much of it.' I was told by the mother of two academically successful children. I looked at her in askance. We were sitting in a cafe having lunch. Our writing teacher was with us. She agreed with my friend. My partner is very ungrammatical, she confided in us. She is also a prize winning author. I was flabbergasted and reacted by being even more bloody minded.
   'Well, I do care.' I stated and ordered a coffee. Maybe that was the problem. I was too hyped up on coffee. I am on a diet of caffeine based drugs and have been for years. I confess I am confirmed addict. I drink at least five or six cups of tea a day and will have a coffee, whether I can afford it financially or physically or not. It keeps me sane and focussed. It keeps me from biting the idiots of the world I get frustrated with. Yes, you heard me. I want to bite people. I want to edge them into some semblance of commonsensical shock  by doing something extraordinary. I am hyper and hypo but I do love being who I am and NO I do not need anti depressants. I want to feel and I want to be human, not some zonked out, zoned out prescription druggie. The number of people who appear to be gobbling Prozac or Zoloft with their morning cereal seems to have grown. People need drugs to cope with the modern world and we are drugging the kids too. Any kid that is half normal has to be proscribed ritilin or some other stimulant to 'calm them down'. Growing up and becoming more civilised is about learning and growing and learning some more. Kids are naturally feisty or should be and that is why they need adults around. It is a two way street.
  'Don't make trouble for your son.' I was advised by the mother of two brilliant scholars graduates of Yavene College. Maybe their teachers cared for grammatical knowledge and expertise, despite their mother's casual brushing aside of the finer points of English language use. I care passionately about grammar and writing and the correctness of it all. Yes, I am a bloody minded old cow, but at least my students understood how to write with some clarity and they also understood sarcasm as an art form and dabbled in satire, after a year with me. It was an extra thrown into the course to deepen their repertoire and we also understood dramatic moments and poses. 
I must say I was disappointed in my writing teacher. Disappointment has become par for course lately. I was disappointed with the winner of The Age Short Story award winner this year. I read both the first place getter and the second place getter. The second story was the better read. 'Maggot' had too many maggoty bits in it and frankly it could have done with a bit of that white powder poison that we used to sprinkle on the bums of sheep that had been fly blown. I felt that it was still too maggoty and maybe I should have entered the competition. Got to be in it to win it though.
Anyway I wanted both of them to back me and say yes I should take this notebook with the argument of this teacher telling me that 'will not eat' is present simple tense when I said,  'No, my dear, 'will plus the base form of the verb is 'future simple' and she shoots back that I am mistaken and she is right that it is present simple. She of course is sure that she is right and I am wrong because she is an employed teacher and I am unemployed teacher. Yes, she is right that I am unemployed. However that still does not change the fact that my grammar is correct and I am the better writer and grammar teacher and I do understand nuances and meaning far better than she ever will.
I do not agree that we should leave it be. We need to model correct behaviour to students and correctness in what we are teaching. I am a bit like my computer.  It bugs me so, that I want to change the language spelling on my computer to UK spelling which I learnt as a child and grew up on. I hate American spellings where they use 'z' instead of 's' and leave out 'u's' in behaviour and favour and favourite. It stubbornly reverts and I just as stubbornly change it back.  I will live with red lines under my UK spelt words and YES dear computer, you can have spelt and spilt. It does not have to be spilled and spelled. Haven't the Americans heard of gerunds yet?
The beauty of language is in its perfection. The shaping of meaning through knowing how to use it correctly and to play with words and language. I do not want my son to miss out on that. Therefore he should learn correctly and then after that, he can play and spell greatly as g8li or later as l8r.
I know that for my writing teacher and the writing colleague who has a Masters in psychology, a Journalism degree and a teaching degree, I must be the most bloody minded and simplistic of individuals, but that is me. I am simply a teacher with 18 years teaching experience both here and overseas, an Arts Degree and a Diploma of Secondary Teaching and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing and it counts for nothing. I cannot support myself or my son because I cannot get a job. I am too old, I was told. They want younger teachers. The old teachers are too inflexible.
Never mind that we still have to pay rent and bills. Never mind that we must earn a living. Never mind that we cannot make ends meet on a pension with a child. We must spend less.  Something is very wrong here. I did not believe in jinxes or the evil eye but I am beginning to do so lately. However, as the bills mount up yet again, I shall pray and do more job applications and hope and pray.
I do still believe in perfection and will work at the perfect story and the perfect poem and keep learning because one's mind should be active. Don't use it, you lose it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The life of Pi and death of Jyoti

That a boy called Pi
would survive
A journey with a tiger
Called Richard Parker,
a very civilised name
Alone in a boat
amidst hostile elements
tossed on oceanic breasts
Facing the beast
in the other
they came to some terms
that suited them both
not the least.
Both lived.
Yet how did a girl
With her friend
meet a beast on a bus
within the bowels of a city
surrounded by oceans
of civilisation
not survive
her ordeal
her trial
facing the alien nature
of those gone beyond wild
nature's laws perverted
compassion and mortal strength
tested beyond belief
As the predator stalks
among his unknowing prey
who still trust
like the rest do.
Empathy still springs to mind.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Anti-Discrimination Bill a Bigots' Carte blanche?


There was an interesting piece in The Age by David Marr, one of the few journalists for whom I do have some respect. He calls the new legislation being put forward in Parliament a bill for bigots and decries the ramping up of the power of the religious leaders to hire or fire who they see fit in schools and other institutions run by religious organisations.

We have also a very interesting article by Paul Sheehan
on the same bill.

The sad thing is while I respect the right of religious organisations and their administrators to hire and fire who they wish, we also would hope there is a curtailing of the superiority complex of those who believe in their version of G-D, Allah or Buddha or Krisna or who ever they believe is the driving deity behind the world's smooth running. By curtailing of the superiority complex I mean that you can believe in  G-D or a divine force and have your own rituals and theories etc but you should not bag the religious rites of others and feel you have a right to exterminate or convert other religions. My G-D is quite a magnanimous  fellow and accepts every individual as worthy of existance, after all He is their Creator so they must have value. It is their behaviour and the way they act towards others that might be questionable at times.
It is the right of any religious organisation to hire and fire people who fit into the scheme of their beliefs and act according to their religious doctrines. A Catholic school or a Christian school would probably have real problems hiring someone like me who is an observant Jewess not only because of my beliefs, but because the practice of my religion would preclude activities that they might find essential to the education that they are giving their students and especially activities that they might want for their students on weekends which a fellow Christian teacher would be happy to bring their child or children along to join in. I would most definitely not, as I would be observing our Shabbat and would find my beliefs and theirs in conflict. I did when I was in High School at a Presbyterian Ladies College in Queensland and I am a lot more set in my ways now then I was then. I suffered Christian indoctrination until I was allowed to go to the library and read in my last senior years there at that school. It was not a protest or even a revolt. It was just that I was so bored and disinterested in this lone victim of the Roman's persecution of the Jews of Judea and Samaria, because the stories of the New Testament were in conflict and honestly he was one of thousands of Jewish martyrs. They forget that the guy was an orthodox Jew. Just as an aside, I listened to Rabbi Feitel Levin last night on invitro fertilisation and learnt that he was probably not considered a mamzer or bastard under Jewish law. He was the product of rape by a Roman soldier. His mother Miriam was betrothed and after the rape she was pregnant and that was the reason that Josef apparently took her to Beth Lechem to have the baby.  If the baby had been a product of rape by another Jew then there could have been the issue of him being a Mamzer. I did not know that a child that may have been fathered through an act of forced intercourse with a non Jew is not a mamzer. It would have meant that many of those born to Jewish brides who were forced to co habit with the medieval lords before or on their wedding nights (as was the rather hideous practice for not only Jews, but also the peasants in the Dark Ages) and who fell pregnant, their children were not considered mamzerim, but I guess there would have been a whole lot of other issues to contend with and not only how they were called to the Torah and their status obviously if the husband was a Cohen or Levi.  Apparently the child of a non Jew to a married woman is not a mamzer. That is a Jewish woman married but not divorced from her Jewish husband, if she has a child to a non Jew, then it is a Jew and not a mamzer.
Anyway, let's focus on the issue at hand which is the fact that this bill will set boundaries on hate speech and other examples of discrimination becoming par for course. However I can see it being misused and used to batter those of little faith into submission.
Gays and lesbians do choose their lifestyle and unfortunately their lifestyle is in conflict with many religious teachings. Would I want to hire a gay or homosexual English teacher or History or Art teacher for a school I ran? Probably not. I will be honest.
However would I hire a gay or lesbian office manager, artist or painter or sales assistant or copywriter or editor or print maker or IT expert? Yes, I would. What is the difference?
If I am in an education setting and the audience is young and impressionable students, I would not be happy with a homosexual teacher pushing his or her lifestyle agenda onto students. Teachers' private lives are not the business of students and one of the things I found most obnoxious about both Narrandera and Deniliquin was the attempt by students to stick their noses into your private life or to question you or to make assumptions about your private life. Sort of like living in a fish bowl. If the teacher was a discrete and honest person then, I guess you would not have a problem.
Unfortunately, I am a single parent. Not by choice. However it is the right of any institution - an educational institution to hire only either married teachers or single teachers, not single parents. I understand why. The stress of being a single parent combined with the stress of full time teaching, even if you have a supportive family would be horrendous. When you have a child with a disability in learning and no family support, working full time is impossible. Also you do not want to have a single parent in a school, because if your child gets sick, you are the one who takes the day off to spend it looking after him. There is no back up. That is why single parents are not a good bet for employment. We are the ones who most need employment because as in my case, we are the sole breadwinners and as anyone who has tried to live on Newstart will tell you, it is nearly impossible as a single person. Try it for size as a single mother or father with one child or even with two or three kids. It is simply horrendous.
No single parents are single parents by choice, I can tell you that now. However, we struggle and do the best we can to educate our kids and care for them as much as any family with two parents do. Some single parents do have the back up of grandparents and aunts and uncles or cousins, but others do not. We then thank G-D for friends and colleagues who step into the role of extended family members for the child or children.
We should be allowed to discriminate positively and choose for our children the education we want, the friends we want and most of all be able to surround them with like minded co-religionists who espouse the values we hold dear.
Lastly by the same token, we need to have respect for differing beliefs, so long as those beliefs are NOT in and of themselves, HARMFUL OR DEROGATORY  towards others who are different.
Judaism is very careful about respecting others and respecting the rights of both Jews and Non Jews.  Once you understand the laws and rulings of some of Jewish Law or halacha you start to understand the complexity and the marvellous depth of questioning and answering that our rabbonim must use to approach even very mundane issues in Jewish life and the way we conduct ourselves. It is a process of continual learning and exploration of issues for thousands of years.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Increasing concern about the type of people who are getting into teaching, probably one of Booligirl's mates


It never ceases to amaze me that I have gone under a lot of criticism for what I post, yet to be honest, I have never posted anything like this idiot posts and nor would I.

All I can say is that thank G-D she has made the right decision to go. What amazes me is that someone who would even think like that is in a classroom teaching young impressionable minds. Even in times when I was not as religiously observant to post such things as this person does is mind boggling.
Some people may hate my conservative view point, but do you know what, I can live with that. I really do not care if you don't like what I say. You can argue against it if you like and I will conduct an online debate with you but I am not going to change my views unless it is proved to me beyond all reasonable doubt with a G-dly sanction that I am wrong and you are right.
When I read this I laughed and thought of the cheapo tramp booligirl aka bullygirl who comes onto my site to leave her ugly little comments and thought this would be a good pal for her. Cheap and slutty with no morals and vicious. Actually quite disgusting.
However, by the same token we should feel pity for such people as they are bought up in an age where there are no brakes on sexual behaviours and no moral boundaries. What are we doing to the younger generation? Think about it. We need to set the example.

MegWhitman - the need to be liked and the largest structures yet discovered, defy Nasa's previous calculations

After doing a bit of light reading before I settle down and garden and write today, I come away with some amazing insights into the way the world - this world works. Here you have in the form of Meg Whiteman, a failed republican who lost to Jerry Brown for the Californian governorship, receiving a massive cash injection into her already swollen coffers of material wealth, after that is, failing in her overseership of Hewett-Packard to make a profit. She apparently said in her run for the governorship, if you need to be liked this is the wrong job for you. Maybe she would have made a good principal or teacher of a school. You need ethics and people with ethics are not necessarily viewed favourably in this world. They make many feel guilty and they are often hated because they tell the truth even when it is uncomfortable. Diplomats do not tell the truth. They tell you want you want to hear and then they go and do the exact opposite - what they wanted to do or what was on their agenda in the first place. If that is what she said, no wonder her run for governorship failed. A real pollie tells his electorate how smart they are and convinces them that 'I am on your side and I will do this and this for you when you elect me'. Of course, the idiots believe him or her and elect them and meanwhile the clever deceptive politician is laughing up his or her sleeve about how he or she fooled the electorate.
This 'poor little rich girl' maybe be hard working but she must have received some incredibly bad advice about image and how to present herself. Politics is all about image and how to present yourself and hiding your real feelings from the electorate and being fuzzy wuzzy with them, kissing the babies and cuddly with the other powerbrokers. Maybe she did not do enough of that nor make enough promises to certain lobby groups. She spent more than any other self funded politician in USA history, 144 million of her own personal wealth, plus 178.4 million of donor money to make her election bid and lost to Jerry Brown the winner.  Cracked me up big time. It just shows that some of the electors are not as stupid as some people think they are. I actually think she may have made a good governor but then her social skills may be what let her down. Who knows.
Here it is to have a read and make up your own mind. Would you want this woman in charge of your state as a premier?

The first head line to catch my eye this morning was this.

What is interesting is these scientists are always making statements without realising that the universe is a fluid and G-D driven structure. It is continually boiling away and changing. The G-Dly power that provides its essence and energy is constant and beyond our limited imagination. Of course, they are wondering at the depth and breadth of the universe because they are trying to define it in our terms of limited human understanding.
The profound proof of who and what is G-D is continually before our eyes and we fail to see it. Nothing happens in this world without the Abishter's hand in its development. We can sometimes forestall divine plan for a while but we cannot change it completely. It will run its course eventually.
You can have people write books like this Shlomo Sand against the creation of the state of Israel and you begin to understand completely the struggle between good and evil and how evil can cling to those who have lost their path in life and use them for their own purposes. There will be an expanded state of Israel one day, but for that, many more Jews have to return to their roots and pray and study Torah and live as Torah Jews and not as Jewish born goyim and pretend they are Jews while they eat Hazir and walk around half naked and do the wrong thing by others. I personally and others pray for the redeemption of all Jews and the return to a fully functioning state of Israel with the third beit Hahmikdash and for that to happen we need Moishiach. May the Moishiach come and lead us all into a holy age where G-D is recognised as the true source of power in this world and we lead Torah lives and live as mentschen and those non Jews will follow the seven laws of the Noahides..
The scientists at NASA would understand a whole lot more, if only they viewed the world through the eyes of those who understand there is a G-D out there. Truth can be hidden only for so long but it will stand out one day and the lies will collapse by the wayside.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snakey Encounterings

Well, the first slithery visitor of summer slid into my yard while I was on the phone in my hotspot. I only can barely afford a mobile phone and after today, I am keeping it well charged and close at hand.
He was black and very, very active. I freaked big time. I am not a big reptile fan. No Steve Urwin here. Grabbing a snake by the tail has never been my bag of tricks and nor is it ever likely to be. I see snake and my heart pounds, I start to sweat and I am looking for the nearest sharp instrument, perferably a hoe with a long, long handle and my instinct is to chop, chop,chop and chop if I can stop myself from running for the hills first. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. I tell my son he should run indoors and NEVER EVER approach them, even for a better look. You leave them right alone. I rang the snakecatcher and had a chat. I wanted the ins and outs of snake habits from the horse's mouth so to speak as well as my own research on the internet. 'Stand still', he told me. 'Don't run. They don't want to bite you, because they can't eat you. They do not want to waste valuable venom on you.' Gee, that's a comforting thought. I hope the snake remembers that before he or she bites either me or my son or the cat or one of the goats. I am now worried about the cat as I think there is a snake or snakes under the house. In fact I am positive there are snakes there and HOPE there are no holes into the house from under there. I do not want to wake up with a copperhead or eastern brown in my bed or cupboard or bathroom, thank you very much.
He stated that the fine for killing a snake was $5,000. My family must have owed the Australian government a lot of money over the years. We have killed them for generations. The idigenous people say they are good tucker. I will never know, because they definitely do not have a cloven hoof, nor do they chew their cud. They also do not have fins, despite the fact that they do have scales. And they do not normally swim in water and do not have gills. I hate snakes. Maybe I could call in some indigenous snake catchers and they may not leave much evidence behind and come away with smiles. It is a very environmentally sound idea. The snake is going to serve a higher cause.

I am going to get rid of the wood pile in the corner of the yard and have a bonfire if I am allowed a permit. It will be impossible to burn off in my usual place as the guy who rents the farm paddocks has filled this huge shed with hay bales from the lucene and clover he and his son harvested. I am sure I would be very popular if I burned off a bit of wood and a spark or two was blown into the hay shed. I am going to dig a bit of a shallow hole and wet the ground with water all around when I do burn off the rotten planks and sticks and bits of pine cones and broken branches. The dead cypress trees are leaning at an angle in this high wind and they do need burning asap as soon as it is safe to do so. They are probably going to fall over the driveway and some are at awkard angles. Another matter to be looked after.

At first, I thought the snake I saw was a young Eastern Brown or a Black red belly, but it was correctly identified by the young chap from across the road who does my mowing and helps with the gardening. He said it was a Copperhead. He did see it. When he started the lawnmover, it moved out of the grass like greased lightening and headed off past the compost bin into the orchard.  I shall be very careful for the next few weeks, months around the fruit trees. I had a funny feeling about a snake being there for some time. Strange that but I always felt as though I was on high alert around that water tank area and the fruit trees.
I also cannot let my son roam around I have to know what he is doing at all times. He is going to hate it. But snakes are snakes and kids are kids. They have to be kept separate from each other otherwise there are disasterous results from close contact of the two species.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rabbi Dr Cowen's Talk on the Redifinition of the Human and the argument of the same gender marriage

I have just listened to a wonderfully articulate and logical argument against same gender marriage by Dr Shimon Cowen. I have not had the time to explore the JML library resources, but just touched on it because of the Yarchai Kalla just recently on in Melbourne. It is on every year, a summer learning program with always awesome speakers. These guys sit and learn and think very deeply on numerous topics and deliver some of the most amazing lectures. Exploring the speeches, I happened apon one of my favourite speakers, Rabbi Dr Cowen.
Dr Cowen feels we should have defined or drawn the boundaries much earlier in the peace and I have to agree. He also expresses concerns about the conduct of the gay lobby groups having these programs in Australian schools that want kids to be labelled or fixed into a certain gender orientation in their teens. Like myself and others, he feels that this time for teenagers is one of great confusion and fluidity and that children who are going through a normal phrase of exploring their sexual identity can be brain washed by these lobby groups through these 'anti homophobia' programs in believing that they are homosexual and their transition into normal heterosexuality be stunted or stopped. Thus you have the creation of a generation who will be totally confused about who or what they are and of course it creates more 'young meat' so to speak for the older homosexuals to feed off.
I have always had great concerns about this sort of stuff. Especially when we had a teacher at a school I was at once, who announced to the classes she taught that she was 'gay'. I do not get up and say to my classes, 'Hello grade 8 C I am Ms Leeds and I am heterosexual.' It is not the business of the class what you are or are not. You are there to teach them English, History or what ever subject you are required to teach. I would be just saying MYOB to any student that dared ask that sort of question. You can be gay and teacher but you do not have to stuff your gender politics down my throat every minute of the day. This is totally beyond the pale.
There are a lot of concerns about how these programs are panning out and should we be allowing this sort of stuff in schools at all. Why not just stick to the business of teaching and getting on with it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dr Robert Meliliio "Disconnected Kids" and the Brain Balance Centers


Friday arvo. Rushing into town with my son. Want to get back with at least two hours to spare before candle lighting. Gotta grab a few groceries, for we were not expecting to stay on the farm this Shabbes, but going to Melbourne to stay with our Rabbi and Rebetzin and to have lunch with our dear friends who daughter recently married. I went to the newsagent and this book stared me in the eye. Some books do that. They grab you. It's either the title or the picture on the front that some how grasps the viewers' attention. It is called marketing.
This book
Disconnected Kids' with the picture of a young boy on the front leaped out at me. (No, thank you, I am not Germaine Greer, so before the more perverted readers of this blog get going, I will anticipate and quell the filth that rises in the sewers of their minds.)
This is a kid with a far away dreamy look in his eyes. Disconnected and off with the fairies. Seen that look often in a class room, when I start on one of my pet loves, the structure and syntax of English as she is 'spoke' in Australia.  :-) 
The smaller print proclaims 'The Ground breaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and other Neurological Disorders. I was thinking should I get this book and my impulse buying streak kicked in. 'Go on', my yetzer ra said,'you deserve a new book. You have not bought a book for yourself for ages.'. My Yetzer tov struggled vainly. 'Ilana, you silly cow, you have no money. You can't afford to buy books. You have no job. You are on a pension. People on pensions should not buy books. They should only go to libraries and get the books back on time so they don't have to pay fines.' Your yetzer ra felt particularly strengthened by the fact that you were saving money on petrol by not travelling to Melbourne and needed to give yourself something to 'make up' for the fact that you would not be in Melbourne for Shabbes. 'Go on.' it said, 'You were going to get a new siddur at Chai books but he did not have the siddur there for you. Same price and this is enhancing knowledge that you can use to help your son and other kids once you are in the classroom again.' DONE! After my yetzer tov picked itself up from the floor with buffalo prints of the Yetzer ra in its backside, I had a new book to read and a lightened bank account. It felt good, but it also felt guilty.
I spent most of my Shabbes when I was not davening, or playing some games or talking parsha with Nir, just engrossed in this book.  I laughed. I cried and I was blown away by the commonsense and logical approach of this doctor. It was akin to being so thirsty for a long time and having only brackish, dead water to drink and someone just dumps a bucket of pure mountain spring water down in front of you.
He had been and has been concerned about the rise in Autism Spectrum Disorders and also other learning imbalances in kids that have increased at a rather horrifying rate in the last twenty years. I have had my own private theories and it was great not to feel so alone and out there all of a sudden. Australian Education is way behind the eight ball on this and I think there are a lot of schools in every state that just do not know how to deal with the rise in the numbers of kids with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities and behavioural problems. Some of the teachers, under enormous pressures not only from this, but work loads tend to disconnect too. It is called survival and it is not good for them or their students. 
By the way, I learnt that in some American schools they have R's for Requires Support and M's for Meeting Expectations. However, I still prefer descriptive assessments - that is firstly, describing what outcomes the student has achieved for the semester, comment on classroom attitude and working with class mates and define an area that needs improvement. All these mazes of tick boxes are just so unnecessary and a waste of teacher and student and parent time. Does the student and the parent really read them? I think most parents and students prefer a good descriptive comment that is relevant to the academic progress of the student and his or her school/classroom socialisation. I remember at one school having to do massive reports of about fifty tick boxes with five choices each.
Eg. Does student relate well to peers? 
 Does student understand written texts?
Does student understand topics discussed?
Can student express opinions on a given topic?
and so forth
0 Not at all. 1 Rarely. 2 Sometimes 3 Usually 4 Always
Sometimes it can vary from day to day with some students and some students do make dramatic improvements in the last few weeks of a term. Some can also remain flat for months and then something twigs and they power ahead.

This book is a must for both primary school and secondary school teachers to read. His theory and program is based on the idea of Functional Disconnection Syndrome and it basically means that there are two brain hemispheres and that they should develop in a synchronised  and orderly fashion. He actually explains the functions of the left brain and right brain hemispheres and states that boys are by and large,  more prone to these dis functioning disorders, more so than girls who have a thicker bridge between the hemispheres. That of course, does not rule out females also suffering from some cognitive dysfunction or autism spectrum disorders as well.  With somewhat increasing frequency these days, you have kids whose brains are not firing on all cylinders like they should. He takes a holistic approach and his focus is not just on academic assessment but it is about diet, exercise and other factors being involved. What I really liked was his approach that all the right equipment is there, you just have to work on tweaking it to make it function more effectively. That has basically been my belief for many years.
I used to hate it in staff rooms to hear other teachers pull down or even make fun of students with lower academic abilities. I remember this teacher who replaced me at Narrandera, who everyone loved so much because 'she did the best impressions of .................... and ...................... who are such thick as brick kids'. She was also a great favourite with the principal who I had to later make a complaint against for discrimination and who disliked me with a passion.
I would not and never have described a kid as 'thick as a brick' nor as 'the lights are on, but no one is home. Don't bother about him.'  To me, those sorts of comments are disgusting for any teacher to make. We make assessments about a student's given ability and skills over a given time. We are not there to make any sort of judgement or to state his or her potential. The potential of any student is unlimited and not bound by our opinion and nor should it be.
The rate of development and who a child or student is changes so rapidly from the ages of 12 to 18 as to seem almost phenomenal. The super shy and introspective can develop confidence and abilities that we might never have guessed and the ratty kid with ODD in year 8 could end up as school captain and a very responsible and mature young man. We only have to encourage it to happen and support them in their learning and exploration of the world within the guidelines of a decent and humane social code of behaviour.
Anyway here is the brain balance website and I am going to curl up with the last seventy pages of Disconnected Kids before I drop off to sleep and have to get up at six to milk my goat. Making more fetta cheese tomorrow.  Yum.  It is organic too. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Compassion and Tzedaka and employing the older unemployed..


If a person has skills and experience in a fairly multi skilled profession, it should be easy to be gainfully employed, one would think. However from experience and anecdotal evidence and statistics, it is not so, if one has hit the big 50. It is also true of younger women who have taken years off to raise children, a very demanding and highly skilled occupation. Often they need to retrain in a different profession to their original profession to be employed at all. It is strange. Having children or getting older, does not necessarily mean we should be any less competent or efficient in our work. We do not lose brain cells through child bearing or getting older. Often some of the most interesting and capable women I have met are women who have effectively raised large families of children successfully. Some of the most boring women I have met are single career women, no kids, self obsessed and totally focussed on their careers and who want to talk shop the whole time. And the same goes for guys. Sorry fellows, but it is true.

I noticed this strange phenomena once when talking to a single friend of mine who had the flu. I got a run down of every little symptom connected to the illness. Oy, the headaches, the back pain, the stuffiness, my sore throat. Oy vey, I am so sick. Sorry, but this person and I love her dearly, was totally focused on her feelings and how she felt. Not once did she ask about me, my son or anyone we knew. It was all her and her and her. She is intelligent, extremely so, but kinda so self centred. I never ring her when I want some sympathy. I would go to another friend I have who is the mother of twelve children. She, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She never tells you when she is not feeling good. You have to be observant enough to see it and ask her directly. She is an amazing human being. She always asks you how you are. You have to ask her how she feels and she will tell you 'Baruch Hashem' even though you can see she is dropping from tiredness or has a bit of a flu or is just in pain. She puts that aside and focuses on others. She has a lot of skills and a lot of talents that are hidden under the persona of 'mother' and 'bubba'.  Under the hat of mother and grandmother, there are many hidden talents and experiences that could be used in professions such as education, counselling, child care,sales and marketing, horticulture, animal husbandry, pediatric care, real estate, administration, organisation, accounting and housekeeping. Most men are pretty two dimensional compared to women. They tend to specialise in their fields and let's face it, they do get very good at it and are able to reach great heights in their chosen field, but they are hardly ever single. There is usually a hard working wife or partner behind the scenes, being supportive and assisting his lordship up the ladder. That is OK too. It means that there is a balance in the equation of a relationship or marriage.
Women tend to be more versatile and think on their feet and take what comes, dealing with whatever is dealt them. We are masters of necessity and have to perform under pressures that would break most men into pieces. Men were not built for pressure. Women are. That is why it is surprising to see so many unemployed older women around. Maybe we are threatening the less competent.
I would love to work for the dole. It would be better than taking handouts from the government or anyone. There is something quite empowering about doing some work and receiving money for it. It is a way of gauging one's self worth. The more one is paid the better one feels about oneself. If one cannot even get volunteer work, your self esteem plummets and you do get very depressed. You think what is the use and why am I alive and sometimes you do consider after years of unemployment, especially if you have been bullied out of a work situation where you have been made to feel the most incompetent, stupid and useless person to have ever existed, that perhaps it would be better if you were dead. You go to sleep at night thinking, why do young people get cancer and not some useless individual like myself? Why can't you just make a quick end to my life, G-D if there is no purpose for me being here. You demand of G-D that a path is given to you/ You ask WHY? Again and again and AGAIN until you want to scream it out in the dark of the night. Why me/ Maybe because somewhere there is an answer and you have not been sensitive or aware enough to see it. You ring and offer your services to schools and other organisations and there is nothing forthcoming and you think what is wrong with me? If you are strong and healthy you start to think, OK, what are the reasons and you talk to people. You find out that other people of similar age and gender do have similar issues. No body wants you. That does not mean the problem is with you. They just can not see your worth. They don't understand who you are and the wealth of experiences that you bring to a place of employment. They don't look past the part on your CV that says date of birth and if it is before 1985, they are not interested. They want the young, the fresh and untried. Those people are malleable and easily influenced.  You can mould and control them, you think. Us older ones, we are not so easily fooled and we understand and see too much. If there are issues in a work place, we may also cotton on much quicker than a younger, more inexperienced worker. We are confrontational and we fight back. We demand a higher level of competence than some of the younger ones. That is scary. People gloss over mistakes these days and that is fine, so they think. But it will have a price one day. Not tomorrow, but in the future.

There are ten levels of tzedaka or charity. The highest level of tzedaka is to empower a person to gainful employment so they do not need to be dependent on charity and therefore a drain on the community coffers. Sometimes accepting tzedaka in its many forms is necessary and other times when one has skills and experience that could quite easily be utilised, it is demeaning and humiliating, but if one has a mouth or mouths to feed that is dependent on one, it becomes necessity. While I do not mind to suffer and to do without, it is painful to see a child or an older person suffer because one does not have the means to support them for the essentials of life like food, clothing and shelter over their head.

Be a compassionate and caring person who wants to build connections in society and make bridges between the generations and not divide. Hire older people and older people be understanding and caring of the young and inexperienced. Older people share your experience and wisdom with the youth but not in a condescending or controlling way. Age and youth need each other to make a good and strong society to the depths of its soul. Otherwise we create soul-less imperfect societies that collapse.

I have a story. It is not a nice story but it needs to be told. I got an email from someone. It was direct attack at me and I responded accordingly. The person who sent it was very cunning and said it was meant to be sent to some one else. It was not. She had her reasons to send it to me and I got her to reveal her true feelings about me openly which I had read between the lines for some time in communications between us for some time.  No apology but a calculated and vicious response which I believe has been waiting in the wings for a while. I had felt a really malicious jealousy in my communications with her as an undercurrent and could not quite put my finger on it. I actually thought she was going through a hard time so I excused her behaviour and some of the sly malice which I felt in her communications as stress related. She made comments in previous emails about me having converted and how did I end up with a shwartzer (in other words yiddishe for Nigger). Black people also have feelings and they are also human beings. It is not to say that white people or caucasians have a monopoly on racism. They do not. I, more than most, fully appreciate how devastating it can be to find out that you are no more than a ticket to a new life and can be discarded like a piece of used tissue paper. Also to boot, to be told by a person you had trusted and loved and assisted in many ways both overseas and in the country of your birth, that you are no more than trash to him, a slut and a whore like all white women, or most anyway to him, is one of the most hurtful and savage things to experience. I would not wish it on anyone, especially not when you happen to pregnant to that man. To see every black person or African person in the light of that experience would be to not appreciate that there are some very high quality good black or African people around. People of high moral and ethical character and people who you would miss out on knowing if you were judge them the way you have been depicted and judged by one vicious and nasty person who just happens to be African. You do not buy into that story just the way I will not buy into the calculated viciousness of this person.
However, this mail requires an answer. The mail about the Noahides was send to you by mistake, not intended to you but to another closer friend Ilana. So I excuse myself for sending it to you unintentionally.  However, your reaction is pathetic, showing your real character. You are a pathetic human being with a bag full of inferiority complexes.  So yes, YOU go to hell yourself.  You are shameful, your reaction is shameful, both disgusting. Something is really wrong with you; you need help, go get it.

I did laugh when I read her email because it was calculated and vicious just as I said and she has been dying to say this for a long time. Twenty years ago, I would have been cut to the quick by such a letter and would have spent the best part of a week weeping and bawling my eyes out and going over and over the letter and thinking about 'why I am pathetic' and why doesn't she like me, what have I done wrong?' In other words, I would buy right into the script of the person who would send such a letter. Now tougher and wiser, I read between the lines and laugh because this is a perfect example of psychological projection. She is the one crying for help. She is very similar to the woman who is leaving obscene panting messages or the silent phone calls I have been getting on my mobile from an internet number 61 3 90903737.  Yes, the number has come up on my phone. You would think that a person who goes to the trouble of making obscene phone calls could at least have a blocked number and do it properly. Anyway I have got Telstra to put a trace on the number and will go to the police with the trace number, so the silly creature can make all the stupid calls she wants.
Thank you G-D! The year has gotten off to a flying start. What next? No, please do not tell me. I am praying for peace and Moishiach NOW!
This is a great CD by the wayand when I can afford it, I am buying it. I RECOMMEND IT.
Chill, girl, chill and let the dogs of war run in other quarters. Create mental fences against those who would try to destroy who you are.  Do not let them take you down paths you do not wish to travel and to tangle you in emotional thorn thickets. Burst forth and be free and at one with the Universal Master, Creator of All. You are your own best mother. Do not look for gentleness or compassion in others. Be and be compassionate to yourself and yours first.