This blog is a no-Israel-bashing zone (click for explanation)
A great big Kol Hakavod to my fourth graders, who led services last night. They were wonderful. They did a great job on Mizmor L'David and the Hatzi Kaddish, to name only two. I wish I could take pictures on Shabbat, because they were also cute as could be up there on the bima.
At the Oneg, a parent of one of my students from last year said her daughter asked if those were really Ms. Yourish's legs. She said she'd never seen me wear a dress before. She has, she's just forgotten all the services and dinners that I've dressed up for. I tend to wear pants suits when I teach, the better to be able to chase my students if need be. Or play dodgeball. We did that during recess on Tuesday. I let one of my "bad boys" hit me with the ball and get me out. I figured it was his dream come true, to be able to hit the teacher.
On the other hand, the parent also told me I was a good role model for her daughter. Uh-oh, I'm a role model. Actually, that's very flattering.
I've been saying for years that I'm a Jew-hater's worst nightmare: I teach little Jews to be big Jews. I may not have children of my own, but I'm doing my part to propagate the Jewish nation. That knowledge gives me great satisfaction.
My grandfather would be very proud. He taught Hebrew school for years, and was the director of several schools while I was growing up. In fact, I tutored some of his students as I got older. Interestingly, my grandfather was Orthodox, but he ran the Hebrew school at Beth Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Irvington, while my brothers and I were attending. Sometimes, he was pretty tolerant of differences in Judaism. Sometimes not so much.
Zayda was definitely intolerant of Jew-hatred. I got that from both sides of the family. And I pass it on to my students. I've taught them that one way to piss off a Jew-hater is to chant "Am Yisrael Chai" ("The people of Israel live"). I've noticed that if you start that chant at an anti-Israel protest, it really torks off the anti-Israel protesters. This always leads my students into chanting the phrase for a minute or two in class, which they love. They also like it when I say things like "Purim is the holiday where the Jews kicked the crap out of the Persians." After a second or two of gasping for my saying a bad word, they store that for the ride home with their parents. "So, what did you learn in Hebrew school today?" "Ms. Yourish said a bad word!"
Last night at dinner, I sat with the family of another of my students from last year, and said the above, at which point there was a gasp and then silence from my former student. "I'd never be able to teach public school," I said. Because of the language thing? they asked. No, because I can't see myself teaching the way you need to teach in public school. I need more latitude than that. There are some days I simply throw the lesson plan out because it's obvious my students need something more exciting to keep their attention. I've made up a Jewish Monopoly game on the spot, drawing the gameboard on the whiteboard and using a dreidel for a die, making my students answer questions, define Hebrew words, or read prayers in order to win points or get out of jail. (There's always a jail in any -Opoly game.) I let them read The Boring Book (Living as Partners with God; it's basically a thinking book, not a doing book) in "silly voices," which makes the lesson go a bit easier.
Then again, J. remembered an incident from last year when one of the parents and I were in the hallway discussing something that really annoyed me, and I said, "That's bullshit!" apparently loud enough for the students to hear.
"Oh, yeah, I heard all about that on the way home that night," his mother told me.
"You said it twice," J. reminded me.
I don't even remember what I was so annoyed about. But it's good to know what they remember the next year.
Actually, J. remembered something else from that year. When I asked him to tell me about Purim, he said, "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat."
That's what I'm talking about.
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Charles Johnson pointed me to this op-ed in today's LA Times. (If you have no registration, go to Bugmenot.) It's by Syrian Spokesliar Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria's minister for emigrant affairs, whatever that means. (I suspect he is not minstering to the needs of Jews who emigrated from Syria.) It's chock-full of lies and equivocation, but this is the line that burns my ass the most.
Let's look at Syria's long-standing tradition of religious coexistence, shall we?
That's some history of religious tolerance. But hey, don't take my word for it. Look for yourself. There are tons of different sources, all pointing to the same thing: Syria has has no history of religious tolerance, not when it comes to Jews.
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Hamas declares victory: Israel says screw it, we're leaving Gaza because we're tired of the world coming down on us and it's getting rather expensive and tough to protect our people and oh, yeah, the effing world says to get the hell out of Gaza or they'll isolate us. What does Hamas say? "We won."
You may remember that that is exactly what happened in Lebanon. And look how that turned out. This is a lose-lose proposition, but Israel should probably have tried to force an agreement that calls for the pullout of Gaza. The war continues.
The thing is, Israel won the terror war. See Defeating Arafat's War: The IDF's Success Against Asymmetric Warfare - Gerald M. Steinberg (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies/Bar-Ilan University)
Then there's the problem of Jerusalem. Israel is doing its damnedest to keep Jerusalem whole (which I wholeheartedly approve). The pals, of course, protest. The U.S. says stop. No, the U.S. says it won't say stop. Wait, yes, we will. No, wait, I was misquoted.
If anyone can make head or tails of this, I strongly urge you to apply to the Bush Administration for a job. They need you.
In the meantime, I am utterly dreading what is going to happen when the IDF has to confront people who refuse to leave their homes. Millions of Jew-haters are going to cheer when they see Jew against Jew.
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Can you believe I've never used that header? Me neither, but I think not.
They tried to kill us, they failed, let's eat: Happy Purim, my fellow celebrants. I had 62.5% of my students at the Purim festivities tonight, took a bunch of pictures, and will burn some CDs for the synagogue tomorrow and drop them off at the dinner. My students are leading services tomorrow night. They were a bit disappointed that I didn't show up dressed as the Hulk, but I couldn't find a pair of purple sweats for a decent price. I think I'll start looking for next year.
By the way, Purim is the holiday where the Jews kicked the crap out of the Persians. And that was using only swords. A lesson for Iran to think about today. In fact, it's a lesson that compares well with the state of Jews today. I'll go into more detail about it tomorrow or over the weekend.
Cats, damned cats, and sleeping: So this morning at 5 a.m., I hear this horrific, metallic crashing noise, and then I hear Tig yowling horribly, like he's been hurt. I run out of bed, zip down the stairs, and find Tig in front of the picture windowthe one with the metal blindsnose to nose with a cat outside the window, having words. Growls and yowls, mostly. The noise I heard was Tig crashing through the blinds. I got rid of the strange cat and Tig settled down, but I lost at least an hour's sleep, which rather sucks, as I have Round 7 of The Cold That Will Not Die. I'm off to bed early tonight, and thank goodness, I get to sleep in. The company I'm temping for is closed tomorrow.
And oh yeah, Lair rocks: He is so funny these days you can't read his blog if you've got a glass of anything within six feet of you. You can't even think about eating while reading Lair's blog, because you're going to spit imaginary food into your monitor. My current favorite are his letters from Kofi Annan to Yasser Arafat, which are offensive and tasteless and absolutely effing hilarious. Then there are all the cat posts. Then there's this one on timeclocks.
You see, this is why, no matter how offensive Lair gets, I'll never de-link him. He's too damned funny.
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Of course they could stop terror if they want to: The IDF says the PA is preventing as many terror attacks as Israel. Except for one little difference: The PA simply sets them free, weapons and all, to attack again.
If he were actually elected, I might change my mind about loathing all royalty: King Abdullah is telling the world that Hizbullah and Syria are planning terror attacks on Israel to try to divert attention from, oh, the fact that Syria has no intention of giving up Lebanon.
Interesting. First, he pushes for peace with Israel, and actually states that the pals don't get to turn the clock back to 1967. Then he blows off the Arab League summit. Now he's telling Jewish leaders that the Dorktator is trying to attack Israel to prevent attacks on his guys. If this keeps up, I may start actually liking the guy.
In the meantime, Great Britain is trying to get the EU to freeze Hizbullah's assets. Whoa. Of course, there's a flip side.
Israel, do as we say. Pals, uh, well, uh, do something. In yet another example of Israel Double Standard Time, we have the U.S. giving Ariel Sharon a hard time on settlements. And nobody giving Mahmoud Abbas a hard time on disarming terrorists.
See, it was leaked, too, to make the humiliation public.
And in a reprint from the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune chides Sharon. If anyone can find the Times similarly chiding Abbas to rein in terrorists, I'll eat my hat. And it's made of straw.
Anti-Semitic attacks hit a ten-year-high in France: You know, the country where there wasn't any anti-Semitism. And in the spirit of moral equivalency, this report was released with a report that attacks on Muslims in France also doubled. But here's the difference:
So, in a sick way, Chirac was right. The anti-Semitism isn't coming from the French. It's coming from the Muslim and Arab immigrants.
More to come later. I'm off on Friday, at least. That's when we'll get to catch up on posting.
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Talk to me: Okay, the excessive talking on phone at job is over with, so I can once more resume chatting on the phone at home. Go ahead. Call me. Then again, I'm rather tired. Never mind.
Things I learned on the phone, 1: It is extremely easy to confuse people who answer the phones at call centers. It is even easier to confuse people who answer phones at call centers in New Delhi. Then again, the ones in America were not exactly brain trusts. After a while, I just started saying, "Thanks, but I dialed the wrong number," which didn't confuse them at all, since that was something they heard often.
Things I learned on the phone, 2: I think every major company in this country has its own road assistance service. Everybody. Even Reader's Digest has one. I kid you not.
Things I learned on the phone, 3: Nobody will never get me to do that full-time.
I'll be back after dinner. I had a bit of Internet access today, and saw things I want to discuss.
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By the way, Lebanon's Syrian sock-puppet isn't at the summit. Neither is King Abdullah of Jordan, whose peace proposal with Israel the Dictators' League swatted down.
While the IDF's away, the terrorists play: They're taking advantage of the truce and regrouping, restocking, and reloading. Watch the bombs start exploding as soon as they decide they're ready. Bastards.
The war is far from over. This is only a lull.
Hamas vs. Fatah: My money's on the killers. Oh, wait, they're all killers. Sucker bet.
Let's end on a good note: Israelis saving Americans. Once again, Israeli technology is helping to save American lives. No Jew cooties for us!
Nice job all around, folks.
And that's a wrap. My dinner is ready. Which is not a wrap.
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Thing 1: I've got a temp job through Kelly that involves talking on the phone all day long. (No, it's not a telemarketing job; I'd never stoop that low). I will not be answering the phone tonight, tomorrow, or Wednesday unless it's extremely important, or the call is extremely brief. Since I don't know how you can telegraph to me that the call will be brief, don't expect me to pick up. Your best bet is email for the next few days.
Thing 2: Related to Thing 1: There are a lot of stupid people at the other end of phone lines.
Thing 3: There is no Thing 3. (Oh, shut up, that's the first time I ever pulled this one.)
Thing 4: I have to stop watching zombie movies. Now I can't stop thinking about that zombie survival test (thanks so much, Michele), and what I'd do in case of a real zombie attack (Southern Gun World, first stop). I scored a 99 on the survival test, by the way. Not because I've seen a lot of zombie movies. I've only seen, oh, five or six of them. But damn, I know what to do when in a situation that includes zombies, and trust me, it isn't, "Stop and help every other human being you see." Survival of the fittest, boys and girls. And I don't care what Michael Jackson thinks, zombies can't dance.
Thing 5: My dinner is ready. I may have enough energy for another post tonight. We'll have to see.
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We can rebuild it: Kofi Annan is setting forth a plan for "sweeping changes" to the United Nations. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I'm willing to give him a chance to institute them. Of course, the first thing you need to do is make the voting eligibility in the United Nations for democratic nations only. No dictators need apply.
I'm going to check out the documentation on this. If nations like Syria or China are eligible to sit on this council, we'll know the patient is on life support and the plug should be pulled.
Gee, that's a shock: The Arab nations have rejected Jordan's new plan for peace with Israel. Why? Because Jordan had the nerve to say the palestinians can't have everything they've demanded since they lost the war with Israel.
Here's the thing, Moussa, baby: After the Israeli public watches video of Israelis beating and teargassing Israelis so that they can give Gaza back to the palestinians, you're not going to see a repeat of that in all of the West Bank, specifically none of the Jerusalem suburbs. As one of my favorite lines from the Princess Bride goes: Get used to disappointment.
As a result, Jordan's King Abdullah is skipping the summit. So is Lebanon's chief Syrian puppet, er, so-called president, but not because of the peace plan. He says Lebanon is going through "exceptional circumstances" right now. Yeah, they want you and your Syrian masters to get out, bub. I'd listen if I were you. I sense a change in the wind.
Shut up, murderers: Hizbullah is whining now that the EU has finally removed Al-Manar from their satellite channel choices, finally deciding that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, and Al-Manar is nothing but Terrorist TV. So why were they shut down?
Whatever will Hizbullah fans do without their incitement? Not to worry. Al-Jazeera still exists.
You know, I don't understand why Nasrallah is still breathing. If ever there were a case for targeted assassination, he is one.
Jaws in Oz: Ew. A 20-foot shark, no less. (Oh, c'mon. You know you want to click the link. We've all seen Jaws.)
The Iraqi war protests, 2005 version: Wow, thousands protested worldwide. Hundreds protested in Pittsburgh. Hundreds more in San Francisco. Hoo-wee, it's a good thing there weren't, oh, millions protesting, like there were two years ago, or we'd never have toppled Saddam. Oh, wait. They did, and we did. Man, life's gotta suck if you're an anti-Bush protester these days. But then, perhaps it's because of scenes like this that the protesters simply aren't drawing well:
Okay, picture it. Really. You think the woman in the hood was putting her hands up and shouting when everyone else did? I'm thinking yes.
And they wonder why we laugh at them.
There's also a Tsunami Overuse Alert in this quote: ""That's a whole tsunami worth of people, vanished," said Maureen Small, an Albuquerque physician."
In fact, I've just decided to implement a new policy. Send me your Tsunami Overuse Alert quotes, and I'll post them as I get them.
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Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary is also a good bet if you've never been here before.