Category Archives: defense of others

The Path of the Systema Warrior, Compassion

Mitzvahמִצְוָה A commandment, a commandment from G-d, there were originally 613 of them. There are 248 positive and 365 negative mitzvot מצות that would be the plural of mitzvah. The Jerusalem Talmud commonly refers to any charitable act as “the mitzvah.” They are actually eternal to be carried down through every generation. Interestingly, one of them on Page 20: Building a Sanctuary for G­-d from Sefer H’Mitzvot. Okay, I’ll quit. But the point of this is that some of the commands are acts of kindness, acts of goodness and charity. From Psalms תהילים, Tehillim 10:

10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,and fall by his might.

11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;forget not the afflicted.

13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,that you may take it into your hands;

to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.

17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

One rather gets the idea that abuse of the poor, helpless and vulnerable is frowned on wouldn’t they? By G-d, and he commands us to have the same standards, as we are to be a reflection of him. We are to have compassion on them, not abuse them.

And yet.

More than one out of every 5 students report being bullied, 64% of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36% reported the bullying and, more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.

While only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, but all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying. When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth not in special education. Students with disabilities or special education needs are twice as likely to be identified as bullied targets and as bullies when compared to peers without disabilities.1

The results of being bullied are diverse. The victims may be:

depressed, lonely, and anxious, have low self-esteem,experience headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and poor eating. Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance, and think about suicide or plan for suicide.

Some children with disabilities have low self-esteem or feel depressed, lonely or anxious because of their disability, and bullying may make this even worse. Bullying can cause serious, lasting problems not only for children who are bullied but also for children who bully and those who witness bullying.2

While doing research for this column I found several government web sites dealing with bullying. They contained facts, figures and government programs. The government has been trying to deal with it.3 They have sent no less that four “Dear Colleague” letters, in 2000, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Just in case you want to read it yourself. There are lots of acronyms, and lots talk about individual plans, and that sort of thing. But what it amounts to, to me, is they don’t really have any real world answers beyond saying if the parents yank their kid out of your public school, you lose tax dollars.

I find it interesting that 57% of bullying stops when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim. But what if the victim were empowered? No, I’m not talking about shearing more of the poor pink sheep to knit a bunch of hats to plop down on kids heads. I’m talking about an amazing program. I told you to hang on to the horn for this final part of my interview with Joe Mayberry, author of The Systema Warrior Guidebook.

Joe had been training in the martial arts since 1974, but he hadn’t really been teaching. But he started hearing from people he knew who had children that wanted to take lessons, of some rather despicable business practices in some of the area martial arts schools. And it was happening far more often than he would have thought. Joe decided that he would open a school and quit saying “NO” to those who had wanted him to teach. After the school had been going for a while, he got a email one night that became a turning point. He said it was on a Thursday night, and he had to wait about four days before he could respond to it, because he wanted to think it through, he was both mad and sad. The email was from the mother of a little six year old boy who wanted to learn martial arts. The little six year old boy was blind, he wanted to learn to defend himself. The mother had contacted other martial arts schools, some had flat out refused to teach him, others told her they would have to pay for private lessons as he would be unable to learn in a group. I believe Joe said they also told her his guide dog wouldn’t be allowed on the mat at the dojo. I opined that the dog was possibly better behaved than some kids, he would be the least of my worries. Joe kindly overlooked that remark.

The little boy came to Systema St. Louis and started classes, in a group. In his group classes Joe has trained not only blind students, but students with autism, deafness and one who has an eye missing. Students that other schools were unwilling or unable to train have learned and flourished. From this the Systema Warrior Foundation was born.

Because Systema looks at each child’s strength, they are able to help them develop actions and defenses that they are realistically able to use. Shamelessly swiped from the web site:

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a TRUE WARRIOR – Combat Skill, Strong Spirit and Healthy Body.

Our goal is to strengthen those abilities that are already present in each child, no matter what disability they may have. We show them that everyone can be strong, confident and empowered.

​When Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko created the foundations of Systema, he noted that everything that happens to us in life; good or bad, has one ultimate purpose, that is to create the best possible conditions for a person to understand him or herself. Our goal is to grow on that philosophy and to share it with others.

Since the Systema Warrior Foundation started at Systema St. Louis, Joe has trained around 2,000 children with disabilities. TWO THOUSAND, in the United States and Canada. Did I mention, he does this free of charge to them? Yes, he does. The cost of teaching them is covered by donations (just in case you wanted to) to the Systema Warrior foundation, and some of the things that Joe does, he donates the proceeds to the Systema Warrior foundation.

As Joe said, no matter your age, shape or abilities, you have a G-d given right to life and defend yourself. And his actions back up his words.

It seems so perfectly fitting that a Systema school would have a Systema Warrior Foundation when you consider that the original Systema warrior was Ilya Muromets. And Ilya has quite an amazing story. I really prefer the version in the Systema book as it gives you more of a spiritual side. That’s Ilya in the first picture with the little girl.

I just can’t help but love the school motto: “Doing bad things to bad people since 2010”. Just kind of fits with my world view.

So, if I were a kid, and I had a choice of having a knitted pink hat plopped down on my head, or a government program that says it’s illegal to bully children or learning skills that have been taught to me, for my level of ability? I know which one I would go for. I think the Systema Warrior Foundation is a great example of a mitzvah, don’t you?

The Systema Warrior Foundation
http://stlsystema.com/systema-warrior-foundation.html

 

1Bullying Statistics http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp

2Bullying https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandsafety/bullying.html

3Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/bullying-students-disabilities-addressed-guidance-america%E2%80%99s-schools

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Cutting Calves

So in this weeks Torah teaching Mishpatim, I learned a lot of things when I listened to this weeks Temple Talk radio show. This is probably no news to those more learned than I, and that probably doesn’t take much. But here’s what really struck me.

After the Ten Commandments are given, G-d asks one thing. That an alter be built for him out of earth. Because Adam rishon, Adam the first man, was made out of earth. The alter represents man, made of earth, because man was made of earth. And then it talks about the sacrifices of animals. Now here is where my thinking got a big wake up call. I’m human, human foibles, and faults there is no denying. I’ve never easily understood why innocent animals had to die because I made a mess of things. So the next part really was a light bulb for me.

Man had been making alters to G-d since Adam. Cain and Abel הֶבֶל ,קַיִןQayin, Heḇel. Noach נח also made an alter. All these people, and this is not the whole list, made alters to G-d before Mt. Sinai, הר סיני, Har Sinai. What G-d was saying after he gave them the commandments, and the instructions on how to live good lives in a community was not some new thing. The people had already been building alters and sacrificing animals. Not because G-d had told them to, but because it was their attempt to reach up to G-d, their attempts to reach out to him. And it pleased him and basically he was saying “That thing ya’ll do? Yeah, I like that, you’re reaching up to me. Keep on doin’ that”. WOW. I’ve read that so many times, so many times and I’ve never put that together! I need to hear someone kind of put the pieces in place for me. It was there all along, and I just never thought of it like that.

Now, hang on to the saddle horn, the calf is fixin’ to cut to the right.

Not only in the movie, but in the topic. But it all fits together like the horse and rider.

How did the horse know the calf was going to cut to the right? It is part training and part instinct. The horse is reading the calf. You thought the rider was simply using the reins? Look how loose they are. Now I will be honest, I like cutting, it is as much fun as it looks to be. But it’s not my first choice of sport. But oh yes, it is a LOT of fun. You use your legs, but your horse is your partner, and they certainly do read the calf. As well as using their G-d given, man honed instincts. What can interfere with that? A rider holding too tightly too the reins, not a loose enough relaxed body, a rider who wants to micro-manage. A situation of not using the things already there, just waiting to be utilized. Horse, rider, calf and instinct. The calf’s to go back to the herd, and the horse and riders to cut it away from the herd.

Now, hang on to the horn, the calf is fixin’ to cut to the left.

It is the same with us. IF we have the chance to have someone lay out things we knew, but in a different way.

I was blessed recently by being able to attend a class. A class on weapons of opportunity. Let’s say you are in a situation where you are disarmed by law, or a bad person. You have to go to the hospital, or a doctor’s office. Yes, you can carry concealed. But if you have to don a gown and go for an x-ray, you have a problem. Or any other situation you care to come up with where you are attacked. What do you have on hand you could use to defend yourself? Can you think of anything? You probably have your car keys, a credit card? A comb? You probably wish you had a Mayberry key, if you know what that is. Could you defend yourself with a can of peas? Do you have the instinct to see a potential threat? Are they honed, have you trained yourself what to look for? Do you know the things that can interfere with your instincts? What part does fear play in dealing with these situations? Fear is always bad, right? No.

Does spirituality enter into the equation?

I heard a story recently in this class. The teacher related going to the store with his kids, he was looking at kitchen implements, like for a spatula. He was standing there regarding the choices and his son commented, “Dad is figuring out how to kill someone with that spatula”. And he was. It’s not about killing, it’s about being aware. It’s about being aware that if you needed to, you would have things available you could use to defend yourself and others you care about, and how you would go about that. What would you do if a bad person was holding someone you cared about by the neck with a knife to their throat? Could you intervene? Would you?

Curious? GOOD! Stay tuned because I plan to shed some light on these questions and the person who teaches the class, along with a whole lot more about an amazing system of defense. If we can have a riot free weekend!

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Tzahal Ties a Crimson Cord on Elor Azariah

elor-azariah

No sooner do we get the Menorahs put up, the last of the chocolate coin tin foils in the garbage and the olive oil spatter, cleaned off the kitchen vent hood, a military tribunal representing the very worst of Hellenized/Socialist/Ghetto Jew mentality still afflicting modern Israel, brings us a belated Chanukah lesson.

The conviction of Elor Azariah for Manslaughter.

Anticipating an objection, about the only thing I wish to add to the reaction below, is that it has very little to do with the uniform.  It has everything to do with the healthy psychology of any human being, when faced with a dedicated murderer.

From Facebook, we read:

It is no surprise that Elor Azaryah, the IDF soldier accused of shooting and killing a wounded terrorist, was convicted today. Any other outcome would have been a stinging slap in the face of a much too broad elite and their erroneous assumptions.

Elor was the only uniformed man in the area who acted in a moral manner. The bullet that he shot and the publicity generated by the radical Left B’tzelem’s film of the terror attack and its aftermath – recalibrated the moral coordinates in the arena.

The concept of murdering Jews just because they are Jews is not justiciable! Putting Elor on trial is not moral! The standard bearers of destruction of the Jews and those who act upon those evil principles do not deserve a trial. They lose their right to exist, and anybody who eliminates them and ensures that they are dead is performing the most just and lofty moral act.

The bullet that Elor shot restored the dimension of justice to the arena. The question mark that the knifing terror had etched over the right of the Jews to live, was erased by the clear exclamation point drawn by Elor.

Elor’s moral act was the antidote to the poisonous de-legitimization of Jewish existence – the poison against which Israel’s entire security apparatus stood helpless. His moral act stopped the knifing terror (a fact that can be clearly proven). Elor’s conviction will likely reignite the stabbings.

A cogent answer to the gutlessness of the Tribunal.  here is another analysis, from last Spring.

 

 

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Some things are worth fighting for

Chapter 3 of Maccabees 1

1 Then his son Judas, who was called Maccabeus, took his place.

2 All his brothers and all who had joined his father supported him, and they gladly carried on Israel’s war.

3 He spread abroad the glory of his people, and put on his breastplate like a giant. He armed himself with weapons of war; he fought battles and protected the camp with his sword.

4 In his deeds he was like a lion, like a young lion roaring for prey.

5 He pursued the lawless, hunting them out, and those who troubled his people he destroyed by fire.

6 The lawless were cowed by fear of him, and all evildoers were dismayed. By his hand deliverance was happily achieved,

7 and he afflicted many kings. He gave joy to Jacob by his deeds, and his memory is blessed forever.

8 He went about the cities of Judah destroying the renegades there. He turned away wrath from Israel,

9 was renowned to the ends of the earth; and gathered together those who were perishing.

10 Then Apollonius* gathered together the Gentiles, along with a large army from Samaria, to fight against Israel.

11 When Judas learned of it, he went out to meet him and struck and killed him. Many fell wounded, and the rest fled.

12 They took their spoils, and Judas took the sword of Apollonius and fought with it the rest of his life.

13 But Seron, commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had mustered an assembly of faithful men ready for war.

14 So he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will wage war against Judas and his followers, who have despised the king’s command.”

15 And again a large company of renegades advanced with him to help him take revenge on the Israelites.

16 When he reached the ascent of Beth-horon,* Judas went out to meet him with a few men.

17 But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: “How can we, few as we are, fight such a strong host as this? Besides, we are weak since we have not eaten today.”

18 But Judas said: “Many are easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few;

19 for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven.

20 With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us;

21 but we are fighting for our lives and our laws.

22 He* will crush them before us; so do not fear them.”

23 When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly upon Seron and his army, who were crushed before him.

24 He pursued Seron down the descent of Beth-horon into the plain. About eight hundred* of their men fell, and the rest fled to the land of the Philistines.

25 Then Judas and his brothers began to be feared, and dread fell upon the Gentiles about them.

26 His fame reached the king, and the Gentiles talked about the battles of Judas.

I’ll be honest, I love Hanukkah. I didn’t grow up loving it, but once I understood it, and what it meant, I fell in love with the Maccabees. The real ones, the real meaning of Hanukkah. The one Y.B. wrote about. The Hanukkah that makes me realize in every and all generations we must safeguard those things that we hold most dear. Judah knew what was at stake, he assumed command after his father Mattathias died, he and his brothers had been with Mattathias as he began the fight to save the Hebrews from the orders of Antiochus that were meant to eradicate the practice and knowledge of Judaism. To restore the land and the people to a way of live they were meant to live. But they had to survive the soldiers to do that. Judah didn’t just pray and hope for the best.

Verse 3, “He armed himself with weapons of war; he fought battles and protected the camp with his sword.”

Weapons of war was not a “bad” phrase, or a “hate speech” or used in a denigrating way. It was a fact of life. You want to live? Be prepared, because there are bad evil people out there, they do not care if you’re a pacifist or not. This phrase always makes me pause. A couple years ago I was in Tel Aviv and I was a woman with a mission. I wanted to find a model of a Centurion tank circa 1973 Yom Kippur war. I went in a toy store and looked around and a clerk, a young man, came up and asked if he could help me. They had a model battleship, and some airplanes, I couldn’t find the tanks. I explained as best as I could what I wanted. He finally got it and had a shocked and appalled look on his face. “You mean a weapon of WAR??” he exclaimed horrified. Yes, I want a tank. “We do not want weapons of war in this store!” he informed me self-righteously. I shot a sidelong glance at the battleship. Uh huh. I was pissed but it wasn’t worth the argument and I didn’t know enough good words then. I thought to myself, buddy, if it weren’t for those “weapons of war” and some of the people that knew how to wield them you’d have been in a world of hurt more than once. It was a couple weeks after that Hama$$ began firing rockets into Israel again from Gaza, the prototype of how the two state solution will work. Weapons of war can be an excellent thing you have to defend your camp.

13 But Seron, commander of the Syrian army, heard that Judas had mustered an assembly of faithful men ready for war.

14 So he said, “I will make a name for myself and win honor in the kingdom. I will wage war against Judas and his followers, who have despised the king’s command.”

15 And again a large company of renegades advanced with him to help him take revenge on the Israelites.

16 When he reached the ascent of Beth-horon,* Judas went out to meet him with a few men.

17 But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: “How can we, few as we are, fight such a strong host as this? Besides, we are weak since we have not eaten today.”

18 But Judas said: “Many are easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few;

19 for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven.

The Maccabees, my partisan heroes. The Warsaw ghetto partisans, the partisans of the forests, the hills, the caves. Small but determined groups that were willing to fight and risk all for freedom. Because what they fought for was what they treasured. Just as Judah knew and told us, deliverance comes from Heaven. To G-d deliverance from a few or from many is all the same. 1967, 1973 and for the Maccabees G-d does not respect political correctness or numbers and no task is too much for G-d. He’s in the miracle business and he’s very good at it. Do I know why he hasn’t granted miracles every time I think there should have been one? No. But maybe someday I will understand, or ask him. Zelmans Partisans may be a small group, but we are a small group of determined people who know what we are about and are tenacious as wolverines. We understand what we fight for.

The Maccabees were having none of this compromise our rights, compromise our Torah, our feasts our way of life, our Shabbat. No. Compromising on “evil black rifles” “high capacity (adequate capacity) magazines is the same folly. We can follow “man’s” “king’s” laws to the death, or we can live by G-d’s commands.

I was talking with a friend about wars, Israel and history. I was told that today Israel doesn’t fight to win. Not really. They fight a little. Enough to keep things at bay, enough to keep the status quo. Yes, yes, I suppose that is right. Fight that battle and get it done. Fight it fast and hard and keep the knowledge of what you are fighting for in the front of your mind. Fight to win. If you have to fight, no halfway measures.

The Maccabees didn’t fight for sufganyot or latkas, not even the yummy jalapeno cheddar ones. They fought to live as G-d commanded them. And the things that we hold most precious, most dear are the things we must be willing to fight for. I suppose one could evaluate what really is most dear to them by looking at the things they really are willing to fight for.

I have seen miracles, this time of year. I don’t believe they are limited to this time of year at all, but I have seen some rather amazing things happen this time of year. I believe G-d is still in the miracle business. And so I pray for my much loved teammates and for our members and readers a season blessed with miracles.

Happy Hanukkah.

Judah Maccabee Meme
Judah Maccabee Meme
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Peshmerga

The things we learn from our friends at TZP. I sent a screen shot not long ago to my teammates of some of the followers we have picked up. To my great shock they are from….wait for it, no not the DNC, but rather, Iraq. Well color me baffled. As he does from time to time, and it’s always gratefully appreciated, Y.B. helped clear things up for me. He sent me a link to the following documentary. It’s excellent. Not only is it in Hebrew, which is good practice for me, but it has English subtitles, because I’m just not that good. Yet. I’d urge you to watch it. It’s about 45 minutes long and contains a wealth of information, and to me inspiration.

A small bit of background. Peshmerga means “those who stand in front of death.” The head of the Peshmerga is the President of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Region is located in the north of Iraq and constitutes the country’s only autonomous region. Often referred to as Southern Kurdistan, since the Kurds consider it to be one of the four parts of a Greater Kurdistan. Southeastern Turkey is Northern Kurdistan, northern Syria is Rojava (as it is called in the video) or Western Kurdistan, and northwestern Iran is Eastern Kurdistan. The Peshmerga were said to have been instrumental in the capture of Saddam Hussein. I’m guessing the Kurds are still miffed about the 3,200 to 5,000 Kurds killed and 7,000 to 10,000 more injured, most of which were civilians, in the Halabja chemical attack on March 16, 1988 by Saddam. Stuff like that tends to make one hold a grudge. In Syria under Assad, the clothes, language, dances, songs, basically the culture of Kurdistan was forbidden to them. If you can erase a culture, it’s easier to dominate or erase a people.

There are different branches of Kurdish fighters. There is a handy cut out and save guide to the who’s who of the different units at Who are the Kurds? A user’s guide to Kurdish politics. Some are Pro-Western and capitalist, some more communist. What they are all doing though is fighting ISIS. Or as barry calls it, the JV team. And barry has once again demonstrated what happens when people are incapable of seeing evil for what it is. Or seeing the wrong thing as evil, for example, law-abiding gun owners, police, Christmas Trees and Bakeries. But I digress.

Back to Iraq. The “JV” team has decimated several Yazidi villages. Some Yazidis have managed to flee through routes the Kurds who crossed the border from Syria managed to make for them. The Yazidis are told they will convert to Sunni Islam or die. Then they are given a “deadline”. If they do convert, the men are forced to fight with isis and the women are taken. Another small digression here, isis has said they are infiltrating fighters with the “refugees” to America, and if a people needed refuge, it would be the Yazidi or Christians fleeing. Yet, the door to refuge in America is shut to them.

The Kurds have a rough row to hoe. Turkey threatens them if they perform operations near the Turkish border and the PKK is involved because Turkey blames the PKK for the “attempted Coup”. Their weapons are outdated and in short supply and help from the rest of the world has been in quite short supply. The Christian militia in Syria does fight with them though in some places. Despite all this, the Kurdish fighters have been amazingly effective against isis.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s a interesting “Cliff Notes” part for you. Some of the units are made up of women. Much like the IDF, these women are fighters, and fight alongside their male brothers-in-arms. Some of the unit leaders are women. In the video one of the male PKK fighters says the women are excellent leaders, better than some of the men, they are good teachers. And some of these leaders have been at it for a long time.

Media-Leader of a PKK group
Media-Leader of a PKK group

Therefore isis has put large bounties on them. Like Media, shown above.

Unlike barry’s JV team isis, the Kurds do not kill the captured isis fighters. They go to prisons. The isis fighters? They enjoy killing the Kurds, or Jew, or Christians as it says in the video. Also Journalists. They enjoy killing them as well. They will tell you. The interviewer asked, he had personally known some of the journalists they killed.

And he's proud.
And he’s proud.

They also asked the captured isis fighters about their recruits that came from other countries. They explained the got in easily across the Turkish border. They just claim to be something they aren’t.

pretend2b
No, we aren’t jihadist. We’re refug, er um, free Army.

But back to the Kurdish women

An all-female Kurdish militia has launched a military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq with the aim of avenging and liberating the Yazidi women who’ve been raped, assaulted and killed by the terror group in Northern Iraq’s Sinjar region.

And the Yazidi women

An all-female Yazidi militia has vowed to be part of the operation to attack and drive out the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) from northern Iraq. The Sinjar Women’s Units (YJS) announced Saturday that they have “not forgotten those Yazidi women sold in [the slave] markets of Mosul or burned alive.”

If you aren’t aware of the issues I’m talking about this should get you up to speed pretty quick.

‘Yazidi women dragged by their hair, sold into sex slavery by ISIS for $25’

The isis fighters if given a choice, as you saw in the video, will usually choose to run from the Kurdish women. They hear their battle cry and choose to beat feet, and are often instructed to do so. Why? Because if they are killed by a “lowly woman”, it’s no 72 virgins and heaven for them. Is that sweet or what?

So, what brought all this on about the female fighters in Peshmerga? Well, it seems we recently had an election in the US. A woman labeled a “strong woman” a “fighter” by the media and the left was defeated. I, me, personally, believe many have confused “strong” with evil. As a result of these elections it seems countless people have been “triggered”. I’m not sure if they’ve been “triggered” by their winning trophies for “participating” most of their lives, if it’s indoctrination by the preponderance of left wing loons that indoctrinate in schools, their parents outrage that the appointed person didn’t win, or if their left wing coffee shop messed up their coffee. Or, they may have been “triggered” by $1500 a week pay. Non-profit? Interesting, would this fall under the auspices of the clintoon foundation or just another one of soros’s charity organizations? I dunno.

Pretty good pay, eh?
Pretty good pay, eh?

But when you have crowds blocking ambulances from getting through, idiots punching innocent police horses, and you have a pregnant woman trapped in her car as “peaceful protestors” hit the windows with bats, it’s too much. If they want to make a difference, if they want to work for a strong woman, and fight for womens rights? Then I think they need to turn in their diaper pins , say some prayers for the fighters that have been most effective against isis, perhaps speak to their legislative representatives about sending the Kurds some weaponry and supply help, and if they feel the need to be part of a group helping make the world a better place? I’m sure the Peshmerga would be glad to welcome them.

The amazing Media
The amazing Media

Ask for Media. They could use the help and these are strong women, fighting to free other women who have, and are living and dying in the hell of isis captivity. Who knows, maybe when the women of Peshmerga are done liberating the women in this war, they will go to Germany and help the women there.

One of these things is not like the other. That’s one of the female YPG fighters jumping over the fire.

Babies vs. Brass
Babies vs. Brass

Have at it. #RealFeminists

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Hannah

“One – two – three… eight feet long
Two strides across, the rest is dark…
Life is a fleeting question mark
One – two – three… maybe another week.
Or the next month may still find me here,
But death, I feel is very near.
I could have been 23 next July
I gambled on what mattered most, the dice were cast. I lost.”

hannah-szenes-1

On November 7th 1944 a valiant young Jewsess stared down her Nazi executioners and returned to Heaven. Hannah Senesh was born in Hungary, and despite being raised in an assimilated household, felt compelled to ‘make aliya’ to the Land of Israel in 1939.  She worked in an agricultural settlement, rebuilding the dream of two-thousand years.

“My God, my God
May there be no end
To the sea, to the sand,
The splash of the water,
The glow of the sky,
The prayer of man”

When the extent of the Shoah of the Jews of Europe became evident, she volunteered to fight with the British Army, against the Axis. Soon, she volunteered again, to join other commandos and parachute back into Nazi-occupied Europe, in order to aid the underground in Hungary.

She fought for three months with Tito’s partisans, and then made her way to Hungary, only to be caught by the enemy.

Hannah was brutally, and repeatedly, tortured. Despite their best efforts, the Nazis failed to get any information from her.

“Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the heart’s secret places.
Blessed is the heart that knows, for honors sake, to stop its beating.
Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.”

When they put her before a firing squad, she refused a blindfold. A gifted poet, diarist, and writer… a brave and determined warrior against evil, lived, and resisted them, to the end.

hannah-szenes-2

“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”

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Single-Handed, but with Angels at his side

On the 30th & 31’s of October, 1950, Tibor “Ted” Rubin was having a particularly crappy couple of days at work.

Having recently become a “GI Joe” for his new country,  Tibor found out that Jew Hatred was not merely a European phenomenon.  Sent as a rifleman to Korea, his sergeant simply delighted in “volunteering” “that Jew” repeatedly for the most dangerous of missions.

Now, Tibor was tasked with single-handedly covering the other soldiers’ retreat in the face of a massive enemy advance.

tibor-rubin-1

But, armed with not a small helping internal strength, remarkable bravery, and the help of Heaven, Tibor prevailed again and again.  On those two days, and on many other occasions both before and since, he not only survived, but heroically aided his fellow soldiers, with resolve, ingenuity, and good humor.

Tibor Rubin was born to a middle-class family in Paszto, Hungary, in 1929.  When the Nazi’s came, his parents tried to smuggle him to the relative safety of Switzerland.  He was caught in Italy and sent to Mauthausen.  His sister and stepmother were murdered in Auschwicz, and his father in Buchenwald.

When American troops liberated the prisoners at Mauthausen, Tibor sought a new live in America. He was determined to repay this “debt”, by joining the U.S. Army.  Due to his difficulty with English, it took three tries to be accepted.

In 2005, he receive the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.”

FILE -In this Sept. 23, 2005 file photo, President Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Tibor Rubin, in the East Room at the White House. Rubin, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who joined the U.S. Army after his liberation from the Nazis and earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean War, has died in California. He was 86. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
 (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

A new book on his story; Single Handed, by Daniel M. Cohen, came out this past summer

Here, also, is a brief oral history from the late Mr. Rubin himself, who passed away this past December.  May his memory be a blessing.

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Give me Land Lots of Land

I see a lot of stories daily about how carrying a concealed weapon has saved someone’s life, or the life of someone they love. These stories usually take place in a urban setting. It might be a fairly empty parking lot at 2200 or someone’s home, but most of the stories are more urban. I suppose that makes sense, more people.

But when many people think of the rural areas, they tend to think more of the tough, self-reliant type of folks, like Roy Rogers, the Cartwrights or Little House on the Prairie.

What set me down this thought path was a story I saw the other day and it reminded me of when I first moved to my current home, many, many years ago. I considered living places and found the pet deposit for two horses, a flock of chickens, four cats and three dogs was very spendy. I also am temperamentally unsuited to living in a city, so farm it was and I moved from a smaller farm to this one. When I would go to the barn to do chores I took all the dogs with me, family outing as it were. Not long after I had lived here I was coming back to the house from the barn and a man I had never seen was standing near the stock gate. Not a dog had barked, the wind must have been blowing the other direction. Nothing happened, he had heard from someone that I might be someone to talk to about training a horse. But it made me very aware of my vulnerability. No matter what else was going on in my life, this was something I needed to address. I didn’t really know any of my neighbors yet, so most people that stopped by would have been “strangers”. It was long before concealed carry laws or castle doctrine laws were in effect. It’s not that I didn’t have tools, I did. I needed to have them where they could be used. A .357 is dandy, unless it’s in the house, so I started doing things differently. But while laws weren’t in place to protect me, I could get access to the tools that would allow me to protect myself. Some states have laws protecting you only in your home or car, some, anyplace you legally have a right to be including any place on your property, not just your home.

So how did I get to thinking back all those years ago? I saw a story about yet another Jewish farmer in Israel who might be facing charges for shooting an Arab. I will never say farmers in America have it easy. I’ve known better since I was two. But farmers in Israel have a whole different set of dangers. The arabs and bedouins there cut fence, steal livestock, kill livestock, ruin orchards, poison guard dogs, attack the farmers and their families and sometimes kill them. Sadly, sometimes the government forces that are tasked with protecting the farmers seem to favor protecting the arab farmers. Whether it is yet another example of trying not to offend the world, or the police just don’t want to bother with it, I don’t know. Some farmers have been driven off their land, some have had to give up raising livestock, but it is most certain that many farmers in Israel face challenges and dangers that we over here do not face on a daily basis. The case that had been going on was of a farmer that had three arabs show up to steal his truck. He heard a noise and went outside, there they were with a metal bar and three to one odds. He fired in the air and was unaware that he had even hit one. When security forces finally showed up they found the body in a nearby field.

The mayor of the town defended the farmer, saying many such attacks occur during daily, and are repeated with no fear of reprisals. The mayor of the town thinks the U.S. has it right.

“Sunday’s shooting in Beit Elazri was justified,” Naim concludes. “It was an act of self-defense, and prevented innocent people from getting hurt. Every thief must know that he might die. It must be anchored in law, just as in the cradle of democracy, the United States, where every citizen has the right to self-defense of his body and his property, including the shooting of trespassers.”

I don’t know that we shoot trespassers all that much, but his point that we should have the right to defend ourselves, and criminals know we have the right and ability to defend ourselves, and that should slow them down some. Unless you live in a state with a lot of liberals where ever criminal life is sacred, yours not so much. This is made possible by electing liberal politicians because they think rights come from them, not G-d.

Farmers have gone to jail for defending themselves against four to one odds, for example Shai Dromi. While he was acquitted on manslaughter charges he was convicted of having an illegal weapon. It was his father’s. The good thing that came of the mess was it did start to make people aware of what the farmers face on a daily basis.

Now happily the farmer accused this time, has been cleared by the police of any wrong doing, so he won’t be spending time in jail.

Another good thing that came out of this is MKs Amir Ohana and Eitan Broshi submitted a petition that called for a emergency meeting to discuss the issue of self-defense in rural areas. Hopefully more than discussion will come of it. Since MK Ohana is involved, I am kind of thinking something more will.

Another thing I found very interesting was comments by Dr. Jodi Broder, Head of the Clinical Social Law program. I’m the one that put some of this in bold, not Dr. Broder.

Dr. Broder explained why, in his view, proactive self-defense is justified: “We, as citizens, gave the State all the rights over our defense and our property, under the assumption that it would uphold those values, but what happens when the State doesn’t defend its citizens?” he asked. In such a reality, he asserts, the right of a citizen to defend himself and his property returns to him.

Broder qualifies this assertion, however, noting, “not under every circumstance, but within the parameters of self-defense. You are allowed to defend yourself when there is an immediate danger to your life or property. In such a reality, when nobody else is around to defend you and you react in a proportional manner, not in order to punish but only to defend; when the burglar is endangering me or another or our property, I am allowed to defend as long as immediate action is required and the State is not present to supply this defense.”

In response to the question of whether there is an ethical problem with the fact that the same State that does not supply defense for citizens also limits citizens’ ability to defend themselves, Broder replied, “It is impossible to live in a situation in which there are no rules and each man is his own lawmaker. A burglar also has rights which we, as a state, choose to uphold. You may defend, but not punish.

“One of the problems in the State is that the government does not supply adequate defense of property in certain communities, and people feel existential danger and danger to their property; we may see reactions that seem disproportionate at first glance, but when you consider that the Police are probably not coming, and there’s nobody who’s going to help, and it’s my property and my life, the picture changes.”

First, I don’t think we should ever give over our rights to protect ourselves, I’m not suggesting we do so. I also find it interesting that the Israelis are allowed to use force when the criminal is stealing things. In America it’s usually only to defend life. Of course what they are stealing may well affect your livelihood, but I find this variance interesting as well. Second and I think this applies to any of us, the prosecutor in their nice warm, well lit office, reading over the police report as they thoughtfully sip their fresh cup of coffee is going decide someone’s future, or lack of one. They will decide if your response was proportional or not. Consider having someone like Kathleen Kane as the prosecutor. Kane was a Bloomberg backed anti-gun candidate. YESH! But I also see how his comments could apply to gun free zones, they chose to forbid us the ability to defend ourselves, then they have chosen that responsibility. An old discussion, I know. I’m not talking burger joints, I’m thinking more like hospitals, government buildings. Places of worship are targets as well, but I think their response to how they wish to handle these things has more autonomy, but I could be wrong. But back to the prosecutor, you have a person in their nice office, possibly who has never been in a rural area deciding what is going to happen to you based on what has already happened to you, when you were all alone at 0300 in the middle of a field.

And realistically? Whether a field in the middle of the night or supermarket parking lot during the day, it doesn’t matter much. If something bad happens, and you “need” someone else to come help you there is a good chance that may not happen in time.

Just some things to think about as election day looms and you might have a chance to ask your state candidates some questions.

Another thing that popped up as I was poking around to see how this particular farmer came out was that some of the farmers in 2008 began to band together forming modern versions of HaShomer. It was founded by Yoel Zilberman when his father told him he was going bankrupt and going to have to leave the farm. HaShomer HaChadash, The New Guardians, was formed to help protect the farmers and allow them to continue farming in a financially sound manner. It is now a big active program.

Founder Yoel Zilberman, can tell you about it. It’s a very interesting story. Subtitled, luckily.

So thinking back on when I first moved here, and looking at the dangers these farmers in Israel face daily I’ve had some thoughts. Urban or rural, we all face dangers. The dangers these Israeli farmers face are more like the things someone living in the gun free zone utopia of Chicago would face, with just about as much help from the system at times. But then any raw milk or organic farmer may have faced the same dangers in America. Only instead of from Bedouins, from a alphabet soup of state and federal agencies. The big difference is, when it’s the farmer rather than the Chicago resident that faces the danger it can affect a lot of people. The farmers produce food, and when that doesn’t happen it causes problems for a lot of people. The Israeli farmers are getting help now, not from the government so much, as regular people all pitching in to help. It’s sort of like a program we had in America for a while called “Ranch Rescue”. But the foundation of all these programs was the same as the old days of the Cartwrights and Roy Rogers. It was people pitching in to help each other to over come challenges and threats. People that weren’t relying on the system, but each other. As the weather changes and we prepare for storms knowing our neighbors and having plans and ways we could help each other might be a very good idea. We’ve had hurricanes in one part of the country, we will have snow and ice coming for other parts of the country, and then we move into tornado and rain and flood season. Sometimes you know there’s bad weather headed your way, and sometimes, it’s just there.

And because I like to end with something a little nice, here’s a short little scene from Eish Kodesh. It really is beautiful isn’t it?

https://www.facebook.com/398799110143354/videos/1192120390811218/

 

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Catastrophes and second chances

Two wondrous news stories this week got me thinking about our upcoming — and disastrously non-wondrous — presidential election.

Neither of the stories had the slightest thing to do with electoral politics. Quite the opposite. They are rather amazing “feelgood” stories. Neither has anything to do with the U.S. or politics at all. But both are about the triumph of individuals or small groups over decades, or even millennia, of adversity.

First is the tale of Ysrael Kristal. He just celebrated his bar mitzvah.

He also just got named as the world’s oldest man by Guinness. Yes, he finally celebrated his bar mitzvah at the age of 113.

As a young boy, Polish-born Yisrael Kristal looked forward to turning 13 when he could celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual. But that was 1916 and World War I crushed that hope. Little did he know that he would wait a century for that ceremony.

Kristal barely survived the next world war as a prisoner in Auschwitz. After WWII, he rebuilt his life in Israel, raising a family and opening a business. Earlier this year, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man.

Some accomplishment, eh? And after so much tragedy and loss.

Then there are the Lemba people of Zimbabwe.

They are black Africans. Physically, they resemble other sub-Saharan tribespeople. But their own legends and traditions have told them they are Jews. Part of the Diaspora. From Israel. And what do you know? A few years ago, DNA analysis backed up those legends.

Lemba men carry the Cohen Modal Haplotype, a set of Y chromosome characteristics typical of the Jewish priesthood, at about the same rate as that of major Jewish populations. For many, the genetic findings validated the Lemba’s connection to Judaism, further inspiring their quest to reconnect with the faith. Their relationship with the larger Jewish community is now helping them preserve their culture and look out for vulnerable community members just as Lemba traditions once did.

And now they’re building their first synagogue with help from a U.S.-based group that serves isolated, emerging, or returning Jewish communities. This and other help come at a perfect time, when the tribe has been struggling to take care of itself and its members.

So after 100 years Ysrael Kristal celebrates his coming of age and after thousands of years, the Lemba discover their true identity and begin to build a spiritual base to match their cultural and genetic one.

—–

But why would their heartwarming stories bring me to think of the no-good-news election lying less than a month ahead of us?

I’ll get to that in a second, but first I have to say I’m speaking only for myself when I talk politics. The Zelman Partisans as an organization takes no position on the presidential race (or any other). A couple of our board members are Trump supporters. A few more of us here on the blog consider Trump to be, shall we say slightly untrustworthy on Second Amendment issues and all other issues of life, liberty, and the universe. No one hereabouts is insane enough to v*te for Hillary Clinton because even though she lies about everything else, we believe her 100% when she says she wants the “Australian option” on our guns and gun rights.

But I think it’s clear to most everybody that this election is a rolling catastrophe, and that — whoever wins, whatever happens — the catastrophe will continue to roll long beyond the inauguration of the next president of the U.S. We are in angry, desperate, perilous times — and may only be at the beginning of them.

Maybe these perils will pass and we’ll emerge safe and prosperous in a few years. But maybe we’ll end up in WWIII. Or a deeper-than-ever depression. Maybe we’ll end up with either “left-wing” or “right-wing” brownshirts in the streets. Curbs on free speech. Border walls that fence us in but fail to fence others out. Increasing surveillance, with increasing “security” breaches that leave us far less secure. No matter who wins, we’ll almost certainly end up with further restrictions on our gun rights (perhaps mild, perhaps draconian). We are already so polarized that it’s certain that the losing side will nurse grudges while the winning side gloats and tries to wield power by executive diktat. Faction will continue all-out-war with faction and any illusion of the rule of law or respect for the poor old battered Constitution will be shattered. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the indomitable bureaucracy will march on, controlling life more and more — as it always does, no matter what party imagines it’s in power.

You can argue all you want about which side is less bad. But you can’t credibly argue that our immediate political future looks good.

We are in for hard times. And our freedoms — any of them, probably all of them — are going to suffer.

Quite possibly in the next few years and beyond, we’ll have moments, and more than moments, years, maybe decades, in which we lose both freedom and hope. We’ll despair. Some of us will be tempted to surrender. Friends will betray friends. Causes will implode. Losses will pile up. Injustices will pierce us to the heart. Good people will be punished for harmless deeds. Innocent people will be forced to turn outlaw. Many will suffer. Many will break down in grief.

So for those moments, I point you back to Ysrael Kristal and the Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe. They were lost but now are found. They suffered but ultimately triumphed.

And so bloody damn well will the keepers of freedom and the defenders of individual life.

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