Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Casino politics

Recently, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court ruled that Likud Member of Knesset Oren Hazan was justifiably called a pimp in an investigative report by Israel's Channel 2 journalist Amit Segal. While Hazan managed a casino in Burgas, Bulgaria, he had also hired prostitutes.

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Many of us feel dismay at the state of politics in which a party elects a casino-pimp to represent their voters. But however disturbing and shameful, Oren Hazan is just a small village fool. I do find it interesting that the trumped up businessman turned presidential candidate also found his charitable way to the casino.

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And then, Sheldon Adelson, financier of Trump and Netanyahu, has contributed to humanity by earning his fortune by the addicted unfortunates who visit his casinos, then are deluded to support his extremist protégées, themselves gamblers on the political stage, with people's fate at stake.


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Just like in Israel religion should preferably be separated from politics, to the benefit of both religion and politics, the time has come to separate casinos from politics.

In Israel, said casino magnate owns a newspaper which, just like Pravda in the Soviet Union, serves as megaphone for the regime - the same extremist Netanyahu government that wants to limit free press and media, restrict organizations that oppose his rule and strip citizenship from loud opponents to the occupation. 
While I personally may neither agree with Netanyahu, nor always with some of his opponents, their right to express themselves freely must be defended in a democracy.

Politics is too serious to be left to casino moguls and those who gamble with democracy.


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Contents:
Preface                The Beggar in the Hero’s Shadow            
Chapter 1            Return to the Source                                     
Chapter 2            From My Notebook                                       
Chapter 3            From Dream to Reality                                  
Chapter 4            Origins and Myths                                          
Chapter 5            From Redemption to Shadow   
Chapter 6            Wholeness Apart                            
Chapter 7            Myth, Shadow and Projection   
Chapter 8            A Crack in the Mask
Chapter 9            The Death of the Mythical and the Voice of the Soul    


Excerpts from a review in Spring Journal by Steve Zemmelman:

The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel puts Israel’s recent history on the analyst’s couch with a particular focus on the intertwining development of individual and collective identity in the Jewish state.  …
For me, it was a particular challenge and pleasure to read this book since, as an American Jew who is on a path of discovery about what it means in my life to be Jewish, there was a great deal here that I found new and challenging. …
  Shalit offers an anamnesis that highlights the formative influences of image and mythology that infused the Zionist founders, tying them to the redemption of the desert lands in a socialist society passionately embraced along with a vision of a peaceful life with Arab neighbors.  The Hero and His Shadow offers an intelligent, sensitive, humanized perspective on the trajectory of events that led to the current tragic situation in the Middle East so specifically detailed in Ari Shavit’s recent book, My Promised Land. Unlike Shavit’s excellent history that examines in searing honesty the social and political dimensions of Israel’s founding and development, particularly in relation to the Arab world, Shalit’s analysis reflects a skillful blending of the inner psychological and archetypal dimensions of the problem without collapsing it into a homogeneous whole.  He couples this with a particular sensitivity to the human cost and ethical failure of losing contact with the suffering face of the other, a theme which is also taken up in My Promised Land.  The central theme of Shalit’s book, however, is more psychological, focusing on the relation between hubris and nemesis, grandiosity and limitation, the projection of evil and the suffering of one’s own imperfection.  …
I particularly appreciated the emphasis on the need to transform the masculine warrior hero ideal to a more related, feminized Eros.  In one section where he discusses the yearning for a strong leader by Israelis and Palestinians who are gripped by terror and the tendency to see the world in terms of polarized opposites, Shalit comments, “peace…poses a threat to those who identify with the quest for grandiose wholeness and totality, in which there is no room for the other.” I could not help thinking at the same time about the current situation in American politics where there is so much polarization and such limited capacity on the part of many to see self and other as part of the civic whole.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Rope on the Eve of Atonement




A legend tells us that when a person is created, s/he is tied to God with a string. If s/he sins, the string breaks. But repentance during the Days of Awe brings the angel Gabriel down to make a knot in the string, and the person is once again tied to God. Because we all sin once in a while, our strings become full of knots.

But a string with many knots is, clearly, shorter than one without knots. Therefore repentance brings a person closer to God and, evidently, there is no repentance without a sin.

We cannot, so it seems, live a life without shadows, the completely pure, good and sin-free life. Such a life would be a clean and straight line. We spontaneously think of our string to God vertically, but if we imagine the line horizontally, the straight line characterizes life that has come to a standstill.

Gottlieb-Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur.jpg
The knots of sin and remorse repair the torn rope and make it shorter. The knots show us the rope is no longer innocently unbroken. And the knots add width and curves and complexity to the string by which we are attached to the transcendent.


And the knots add knots – they link and connect, they bind and harden, they snare and ensnare, they complicate the passage but they enable holding on to the rope.

Not speaking about the professional sinner, sins are often committed unawarely, because we have not reflected well enough on our deeds, or when we have found ourselves torn by strife and conflict, or when “clouds have blurred our vision.”

Do the knots of sin and repentance really bring us closer to God, to the divine, to higher principles, to greater morality, to the Self as the messenger and seat of the divine in our souls?


Perhaps it depends on the manner in which we carry the burden of our sins, how we allow the sins we commit to affect us, to bring us out of innocence into greater complexity, how we reflect upon the sins we commit, how ably we respond – that is, what responsibility we take upon us, rather than the resolution and dissolution of crime and conflict.

The contact with our inner self may require the knots on the rope. Contact and knot are the same in Hebrew, kesher. The contact between human and transcendent upon which sins and shame, guilt and remorse are tied like knots requires, so it seems, that we hold the rope, in all its imperfection and complexity, with all its knotted tears.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shana Tova שנה טובה


Wishing all a blessed year 
of health and happiness, peace and creativity

Susan Bostrom Wong Emerging


Mordecai Ardon The big clock




Meir Gur Arieh Jacob and Esau



Jacob Steinhardt Jacob and Esau

Benjamin Shiff Life