An American citizen was kidnapped by terrorists a week ago. It took 6 days for the White House to offer a supportive comment to the family members of the three kidnapped boys.

And the spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Jen Psaki, couldn’t even name the U.S. citizen held captive by Hamas terrorists, one full week after the fact, at yesterday’s press briefing.

(Source: youtube.com)

Just came across a thought provoking statement in this month’s Smithsonian, p. 16, in an article by Maria Konnikova:

When things come easily or quickly, when we don’t have to struggle, we tend to feel smarter, a concept called fluency. In one study, Adam Alter and fellow psychologists at New York University asked volunteers to answer a series of questions typed in either a crisp, clear font (a fluent experience) or a slightly blurred, harder to read version (a disfluent one). The people who worked harder ended up processing the text more deeply and responding to the questions more accurately.

There are obvious implications in this with regard to the publication of seforim, such as in new editions with improved punctuation, and other features that make the material easier to read, and especially with regard to translations.

Just some food for thought.

QuestionGood day ! My name is Mitko. I live in Europe - Bulgaria. I'm very interested in your faith and I have some questions. I have read in wikipedia the rabbinic texts about Adam the first man. It's very interesting that he is regarded as extremely handsome and intelligent. What is your opinion on the character of Adam and his wife Eve ? What was his life after Eden ? Answer

Dear Mitko,

First of all, I have to apologize for the great delay in responding to you. Your question is of a very broad nature and I set it aside for later and then I forgot about it. Please accept my apology.

With regard to Adam and Eve, traditional Jewish sources see Adam and Eve, who were directly formed by God, as ideal human beings. This is the idea expressed in the description of Adam as “handsome,” i.e. the most perfectly formed human being of all time. This was true of their character as well.

After Eden, Adam and Eve continued to live and have children (as stated in the Bible) until their deaths.

As I’m sure you realize, there is an immense amount of literature on this topic. I suspect I could be more helpful if you could be more specific in your question.

All the best,

Lazer Abrahamson

The huge cultural authority science has acquired over the past century imposes large duties on every scientist. Scientists have acquired the power to impress and intimidate every time they open their mouths, and it is their responsibility to keep this power in mind no matter what they say or do. Too many have forgotten their obligation to approach with due respect the scholarly, artistic, religious, humanisticwork that has always been mankind’s main spiritual support. Scientists are (on average) no more likely to understand this work than the man in the street is to understand quantum physics. But science used to know enough to approach cautiously and admire from outside, and to build its own work on a deep belief in human dignity. No longer.

Kenneth Meshoe On my recent trip to San Francisco, I was deeply disturbed to learn about the posters in The City accusing Israel of apartheid. As a black South African who lived under apartheid, this system was implemented in South Africa to subjugate people of color and deny them a variety of their rights. In my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa. Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is.
 
Apartheid was a legal system of segregation and oppression based on skin color, with a very small white minority dominating over the vast majority of people of color.
 
As a black South African under apartheid, I, among other things, could not vote, nor could I freely travel the landscape of 
South Africa. No person of color could hold high government office. The races were strictly segregated at sports arenas, public restrooms, schools and on public transportation. People of color had inferior hospitals, medical care and education. If a white doctor was willing to take a black patient, he had to examine him or her in a back room or some other hidden place.
 
In my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above. My understanding of the Israeli legal system is that equal rights are enshrined in law. Black, brown and white Jews and the Arab minority mingle freely in all public places, universities, restaurants, voting stations and public transportation. All people have the right to vote. The Arab minority has political parties, serves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) and holds positions in government ministries, the police force and the security services. In hospitals, Palestinian patients lie in beds next to Israeli Jews, and doctors and nurses are as likely to be Israeli Arabs as Jews. I also understand that an Israeli Arab judge presided over the trial of former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of misconduct. An Ethiopian Jew recently won the title of Miss Israel. None of the above was legally permissible in apartheid South Africa!
 
I believe that it is slanderous and deceptive for Israel’s self-defense measures against the terrorists’ campaign of suicide bombing, rocket attacks and other acts of terrorism that have occurred, and continue to occur, to be labeled as apartheid. I am shocked by the claim that the free, diverse, democratic state of Israel practices apartheid. This ridiculous accusation trivializes the word apartheid, minimizing and belittling the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color.
 
I urge all people, young people in particular, to visit Israel and learn the facts for themselves so that they can confidently refute these false allegations against Israel. The misapplication of the term apartheid makes a mockery of a grievous injustice and threatens to undermine the true meaning of the term.
 
In my view, Israel is a model of democracy, inclusion and pluralism that can be emulated by many nations, particularly in the Middle East.
 

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe is a member of the South African Parliament, the president of the African Christian Democratic Party and the chairman of the South African Israel Allies Caucus.

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