Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why Is the World so Blase' About Terror in Israel?

   One thing over the last week has rankled many Israelis over the last week.  While we also showed our support for France after the last attack, we noted very carefully how that type of  support never seems to come our way.  Yes, the terror attack in Paris was larger, but population percentage wise, probably not.  The world noted that Parisians have to deal with a new reality… a reality that we in Israel have been living with, 24/7 for a LONG time.  Why is there such a discrepancy in the attitude towards Paris/Israel by the world at large?

   While some may be because of anti-Semitism, I think the answer is much simpler.
   The average American, while he may sympathize with Israelis who experience terror, probably does not feel threatened by it.  The Israelis, by their thinking, are experiencing terror because they do not reach peace with the Arabs, because of the Gaza wars. They theorize that the Arabs, reacting to their situation, attack Israelis. This is no threat to the American in Indianapolis, Memphis, or Chicago.
   However, when Arab terrorists hit Paris, the gut reaction of the average American is probably, “there, but for the grace of G-d, goes I”.  The target this time was not soldiers, not Jews, but your normal-everyday citizen.  I suspect that this feeling of vulnerability is what led to the wide outpouring of support for Paris this last week.
   Well, Americans, please note that the Islamic terrorists are set on wiping out Western culture. This is not a political issue, but a religious/cultural one. And when you side with terrorists, WHEREVER they strike, “legitimizing” their actions, you just help to spread their lies.

   Folks we are in the long haul here. America and Europe will need to do what is standard here in Israel: search bags of people entering malls, movie theaters, government buildings, and the like. But if we want democracy to survive, we will need to call terror what it IS, and work against it. That does not mean that political solutions can not help. They may at times. But the extremist will not be satisfied by these “solutions”, and we need to wake up to that fact, FAST.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hikers

    I have done a fair amount of hiking in my life, a lot of it in the Rocky Mountains. There, on the trail, it is quite common to give a nod or a good word to fellow hikers you pass. Sometimes as you “leap-frog” each other on the trail a few times, one can even strike up a conversation, ask them to take that perfect photo with you in the foreground….
      While we would never do such a thing in the city, somehow in the park trails we do. Perhaps part of that is because in case of emergency, our lives may well be saved by that fellow unknown hiker. 
        [Once when I was young, my parents and I, along with my older brother  (who was  about 14-years old????)  went on a hike to either Fern or Odessa lake. Suddenly we heard an SOS whistle from the “little Matterhorn” which towered above us. My Dad quickly pulled out HIS whistle to signal them that they had been heard, and my brother ran the (considerable) distance down to the trailhead in order to alert the park rangers. We heard later that one of the rock climbers had broken their leg.  Our hike for the day was interupted …  but we would have never dreamed of not helping another hiker.]
    But the hikers who always puzzle me are those I see sprinting along the trail. I realize that they are doing it for their fitness goals…but besides the dangers** of running along a rocky trail, I am flabbergasted that they would willingly let such gorgeous scenery pass by in a blur.  Even when going up rocky paths slowly, I need to remind myself to occasionally glance up from the stony path at my feet, and note the beauty and wildlife around….(That’s one reason hiking I enjoy so much hiking with my brother. Besides the added safety, and his knowledge, even if one of us is oblivious to the deer ahead, the other will often catch it and cue off the other!)

[image: deer near the trail]

** It is easy to fall if running, and generally the few big cat attacks in the Rockies have been on runners.
   OK, ladies, you may all be asking by now, “OK, nice story, but WHAT the H*LL does this have to do with me?”
   The point I am going to make is this:
      Often we set goals for ourselves. Whether it is to climb a peak, fashion the greatest Halloween Decorations on the block, or loose ten pounds….. we often get so set on our goal that we miss the wildflowers growing at the side of the trail.  We often think “When I get to my goal weight, THEN I’ll be happy!”  We envision being pleased with ourselves and having peace of mind upon reaching our goals…

[image: bee on flower, with saying: "Enjoy the journey".]

     But allowing ourselves to only be satisfied on reaching our goal will only lead to frustration. YES we will reach our goal, but then we are likely to set a new goal for ourselves… and once again we will be “hiking with our eyes stuck to our boots and the rocky path”.  
   We must allow ourselves to revel in the joy of the journey… celebrate even small successes….. to enjoy the journey itself as part and parcel of the entire package! 

[image: view from Flattop mountain]

   However, as a final note, let me add that there is a flip side to all this.
     Last summer I managed to hike to two places I had never been able to hike to as an adult: the summit of Flattop mountain,  and blue lake.

    I accomplished neither of these with wishful thinking. It took daily walks to increase my stamina, and to acclimate a bit to the altitude. It involved getting up well before dawn so that we could reach our goal and get below tree line before the rains might arrive. It meant climbing Twin Sisters as a preparatory hike, even though the trail there was rough in places due to a washout.
   Yes, we need to enjoy the flowers on our way to the summit of weight-loss and maintenance. But we also need to tread the trail, even when doing that is a bit difficult.
     Set that alarm for an hour early so that you can get a quick jog in.
     Buy that good windbreaker so that the rain won’t stop you.
     Decide that you can celebrate Shabbat without gorging on sweets and nuts.
     Do a slightly better strength training than last week…

Please share  something you ENJOYED this week .

[image: wildflowers, with saying: "Your best moments are those you live in, not those you rush through."]