Sunday, March 29, 2009

not like jack

In our shul there is a small group of daf yomi learners, who learn by themselves (myself included). We often discuss the daf or include references to it in our conversation.
I generally do the daf during davening, not during the actual prayers, but during Torah reading, or when the shatz repeats shemona esrei. Sometimes, I'll see something in Rashi or something that doesn't make sense in the daf and I want to go and show it to someone. Then I remember. I am not Jack. And I hold myself back and wait until after davening till I discuss the daf.

There was this baalabus in a yeshiva (somewhere in America) that spent the entire time on shabbos davening learning. I never saw him with a siddur in his hand. We'll call him Jack. Probably a couple dozen times during the davening he would yell loudly to the mashgiach, "Look at this!!" As if the mashgiach had never seen whatever it was that he was looking at. First of all, we didn't like Jack, or his kids. Secondly we felt that it was the wrong time to be having a chavrussa.

Now that I'm more grown up, I realize that davening is an excellent time for learning. I understand that it is the wrong time, as I should be concentrating on the prayers, and when I have my boys with me I don't look in my gemara at all (Educational purposes). But it is a time when I have dedicated to religious time, so instead of reading the Torah pamphlets that everyone else is reading, I go through the daf.

But I am not Jack. I don't disturb other people's davening with my insights or questions on the page. I am not Jack, I spend time actually davening during the service. I won;t say that I am doing it correctly, but at least, I am not like Jack.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

tremp to a kibbutz

Last week I gave a girl a tremp from the Technion campus to the junction near the kibbutz she lives at. I asked her if she was a kibbutznik and she replied that her parents are. She is planning on leaving the kibbutz when she moves on. She said that the idealism is mostly gone and the beaurocracy is way too suffocating. When she grows up she does not want to have a committee decide on everything that she wants to do. She needs more freedom of movement. I suppose there was probably some sort of disagreement in the kibbutz about her going to to the Technion, but it could be a lot of other things as well.

I explained to her that there is a tight framework around everything in life and the kibbutz is probably just an exaggerated example. I gave her the example of my life, in which I have a wife and 5 children and work. I enjoy my life, but there is a very tight framework deciding what I do and when I do it. Even single people with few responsibilities cannot go and do whatever they want. They have to get up in the morning for work, they cannot just decide to take off whenever they want, etc..

I also explained that with the responsibility and framework comes all the benefits.

She was unconvinced and I wished her luck in her future.

judification of our village

I attended an urgent meeting last night on the topic of Judification of our village. Apparently a lot of Arabs are moving in and people would like to stop the trend. There is a rumor that this is an intentional move and Saudi Arabia is funding Arabs moving into Jewish neighborhoods. In some cases the Arabs are offering more then the asking price to convince the seller to sell to them.

We discussed a multi-level plan.
1) Buy houses - There is a definite lack of quality rental properties in the area and a high demand. There is a current NBN initiative to move new immigrants to the Galilee and our village is one of the featured places. Buying property for rental is a solid investment.
There is an organization called Moreshet Galil that is involved in buying houses in the area and keeping it Jewish. One of their proposals is to form real estate investment groups, where people buy houses together. Their first proposal is a house for approximately $120,000 with someone prepared to rent the house for approximately $475/month. He is looking for 5 investors to split the house and already has 3 people at $24,000 a piece and is looking for 2 more. It will provide revenue of approximately $95.00 per month, which is a much better rate then you would get on almost any other investment at the moment.

Another thing we talked about was making the new communities that are being planned into closed neighborhoods where any buyer would have to be accepted by the acceptence committee.

Someone propsed making it less comfortable for them to live in our neighborhoods.

Lastly, we discussed the economic problems of the area and how we can improve it.

It was an interesting discussion, and I will probably have more to discuss on this in the upcoming months.