Shabbat Shalom Dec. 12, 2014

Pearl Harbor Memorial
(Attacked Dec. 7, 1941)

Shabbat Shalom
December 12, 2014
Dear family and friends,
“Peace begins with a Smile” quotes Mother Theresa.  The Peace Train brought smiles to the full house of 3,500 Cat Stevens fans last Sunday night in Boston.  I won’t bemoan the extreme pleasure I felt singing the songs of my youth that are engrained in my brain.  Needless to say, it fulfilled the number one item on my bucket list.  But back to thoseSmiles. Not only can they encourage Peace but they are also heathy for you.  Thanks, Joel Kahn, for sharing the health benefits of a Smile, including Reduced Stress, Released Endorphins and a Confidence Boast… to list a few.
And while you are smiling, remember the 2 most important reasons we are on this Earth (in my opinion).  1. to Enjoy Life’s Pleasures with lots of smiles and 2. Tikkun Olam (to help make this world a better place for future generations). Both missions are equally meaningful and finding the balance is a life-long job. Writing these Shabbat messages certainly fulfills number 1 for me.
Smiles (wishfully) lead to Peace which leads to Happiness which is leads to Bhutan and their efforts to increase and spread (globally) their Gross National Happiness goals. Here is a simple view of that concept:
*See Music Section
I wish Smiles and Peace were this week’s main topics but ugliness took top billing with the release of the Senate Report on Torture. Back when Gitmo and Abu Ghraib operatives were “interrogating” their prisoners, an (incomplete) account of their torture techniques were exposed but apparently the system was even more brutal than originally revealed. (side thought: how can those who did the torturing live with those memories today, let along the tortured). Those approving the torture were convinced it would produce valuable information to save American lives but this week’s disturbing 600 page report questions the results. The report accuses the CIA of major infractions and deception which could put Americans abroad at risk of retaliation. Protective measures have been set to keep the global American community safe while the news spreads. Bottom line… what purpose does the report fulfill. Yes, transparency is important in a democracy but were the interrogators acting within the law or will this lead to prosecution. The debate is on…
More bad news filled this week with the failed rescue attempt in Yemen which caused the death of American journalist, Luke Somers (33), and a South African hostage,Pierre Korkie (56) who was set to be released the next day. This was the 2nd rescue attempt in 10 days with information that Somers was to be killed within 48 hours. 11 others (including a woman and child) were also killed in the raid.
Pierre Korkie and Luke Somers
Rounding out this week’s top ugly stories is the delinquent journalistic and investigative skills exhibited by Rolling Stone Magazine as they covered (we know now) a fake gang rape accusation. Their interest in this sensational story trumped their responsibility as journalists to research the facts. Rape on campus or anywhere is horrific and moremust be done to stop it and even though this case was falsified, hopefully, the University of Virginia and all colleges will improve their safety and reactionary policies of this brutal crime which sadly is often not even reported.
Now onto some news with beauty.  The Royals were on this side of the Pond with their first visit together to NYC. Impressively they flew commercial from London and Prince William also flew commercial (for the day) to DC, all be it, to meet President Obama. Their visit had a philanthropic purpose (for William) to bring awareness of Wildlife Protection and (for Kate) Child Development.  Check out this Royal story by our friend:
Duke and Duchess with King James
Prior to William’s visit, President Obama made his own visit to the Colbert Report and his skills at the comic’s news desk is admirable: Beware, Nation, we are only 6 days out till the last Colbert Report airing on Dec. 18th.
Stephen taped his show in D.C. as he did double duty this week when he hosted the Kennedy Center Tribute to 5 Cultural Icons last Sunday (to be aired Dec. 30th). Those icons were Al Green, Tom Hanks, Patricia McBride, Sting and Lily Tomlin. A star-studded guest list paid tribute to these honorees.
Thank you and Farewell, Kevin Orr, our Detroit Emergency Manager on completing your job in under 2 years and rightsizing our City’s financial calamity. We are back on track for prosperity to return to Motown, though prosperity is a fleeting notion unless our Detroit Schools are restored to their glory.  A new coalition has been set to assist with this major obstacle to greatness.
As Kevin Orr returns to his hometown of D.C. (area), he was “knighted” an official Michigander by Governor Snyder and is welcome back anytime to eat his favorite meal at Buddy’s Pizza.
Our Michigan House approved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this week as it now heads to our Senate. Many feel this will give Individuals or Businesses the right to discriminate against the Gay Community (or anyone who contradicts their religious beliefs) in regards to government regulations. For example, East Lansing has a LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance that could be challenged by this Religious Freedom Act.  This Statewide Act would allow Michiganders to reverse many City equality laws. This debate is also in progress and I’ll try to keep you updated.
Hong Kong
A greater awareness of politics but not much substantial democratic change occurred during the 74-day Hong Kongpeaceful protest that has ended this week. As they pull down the tents to head home and regroup, the protesters will continue their efforts to bend the communist China stance.
Clearing the tents.  This highway is now open for traffic.
Our government will be spared a shutdown as the Omnibus Bill gets passed (hopefully before) Thursday’s midnight deadline (way past the time I send this email to the system). The bill will keep us funded till September 2015 and it is jammed-packed and filled to the gills with everything that has gone dormant for the whole year. Want to know specifics…Check out this concise A to Z list:
Gratefully included is an (over) 20% increase to Israel for her defense systems and the continued enforcement of Iran’s sanctioning with an increase of 10% to help keep Iran nuclear free.
Our 8-day holiday of miracles arrives Tuesday evening. Hanukah is a celebration of the 2nd Temple’s re-dedication by the Maccabee Heroes.  May our Hanukah Menorah (Hanukia) shine brightly for all to see while we consume excessive amounts of Potato Latkes and Sufganiyot (donuts) all fried in oil to remind us of the miraculous oil that stayed lit for 8 days.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Pleasant and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and Happy Haunkah!

Hope you enjoy this (educational) Hanukah Song with a popular tune.
Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Bob Dylan or Frank Sinatra but I do appreciate the admiration that many have so, with that in mind, here is a song from Bob Dylan’s new tribute album to Frank Sinatra coming out this Feb. calledShadows in the Night:
* Always loved this Donovan Happiness Song.  This youtube has some great photos:
Happy Birthday!
Dec. 12th
Carol Blumberg Tarnowsky
Lauren Kepes
Wendy Cohen Kohlenberg
Dec. 13th
Elise Goldsmith Schostak
Liz Cooper Guz
Dec. 14th
Ashley Israel
Marc Shaye
Dec. 15th
Dana Siegel
Dec. 16th
Avi Gruber
Dec. 17th
Simcha Tolwin
Natalie Newman
Dec. 18th
Jeff Mark (dear brother)
Henna Tolwin
Jane Smitt

Blue Stripes

Shabbat Shalom Dec. 12, 2014

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