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Monday, September 6, 2004

The Have’s and Have Not’s

Musings #66
September 3, 2004

The Have’s and Have Not’s

The world is divided between those online and those off. It seems like forever since, like just now, I sip my morning coffee while checking my email, writing these musings or tests for my students or just reading the news from the screen. Email has made it possible for me to establish, renew and strengthen relationships with relatives and friends far away, in different time zones and life styles. “Lists” and “groups” have introduced me to people I would have never known. And these “musings,” amazingly popular over the world, are rarely seen by those who don’t get them via the internet.

Though I’m generally one of the “have’s,” for a week I was a “have not.” Our computer was “in the shop” getting a “transplant” of sorts. I struggled against severe withdrawal symptoms, was almost oblivious of the news, worried that my close relatives far away would think I was the sick one and afraid that lost letters would cause people to think that I had snubbed them. All that was rivaled only my extreme anxiety of how I was going to cope with the hundreds of letters once the computer was back on. I’m embarrassed to admit that most of the six hundred plus (including the yahoo accounts) were probably deleted as my eyes crossed and closed uncontrollably and the “mouse,” so hyper-excited to be back at work, somehow deleted two per click.

Now our computer has a bigger memory, but it “forgot” all the addresses we had been collecting over the years. It’s missing the “spell check,” so don’t be surprised if there are some really dumb mistakes that can’t pass for innocent typos. I had gotten used to sloppy typing, knowing that the computer would signal my mistakes with a wavy red line. Now I have to be very careful, or you’ll discover the truth—my spelling’s atrocious!

I must admit that I was amazed at how easily I found other things to do during the too many daily hours I usually spend in front of the screen. Being a “have not,” even temporarily, is easy to get used to. It is amazing how easily I turned myself off from what’s going on. Even that horrific double terror attack in Beersheva seemed to just pass me by. All those innocent bus travelers murdered by self-propelled human murder weapons, and I was almost oblivious.

Israel is in danger! And most of us are just “fiddling,” like Nero as Rome burned. It’s amazing that as tiny a country as Israel is, most Israelis succeed in keeping themselves in small, defined areas and are oblivious to what’s happening just down the road. Almost everyone has “maps” indicating where they “go” and “don’t go.”

Even within the yishuvim, we survive emotionally by erecting walls to keep out fear. Just normal day-to-day life with our families, work and finances are all that many of us can handle. We’re just ordinary people. We “demonstrate” by keeping to regular routines of work, childcare, gardening, healthcare and all of the normal activities we would have to do if we lived in Tel Aviv, Paris or Toronto.

Now after a week’s “vacation,” I’m back on line. I’ve turned on the loudspeaker in order to broadcast again. We all have a job to do. We each must find a way to fight for Israel’s survival. Israel is being strangled by a high cement fence. That fence is not going to protect us.
Arabs will be allowed in to Israel for work, medical care and other reasons. The “world” is more concerned about inconveniencing the Arabs than protecting Jews. Mohatme Gandhi’s grandson was recently in Israel and condemned Israel for that “crime.” He didn’t condemn the Arabs for the terror attacks against us. That’s the way it is. We shouldn’t expect help from others only from ourselves, and that means you and me.

This week’s parsha Portion of the Week is Ki Tavo, “And it shall come to pass…” which includes a very graphic description of what will happen if we don’t obey G-d. It is so horrendous that the person who reads the Torah is supposed to lower his voice. If we follow G-d’s commandments we will be blessed, if not….. G-d forbid!

It’s up to us, our decisions and our actions.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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