Tag Archives: 1950s

Dr. Miller looking at Jews in France

About the Author Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Yvette Alt Miller earned her B.A. at Harvard University. She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Jewish Studies at Oxford University, and has a Ph.D. In International Relations from the London School of Economics. She lives with her family in Chicago, and has lectured internationally on Jewish topics. Her book Angels at the table: a Practical Guide to Celebrating Shabbat takes readers through the rituals of Shabbat and more, explaining the full beautiful spectrum of Jewish traditions with warmth and humor. It has been praised as “life-changing”, a modern classic, and used in classes and discussion groups around the world.

Jews and France: 11 Interesting Facts

As France headed to the polls, Dr. Miller presented some fascinating points about Jews and France through the ages on Aish.com

As France went to the polls in the first round of its presidential election, France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community was in the spotlight: two front-runners, Marine Le Pen and Jean Luc Melenchon, having been accused of making high-profile anti-Semitic comments.

Long before France’s unpredictable election, Jews have been making history in France. Here are 11 interesting facts about Jews and France through the ages.

Greatest Jewish Scholar

Rashi

Rashi, acronym of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzḥaqi (born 1040, Troyes, Champagne—died July 13, 1105, Troyes), renowned medieval French commentator on the Bible and the Talmud (the authoritative Jewish compendium of law, lore, and commentary).

A modern translation of Rashi’s commentary on the Chumash, published by Artscroll

Rashi, as the great Medieval Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki is known, is the most widely consulted Jewish rabbi of all time. His commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are considered crucial to understanding these Jewish texts. Rashi’s explanations help us understand the Torah and at times, a knowledge of French can help us understand Rashi.

Monument in memory of Rashi in Troyes, France

That’s because this greatest of Jewish scholars had humble beginnings. Rashi lived in the northern French town of Troyes from 1040 to 1105. Out of a total population of 10,000, Troyes was also home to about 100 Jewish families. Jews travelled from far and wide to consult Rashi. Many of these visiting Jews lodged with nearby Christian families.

Troyes centre ville1.JPG

Troyes centre ville – capital of the department of Aube in north-central France

In some respects, Rashi was very French. He earned his living as a vintner (wine maker), and incorporated some French words in his commentaries. A typical example comes in Rashi’s discussion of the Torah’s description of the beautiful golden Ark that our ancestors were commanded to build, which stood in the Temple in Jerusalem. Its gold ornaments were joined together, or soulderix (soldered in Old French), Rashi explained (Rashi on Ex. 24:18).

Rashi’s sons-in-law and grandsons – who continued to live in northern France – became rabbis of nearly his towering stature, penning additional commentaries on the Torah and leading European Jewry. Their scholarship continues to define Jewish life to this day.

Talmud on Trial

In the year 1239, Paris was witness to a very strange trial; the Talmud was accused of insulting Christianity.

The Talmud was defended by the Chief Rabbi of Paris, Rabbi Yechiel ben Joseph, though there were restrictions on what Rabbi Yechiel could say. Leading the charge against the Talmud was Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who seemingly harbored an intense hatred of his fellow Jews or, possibly, a desire to impress his new Christian co-religionists. He was encouraged to make fun of the Talmud, quoting its text out of context and distorting its meaning. Presiding over the trial was none other than the Queen Mother of France, Blanche of Castille, and several Archbishops.
After hearing the “evidence”, the Talmud was found guilty and condemned as “dangerous to Christianity”. Volumes of the Talmud were confiscated. In 1242, 24 cartloads of hand-written tractates of the Talmud, representing countless thousands of hours of work, were brought to a public square in central Paris and burned.

Medieval Crusades

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for a holy Crusade to conquer Jerusalem and wrest it from Muslim rule. (The temptation to launch a crusade might have been closer to home. Historians note that the harvest of 1095 was particularly bad in northern Europe; calling for a crusade was a way to distract the population and encourage them to plunder wealth in other lands.)

100,000 men signed up for the Crusade. (The term “crusade” refers to the French word for the crosses they sewed on their clothes.) Soon, their attention turned from conquering Jerusalem to attacking Jewish communities along their path. In three waves, spanning a hundred years, over ten thousand Jews were murdered in Europe and Israel. Frenzied demonization of and violence against Jews became a hallmark of the Crusader period.

France’s Jews were periodically expelled during this intense period of Jew-hatred, as well. In 1182, and again regularly in the 13th Century, Jews were forced to leave French cities, only to be let in again a few years later. In 1306, a more organized expulsion was decreed by France’s King Philip. Short of money after war with Flanders, King Philip decided to force French Jews to flee, and compound their property.

The decree was handed down on July 21, 1306, which was Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning on which we mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other calamitous events in Jewish history. The following day, July 22, 1306, 100,000 Jews were arrested. France’s Jews were ordered to leave the country within one month or face death. French Jews were allowed to leave only 12 sous (cents) apiece. Their property was confiscated, auctioned off, and all proceeds reverted to the French crown.

(King Philip’s decree was reversed by his son King Louis, but Jews continued to be banned from France and were ordered to leave in 1322 and 1394 again, before returning slowly over the subsequent years.)

French Chocolate’s Jewish Origins

Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and the introduction of the Inquisition into Portugal in 1536, some Jews fled to the French town of Bayonne, near the Spanish-French border. There, they used their contacts with Jewish traders in the New World to import materials and know-how to process cocoa, a New World product which was just starting to take Europe by storm.

Dark Chocolate with Espelette pepper.

Bayonne Jews adapted cocoa recipes to European tastes, creating sweet versions of chocolate and using additives like milk, butter and nuts. Jews built the Bayonne area into a chocolate center, but their very success undid them: once local Christians learned how to make chocolates too, they petitioned local authorities to ban Jews from the chocolate industry.


Jews were only permitted to resume making chocolate in 1767 when a court annulled the decree. In 2013, the town of Bayonne formally recognized the contribution of Jews to the region’s famed chocolates. “Since we are the inheritors of the Jews’ savoir faire”, explained Jean-Michel Barate, head of Bayonne’s Chocolate Academy, “it was our duty to thank them….” and to right the historical wrong of overlooking the fact that it was Jewish refugees who created sweet chocolate confections as we know them today.

Equality

Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe le Bel by JM Rosier (cropped).jpg

Palais des Papes – Avignon in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river

Although Jews were banned from France for many years after the 14th Century, by the 1700s about 40,000 Jews lived in France, particularly in Bordeaux and Avignon, which never formally expelled their Jewish inhabitants.

These 40,000 Jews became the first Jews in European history to gain full and equal rights with the French Revolution. The decision wasn’t easy: France’s new rulers deliberated for over two years about whether they should extend their new regime’s ideal of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” to Jews. When they did, in 1791, it was seemingly with some regret: “The Jews” explained a leading revolutionary, “conscious of the error of their ways, have felt the need for a fatherland; we have offered them ours.”

Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin”

The Emperor Napoleon styled himself “defender” of the Jews, noting that he had (unsuccessfully) tried to conquer the Land of Israel for France. Back home, even though Jews were nominally recognized as citizens, Napoleon harbored much of the intense anti-Jewish prejudice that was typical in France at the time.
Seeking to assure himself that Jews were indeed “Frenchmen”, Napoleon decided to invite Jews from throughout France to participate in what Napoleon called, with much pomp, a “National Assembly of Notables”. Napoleon deliberately scheduled the Assembly for a Saturday; the “notables” he invited turned up despite the assembly’s scheduling on Shabbat, and voted yes or no to a series of questions Napoleon had devised to ascertain whether Jews could indeed be French. The “notables” were asked whether Jews could engage in manual labor, whether they could marry Christian women, whether Jews would help defend France, etc.

Cover page to siddur used at the Grand Sanhedrin of Napoleon, 1807.

Not satisfied with his Assembly, Napoleon sent word to the governors of France to elect Jewish representatives to a new group, which Napoleon grandly named the Sanhedrin, the ancient Jewish court that governed Jewish conduct for hundreds of years. Like the Sanhedrin of old, this new “Sanhedrin” contained 71 members, was governed by a leader (picked by Napoleon) whom he gave the traditional Hebrew title Nasi, or “prince”, and was meant to issue new decrees for the Jewish people.
Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin” met in Paris with great pomp, and the puppets making up this group did indeed go along with many of Napoleon’s requested declarations. They declared that Jews serving in the French army were free of Jewish mitzvot, or commandments, and (echoing long-held prejudice against Jews, who’d long been forced into the money-lending business by European rulers) declared money-lending illegal for Jews. Even the stooges on Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin” drew the line at some of the Emperor’s requests, refusing to countenance mixed marriages, for instance.

Despite the assurances of this “Sanhedrin”, Napoleon went on to issue a host of infamous Jewish decrees, restricting Jewish rights to live in certain parts of France, suspending repayment of debts to Jews for ten years, and limiting Jews’ rights to go into some areas of business.

Official Names

Another legacy of Napoleon’s rule was an official list of approved names that could be given to babies born in France. Most of these were Christian saints’ names, though a number of Jewish names were included on the list, as well.

The list was abolished in 1993, though even in recent years French authorities have banned some names. In 2016, for instance, a French judge ruled against two parents who wanted to name their newborn Mohamed Merah, after the terrorist who murdered a rabbi and three children outside of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse in 2012.

The Dreyfus Affair

Jews were ostensibly equal French citizens, but the dramatic 1894 trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus exposed deep anti-Jewish hatred in France. After being arrested on manufactured charges of spying for Germany (Dreyfus was later exonerated; the real culprit had fled to England and some of Dreyfus’ fellow soldiers forged evidence against him), Dreyfus was publicly humiliated and sent to prison, while a mob of French men and women shouted “Death to Jews!”

Throughout Dreyfus’ trial, French Catholic authorities continued to stir up Jew-hatred. The intense bitterness made many in France conclude there was little future for Jews in France. Emile Zola, the non-Jewish great French author, wrote in 1896 “For some years I have been following with increasing surprise and disgust the campaign which some people are trying to carry on in France against the Jews. This seems to me monstrous….” Two years later, Zola wrote his famous open letter, beginning with J’accuse, or “I accuse”, directed against French President France Felix Faure, complaining about irregularities in Dreyfus’ trial. Zola was prosecuted and found guilty of libel and fled to England for a year to avoid imprisonment.
Another observer came to a similar conclusion during Dreyfus’ trial, realizing that Jews faced an uncertain future in France. Theodore Herzl was a young reporter for the Viennese newspaper the Neue Freie Presse, and he covered Dreyfus’ trial in Paris. He later wrote that the chants of “Death to Jews” shook him to the core, and helped him realize that only a Jewish state could provide security and safety for the world’s Jews. In 1897, Herzl organized a Zionist Congress in Zurich, where he called for the reestablishment of a Jewish country.

France and the Holocaust

With World War II looming, France became a destination for desperate Jewish refugees fleeing Germany and Eastern Europe. From a Jewish population of about 80,000 in 1900, by 1939 France’s Jewish population had swelled to 300,000 as Jews fled to France for safety.

Tragically, that safety proved illusory. After Germany invaded France, it divided the country into a northern, “occupied” zone, and a southern “free” zone which was allied with Nazi Germany. Both areas of France willingly participated in the deportation of Jews from France; in the nominally independent southern part of France, it was French policemen and authorities who helped implement Hitler’s so-called “final solution to the Jewish ‘problem’”. Over 70,000 French Jews were sent to concentration camps; only about 2,500 survived.

After the War, France’s devastated Jewish community was revived by an influx of Jews from former French colonies in North Africa. In the 1950s and 1960s nearly a quarter of a million Sephardi Jews moved to France from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Resurgent Anti-Semitism

In recent years, tragically, the call “Death to Jews!” has once more rung out in the streets of Paris and elsewhere in France.

A string of horrific attacks has targeted Jews throughout France. In 2006, Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man living in Paris, was lured into a trap by local Muslim hoodlums; he was tortured for a month in a public housing project in Paris before being murdered; it later emerged that his ordeal was an open secret in the neighborhood, but no one intervened. His mother later had Ilan buried in Israel, fearful, she explained, that if he was buried in France his grave would be desecrated by anti-Semites.

In 2012, in the central French city of Toulouse, a terrorist shot three children and a rabbi at point-blank range in front of a Jewish school. In 2014, a mob rampaging through the streets of Sarcelles, a Paris suburb, chanted “Death to Jews!”, burned Jewish-owned businesses, and surrounded a synagogue, baying for the murder of those Jews inside. For hours, scores of Jewish families cowered inside, fearing for their lives, until police finally managed to disperse the mob late that night. In 2015, terrorists murdered four hostages in a kosher synagogue in Paris. In 2017, two Jewish brothers were forced off the road in a heavily Muslim neighborhood near Paris and attacked by passers by; one of the brothers’ thumb was sawn off in the attack.

In fact, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes is going up. In 2014, there were 423 reported hate crimes against Jews in France. In 2015, there were 851 reported anti-Jewish hate crimes.

In the face of rising hatred, more and more Jews are fleeing France. One 2016 poll found that fully 43% of French Jews are considering moving to the Jewish state. In 2014, a record-breaking 6,658 Jews moved to Israel from France. (By way of comparison, only 1,923 French Jews had moved to Israel in 2010, when the number of anti-Semitic crimes was lower.) In 2015, 7,469 French Jews moved to Israel.

France in Israel

Beach promenade of Netanya (Hebrew: נְתַנְיָה‎, lit., “gift of God”; Arabic: نتانيا‎‎) a city in the Northern Central District of Israel, and the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain.

As more French Jews move to the Jewish state, parts of Israel are gaining a distinctly French accent. In 2015, the Times of Israel noted that the Israeli seaside city of Netanya calls itself the “Israeli Riviera” and that in recent years, it has indeed come to resemble the famed French Riviera: “walking along its main pedestrian boulevard, one would be hard-pressed to tell it apart from its twin city of Nice” in France. French restaurants, French style – and French Jews – have given parts of Israel a very French feel.

One recent immigrant from France explained that the rising anti-Semitism in France sparked her family’s desire to move to Israel: “Here we get the feeling that we can protect ourselves. There we have the impression that we are on our own and if, God forbid, something happens we will have to manage.”

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Preceding articles

Kindertransport

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

The Rise of Anti-Seminism

If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.

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Additional reading

  1. Religious Practices around the world
  2. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  3. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  4. Migrants to the West #6
  5. Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp
  6. 2014 European elections
  7. French Muslims under attack
  8. Objective views and not closing eyes for certain sayings
  9. At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights
  10. How importance on religion is placed
  11. Is Europe going to become a dictatorial bastion
  12. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  13. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  14. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  15. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again
  16. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017
  17. Today’s thought by the French elections and right-wing populism in the world

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Further reading

  1. Judaism Fast Facts
  2. History of the Jews in France
  3. France Virtual Jewish History Tour
  4. Jewish Attempts at Rejudaizing Converts
  5. The French Jews have landed – les juifs français sur Londres
  6. U.S. Immigration Policy and the Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 1930s
  7. Incarceration and Detention
  8. Villains, victims, untold stories of refugees and officials
  9. That proud History of welcoming refugees
  10. Jewish Refugees and Liberation
  11. Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps
  12. Drancy internment camp
  13. Criticism of the Talmud
  14. Alliance Israélite Universelle (political organization)
  15. Adolphe Feder at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum
  16. death camp showers in ww2
  17. Eisenhower’s Rhine Meadows Death Camps
  18. Was Soviet Jewish Identity Strengthened by Russian Anti-Semitism During the Second World War?
  19. Netanyahu: Allies could have saved 4 million Jews if they’d bombed death camps in 1942 (Lol…..)
  20. Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors – BBC News
  21. Public Service Announcement
  22. Remembering Elie Wiesel
  23. Denial. . . . . . A Film
  24. The Tony Hall case revisited
  25. Never Again!!!
  26. Feast of Saint Edith Stein (9 August 2016)
  27. Surviving The Holocaust
  28. The Deep History of US, Britain’s Never-Ending Cold War On Russia by Finian Cunningham
  29. Bernie Sanders Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth, Tries to Justify Signing onto UN Letter
  30. Will We Live Out Our Heritage as People of Faith or Will We Succumb to fear?
  31. At home in London, French Jews dread vote on exiting the EU
  32. ‘French Jews experiencing worst situation since 1945’
  33. Natan Sharansky (French Zionist Jew) to French Jews mulling aliya: Do it!
  34. Natan Sharansky (Jew) : There is no future for Jews in France
  35. In Manuel Valls, French Jews get a presidential candidate they can trust
  36. In Manuel Valls, French Jews get a presidential candidate they can trust (Not good!!!!)
  37. Another 5,000 Jews quit France for Israel
  38. French Jews will have to give up Israeli citizenship, says Le Pen
  39. French Israelis fume at Le Pen’s plan to ban dual citizenship
  40. French Jews ‘will have to give up dual Israeli citizenship’ if Marine Le Pen wins presidential election
  41. French Jews imagine life under Marine Le Pen
  42. French Jews put off by Le Pen now worry about another presidential candidate
  43. French Jews worried over Le Pen’s success in presidential vote’s 1st round
  44. French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains
  45. See you at the Demonstration: Protesters Remember the Refugees, Forget the Jews
  46. Looks like a Holocost to me
  47. Israel’s abuse of the Ethiopian Jews is a vital piece of the puzzle of Talmudism
  48. Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression
  49. How Information Is Controlled by Washington, Israel, and Trolls, Leading to Our Destruction
  50. Jews Are Still the Biggest Target of Religious Hate Crimes
  51. A New Kind of ‘Safety’ School: Coping With Campus Anti-Semitism
  52. What is the Federal Government Doing to Oppose Anti-Semitic Hate Crime?
  53. SPLC Grudgingly Admits Many Recent Hate Incidents Targeted Jews
  54. Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred
  55. Who Is Behind Anti-Semitic Attacks in the U.S.?
  56. Denying Islamophobia is Islamophobia

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, History, Political affairs, Religious affairs

Parenting in changing times

When Pew Research Center started the Fact Tank data blog back in 2013, their goal was to present data that would help people better understand the news of the day. But in looking at their top blog posts of 2015, they realized that the pieces they published often made news, too. From Millennials in the workforce to religion in America, their most popular posts told important stories about trends shaping our world.
In a changing time parents of young kids are more likely than parents of teenagers to think they are doing well. Last century most parents where together, but recently we do find much more single parent families trying to cope.

Pew researchers note that the percentage of children living in a two-parent household, including cohabitating couples and same-sex couples, is at the lowest point in more than half a century.

Black and white image of 2 children at wedding

Black and white image of 2 children at wedding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Married and partnered parents say they feel more support in raising their children, and married parents are more likely to feel satisfied with their involvement in their children’s education.

The organization also finds that parents’ income affects their experiences in ways that aren’t necessarily surprising, but are nonetheless striking.

On December 30, 2015 wrote the article

It’s no longer a ‘Leave It to Beaver’ world for American families – but it wasn’t back then, either

Photo credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
Photo credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

It’s less common today for American children to have a family like the ones portrayed on television in the 1950s and ’60s. One of the biggest reasons is a dramatic rise in kids living with a single parent.

How the American family has changedIn 2014, just 14% of children younger than 18 lived with a stay-at-home mother and a working father who were in their first marriage. This marks a dramatic decline from the height of the postwar baby boom, when these kinds of households were more common.

But even then, what some people hold up as the quintessential “traditional” family type was far from universal: In 1960, just half of children were living in this type of arrangement. By 1980, the share had dropped to 26%. It continued to decline until the 1990s, and has since remained fairly stable, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at h...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the biggest changes has been the increase in kids living with single parents – up to 26% from 9% in 1960. An additional 7% of children today are living with two parents who are not married. This, in turn, relates to increases in divorce, as well as higher shares of births occurring outside of marriage; in 1960, 5% of births occurred to unmarried women, a share that has since increased eightfold to 40%. 

As more mothers enter the workforce, the share of stay-at-home moms has also declined. In the late 1960s, about half of mothers with children younger than 18 stayed at home full-time, compared with only three-in-ten today. (About 7% of fathers who live with their kids are stay-at-home dads.)

Asian children most likely to live with stay-at-home mom, working dad

Asian children are the most likely to be living with a stay-at-home mom and working dad in their first marriage. Almost one-fourth (24%) are, due in large part to the high rates of marital stability among Asians; fully 71% of Asian children are living with parents in their first marriage.

Hispanic children are also fairly likely to be living in this type of situation, due in part to the high share of moms who stay at home. Fully 18% of Hispanic children are living in a home with a working dad and a stay-at-home mom in their first marriage. The same is true of 15% of white children.

Black children are far less likely to be living in this type of family than others – only 4% are. This is largely due to the fact that less than a third of black children are living with two married parents at all, regardless of their work situation. Instead, the majority (54%) of black children are living with single parents.

Family arrangements are linked to economic outcomes, which in turn are associated with the environment in which kids are raised, according to a Pew Research Center report. Kids living in cohabiting families or single-parent families are two to three times more likely than kids in married-parent families to be living in poverty. And those kids living with two full-time working parents are better off financially than those living with a working dad and a stay-at-home mom.

At the same time, kids from less well-off families are less likely to be living in a neighborhood that their parents deem an excellent or good place to raise children than are kids from more affluent families. The parents of less affluent children are also far more likely to worry about the physical safety of their children than more affluent parents – 47% of parents with family income below $30,000 worry that their child could get shot at some point, versus 22% of parents with family income of $75,000 or more, for instance.

Topics: Household and Family Structure, Marriage and Divorce, Population Trends, Race and Ethnicity, Work and Employment

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Filed under History, Lifestyle, Social affairs, Welfare matters

Continued nostalgic Christmas memories

In Christmas in the 1950s we looked a first time at the way we and experienced the Winter holidays and enjoyed watching the movies.

When  had started sixth grade in Gretna, Louisiana to spend the next three years at the same “Grammar School” his life was common to those of his school mates.

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May...

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May story by Maxton Publishers, Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like in our country he had also real Christmas holidays, and had real Christmas programs at school. When we do hear our grand children and see what is done at schools for the Christmas holiday we do not see such nice activities like we had in school. Though, Today there are more people stressing that this is the Season of the Year, and several Christians are shouting that Christmas should be the Reason of the Season. But when they want to celebrate the birth of Christ, not much seems to remind people to that birth of the Jewish rabbi who is our saviour. On the streets and in the shops the so called Christmas songs do not really mention Jesus Christ but go on about reindeer, Santa(s), jingle bells and present, though not that special present or precious gift you could call Jesus Christ. The winter-related songs celebrate the climatic season, with all its snow, dressing up for the cold, sleighing, etc. and with the years all the pagan elements came more and more to the forefront, new mythical characters created, defined, and popularised by these songs; “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” both introduced by Gene Autry a year apart (1949 and 1950 respectively).

In the previous century we gathered and special presentations were offered to sing carols.

remembers

We would sing Christmas carols, which included biblical songs. The school would give the children song sheets that showed the words to those biblical songs. Teachers were free to talk to their classes about their church lives. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

Today lots of teachers are not allowed to speak about their religious life. They are not allowed to talk about Jesus Christ being the saviour. church live and talks about God are in many schools not authorised any more.

The kids have also nothing to share about church life, because most of them never go to church or just have some periods of church activity to prepare them for the first and/or second communion. they are not really interested in anything to do with church or with religion. The talk of the day is the new smartphone or any other new electronic gadget, plus laughing with one or the other posting on Facebook. Television lost grace in the hand of our grandchildren. The present generation does not watch so much television as we did or do, but have their eyes focused on the computer screen, watching al sorts of postings or games.

Most of my friends watched the same television programs. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

writes

We didn’t have cable tv or dish types, so our selection was limited to traditional network programming. The programs were family oriented and were not restricted to “church and state” limitations.The Cleaver family went to church and Sunday School. Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and Gomer were shown in their church, even when Gomer might fall asleep and snore during the “Reverend’s” sermons.
The Christmas programs that were produced and shown by ABC, NBC, and CBS did not hide the fact that “Jesus was the reason for the season.” Television hosts did not omit “Jesus” from their discussions when they were talking about Christmas. Jesus was truly “God with us” during those programs. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

Jesus nor God are the subject of this season. It is time that those who call themselves Christian and find that this should be a time to think about Christ Jesus, perhaps should do better to have others thinking about that special man who was sent by God for a specific reason.

In Belgium we listened, behind frosted windows, to songs like the one of Frank Sinatra who sung about the songs for you and me, but were told that this was all about that heathen character the Americans loved so much, because their country had become slave of consumption. Today we in Europe are not better off. Most people are slave of money and consumption. As in the previous article told, they even get so much stress that we have already time spend in the media about that ‘Christmas stress‘.

Of the time when every one falls in love there is not so much to see. In some American writings we hear that it is now fashionable to have a divorce around Christmas. Many have new years dreams of having some extramarital adventures with some delicious unknown and some even think it can be good fun to have some extra sex with somebody of their own gender. Those same gender relations are also promoted extra in this time of year. This week for example we had on television some gays who prepared meals for each other and talked every episode about the ‘Christmas kitsch’.

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album)

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1950ies and 1960ies from the States we got Andy Williams and Bing Crosby who be the must haves and must hears at the Winter holiday season. You may wonder what glow it is when snow would appear these days. But even the snow has given it up and Winter does not want to let see her face. Bing Crosby reminded people about what happened in Bethlehem and asked people to remember it not just in this particular season but the whole year through.

Judi Harbin remarked

Just as we cannot benefit from a wrapped gift under the Christmas tree until we open it, so gratitude can be seen as our way of opening the gift of God’s love intended by all the small and big positive events of our lives

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One of the Biggest Christmas hits in several families for years

“White christmas” by Bing Crosby (1942) Original

Later he made a more fluent, faster version, which I like more

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O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Bing Crosby

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Bing Crosby “The Secret Of Christmas”

“The Secret Of Christmas” was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for Bing Crosby, and was first performed by Bing in the 1959 film, ‘Say One For Me’. Bing recorded “The Secret Of Christmas” with an arrangement by Frank DeVol for a single that year released by Columbia Records. Bing recorded the song again in 1964 for the album 12 Songs Of Christmas with Fred Waring and His Orchestra.

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It may well be that after World War II our families had to overcome the shocks of the Great War and the last atrocity which showed the cruelty of man and made it so much more important to focus on the better soul of mankind. Perhaps it was truly a much simpler time of Christmas in our nation’s not too distant history.

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Preceding articles

Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

Christmas in the 1950s

The Proper Place of Excess

Looking for the consummation of presents

One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope

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Additional reading

  1. Creator and Blogger God 11 Old and New Blog 1 Aimed at one man
  2. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  3. Our love for Jesus – A Christian Science perspective
  4. Isaiah 55-56, Revelation 11
  5. God’s wrath and sanctification

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Further reading and listening

  1. Celebrating 365 Days of Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for December 17 – 23 – Saturnalia
  2. Countdown to Christmas 17: Saturnalia
  3. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  4. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  5. Why Did He Come?
  6. What Really Happened?
  7. He Loves You So
  8. 10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy, Happy, Glow Over Christmas and Into the New Year
  9. Cancer survivor supports others battling the disease with massive Christmas light display
  10. Giving money for Christmas: When and how to do it right
  11. Carols by Candlelight
  12. “Hush, now listen…”
  13. Hymn, ‘Mary, Did You Know?’
  14. Carol, ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing on Christmas Day’
  15. Joy to the World, Not Just Another Christmas Carol
  16. Christmas Carol Day 17
  17. Jubilation
  18. Manifestation
  19. “For hate is strong and mocks the song”–A Civil war Christmas carol
  20. Celebrating Christmas as a Family
  21. Holiday Decoration: Celebrate Christmas in Style
  22. Dec 18: My somewhere peaceful is Christmas magic
  23. New trending GIF tagged 80s christmas vhs 1987…

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3 Comments

Filed under Audio, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Video

Christmas in the 1950s

Miracle on 34th Street.jpg

Original poster for the 1947 Christmas comedy-drama film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies

Seaton, George American screenwriter and director original name George Stenius April 17, 1911 South Bend, Indiana, U.S. July 28, 1979 Beverly Hills, California American screenwriter and film director who was perhaps best known for his work on Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and The Country Girl (1954), both of which earned him Academy Awards for best screenplay. The son of Swedish immigrants, raised in Detroit, got his breakthrough with the holiday classic about a young girl (Natalie Wood) who begins to believe that the elderly man (Edmund Gwenn in an Oscar-winning performance) hired to play Santa Claus at Macy’s department store might actually be St. Nick. After a jealous fellow employee frames him for an assault, Kringle is placed in a mental hospital. At the ensuing sanity hearing, Kringle and his attorney attempt to prove that he is indeed Santa Claus.

“Miracle On 34th Street” has always found a place of warmth in my soul. {121714 – Christmas In The 50s}

writes

As I see the downtown store scenes of Christmas shoppers in the movie, my mind drifts back to the days of my childhood. {121714 – Christmas In The 50s}

The actor John Johnson who played the official Santa Claus for St. Albans finds that Gwenn who starred in the 1947 holiday film classic, helped set the standard for what a movie Santa Claus is supposed to be. When we were children looking forward for the many presents we could find under the Christmas tree we nearly every year got to see a performance of a homespun Christmas Street with a group of neighbours smitten by sugar-plum dreams and equipped with lots of extension cords, Santas, Snoopys, and inflatable snowmen, nativity scenes and teddy bears, model trains and flashing rooftop sleighs. In several stage versions we got to see as a child the scoundrels were mad more obvious and there were more of them. Also according to the times and popularity of names, the names of some of the characters were adapted to be more contemporary and to find more recognisable characters.

Some of our friends had lost their dad in the war and others had their parents working so hard that they had not so much time for their kids. also the writer of 121714 – Christmas In The 50s

Here in Belgium in front of nearly every big store there were Christmas singers for a good cause and the Salvation Army was unmistakably part of the Christmas Season picture.  In town you could not pass one shopping street without finding a Salvation Army band singing carols, around their little ‘fire’.

At that time the shops were still so incredibly decorated we just went to gaze in front of the shopwindows for all the magic bringing us into many special Christmas dreams. Everywhere you could feel the special spirit and people seemed much more friendly than the rest of the year.

Global warming had not reached us and we still could find real Winters with freezing cold days, having people to warm themselves very warm.

We at home having one of the first television had that extra dimension in the holiday period able to see the Christmas specials in the salon, after we had spend hours of reading in the library of the house and having had nice Christmas sweets in the lounge and some interesting chats in the parlour.

The writer of

The Christmas window displays seen in the film were originally made by Steiff for Macy’s. Macy’s later sold the window displays to FAO Schwarz in New York. FAO Schwarz then sold the windows to the Marshall & Ilsley Bank of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they are on display every December in the bank’s lobby on North Water Street. {Miracle on 34th Street (in the United Kingdom first released as The Big Heart}

On the stage as well on the screen many versions saw the light and tried to bring some nice atmosphere in the Winter Holiday season. today there doe snot seem such a search for family warmth and ‘togetherness’ any more and the shops do not make so much work for decorating their shop-windows. In the shops and at the Christmas markets everything focusses on material gadgets and on alcoholic drinks, whilst non-peaceful music is yelling out of the loudspeakers. Though I must agree it sometimes was too much of having for weeks all those Christmas songs and jingle bells coming out our ears. 😉

thinks rightly that many of our age have those “Miracle on 34th” times of Thanksgiving and Christmas memories neatly and protectively stored in the wonderful areas of our minds. He  writes

I can vividly remember how J.C. Penny looked on Broughton Street; Sears & Roebuck was actually located about a mile away. Lerner’s was a dress store, kind of high-end, that made me really think that I was in New York… I trust that you will always cherish those memories, just as I do.

Dotta Raphels remarks

America in her generous bid to be tolerant and welcoming, has completely lost the essence of benevolence. She has allowed tolerance not only consume and blind her, but now, the many she welcomed with open arms are threatening to usurp her original self and traits. I know this country has seen many ugly sides such as slavery and denigration of fellow man, I do not speak of these times or traits, but rather of true fellowship of his ways and words, and the freedom to practice so, without being labeled one ridiculous thing or the other.

What about these generosities be reverted and extended to the people of America who still have traditional values and beliefs, regardless of how politically incorrect some may view their take?
I have a different sort of memory myself growing up in Christmas times back in Nigeria. It was a period of joy and celebration for us. A time when parents travelled back with families from cities to small hometown and villages, so the extended kin can all gather to celebrate our Lord and gift.

Many kids got their very own new cloths or shoes for the first time that period because parents saw it as a good time to reach deep into very thin pockets to give as Christ gave to their kids.
Total strangers would give kids money or sweets, and families would invite strangers off the streets to sup or dine with them. It depicted true brotherhood and such were glory days.

Today, it’s completely different. There are rapes, murders, crime of all imaginable sorts, and small hometowns and villages now overrun with thuggery, kidnapping ,rage and you name it.
The utopia Christmas no longer exits, and kids are no longer happy with sweets, new clothes and shoes or a simple supper. Everyone wants a mac, kindle, I Phone 6 or tablet, …

People of faith and followers of Christ are made to feel inferior for having an opinion and the very government that should protect everyone’s right to free worship, is now the same stifling some who want to celebrate our Lord.
We don’t all have to believe in the same thing, but the founding fathers of these united states as many mistakes as they made, in my humble opinion got one thing right… That is stating firmly that In God We trust. America is not and will never be anything other than In God We trust. If only present people will allow us follow our oath.

 

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A fragment of the 1947 film with the little Dutch Girl and Mary Field as her Mother, where the child shows the true spirit of Christmas, to be with some one loved. After she tells the Santa she does not need anything else than to say with the nice lady she sings the Dutch Saint Nicholas song in Dutch “Sinterklaas kapoentje”

Miracle On 34th Street with Mary Field – 1947

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Miracle On 34th Street (1955 version)


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Preceding articles

The Proper Place of Excess

Looking for the consummation of presents

One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope

Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

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Additional reading

Change

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Further reading

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5 Comments

Filed under Fiction, History, Lifestyle, Social affairs, Video, Welfare matters

Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

Some might think we are

“constantly striving to develop lives of meaning without any outside recourse. The soul is increasingly insulated from the world outside our heads.” {Against Kant and Consumerism}

but today lots of people strive to enrich themselves with material wealth and consider their live worthwhile when they can be more wealthier and better showing off than others. Lots of people think they miss enough money or enough gadgets to enjoy fully life. For many everything seems to turn around the gathering of as much money as possible.

Lots of people do not look for the depth of meaning of life and are not so much interested in the others around them and the influence or necessity of them for them.

thisissueappearsThe American Conservative in the May/June 2015 article speaks about Matthew Crawford his books “Shop Class As Soul Craft” plus “The World Beyond Your Head” and looks at ‘the subtitle to his latest book which promises a look at our “age of distraction“.

The article says:

The premise of Crawford’s book is that our distractedness is merely symptomatic of a deeper cultural defect, a misrepresentation of the self that has permeated our society. He traces this back to Enlightenment philosophy, especially the thought of Immanuel Kant. Enlightenment thinkers of the late 17th and 18th centuries presented a view of the person that contrasted drastically with medieval and ancient thought: they put unprecedented emphasis on the rational individual as separate from society or community. They posited new theories about freedom founded upon reason and self-determination, with epistemological roots in ideas such as Descartes’s famous claim that “I think therefore I am.” Kant believed that knowledge and ethics must necessarily be situated within the mind—that existence must be interpreted through the autonomy of the individual.

The writer thinks

The soul is increasingly insulated from the world outside our heads.

Whereas in the real world, Crawford writes,

“we are subject to the heteronomy of things; the hazards of material reality,”

and continues

what Kant has given us is our modern identification of freedom with choice, in which choice is a “pure flashing forth” of the individual will.

that identification of freedom with choice has been there already from the period of the beginning in the Garden of Eden. Man had the choice either to follow his Creator His Will or to go his own way. Man choose the latter.

Thousand of years later, many think the world around them limits them and nature is to  block  their leg.

dumb nature is understood to be threatening to our freedom as rational beings, it becomes attractive to construct a virtual reality that will be less so, a benignly nice [reality] where there is no conflict between self and world

How many people do not want to be on their own and have the world turning around themselves. For many it is most important that everything turns around their own “I” so that they can say with proud: “I am“.

The associate editor of  The American Conservative Gracy Olmstead writes:

Consumer culture tries to destroy the discomforts and imperfections that are necessarily part of life.

Is not there one of the greatest problems of our present society, which has put most of its hopes on the material things it can require to make its own. It is not that they want to hoard things, but they love to gather all the newest things so that they can show off against others who have to do with older things.

Though the writer of the article finds that modern cars are designed in an insulating and distracting way, we more see them as copies of each other not having any more the specific personality or difference as the cars had in the 1950ies, when each car looked so specific and really could get its fans for one or another model and each model with its own flashy personal colours. to us it looks like that car owners lost the interest to have a car or any other object (clothes, houses) that look very personal and have their won story to tell. People do want all the same and are willing to cue for the latest gadget. Everybody else has to be able to see that they have this or that brand and can afford this or that mobile or i-pad, which has to be of the latest and newest ‘invention’.

Concerning the cars we could agree with the idea the  critic has

Everything within a car is constructed to give a sense of isolation and ease.

When the author would mean that the person who is driving the car would like to have the feeling to being his own world, having his own little world where nobody else around is being part of it. When the music can play loud it does not matter that others can hear it in their bathroom or are whipped out of bed. It is there music and everybody else should have to hear that is the best music to listen to.

Naturally the cultivation of “me-worlds” extends beyond auto-mobile design, but form men this might still be the thing to make their ‘me’, though the i-pad has taken a lot of that place.

Olmstead finds that Crawford spends a good deal of the book arguing that an Enlightenment approach to epistemology leads to narcissism: an understanding of the world that revolves entirely around the self and writes

The narcissist “treats objects as props” and struggles to comprehend them as objects with a reality of their own. The fantasy of autonomy, when full-grown, results in a “project of open-ended, ultimately groundless self-making.” {Against Kant and Consumerism}

Interestingly, Crawford identifies our treatment of others as the root of online narcissism in the age of Facebook:

“We increasingly deal with others through representations of them that we have,” he writes. “This results in interactions that are more contained, less open-ended, than a face-to-face encounter or a telephone call, giving us more control.”

Automobiles, the reviewer says

“can foster circumspection—literally, looking around for others and regarding oneself as an object for others in turn—or a collection of atomized me-worlds.” Our experience becomes ever more “mediated by representations, which remove us from whatever situation we inhabit directly, as embodied beings who do things.”

Throughout the ages the world has received its many distractions. The tools may have changed but the aim and way has stayed the same. Today “virtual reality” allows many to find back lost friends or schoolmates and gives the opportunity to interact with more, and more diverse, people, not fewer and not more homogeneous.

For American society to emerge from the distractions of consumer culture and virtual existence

Ms Olmstead finds

we must look beyond the symptoms and consider the disease: the shroud of individualism that prevents us from fully embracing the real world.

The individuals looking for themselves to acquire as much material wealth as possible have to come to see that they would be better to work at their social contacts spending more time to be with each other in real life than in chat sessions, never going deep in a conversation. For sure we we must

cultivate an awareness of—and love for—the world beyond ourselves.

The Edge Foundation / Flickr

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Preceding articles:

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others

The I Am to explore

little i

Path/Walk/Sink

Comic: The Last Time I Felt Accepted For Who I Am

Be realistic, do not pretend

The world starts with yourself

Believe in yourself!

Believe in your greatness

Find Inspiration and Follow Your Dreams

Wishy-Washy…

There can only be hope when there is a will to be and say “I am”

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Additional reading:

  1. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  2. For those who make other choices
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  4. Detroit, A city not to be understood

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6 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Social affairs, Welfare matters

Geen onbekende Zonder Naam

Wie in Vlaanderen kent er niet die beweging die al meer dan 50 jaar de verzuring in onze samenleving bestrijdt? Bond zonder Naam was in de jaren 1950 en 60 in ieder geval een begrip in vele huiskamers waar de kaarsen en de spreuken op de kast prijkten zodat iedereen er niet naast kon kijken.

Toen waren het hoofdzakelijk de spreuken die de ronde deden, maar de organisatie is uitgegroeid tot veel meer dan enkel het verspreiden van positieve gedachten met spreuken op kaartjes gedrukt. Ook met de kracht van haar sociale projecten en de maatschappelijke relevantie van haar campagnes over eenzaamheid, gevangenen, stilte, …. genereert Bond zonder Naam een beweging die onze aandacht verdient.

Wij zijn zeer dankbaar dat wij nu ook deze mooie gedachten zullen magen verspreiden. Zoals u weet willen wij positieve berichten de wereld in sturen en opbouwende gedachten verspreiden. De Bond zonder Naam beweging heeft hierin al vele jaren ervaring. Zij zijn met de jaren gerijpt tot een volwaardige organisatie. Wij daarentegen zijn nog in ons embryonaal stadium. Daarom zijn wij dan ook eens te meer dankbaar dat wij de stem van Bond Zonder Naam ook op dit platform mogen laten horen.

Zoals zij zelf te kennen geven is een beweging niet realiseer op je eentje. Je kan niet alleen de vele bergen verzetten! Samen met een dynamisch team, meer dan 1.000 vrijwilligers én de juiste partners versterken de mensen van Bond Zonder Naam het beste in onze samenleving! Wij hopen dat hun inbreng hier ook een lichtpunt kan zijn en de gedachte van vader Bosmans verder kan doen uitdragen.

De op op 1 juli 1922 geboren boerenzoon Phil Bosmans bracht een groot deel van zijn jeugd door in de onmiddellijke omgeving van de Limburgse mijnen en de mijnwerkers. In 1941 ging hij bij de paters Montfortanen te Rotselaar waar hij tot het einde van de wereldoorlog bleef. In 1945 trok hij naar Oirschot in Nederland waar hij op 7 maart 1948 priester werd gewijd. Na zijn priesterwijding werd hij naar de Vendee in Frankrijk gestuurd om zendingswerk in de buitenwijken van Tours te doen. Vervolgens werd hij bevriend met priester-arbeiders in Parijs. Hij had een grote bewondering voor hen.

In 1949 werd hij terug naar België geroepen om ‘missies voor het volk ” te leiden met een aantal collega’s. Tot april 1951 woonde hij als priester-arbeider tussen de mijnwerkers in de sloppenwijk wijk Waterschei en werkte hij met hen in de put.

In 1951 vroeg zijn bisschop hem over Limburg te reizen met ‘Onze Lieve Vrouw van de Armen van Banneux‘. Hij ontmoete zo honderden mensen, preekte en leidde processies. Het was erg hard werken en hij had bijna geen vrije tijd. Phil had hierdoor niet genoeg rust en uiteindelijk stortte hij in te Hopmaal begin juni 1954.

Vader Aerts, de pastoor van Hopmaal en Leontine Franck, een verpleegster, zorgden voor Phil. Hij was zo ziek dat hij aan zijn bed gekluisterd was voor twee jaar. Hij was niet in staat om nog een ding te doen. Zelfs de mis opdragen werd voor hem te zwaar gevonden. Specialisten waren pessimistisch over zijn situatie. Zijn superieuren werden geïnformeerd dat hij een wrak zou zijn voor de rest van zijn leven en voor niets goed zou zijn.

Pater Bosmans liet zich echter niet doen en in een ondeugende ogenblik zei hij eens:

“In de tussentijd ben ik springlevend en is mijn specialist al lang de madeliefjes omhoog aan het duwen. “

Zijn oversten wilden hem niet belasten en lieten hem veel vrije tijd. Dit stelde hem instaat om te reageren op het verzoek van pater Loop om te helpen bij het opbouwen van Bond zonder Naam in Vlaanderen. Sinds 1957 heeft Phil Bosmans al zijn energie besteed aan dit werk.

Tientallen sociale en culturele initiatieven ontstonden ​​onder zijn bezielende leiding. De kleine man was altijd centraal in de ontwikkeling van de Bond zonder Naam. In een tijd waarin vrijwel geen opvangstructuren bestonden, werkte Phil en zijn vrienden wonderen voor het opzetten van het ene huis na het andere.

Stadhuis van Mortsel

Stadhuis van Mortsel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Na lang lijden onder de naweeën van een beroerte in 1994 stierf vader Phil Bosmans in het ziekenhuis te Mortsel, bij Antwerpen, van complicaties van bronchitis, op de leeftijd van 89 jaar, op 17 januari 2012.

De nood aan een mentale reconversie in alle geledingen van de samenleving, was Bosmans meest gehoorde oproep. Phil Bosmans was een begenadigd schrijver. Zijn grootste succes was ‘Menslief, ik hou van je’. Voor de naoorlogse generatie was het hét succesboekje dat als leidraad kon dienen om de agape liefde te verspreiden. Het werd een bestseller in Vlaanderen, Nederland en Duitsland. Het boek kende ondertussen zijn 60ste druk. Meerdere boeken werden in 26 talen vertaald. Wereld wijd werden om en bij de 9 miljoen exemplaren verkocht. Zijn gouden pen en  onvermoeibare inzet leverden hem tal van prijzen op waaronder in 1968 en 1991 de Visser Neerlandia prijs.
De Bond zonder Naam, opgericht in 1959 mag dan al bekend zijn van de spreuken, de organisatie doet heel wat meer. Wij zijn har dankbaar dat wij ook de spreuken en de positieve gedachten mogen publiceren. Hiermee hopen wij ook die positieve gedachte mee verder te kunnen uitdragen. Maar ook hopen wij dat meerdere mensen die maatschappijkritische beweging zullen leren kennen. Zij als wij willen het beste in mensen versterken door werk te maken van waarden. Deze worden vertaald naar concrete actie. De klemtoon ligt daarbij op de eigen leefomgeving. De
beweging is actief op tal van domeinen zoals waarden, kinderrechten, opvoedingsondersteuning, zingeving, inter-levensbeschouwelijke dialoog, armoedebestrijding en gelijke kansenrecht. Wij hopen dat de hier gepubliceerde spreuken aanleiding mogen geven om die positieve gedachte door te geven en om de gedachte van die organisatie beter te leren kennen.De beweging Bond onder Naam heeft bijna 200.000 gezinnen en 200 ondernemingen die lid zijn. Graag nodigen wij u ook uit om bij hen aan te  sluiten en uw steentje bij te dragen. Dit kan via www.bzn.be.
Bond zonder Naam is een organisatie van mensen. Niet alleen doen zij beroep op meer dan 1.000 vrijwilligers die dagelijks sprankels van hoop en maatschappelijke verandering brengen, zij zijn ook financieel afhankelijk van tal van grote en kleine schenkers. De organisatie Bond Zonder Naam wordt gedragen door mensen die geloven in hun maatschappelijke opdracht en geregeld een gift overmaken of Bond zonder Naam in hun testament opnemen. Als u hiervoor ook iets voelt kan dat:

Als ook u ervan overtuigd bent dat Bond zonder Naam, aan de hand van concrete projecten en inspirerende acties, een motor kan zijn om van onze samenleving een betere plek te maken, dan bent u misschien ook bereid om ons financieel te steunen. In ruil voor een financiële gift van 40 euro of meer ontvangt u een fiscaal attest.

Financieel steunen kan op verschillende manieren:

BzN-Mov Without a Name-Logo_EN

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English readers may find an introduction to the texts from Bond Zonder Naam or Movement without a Name: Phil Bosmans and the Bond Zonder Naam (Union Without a Name): Movement Without a Name

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  • Face of Flanders (flanderstoday.eu)
    Phil Bosmans Father Phil Bosmans, the co-founder and face of the Bond Zonder Naam (Union Without a Name), has died in hospital in Mortsel, near Antwerp, from complications of bronchitis, at the age of 89. Father Bosmans had long suffered the after-effects of a stroke in 1994, and spent his last years living in a convent in nearby Kontich.

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Filed under Activisme & Vredeswerk, Bond Zonder Naam, Nederlandse teksten - Dutch writings, Sociale Aangelegenheden

Accents in schools and tools of survival against aliens

In Belgium and most parts of Europe the schools give a lot of attention to mathematics. Everything in the world seems to turn around ciphers. Not much space is given to emotions. Even at the age of two and a half, when kids enter school and you would think much of the basic social skills still have to be learned not so much time is invested to teach the children to live and work with each other.
Not only the “West” does not spend time into the spiritual welfare of its younger population. Software engineer, in an MNC in Gurgaon, India, Samir Mishra notices in his own country, which we associate with spiritual gurus:

It’s quite ironic that no education system teaches us how to use the tools of life when it’s life that turns out as the best teacher, mentor and guide for the rest of your life. {Subjects in Distress}

It looks like the world is gone far away from the basic skills a human being has to learn. All focus is placed on measurable things, matters of competitive skills and not of sharing issues. Our society does not give much attention any more on what we should consider the most essential valuable matters in the world of mammals. Perhaps man thought it should make itself totally different of animals, so would have to cut the behaviour education. In nature animals spend time at first to teach their young how they have to behave and what the order is in the way of life of their sort. They learn the basic skills to live in this world and to manage a good life.

Most people industrialised countries can say the same as Samir Mishra:

Even more ironic and rather sad is, none of the skills I learned in my school or college are helping me make my living. {Subjects in Distress}

Today we all may learn how to get the skills for a certain job to make money. In the fifties and sixties boys and girls in Belgium learned how to nit and sew. The children learned to work and to play together. Now not many play any more. Before and after school they are kept quiet in front of the television screen. Nobody learns needle work at school when he is a youngster. Most works for mother-day and father-day are mainly prepared by the teacher. The kids only bring the final touches, but they and the parents do believe they made it.

Nobody learns to give honour on the right person or to give respect to others.
Though:

Nothing helps except humanity and respect. Rest all are mere tools of survival against aliens, angry animals and foolish humans. {Subjects in Distress}

Lots of schools have become big institutions which manage to bring children in distress with ‘boredom’, filling up their brains with lots of words and ciphers which do not seem to contribute much to life-skills. Children feel this and therefore do not feel it is giving them the right thing, so they loose interest and get bored. They need to feel the direct link to their way of living, their own environment.

US Navy 041127-N-8801B-079 Culinary Specialist...

US Navy 041127-N-8801B-079 Culinary Specialist Seaman Barbara E. Rodriguez, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), spends time on a community relations visit to the Dubai Center for Special Needs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of children like Tonkadella may have a great memory and can easily remember stories and names, but from their educational period, the many years they sat on the school benches, they cannot remember numbers, dates and years. Is it perhaps not because lots of things are not any more presented in a nice frame, a good story? Children would remember nice stories, those stories that touch them, stories with deeper emotional meaning, not political. Not wars, conflicts, revolutions and battles. Though a great deal of the children might like the ‘wargames’, because they look incredible fancy moments. But for others it is all just a violence and crime to them. People suffering and fighting all the time, lesson by lesson.

Strange to find people to become bored in history class,such an interesting subject?

I was getting tired and bored in history classes. I found my teacher uninspiring and that affected my learning. All I did in history classes was daydreaming, which helped me to escape the stress reality of humankind history. Sometimes I would just simply stare at those pictures shown by my teacher, thinking of those pretty clothes, hairstyles and jewellery people used to wear. Sometimes, I would just try very hard to stay awake. {The History I don’t Know}

In Belgium it looks like the government does not find it necessary to the inhabitants to know what happened. Not much time is sped to history and geography, just now when so many can travel around. all focus is on mathematics.

“They” always said, “Write it down,” but when it came to math, that was poor advice for me. It got so excruciating that in eleventh grade, when my very nice algebra teacher said, “We’re starting imaginary numbers next week,” I actually cried. He asked what was wrong and I said, “I can’t get the right answer with real ones. What will I be able to do with imaginary ones?” By then I’d developed such a complex over the whole “right answer” thing that I was blind. I thought the little ‘i’ in front of a number denoting it being imaginary was an upside-down-exclamation mark, you know, like for Spanish? (I didn’t realize it was an ‘i’ (eye) until about ten years ago when a bunch of my students explained it! I’d have felt chagrined, but some of them couldn’t do long division on paper. 😉 ) {Imagined Irrationality of Numbers}
What a nightmare! {The History I don’t Know}

The children from early age onwards got their heads stuffed full with ciphers. They are not allowed to dream, they even do not learn it any more. They also do not learn to read stories any more. No time is spend to go through the literary works of the past. By leaving the on the bookshelves not many get to master their own language or to play with words.

Today we only can find a few people who still can say:

I also read, in their entirety, every single book that was required reading for my A.P. English class. And it was in that small classroom, in the north wing of my high school, where I flourished, plodding my way through the likes of Steinbeck, Dickens and Bronte. It’s where I fell in love with Conrad and Flaubert; where I became enthralled with Homer and Tolstoy; where I learned I didn’t care for Hemingway or Bradbury; learned that I could adore Fitzgerald’s Gatsby and a few weeks later be bored stiff by his other works. And, it’s where I learned that I could write words to make people understand – to take them down the road I wished them to go. {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

But more than remember what I learned, or even wished I’d learned back then, sometimes I think about those past teachers – not all of them, but some. And I wonder about their lives now and then. What did they do when they weren’t at school? Did they have families? What were their hobbies? Did they like teaching? Were they happy? I wouldn’t have known any of those things back then … but I wonder, if I would have known, would I have thought differently about any of them? {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

Children learn about health, fitness, safety

Children learn about health, fitness, safety (Photo credit: CherryPoint)

It seems the world did not want to let the person behind the subject been seen. Probably if pupils could see the person behind the subject more, they would get more respect for them. They also would probably remember more those teachers who personally managed to contribute something to their own life. The best teachers are those who give that extra, the little stories, the issues not registered in the syllabus.

One things for sure, to this day there are a few that I will always pay homage to for installing in me the craving for knowledge – because it’s only with knowledge that one can dream of all that’s possible in this life … and for that, I am thankful. {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

Those teachers who brought that extra to their subjects should be the ones to be remembered.  Hopefully next generations can find ways to bring back sunshine in the hearts of many.

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This post inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion.
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!”

Please do find to read:

  1. Subjects in Distress
  2. If you learn one thing learn to dream
  3. Giggles and some learning
  4. Chemistry

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