Tag Archives: Stranger

The written, the spoken, and the audible a part of the soul and a blessing to humanity but also the trigger to those who love Crusades and the Inquisition

Bill Ziegler who started studying the Geography of the Middle East in 1965, two-years before the Six-Day War, completed his M.A. at Kansas State. Having got a translation eduction and Master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati, he followed a year of post-graduate studies at Justus Liebig Universitãt in Giessen, West Germany. Getting Around in German at Tristate German-American School for 22 years 1989 – 2013, now lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, where he specialises in

Manufacturing Business/Commerce (general)
IT (Information Technology) Construction / Civil Engineering
Telecom(munications) Materials (Plastics, Ceramics, etc.)

 

As a Certified Teacher of German Language: State of Ohio Department of Education he also is a member of the American Production and Inventory Contro, TriState German-American School. He is presently teaching German language and culture to students ranging from Kindergarten to adults: beginners to advanced levels at the TriState German-American School and integrated techniques practised at Cincinnati Waldorf School to dramatically involve each student’s learning with a wide range of teaching methods.

He is aware that

The culture where I live does not seem particularly interested in learning foreign languages. But the written, the spoken, and the audible become a part of the soul and a blessing to humanity when civilized thought can gain a foothold. {Thinking about Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Gießen and Savak}

Main building of the research university in Giessen, Hesse, Germany, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

My interest in German language led to an opportunity for study in Giessen, at that time West Germany, from 1971 to 1973. Upon arriving at Justus Liebig Universität I learned German as a second language with fellow students from Iran, Japan, Egypt among others. German was the tongue we shared, so that we could talk to the brain. Then we could join the citIzenry and talk to the heart. {Thinking about Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Gießen and Savak}

For him

Learning a second or 3rd or 4th language is like escaping the gravity of your native land. You probe about in another way of being, of thinking, of observing. Better still — if you’ve the inclination — learn another tongue via a second or third language. Meet the stranger in a place foreign to each.  {Languages, Escape Velocity and Bigly Lies}

He reminds us of a fact we may never forget

Propaganda relies upon endlessly repeated mistranslations, designed to obfuscate. Weaponized language to serve hidden agendas, to move geopolitical stakes through sabotage, bigotry, racism, straw men, false flags, pacification, liquidation; in other words, chicanery of any convenient kind. Whatever works. No questions asked.  {Languages, Escape Velocity and Bigly Lies}

In this world we can find lots of people who tell a lot of lies and nonsense bout other people or about other organisations. They are eager to make use of the knowledge that people can not check certain things because they do not know the language of the others. In many countries we find the presidents or leaders of that country telling lies about “the others”.

Mark Chmiel wonders about certain moments in history

Were the Democratic and Republican presidents who consistently lied to the American people merely making slips of the tongue? … or  …. Were U.S. war crimes merely bumbled into, over and over, month after month for years, an oddly uncorrectable error? {Mistake}
A lot of misunderstandings do come from not having or not grasping the essence of what is being said and meant. Everywhere can be found pepole who hate our world, our way of life, the free spirited, the one who thinks differently than some one else, the one who has an other faith than the main stream religions. Some want to have everything in control or want to dictate their own rules and ways of life. Non-Trinitarians and others who preach pacifism and a life where everybody can accept the differences between each other, are by many considered a danger for society, and as such have to be attacked and must be eradicated. This is not new and has happened more than once. Such an extermination of a certain people or a certain faith group has taken place more than once in history.
All dictatorships are sexually repressive and anti-life. All affirmations of life are diametrically opposed to dogmatic regimes. It was logical for Fidel Castro to persecute us, not to let us fuck, and to try to suppress any public display of the life force.
-— Reinaldo Arenas {Our Only Salvation Lies in Words: On Arenas’s Before Night Falls}
Religious groups have always been the target of those who did not like the free thought of others. To silence those who thought differently the most used weapon was and still is disinformation and telling lots of lies, not giving the other the opportunity to defend himself publicly. (One good example for today is how a certain Dave Norris writes lots of articles about several denominations, but has his readers to believe all the nonsense he writes about those groups. Cfr. his loads of articles on the Belgian Bible Students like “The Watchtower Belgian Biblestudents” using a name for an organisation which even does not exists.) Some love to make crusades against others and would love to see the inquisition re-installed.


The Crusades and the Inquisition (The Church Militant) were not good ideas. Spreading lies like Joseph Goebbels lends not a single grain of truth. Truth went into exile from 1933 to 1945. No literature or art of any value springs forth under Fascism. Nothing good comes of Fascism. “When I hear the word ‘culture’…”

Islamophobia (from the xeno family of racism) will not lead to a better gentler world.
~ Arabic is a tapestry

 

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Cultural affairs, History, Political affairs, Quotations or Citations, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility

The season of Pesach (Passover) is a time for reflection for many people.

Shimon Zachary Klein finds that the relevance of Pesach as a festival of freedom is lost for many reasons. He writes
It is a festival that conjures up obsessions for the “Kosher for Pesach” foods that result in the annual hair-splitting arguments between the secular and religious. The losers are inevitably the secular who have to kowtow to the whims of the religious who have the law on their side. What is free about that? Religious coercion reaches a climax during the Pesach week.Another aspect and one that very few people give a thought is the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Their limited freedom is even further curtailed. Road-blocks, closures and checkpoints are stricter. The reason is always security. However, the difficulties that innocent Palestinians have to endure are further increased by this “Festival of Freedom”. The Israeli soldiers who are on duty in the occupied territories are even more abusive and insensitive to Palestinians to ensure that the “Festival of Freedom” is not “interrupted” by Palestinians.

It is difficult and even hypocritical to celebrate a festival of freedom while denying another people basic human rights. The settlers in the occupied territories show their presence during this “Festival of Freedom” when they trespass on Palestinian lands. At the same time the Israeli government is still expanding settlements on Palestinian land. Racist rabbis continue their anti-Arab diatribes and this does have much influence for the celebration of Pesach. {Pesach (Passover) – the Festival of “Freedom”}

Today, having a holy week and having listened to the stories how God liberated His people, we in these days of particular times, showing that we are coming closer to the end times, it should be a challenge to all of us as lovers of God to seek new meanings and learning new lessons as to how relevant Pesach remains today.

From the previous writings you could find that it is not enough to celebrate the liberation of the Israelites, who to all intents and purposes, are our ancestors. It is also not enough just to think about the Jewish rabbi who called his disciples together to speak about a new covenant.

English: Omer ceremony - Pesach 2007 , Jewish ...

English: Omer ceremony – Pesach 2007 , Jewish holidays עברית: חגיגת אנשי אילות לקראת סדר פסח בדשא חדר האכילה.ריקוד אמהות וילדים:שיבולת בשדה., Original Image Name:טקס העומר-פסח 2007, Location:אילות (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Jews still come together in a very traditional way and even may perform what others consider out dated rituals as to what is Kosher for Pesach and what is not. The religious hair-splitting explanation over what is “kitniot” –“legumes” that are forbidden to be eaten by religious Ashkenazim.

Rabbi John Rosove, J Street Rabbinic Cabinet, Co-Chair brought following message

“As the festival of Passover approaches, we are all challenged, this year even more than most years, to reflect and act on the universal message it conveys — especially in the light of very disturbing trends both in the United States and Israel.

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in ...

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in Prague, 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The overriding message conveyed through the Haggadah is that it is our duty to experience the story of our liberation from Egypt as if it happened to us personally — and not just a story that happened to our ancestors countless generations ago. As former slaves, our tradition teaches us to be sensitive to the plight of the oppressed throughout history and in our own time. Accepting our role as active participants in that drama, we realize that we have a hand in forging our own destiny and cannot allow ourselves to become mere bystanders.

“We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.”

We are sensitive even to the pain of our enemies, taking a drop of wine out of our glasses for each of the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians, lessening our joy as we recall their suffering.

As our sages have noted, the one commandment in the Torah reiterated more than any other is to care for and love the stranger — for we ourselves were strangers in Egypt. It is repeated no fewer than 36 times.

Perhaps the repetition is necessary because this commandment tells us to do something that is both counterintuitive and very hard to do. It goes against something that is very deep and fundamental within us. We’re hardwired to be loyal to our own tribe and to be suspicious of and hostile to “the other.” When we’re hurting or in distress, some of us blame strangers and pour out our rage on them. It’s happening again, right now, in Syria, Iraq and in sectors of America.

He is not the only one who looks at what is going on at the 2016 presidential campaign in the United states of America where some of the leading candidates have built their campaigns by exploiting the fears and anxieties of fellow Americans. Also on several religious websites, mainly fundamentalist Christian or American right wing Evangelist sites everything is done to bring people against each other and to downgrade one or an other faith-group.

The rabbi rigthly remarks:

They have cynically fomented an anti-immigrant, xenophobic, nativist feeling against Muslims, Hispanics and others.

and sees the same problematic matter in Israel

we see the same phenomenon in the very disturbing recent polls showing that a sizeable proportion of the Jewish population would favor depriving Arab Israelis of their democratic rights or even expelling them from the country. And tragically, Israelis and Palestinians have become strangers to each other, meeting in fewer and fewer places and not currently engaged around the negotiating table.

Yes, Israelis have been subjected to heinous terrorist attacks, rockets, missiles and constant psychological pressure — and we must stand with them in upholding their right to defend themselves and our Jewish homeland — but returning hatred with hatred is not the response our tradition teaches. We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.

This is not who we are as Jews — nor who we can be and should be.

As individuals and collectively, working through organizations like J Street and its many American-Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian allies, we need to change this. We are called upon by tradition to pursue peace and justice and to love compassion. We must see that our neighbors are fellow humans with the same desires and aspirations as us — and we must never abandon our goal of reaching a two-state solution to end the conflict.

That is the great challenge of our time and it is deserving of particular reflection this festival season.

English: Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of th...

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, at National Poverty Hearing 2006 at Westminster, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the former Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, has noted,

“Judaism is God’s call to human responsibility. From this call you can’t hide, as Adam and Eve discovered when they tried, and you can’t escape, as Jonah learnt in the belly of a fish. The first humans lost paradise when they sought to hide from responsibility. We will only ever regain it if we accept responsibility and become a nation of leaders, each respecting and making space for those not like us.”

Also for those who want to call themselves Christian should ring the same bell. Jeshua asked his followers to be messengers of peace. We can not permit it that we again would loose the paradise. It is promised to us, but we can go along the wrong paths and miss that important entrance or small gate to the Kingdom of God.

Christians should take up their responsibility to preach the Good News and to show the right attitude of a lover of God, keeping to the golden Rule of the Agape love.

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Please do read also: Relevance of Observing Pesach Today

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Thoughts on Passover

The traditional Passover Seder Haggadah is not just for Jews—it will move spiritual progressives both secular and religious.

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Thoughts on Passover by Shari Motro

How does one leave home in peace?

Read metaphorically, the Exodus story—which Jews will retell during the upcoming Passover holiday—offers some clues to answering this most universal of questions.

Moses is born a Hebrew slave, but he is raised in Pharaoh’s palace. The setup is an exaggerated version of something familiar to many—to anyone who has wondered whether some cosmic accident landed her with the wrong family; anyone who has felt uncomfortable about the privileges she accrued by virtue of her birth; anyone who at some point experienced her parents as oppressive or narrow. Egypt, in Hebrew, means “narrow place.”

Moses’ initial reaction is the classic teenage rebellion—it’s rash, it’s risky, and it gets him into deep trouble. After witnessing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, Moses kills the Egyptian, buries him in the sand, and runs. He tries to disappear, to start over. In Midian, Moses marries a local and has a son who he names Gershom, Stranger (“For I was a stranger in a strange land,” he says).

But running away doesn’t work. At some point, those of us who leave unfinished business behind are called to return. For Moses, the call starts as a fire, a fire that burns but doesn’t consume. The burning bush is a fire that can be neither put out nor ignored.

Miniature ofrom Folio 8r of the Syriac Bible o...

Miniature ofrom Folio 8r of the Syriac Bible of Paris shows Moses before Pharaoh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moses goes home to face the conflict he ran from. His task is to negotiate, to mediate between the slaves and Pharaoh, both of whom symbolize aspects of every human soul. He will eventually leave again, but in a different way. Leaving home in peace requires acknowledging the naysaying voice within. Moses can’t leave Egypt for good until his ability to dream his own future overwhelms his fear, until he stands before Pharaoh and speaks his truth.

Yes, I killed the Egyptian.

Yes, I’ve turned my back on you. Look, I’m not you. I’m a different person.

Yes, I want to leave.

Will you let me go?

Pharaoh says no, as parents do. Sometimes parents say no even when they know that eventually they will relent, that everybody will be better off when they do. Nevertheless, some inexplicable force compels them to dig in their heels, to wield their power while they still have it.

Of course, Pharaoh is an extreme example. This is the point of archetypal myths: they use extremes to illustrate lessons that apply to us all. Pharaoh symbolizes attachment—the eminently human tendency to resist change. The plagues are the suffering that results from attachment. Each plague is a message from Pharaoh’s higher self, like a body that keeps getting sick until you listen to it.

For Moses, the message of the plagues may be this: Your blossoming into your most radiant self is not the true cause of suffering—Pharaoh’s suffering, your own suffering, anybody’s. The cause of suffering is resistance.

After the tenth and most devastating plague—the death of the firstborn—Pharaoh finally relents, and the Israelites leave “in haste.” They leave so quickly they can’t wait for their bread to rise; this is why we eat unleavened bread on Passover. What’s the message here?

When the force holding you back finally relents—go. GO. Don’t be scared; don’t feel guilty; don’t hang around saying long goodbyes. It’s time.

And if Pharaoh follows at your heels and drowns in the pursuit, don’t rejoice. According to one interpretation, this is what God said to the angels who sang as the Egyptian chariots were swallowed by the sea:

“Don’t rejoice, for they are my creatures too.”

And yet, the texts are also filled with the opposite, with joy.

Anyone who has succeeded in breaking free knows this tension well. Our glee is tinged with something else, with the sinking recognition that our naysayers’ grief is our grief. And… surviving requires not allowing ourselves to drown in their tears. Surviving is rejoicing despite their pain.

Somehow, on the other side of it all, there is a place where all is forgiven, where the narrowness of our birth canal—every trauma, every grief—becomes a source of love and gratitude, where zero-sum gives way to abundance, where Pharaoh and Moses are one.

I’ve seen only glimpses of this place. For me, this is the Promised Land.

– by Shari Motro

Shari Motro is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.

From the Sikkum Special Seder Messages for Passover

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Preceding posts:

Commemorating the escape from slavery

The Evolution Of Passover–Past To Present

Passover and Liberation Theology

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Additional reading:

  1. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  2. Moving around looking for a homeland
  3. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  4. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  5. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  6. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  7. Meaning of life 
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. God helper and deliverer
  11. God’s instruction about joy and suffering
  12. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  13. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  14. Suffering continues
  15. Suffering leading to joy
  16. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  17. 1 -15 Nisan
  18. Day of remembrance coming near
  19. Another way looking at a language #4 Ancient times
  20. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  21. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  22. Seven days of Passover
  23. On the first day for matzah
  24. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  25. Children ate the OT passover so why not NT bread and wine?
  26. High Holidays not only for Israel
  27. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  28. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  29. 14-15 Nisan and Easter

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  • The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep (acquiescere9.wordpress.com) > The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped SheepUltimately, the Torah tells us, God commanded the Israelites to take a lamb or a kid for each household. They were to hold it for four days, from the tenth until the fourteenth of the first month, and slaughter it on the fourteenth. This was done in Egypt, despite the Egyptians’ religious beliefs. To this day Jews commemorate this event, calling the Sabbath preceding Passover Shabbat Hagadol
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    Torah Parshat Va’eira Exodus 6:2-9:3
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    Parshah Yitro Exodus 18:1-20:23
  • This Passover 2012, Remember (Again!) – It’s Not Your Religion That Matters, But Your Humanity (nobodysview.wordpress.com)
    A drop of wine is spilled with each recitation in memory of those who suffered in Egypt…not the Jews, but the Egyptians.I guess it’s a solemn reminder that when blood of any kind is spilled, we all lose a little something.  Then, it is important to remember that when there are those in bondage around the world, we ourselves (no matter our religion) are in some way in bondage.
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    It’s 5773, but the Message of Passover 2013 Is Still as Strong as Ever
    There were wanderings, new beginnings, divisions, and some heartache, but in the end, the destination was reached.
  • Preparing for Passover: Six Ways to Prepare (coffeeshoprabbi.com)
    Traditionally, Jews spend the month after Purim preparing for Passover. A lot of the holiday is in the preparation: the seder and the week that follows are the fruit of what we’ve put in the month before. I thought it might be helpful to look at the various ways we prepare for Passover.  If this is your first year observing Passover, don’t try to do everything at once. Choose one or two, and get all that you can out of them.
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    Passover is the festival of telling the story about “deliverance from Egypt.” If you are truly to experience deliverance, it helps to notice from what you need deliverance. Spend some time, between now and Passover, thinking about your own personal Egypt(s). The name for Egypt in Hebrew is “Mitzrayim,” which also means “a narrow place, a tight spot.” Questions to ask myself: Where in my life am I stuck? To what am I a slave? In what parts of my life am I Pharaoh? Do I depend on the slavery of others? What would freedom look like, in any of these cases? What would freedom cost? What is freedom worth?
  • Who Would You Rather Listen To? (spinningrabbi.com)
    One of those valuable lessons of this remembering, is this – G-d freed the Jews so that they were no longer physical slaves, yet they were still slaves.  Now they were their own Pharaoh and the slavery was of the self-imposed spiritual and emotional variety.  Once physically free, it was up to them to free themselves spiritually and emotionally.This lesson applies to all people who are blessed to live in freedom today.  This means that the only one who can free you now, is you.  It’s up to you to free yourself from your personal Egypt.
  • Christian Bale as Moses in ‘Exodus’: First Look (PHOTO) (news.moviefone.com)
    Empire has our first look at Ridley Scott’s “Exodus,” and judging by the impressive construction going on behind Christian Bale‘s Moses, this Biblical tale should be epic indeed.The film follows the story of Moses, abandoned as a baby and adopted by Egyptian royalty, only to hear the voice of God as he grows older and ultimately lead the Israelite slaves into the promised land. In this image, Moses witnesses the suffering of his people at the hands of the Pharaoh.
  • Pharaoh’s Overthrow (brakeman1.com)
    There were six hundred thousand men, besides women and children.  God caused a pillar of cloud to go before them in the daytime, to show them the way they were to take, and at night He led them by a pillar of fire.After the children of Israel had left Egypt, Pharaoh, though his kingdom had been nearly destroyed for his disobedience to God, was angry with himself for having let them go.  So he gathered together a great army, and pursued them to where they were encamped, in the wilderness by the Red Sea.
  • The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep (menashedovid1.wordpress.com)> The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep
    the Torah tells us, God commanded the Israelites to take a lamb or a kid for each household. They were to hold it for four days, from the tenth until the fourteenth of the first month, and slaughter it on the fourteenth. This was done in Egypt, despite the Egyptians’ religious beliefs. To this day Jews commemorate this event, calling the Sabbath preceding Passover Shabbat Hagadol…
  • Passover Primer (boiseweekly.com)
    If you’ve walked through a Treasure Valley Albertson’s recently, you’ve probably noticed a table piled high with unfamiliar items–boxes of Streit’s Potato Pancakes, giant packages of Yehuda Passover Matzos, bottles of Kedem Sparkling Concord Grape Juice and murky jars of Mrs. Adler’s Gefilte Fish filled with bobbing, grayish lumps.
  • Now Faith Is (faithrises.com)
    Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
  • Max, Hannah and some frogs: Kids’ books bring new friends (jta.org)
    Frolicking frogs and magical matzah balls are featured in this season’s crop of new Passover books for children that are sure to engage, inform, entertain and inspire.David Adler, author of the hugely popular early reader “Cam Jansen” series, offers “The Story of Passover.” Adler is highly acclaimed for his straightforward narrative style in non-fiction books, including dozens on Jewish holidays.David A. Adler in "The Story of Passover" provides little-known answers to some intriguing questions. (Courtesy Holiday House)He says he likes to appeal to readers of any Jewish background, whether from traditional, observant Jewish families or those who are interested in learning about Passover.

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