Thursday, September 22, 2016

Politics – September 2016 – Shana Tova

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The US presidential campaign disturbs me. The vocabulary of one candidate reminds me of another person who did not like many people. We should learn from history, not always repeat it. This is not because it is boring. Quite the opposite.

The more I know about Donald Trump, the less I want to know.

Why do only women need to hide behind the veil? Why not men too? After all, if women are as weak as it is believed, they might be tempted as well.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

I am now writing about the euthanasia law for children in Belgium. This project, and also another project on cyberbullying, brought me to explore a new field: Brain studies. I find it fascinating. Both research projects deal with adolescence and I am trying to understand how different adolescents are from adults. Do they have the capacity and mental ability to make life-and-death decisions? Why are they more vulnerable?

Reflections on August Newsletter
More Stabbings
Israel’s Future
Diaspora Jews Join Israelis in a Partnership to End the Occupation
Social Justice
West Bank and Gaza Elections
The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Pulse
Good News - Israel and the United States Signed A Record $38 Billion, 10-year Military Aid Package 
Good News – Curing melanoma?
The Burkini Controversy

U.S. Government Agency Sues Publisher, Charging It with Deceiving Researchers

The best and worst countries in the world for making friends
Book Recommendation – War, Strategy and History, edited by Daniel Marston and Tamara Leahy.
Gem of the Month – London
Gem of the Month – Carol King’s Beautiful
Monthly Poems

Light Side

Thank You, Sam

Reflections on August Newsletter

Marina Dackman (USA) related to my statement “Fearful people always find reasons to confirm their worst fears”:

Hopeful people always find reason to confirm the greatest hopes! 
Reality is we have to face our fears and step out in the dark as well as the light...
The greatest moments in life might be when we realize that we can have peace in our souls in the dark and in the light....

Professor Bob O’Neill (Australia) related to the sinking of the Tanais:

The sinking of the Tanais would have been done directly on the authority of the commander of the British submarine, HMS Vivid, which intercepted her, some thirty three miles north-east of Heraklion at 2.30 am on 9 June 1943.  Tanais, in 1943, was being used by the Germans to move cargo between Piraeus and Cretan ports. The submarine commander would have seen the ship simply as an enemy supply vessel, and therefore a legitimate target for attack. He would have had no knowledge that there were prisoner- refugees aboard. 

It was a real problem in the last two years of the war for the Germans and the Japanese to move refugees and prisoners of war by sea. Quite a lot of Australian prisoners of war aboard Japanese merchant ships were sunk by US submarines in 1944-45, as the Japanese contracted their defensive perimeter, and brought many of their prisoners back to Japan. Wars can grow very callous and inhumane once they have been waged for a few years. Everybody becomes tired, impatient and less inclined to consider the lives of enemy nationalities in a humane light. Refugees and prisoners fall into a different category of course, but their identity needs to be revealed for the more humane policies to be followed.

More Stabbings

On September 16, 2016, stabbing attacks were resumed against Israelis. The Palestinians fail to understand that they will be far better off adapting methods of non-violence to promote their ends. The only thing that violence yields is more violence. This gore is senseless and appalling.

Mubarak Awad has advanced the fight against the occupation far more effectively than the senseless violence. See

Israel’s Future

The schism between religious and secular Jews became transparent this past month. Often the schism is felt only by those who are directly affected, for instance by women who wish to resolve their personal status in the Rabbinical Courts. The majority of the nation whose composition is still largely secular, more than 60 percent, is subjected to intolerance and coercion exhibited by the Orthodoxy. The silence of the secular majority that is not affected yet is detrimental to Israel's future.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is an experienced politician. He knows that the key for him staying in power is to secure a stable majority in the Knesset. Thus he is very sensitive to concerns voiced by Likud partners in the government coalition. When the Haredim approached him to bar infrastructure work on train lines during Shabbat, he decided to support the motion. After all, the Haredim do not interfere in his work in most fields, including security, foreign affairs and media regulation. All they care about is the interests of its small sector. They are as reliable as rain in Britain as long as religious concerns are answered for. 

Thus Netanyahu ordered no work on Shabbat which brought complete chaos during the weekend. The trains could not run as usual. Many thousands of passengers had to use other means to get to their destinations. There were long lines in the bus stations. Many of those waiting were soldiers returning to army bases after spending a weekend with families. Memories swept me from my army days, when I was in a similar position. Not a great way to start the week.

Once again, this episode demonstrated that PM Netanyahu is unable to see beyond his chair. He is not a national leader. 

Religion should be separated as much as possible from politics. State matters should be separated from religion, keeping religion to symbolic matters and relax its coercive tendencies.

The silent majority in Israel does not fight for its rights. When it will become a minority, and it will with time, the Orthodoxy will have no qualms subjecting secularists to its agenda.

Diaspora Jews Join Israelis in a Partnership to End the Occupation

Social Justice

The Palestinian minority in Israel has been discriminated against for many years. Vast amount of research over the years makes it very clear. Thus any positive move towards the Israeli- Palestinians is welcome. The gap between Jews and Palestinians is vast and it will take many years of good effort to close it.

On September 8, 2016, Minister of Construction Yoav Galant (Kulanu) signed an agreement with 15 local municipal authorities regarding building new housing units for the Arab sector; 30,000 units are due to be built, in what will cost the government roughly 4.1 billion shekels. The Israeli government also agreed to lift restrictions from building on private land.

The agreement with the 15 municipal authorities is seen as a preliminary move, prior to having over 50 local municipal authorities sign on. Another main goal of the agreement is to increase government funding for public structures, approving over 30,000 housing units on private and government owned land, in addition to regulating registration.

Further budgets will also be allocated toward public buildings in the already established areas in the community in relation to its size and according to its needs: These will include sports fields, multipurpose structures and budgets for the renovation and expansion of existing buildings. Overall, the budget for public structure work will be 710 million shekels.

Galant was quoted saying, "Over the next 20 years, the Arab sector will require 200,000 apartments. During the last few weeks, we have made it a point to work side by side with the Arab leadership in a quick, transparent and equality-conscious process, the effects of which will shortly be visible on the ground. Strengthening the Arab sector is a national interest."

The agreement was the result of joint work between the Ministries of Construction and Social Justice. Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud), who initiated a multifaceted plan to improve different aspects of Israeli Arabs' life, said, "This response is no less than a revolution regarding the existing housing crisis in the Arab sector. The agreement was achieved after a great deal of strenuous joint work between the Ministries of Construction and Social Justice, and it will be the foundation for economic growth and minimizing social gaps."

Galant added, "There is a real opportunity here to bring about justice and give hope to the children living here. A country that expects loyalty must create equality. Next time (we come), we will inaugurate the projects that will be established thanks to this program and help make them reality."

Source: Hila Tsion, “Thousands of housing units to be built for Arab sector”, YNET (11 September 2016),,7340,L-4853306,00.html

West Bank and Gaza Elections

In 2006, local elections were held in Gaza. Hamas won and a year later it violently ousted Fatah from the Strip. In the brutal civil war, 161 Palestinians were killed and more than 700 wounded. In 2012, Hamas boycotted the West Bank local elections. Now its leaders wish to participate. They have good reasons. Abu Mazen and Fatah’s popularity is low. Under pressure, plans were made to hold elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is the first election in which both parties are participating since 2006.

Shortly after the decision was made, it was reported that officials in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party have called on him to cancel the upcoming municipal elections, fearing that rival jihadist group Hamas will secure an overwhelming victory.

Reports also said that members of the PA security forces were trying to intimidate some Hamas candidates in the West Bank into ending their election bids.

Polls predicted that Hamas is expected to make significant gains in the upcoming elections for local councils.

On September 8, 2016, a Palestinian high court ruled that the much-awaited municipal elections originally scheduled for October 8 would be postponed until at least December 21. Disputes between Hamas and Fatah over candidate eligibility, as well as questions over voter participation in Jerusalem, led to the breakdown. “This is a political decision,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said of the ruling made in a court in Ramallah, where Fatah is in power. “We reject the decision to cancel the election and call on everyone to reject it.”

At stake were 3,818 seats on 416 municipal councils in cities and villages across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Sources: Fatah said to beg Abbas: Cancel local elections, Hamas will win West Bank
TV report: Officials say victory for terror group will mean demise of president’s party, while Israel fears PA could be discredited by electoral loss

The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Pulse

A joint poll was conducted by Professor Tami Hermann and Dr. Khalil Shikaki, examining the Israeli and Palestinian attitudes to peace and to each other. Here are the key findings:

  • When asked generally, “do you support a two-state solution?” without getting into specific details about a proposed peace plan, 53 per cent of Israeli Jews and 51 per cent of Palestinians said yes.  This has decreased from around two thirds support for a two-state solution over the course of the last decade, which Professor Hermann puts down to frustration due to repeated failed negotiations.
  • When asked about how fearful each side is of the other, Jews are more afraid of Palestinians than the other way around. 65 per cent of Israeli Jews and 45 per cent of Palestinians fear the other side.
  • People on both sides believe the other side is interested in peace, with 43 per cent of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians thinking this. However:
  • Distrust between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians has never been good, but it is increasing. 89 per cent of Palestinians feel Israeli Jews are untrustworthy, while 68 per cent of Israeli Jews think Palestinians cannot be trusted. Only 25 per cent of Israeli Jews and 11 per cent of Palestinians say the other side can be trusted.
  • Both sides are also suspicious about the other’s ultimate aim. 40 per cent of Israeli Jews think that the Palestinians’ ultimate aspiration is to conquer the State of Israel and exterminate its Jewish population, while 52 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank and 40 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza think Israel’s long term aim was to expand its border between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea and to expel and transfer the Arabs.

Source: BICOM,

Good News - Israel and the United States Signed A Record $38 Billion, 10-year Military Aid Package 
After long debates, negotiations and disagreements, Israel and the USA signed a new deal that showed American commitment to Israel. The US understands that Israel was, and remains, its only reliable ally in the Middle East. The two countries agree on most issues. The striking exception relates to the Palestinian issue but, in the grand scale of things, the Palestinian issue is too small to trump the cards.
American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that the deal is “the single largest military assistance package—with any country—in American history”. The current U.S.-Israel military aid agreement, which expires in 2018, provided $3 billion per year over ten years. Additional $500 million aid is provided annually by Congress.
One of the  hangups in negotiations had been over funding for the development of new missile defense systems. In the end, $5 billion will be designated for such systems. In exchange, Israel has promised not to seek supplementary defense funding from Congress, except in the case of war.
Israel will also no longer be able to spend 26 percent of its aid money on Israeli military equipment. Instead, like all other recipients of American military aid, Israel will only be able to buy from American military manufacturers. This will re-inject the aid dollars back into the American economy, but will harm the Israeli defense industry, which was given a six-year phaseout period to adjust.

Good News – Curing melanoma?

Israeli and European researchers say their collaborative research has unraveled the metastatic mechanism of melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancers. According to a paper published August 22 in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists discovered that before spreading to other organs, a melanoma tumor sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of microRNA. These cause morphological (structural) changes in the skin’s dermis layer in preparation for receiving and transporting the cancer cells. The researchers also found chemical substances that can stop the process.

“The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis — in the tumor cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones,” said research leader Dr. Carmit Levy of the department of human molecular genetics and biochemistry at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. “We have discovered how the cancer spreads to distant organs and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage.” The researchers concluded: “Since the first interaction of melanoma cells with blood vessels occurs in the dermis, our data suggest an opportunity to block melanoma invasion by preventing the formation of the dermal tumour niche.”


The Burkini Controversy

Five French towns have banned the burkini. Three more are in the process of doing so. Prime Minister Manuel Valls supported the prohibitions on Wednesday, calling the garment part of “the enslavement of women.” Is this genuinely part of France’s culture of laïcité? Is this a manifestation of Islamophobia? Is it a justified ban? Liberal democracy is said to be neutral with respect to competing conceptions of the good; therefore democracies should allow citizens freedom to develop their own conceptions. Is France a liberal country? Are there limits to secular coercion?
I wonder: Is this scene also provocative? Would you ban this as well in the name of your religious secularism?

A penny for your thoughts. I welcome your thoughts and reflections, support or critique.

U.S. Government Agency Sues Publisher, Charging It with Deceiving Researchers

The number of journals has been growing exponentially in recent years. In addition to the established publishers, new publishers have entered the market and they have flooded it with thousands of new journals. I am getting at least one request a week to publish my article in one of their journals. The vast majority of those publishers charge money for publishing with their low-esteemed journals but they don’t mention this small detail in their invitations. I have been trying to block them from reaching me but they find ways to bypass blocks and I am still getting these invitations on a regular basis. I have never paid for any of my publications and find the entire idea verging on prostitution. It is harming my profession.

Now the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged a publisher of hundreds of academic journals with deceiving readers about reviewing practices, publication fees, and the nature of its editorial boards.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that OMICS Group, Inc., along with two affiliated companies and their president and director, Srinubabu Gedela, claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics. In reality, many articles are published with little to no peer review and numerous individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.

According to the FTC’s complaint, OMICS does not tell researchers that they must pay significant publishing fees until after it has accepted an article for publication, and often will not allow researchers to withdraw their articles from submission, thereby making the research ineligible for publication in another journal. Academic ethics standards generally forbid researchers from submitting the same research to more than one journal.
This is the first case against an academic journal publisher.
You can read the lawsuit at

If successful, the FTC suit could result in the court asking OMICS to return money to some researchers, among other penalties:

Award such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from Defendants’ violations of the FTC Act, including but not limited to, rescission or reformation of contracts, restitution, the refund of monies paid, and the disgorgement of ill gotten monies…
The suit does not list a specific monetary amount.

The press release includes a statement from Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection:

The defendants in this case used false promises to convince researchers to submit articles presenting work that may have taken months or years to complete, and then held that work hostage over undisclosed publication fees ranging into the thousands of dollars…It is vital that we stop scammers who seek to take advantage of the changing landscape of academic publishing.
The FTC also alleges that OMICS “regularly deceive consumers” by promoting academic conferences that lie to researchers that prominent researchers will be attending, then charge high registration fees.

The OMICS group is on Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers. In 2013, the publisher threatened to sue Beall for $1 billion; Beall has written extensively about the publisher on his blog.

OMICS is a major publisher, according to its website:

OMICS International is the open access publisher and leading science event organizer, running 700+Open Access Journals and organizes over 3000 Medical, Clinical, Engineering, Life Sciences, Phrama [sic] scientific conferences all over the globe annually with the backing of more than  50,000 editorial board members, 1000 scientific associations,  and 15 million followers to its credit. With its Open access journals and worldwide conferences, OMICS enjoys the global presence.

European Association for Israel Studies Annual Conference

I attended the European Association for Israel Studies Annual Conference. It is always good to be among people who share passions and concerns. I presented my research about discrimination of women in Jewish Law (Halacha) and in Israel today. The panel dealt with gender issues, addressing the status of women in Israel, and the women of the veil, a small Jewish sect whose women dress like Muslim religious women. You can't tell the difference. All you see is the eyes. The presenter said that there are thousands of such women in Israel.

The first keynote lecture was delivered by my former colleague at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law Ruth Gavison who spoke about her favourite topic: the relationship between the Jewish state, democracy and human rights. She believes it is possible to reconcile the three.

Yifat Maoz said that based on a recent poll the more Israelis hear about Palestinian suffering, the less empathetic they are to their suffering. Maoz maintained that until 2015 the majority of Jews and Palestinians supported two state solution. From then on the supporting block has been declining and now it is below 50 percent. Much of the debate is taking place on the social media, and here the right wing is dominant while the Israel left is weak. The right is quite content with the so-called “status quo”. 

Dorit Rabinyan

The highlight of the conference was for me Dorit Rabinyan, an Israeli author who became a target for the Israeli establishment after publishing her last book, Borderlife which contains biographical elements. Published in 2014, Borderlife is a semi-autobiographical story of an Israeli woman who falls in love with a Palestinian artist in New York. Dorit had an affair with a Palestinian when she lived in New York. Teachers asked to include the book in the high school curriculum, but senior education ministry officials blocked the move. Minister of Education Bennet went publicly against her and her book.


Rabin in His Own Words

Another highlight was the documentary Rabin in His Own Words, a very loving tribute to Rabin who dedicated his life to the building of Israel in various capacities: soldier, officer, commander, ambassador and politician.

If you like Israel and you like Rabin, you will love the film.

The best and worst countries in the world for making friends

Friendship is precious. People who have true friends are happier. It is good to surround yourself with people you love and trust.

The Expat Insider 2016 index surveyed more than 14,000 respondents in 191 countries. Questions were asked about friendliness, ease of settling in and about finding friends.

Taiwan, Uganda and Costa Rica were ranked as the most friendly countries, while Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait were found to be the least friendly.

  1. Taiwan 
  2. Uganda 
  3. Costa Rica 
  4. Mexico 
  5. Colombia 
  6. New Zealand 
  7. Vietnam 
  8. Portugal 
  9. Brazil 
  10. Spain 
  11. Ecuador 
  12. Canada 
  13. Romania 
  14. Bahrain 
  15. Malta 
  16. Indonesia 
  17. Ukraine 
  18. Ireland 
  19. Thailand 
  20. Argentina 
  21. Australia 
  22. Cyprus 
  23. USA 
  24. Greece 
  25. Peru 
  26. Morocco 
  27. Japan 
  28. Israel 
  29. United Arab Emirates 
  30. Malaysia 
  31. Tanzania 
  32. India 
  33. Kenya 
  34. Turkey 
  35. Egypt 
  36. Kazakhstan 
  37. Mozambique 
  38. Poland 
  39. Luxembourg 
  40. United Kingdom 
  41. China 
  42. Nigeria 
  43. Netherlands 
  44. Hungary 
  45. Italy 
  46. Panama 
  47. South Africa 
  48. South Korea 
  49. Singapore 
  50. Hong Kong 
  51. Belgium 
  52. Finland 
  53. Germany 
  54. France 
  55. Chile 
  56. Austria 
  57. Russia 
  58. Denmark 
  59. Qatar 
  60. Sweden 
  61. Norway 
  62. Switzerland 
  63. Czech Republic 
  64. Saudi Arabia 
  65. Kuwait 


Book Recommendation – War, Strategy and History, edited by Daniel Marston and Tamara Leahy.
ISBN (print): 9781760460235
ISBN (online): 9781760460242
Publication date: May 2016
Imprint: Australian National University Press

A new book in honour of Bob O’Neill is public and personal celebration: Public because Bob is an excellent scholar and a new book about his scholarship will surely enrich knowledge. Personal because Bob was my inspirational teacher at Oxford, an excellent and caring teacher in the fields of international relations and the history of war. I attended many of his lectures and seminars and learned a lot from him. Until today I often ask for his views on history and wars, and continue to benefit from his vast knowledge. I am privileged to be his friend.

ANU paid Bob the honour of publishing a collection of essays in his name, written by several of his former colleagues and graduate students. Dan Marston, a former Oxford DPhil student of Bob, originated the project and assembled the authors. The book was launched by Gareth Evans, Australian former Foreign Minister and now Chancellor of the ANU.

The overarching themes running throughout the book are war, strategy and history. All the essays are shaped by the role that Professor O’Neill has played over the last 50 years in the debates in Australia, Europe and the US. This book covers not only Professor O’Neill’s impressive career, but also the evolution of strategy in practice, and of strategic studies as an internationally recognised academic discipline.

Gem of the Month – London

One of the many things I like about London is that you encounter real talent on the street. Here is one of them.

I saw and heard the guy singing at Covent Gardens. I stopped to listen. What a voice. What a treat. I asked him whether he performs in one of the theatres nearby. He answered he is trying to find a way to them. I think his voice is certainly good enough for London musicals. I encouraged him to pursue his dream. He should make it.

Gem of the Month – Carol King’s Beautiful

I recommend the musical Beautiful. Indeed it is. Many hits of the 1960s are played. King initially wrote for others and only later had the confidence to appear on stage herself. We learn about her complex relationship with her husband and partner in writing some of her most beautiful songs, Gerry Goffin, and about her friendship with another talented couple, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann who are responsible for dozens of hits, including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, “Walking in the Rain”, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “Don’t Know Much”.

Carole Klein spent much of her time playing the piano. She had a teenage romance with Neil Sedaka who wrote “Oh! Carol” about their relationships. Goffin and King married in 1959. They wrote for The Shirelles “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” which reached the top of the US charts in January 1961. Later that year they had a second No 1 with Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care Of My Baby”. In 1962, Goffin wrote for The Drifters “Up on the Roof”, and “One Fine Day” for the Chiffons in 1963. With Barry Mann Goffin wrote “Who Put the Bomp” and with Carole King “The Loco-Motion”, which became a hit for their babysitter Eva Boyd (Little Eva).

In 1963, King and Goffin co-written “It Might As Well Rain Until September” for Bobby Vee. King recorded a demo version and the song became hers. In 1968, the couple divorced but up until then they produced dozens of hits.  

To date, more than 400 of her compositions have been recorded by over 1,000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles. 

If you like Carol King's music, you are likely to enjoy it. I loved the songs and appreciated the talented singers.

Monthly Poems

A Calendar of Sonnets: September

O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped!
The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
On wands; the chestnut's yellow pennons tongue
To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
The purple grape,--last thing to ripen, late
By very reason of its precious cost.
O Heart, remember, vintages are lost
If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait.
Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy's estate,
Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!

Helen Hunt Jackson

A Familiar Story

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This is familiar
Human nature changes only somewhat
History is circular
What was will be

First they go after the Jews
Money sucker devils
Heartless and manipulative
They are of the worse kind, pure Satanic evil

Then they go after the blacks
African stupid beasts
Interested only in sex
Taking their women, wives and daughters

Then they go after the gay
Deviant, unnatural mutation
Selfishly spreading disease, looking for prey
Lowering society's mores, have confused hair

Then they go after the Pakis and Bangladeshi
They take all jobs
They smell, they don’t eat sushi
Leaving others behind unemployed

Then they go after the Afghan, the Yemenite, the Iraqi
Fifth column terrorists
Destroying our society
With their guns, their drugs, their weird eyes

Then they go after all other minorities, what is left
Still unemployed, still no fame
Refuse to take responsibility
Need someone to blame

Then they go after you
No one else was left.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Light Side

A woman and man get into a car accident. Both of their cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt.

After they crawl out of the wreckage, the woman says, "Wow, look at our cars - there's nothing left! Thank God we are all right. This must be a sign from Him that we should be friends and not try to pin the blame on each other."

The man replies, "Oh yes, I agree with you completely."

The woman points to a bottle on the ground and says, "And here's another miracle. Somehow this bottle of scotch from my back seat didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this scotch and celebrate our good fortune."

Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement, opens it, and drinks about a third of the bottle to calm his nerves. He then hands it back to the woman. The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands it back to the man.

The man asks, "Aren't you having any?"

The woman replies, "No. I think I'll just wait for the police... I'll let them decide who's fault it is."

Thank You, Sam

For the past ten years, my good friend Professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig has helped me with the writing of this Blog. Every month, a few days prior publication, I have sent it to Sam for his comments and editing. Sam would respond within a day or two, thus enabling me to send the Blog on time before the end of each and every month. Sam did this voluntarily. I was always grateful to and appreciative of his diligent support.

Now Sam is retiring from academia and also from his work on this blog. It’s time to move on, he says. He would continue reading and promises that he will comment from time to time. Please join me in saying BIG THANK YOU!!!! to Sam for all his work, support and friendship. If the quality of my writing will now drastically deteriorate, you know the reason.

Sam, my dear friend: Thank you. I love you and wish you and Tami the very best as you are now opening a new, exciting chapter in your life. Enjoy and make the most of it.

Peace and love. Happy New Year!! Shana Tova U’Meusheret!!

Yours as ever,


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