Happy Everything!

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season.  I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a beautiful and blended family. One who shares in love and joy as we celebrate and embrace our differences, while joining together in harmony and affection.

No, this is not just a season of one holiday; it is a season of many.  I was brought up Jewish and remain faithful to my religion.  I raised my children with the customs of my ancestors. However, my late husband was not of the Jewish faith and so to honor his beliefs, we also embraced Christmas. My children felt very lucky to be able to light candles one week and wait for Santa the next. And my oldest son married a lovely Filipino woman and so they too have a blended family, which unites and cherishes traditions.

Last evening my grandchildren came by and we lit the candles for Chanukah and they opened their presents and spun the dreidel as they shared in the customs my parents and grandparents taught me.  The following day they awoke to find that Santa had visited their home and supplied them with gifts for being a good little girl and boy!!!  What lucky children!!!

I have never understood why people fight over faith.  We are more alike than different if we believe in G-d.  And even if we don’t, we are still faithful members of the human race, and owe each other kindness and compassion. It isn’t about whose traditions are better, or more important.  It’s about extending love to one another.

And so from my family to yours… Happy Everything!  May this be a season of peace and joy, filled with love. And may the coming New Year be one where we learn to unite and work together!  Peace and Love to you all!!!

Let Freedom Ring!

I wish all of America could witness the jubilation happening in Miami as many celebrate the death of a terrible tyrant. Perhaps what many citizens around the country, and even in Northern Florida do not clearly comprehend, is that the Cuban people who came to this country did so to escape a brutal, oppressive ruler. They risked their lives to come to America so that their children could live in freedom without the fear and instability of a savage dictator.

I am old enough to remember the influx of Cubans fleeing Castro. My Temple helped countless Cuban/Jewish families come to this country and assisted them in assimilating so that they could live safe, free lives in South Florida.

I grew up and attended school with these children, some of whom were traumatized by a move from their homeland, had to learn a new language, all while trying to block out memories of an oppressive Castro regime. I watched as they acclimated themselves, becoming productive members of the South Florida community. That is why I rejoiced at the news of Fidel Castro’s death.  I wish those brave early immigrants, who first arrived when I was little, were still alive to witness the death of the dictator who caused them so much pain and heartache and forced them to flee their beloved homeland.

It is this knowledge I witnessed growing up. I learned the lessons of the Holocaust in the early 1950’s when I observed many of my neighbors with numbers burned deeply into their flesh. It was then that I first understood the value and the price of freedom and equality. Those courageous men and women were examples of the human spirit, and helped shape the woman I grew up to be. Their endurance and strength became implanted in my brain enforcing the message that we Americans must NEVER allow any dictator to rise up ever again. NOT ever!!!

That is why I am wary and very fearful of Donald Trump. He needs to be watched carefully to make sure he does not turn into a Castro or a Hitler. America MUST remain the land of the free, a shining example of democracy.  Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t seem to understand that in America, EVERY citizen has rights, and we follow our Constitution. He is President Elect, NOT King Elect and is required to uphold our Constitution. He can NOT do whatever he feels like on a whim.

I pray that each of us stays vigilant so that the Cuban people did not flee their country in vain, and that the Jews who fled Europe for freedom, are not suddenly victims once again of  blatant anti-Semitism. And I hope that all the other immigrants who came to this great land because they wanted a shot at the American dream, will get to continue to live out those dreams in freedom.

Today watching the celebrations in Miami, I understood more than ever just how much Castro’s death means to the Cuban community. It represents hope.

I beseech America to carefully make sure freedom always rings throughout our land! It is up to us to make sure that our President Elect does not take away our rights. They are ours to have. Do not let a dictator ruin what so many of our ancestors fought and died for.

G-d Bless America.

A Trump Apocalypse

images   A Trump Apocalypse!!

I have been trying not to watch the news these last few days before the election, because I get way too upset at the realization (and the absurdity), that half of our nation is likely  to vote for Donald Trump to become the President of the United States.

That thought has me so baffled and distraught, that I have begun to binge watch just about anything on Netflix to avoid thinking about Donald Trump! Suddenly, rather than watching non stop MSNBC or CNN, I have found other types of TV to  become my  mindless entertainment, just so I don’t have to think about the possibility of impending doom in the event that Hillary doesn’t win the election.

This morning I tuned into the show “The View” to get away from anything political while I had my second cup of coffee.  However, no such luck! The moment I clicked on the tube, I discovered that Chris Wallace was their first guest! And once again I felt that deep sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that life as I have known it for over 6 decades, was about to end. And worst of all, every time I hear anything about the election, I feel like a “huge” amount of Americans are being sucked into the “Trump Zone”. (Imagine the music from the Twilight Zone playing right now.)

Forget worrying about a zombie apocalypse, and think Doomsday, the Trump kind!!!! Which is way worse because zombies are nowhere near as scary as Donald Trump!

Ugh! Apparently, I can’t seem to get away from that misogynist  no matter how hard I try. Newscasters, even some of my friends and neighbors, and quite frankly the oddest groups of Americans I have ever observed, seem to be coming out of the woodwork and repeating his nonsensical rhetoric. It is horrifying….I feel like I am in the middle of bad B movie where the zombies have eaten the brains of half the population and the ones who are left are not shouting “Brains!” But, are doing that weird Zombie walk screeching, “Trump.” Their lips are moving, but their eyes are glossed over and their brains are completely gone. And daily I become more disheartened at the foolish, surreal behavior I am observing from what used to be perfectly normal human beings.  They are Trump Zombies who have lost all logic, all reason, and are beyond judgment and critical thinking ability. I just don’t get it!!!

For a dedicated educator like myself, to see such recklessness, such a lack of thinking,  it is disheartening. I am ashamed to watch former rational people make irrational decisions. It makes me contemplate if I will have to give up on my life’s dream of making this world a better place. Because, if a man like Donald Trump can run for President of this great nation, then we have reached a new low in standards, a new low in kindness and compassion, and a new lack of decency. Our values in the country I love, seem to have fallen by the wayside and gotten lost somewhere under the bleachers at a Trump rally.

Our political system has traveled far away from just Republican or Democrat. As this election has evolved, it has transformed from normal political banter into vicious GOP intimidation, to  out and out lies. Making dignity, class, responsibility, and actual facts no longer matter. Decades of public service are ignored and bullying is applauded. Nope, I really don’t get what happened in this election.

My goals in thinking that human beings have an innate desire to strive, to learn, to educate themselves to find the truth, and then pass it on to help one another, have been squashed by listening to the fabricated falsehoods of Mr. Trump and his tyrannical verbal accusations or his rampaged tweets. All justifying  violence!

And my desire is to go back to the philosophers of old to seek the truth, which in my estimation is pure and quite simple. If you care about others, you take the high road, and help your fellow man succeed. You fill yourself up with all the knowledge available. If you are going to become a leader, then you make sure that those who are less fortunate than yourself are taken care of and are taught how to care for themselves so they can improve the quality of their lives. And you think positively not negatively.  You uplift the country not tear it down.

So, let me try to clearly break down and explain to those of  you who have decided to vote for Trump, what you are ultimately doing:

1.You are condemning women to remain second-class citizens. Your daughters and grand daughters will learn that they can NEVER achieve no matter how hard they try or how bright they are. By voting for an unqualified Trump over an experienced Hillary, you are showing girls that they can NEVER get to the top! That even if they reach the head of the class, and are the smartest, most competent girls or women in the country, they can NOT defeat an incompetent, less qualified, brash, crude man. Simply because they are female! And because of blind prejudice.

2.  A vote for Trump means you are sentencing minorities to be treated as if they are  subhuman, and not a vital part of our society.

3.  A vote for Trump is saying that bullying is acceptable and that sexual harassment is the norm and requires no punishment for bad, disgusting behavior.

4. A vote for Trump means you are condoning bigotry and allowing sexism to overtake our Republic once again.

5.  You can kid yourself and say a vote for Trump is a vote for conservatism. But conservative values do NOT undervalue women, children, minorities, or the law. Religious freedom means that ALL faiths may worship freely NOT just one faith.

6. A vote for Donald Trump is in essence, saying that you are voting to take away every constitutional right we ever had, and every amendment we added, because Trump does not have a clue about government or our Constitution.

Make no mistake. If Donald Trump wins, the rights of women, children, minorities, will diminish, and we will travel back to the days where women died in back allies, where segregation was legal, where people who were not the majority faith, color, gender in this country were not given jobs, could not go into certain establishments ,or live any where they wanted, or marry who they love.

8. A vote for Trump is more than just a vote. It will be the end of Democracy, as we know it.

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Praying That Love Trumps Hate On Yom Kippur.

yomkippurOn the holiest day of the year, a day of reflection and prayer, when we Jews are closest to G-d, praying and repenting for our sins, evaluating how we can become better people and do even more to help others, I have spent the morning with love in my heart and thinking about the future year ahead… I then made the mistake of turning on the TV.

I was suddenly plucked out of a calm inner peaceful sense of prayer and shocked as I was thrown into the world of reality by being bombarded with nasty, vile ads from Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton. Not ads discussing policy differences but clips of her coughing and tripping when she was ill.  Attacks on her that were based on falsehoods and that made me so very sad. Not angry, but saddened at the level of barbarity I was seeing.

I quickly turned off the television because the disgust at the nastiness was just too overwhelming when I was trying to forgive all those around me who may have wronged others. So, on a day when I am trying to focus on how I can continue to grow as a human being, become a holier person on a daily basis, do more mitzvah’s (good deeds) for others, witnessing such negativity just reaffirmed that “Love Trumps Hate”.

Perhaps G-d’s lesson here is that we must look evil in the face and rise above it. We must see hatred and bigotry and learn from it that we can NEVER let our lives be consumed or manipulated by others to feel hatred, or think anyone is better than anyone else just because they may have power or money. So, while the ads are detestable and out and out lies about a candidate I admire, I have to learn that the righteous thing to do to become a better person, is that every time I see shallowness and bigotry, I have to pray even more than ever that Love will trump hate! I have to work even harder in my community to see that every person is cared for and has a voice. I have to forgive those who spout evil and understand that they are mentally unwell and need our help and our pity. And I have to pray for them to become better human beings and find peace. Amen.

yommages

Trump deserves the “HUGE” backlash!

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I have to admit that it is rather gratifying to see Donald Trump getting such a “HUGE” backlash from the decade old video that recently resurfaced showing his despicable behavior towards women. And isn’t it ironic that most Republican men have refused to admit that their candidate was a reprehensible misogynist until they had actual video footage? Why is it that they had to wait until Trump was caught on camera before they stepped in to denounce him?

It was obvious to all the women who saw his conduct on the campaign trail that he was a bigot and a misogynist.  Even Republican women like Ana Navarro  denounced his behavior long before this video surfaced. She knew who and what he was and begged her fellow Republicans NOT to support him. Yes, women heard him and recognized his lack of character every time he spoke in front of a crowd, or gave an interview. Women picked up on his sexist jargon and his bigotry in every speech he made and in every aside or comment he snuck in about various females who weren’t perfect tens by his standards. WE knew all along what he was!!!! So why did it take most of the male population and the media so long to figure it out and finally address the elephant in the room? WHY?

I am baffled that the males (and some of the females) in the Republican Party purposely chose to hide the fact that Trump was a racist, elitist, chauvinist, uncouth jerk. They knew this and yet they let his behavior slide. The GOP establishment didn’t really care that he was unfit for the Precedency. No, they waited until his inappropriate behavior was finally exposed and up in their faces. It had to be caught on camera for them to distance themselves from Mr. Trump. Had the video not appeared, they’d still be cheering him on saying he was “Great!”

Personally, I think that’s the real problem with this new extremist Republican Party that has come to exist in our country. They want to win at all costs. The truth doesn’t seem to matter any more, nor do the citizens of our country as long as they win the White House or dominate the Senate!  Certainly Trump’s derogatory comments about women and minorities have been totally ignored or dismissed. Sadly, until this latest bombshell appeared, they haven’t even wanted to address Trump’s shortcomings. Even Pence in his debate with Kaine the other night avoided answering anything about Trump, making it seem as if the GOP nominee wasn’t even in the race. It was bizarre.

Well, guess what GOP? You’ve been caught!!! And it’s too late for you to do a switcheroo now! You got yourself into this mess and now you can’t get out of it!  You had plenty of time to separate yourself from the joker who is your candidate for President. But YOU decided NOT to do anything about removing this unsuitable, reprehensible thug, when you knew full well he was an unqualified, crude, buffoon. You chose to let him represent you. You closed your eyes and ignored Mr. Trump when he spoke bigoted comments about Latinos, African Americans, The LGBT community, and laughed away his offensive comments about women. He’s YOUR guy and you and Donald Trump are joined at the hip!  You’ve got your vulgar, bigoted, crude, rude, unqualified excuse for a man and candidate.  You didn’t have the guts to remove him and select one of the more qualified members of your party. So, yes since you let this happen, enjoy your choice. You and you alone dismissed the bigotry and sexism. And because YOU opted to ignore it, it’s slammed you in the face and you have to deal with the consequences of your actions.

“Too bad so sad.” Enjoy your loss.  It will be HUGE!!!!

 

Why Hillary Outclassed Trump!

1scuehd6pojctw9ksyht7caAfter watching the first of the 2016 Presidential debates, I rejoiced at Hillary Clinton’s thunderous win and wiped away tears that escaped after years of pent up emotion waiting for America’s first female Presidential candidate to take the stage and debate her opponent; a feat I was not sure would ever happen in my lifetime. Secretary Clinton was composed, Presidential, filled with factual information and had a clear, concise plan for America’s future. She was able to address all the questions presented while giving answers relevant to every American citizen; rich, poor, male, female, all races and all faiths.

Her challenger, Donald Trump, on the other hand, babbled on endlessly, was consistently incoherent and off topic, and unable to answer the questions posed by the moderator. Mainly because he could not stay focused on any one topic or issue for more than a few seconds. He was rude, arrogant, interrupted Mrs. Clinton relentlessly, all while huffing and puffing like he was running a marathon. And then there was the constant sniffling… This combined with his bizarre ranting had me questioning whether or not he was on some sort of drug that was adding to his irrational behavior. But even without bringing up Rosie O’Donnell, Trump looked unprepared, un-presidential, and uninformed. However, what bothered me the most about his unpolished, brash performance was the fact that he was proudly smiling when he admitted he had not paid any federal taxes! And then had the nerve to state that in doing so he was being smart!!!

How is it that a man, who professes to being a millionaire or billionaire is paying zero in federal taxes, while the rest of us ordinary citizens are paying our fair share? That’s about as un-American as you can get!!! It really irritates me that my children and I are paying more taxes than Donald Trump!!! Not only is that absurd, it is disrespectful to Americans and undeserved!!

One son of mine is the devoted father of three and works a full time job and two part time jobs to make sure his family has everything they need. My other son is 15 years his junior and just starting out in his profession. He still was able to purchase a home by saving his earnings AND paying Federal taxes that Trump conveniently avoided. So here’s my youngest child, who works in the film industry, which requires him to travel around the country working crazy hours on a salary that isn’t much above minimum wage, working his heart out while Trump gets a free ride but my kid doesn’t?  What is so special about Mr. Trump that he can complain about what America doesn’t have and yet refuses to pay Federal taxes, which is what helps build our country. America IS great and now we all know it certainly didn’t get that way because of anything done by Donald Trump!!!

My point is, that both my boys work their behinds off, don’t complain about it, and still have time to help others all while paying their taxes. Both donate their time to our community and help out local foundations in a variety of ways.

I am a retired elementary school teacher who lives on a small teacher’s pension and my social security and I still find time to volunteer in classrooms and help write the educational curriculum for a non-profit organization. In my family, we ALL volunteer our time to help others. We all work and pay our federal taxes, unlike Mr. Trump! None of us has a lot of money, (like you know who) but it would never dawn on my boys to avoid giving back to our government or to our community. That’s not who we are and those aren’t the values of the America I know and love.

Yet a man who is running for the highest office in the land, the President of the United States, doesn’t care enough about his country to do the same. He doesn’t give back, he only takes.

This country was built on the backs of the working class. My family worked hard, I worked hard, and my children work hard. And I am insulted that this imprudent candidate, who was too lazy to even prepare for the debate, has the gall to admit he paid zero federal taxes. And then smirks and tells us he was being smart! NO, he wasn’t being smart, he was being a cheater!!!

I have prided myself on being a first- rate mother, grandmother, and teacher for instilling good and righteous values in my children, grandchildren and my students. And I take pride in my community and my country. I have never resented paying taxes to help our schools, our roads, our clean air, our environment etc. And in the past, I have been proud of most of our leaders. Because no matter who won each election they were decent human beings who cared about America.

But this man has no sense of right and wrong. Whether he is a sociopath in his every day life I cannot say. But, he certainly is a societal sociopath, that’s for sure. Last night proved his inability to have any sympathy or concern for the people of this country. It was unmistakably clear when he actually showed pride for what he got away with. Not what he did for this country, but for what he didn’t do. And of course, JFK’s words rang in my head. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That is a lesson Donald Trump obviously never learned.

I do not begrudge successful people in society. I have some very prosperous people in my circle of friends and among my relatives. BUT they all pay their fair share of taxes and they ALL give back to their communities and do so gladly and generously. Not so with Mr. Trump.

I was brought up to do a “mitzvah” (A good deed) every single day. That is how my parents raised me, which is a Jewish tradition, and how I raised my own children. And my oldest son, who is now a father, is carrying on that tradition teaching kindness and understanding to his children and showing them how important it is to help others. That is the pride, which my grandparents taught my parents when they immigrated to this great country of ours. America is all about opportunities and about communities. We are ALL one big family!

Someone should give Mr. Trump a lesson in American History so he can try to understand the reasoning behind our founding fathers. Right now he has no sense of the word community. He is all about “I” not we. And those are not qualities America needs or wants in a President. Trump’s true nature rang out loud and clear last night and it wasn’t the Liberty Bell that was ringing.  It was the chime of selfishness, greed, and egomania.