Meditative Moments with Parshat Toldot

  Meditative Moments commentaries are opportunities to increase your sense of connection with HaShem, to ease your mind and soul while you read and afterward by using classic Jewish meditation skills. Today we’ll look at how to feel safe despite the headlines and something bothering you. Avraham Avinu and his son …

Anti-Israel Doesn’t Have to Mean Stupid

Being anti-Israel doesn’t have to mean you are stupid. But, it does mean, for fairness’ sake, that you’ve evaluated the true situation and decided to be against the Jewish state. As there are no perfect countries in this world, Israel is not perfect either. Clearly, if you are against democracy, …

The Land Doesn’t Lie

Fifty-four years ago, Jerusalem was placed back in our hands. It is time, good heavens, it is time for us to make it crystal clear. If Jews are prevented from Har HaBayit, then so too will it be closed to Arabs. If Jews are under attack in this country, the Arabs will also know no rest.

Part 4: Rules to Remember

People are not entitled to their own reality. Individuals need to enforce boundaries, including personal boundaries. That stops abusers from causing harm. Sensible people accept unpleasant realities and cope with them.  Lockdowns happen. That’s a fact of life. You can prepare for them by shopping in person, ahead of time, …

Part 2: Defining Terms and Issues  

Let’s look at some definitions to better understand the challenge of dealing with conspiracy theories and theorists. A conspiracy theory is a set of ideas that support a dangerous conclusion: that a particular influential person or business is behaving covertly in order to cause a purportedly harmful circumstance or event …

How to Deal with Conspiracy Theories and Theorists – Part 1 of 4

The Coronavirus COVID-19 reality has changed life in too many ways to count. We’ve been affected by unprecedented situations without having prepared coping mechanisms or expectations about what could, would, or should happen with this medical problem. Responses to brand new complications are unscripted, unpracticed, and ad lib. It’s not unlike the experiences of newborns thrust into a world with ever-changing and inexplicable temperatures, tastes, aches, pains, colors, smells, sounds, textures, and so on, and lacking the physical strength, motor skills, or awareness for best dealing with all that.

 

The Learning Curve

 t takes time and practice to develop all sorts of physical and inner strengths, comprehension, and an awareness of choices, at any age. People have learning curves to master.

Like newborns, we’re feeling, thinking, and finding our ways in the new world around us. We are learning from errors and developing coping mechanisms, expectations, and either a sense of acceptance, resignation, or adventure. In worst-case scenarios however, some people express dismissiveness.

Dismissiveness can translate into conspiracy theories such as those about “Plandemics.” The theories are based on fear, doubt, a desire for credible, comprehensible information, and a lack of control over personal life or life in general. Medical experts are still learning critically important information about the COVID-19 infection, vaccines for preventing it, and then informing the public of new learned information. That’s not preventing anti-vaccine conspiracy theories from being concocted, though. The problem is pervasive worldwide.

Social Media Undermines Good sense and Clear Thinking

“The Social Dilemma” Netflix documentary points out that much of today’s conspiracy theory problems developed on social media that became forums for anti-social behavior. Mental health experts are speaking up and writing articles about the problem. A Wall Street Journal Social-Media Algorithms Rule How We See the World. Good Luck Trying to Stop Them article also points out how the problem evolved. If the above information overwhelms you, here’s a simple explanation: “Boil the frog slowly” has long been a folksy metaphor for gradually developing problems that entrap unsuspecting people. Anti-social media apparently succeeded with that project.

 Cyclical Arguments as Intimidation Tactics

Despite the above realities, conspiracy theorists are conning people into believing that public and non-public figures want to harm, enslave, and/or do medical experiments on the public at large – with or without vaccines. Cyclical arguments based on a few intentionally misconstrued facts and frightening predictions are a conspiracy theorist’s recipe for foisting guilt trips on their believers. Empty your suitcase. You’re not going for the ride or the fear fest no matter which conspiracy you learn of, not even the 5G thing.

 

Watch this space for Part 2: Defining Terms and Issues

A Year of Reflection and Thought Comes to Action

Reflection. If ever we needed a year of reflection, I think 2020 would quality as the most extreme example. With lockdowns in so many countries, isolation and social distancing, reflection is something we probably should have mastered by now. And yet. And yet. November 9th is a day that always …

And There Arose a New King: An Open Letter to Joe Biden

“And a new king arose over the land of Egypt, who knew not Joseph.” We are the people of Joseph, Mr. Biden. The descendants of those who left the land of Egypt. Once before, you threatened us and our Prime Minister offered the only answer, the perfect answer. We are not Jews with trembling knees. We are a proud people who have fought for our land; our sons and daughters have died for it.