Monday, July 13, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #176

  1. Frum Satire posts about an inspiring meal he had, with a family which had adopted a number of children with Down Syndrome. As to why there are so many up for adoption:
    The hostess told us all about the sad fact that in Israel many people, including Charedim would leave their disabled children in the hospital and many of them would wind up in institutions. She told us of her organization which has a database of families who want to take children who are left in the hospital. She told us of the sad fact that Charedim are told by their Rabbis more often then not that they should leave the child in the hospital because its too hard to raise so many children as it is, she showed a lot of disdain when talking about her fellow Charedi families that had so little compassion for their own children.


    I have no idea what I would do if my future wife gave birth to a child with disabilities, but the thought of leaving my child in the hospital has never occurred to me, I have heard of other cases like this in the states. Rabbi Bomzer who is the Rav Hamchshir and Chaplain in Albany, NY told me that he visits with Chassidic children in the hospitals and institutes in the area because many families need to hide their children so the “normal” one’s can get a shidduch – its all about the shidduchim eh?
    Lion of Zion is disgusted by this:
    I can imagine that raising a special needs child (or sometimes more than one) can be very taxing, so I can't judge someone for institutionalizing such a child.* But I simply can't understand the sick bastards who essentially cut off such a child (or at the very least hide the child) in order to preserve the family's yichus purity for shidduch purposes.


    * On second thought, I do judge those parents who give up a special needs kid but then go on to have five more children. Instead they should practice birth control and devote greater attention to the special needs child. Of course such a line of action is impossible when procreation is merely an animal instinct.
    I think it is non-trivial, and it is very difficult to judge others thrust into this situation. If one lives in a society which is stupid specifically in terms of discriminating for this, and will continue to live in this society, then penalizing one's children for this is not necessarily the advised course of action. On the other hand, if enough people take a stand, it might transform the society into one which is not as stupid in this regard. In terms of having future children, it is quite possible that they have halachic concerns that prevent them from taking such measures. Does having one Down Syndrome child increase the odds for a couple to have another?

    As a subpoint in the larger blogpost, Frum Satire writes:
    I wonder what would happen if these people actually believed that disabled people are on a much higher madreiga than us mere mortals they may change their minds.
    As becomes clear in the comment section, by this he means that these are gilgulim, who are in this situation to effect a tikkun for their neshama, and are closer to perfection than others.

    Such a belief, founded on the kabbalistic notion of gilgul, though gilgul is quite possibly derived from eastern religions, can have a positive effect in this instance. Instead of looking down on people with cognitive disabilities, it makes people respect them. This is healthy for the person with disability, for his family, and for the Jewish society at large. It is too bad that such would be necessary, when after all, what is only and truly necessary is the realization that a person with Down Syndrome is a fellow human being, who was created betzelem Elokim.

    And there is a drawback with this declaration, and this making of people with cognitive disabilities special by virtue of being holy gilgulim. Look at what the "holy autistics" have done with this foundation. They have founded their own apocalyptic cult, drawing in frum but gullible Jews as their adherents.

  2. Rafi G. at Life In Israel talks about his experience with a rude telemarketer for a tzedaka organization, trying to get her commission. And Shaul B. writes his advice never to donate money over the phone.

  3. My first post of a series, on Truth vs. Consensus. If something is in reality truth, can it be heresy?

  4. Eruv Online revisits Brooklyn's Kol Koreis, in light of new evidence.
    The fact that in this correspondence Rav Moshe declared that even in Manhattan ― where he signed the kol koreiopposing the eruv[*] ― Rav Shimon Eider zt”l does not need to follow his opinion and can establish an eruv is proof that Rav Moshe never subscribed to the rhetoric of these kol koreis. How much more so regarding Brooklyn where Rav Moshe did not sign the kol koreis at all...
  5. A soldier's mother, on stopping ambulances:
  6. They ran to the ambulance, raced to the front of our city, raced towards the edge of the Arab neighborhood ... and then waited. When Elie told me this story, I was horrified. Inside the car that had been hit was a pregnant woman. Why had the Israeli ambulance stopped?

    The answer, explained as clearly as I could, was that this is what happens when you abuse the sanctity of that which is holy to us. When you stone an ambulance and set it afire, do not expect us to send more ambulances in to help you.
  7. A wonder drug that might add ten years to people's lives. Hey, it works on mice!

  8. Divrei Chaim has a rant on tzedakka, and priorities.
    But who am I to dictate how tzedaka should be spend -- who indeed can set such terms? The answer is the Torah can. Is there not a halacha of "aniyei ircha kodmin", that the poor of your city take precedence? Is there not a halacha that when hundreds of boxes are being packed on Thursday night for Tomchei Shabbos because people in the community literally need help putting food on their table and there is a shortage of funds and manpower to make that happen that fixing that need should be a priority vastly more important than insuring that a Rebbe from some other community can keep his yeshiva running?
    If I recall correctly, one of the glossy flyers for an Israeli charity brought the words of one Gadol that aniyei Eretz Yisrael -- perhaps just theirs, for talmidei chachamim -- were on the same level of aniyei irecha, likely to counter this very objection. This wouldn't apply to Brooklyn, though.

  9. Life In Israel posts about tragedies.
    Going through this information over the past few days was very striking. I also checked some of my old papers to compare and found similar patterns. There are so many names of children who died young -as babies just a few days or months old, as young children, etc. That along with the scores of names of people who died in the holocaust.

    Coming across these names, and putting them into my online tree on, and correcting my other information, became very difficult, seeing all these people who died so young. I had seen this phenomenon before, but never really paid attention. Now that I am comparing the new info to my old info, I am noticing it more. It became very difficult to process too much information in each sitting. i had to stop working on it after short periods of time.

    What is amazing is that the info I am working on is all from Germany. the premier country in culture and medicine and sciences. Not some backwater Eastern European shtetl. Yet even in Germany mortality rates were horrible.

    The advances in medicine we have gone through in the last 60-70 years, and definitely the last 150 years, are absolutely amazing in the sense that it is not nearly as common now, people are living longer, it is not quite as common for children to die at such young ages.
    Nowadays we regularly hear the message that we have an inordinate amount of tragedies, and that this is result of communal failure in X. But perhaps the perception of an inordinate amount of tragedies results in part from lack of historical awareness on the one hand, and the speed at which news from all over the world spreads, via telephone and Internet.

  10. And this week's Haveil Havalim is hosted at How to be Israeli.


Michael said...

Don't be too optimistic about this wonder drug.
Rapamycin has serious immunodepressive side effects. These mice were rased in a pathogen-free environment. I believe it might also increase cancer rates.

joshwaxman said...

yeah; the article itself mentions this. still, it is interesting...


Tzvi Haber said...

How dare people not in the parents situation judge the parents? This includes the adoptive parents. They can't possibly feel the same as someone who has this child 'involuntarily'. What ever happened to 'al tadon es chavercha'?


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