Sunday, January 16, 2011

Welcome to my midlife crisis.

You might have noticed that I have not been blogging very much recently. There are several reasons for this. First, most of you are aware that I have been working part time and volunteering some hours a day at the local Federation office. As of January 3rd, my official time has now been increased to half a day instead of just a couple of hours. Also, I have agreed to become the new administrative assistant for the local chapter of Hadassah, which will take an hour or so of my time a couple of afternoons each week. And I'll still be doing some mailings infrequently for the local B'nai B'rith chapter. That on top of all the other things I do that you already know, and you can see my plate is quite full. Nonetheless, my two youngest sons are staring college in the face, and I have to ask myself what I will do once they are no longer children, and worse, no longer at home. (Obviously my prayers for another child for the last 10 years have not been answered, for what I'm sure are adequate reasons.) God wants me to be doing something else - but what?

Last year I mentioned that I wanted to spend more time working on my own spirituality and my own health, and that goal did not get met. This year, I want to renew that project with an increased attention. One of the ways I intend to do this is to start a private foundation whose purpose is to raise funds for the design, construction, and maintenance of a local miqvah. It is very annoying to have to drive an hour and a half or more to either of two nearest miqva'ot. Plus, few local women are willing to invest that sort of effort into their Torah observance - perhaps a local facility would encourage more modern-lite, conservative and reform women to do so. At the very least I and my dear friend who is going to partner with me on this could offer classes on niddah, as well as other aspects of Torah homemaking, and perhaps build a more observant women's community over time. I know this is all terribly wishful thinking - just the fundraising alone may be a pipe dream - but we want to give it a shot. We intend to file non-profit incorporation papers this month. However, we have decided that after five years from now will have passed, if we have not been able to purchase land and begin construction on the facility, we will donate what funds we have collected to Jewish charities. So even if this dream comes to nothing, at least some small good may come out of it. (If you or some organization you know would like to help with seed money for the miqvah, do please let me know.)

As for blogging, I must say I am very discouraged. I no longer believe that the Jewish communities in the US are willing to take the necessary steps to combat the coming effects of peak oil, the debt and currency crisis, chronic un- and under-employment, inflation and food insecurity. A lot of the things that could have been done have not been, and though I may be wrong, I believe it is already too late - or so close to being too late it may as well be. I am too depressed following the economic issues to continue blogging about them. I don't think the communities even care. But if you or your community would like to discuss economic issues, personal finance, energy conservation or relocalizing, you may of course email me or send me a message via this blog at any time, and I will do anything I can to help you.

When I do blog, it will likely be about religious issues facing Israel and the Diaspora, as well as philosophical ponderings. I realized recently, looking back over the posts of the last couple of years, that I never finished typing up my lecture notes on Brian Greene's book Fabric of the Cosmos. So hopefully I will finish that up soon, and then choose a new book on science, religion or philosophy that we can study together. Feel free to make suggestions.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope that we all have a blessed 2011. Shalom.

9 comments:

SJ said...

>> I no longer believe that the Jewish communities in the US are willing to take the necessary steps to combat the coming effects of peak oil

There's plenty of oil in the American coastline & gulf of mexico that Oba-Mao isn't letting people drill into.

>> the debt and currency crisis, the debt and currency crisis, chronic un- and under-employment, inflation and food insecurity.


The Republicans are on it.


Ahavah I find it funny how your guy from the left is in office, yet you are soooooooooooooooooooooo disenchanted with the way things are at the moment.

Ahavah Gayle said...

"Plenty of oil" for everyone who can afford it. Good luck with that.

The Republicans are doing nothing except making sure that offshoring will continue and healthcare stays an opportunity to exploit people. It's that great "service economy" they pushed that CAUSED the current economic problems by leaving only wallymcwort jobs which don't pay living wages or have benefits.

And what communities do or don't do has nothing whatsoever to do with whichever talking head is in the white house. We live in a corporate oligarchy, not a democracy (or even a republic, for that matter).

But I'm sure JEEEEZUUUS will save you from all that.

SJ said...

>> "Plenty of oil" for everyone who can afford it. Good luck with that.

Competing with Middle East oil would be a good thing so OPEC does not have the USA by the balls.

>> The Republicans are doing nothing except making sure that offshoring will continue

Ok Ahavah let's discuss this. What republican policy do you feel will increase offshoring?


>> and healthcare stays an opportunity to exploit people

Republicans believe that allowing health insurance companies to compete across state lines will bring down costs.

>> debt and currency crisis

If you believe that there should not be a national debt, and that the budget should be balanced, then Ahavah, you are in fact, a tea partier in platform if not in name.

SJ said...

>> "Plenty of oil" for everyone who can afford it. Good luck with that.

Competing with Middle East oil would be a good thing so OPEC does not have the USA by the balls.

>> The Republicans are doing nothing except making sure that offshoring will continue

Ok Ahavah let's discuss this. What republican policy do you feel will increase offshoring?


>> and healthcare stays an opportunity to exploit people

Republicans believe that allowing health insurance companies to compete across state lines will bring down costs.

>> debt and currency crisis

If you believe that there should not be a national debt, and that the budget should be balanced, then Ahavah, you are in fact, a tea partier in platform if not in name.

Ahavah Gayle said...

"Competing with Middle East oil..."

Who are you imagining can do that, exactly?

"What republican policy...will increase offshoring...?"

So-called "Free Trade," obviously, which allows CEO's to externalize their real costs and undermine real first world companies by offshoring to third world backwaters with no wage, labour, environmental, safety, or minimum wage laws. If the playing field is not level in those areas, there should be tariffs to put the real costs of doing business back to the companies that are offloading them onto society and the government. I don't see any Republicans suggesting any of that, obviously.

"...allowing health insurance companies to compete across state lines will bring down costs."

No, it won't. The increased demand of baby boomers on an already overextended medical care system will make sure costs keep rising, and adding Billions-with-a-B in profit on top of that will simply force so many people out of the market that (what a surprise) once again medicare and medicail will be the only option left for most people, if it's available at all. Healthcare and health insurance should be non-profit, period, whether it is privately run or not.

"...a teapartier in platform if not in name..."

No, because I think the budget should be brought under control by dismantling the imperialistic military empire of bases around the world and "Wars" that are not on our own soil and using the money to make sure every american citizen has healthcare, social security, unemployment, etc. to give sufficient living-wage level income to make society function properly. I believe that's called socialism in your neck of the woods. The teapartiers would faint in the floor at the mere suggestion that they have an OBLIGATION to support the poor, the elderly, the handicapped, the unemployed, and the children (yes, even illegitimate ones). You know, all that stuff in the Bible they claim to follow.

SJ said...

>> So-called "Free Trade," obviously, which allows CEO's to externalize their real costs and undermine real first world companies by offshoring to third world backwaters with no wage, labour, environmental, safety, or minimum wage laws.

Ron Paul has actually been against the WTO and NAFTA.

>> If the playing field is not level in those areas, there should be tariffs to put the real costs of doing business back to the companies that are offloading them onto society and the government. I don't see any Republicans suggesting any of that, obviously.

Ok I can agree with that.

>> No, because I think the budget should be brought under control by dismantling the imperialistic military empire of bases around the world and "Wars" that are not on our own soil

We need the big military. There's lots of crazy bastards out there.

Wasteful spending can be cut in all sectors of government though.

How do you feel about tort reform in health insurance?

Ahavah Gayle said...

Ron Paul was only welcomed into the "Republican" ranks so he wouldn't split the vote and let a democrat win. If it weren't for that, he'd have to run as a third party candidate. He's "republican" only because as a teapartier, he also happens to hold some republican views, like secure borders and no amnesty for illegals.

And I don't agree we need all that military. We need to defend our own borders, period. We don't need bases in every other country in the world. It's not our job to provide free security to everybody else. If they want it, let them put up the entire cost of operations. And those "dangerous" nutcases aren't being stopped by the military. They're being stopped by customs, the border patrol, and homeland security. All the army is doing is making more enemies.

There is absolutely nothing in the constitution that permits our military to be used to "spread democracy" at gunpoint or to invade other countries for the purpose of securing their natural resources against their will. That's what the army is doing, and we can't afford it.

By "wasteful spending" most people on your side of the fence mean living wages and reasonable benefits, not actual reductions in unnecessary pork barrel spending. I don't agree. A line item veto would take care of a lot of pork, plus a procedural revision requiring all bill addendums to be substantially related to the primary purpose of the bill. Neither party would ever agree to this in a million years.

As for tort reform, it's a red herring. A family is entitled to the entire cost of care for the rest of their damaged member's life in a case of medical negligence. There is no way to fairly cap that because there is no way to foresee how inflation and other factors will behave in the future. If you want tort reform, the shifting healthcare to not-for-profit has to go with it. The majority reason for negligence and malpractice in the healthcare industry is due to profit chasing - unnecessary procedures or choosing less effective more expensive treatments to make more money. I know this because I worked for years in medical office management. Very little true incompetence was involved in most cases of which I was aware. Greed leads hospitals and doctors to do stupid things for money, and patient care suffers.

Now, last thing - which part of I don't want to blog about these things anymore are you having trouble with? I am no longer interested in economic theory. If you want help making a budget or starting a CSA for your community, let me know. Otherwise, I'm not interested in discussing these things any further.

SJ said...

>> Otherwise, I'm not interested in discussing these things any further.

OK. Sure. By the way despite our general disagreements, you did have a point with the tarrifs and I ceded it.

SJ said...

read my latest blog post http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-make-judaism-enjoyable.html