birdwatcher: (Mr. Twister)
But it wasn't only Jews whom the Rebbe loved, and non-Jews came to know that. One dramatic and little-known incident involved the Rebbe and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. In 1968, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. A powerful figure in her own right, Chisholm lacked the power to stop senior, and influential, southern Democratic congressmen, many of whom in those days were racists, from assigning her to the Agricultural Committee, an intentionally absurd appointment for a representative from Brooklyn. One New York newspaper headlined the affront: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?" Chisholm, who wanted to work on education and labor issues, was both frustrated and furious.
     She soon received a phone call from the office of one of her constituents. "The Lubavitcher Rebbe would like to meet with you." Representative Chisholm came to 770.
     The Rebbe said, "I know you're very upset."
     Chisholm acknowledged both being upset and feeling insulted. "What should I do?"
     The Rebbe said: "What a blessing God has given you. This country has so much surplus food and there are so many hungry people and you can use this gift that God's given you to feed hungry people. Find a creative way to do it."
     A short time later, on her first day in Congress, Chisholm met Robert Dole, the Kansas congressman who had just been elected to the Senate; Dole spoke to Chisholm and expressed great concern regarding the plight of midwestern farmers who were producing more food than they could sell and were losing money on their crops. Working with Dole and on her own, in an effort that eventually benefited millions of poor people and farmers, Chisholm greatly expanded the food stamp program. In 1973, the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act ordered that food stamps be made available "in every jurisdiction in the United States". Chisholm played an even more critical role in the creation of the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which mandated food supplements for high-risk pregnant women and for young children at nutritional risk. Chisholm led the battle in the House, and Dole and Hubert Humphrey did so in the Senate; today some eight million people receive WIC benefits each month.
     David Luchins, a twenty-year veteran of New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's staff, heard Chisholm relate the story of her meeting with the Rebbe and her work on behalf of food stamps and WIC at a 1983 retirement breakfast in her honor. As she said that morning, "A rabbi who is an optimist taught me that what you think is a challenge is a gift from God". And, she then added, "If poor babies have milk and poor children have food, it's because the Crown Heights had vision."
birdwatcher: (Dore: Ogre)
Откуда в Америке взялось антиконституционное министерство образования?

Perhaps the cause with which the Rebbe became most associated in the American mind was his emphasis on education. In the late 1970s, the Rebbe's shliach Rabbi Avraham Shemtov joined the Rebbe's campaign to help establish the Department of Education as a separate cabinet-level position (until then, education was subsumed into the Department of Health, Education and Welfare), which President Carter subsequently did. In honor of the Rebbe's involvement in this cause, the president declared the Rebbe's seventy-six birthday in 1978 as the first Education Day U.S.A. Since then, Education Day U.S.A., commemorated on the Rebbe's birthday, has become a part of the American calendar, and has been signed into effect every year by the president.
     In the Rebbe's thank-you letter to President Ronald Reagan for declaring the 1987 Education Day U.S.A., the Rebbe noted that the proclamation itself, issued by the American government, spoke of "the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which have been the bedrock of society for the dawn of civilization when they were known as 'The Seven Noahide Las.'"
     The Rebbe's role in the focus on education was acknowledged in a talk given in honor of the third anniversary of his death by Richard Riley, then serving as secretary of education under President Bill Clinton. In speaking of the creation of the Department of Education, Riley noted that the Rebbe helped "make it happen. So I owe my job to him" (emphasis added).
birdwatcher: (Mr. Twister)
Throughout history, it hasn't only been physically handicapped people who have suffered from being labeled with harsh words. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was still common to use words such as "moron", "idiot," and "retarded" - all supposedly technical and scientific terms - as expressions with which to taunt others. Children with mental deficiencies were dismissed as "retarded" and spoken of as part of one undifferentiated group, as if all people with this label could be fully defined by this word and this word alone. In those days, no one would have thought to refer to a child with lowered capabilities as "a child with special needs." Thus, few people thought of such children as "special" in any way; rather, they were commonly regarded as burdens to be endured. Here, too, the Rebbe's approach was to avoid labeling people with a single word such as "retarded" that, in effect, defined and limited them. When asked to send a message to a Jewish communal conference "On Issues and Needs of Jewish Retarded", the Rebbe noted his objection to that final word: "I prefer to use some term such as 'special' people, not simply as an euphemism, but because it would more accurately reflect their situation, especially in view of the fact that in many cases the retardation is limited to the capacity to absorb and assimilate knowledge, while in other areas they may be quite normal or even above average."

For the Rebbe, the desire to choose positive words was so deeply engrained that he hesitated to use words like "evil" even when describing something that was. He did not wish to have negative words or words that had negative associations cross his lips. Instead, to refer to something bad he would use an expression such as hefech ha-tov ("the opposite of good"); to refer to something foolish, he would say hefech ha-seichel ("the opposite of intelligent"); to refer to death, he would say hefech ha-chayyim ("the opposite of life"); to refer to something unholy he would say hefech ha-kedushash ("the opposite of holiness"). In a usage that sounds almost humorous, he would often speak of a bad person, a rasha, as "one who is not a tzaddik" ("one who is not a highly righteous person").
birdwatcher: (Dore: Ogre)
Знаете ли вы, почему преподавателям в американских университетах запрещено закрывать дверь, консультируя студенток, а в самих дверях прорезаны окна? Наверное, это придумали феминисты в девяностых годах? Хе-хе.
Тhe laws of yichud (Hebrew: איסור ייחוד issur yichud, prohibition of seclusion) is the prohibition of seclusion in a private area of a man and a woman who are not married to each other. Such seclusion is prohibited in order to prevent the two from being tempted or having the opportunity to commit adulterous or promiscuous acts.
Pesach Posuach – Open door. Yichud is alleviated when the door is open. This principle is known as pesach pasuach lireshus harabim, an open doorway to the public domain. The Shulchan Aruch rules: "If the door is open to the public domain, there is no concern of yichud." [...] Woman being secluded with another man is also justified when people outside can see through the window what is going on inside the house.

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