Thats what we will get to.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



Sunday, February 19, 2006

A sad Story of our Times

France arrests gang suspected in killing of Parisian Jew

By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent

PARIS - The French police arrested late Thursday night most of the members of the gang that abducted, tortured and murdered Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew from Paris.

Hundreds of SWAT officers raided apartments in Bagneux and arrested 12 people. Another suspect was arrested in Belgium.

"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."


While the citizens of France were shocked by the unbridled violence of the gang, Halimi's family claims that the murder was motivated by anti-Semitism.

"We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair," Rafi Halimi, Ilan's uncle, told the press.

"First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone," Rafi Halimi added. "When we said we didn't have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it," Rafi said. "They also recited verses from the Koran."

But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action." The umbrella group of French Jewish secular organizations, CRIF, issued a statement Friday calling on the Jewish community "to keep calm, cautious and wait for developments in the investigation."

Ilan Halimi's family points to the behavior of the kidnappers in their ransom negotiations, which began a few days after Ilan disappeared. Halimi was abducted on January 21 after a woman came into the mobile phone store where he worked and charmed him into a dinner date. The woman had been sent by the gang, which calls itself "The Barbarians." A police source said the gang is a group of childhood friends who grew up in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. The gang includes Muslims of North African descent and is headed by Youssef Fofana, who has escaped police capture so far. According to Marin, the gang had made six similar abduction attempts in the past.

After overpowering Halimi, the gang brought him to an apartment in a high-rise in Bagneux. They contacted Halimi's family and over the next three weeks demanded ransoms ranging from 300,000 to 500,000 euros. According to reports, at one point they agreed upon a deal and set a meeting place but the kidnappers backed out and eventually ended contact.

A source in the Jewish community said the gang's behavior suggested that the motive behind the kidnapping was violence for its own sake, particularly against Jews.

"Why didn't they release him when the realized the family couldn't pay ransom?" asked Sami Gazlan, who is responsible for security in the Jewish community.

Last Monday, a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with the family, Ilan was found near a suburban train station south of Paris, naked, handcuffed and gagged, with burns covering 80 percent of his body. He died on the way to the hospital.

The first break in the case came on Thursday after the police released an Identikit image of the woman suspected of "baiting" Halimi. The woman turned herself in out of fears that neighbors would identify her, and identified the apartment where Halimi had been kept.

The store where Halimi had worked was closed Saturday. Several shops in the area, the 11th arondissement, were closed on Friday, with signs explaining that it was a gesture of sympathy for Halimi's family. Many of the shopkeepers were among the 1,000 or so people who attended Ilan Halimi's funeral in the Pantin cemetery.

Dozens of family members returned home, in the 12th arondissement, to begin sitting shiva after the funeral. Walking back, accompanied by police officers, relatives expressed their shock at the murder.

"We are in total shock," a close friend of Ilan's said Saturday. "All of us, Ilan's mother especially, have not yet begun to comprehend what happened

Friday, January 06, 2006

The meeting

The word Vayigash literally means "and he met." To meet someone is to be introduced to a person, not having previously known them. In this Parasha, there is only a reuniting of a family, not a "meeting" as the name of the parasha implies. Why then would the title of the parasha mislead us? These brothers and their father have been separated for many years. All of Jacob's sons had families of their own and time had definately made changes in their lives. All of Joseph's brothers had obviously matured since that fateful day of selling their brother and felt bad for what they had done. But Joseph was the one who made the most drastic changes in his life. When he was sold as a slave by his brothers, he was an immature and pompous child, a braggert of his father's favoritism. But now, as Joseph sees his brothers again, he has metamorphosed into a forgiving and caring man. He choses to see his painful past as inevitable and a part of his fate so he could help his family survive through the famine as he works directly with the Pharaoh of Egypt. Joseph displays characteristics of a true tzaddik in this parasha as he is forgiving and then some to his brothers despite the harsh way they treated him when they were younger. In this sense, Joseph became a new, respectable, and righteous person and the reunification of himself and his family was indeed a meeting. Everyone had grown apart, and in Vayigash, a new and transformed family meets each other as if for the first time.

All about moi

My good pal Elder of Ziyon honored me with a tag to do this post and so here goes!
Four jobs I have had
Management Consultant
Hebrew School Teacher
Parenting Educator
Stay Home Mom

Four Movies I could watch over and over
Ground Hog Day ( same as Elder!)
The Gods Must be Crazy
You Can Count on Me
Desk Set

Four Places I have lived
Rochester NY
Los Angeles
San Diego
Ogdensburg NY

Four TV Shows
Sex in the City
Jon Stewart
stuff with my kids
those crazy weather shows with my husband

Four Places I have vacationed

Four Websites I visit daily
thats about it and thats cuz I have been busy with work

Four Foods
Eggplant anything
coconut anything
Dark chocolate
Real Popcorn

Four Places I would rather be?
I am home with my family, no place is better
ok except maybe the steam room at the gym

Four Books
The Book of Jewish Values
How to Run a Jewish Home
A River Runs Thru It
Anything by Bill Bryson

Four to tag??
How about Misfitoy
and ummmm
Maybe I can get Dag to do it even.


And the Band Plays On

One of the advantages of doing business in NYC is the chance to hear from the cities wide variety of cab drivers. It seems all of them have strong political views and are happy to regale anyone willing to listen.

One thing about me, I consider myself a student of human nature and find the cab drivers, from all around the world to have some interesting stories. One I met on my last visit was from the Congo. I remember vaguely hearing about it there in school but couldn't say much more than at one time it was a French (or maybe Belgian?} colony.

This man told me there was a terrible war there that most people here had no idea about. He was an elderly gentleman in his 70's and was driving a cab to make enough money to send for the rest of his family.

Today I saw this news story and thought of him.

LONDON (Reuters) - The Congo conflict is the deadliest humanitarian crisis of the last 60 years but the world is still not doing enough to save lives, according to a survey on Friday.


Its authors pleaded urgently for more aid and tougher security in the wake of a war estimated to have killed nearly four million people, mainly through hunger and disease.

"Congo is the deadliest crisis anywhere in the world over the past 60 years," said Richard Brennan, health director of the New York-based International Rescue Committee that counted the human cost of the conflict.

"Ignorance about its scale and impact is almost universal and international engagement remains completely out of proportion to humanitarian need," Brennan said after the survey findings were published in the Lancet medical journal.

The U.N.'s 17,000-strong Congo peacekeeping force -- its biggest in the world -- is trying to establish order across Africa's third largest country in the wake of the war which began in 1998 and officially ended in 2003.

Bands of gunmen still intimidate civilians in large areas, particularly in the east whose mineral riches are believed to have fueled a conflict that at one point drew in six foreign armies and was dubbed Africa's first world war.

Brennan said improved security is vital to lower the death toll and argued that aid must be dramatically increased.

The survey showed that the death toll in the Congo conflict so far was higher than the numbers killed in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Darfur.

After surveying 19,500 households across the former Belgian colony, the survey calculated that the mortality rate was 40 percent higher than that of Sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 1,200 people dying every day.

Up to 20 percent of children are malnourished. Most deaths, especially in children, occur from easily preventable illnesses.

"National and international efforts to address the crisis remain grossly inadequate," the survey concluded, arguing that more, better trained peacekeeping troops were speedily needed.

The survey authors' outrage was echoed by Evelyn Depoortere of the Paris-based aid agency Epicentre who said "Rich donor nations are miserably failing the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo."

"Every few months the mortality equivalent of two southeast Asian tsunamis ploughs through its territory," Depoortere said in a commentary to accompany the survey findings.

"We can no longer claim ignorance about this and other wars' profound and protracted effect on human health," she said.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another Merry Christmas

in Indonesian some 2000 people have been killed (including three Christian teenage girls who were beheaded for not wearing veils) in Muslim violence.

Why may I ask, since Indonesia is a recipiant of US aid, US tourist money and more doesn't the Church try to boycott Indonesia? They have all kinds of meetings about how horrible life is in Israel, who is just trying to defend itself and yet from Christians nothing is ever heard about this atrocity.

Read it for yourself. Its crazy. I wonder if this suicide bombing would be 'understandable' to the Christian left.

PALU, Indonesia (Reuters) - A bomb packed with nails exploded in a crowded Christian market selling pork ahead of New Year celebrations in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, killing at least seven people and wounding 53, police said.


The early morning blast in Palu, capital of volatile Central Sulawesi province, came after warnings of militant violence during the Christmas and New Year season in Indonesia. But it appeared to be linked to regional tensions, not international Islamic militancy.

Indonesia is predominantly Muslim but its east has large pockets of Christians, to whom pork is not forbidden.

Bystanders carried bleeding shoppers from the makeshift market to a road, putting them in passing cars to be taken to hospital. One man screamed as he held up his bloodied arms.

"Suddenly there was a flash of light and a really loud bang. We were all thrown to the ground," one wounded pork seller told El Shinta radio from his hospital bed.

"I saw many buyers who had lost their legs. We just tried to save ourselves by fleeing the market."

"It was a homemade bomb. It was full of nails," said police spokesman Major-General Paulus Purwoko in Jakarta.

Central Sulawesi police said seven of the 60 people reported injured had died, and that security was being tightened, especially in places of worship.

The official Antara news agency said another bomb had been found and defused near the market in Palu, 1,650 km (1,030 miles) northeast of Jakarta.

"This was done by outside perpetrators to create an unstable situation in Palu," Rusdi Masura, mayor of South Palu regency, told Metro television.


Intercommunal violence has killed thousands since the downfall of longtime autocrat Suharto in 1998.

Fighting between Muslims and Christians in central Sulawesi from 1998-2001 killed 2,000 people, mainly around the Muslim town of Poso. Since then, violence has been sporadic.

Last October three teenage Christian girls were beheaded near Poso. Bomb attacks last May in the Christian town of Tentena killed 22 people.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Chanuka to all?

I have seen alot of bloggers say how the checkpoints in Israel are such a waste of time and so terrible.
What could have happened today if this person had been able to get where he planned to go? What would have happened in a mall busy with shoppers for Chanuka and full of teenagers?

This suicide bomber was there to go after families. Is this peace? Is this co existance? What do people expect the Israils to do just allow bombers into the country so that the Christian Left can be happy?

By NASSER ISHTAYEH, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 1 minute ago

TULKAREM, West Bank - A Palestinian suicide bomber trying to enter Israel blew himself up Thursday at a military checkpoint set up to foil attackers, killing an Israeli soldier and two other Palestinians.


The army said it set up the checkpoint in the West Bank shortly after receiving warnings that a suicide bomber was headed toward Israel. The bomber was traveling in a taxi that stopped at the roadblock for a security check.

Three occupants got out, including a man wearing a large overcoat. When soldiers ordered him to remove the coat, he detonated a concealed explosives belt, the army said.

The suicide bombing took place just south of the Palestinian town of Tulkarem, about two miles inside the West Bank.

The army said the bomber, an accomplice and the taxi driver were killed. One Israeli officer died and three soldiers were wounded, one seriously, the army added. Seven Palestinians were wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.

The bombing came hours after Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the northern Gaza Strip, beginning an aggressive new campaign to stop Palestinian rocket fire. The army has threatened to shoot anyone who approaches the border.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials imposed a series of roadblocks in southern Gaza as they searched for a British aid worker and her parents kidnapped a day earlier by Palestinian gunmen.

The Arabic satellite station Al-Arabiya reported that Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. The claim could not immediately be confirmed.

The army imposed closures on the West Bank towns of Tulkarem and Qalqiliya.

Israel's deputy defense minister, Zeev Boim, said Thursday's attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad operatives in the northern West Bank, with direct support from the group's leadership in Syria.

"Their efforts to put suicide bombers in the center of Israel are always ongoing," he told Israel Radio, praising the army for foiling what could have been a far worse attack if the attackers had reached an Israeli city.

David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, noted the attacker aimed to strike inside Israel during the Hanukkah holiday — a time when many families are outside because of school vacation.

Islamic Jihad has carried out a series of suicide attacks since Israel and the Palestinians declared a cease-fire last February. It also has been responsible for most of the rocket fire out of Gaza aimed at southern Israeli towns, which has continued despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ummm Is this Christianity?

I have been talking to some interesting folks over on a progressive theology blog.

The blog author like the 'church' he belongs to claims to be against violence yet acts as a mouthpiece for Hamas and Hezbollah.

Isn't it weird to anyone but me that someone who claims to be Christian supports groups that call for genocide? Isn't killing people supposed to be against Christianity?

A quote from a link on this guys blog in which Hamas suicide bombers are called 'freedom fighters': And I quote!

When my friends and I approached the checkpoint, we were split into men and women. I was the only man in our group so I had to enter the line for men who fit the age profile for Palestinian freedom fighters. I asked if I could enter the line for women and older men, since I was carrying an American passport.

I mean is it any wonder Jewish people are paranoid of Christians these days???

Here is the link, from the Palestine summer blog this guy did if you can stomach it read on:

Another nice quote from our Christian friends:

They have taken many traditional Christmas Carols and re-arranged them, so
that these well-known songs can become the vehicle for widespread awareness about the unfolding genocide, ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the Palestinian people by the Zionist entity - and also to impart some understanding of the legitimate right of all Palestinians to resist.

This is from the blog of a theology student no less.
You can't make this stuff up.

Now for anyone not familiar with Hamas and Hezbollah or with the fanatics in Iran, the "Zionist entity' in question is Israel.
How can such terrible bigotry go unquestioned in the Christian world? Why doesn't anyone speak out about this stuff?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Finding Lourdes

For anyone who doesn't know, Lourdes is a famous place in France where people go to be healed, a place where many people believe one can find miracles.

One part of my work, that I find is very common is that people bring in some consultants and expect you to just wave your magic want, sprinkle fairy dust and 'fix' this long list of problems no one on the inside has been able to figure out. Of course all of this must occur in three days. Or less.


One thing I sometimes say in a joking way is that 'This isn't Lourdes sorry, I can't do miracles but thanks for your optimism...' and explain to them the reality as I see it anyhow.

My business partner, a brilliant woman of many talents, said that line in a seminar we were giving for on Strategic Planning for a large government agency. Turns out the real problem was that everyone there in charge really really hated each other....and I mean hate.

When someone in the room asked her about fixing that, she replyed of course that it would take a miracle to solve such a problem as 30 adults who couldn't get along well enough to make their agency function, and pointed out in jest that 'it wasn't Lourdes".

People laughed, we moved on.

One evaluation we got, and they were mostly glowing, was very troubled that she had joked about a sacred place like Lourdes. She felt religion was being mocked. My partner and I tried to brush it off, but all the way home in the car something troubled me about that. Life being what it is, so long as the client was happy, and the evalutions ran at 4.8 out of 5, I got into our next project and just tried to put it out of my mind. I reminded myself never to say that to a client again. Things being the way that they are, I never tell my partner what to say or not say, but in my mind, if someone was offended, I take that seriously.

Then, out of the blue I ran into a woman I know thru my youngest daughter. Her little girl had been in second grade with mine last year. Her husband had been sick and a number of times I had watched Anna so she could visit him at the hospital. I wasn't sure what he had exactly but I assumed he was going to recover, I mean the guy was in his 30's seemed fine before and was at a good hospital right?

Wrong. He died the woman said just the mounth before. It was a terrible moment. I just hugged her and of course offered to help her with Anna if she needed it.

She told me she had just come back from someplace far away with her children and she was feeling better and would be ok.

You won't believe where she went.

To Lourdes.

She wanted to ask God to help her recover from her beloved husbands death. I was stunned.

I think one can never underestimate the power of Belief. Whether you call it faith, or simply the 'Placebo Effect' when people *believe* something is going to happen, its more likely to occur.

Amita, Anna's mothers face looked sad and resigned at the same time. She told me again, she would be fine. And I believe her.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Things are not important

To the nice people who stop in here. I hope you had a great holiday. Don't get stressed out about the holidays that are coming up! Remember to take time for yourself...I see so many people who get nuts this time of year.
Just chill out and enjoy your family. Hang out with your friends. Kiss the people you care about.
Don't get hung up on presents and all that stuff.....people don't care!
Do YOU remember what on earth people gave you last year? If you are like most people, probably not.
People are more important than any material possesion.
Don't get so caught up in finding perfect gifts that you wear yourself out.
And don't spend so much money as last year....its not a time to spend but to celebrate and be happy.
So however you celebrate, accept good wishes from my family to yours.
And take care, be well, count your blessings and kiss kiss!

An Amazing Blog

I found this amazing blog. I have actually been kicked off it I think but still its just facinating to read like little else I have run across in the blogworld.
The guy who writes it calls it a stripclubbing chronicle and on the surface at least it chronciles his experiences in these places over a period of like ten years.
That seems like it would be dull but believe me its anything but.
When I first read it I felt really sorry for him and suggested he start dating and look for someone nice that was his own speed and stop all this silliness.
He said that he was already with 'the one' and that he was just a 'dishonorable person' or something. That made me so mad! I thought 'holy shit'! His poor wife!
I scolded him and said what a horrible cretin he was of course, but I still kept reading the blog, facinated at how utterly and completely self deluded this guy was, plus the blog has an actual plot line, unlike others and believe me you get so sucked into whether or not he can convince one of these poor girls to fall in love with him. (so far no luck but close)
I mean when you read his writing, you realize that alot of people have this 'other life' in a way that no one knows about but them. I mean this guy could be anyone.
While his thing is more extreme than most peoples I think everyone has a certain wish for fantasy and acceptance. People like this guy are able to suspend disbelief to the point where they actually believe the girls have a thing for them. That its so fun for them. I mean, he points out that on some level he realizes this is not true but still, this is the point isn't it?
It gives a profound insight into the reptile brains of men, that really what they want on some level is a harem, a big screen TV with ESPN on and a nice glass of wine.
Of course, most men( at least the ones in my family and friends circle) are able to contain themselves, raise a family, be good husbands and good people and so this whole cheating thing gets on the way way way back burner.
But as this guy on the blog shows, you can be in your forties, have a family, money, a good career, a liberal arts education whatever and STILL spend your time looking for something.
I mean on some level in some way don't we all do that?
You know that U2 song, 'I Still Haven't Found What I am Looking For?" I love that song and it always struck a chord with me.
Of course in my case, I have a happy home life, I love my husband and my family and no way in a million fucking years would I ever ever do anything to endanger that.
I have to say tho, marriage isn't always easy and fun and exciting. People are different, people disagree, no marriage is without painful episodes and unfufilled hopes.
When you come right down to it, we all struggle with the same exact issue that this strip club junkee guy is haunted by.
For him, he can cough up a few hundred dollars, go upstairs with a women half his age who tells him how thrilled she is to see him and how facinating it all is ( I mean they even pretend to have orgasms and the guys believe it!) and bingo! He gets to have his boredom taken away and his problem at least for the moment solved.
At first, I thought, wow I am like SOOOOooooooo much better than this puek. But wait, am I really?
How can anyone say with certainty that they are better than someone else? Just because I am faithful, and honest with my spouce does that really make me a superior being?
This blog begs another question too, how well do we really know each other? This guys wife and family probably have no idea that he is carrying on with other women.
How can it be possible to live with someone have thier kids and not even really know them?
If you want to read this blog here is the address

Don't be put off by the title of it, its not about stripclubbing even tho the guy who writes it thinks it is.
I am telling you the stories are so sad in a way, but really true to life and enlightening.
There is some sexual content but not gross.
If you have some time, really go and read it you won't believe it.
Don't be put off by the

Monday, November 28, 2005

What a beautiful day

It was just so wonderful and warm and it felt so great. I took my dog and we walked seven miles. I loved it.

Things are so busy with the business I needed time to clear my head. At the gym I always have on my headphones and its harder to think somehow. Today was a good way to sort of just let out the cobwebs.

My family and I had a wonderful holiday together. It worked out great for us that the snow prevented us from going to the catskills. We had so much fun just chilling out. Life is so hectic I just never get to really stop and enjoy how beautiful my daughters really are at these ages. Nine and Fourteen.

And anyhow, for my husband it was good to just not have to go anyplace or really do anything. We are planning a trip alone this winter. I would like to see Lake Placid again. I just think its so romantic in the winter. Like some fairy tale of wonderland or something.

My business partner and i are over our brief hump. I just figured whatever, its not worth it to argue. We are making more money than I would have ever thought so fast and we both have very very different ways of dealing with pressure and stress. I tend to remain calm and just pound away and be optimistic and she is totally type A and gets nuts. But I spoke with a good friend of mine who is a partner in a firm that is similar and she said I have a great deal and I have to suck it up and just let it roll off me. Two people who are alike are less suitable as a team than people so different as Valerie and I.

I am starting to think about the holidays and friends and presents and all that stuff now. I can't believe its here already.

I just feel so thankful for the life I have and for my family. I couldn't ask for more really. Lets all hope that at least for now my luck doesn't change.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

ok lets catch up

I have been super busy lately.
Business has been great and tomorrow I finish up this huge project and we bill em like the wind. Rainmaker Callie here.
Didn't know I had the touch I must say I can pat myself on the back.
Being a great bullshitter comes in handy when you are a consultant. Never ever underestimate the power of a knowing smile.
My daughter had her ninth birthday party we had a blast.
My husband is having some kind of weird mid life crisis thing.
He does this every so often.
He starts to worry that he isn't 'really liveing'.
I just say go and get some therapy. He is going to.
This is what happens to people that have too much money and time to think about stupid crap like whether or not they are 'really ' living.
Spare me.
But I act concerned and try to help.
Men are so fragile.

I am going to my cool brothers for Turkey day. Whooo whoo
We are turning into a nice little holiday. Holtel with pool fancy smancy...

Then a weekend in December to go away alone with my husband and just chill out.
I think I have maybe been ignoring him a bit since work and kid stuff has been keeping me busy.

Over all tho, life is good.
Busy, in a good way. but good.
Its nice to come back to my blog.
I missed it.

I missed it alot.