Friday, February 22, 2008

In Action

In memory of Albert Bitton (Amichai ben Eliyahu), an army medic killed in Baghdad Tuesday by an IED. He graduated from the Ida Crown Jewish Academy (West Rogers Park, Chicago) in 2005 and was looking forward to attending medical school when he completed his duty. Heartfelt condolences to his wife, parents and sisters, and the Jewish community of Chicago. (Incidentally, he is the second graduate from Ida Crown to be killed in Iraq.) Please read more about this exceptional young man here and here is one blogger’s personal memory of Albert.

What’s going on in Iraq?

Have you ever noticed that, by and large, the news media don’t tell us much about Iraqi casualties? Occasionally you hear a personal spotlight about an individual soldier or two, but most of the time the casualties are merely numbers. Here is one site that tries to personalize the fallen.

In contrast, the Israeli news during any kind of attack immediately puts a name and face on each casualty.

Question for your table: What difference does it make for a society whether or not we account for people as numbers or as names?

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall my friend Chaplain Captain Andy Shulman, who was the only Jewish chaplain in Iraq (and now has one or two colleagues there).

Andy sends updates and photos every day. Jewish soldiers are coming out of the proverbial woodworks – when they find out that he has a Shabbat program, for example, they want to get involved. The photo on the left is a Havdala ceremony in one of Sadaam's palaces. Knowing that Iraq was the center of Jewish life for centuries (that's where the Talmud was created), makes this scene particularly interesting.

He also has seen his share of hardship. Recently, he was contacted by a Jewish Iraqi woman who is living with her children in fear for her life. Her husband was kidnapped in December of 2006 and she hasn’t heard from him since. All she received was a single phone call saying that “they will slaughter him, and they cursed the Jews.”

No idea if he is dead or alive. She never came forward until now because of fear for her children. But she has asked for the worldwide community to pray for her husband.

If you would like to do so, or to give a nickel of tzedakka in his merit, please have in mind Yaakov Na’eem Eliyahu Sharabani ben Sadiya Avraham.

If you would like to send a care package of kosher food, books or anything else to the Jewish soldiers in Iraq, here is the address:

4/3 HHC CAB 43408
APO, AE 09322-3408

Our media culture seems to measure greatness by how well someone does – who can run the fastest, make the most money, do the hardest math problems.

What if we measured greatness by how well a person deals with their hurdles and errors? According to that measure, who would be great in your book?

Shabbat Shalom

Travel/speaking schedule:

March 4-6 - California
April 3 - St. Louis
April 7 - Baltimore

For details, send an email.


Ha-historion said...
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Ha-historion said...

Thank you for this tribute to a courageous young man!

By the way, I enjoy your writings on the 'atzor kan choshvim' forum.