Sunday, October 31, 2010

Special Needs Baseball

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its

dedicated staff, he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a fatherI also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the

plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!

Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay,

all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!

Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yehuda Avner & The Rebbe - " You need to light the candel"

- Mr. Yehuda Avner was an advisor to five Israeli Prime Ministers and was

an Israeli ambassador to the UN. In 1977 he met with President Carter, and

then Menachem Begin sent him to report to the Rebbe. He sat with him for

several hours and they discussed many subject, several of which he refuses

to tell anybody about.

At midnight, the Rebbe saw that Yehuda Avner was tired. He put his holy

hands on Mr. Avner and asked him why he’s not a Chossid. Mr Avner replied

that there are people in his family who see powers in the Rebbe which the

Rebbe himself doesn’t even realize.

The Rebbe then told Mr. Avner what his job entails:

“You open up a cupboard and you see a candle inside. But in reality it is

not a candle. It is but a lump of wax and a string through the middle. When

does it become a candle? Only when you put a flame to it, then it becomes a

candle and it fulfills the purpose for which it was created.”

And immediately the conversation moved on to the next subject.

At 2:10am, Yehuda and the Rebbe finished the meeting and when Mr. Avner rose

to leave, he turned around and asked the Rebbe “Has the Rebbe lit my


The Rebbe replied “No. I have only given you the match. You need to light

your own candle!”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Big Sitting Shiva - Joke

A Jewish boy comes home to his mother and tells her he has met a wonderful girl, and they are to be married.

"Oh, that's nice" says Momma. "And what is this girls name?"

The son tells her that his fiancee is a Native American and is called Little Running Deer.

"That's nice, honey" says Momma, trying to keep a straight face.

The son then tells his momma that he wants to be called by his "new" Native American name too, and that from now on she should call him "Swift Flying Arrow".

"OK, honey, whatever you wish" says Momma.

Then the son says, "You should get a Native American name too, Momma".

"I've already got one," replies Momma. "It's Big Sitting Shiva"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Story: Mute Boy

Mute Boy

After the war a rescuer who was looking for hidden children survivors came

across a 11-12 year old boy who was raised in a non Jewish home and was

known as a mute. No one had ever heard him speak. The boy when he saw this

man was Jewish asked him"is the Gerer Rebbe still alive?" The rescuer

reassured the child that the gerer Rebbe was alive in Eretz Yisroel. The

boy lifted his shirt and showed him under his clothing wrapped around his

frail body was a pair of teffilin. These teffilin my father gave me the last

day I saw him when he gave me to this non Jewish family to be saved and he

told me that I should wear them when I have my bar mitzvah. I wrapped the

teffilin around my body in order that I should never lose them or be

separated from them. "Why have you acted mute all this time"? asked the man.

The boy replied "the non Jew who took me in as his own told me that if

anyone asked my religion I would have to say I was a non Jew. I decided that

I could not do that and from then on I would never talk in order that I

should never ever have to say that I was not Jewish. Since that day I have

never spoken to anyone you are the first person I have spoken to. Please

take me to see the eretz Yisrael I want to see the gerer Rebbe."

The vows the untruths we say in our actions and our deeds we act as maaranos

etc.hiding jewishness

The Dancer

The Dancer

....Some of you may have heard of a woman by the name of Gillian Lynne. She's a ballerina and choreographer, famous for many Broadway productions (such as Cats, and Phantom of the Opera).

When Gillian was in school, in the '30s, she was hopeless. She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting. Now they'd probably say she had ADHD. The school wrote to her parents and said, "We think Gillian has a learning disorder." So her mother took her, aged eight, to see a specialist in a big oak-panelled room, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school, disturbing people, late homework, and so on.

Finally the doctor said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately. Wait here, we won't be very long," and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio on his desk. As soon as they were outside the room, he said to her mother, "Now, just stand and watch her." And sure enough, the minute they left the room little Gillian was on her feet, moving to the music. They watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."

The rest is history. She went to dance school - full of people like herself, and ended up a multi-millionaire, responsible for some of the most successful musical theatre productions in history.

Gillian's story is the story of the Jewish soul. She herself was unaware of the talent which lay latent within. Only after being recognised by a professional and after being educated in the correct way - did she blossom to fulfil her real potential.

Our neshama too has latent potential. Our neshama also wants to "dance," needs to dance - but we usually don't let it do the things it wants to do. We carry it round with us to places it does not belong, seeing things it does not want to see, eating things it does not want to eat, and we are often surprised when do not feel content: when our lives sometimes feel empty or unfulfilled.

On Rosh Hashana we focus on our neshama. Like Gillian we need to let our soul hear the music and let it dance. Bring it to shul, bring it to a Torah class, and help it to reconnect with its source. Let it light Shabbat candles, and lay tefillin, give charity and visit the sick. Let it get re-accustomed to the Hebrew letters in the siddur, so that the words of the prayers flow naturally .... etc etc\\

Why Should I buy Tefillin?

Why Should I buy Tefillin?

In answer to a number of emails sent to me privately – in case anyone is wondering if the historical/holocaust emotional stuff really works let me tell you of something that happened to my son R’ Eli Gutnick here in Melbourne this past Elul.

Eli is our sofer here in Melbourne and he regularly speaks to Bar Mitzvah boys and their fathers about Tephilin – shows them how they’re made etc. After addressing one school group during this past Elul one very sceptical father talks to him and finishes with “Give me one good reason that will convince me, a totally non-practicing Jew, to fork out money to buy a pair of tephillin for my son.”

Without saying a word Eli takes out his iphone and brings up the famous picture of the barefooted yid standing next to a line of bodies (he was reportedly reciting Kaddish) He is wrapped in a Tallis and broken-open tephillin are prominently on his head and arm. A group of grinning and laughing Nazi soldiers are standing around him posing with the Jew they are about to murder.

The father looks at the picture for a good few minutes then looks up at Eli and says “How much is your most expensive pair....?”

It’s an appropriate thought for Yizkor – with the usual lesson that we who say Yizkor should reassure the neshomos of our parents and Kedoshim who join us for those special moments that we and our children are Thank G-d able to put on Tallis and Tephillin and pledge greater commitment to do so and to generally carry on the heritage we have received from them. We need to be able to tell them proudly that we are part of assuring that “Am Yisroel Chai....”.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

He always made his own sandwhiches

There once was 3 me. One Scottish, one irish, and one jewish.

Every day they went to work. They were builders. They were working on the top of a building.

The scottish man pulls out his lunch and says "TUNA! I hate TUNA! If my wife gives me tuna tomorow i will jump off this building!"

The Irish man says "EGG! I hate EGG! If my wife gives me egg tomorow i will jump off this building!"

The Jewish man says "HUMOUS! I hate Humous! If my wife gives me humous tomorow i will jump off this building!"

The next day the scottish man pulls out his lunch and says "TUNA! Thats it!" and jumps off th building.

The irish man says "EGG! Thats it!" and jumps off the building.

The jewish man says "HUMOUS! Thats it!" and jumps off the building.

The next day the wifes get interviewed.

The scottish and irish wives says "If h had just had just told me he didnt like it i would have made him something different."

The Jewish wife says "I dont understand. He always made his own sandwhiches.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Joke - Sure is hot down here!

A Minnesota couple decided to vacation to Florida during the winter. They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile.....somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister of many years who was called home to glory following a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she fainted.

The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife

Subject: I've Arrived

Date: 16 May 2003

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is not as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yeshiva Skier - Joke

**In a slalom race, the skier must pass through about 20 gates in the fastest time.**

**Well, it happened that a very Orthodox Yeshiva in Montreal had an exceptional skier among its students. So fast, that in practice, with tzitzis streaming out behind, he had beaten the world record several times.**
**After first checking to make sure none of the men's slalom races would be on the Sabbath, he tried out for and made the Canadian Winter Olympic team.**
**With his times in the trial heats, he was the favorite for an Olympic gold medal.**
**Came the day of the final, the crowd waited in anticipation.***

The French champion sped down the course in 38 seconds.
The Swiss in 38.7 seconds.
The German in 37.8 seconds.
The Italian in 38.1 seconds.*

Then came the turn of the Canadian Yeshiva bocher. The crowd waited, and waited . . . .
Finally, after a full five minutes, he crossed the finish line.
"What happened to you?" screamed his coach when the skier finally arrived.*

Breathing hard, the exhausted yeshiva student replied, "All right, who's the wise guy who put a mezuzah on every gate?"*

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year 2100: Jewish women will be lighting Shabbos candles.

Back in the mid nineties a Jewish advertising executive in New York came up with an idea.What if the New York Times - considered the world's most prestigious newspaper - listed the weekly Shabbat candle lighting time each week. Sure someone would have to pay for the space. But imagine the Jewish awareness and pride that might result from such a prominent mention of the Jewish Shabbat each week.He got in touch with a Jewish philanthropist and sold him on the idea. It cost almost two thousand dollars a week. But he did it. And for the next five years, each Friday, Jews around the world would see 'Jewish Women: Shabbat candle lighting time this Friday is .'. Eventually the philanthropist had to cut back on a number of his projects. And in June 1999, the little Shabbat notice and stopped appearing in the Friday Times. and from that week on it never appeared again.Except once.On January 1, 2000, the NY Times ran a Millennium edition. It was a special issue that featured three front pages. One had the news from January 1, 1900. The second was the actual news ofthe day, January 1, 2000. And then they had a third front page. Projecting future events of January 1, 2100. This fictional page included things like a welcome to the fifty-first state: Cuba. As well as a discussion as to whether robots should be allowed to vote. And so on. And in addition to the fascinating articles, there was one more thing. Down on the bottom of the Year 2100 front page, was the candle lighting time in New York for January 1, 2100. Nobody paid for it. It was just put in by the Times. The production manager of the New York Times - an Irish Catholic - was asked about it.His answer was right on the mark.And it speaks to the eternity of our people.And to the power of Jewish ritual."We don't know what will happen in the year 2100. It is impossible to predict the future. But of one thing you can be certain. That in the year 2100 Jewish women will be lighting Shabbos candles.

'These Jews,they don't even keep their own holidays' - Joke

the story of the Ivan who knocks down theJew in the street. The Jew gives him a coin and says that today is a YomTovwhere we give money to people who hit us and directs him to the Gvir whowill give him big money. Ivan goes to the Gvir's house and when the Gvir comesto the door, Ivan gives him a solid Zetz. The Gvir calls his servants whobeat the living daylight out of Ivan who goes away muttering, 'These Jews,they don't even keep their own holidays'