Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Power Corrupts; Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

We had a wonderful Pesach Seder with some old (and some new) friends in the Holy City of Jerusalem.  For us, it was a celebration of our liberation.

One person who may well be viewing it from a different perspective is former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon  Silver (of whom I posted here on 22 January 2015 ) .  He faces sentencing in about 2 weeks for his bribery conviction on bribery charges.

In his heyday, Shelly Silver alone could determine which bills were put up for a vote in the New York State Assembly.  The common street wisdom was that Shelly Silver looked out for the best interests of the religious Jewish community (of which I was a member when I lived in New York State, and of which I remain a member here in Israel), and that if a few pieces of another kind of silver ended up in his pocket, well, that could be overlooked.

I, for one, did not and still do not buy into that line of reasoning.  If anything, Shelly should be held to a higher standard;  it ultimately serves the Jewish community's best interests to have a just and sound-working government.

It therefore is, in a sense, somewhat perplexing that so many letters of support from so many quarters are coming in to beseech Judge Caprioni for leniency when she sentences Shelly.  After all, certain groups in New York and American can thank Shelly for allowing the same-gender marriage bill to pass the New York State Legislature.

Understand that I do not personally concern myself with the living arrangements entered into by consenting adults, but continue to be vehemently opposed to according same-gender arrangements all of the same legal status and benefits on par with one-man-one-woman marriage.  The governmental approval of same-gender marriage has opened the door to the polygamous marriages practiced by many Muslims, and imperils American values.

[And speaking of intimate personal relationships, the U.S. Attorney's office has put forward evidence, for consideration in imposing sentence, of Shelly's alleged extramarital affairs for the purpose of debunking the notion that Shelly Silver is a scrupulous person, bribery conviction notwithstanding (I have not read the evidence, and accordingly, proffer no opinion and place not bets one way or the other as to whether he has or has not been cheating on his wife).

Actually, I sort of do understand why so many have stepped forward to speak up for Shelly Silver.  He has done much for those who have greased his palm, and those who have shmeered him are not ingrates.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

THIS Year in Jerusalem

Posting on this Blog from 14 April 2015:  "And while our planned residence is not in direct proximity to the Holy City of Jerusalem, there is a good chance that one or more of our friends there will invite us for the Passover Seder next year.  If so, then the aspiration of Next Year in Jerusalem will become a reality for us."

I am pleased, and most grateful, to report that such seems now to be in the making.  Some old friends of my wife's family, who came to Israel almost 30 years ago, have invited us to stay with them for the first day (which begins at sundown the night before of Pesach (it is celebrated only one day inside the Land of Israel, but that's a whole separate ball of wax).  They live in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

We obviously are looking forward to it.

As mentioned in the posting from last year, "Next Year in Jerusalem" are the concluding words of the Passover Seder meal  ("L'Shana HaBa'a B'Yerushalayim" in Hebrew). 

We will still say "L'Shana HaBa'a B'Yerushalayim" on behalf of those who have yet to physically present themselves in the Holy City of Jerusalem this year, but for us it will be This Year in Jerusalem.

"HaShana HaZot B'Yerushalayim."

Though our seder invite spares me and (mostly) my wife from lots of holiday preparations, there still is much to be done for the entire holiday, inasmuch as the other days we plan to be based out of our apartment, and need to remove all the fermented grain from the premises (including, but not limited to, bread, beer, and whiskey).  Aside from such matters, this week promises to be quite busy, what with some scheduled meetings in Tel Aviv, plus at least one locally in my own town.

In case I don't get around to posting before, we wish everyone a Happy and Kosher Passover, including the obligatory "L'Shana HaBa'a B'Yerushalayim"

לשנה הבאה בירושלים

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