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Speak Your Vues

MIRACLES IN REAL LIFE

Dear Editor:

Recently, I attended a wedding from a friend whom I have known for
about 40 years. The wedding was so inspiring that I am still thinking
and enjoying its memories weeks afterwards. To understand why, here’s
the background story:

I met the bride about 40 years ago when we attended Brooklyn College.
We became close friends and shared many conversations and several
meals together. In short, we supported each other and listened to each
other’s problems and used each other as a reliable trusting sounding
board. We lost contact with each other for about 20 years. I tried
finding her via web searches but had no luck. As I later discovered,
she had also tried to locate me, and, as I have no Social Media
profile, and a fairly common name, she was unable to locate me, also.

This past summer, one day, I noticed a wedding invitation addressed to
my son. I saw the address and recognized both the last name and
address on the envelope. I had to tear open the envelope, and, indeed,
it was my long-lost friend. I asked my son to introduce himself to the
groom’s mother when he went to the wedding, and mention that she
should contact me. About a month later, she did, and a few weeks after
that, she announced that she was getting married, and if I would
attend the wedding.

During my conversations with my friend, I asked how she met her
fiancé. She mentioned that they had known each other many years
earlier, lost contact, and reconnected via Facebook. After several
conversations, they discovered common interests and friendship, or,
rather, revived them to the point where they eventually married each
other.

There are several reasons as to why I find the wedding inspiring. Both
my story of my rediscovering my friend as well as my friend
rediscovering her current husband, conveys the power of miracles. What
we may view as coincidence is actually God’s manifestation of a
miracle. Had I not noticed the wedding invitation envelope at that
time and followed up on it, I wouldn’t have reconnected with my
friend. Had my friend not thought of hunting on Facebook and
reconnecting, she wouldn’t have married.

Most miracles are unobvious. They come as small hints or messages.
It’s up to us to notice these hints and react to them and sometimes
take risks. What if I hadn’t reacted to that invitation and thought,
perhaps my friend doesn’t care to know me, anymore? What if my friend
who found her former friend on Facebook would have also thought,
“Perhaps, this isn’t the same person whom I knew years ago? Maybe he
won’t recall me or doesn’t want to keep contact?” As I’ve heard, “If
you don’t jump into the pool, you can’t get wet.” Sometimes, you have
to jump in the pool to just discover what can happen. And, if you
don’t like getting wet, well, there’s always a towel available to dry
off.

Both my and my friend’s stories convey the immense power of second
chances. I reconnected with my friend after about a 20-year absence.
Many things have changed in our lives since then, and, perhaps, my
trying to catch up on even a fraction of these things would bore her
to death. I discovered the opposite rather quickly. She asked me to
mail her the speech I delivered at my son’s Bar Mitzvah, which
occurred a while ago. She requested a personal reconnection that
indicated about the same interest in me and my activities that had
been there when we were college friends. And, I, in turn, felt
comfortable enough to ask her some rather personal questions which she
relayed to me. At was as if we had never lost that comfortable
connection all along.

Likewise, she felt comfortable reconnecting with a former friend whom
she knew years ago, and they both gave each other a second chance to
relate, and, now they are married.

Both the husband and fiancé are not “youngsters” in terms of
chronological age. Yet, they married. Frequently, before people meet
each other they dismiss each other because of age. How foolish! A
young heart typically doesn’t like being alone. If you find a best
friend, why not share your heart with him or her? This marriage is
proof that such an attitude works well.

The wedding itself was small and intimate. There were about fifty
people of close family and friends in a small hall. No fancy flowers,
lavish meals, decorations, etc. And, I was grateful that this was the
first simcha I attended in a long time where I didn’t have to walk
around with ear plugs. It was a real simcha to attend and see my
long-time good friend marry someone who is her own best friend and
companion.

This wedding and this couple is an inspiration to all singles out
there. I think much of the current shidduch process is far more
complex than it need be. People turn out each other because they
think, “This person is not for me” just based on a picture, or on a
biased opinion from one of their friends. As I said, sometimes, the
girl or boy sitting next to you at a table may be the correct person
for you, if you would try jumping into the pool. Perhaps, years ago,
you liked someone but something didn’t work, then. Why not take a
chance and recontact that person? Miracles can and do happen,
especially if you believe in them and apply some effort to make them
work. Lastly, as my friend’s wedding was simple, you don’t need to
make the wedding or, for that matter, the whole relationship or
shidduch fancy or complicated at all. It just take marrying your best
and closest friend to make a successful happy marriage.

DF

Editor’s Note: Hashem works in mysterious ways.

HELMET USE

Dear Editor:

Senator Simcha Felder proposed legislation on Tuesday in response to
the Governor’s sanction of e-bikes and e-scooters in the 2020 NYS
budget. The bill (S7368) requires helmet use by every individual
riding a bicycle, e-bike or e-scooter in a city with a population over
1 million.

 “When legalizing these additional modes of transportation the
overriding concern is how to keep New Yorkers safe, especially on
highly congested city streets. All the evidence points to the same
conclusion- we must mandate helmet use,” said Senator Felder.

Fatalities make headlines, but according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, serious injury is far more common. For every
cyclist involved in a fatal accident, eight end up hospitalized and
another ninety-nine receive treatment in the ER. The Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety, reports that serious head trauma
accounts for most bicyclist deaths, and helmet use reduces the odds of
head injury by an estimated 50 percent.

New York City reached the same conclusion. Four commissioners, from
the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation,
Transportation and the NYPD, issued a joint report on Bicyclist
Fatalities and Serious Injuries. After examining their collective
data, they concluded that, “these data suggest that helmet use is a
critically important protection for all bicyclists.”

NYS already mandates helmet use for bicycle riders up to age 14. The
Governor’s bill mandates helmets for e-bikes and e-scooters for riders
aged 16 and 17.

“To prevent serious injuries and save lives, New York City needs one
uniform policy for all two-wheel vehicles on its streets. With lives
on the line, inaction would be a crime,” concluded Senator Felder.

ST

Editors Note: Keep up the good work.

SCARED OF THE REPUBLICANS

Dear Editor:

I fear the Republican Party members of the US House of Representatives
and the US Senate. THEY are my #1 “nemesis.” They are much more
“conservative” than are the conservative-Republican citizens who they
are supposed to represent. While research indicates that 63% of
Americans who identify themselves as Republicans do NOT want Social
Security benefits to be cut, my estimate is that 95%-99% of the
Republicans in the House and Senate DO want to cut Social Security
benefits. My research and studies tell me that at least 75% of them
would LOVE to abolish Social Security and every other federal
government social program that helps people, but they will never admit
it because they know that most Republican citizens do not believe in
that.  Do you realize how many tens and tens of Americans would be
devastated if all of these programs were abolished?  It scares the
dickens out of me.
If you doubt my belief that most Republican members of the House and
Senate are secretly cold-hearted “Survival-of-the-Fittest” Social
Darwinists, then please  read the award-winning book “DARK MONEY”
written by 12-time award-winning author JANE MAYER and then tell me
what you think.
Sincerely,
Stewart B. E

Editor’s Note: In order to stop the debt something needs to be done
about entitlements.

DEMOCRATS ARE ANTI TRUMP

Dear Editor:
You say if Trump were to support free healthcare, Democrats would
oppose it. That’s true, and that’s why we shouldn’t support Trump.
He’s not a good person to be in agreement with. It would be better if
he were actually racist, anti-capitalist and pro-abortion, because
then the Democrats wouldn’t be.

Editor’s Note: Or maybe don’t support Democrats who are illogical when
it comes to Trump!

THROW AWAY VOTE

Dear Editor:

People say you’re throwing away your vote if you vote third party.
You’re throwing your vote away if you vote for a candidate you don’t
support! Sure, if you vote major party, the candidate you vote for has
a greater chance of winning. But that’s a bad thing.

RO

Editor’s Note: But sometimes you got to do the better of two evils.

RETURNING ON AMAZON

Dear Editor:

Amazon gives you the choice why you want to return an item; either
because it’s faulty or you found it cheaper in other shops. Number
one; can you return it stam al pi halachah? If you can, can if you buy
it; and when you buy it you have intention to return? Is that muttar?

Gavriel H

Editor’s Note: It would seem to be muttar, but you still might have
the issue of Mi she’parah. Consult with your Local Orthodox Rabbi.

GO OUT AND VOTE

Dear Editor:

The World Zionist Congress elections are happening now. It is
important for everyone to vote. Elections occur once every 5 years.
Decisions are made regarding how to spend $5 billion that goes to
Jewish organizations and programs in Israel and around the world, and
who should serve as board members for other organizations, like the
Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund and the World
Zionist Organization. You can vote by visiting their website.

Parties running:
Eretz Hakodesh: Protecting the Kedusha and Mesorah of Eretz Yisrael
Orthodox Israel Coalition – Mizrachi: Vote Torah
Vision: Empowering the Next Generation
Vote Reform: ARZA Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism
Israel Shelanu (Our Israel)
MERCAZ USA: The Voice of Conservative/Masorti Judaism
Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon: Torah and Israel for All
Hatikvah: Progressive Israel Slate
Ohavei Zion: World Sephardic Zionist Organization
Herut Zionists: The Jabotinsky Movement
ZOA Coalition: Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Torah from
Sinai, Make Israel Great (MIG) & National Pro-Israel Partners –
Courageously Defending Israel, Sovereignty & the Jewish People
American Forum for Israel
Americans4Israel: Unity, Peace & Security
Kol Yisrael: For the love of Israel – Making Zionism Compelling in the
21st Century
Shas Olami

Binyamin S

Editor’s Note: It costs you money to vote.

 CORRECT PUNISHMENT

Dear Editor:

Is it Ok to throw a child out of school?

Yaakov B

Editor’s Note: It depends on what circumstance.

SHOFAR IN SHUL

Dear Editor:

I davened mincha yesterday at a Moroccan Shul (I was out and that was
the nearby Shul). They blew shofar before mincha.

Is this always done or was it an erev Rosh Chodesh thing?
What’s the basis for this minhag?

Feivel H

Editor’s Note: I don’t know. If anyone has an answer, please enlighten us.

DATING EARLIER

Dear Editor:

I was wondering what people thought about mature bachurim starting to
date earlier at 20 rather than the normal 21-22. Obviously this is
only referring to guys who fit all the requirements. If you have a
great guy with excellent middos, why should he wait another year or 2
to get married?

HG

Editor’s Note: This is a question raised all the time. It really
depends on the individual.

DRIVING WITH CHARACTER

Dear Editor:

I used to love getting behind the wheel. Driving represented a sense
of freedom, solitude and adventure. Lately, driving has become a
source of increasing frustration.

Character is the essence of who we are. Character-traits are visible
actions that tell others what kind of person we are. These are what we
use to evaluate if someone is patient, short-tempered, kind and
compassionate, or cruel and inconsiderate. Character is presented in
various ways, not the least of which is in how we treat other drivers.

I’ve recently witnessed a remarkable number of drivers cutting others
off, refusing to yield, blowing through traffic lights and stop signs,
tailgating, brake checking, bird-flipping and even driving off the
road to go around someone who wasn’t going fast enough. Do you realize
that when you cut someone off or refuse to let them merge, you’re
basically sending the message that you are more important than that
other person, and that your time is more valuable than theirs? You’re
telling the other driver that they don’t matter.

What message would it send if you slowed down for five seconds to let
someone enter traffic? What if you allowed someone into traffic with a
friendly waive and a smile? What if you made this a habit? You could
be the highlight of someone’s day by extending the blessing of grace
to a person who really needs it, in a world where even the word
‘grace’ has become rare.

Ted B

Editor’s Note: It would behoove us all to drive with etiquette.