Why Do We Ask, “What Is Love?”

Whenever we ask, “What is love?” it’s usually because a) we’re unsure if a certain special someone really loves us, or b) because a certain special someone just accused us of not really loving them.

When we are truly engaged in giving and receiving love, we don’t ponder such philosophical questions. It’s only when something is lacking that we begin to analyze and contemplate what that thing actually is. For example, nobody sits down to a full meal and asks, “What is a pastrami sandwich?”

It’s only when something is lacking that we begin to analyze and contemplate what that thing actually isSo, if we’re even asking the question, “What is love?” it probably means that we don’t feel completely loved, or that someone doesn’t feel completely loved by us.

But since we’re asking, let’s try to answer the question.

“Am I Loved?” Vs. “Do I Love?”

The two scenarios that usually cause us to contemplate “What is love?” give meaning to the question. Either we wonder, “Am I loved?” or we ask, “Do I love?”

It is easier to first address the “What is love?” question in terms of the love we feel coming toward us . If we understand how to recognize when we are being loved, we can also learn to recognize our love for another.

When we are loved, we tend to feel it intuitively in our guts. But how does it work? Is there an extrasensory perception in the heart that is able to read the feelings in another person’s heart?

In fact, it’s really not that ethereal or supernatural. On the contrary, it’s pretty practical and down-to-earth. Our hearts take cues from our senses. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch or smell teaches us about our universe. See more info at fitathletic.com. We don’t need to contemplate or ask questions. Our sensory organs report to our brains, and our brains interpret the data and send the report to our hearts. So, if we see a loving smile, hear loving words, or feel a loving touch, the brain processes this information and concludes, “Hey, we are being loved right now!”

In short, when we are loved, there is tangible proof. It’s not an abstract thought or feeling, it’s concrete and evidenced. As King Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs (27:19), “As water reflects a man’s face back to him, so is the heart of one man to another.” This means, when you are treated with love, your heart feels that love.

Love is an Action

Now we can address the second part of the “What is love” quandary—how to know if we love someone else?

The answer is straightforward. When we behave lovingly towards someone, it means we love that person.

When we ask a question like “What is love?” we assume that we’re trying to define an abstract concept similar to “What is freedom?” or “What is good fortune?” But truthfully, love is not a concept. It’s an action.

To ask, “What is love?” is like asking, “What is running?” or “What is swimming?” If you’ve ever seen someone run or swim, you know exactly what running and swimming entail.

In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an actionThe Hebrew word for love, ahavah, reveals this true definition of love, for the word ahavah is built upon the root consonants h‑v, which means “to give.” In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an action. If you love your beloved, then you must show it. By the same token, if you are loved, that will show, too. You will recognize it by the way you are treated.

G‑d Teaches Us How to Love
G‑d commands us (Deut. 6:5), “And you shall love the L‑rd your G‑d.” This precept leads us to voice the age-old question, “How can we be commanded to feel a feeling?” Either you feel it or you don’t, right?

An answer offered by our tradition explains that we are not being ordered to feel a feeling in the abstract sense. Rather, the command is for us to behave lovingly. In this light, “And you shall love,” actually means, “You shall perform acts of love.”

This is the true test: action, deeds, performance.

Feelings can be deceptive. Sometimes, what we perceive as love may in fact be another emotion. But actions cannot be mistaken howellsac.com. So, rather than ask, “What is love?” we must ask, “Do I perform acts of love for my beloved?” and “Does my beloved perform acts of love for me?”

_____________________
Rabbi Shais Taub is a renowned speaker and noted scholar on Chassidic philosophy. He is the author of G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction. He and his family make their home in Pittsburgh, PA.

Article from chabad.org

How to Get the Best Start Selling Handmade Jewelry, Unique Bracelets and Handcrafted Earrings

by CYP Admin

Handmade jewelry can be a great way to express your unique style and it can even turn into a career. You have been experimenting making your own handmade jewelry since you were young, but you are never quite sure what to do with all of the handmade earrings and bracelets that are piling up. Aside from being a personal gift to give your family and friends, your handcrafted jewelry designs could be the source of a nice extra income for you. Creating your own handmade jewelry is different then trying to sell handcrafted jewelry and these suggestions might be useful to keep in mind.

The hardest part for most people who are dreaming of a handmade jewelry business of their own is just getting their nerve up and going for it. Starting your own business can be a scary process, taking small steps is a good way to get started. The key to beginning any business is to educate your self as much as possible, take a deep breath and just do it. There are few operating expenses if you have a home based business. You need to have jewelry making tools according what type jewelry you would like to make, but you probably already have much of what you need already.

One of the most important parts is bringing your own creative style to the handcrafted jewelry pieces that you make. It is very important that you choose jewelry designs customers want to buy. When coming up with handmade jewelry ideas keep in mind what people would like, not what you would like. The more creative you are and the more unusual materials you use will determine how unique your handcrafted jewelry pieces appear and ultimately how well your handmade earrings and unique bracelets will sell. This is what will set your handmade jewelry apart from the others. Here you can also find condo for sale.
A quick stop at the local arts and crafts store can give you many ideas and materials to make your own unique handcrafted jewelry. It does not have to be difficult or take a lot of time to learn how to make unique jewelry pieces like handmade earrings and handmade bracelets. It is a good idea start thinking about the style of the jewelry that you would like to make. Planning is the most important part. When you are imagining and doing the thinking as to what type of jewelry to make, you also have to take into consideration the techniques, jewelry tools and the parts you will need. So the style and the design of the jewelry will also depend on the abilities, supplies, tool and jewelry making technique that you can use. If it is creating jewelry with using gemstones and beads then it would be easier. All you have to do is to find a jewelry parts and findings supplier and buy the stones, wires, ear wires and tools.

You should find out what other people think about your jewelry, the easiest way to do this is to set up a small exhibition in your own home and invite some people to come and have a look. Your friends and family will be able to give you an honest opinion about what they think about your jewelry. If you have a little bit of luck you might even sell your first piece of jewelry.

Another really good way of showing your handcrafted jewelry is to get a booth at the arts and crafts fairs in your local area. These will give you a fantastic opportunity to show off your handmade jewelry as people that attend these craft fairs will be interested in what you are producing. These events are perfect for getting the word out there about your jewelry. If you are talking with your customers, even making custom design jewelry pieces for them, you can get lots of jewelry design ideas from them. For me, customers have always been a great source of inspiration. If you listen to them you can also mix these ideas with your creative ideas and style. Once you finish your unique earrings or handmade bracelets, you will be able to see the final result of your creation and might like to modify some parts. While you are doing these, you might even get other inspirations. Sometimes great ideas come from while you are fixing a jewelry piece.

The biggest challenge for many handmade jewelry designers is to find inspirations for new designs and techniques to add that personal creative flair to the jewelry designs that will give you an edge in the market place. If you are thinking of creating cat jewelry, watch the moves of the cats how they play. You will notice that cats all have the same characteristic moves and if you can capture them with your imagination you will come up with outstanding cat jewelry bracelets and earrings. You can even design a matching cat necklace for them as people love earrings, bracelet and necklace jewelry sets. There are a number of necessary talents, not the least of which is a good eye, artistic creativity, and a certain skill with small tools.

Nature, animals, wildlife, historical motifs and native designs are also a great source for inspirations for making animal jewelry, horse jewelry and other unique handmade jewelry designs. All it is you need trained eyes to see them and create them in your own style. We might all be looking at the same thing but seeing different things and we all different imagination of seeing things to get inspirations from. Finding your own niche in the marketplace takes time and patience. When you become known for a certain style of handmade jewelry your sales will skyrocket, people will know what to expect and think of you when they are looking for special unique gifts.

Many people are very creative and learn quickly how to combine and use materials to make extraordinary handmade jewelry pieces. There are many jewelry making kits, magazines and websites that can help to quicken your learning process. For those who find creating handmade jewelry difficult, there are many wholesale jewelry suppliers who specialize in unique handcrafted jewelry. Search online to find many jewelry wholesalers who supply unique and unusual jewelry that you can sell to your customers from your handmade jewelry website or at local arts and craft shows. We would also suggest you to hire maid services for cleaning the house if you are doing full time handcrafting, find the best home cleaning service in mobile alabama.

Many people are surprised how quickly selling their handmade jewelry makes them money. In no time, you may be ready to quit that day job and become your own boss. Try these suggestions if you want to turn your hobby into a successful handmade jewelry business.

The Best Ranking Ideas For Travel Hotspots

by CYP Admin

Traveling is one thing that most everyone in the world is engulfed by. Whether it’s discovering the unknown or just wanting to see what all the hype is about, humankind wants to travel. However, traveling can be expensive, and most people can’t seem to find the time. What if money and time isn’t the issue, what if the issue is you just can’t decide on a destination? Therefore, I give you the best ranking ideas for travel hotspots.

Big City Travel
Whether it’s an adventurous trip to New York City, a provocative stay in Las Vegas, or family fun in Orlando, big cities are the top travel hotspots. In big cities such as New York City, all the fun and excitement is right at your fingertips. Bigger cities offer the most popular attractions that more rural destinations don’t. Shopping and nightlife is also a huge attraction of bigger cities. There is always something to do in cities that never sleep. The lights are on 24/7 and so is the fun.

Beach Destinations
If you love basking in the warm sun, swimming in cool water, or partying in the most popular clubs, a beach destination is your ideal vacation. Beaches such as Panama City, Florida, Cancun, Mexico, and Laguna Beach, California are the best places to go for a wild and wet summer. However, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Honolulu, The Bahamas, or Hawaii is your best choice. The only downside to a beach destination is the higher prices, especially during the summer. Whether it’s a condo or a hotel, most accommodations are overpriced.

Rural Destinations
If big cities or a crowded beach doesn’t excite you, then you will love a rural destination with the emergency home solutions. Whether it’s a cabin by the lake or a tent in the forest, rural destinations will have you one with nature. The upsides to rural destinations are the cheaper prices. Rural vacations tend to be cheaper because they’re not located in bigger cities, therefore, you don’t pay the big city prices. Many people own vacation homes by a lake or in the mountains and on the off season will rent these homes out for almost half the price of a condo by the beach or a fancy hotel in the city, check tinnitusgloba.
These are the best ranking ideas for travel hotspots.

Always remember, there are pros and cons to every vacation and not everyone will be perfect and most are expensive. The best approach to a vacation is planning and budgeting, making reservations never hurt anyone either find more. So, next time you’re stuck worrying about where to take your family, your significant other, or just yourself, on vacation, just remember the three best ranking ideas for travel hotspots.

Lucy Bushman is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

Best Jewish Travel Ideas for Senior Travelers

by CYP Admin

Being retired means you have all the time in the world to do what you want-like traveling! But which places make for an unforgettable Jewish vacation? Let’s take a look:

Heritage Tour in Asia

Asia is full of diverse cultures, and there are even Jewish heritage sites in places you’d least expect. There are tours are led by rabbis that can provide in depth discussions on them. If you want, there is a 15-day tour take takes you to Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma.

Here are some notable places you must visit:

Singapore: Maegan Aboth- this synagogue offers Mikveh and serves as a school for more than a hundred students. They have kosher restaurants and serve Shabbat meals and catering services as well.

Myanmar: Musmeah Synagogue – this synagogue is the only and last standing synagogue in Burma which is also home to more than 120 Torah scrolls.

Thailand: Chiang Mai Temples – If you are into temples, then Chiang Mai is a place to visit. Home to over 300 temples, this city has temples dating 13th and 18th century old. The most famous is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

Senior Volunteering in Israel

Volunteering is not only for mulberry maids
who want exposure. It is great for retirees too! If you want to have a meaningful vacation without worrying about lodging and accommodation, then volunteering abroad is for you.

Aside from having a unique experience, you can also apply your skills here too. Many organizations are always in need of doctors, social workers, lawyers, etc.

Here are some organizations that are looking for volunteers:

Pantry Packers – This is great for tourists who are in the country for a short time. Pantry Packers distributes foods to families and senior citizens in Israel that belong to poor communities, check savitar tour.

Skilled volunteers for Israel – This is perfect for retirees who still want to put their skills to good use. Skilled volunteers for Israel invites professional North American and British Jews to volunteer in Israel in a limited-term volunteer engagement.

Kosher River Cruise in Europe

Europe is a known destination for Jewish travel tours, including kosher river cruises. Many of these are all-inclusive luxury cruises that even have synagogues on board maidthis.com. Moreover, their programs include educational heritage tours. They also have well-known rabbis and scholars on board that hold lectures and discussions

The glatt kosher meals being served are also strictly supervised. This is perfect for those who want to keep kosher on their travels.

Going on a vacation is sure a lot of fun, but it would better if you also gain unique and memorable experiences, and. And since you have the luxury of time, you can have a more carefree and relaxed trip.

My Tantrum with G-D

by Yael Trusch

Having four kids, I’m no stranger to temper tantrums—those of my kids, I mean. I’ve had my share of 2-year-old (and older) kids kicking and screaming in frustration on my kitchen floor.

Somehow, I can keep preparing dinner while looking objectively at the situation escalating right by my feet.

I can think to myself, “I know you’re angry because I’m not letting you hold whatever dangerous object you want this second. But I also know that I love you and that you love me, and it is because I love you that I’m not letting you hold that object. So this tantrum is a reflection of how strong our relationship really is. It does not alter the relationship. The relationship is there, and nothing can change that. See more info at thatscleanmaids.com.

“When the storm passes (i.e., you’re able to live with the fact that you will not get that dangerous object from me), our relationship will revert back to the loving one that it has always been and will always be.

“As a loving parent, I can handle your tantrum because I know three things with absolute certainty: 1) the anger and the pain will pass; 2) what I did is for your own good; and 3) it’s a pure expression of our loving relationship. In fact, I can thank you, my screaming child, for reminding me at this heated moment exactly where we’re holding. I love you.”

Truth be told, sometimes I’m not in that objective position. Sometimes, I feel like I am the child having a tantrum. I want to yell and scream in frustration and anger to G‑d.

“I do not like what You did. I really do not like it, and I can’t stand the fact that You did that to me/those I love. I do not like You very much right now. I want You to feel my pain! It hurts and You are responsible for the pain. Actually, I tried as hard as I could to change your will about this, but You didn’t. And it makes me mad!”

And as I wipe the tears on my face, I remember what it’s like when I’m the parent. I could kick and scream at You all day, but somehow I stop. Exhausted from a futile attempt at kicking and screaming, and with a heart shattered in pieces, I feel once more that ours is a loving relationship, check pivot. And even though I’m not grateful for the tears, I am still grateful for the love. I know where You and I are holding. Thank You.

Do you ever feel like you’re having a tantrum with G‑d?

_____________________

Yael Trusch is a mother, and author of the lifestyle blog, Jewish Latin Princess, where Jewish femininity takes a Latin twist. On her bi-lingual blog, Yael creatively inspires women to combine the physical and spiritual in everything they do. She holds women’s classes in Spanish and teaches brides and bat mitzvah girls.

Article from jewishlatinprincess.com

Will Planning Act’s ‘Core Strategy’ Work?

by CYP Admin

Recent legislative changes have brought our property law, stretching back 800 years, into line with the UK. But how do these changes affect you?

County and city development plans are being rolled out under new rules – and they need to be debated, says BILL NOWLAN

The new 2010 Planning Act is beginning to bite. The “Core Strategy” concept, an inherent part of the integrated national-regional-local planning approach, is now being rolled out in all county and city development plans. It has huge merit in balancing the excesses and irresponsibility of the past decades. But the new act brings with it new challenges that must be debated and that the new Minister for Environment should monitor in overseeing the implementation of the legislation.

Dezoning of land will reduce value – which is having implications for banks and Nama as they consider the haircuts or reductions in value of assets and securities (e.g., existing planning permissions may not be renewed). Avoiding land supply being overly or locally constricted, such that it would create local monopolies

Matching plans to market realities in relation to the locational preferences of housing buyers.

The Core Strategy approach in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 is a planners dream. In a Utopian society it would work like greased clockwork. It is based on zoning enough land for the plan period plus an allowance of “overzoning” of 50 per cent. The assumption is that sufficient land will be zoned and serviced to meet present development needs and in the five years before it is actually built upon.

“Core Strategies” have a role to play in Ireland’s economic recovery because a more disciplined approach to planning, zoning and property development avoids wastage of infrastructure; new development goes precisely where the plans and infrastructure are best matched.

Nice and simple and logical – just like putting Lego blocks together. But there is also the possibility that it might be a bit like laying railway tracks five minutes before the train arrives, with associated risk of misjudgement by driver or track crew!

Core Strategy – when its rollout is completed in two years – will mean a reduction in the amount of zoned land for housing in Ireland from 44,000 hectares presently (equivalent to say around 880,000 new houses and a population increase of over 2 million people) to around 12,000 hectares as identified in Irelands recently adopted Regional Planning Guidelines. In other words, around 75 per cent of land will be taken out of the short-term development scenario!

The logic suggested for this is that all the land we need for urban expansion for the next five years is 12,000 hectares, sufficient for a likely level of population increase of around 500,000 people, as the CSO predicted a few years back. Notwithstanding that, actual levels of housing demand over the next few years suggest that we might only need around 4,500 hectares – but thats a debate for another day, presumably when the next regional planning guidelines are being drafted.

Inherent in the Core Strategy concept are a couple of key challenges that must be tackled if the whole concept is not to fall flat on its face:

First, to make Core Strategies work, active engagement in land markets by local authorities or other agencies is not just needed but demanded. Historically, this is something of a taboo subject in the world of Irish local development planning.

Let me give you a real life example of the issues involved. Some years ago I was instructed to find a 10-acre site for a much needed new school in a large provincial town. There were two perfectly-situated sites close to the old and dilapidated school: one owned by the health board and the other by an eminent local politician. Both refused to sell their land to the school board, for their own reasons.

The health board refused because it “might” need the land for expansion sometime in the future; the other landowner refused because the land had huge long-term development potential and he did not wish to go against the school’s position.

Now, eight years later, neither site is developed; the school is earmarked for a compromise solution, a secondary site involving significant journeys for all students instead of a walk from their homes.

In my example, introduction of the Core Strategy approach could make this type of situation worse unless local authorities work proactively to identify and encourage the release of suitable sites – a point that is highlighted in the planning guidelines document on schools, issued in 2009.

Apart from land supply issue, what other challenges are associated with the Core Strategy concept?

The second challenge relates to land and house pricing. It may seem like a laughable situation today to be worrying about land pricing, but planning is about thinking for the future. Eventually the property market will recover (markets always recover); if the only land available for new housing is concentrated in the hands of one of a small number of landowners, then land prices will rise accordingly.

Would you sell an acre of land for €400,000, if you knew that by sitting on it that it would double in value because you held the only developable land in town? The knock-on effect on house prices of such induced scarcity is easy to comprehend. You can also install solar panels in the house, check out solar panels san diego cost.

The proposed level of “acceptable” over-zoning in Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DOEHLG) guidelines is one way to tackle this issue, but I don’t think it is enough. We should be looking at various methods used by other nations to tackle this challenge.

A third challenge is to make sure that plans and market realities match up. In other words, ensure that planners are listening to the market and are responding accordingly. For example: if you live in a three-bed semi in Swords and want to move upmarket to a new four or five-bed detached house in close proximity, then you may find it difficult to locate a newly-constructed house of that type, check hawkinteriors.

So, we have a dilemma as a society. We have had serious abuse and mistakes in our planning and land development system. Our 2010 Planning Act was designed to remove the basis for that abuse and the Core Strategy approach is, theoretically, a logical way to do so. But in doing so, we must recognise new and likely substantial challenges for planning policy that must be overcome if the Core Strategy approach is to have any chance of working in the long term.

The solutions we should work for must include some mechanism to compel or incentivise the disposal of key sites at reasonable prices – sites which have been earmarked for development and provided with infrastructure by the taxpayers.

The solution may include a “use it or lose it” approach to planning permissions and associated local zonings. But each approach has it own crop of issues and problems. More on this anon, including the hairy question of linking simultaneous provision of operational infrastructure to zoning – something on which Ireland Inc could improve its historic performance and which has significantly influenced developer-led approaches of the past.

We should think all of this through while we have a bit of breathing space and put in place the other side of the Core Strategy proposition, i.e. effective land management strategies, before failing to do so discredits this sensible approach.

Sensible planning should involve a three-legged stool approach to management of land development: a Core Strategy-based planning programme; analysis of “carrying-capacity” – the relationship of infrastructure capacity to planning; and a land-use zoning programme that matches planning to carrying capacity.

As I mentioned above, there will more on this in the near future.

What is love?

by Shais Taub

Why Do We Ask, “What Is Love?”

Whenever we ask, “What is love?” it’s usually because a) we’re unsure if a certain special someone really loves us, or b) because a certain special someone just accused us of not really loving them.

When we are truly engaged in giving and receiving love, we don’t ponder such philosophical questions. It’s only when something is lacking that we begin to analyze and contemplate what that thing actually is. For example, nobody sits down to a full meal and asks, “What is a pastrami sandwich?”

It’s only when something is lacking that we begin to analyze and contemplate what that thing actually isSo, if we’re even asking the question, “What is love?” it probably means that we don’t feel completely loved, or that someone doesn’t feel completely loved by us.

But since we’re asking, let’s try to answer the question.

“Am I Loved?” Vs. “Do I Love?”

The two scenarios that usually cause us to contemplate “What is love?” give meaning to the question. Either we wonder, “Am I loved?” or we ask, “Do I love?”

It is easier to first address the “What is love?” question in terms of the love we feel coming toward us . If we understand how to recognize when we are being loved, we can also learn to recognize our love for another.

When we are loved, we tend to feel it intuitively in our guts. But how does it work? Is there an extrasensory perception in the heart that is able to read the feelings in another person’s heart?

In fact, it’s really not that ethereal or supernatural. On the contrary, it’s pretty practical and down-to-earth. Our hearts take cues from our senses. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch or smell teaches us about our universe. See more info at fitathletic.com. We don’t need to contemplate or ask questions. Our sensory organs report to our brains, and our brains interpret the data and send the report to our hearts. So, if we see a loving smile, hear loving words, or feel a loving touch, the brain processes this information and concludes, “Hey, we are being loved right now!”

In short, when we are loved, there is tangible proof. It’s not an abstract thought or feeling, it’s concrete and evidenced. As King Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs (27:19), “As water reflects a man’s face back to him, so is the heart of one man to another.” This means, when you are treated with love, your heart feels that love.

Love is an Action

Now we can address the second part of the “What is love” quandary—how to know if we love someone else?

The answer is straightforward. When we behave lovingly towards someone, it means we love that person.

When we ask a question like “What is love?” we assume that we’re trying to define an abstract concept similar to “What is freedom?” or “What is good fortune?” But truthfully, love is not a concept. It’s an action.

To ask, “What is love?” is like asking, “What is running?” or “What is swimming?” If you’ve ever seen someone run or swim, you know exactly what running and swimming entail.

In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an actionThe Hebrew word for love, ahavah, reveals this true definition of love, for the word ahavah is built upon the root consonants h‑v, which means “to give.” In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an action. If you love your beloved, then you must show it. By the same token, if you are loved, that will show, too. You will recognize it by the way you are treated.

G‑d Teaches Us How to Love
G‑d commands us (Deut. 6:5), “And you shall love the L‑rd your G‑d.” This precept leads us to voice the age-old question, “How can we be commanded to feel a feeling?” Either you feel it or you don’t, right?

An answer offered by our tradition explains that we are not being ordered to feel a feeling in the abstract sense. Rather, the command is for us to behave lovingly. In this light, “And you shall love,” actually means, “You shall perform acts of love.”

This is the true test: action, deeds, performance.

Feelings can be deceptive. Sometimes, what we perceive as love may in fact be another emotion. But actions cannot be mistaken howellsac.com. So, rather than ask, “What is love?” we must ask, “Do I perform acts of love for my beloved?” and “Does my beloved perform acts of love for me?”

_____________________
Rabbi Shais Taub is a renowned speaker and noted scholar on Chassidic philosophy. He is the author of G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction. He and his family make their home in Pittsburgh, PA.

Article from chabad.org

Sports Psychology and the Jewish People

by CYP Admin

A number of years ago in the movie “Airport” a passenger asks for a little light reading at which point the stewardess hands him a one page leaflet of “Jewish-American Sports heroes”. Everyone laughed. And, yet, that is reality.

I’m an anomaly. I’m Jewish. I like to think of myself as reasonably successful and well educated. I’m Jewish. But I also ran track and played football in high school. I’m Jewish? And I was All-Pacific Coast as a defensive tackle in college. I’m Jewish?? And I was a P.E. teacher and the head football and swimming coach at a local high school. Now you’re probably thinking, “No wonder he went into psychology. He needed help with his Jewish identity. But the effects must still be there because in addition to regular clinical work, he does sports psychology.”

Let’s go back a few years and stereotype. There you are at the end of junior high or the beginning of high school. You’re a chubby little kid who does reasonably or terrifically well in school and has gotten used to being pushed around a little bit. No big deal. Your emphasis was on education. You made everyone very proud at your Bar Mitzvah. But you were intimidated by all the jocks at school, so you either avoided them, or hung on as a wannabe, or dabbled in sports a bit. Maybe you were the tall, gangly kid who looked like, in today’s terms, a “geek.” Your parents rewarded you for academic or creative or business endeavors. Tom Kowalski’s parents, Juan Gonzalez’s parents, William Jackson’s parents rewarded those boys, in one way or another, for being tough and macho and physical, for going out for sports and succeeding. But Irving Goldsteins’s parents, when questioned by the coach as to why they would not allow Irving to go out for football, even though he was 6’1″, 200 lbs. responded, ” Becuz dets not sumting a nice Joosh boy does. Let de uders beat each uder up. Mine sohn vill be a dawkter and has no time for dat! Gut bye!!” So you grew up being at least a little intimidated by physical prowess because our culture and religion preaches that education is next to Godliness, and it leaves little time for any physical endeavors- “Nicht mit der handt!”. And even if you were considered tough among the Jewish kids, you were still no match for the “real” tough guys. So you exerted your force through student council, or the debate club, and gravitated to others like yourself.

This grated on you for a very long time. And whether you consciously knew it or not, you had to make up for it in some way. In psychological terms you developed a reaction formation. You compensated for this feeling of inadequacy. A liability became an asset. So you became a) a hard-nosed negotiator, feared and revered in business circles or b) an entrepreneur so that you could use your bravado or c) a doctor or lawyer or some other self-employed professional so that you were automatically at the top and didn’t have to fight for respect or d) a top notch salesman so that you could use your finely honed verbal skills or e) some other position that insulated you from what you were ultimately still afraid of. Some of you avoided sports completely, some dabbled; all the while blaming other if you did not make it. Some turned to material things to prove themselves, like the big thick gold chains with the enlarged chai to prove yourself and all other Jewish males. And many of you made it vicariously through your children, some, unfortunately, becoming the ultimate “little league parent.”

Yet even with a de-emphasis on the physical aspects of Jewish life in this country, we love to hear about “Little Israel” kicking someone’s hindquarters all over the Middle East. “There!! That’ll teach you to mess with a Jew!!

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Why? Are the mind and body separate? Can’t the two be compatible, and isn’t that the healthiest situation? Allow me to discuss not merely the informative aspects of sports psychology, but the benefits to our children. Judaism teaches that we are to pass down our teachings to our children. Why not pass down something new that we have learned?

Sports psychology actually deals with two issues. One is that of a person with problems that have detracted from his or her performance, whether that be poor concentration or the inability to cope with stress. The other is that of the individual who utilizes yet another tool toward an increased performance. This individual does not have a problem. He or she only seeks to improve the psychological aspects since sport has been labeled “90 % mental and 10% physical.”

Today we recognize that social life is always in the process of change and development. Relationships are ever-changing as people move in and out of the lives of others. Prior psychologies dealt more with the isolated person, and the recent focus has illuminated the idea that the self rests within the larger circle of society. What we see and do in the world, as well as within ourselves, is shaped by the interactions with the many people in our lives.

Entering into this emerging area comes the field of sports psychology. Athletics is an intensified microcosm of social psychology, yet with many of its own rules, regulations, and, of course, problems. While social psychology alone deals with the individual and her or his interactions with the group, the social psychology of athletics deals with a triad – the individual, the team, and the crowd. Whether sport should hold the position in our society that it does is probably debatable. That it, in fact, does hold a revered position is not a contestable point. No other aspect of society, other than business, has an entire section of every major newspaper dedicated to it. No other events stir the emotions like the traditional rivalries that occur on all levels of sport. Even for the crowds, the socialization process occurring during athletic events is quantitatively more, and is far more intense, than the average person is exposed to.

In dealing with athletics one needs to examine all the various aspects of the social psychology. The advocates of sport have for years suggested that the positive aspects of camaraderie, common goals, and team identity are carried over into everyday life. In their endeavors to promote their ideas, they, of course, have failed to mention that the negative aspects, such as substance abuse, a win-at-all-costs ethic, and the dehumanizing effects, are also often carried over. Perhaps the infatuation with sport stems from the early Greeks and before. But one thing is certain. The whole world, even the world of academia, appreciates a superior athletic performance. The lives of the top athletes are closely monitored, and they often become national heroes, exemplified by Babe Ruth, Joe Di Maggio, Pele, Nadia Comanici, Tiger Woods, and Michael Phelps, to name only a few. Muhammed Ali became somewhat of an unofficial ambassador for the United States as a result of his career.

The athlete actually goes through each process of social psychology twice, once on an individual basis and once on a team identity basis. Self-inquiry must take place in both individual and team psyches for the end result of a cohesive performance to be successful.

Every study done on the subject of survival in time of stress, particularly war indicates that, by and large, those individuals who have had exposure to athletics stand a much greater chance of making it. The survival rate among those having been involved in athletics during WWII and the Korean War was almost double. If you examine those who have had the drive to really make it in business, most have had a good background in athletics at some level.

So if this is the case – if athletics can contribute so much to the development of a person – why have the Jews been one of the last groups to utilize this vehicle? The health spas are full of people trying to create or recapture that good image of themselves because ultimately they will perform better in all other aspects of their lives fix body group. Studies now indicate that working out is a major means of coping with depression and stress. Athletes in Action is a Christian organization that takes successful athletes and provides positive role models for their children to relate to. Why should they be allowed to corner the market? Don’t we owe it to those who will follow to provide as many tools as possible for success? Certainly, I’m not suggesting that athletics is a panacea for everything, but it is another valuable tool.