Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jewish Surnames Explained

Richard Andree's 1881 map of the Jews of Central Europe

Ashkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some German-speaking Jews took last names as early as the 17th century, but the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Eastern Europe and did not take last names until compelled to do so. The process began in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1787 and ended in Czarist Russia in 1844.
In attempting to build modern nation-states, the authorities insisted that Jews take last names so that they could be taxed, drafted, and educated (in that order of importance). For centuries, Jewish communal leaders were responsible for collecting taxes from the Jewish population on behalf of the government, and in some cases were responsible for filling draft quotas. Education was traditionally an internal Jewish affair.
Until this period, Jewish names generally changed with every generation. For example, if Moses son of Mendel (Moyshe ben Mendel) married Sarah daughter of Rebecca (Sara bat rivka), and they had a boy and named it Samuel (Shmuel), the child would be called Shmuel ben Moyshe. If they had a girl and named her Feygele, she would be called Feygele bas Sora.
Jews distrusted the authorities and resisted the new requirement. Although they were forced to take last names, at first they were used only for official purposes. Among themselves, they kept their traditional names. Over time, Jews accepted the new last names, which were essential as Jews sought to advance within the broader society and as the shtetles were transformed or Jews left them for big cities.
The easiest way for Jews to assume an official last name was to adapt the name they already had, making it permanent. This explains the use of "patronymics" and "matronymics."
PATRONYMICS (son of ...)
In Yiddish or German, "son" would be denoted by "son" or "sohn" or "er." In most Slavic languages, like Polish or Russian, it would be "wich" or "witz."
For example: The son of Mendel took the last name Mendelsohn; the son of Abraham became Abramson or Avromovitch; the son of Menashe became Manishewitz; the son of Itzhak became Itskowitz; the son of Berl took the name Berliner; the son of Kesl took the name Kessler, etc.
MATRONYMICS (daughter of …)
Reflecting the prominence of Jewish women in business, some families made last names out of women's first names: Chaiken — son of Chaikeh; Edelman — husband of Edel; Gittelman — husband of Gitl; Glick or Gluck — may derive from Glickl, a popular woman's name as in the famous "Glickl of Hameln," whose memoirs, written around 1690, are an early example of Yiddish literature.
Gold/Goldman/Gulden may derived from Golda; Malkov from Malke; Perlman — husband of Perl; Rivken — may derive from Rivke; Soronsohn—son of Sarah.
The next most common source of Jewish last names is probably places. Jews used the town or region where they lived, or where their families came from, as their last name. As a result, the Germanic origins of most East European Jews is reflected in their names.
For example, Asch is an acronym for the towns of Aisenshtadt or Altshul orAmshterdam. Other place-based Jewish names include: Auerbach/Orbach; Bacharach; Berger (generic for townsman); Berg(man), meaning from a hilly place; Bayer — from Bavaria; Bamberger; Berliner, Berlinsky — from Berlin; Bloch (foreigner); Brandeis; Breslau; Brodsky; Brody; Danziger; Deutch/Deutscher — German; Dorf(man), meaning villager; Eisenberg; Epstein; Florsheim; Frankel — from the Franconia region of Germany; Frankfurter; Ginsberg; Gordon — from Grodno, Lithuania or from the Russian word gorodin, for townsman; Greenberg; Halperin—from Helbronn, Germany; Hammerstein; Heller — from Halle, Germany; Hollander — not from Holland, but from a town in Lithuania settled by the Dutch; Horowitz, Hurwich, Gurevitch — from Horovice in Bohemia; Koenigsberg; Krakauer — from Cracow, Poland; Landau; Lipsky — from Leipzig, Germany; Litwak — from Lithuania; Minsky — from Minsk, Belarus; Mintz—from Mainz, Germany; Oppenheimer; Ostreicher — from Austria; Pinsky — from Pinsk, Belarus; Posner — from Posen, Germany; Prager — from Prague; Rappoport — from Porto, Italy; Rothenberg — from the town of the red fortress in Germany; Shapiro — from Speyer, Germany; Schlesinger — from Silesia, Germany; Steinberg; Unger — from Hungary; Vilner — from Vilna, Poland/Lithuania; Wallach—from Bloch, derived from the Polish word for foreigner; Warshauer/Warshavsky — from Warsaw; Wiener — from Vienna; Weinberg.
Ackerman — plowman; Baker/Boker — baker; Blecher — tinsmith; Fleisher/Fleishman/Katzoff/Metger — butcher; Cooperman — coppersmith; Drucker — printer; Einstein — mason; Farber — painter/dyer; Feinstein — jeweler; Fisher — fisherman; Forman — driver/teamster; Garber/Gerber — tanner; Glazer/Glass/Sklar — glazier; Goldstein — goldsmith; Graber — engraver; Kastner — cabinetmaker; Kunstler — artist; Kramer — storekeeper; Miller — miller; Nagler — nailmaker; Plotnick — carpenter; Sandler/Shuster — shoemaker; Schmidt/Kovalsky — blacksmith; Shnitzer — carver; Silverstein — jeweler; Spielman — player (musician?); Stein/Steiner/Stone — jeweler; Wasserman — water carrier.
Garfinkel/Garfunkel — diamond dealer; Holzman/Holtz/Waldman — timber dealer; Kaufman — merchant; Rokeach — spice merchant; Salzman — salt merchant; Seid/Seidman—silk merchant; Tabachnik — snuff seller; Tuchman — cloth merchant; Wachsman — wax dealer; Wechsler/Halphan — money changer; Wollman — wool merchant; Zucker/Zuckerman — sugar merchant.
Related to tailoring
Kravitz/Portnoy/Schneider/Snyder — tailor; Nadelman/Nudelman — also tailor, but from "needle"; Sher/Sherman — also tailor, but from "scissors" or "shears"; Presser/Pressman — clothing presser; Futterman/Kirshner/Kushner/Peltz — furrier; Weber — weaver.
Aptheker — druggist; Feldsher — surgeon; Bader/Teller — barber.
Related to liquor trade
Bronfman/Brand/Brandler/Brenner — distiller; Braverman/Meltzer — brewer; Kabakoff/Krieger/Vigoda — tavern keeper; Geffen — wine merchant; Wine/Weinglass — wine merchant; Weiner — wine maker.
Altshul/Althshuler — associated with the old synagogue in Prague; Cantor/Kazan/Singer/Spivack — cantor or song leader in shul; Feder/Federman/Schreiber — scribe; Haver — from haver (court official); Klausner — rabbi for small congregation; Klopman — calls people to morning prayers by knocking on their window shutters; Lehrer/Malamud/Malmud — teacher; Rabin — rabbi (Rabinowitz—son of rabbi); London — scholar, from the Hebrew lamden(misunderstood by immigration inspectors); Reznick — ritual slaughterer; Richter — judge; Sandek — godfather; Schechter/Schachter/Shuchter etc. — ritual slaughterer from Hebrew schochet; Shofer/Sofer/Schaeffer — scribe; Shulman/Skolnick — sexton; Spector — inspector or supervisor of schools.
Alter/Alterman — old; Dreyfus—three legged, perhaps referring to someone who walked with a cane; Erlich — honest; Frum — devout ; Gottleib — God lover, perhaps referring to someone very devout; Geller/Gelber — yellow, perhaps referring to someone with blond hair; Gross/Grossman — big; Gruber — coarse or vulgar; Feifer/Pfeifer — whistler; Fried/Friedman—happy; Hoch/Hochman/Langer/Langerman — tall; Klein/Kleinman — small; Koenig — king, perhaps someone who was chosen as a “Purim King,” in reality a poor wretch; Krauss — curly, as in curly hair; Kurtz/Kurtzman — short; Reich/Reichman — rich; Reisser — giant; Roth/Rothman — red head; Roth/Rothbard — red beard; Shein/Schoen/Schoenman — pretty, handsome; Schwartz/Shwartzman/Charney — black hair or dark complexion; Scharf/Scharfman — sharp, i.e  intelligent; Stark — strong, from the Yiddish shtark ; Springer — lively person, from the Yiddish springen for jump.
These were sometimes foisted on Jews who discarded them as soon as possible, but a few may remain:
Billig — cheap; Gans — goose; Indyk — goose; Grob — rough/crude; Kalb — cow.
It is common among all peoples to take last names from the animal kingdom. Baer/Berman/Beerman/Berkowitz/Beronson — bear; Adler — eagle (may derive from reference to an eagle in Psalm 103:5); Einhorn — unicorn; Falk/Sokol/Sokolovksy — falcon; Fink — finch; Fuchs/Liss — fox; Gelfand/Helfand — camel (technically means elephant but was used for camel too); Hecht—pike; Hirschhorn — deer antlers; Karp — carp; Loeb — lion; Ochs— ox; Strauss — ostrich (or bouquet of flowers); Wachtel — quail.
Some Jews either held on to or adopted traditional Jewish names from the Bible and Talmud. The big two are Cohen (Cohn, Kohn, Kahan, Kahn, Kaplan) and Levi (Levy, Levine, Levinsky, Levitan, Levenson, Levitt, Lewin, Lewinsky, Lewinson). Others include: Aaron — Aronson, Aronoff; Asher; Benjamin; David — Davis, Davies; Ephraim — Fishl; Emanuel — Mendel; Isaac — Isaacs, Isaacson/Eisner; Jacob — Jacobs, Jacobson, Jacoby; Judah — Idelsohn, Udell,Yudelson; Mayer/Meyer; Menachem — Mann, Mendel; Reuben — Rubin; Samuel — Samuels, Zangwill; Simon — Schimmel; Solomon — Zalman.
Names based on Hebrew acronyms include: Baron — bar aron (son of Aaron); Beck —bene kedoshim (descendant of martyrs); Getz — gabbai tsedek (righteous synagogue official); Katz — kohen tsedek (righteous priest); Metz — moreh tsedek (teacher of righteousness); Sachs, Saks — zera kodesh shemo (his name descends from martyrs); Segal — sgan levia (second-rank Levite).
Lieb means "lion" in Yiddish. It is the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Liebowitz, Lefkowitz, Lebush, and Leon. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for lion — aryeh. The lion was the symbol of the tribe of Judah.
Hirsch means "deer" or "stag" in Yiddish. It is the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Hirschfeld, Hirschbein/Hershkowitz (son of Hirsch), Hertz/Herzl, Cerf, Hart, and Hartman. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for gazelle: tsvi. The gazelle was the symbol of the tribe of Naphtali.
Taub means "dove" in Yiddish. It is the root of the Ashkenazic last name Tauber. The symbol of the dove is associated with the prophet Jonah.
Wolf is the root of the Ashkenazic last names Wolfson, Wouk, and Volkovich. The wolf was the symbol of the tribe of Benjamin.
Eckstein — Yiddish for cornerstone, derived from Psalm 118:22.
Good(man) — Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for "good": tuviah.
Margolin — Hebrew for "pearl."
When Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were required to assume last names, some chose the nicest ones they could think of and may have been charged a registration fee by the authorities. According to the YIVO Encyclopedia, "The resulting names often are associated with nature and beauty. It is very plausible that the choices were influenced by the general romantic tendencies of German culture at that time." These names include: Applebaum — apple tree; Birnbaum — pear tree; Buchsbaum — box tree; Kestenbaum — chestnut tree; Kirshenbaum — cherry tree; Mandelbaum — almond tree; Nussbaum — nut tree; Tannenbaum — fir tree; Teitelbaum — palm tree.
Other names, chosen or purchased, were combinations with these roots:Blumen (flower), Fein (fine), Gold, Green, Lowen (lion), Rosen (rose), Schoen/Schein (pretty) — combined with berg (hill or mountain), thal (valley), bloom (flower), zweig (wreath), blatt (leaf), vald or wald (woods), feld (field).
Miscellaneous other names included Diamond; Glick/Gluck — luck; Hoffman — hopeful; Fried/Friedman — happiness; Lieber/Lieberman — lover.
Jewish family names from non-Jewish languages included: Sender/Saunders — from Alexander; Kagan — descended from the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people from Central Asia; Kelman/Kalman — from the Greek name Kalonymous, the Greek translation of the Hebrew shem tov (good name), popular among Jews in medieval France and Italy; Marcus/Marx — from Latin, referring to the pagan god Mars.
Finally, there were Jewish names changed or shortened by immigration inspectors or by immigrants themselves (or their descendants) to sound more American, which is why "Sean Ferguson" was a Jew.
Let us close with a ditty:
And this is good old Boston;
The home of the bean and the cod.
Where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots;
And the Cabots speak Yiddish, by God!
A version of this post originally appeared on Jewish Currents.
Bennett Muraskin is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents magazine and author of The Association of Jewish Libraries Guide to Yiddish Short Stories and Let Justice Well Up Like Water: Progressive Jews from Hillel to Helen Suzman, among other books.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

The best places in the world to be a rich foreigner

October 22 
This year's iteration of HSBC's annual ranking of the best places to live as an expat, published Wednesday, ranked 34 countries on a host of indicators, such as salaries earned, the expat's quality of life and an expat family's ability to raise kids abroad. The full rankings are in this chart below. Switzerland tops the list overall, with Egypt coming last.

The bank surveyed 9,288 expats in over 100 countries, but only presented findings for countries where there were more than 100 respondents.

Switzerland topped the rankings, as it had done the year before. Over a quarter of the expats HSBC polled earned more than $200,000 annually, but also maintained a better work-life balance than in their home countries. Switzerland's beautiful scenery and lack of air pollution is a plus, with vast majorities of expat parents there saying their children lived safer and better lives than in their previous home, according to HSBC's press release.

Perhaps more interesting is the growing draw of Asia for the expats surveyed, with its booming economies presenting lands of opportunity for expats from all over the world. "Asia emerges from this year’s survey as the best region for financial wellbeing, with nearly one fifth (19%) of expats earning over USD200,000 p.a. and 65% saying they have more disposable income since relocating," says HSBC.

The rankings look rather different when you separate the findings by category. Asian countries may account for terrific remuneration, but not necessarily the greatest living experience. You'll note China is not in the top 10 countries for raising children. Many expatriates, particularly those living in Beijing, the smog-clogged Chinese capital, fear the long-term effects of the country's air pollution on their kids.

Explore HSBC's data in full through an interactive that rearranges the rankings on the basis of various criteria that you can sort and toggle, ranging from an expat's ability to assimilate to a local culture to his or her satisfaction with the country's economy. The report is connected to HSBC Expat, which provides off-shore financial services to clients.
This likely influenced the profile of the expats surveyed for the study. The scores for China and the U.S. probably don't take into account American immigrant diasporas, nor the hardships faced by a growing community of petty merchants from Africa and other parts of Asia trying to eke a living in China.

In HSBC's survey of global high-rollers, the expats in the U.S. do applaud their host country for one thing -- its education. More than three quarters of expat parents in the U.S. state educate their children. The global average in the HSBC survey was only 37 percent.
Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.

Veer & Zara

Indians are more brave in addressing the "Partition" dilemma..
The outstanding economic, demographic and cultural weights of Delhi had no match to the Islamabad's.. Certainly; the religious pros an cons among both had draw the visions, capacities and solutions..
I personally believe that the "Partition" was a political plot; which "Jinnah" was unable to properly seed or grow.. On Parallel; "Gandhi" did not object; acknowledging how religion would be a time bomb.. They both had believed that the only defuse is partitioning the parties..


Monday, October 20, 2014

Flames of War

I had spend an hour watching the latest film produced by ISIS; Flames of War; which is banned from public airing.. Thanks to Clarion Project - Addressing Islamic Extremism for sharing..

 I can concluded three issues for the thoughtful to consider:
1. Martyrdom is unprecedented weapon in modern warfare, apart from Japanese and Vietnamese heroic acts, which uneasy to deter but Nukes or Withdraw..

2. Media contents have to change to confront these enchanted enthusiastic guys, by deploying new Arabic anchors, facilitating new Muslim task-forces, and play the same but reversed tunes..

3. Despite how problematic the development of a united political will; yet it is conceivable by reduction of political agendas; then the Arabic Muslim civic societies will provide truly effective actions..

I do not address roots of ISIS, yet understand lessons of both Taliban and Tahrik, which speak about conspiracy and frustration..
May Allah swt forgive and accept all souls that were lost in vain..
May Allah swt help Muslims to pass such hard exam..!!

I called them 'Enchanted Enthusiastic".. They have a mixed concepts which act alike the Marijuana that was given to ancient Chinese or Inca soldiers to keep fighting the Phantoms of Evils..!
They sincerely enjoy "Killing" others, while chanting "Allahu Akabr"..

We have now 50,000 Serial Killers.. what to do with them?

Eliminating the evilly-controlled-ones is an essential Islamic Code; which applies to killers, pirates, mercenaries, bandits and gangsters; who generally, unjustifiably and unlawfully murder others.. This Islamic capital punishment means eliminating chronic and uncured symptoms, which deforms the person away from any human attributes.. Because these guys are Muslims, they are lawfully subject to Islamic Penal Code..

Yes, root-causes should be addressed, yet, we should not exaggerate the weight of such sociopolitical stresses, psychic illnesses or defective guidance because a Muslim should be merciful in executions, humble in victories and banned from killing another Muslim.. On parallel, what I called "reverse Tunes" would practically means restrictions on extreme preachers, new vocabularies for media and education, and political well to change which is hindered by unfit leaderships..

I disagree to call them "Crusaders" as those Christian Worriers had a religious cause to free "Holy Properties" from colonial others; while ISIS want to enforce new codes that are disagreeable among Muslim Clerics such as Khilafate, Expiation, Confiscation and Mutinies.. Crusaders had lawful and sovereign authorities to follow, ISIS are not..

I can see the road forward is:

1. Quickly yet lawfully sentencing ISIS members in absentia at Shariah Court of Makkah, then to be endorsed by all courts across Muslim world..

2. Shame and Fame all radical preachers, in order to ban them from public activities, with the persecution support of Muslim "Think Tanks"..

3. Introduce a "Charter of Public Ethics" among all Muslim media businesses, to be ruled by "Public Interest Courts"..

4. Political will.........!!

This is the only structural process to eliminate existing and future evil-claims in the name of Islam.. Compiling both religious and judiciary authorities in one plate..
They came for Shariah; so Shariah would persecute them..
They claim Khilafate, then Makkah will denounce them..
These are the only sovereign, the Common-Muslims will listen to..

Yet; will never happens, because all Muslim lack the unified will..!!


Global Hunger Index

I have a sketchy idea that "Hunger" is a "Moral" decline.. not a "Resources" or a "Distribution" one..
Do you share that?

Macro Economics are political, while Micro Economics are social.. Geopolitics is often immoral, while Sociopolitics are..
The meant paradox aims to transform Politics into a moral perspective, while elevate the Politics of social practices..

Disposal of crops' surplus is macro/political; while wasted tomato in festival is micro/social..
I can live with La-Tomatina, Oktobarfest, Cité des Citrons, or Adha's waste meat; but I agree on need to denounce the dumping of surpluses, the use crops for alcohol manufacturing, improper processing of sacrifice meat, as well as the electricity consumption to watch extravaganza's and late TV shows..!!

Macro/political economies do not care for interests of various groups, but for generating an equilibrium between resources and supplies.. Nations which dump surplus in a way or another, are not short of supplies.. But nations of true hunger are.. The rich ones should "morally" provide the surplus for the ones in short.. This would introduce a new (morality) factor to the markets; which would disturb the stable equilibrium of "Greed and Control".. which no one dares to; despite the implicit conviction of invalidity..!

Till decades ago, who had a successful business would upgrade the quality of his business, outlet and household.. There were no concepts of "Branching" or "Expansion" as principles of business management were very simple: You have to Manage your own Biz..!!

Then , post WWII; it was the breakthrough concept;: "If You Don't Grow; You Would Decline"; supported by MBAs and Biz Leaders.. Then we continue to hear about "Expansions" phenomenon till date..

Factually; Greed had ridden Expansions.. Fueling the great evolving supply chains.. This is the fact of today's biz world.. It is hard to reverse the history of biz evolution or seduction of multiple profits..

Agreed; that "Transformation" is eventually and inevitably coming, understandably slow.. but on what cost.. Current hardships will continue to ignite increasing unrests..

Retirement Options

I do not believe in retirement as an unproductive phase of living, but I would like it as a commitment free productive one..

Retirees can contribute a lot to the public life and people around.. They can offer without stresses of earning living (at least not for a long shopping lists).. Thus, their products are usually aesthetic, perfectionist and innovative..
This is the type of retirement I'm looking for..
Yet, the biggest question is: Where??


Dances of the Planets

The planets in the heavens move in exquisite orbital patterns, dancing to the Music of the Cosmos.  There is more mathematical and geometric harmony than we realize.   The idea for this article is from a book Larry Pesavento shared with me.  The book, 'A Little Book of Coincidence' by John Martineau, illustrates the orbital patterns and several of their geometrical relationships.  .
Take the orbits of any two planets and draw a line between the two planet positions every few days.  Because the inner planet orbits faster than the outer planet, interesting patterns evolve.  Each planetary pairing has its own unique dance rhythm.  For example, the Earth-Venus dance returns to the original starting position after eight Earth years.  Eight Earth years equals thirteen Venus years.  Note that 8 and 13 are members of the Fibonacci number series.
  • Earth:     8 years * 365.256 days/year  =  2,922.05 days                   
  • Venus:  13 years * 224.701 days/year  =  2,921.11 days (ie. 99.9%)
Watching the Earth-Venus dance for eight years creates this beautiful five-petal flower with the Sun at the center.  (5 is another Fibonacci number.)


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Somewhere Peaceful

سودان الاستدامة

السودان تم اختزاله في الخرطوم المدينة ، وقد شمل هذا غالب "متعهدي" السياسة والعلم والفن ، ولعل هذا شأن كافة البلدان المتعثرة في النمو والتنمية ، حيث تتدهور الأقاليم والأمصار لصالح معقل الدرهم والقلم والدولار ، ألا وهي العواصم التي تنوء بالعشوائيات والإمتدادات العفوية التي تسمى زوراً وبهتاناً بالخطط والبرامج الاسكانية ، ولا يوجد من يستحي معرفياً ليسميها مدناً ويناديها حضر .. الأزمة كما يبدو جلياً لم تختزل وتنحسر لتكن في فرقة حاكمة وأخر تتنافس معها على حاضر ومستقبل الأمة ، ولكنها تتمدد وتتضخم لتشمل الكافة ممن تجذبهم الجرائد الصفراء والمقالات الحمراء والأحلام الخضراء ..

في الأحواش والبرندات تتكرر الونسات اليومية حول كل شئ من الأبرة للصاروخ ، دونما وازع عقلاني لإدراك أننا لا نصنع إبرة ولا صاروخ ، وأن منتجاتنا الاستهلاكية القليلة تمثل إرث شاذ في واقع ريفي رعوي برغم الأبنية والطرق وقاعات الحفلات .. هكذا لم يكن يسخر من دعى ذات يوم إلى بيع البلد واقتسام الثمن ، أو من تمنى عودة المستعمر ، أو من إغترب زوجها ورفضت العودة ، أو من هاجر إلى عوالم الأنوار وتعافى من طقوس التمني والونسة والأسفار (مثل العبدلله) ..

الأمر برمته يرفع التساؤل حول الوعي الحق والجهد الحق ، ففي العشوائيات والهوامش سقطت مصداقية الكلمات والأفكار ، فهى مطلقاً لم تداوي مريضاً أو تطعم جائعاً أو تستر عارياً ، وبرغم أكاذيب التميز والتفوق (قراءةً وسياسةً ودراسةً وخدمة مدنية) ، فلم يتوقف أحدهم لكي يستوعب أن الحضارة لا تموت ، وإن ماتت فهي لم تحيا مطلقاً .. هكذا نتفاخر بمدعي مهدية ، ونتداول تفاسير من شكك في أصول الدين ، ونتسابق لمتابعة تصريحات من أدمنوا الأكاذيب ، ونتساءل عن موطن الحكام الذين شاركونا اللعب في الحارات ..

أليس في الأمر مدعاة للحزن والدهشة ممزوجان بالحسرة ؟ لذا ، لست من يقبر وعيه في شعارات الثورة والفورة ، فليس لدينا جبابرة أو أساطير بشرية بل إناس عاديين وكثر منهم أقل مما قد نتمنى .. ولكن أدعو لدعم الشباب الذين يجمعون القروش القليلة لشراء دواء لمريض أو طعام لجائع أو ملابس لعاري .. توقفوا عن الدعوات البراقة المثيرة والمزركشة ، ودعونا نقف على أرض الواقع الفعلي .. فلنتوقف عن إدمان القراءاة والكتابة والخطابة قليلاً ، ولندعو لدعم الجمعيات الطوعية ، ففي ثناياها المستقبل الحق والمستدام للوطن .. وبرغم التضارب فيها ، فقد تقدم يد عون حقيقي لمواطن واحد فقط
خلال العقدين الأخيرين ، قد بذل المتنورون من أجيال الكثرة وأكس وواي ، الكثير من الجهد من أجل بذر وقيادة التغيير ، وقد أثمرت الجهود في تلك المشاهد التاريخية التي عمت الكثير من البلدان في عام 2011 ، وقد أطلق بعض الخبثاء على النسخ العربية منها مسمى: الربيع العربي .. ومما يثير الشجن أن أيٍ من تلك المشاهد لم تثمر تمراً ولا نبقاً بل تردي متفاوت الدرجات ، مما جعل الخجل يلف الغالب من الكتاب لتداول أحداثها بالنقد والتشريح ، لقد كان الجميع تواقاً ومتوقعاً للتغيير أكثر من استعداده لمجابهة أخطار القرار الخاطئ أو الفهم الخاطئ ، وهذا إدمان عربي متأصل ..

ولعل البلد الأوحد الذي أثمر خيراً على أبناؤه كان المينيمار ، وبالطبع فإن هذا الأسم ثقيل على آذان مدعي الثقافة والفهم من متحدثي لغة الضاد لكي يتابعوا أخباره ..

هكذا سقطت دعاوي التغيير حيث أعطاها الجيل الشاب آذاناً صماء .. هؤلاء الصبية والفتيات (بحكم كوننا أقرب للكهولة) هم أكثر ذكاء وملاحظة ، وبكم وقتهم الضائع على الأجهزة الذكية بكم نفورهم من خبراتنا القائمة على الشعارات والتواريخ والأحلام .. هم يدركون أننا نتحدث عن وطن قليلة هي الدماء التي أريقت له ، وأننا نتفاخر بتواريخ ليست لها استدامة ، ونداوم على طقوس لم يعد لها محل من الاعراب .. لقد اختلفت الأولويات والمعاني والأفكار في عالم اليوم .. لا يهم أن يكون براك أوباما أبيض أم أسود ، مسلم أم مسيحي ، رجل أم امرأة ، ديموقراطي أم ديكتاتور ، اشتراكي أم ليبرالي ، صريح أم مثلي الجنس .. ما يهم هو اللغة البسيطة والبلاك بيري وفنتازيا الروك ستار .. ما يهم هو منطقه البسيط حول الرعاية الطبية وفرص العمل وتقنين المهاجرين وتطوير المدارس والتوقف عن الحروب الخارجية ، ولعل هناك من يقول بأنها الاهتمامات المحلية الامريكية ، ولكنني أقول أنها الاهتمامات الشبابية العالمية .. بإمكانكم القراءة مجدداً ، والقول بأنها غير عمومية وغير عالمية ، إن وجدتم الدليل

السودان ليس مختلف عن الآخرين ، وشبابه لا يبحث عن دماء تراق في الشوارع ، أو إدمان المجابهة مع عناصر الأمن ، بل عن فعل يكون ليبقى ، دون المقولات المتكررة حول الوطن والفداء والثورة .. ولعل التغيير الحقيقي هو تغيير الخطاب الذي تتسلط عليه أجيال الكهولة ممن قد أدمنوا الصراع ، ومعذرة
Baby-Boomers, X & Y
بالفعل ، لعل عبقرية القاهرة في أن سائر ما يحدث فيها ينتقل ولو بعد حين إلى سائر أصقاع العرب ، وهذه حقيقة تاريخية جغرافية ديموجرافية لا تحتمل الجدل ، وكما كان يجتمع العرب للاستماع إلى عبد الناصر أو أم كلثوم ، بكم ما يستمعون الآن إلى الفوضي العارمة والتشكيك الشامل في مصر القاهرة .. أأمل ألا تنتقل مجدداً أمواج القاهرة إلى الآخرين .. فهل تتوقف الفيزياء الطبيعية عن العمل؟

My Dear 40+ Professional Single Friend..

My Dear One..
You had been a bright addition to my existence.. We had shared the sweetness of honesty, innocence and goodness.. Together, we had assembled a new meaning of closeness and individuality.. Together we had defeated the taboos and the defective norms.. We had proven been Humans..

It breaks my heart observing the wonderful years slip away.. It is cordially known that we had never been meant to live alone.. Please, do not draw your coming years with loneliness.. Do not waste your amazing energy in vain.. Do not value the defective fantasies once more..

Go.. Go my beloved one: Seek yourself a lover; or someone to love.. Someone who can respect, protect and connect.. Tear off these unspoken and invisible barriers around your majestic being.. Enable and welcome the good ones.. There is no time for fairy tales or wishful thinking anymore..

Do not seek perfection or matchmaking.. Your distant one is somewhere around.. Yet, he is so busy hunting for living; this is how always the men are.. Spot, catch and grab that vainglorious one; who has potentials.. It is the legacy battle of survival.. Do not waste the time arguing..

The world is not safe, easy or friendly any more.. The glorious feminism is about being a shelter for your soul mate.. Being a comfort for your exhausted partner.. Being a treasure for your shattered spouse.. Do not stop giving.. Giving is a blessing that you should enjoy not question..

Blessed Hunting..!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Muslim Families Look After Kolkata Synagogues

The Jews in Kolkata came from Baghdad about 220 years ago [Priyanka Borpujari/Al Jazeera]

Kolkata, India - Generations of Muslim families have been taking care of the maintenance of three synagogues in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.

The city's Jewish population has dwindled over the decades to just about 20 as compared to 3,000 at its peak before the country became independent from British rule in 1947.
Khalil Khan, 71, has been working as caretaker of Beth El synagogue, one of the city's three synagogues, for the past 55 years. His two sons - Anwar and Siraj - have chosen the same job.
"It takes a week to clean the entire structure, its furniture and artifacts. By Friday afternoon, the work has to be complete," said Rabbul Khan, whose father and two uncles have also previously worked at the Maghen David synagogue.

"This is necessary for the namaaz [prayers] that they perform on Saturdays," he told Al Jazeera.
However, there are no regular services conducted on Saturdays nowadays: only one person from the Jewish community visits each of the synagogues on Friday evenings - to light a candle.
Naseer Sheikh landed the job 56 years ago after his uncle left for his native village in neighbouring Odisha state, where all the caretakers come from. He is 80 years old and is still working, and is joined by his son Osim.
While Siraj, his father Khalil and Osim are entrusted with the work of cleaning and maintaining the synagogue, Naseer's job is to collect the rent from about 100 shops in the vicinity, since the property still belongs to the Jewish community.

Kolkata's Jewish heritage
Several large and landmark buildings, including the city's synagogues, tell the story of Kolkata's Jewish heritage. According to Jael Silliman, a Jewish resident of Kolkata who has put together a digital archive of the Jewish community in the city, the Maghen David synagogue is one of the largest in Asia.

The wars are taking place in other countries. If the Jews had any issues with our religion, they wouldn't have hired us. Religion has its own place, while we have ours. This is something that we never think of. The Jews respect us and we respect them
Rabbul Khan, Synagogue caretaker
Beth El, Neveh Shalome and Maghen David synagogues are each taken care of by four men whose forefathers have also had the job.

They have been provided quarters in the synagogue compound, and are expected to stay alert at all hours. Although the men have no illusions of themselves other than being the employees of the Jewish community, they feel that the reverence between them and the members of the Jewish community is mutual.

The recent bombarding of the Gaza Strip by Israel did not quite affect their religious sentiment or their relationship with the synagogue.

"The wars are taking place in other countries. If the Jews had any issues with our religion, they wouldn't have hired us. Religion has its own place, while we have ours. This is something that we never think of. The Jews respect us and we respect them," Rabbul said.

"The Quran, the Torah and the Bible have similar origins. How then could we be fighting?" Naseer said, before he walked away to perform his namaaz under the shed in the synagogue's compound.
Noor Singh, the lone Hindu caretaker, spoke about the synagogue's role in his life. "My father raised me by working here, and today I have the same job. It is God's home, and it is my livelihood. I would give my life for this place," he told Al Jazeera.

Communal coexistence
According to Professor Amlan Dasgupta from Jadavpur University, the realities of daily life are very different from the politics being played out, especially in Kolkata, which has always welcomed immigrants.

The city, he said, "is a product of the resulting multiethnicity and multiculturalism".
"Communal coexistence has been common across India and hence we don't think of it as important. Yet, there is also a problem in becoming conscious about it," Dasgupta told Al Jazeera. His students collaborated in the creation of the digital archive.

According to Silliman, the Jews and Muslims have a common history because of their roots in the Middle East.

"In Kolkata, Jewish families hired Muslim cooks because they ate only halal meat. Hindu families would not want to work in Jewish homes because of the meat being cooked. Our music, food habits are also very similar and people tend to forget that the Arab world is the seat of the Jewish community. Even the early immigrants looked like present-day Arabs, before they began to reflect a Judeo-British identity," she said.

It is no wonder then that the Jewish Girls' School's students are mostly Muslim.
According to Silliman, the area around the Jewish Girls' School, in its original location on Pollock Street, was where the affluent Jews once lived.

Today, the only remnant of a Jewish heritage in the school is the "Star of David" on the school uniforms, and having holidays on three Jewish festival days.
The Jews in Kolkata came from Baghdad about 220 years ago, and established themselves as successful businessmen. They were also major exporters of opium.

The Beth El synagogue was built in 1856 on Pollock Street to meet the needs of, at the time, a rapidly expanding community. Its construction was funded by two of the wealthiest men in the community - Ezekiel Judah and David Joseph Ezra.

Meagre salary
In the 1940s, Kolkata's Jews began to leave because of the violence preceding the partition of the country into India and Pakistan. Fearing the loss of their businesses as India began to nationalise its banks after independence, they emigrated to western countries in large numbers. Today, there are just about 20 Jews left in Kolkata - the oldest resident died last month at the age of 97.

The caretakers of Maghen David synagogue (left to right) Gufran Sheikh, Noor Singh, Rabbul Khan and Anwar Khan [Priyanka Borpujari/ Al Jazeera]
A religious service was performed at the Maghen David synagogue last September, the first in 25 years, when a rabbi visited from the capital, New Delhi.
The six-member Jewish board manages the synagogues, as well as the affairs of the remaining Jewish sites in the city - several properties, a school each for girls and boys, and a cemetery.

Khalil started the job at a monthly wage of Rs 50 ($0.82). "Back then, we would also receive a good bonus, but we don't have that anymore today," he said. Today, Naseer and Khalil are paid a monthly salary of Rs 7,500 ($123) while the younger men are paid Rs 7,000 ($114). They also earn tips in winter when the tourist season peaks.

All of the men employed at the synagogues reside alone and visit their families every three to four months. With their meagre salary, they said that it would not be possible to make ends meet if they were to bring their families to live with them in Kolkata.

Dasgupta said that it is evident that the sense of trust and security that they share with the Jewish community is stronger than the pursuit for better opportunity outside.
Siraj and Osim each have a son and a daughter, and both are clear about not pushing their sons into the same job. Osim's son is studying in a school in his native village, while Siraj's 18-year-old son is already working at a hotel in the southern city of Chennai.

"We work here and keep it clean, as we would have done with our mosque. But boys in this generation won't be interested in such work. We are educating them and they would like to take up better jobs," Siraj told Al Jazeera.
Follow Priyanka Borpujari on Twitter: @pri_borpujari

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Malala & Education

Certainly; Malala Yousafzai (1997) did not write her own thoughtful speeches nor organized her own global campaigns.. Her dad, the owner of “For-Profit” School chain is incapable either, nor her “in-house traditionally-hostage” mother.. In Today’s world; it is a norm that any celebrity in any field will find fundraisers, promoters, organizers, bodyguards and researchers to help and enable the (any) person to excel and grow as a “Rock-Star”.. It becomes a multibillion business across the world..
I’m not a fan of Malala story, because it is too much mature (and complex) for her young age.. Therefore, it is never meant for her generation or for the youngsters, but for business leaders and politicians to “showcase” the mightiness of new corporate mindset of innovation, and “bully” the outdated ideological and radical groups to lower their (resilient) arms.. Apparently, we all have to surrender to the powers of our man-made evils and antichrists.. None of the today’s (amazingly brilliant and digital) school pupils will accept her martyrdom for humanity, yet they will have to “sink” in the overwhelming media circus..
Thankfully; Malala did not speak on behalf of Islam or Muslim; as her case was “plotted” to be global and Westernized..
The “Education” is currently one of the most lucrative business and enterprise.. The global education market will size of US$6.3tr in 2017.. Within this, educational technology and English language teaching are predicted to be the fastest growing markets.. It is estimated at the trinity level to incubate more than 1,574 million pupils by 2015, with 10% in “For-Profit” schools world-wide..
If a proprietary school's offerings were truly valuable; if they filled some niche that traditional public and private non-profit educational institutions did not; then surely 10% of their students would be willing to pay completely out-of-pocket (A 90-10 Rule)..
Ironically, the underdeveloped countries, whereas public education (with average of 2% of GDP) sucks and sinks below the standards; have more “profitable” education than others.. There are a growing "socio-politically ambitious" Middle Class, who allow for 20% of their earnings for kids schooling and education..