Friday, February 16, 2007

Shabbat Shalom 28 Shvat 5767

Who Stole My Kids Boots?

Valentines Days was perfectly planned in my family. My wife was taken out by the three main men in her life. After picking her up at work with greetings of candy and cards, we proceeded to Chuckie Cheese for family fun. When arriving my oldest took off his boots and placed them in the designated area. After an afternoon of games and rides, it was time to take mommy out for dinner. But wait, we can't leave, someone took my sons boots. That's right, somebody was low enough to steal the boots of a 3 year old child.

My wife and I searched high and low, just in case they may have been kicked or moved by someone, but no luck. These boots were gone forever. The day before Chicago was hit by a blizzard, so the ground was covered in snow and temperatures might have reached the teens. Knowing full well a child may have to walk in socks in these conditions, someone still didn't care and stole the boots.

My wife and I hold on to the hope that maybe it was a desperate parent, who couldn't buy boots for their child. I can understand how the love of a parent in dire straits could do something so shameless. However, if that was the case, why would they be at Chuckie Cheese?

Everything turned out fine. I pulled the van up and we carried our son to the car. We drove around the corner and bought a pair of new boots at Payless Shoes. Afterwards we continued on with our day and went out for dinner. Happy Valentines Day!

The Sacrifice in Iraq and its Betrayal

America is undoubtedly divided over the war in Iraq. Divided is probably not the right word since most Americans believe the war was a mistake and the real division is whether or not we should just leave now, set a time table or fight it out until victory is achieved. Regardless of my personal beliefs, Dr. Abraham Miller has written a fantastic article on why we should leave. It is nothing you have heard before. Click the highlighted link above and read a brilliant point of view.

Last Dance: Not by Donna Summer

For 81 years Chief Illiniwek has graced the sidelines and halftime shows of football and basketball games at the University of Illinois. After about two decades of public controversy, this upcoming Wednesday will be the last performance of the American Indian mascot.

The university board of trustees have sided with the anti-Illinwek movement and will ban the chief from future school events. The controversy is very simple. Is it it offensive toward American Indians to have a man dressed in Native American clothing dance and entertain the crowd at sporting events? The NCAA believes so and banned the university from hosting post-season events until the mascot is retired.

Is the Mascot offensive? I don't know. I am not a Native American and therefore can't say if Chief Illinwek is offensive. During my days at Indiana University, I wrote a column in the school newspaper in which I discussed how honored I would be if a school nickname or Mascot was the "Fighting Jews." Similar to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, the idea that an educational institution of higher learning would desire to use a nickname referencing my heritage, would be an honor. Obviously the mascot would have to be a positive image.

The question that should be asked is, how do Native Americans feel? Self-described Native American leaders are of course on the forefront of this controversy. However, one poll taken in 2002 showed that 81% disagreed with the suggestion that schools should stop using Native American mascots. That is a very overwhelming statistic and a strong suggestion that Native Americans are proud of the mascots that are honored by educational institutions and sports teams. The decision isn't mine, but maybe the Chief should stay?



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