This month we will discuss:
- My Israeli Friend
- Chesapeake News
My Israeli Friend
“What is that green stuff?” I asked. My friend, Matti, did not know. This was the first time for either of us to eat sushi. “It must be avocado,” I surmised and popped the entire teaspoon or so in my mouth. What followed next was an eruption going off in my body from the neck up and Matti laughing so hard he nearly choked to death. That was my introduction to wasabi paste. Matti and I had many laughs over food. We were in Scotland and wanted to order steaks. This was not too far removed from the Mad Cow disease. Matti, in his broken English, asked, “Are these smart cows?” Matti figured the opposite of a mad cow would be a smart cow and it sounded like a good question. It took us a while to determine what he meant. Since we were in Scotland Matti said, “John, Chesapeake must have haggis while in Scotland. I am Jewish and cannot eat all that junk so you will have to eat haggis for Chesapeake. I recall that haggis is a bunch of sheep parts stuffed into the stomach of a sheep and baked. It is best served if the consumer has had too much scotch and is unable to smell the dish or taste it. Although I have not seen Matti for years, I still consider him a dear friend.
What brought Matti and I together was the Theory of Constraints (TOC), an improvement methodology along the lines of Lean or Six Sigma. The personality around TOC was an Israeli physicist, Eli Goldratt. Many of those associated with TOC were Israeli and part of my learning experience during that time was exposure to their culture and a trip to Israel and other parts of the world I would otherwise not have visited. Matti served in the Israeli Army in the ’73 and ‘82 wars.
Matti and I hit it off and he came to work at Chesapeake for a while. Occasionally he spoke about the unique position of Israel in the Middle East; surrounded by countries that had oil and did not like Israel. The conflict goes back to the days of Ishmael and Isaac. I recall during one of our conversations Matti said to me, “John, you do not understand what we are dealing with. One day you will.” That day was September 11, 2001. I understood.
While in Israel I toured the holocaust museum. As you tour the museum the names of the children murdered in the holocaust are slowly read aloud. As you can imagine, it is an emotional experience.
Taking sides, especially on large issues, is always risky and sometimes, ill advised. When I asked Matti’s permission to use his name he said, “This is our 911.”
I am concerned with recent anti-semitic behavior in our country, especially since much or most of it is on college campuses. I also am concerned that the presidents of these institutions, for the most part, have not been aggressive in their defense of their Jewish students and community. None of us know what it was like in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. But my gut feel is that many people just did not voice an opinion so the bad guys proceeded with little or no resistance.
So, what’s the message of this blog? Perhaps it is to be aware of what is going on around you in your sphere. If something is happening that is scary bad; say something and somehow get involved. Although safe, we must take risk especially when we are standing for something important and against evil. Each of us has different resources available to us and talents to use. I have a book that lists God’s seven priorities:
- Saving the lost.
- Wisdom and guidance for those in authority.
- Caring for the poor and marginalized.
- Unity and love.
- Freedom for those in bondage.
- Accomplishing His purpose in our lives.
Our priorities need to be the same. If our actions are in alignment with our priorities, we will be fine individually and as a people. We need to be on the right side of this issue. And the right side is supporting Israel and our Jewish friends.
- A man can be as truly a saint in a factory as in a monastery and there is as much need o him in the one as in the other. Robert McCracken
- The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words. Proverbs 10:32
- A fool is quick tempered, butace with others in harmony with a wise person stays calm when insulted. Proverbs 12:16
- Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25
- An open and humble heart and a mind that is quick to listen are essential for God’s people to live at peace with others and in harmony with Him.
- One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you are feeling blue is he doesn’t try to find out why.
We have started our once per week podcast. Occasionally we will have a guest and last week Kevin Shobe, the CEO of Your Real Next Step, a charity that focuses on developing kids, was our guest. I think we have an exciting lineup. The goal of these podcasts is to play a role in uniting our communities through education.