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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How A Skewed Taglit-Birthright Study Endangers Both the Jewish Community At Large And Will Taglit-Birthright's Reputation

I see plenty of issues with this study:

1) "Saxe and research associates Michelle Shain and Shahar Hecht collected data from August 6-11 via an online questionnaire, which included versions of the Pew survey questions. It was sent to eligible US Birthright Israel-Taglit candidates who had applied for a trip between summer 2011 and winter 2013/14."

There is no real "control" group. There are only Birthright applicants.

2) "Encouraged through an an opportunity to win one of two $100 gift cards, 1,756 young Jewish adults filled out the survey. The respondents included 1,122 who actually did go to Israel on a Birthright trip, and 634 nonparticipants."

The one group that there was, was pooled and divided unevenly. There should've been a total of either:

  1.  878 Birthright travelers and 878 non travelers (still 1,756 people total, and and bringing in a control subgroup of 878 people—because, again, there was no control group; and a control group within a group does not count as a separate control group), or 
  2. 1,122 travelers and 1,122 non travelers (keeping the 1,122 travelers who filled out the survey and bringing in a control subgroup). 

Either way, the surveyed ("treatment")-to-control group ratio is completely absent, let alone lacking.

3) "For the study, the Birthright applicants’ results were compared to a recent Pew survey and a Gallup poll, both of which were completed at the end of July."

The same problem regarding the subject pool and control groups is here, and data collection is also a problem here. Data from June 21, 2011-December 21, 2013 is older and more plentiful than data from July 2014, for example. Thus, there is no adequate amount of recency and amount of data to compare. In other words, the study would have been less skewed if both sets of data were from June 21, 2011-December 21, 2013; June 21, 2011-July 31, 2014; or July 31, 2014.

4) "Saxe feels the young Jews polled are a representative cross-section of young American Jews for several reasons. Primarily, bluntly, “because Birthright is free — and fun,” said Saxe, meaning the trip doesn’t only draw those who think it’s worth spending money on  a trip to Israel."

Any "representative cross-section of young American Jews" would include Messianic Jews (who are banned from applying to [and even specifically targeted for persecution by] Taglit) and others who Taglit bans .

In fact, the specific wording is in part:

"Eligible individuals are those who identify as Jewish and are recognized as such by their local community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism. Applicants must also have at least one Jewish birth parent, or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination. 

"*Those applying for trips leaving from the Former Soviet Union are eligible if they have at least one Jewish birth grandparent. The accuracy of information pertaining to the heritage of an applicant for a trip leaving from the Former Soviet Union is also verified by a local Consul before an applicant is considered eligible."

This on an international level alone would single out Karaites (who Rabbinate Judaism often slanders) and many other Jews, including Lemba Jews (who go by Patrilineal Descent and are mostly Messianic— despite that most sources try to separate them from the Jewish community at large because they "are Christian" [as if Christianity is not Jewish], etc..). Therefore, this certainly would not allow for just a "representative cross-section of young American Jews".

5) "Saxe said his team has analyzed the backgrounds of those who responded and the profiling is in context with last year’s massive Pew survey study of American Jews. The years of Jewish education, day school all look just about the same, he said, noting one slight difference — Birthright draws a lower proportion of children from intermarriages."

This skews the study as well. The "cross-section" are mostly Rabbinically-Jewish Rabbinical Jews (with a Rabbincally-Jewish Rabbincal Jew being a Jew who has at least one Matrilineally-Jewish parent "[and/]or have completed Jewish conversion through a recognized Jewish denomination".

([Do not kid yourself; Taglit would not look twice at Jews whose family was raised outside of a Rabbinate shul for two or more generations. In other words, for instance, Isaac Kaganowicz would not be considered a Rabbincally-Jewish Rabbincal Jew if both of his parents were Atheistically-raised Jews who were raising Issac in the same way that their parents raised them.)

"Since Taglit was founded in December 1999, annually some 20-25% of candidates have had no prior involvement in Jewish life, said Saxe. “The great piece of Taglit is that it levels the playing field,” said Saxe."

They do go to shul, though. In fact, I had a peer at UMBC who is an Atheist and whose family goes to a Reform shul. So, the "20-25% of candidates" have either parents and/or grandparents who at least go to shul.

6) "Pew doesn’t consider many of the people who went on Taglit to be Jewish because they don’t call themselves Jewish by religion, rather by parentage. “They might not count themselves as Jews until they go on Birthright,” added Saxe."

The Pew data also skews the study.

In other words, the Taglit study (which is called a "Brandeis University" study) is flawed and both dangerous to the Jewish community at large (who, for example, loses numbers according to Taglit-Pew-Saxe standards) and Taglit Birthright itself (and Taglit Birthright has had trouble in the past).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Confession: I Can Be Self Hating (And/Or Unnecessarily Guilt Tripped), Too

Admittedly, the disgusting part is that I look like a szlachta posing like this. I suppose that if there was a portrait of a szlachta żydowska, I could get away with this (and there apparently were some Morgiewiczes who were szlachty [if they're Morgiewiczes who are related to us, I mean]; and given that they were targeted in the January Uprising, they probably are. If you think that the Russians didn't like Polish and other Non-Russian szlachty [much less Poles and other Non Russians], you can imagine how they treated szlachty żydowscy as well as Yehudim ha'aretz).

That's the only part that I'm honestly not proud of (unless, again, a szlachta żydowska posed like this. Otherwise, I've touched my own nerve here; especially since my family was deliberately falsely connected to the Anti-Semitic Stefan Czarniecki, and the sad part is that we did that in order to conceal that we are Litvak Czernieckis.

(Granted that there were also Philosemitic szlatchy [and szlachty żydowscy]. Still, I feel pretty bad about posing like this, especially if I was bringing to mind Anti Semites like the unfortunately-iconic Stefan Czarniecki. Then again, my OCD/GAD could be bringing on or exacerbating unnecessary guilt about this photo.).

Reply To 20eyesNmyhead

 It helps explain a lot, though. For example, now I know why Great Granddad was so messed up (Being the grandson of a woman whose cousin raped Natalie Wood does not help anything; let me tell you. I am assuming that he did not know about the rape or perhaps even the connection to Kirk Douglas. I will say that he dealt with enough Danilovich craziness on his side every day, and perpetuated it himself when he got older. 

(Incidentally, as grandiose as this sounds and now that I actually found out that Robert Downey, Jr.'s or whoever's accusation does shed light on some of my family issues, I am [and I am sure that the Zakharenko/Wood Family all the moreso is] waiting for Kirk Douglas [who, as I've read and heard, utilizes cyberspace quite proficiently] to learn from his cousins' sides mistakes and transgressions and fess up about his own. In other words, I at least hope that he somehow runs into this blog, is affected to realize his mistakes and trangressions, and asks himself, "How well is it going for that side?", if nothing else.

(While I do acknowledge that we're probably nothing to him, I'm beginning to see the Danilovich Pattern emerge on my, his, and other sides.).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Being A Person With A Disability—And Thus, An Occupational Pariah

I got the following e-mail:

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When I saw said e-mail, I was floored. What; me? What do I know? I can't even get a job yet; and, let alone, I don't have a job. Then I thought about my disability—which is why I can't get a job, and not because I'm not capable, either.

[Of course, I couldn't post what I've said and will say here because I got the error message (as modified to be as close to what it was on the page), "Sorry, there was an error loading the page. Please refresh the page or try again later."

I remembered, for example, the "What Would You Do?" exposé concerning people with deafness and human-resources managers, the time that my applying for a Fox News internship was shot out of the water because I can't drive (and who does want his or her mom driving him or her after a certain age, as this guy—who was not born with a disability—points out among other things that he pointed out? He specifically pointed out that having one's mom be his or her best friend after a certain age is not cool, by the way.).

I also, in having been trying to be a commentator and get some work out there, have been called a "gimp". I'm also the one who, according to my sister, would get backlash for a note regarding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge when I know what having something relatively-somewhat similar is like (and God forbid that, for instance, some peer ever does a "Cerebral Palsy Gait Race" or "Scissor-Leg Race" Challenge, though [sadly] some smart aleck who thinks that having Diplegic Spastia/Mild Quadriplegia is funny and worth a publicity stunt will).

I furthermore note how being "lame", having a "crippled [whatever—e.g., economy]", etc. is perfectly acceptable to note in our culture as well. I even note that popular shows such as Family Guy and celebrities such as George Takei are still celebrated instead of shunned for using people with disabilities as scapegoats, pawns, etc..

Yet, many continue to wonder why people with disabilities can't or won't get jobs. In addition, often the "won't get jobs" group also belong in the "can't get jobs" group—since, after all and for instance, we keep trying to look for jobs to which we can't drive, etc., when we could work from home if our potential employers would help us out a little and/or even pay it in advance ["pay it forward"] a little by helping us get to our jobs. Not all of us, especially people like me with single parents with whom we're still living because we can't drive, can just go out and get a driver's license or a ride any time that we would like to do so. Also, even programs for people with disabilities cost money that we just don't have or don't always want to be borrowing. By the way, don't get me started on how the one in my childhood county works, especially when medical professionals who could be helping the applicants just can't or don't get it (at least initially). 

As for when we can ride to where we need to go, we're quite literally relegated to the back of the bus (at least in my childhood county) unless the bus does include a ramp in the front. Not all of us can walk, if at all, without walkers/carts, crutches, etc. most or all of the time, and that's exactly why the wheelchair lift is in the back (I was born in 1990; believe me, I am not stupid and hatred against people with disabilities has not dissipated to this day.). We are looked at and treated like Blacks in general in the United States used to be, and like Haredi and quite a few other women in Israel, and we know it as well as those who treat us evilly do (despite that they'd like to think that those of us who are able to know it are ignorant of it). 

Therefore, we're treated the same way in even trying to get to job interviews as we are in actually getting to jobs that we can actually secure—lucky if we're treated well, not surprised (or at least we shouldn't be surprised) when we're treated horribly, and amazed at how much and how long we can hold on to anything good. After all, they put us in the back of the bus (if they even take us); how much more so would they like to not even hire us, let alone see and admit that we're capable of doing what jobs that we can do and keep if they would let us actually keep those jobs. Again, after all, we're capable of doing what jobs that we can do, and we usually seek out the kinds of jobs that we can do.

We just, as I've stated, need a little help along the way. Having us work from home or even somehow helping us out in terms of getting to job interviews, for example, wouldn't hurt too many employers who are at least looking to fill their persons-with-disabilities quotas, now would it? The same wouldn't hurt the same group if they are also looking to brag about hiring people with disabilities, now would it? The same also wouldn't hurt the same quota fillers and braggers if they are also looking to brag about general employment diversity, would it?

After all, quite a bit of what employers get out of employees is how much they invest of what they need to invest in their employees. For example, an employer will get the full 10% of what he needs to invest in his workforce if he invests all of that 10%, now won't he? In the same way, the people who want and/or need to hire people and retain employees with disabilities could invest what they need to invest in potential job candidates and retained employees.

I could go on, though I think that I've made my point. In case I haven't, let me sum it up as follows:

  1. People will disabilities are treated as pariahs, whipping boys and girls, etc. in this culture.
  2. Since we are treated as such in this culture, we are treated as such in the overall workforce—which affects and is affected by this culture as much as any other institution does and is.
  3. Since we are treated as such in both the culture at large and in the general workforce, we end up being being unable and, thus, unwilling to look for and keep jobs.
  4. Nonetheless, especially employers who have persons-with-disabilities quotas to fill, and quota filling and diversity about which they would like to brag ought to do what gets them to fill their quotas and honestly brag.
  5. Therefore, the people who want and/or need to hire people and retain employees with disabilities could invest what they need to invest in potential job candidates and retained employees.
  6. After all, employers are supposed to be strategic in hiring and retaining their employees, and thus expand and retain their workforces.

In conclusion, I rest my case (Incidentally, I did want to be a lawyer at one time. On that note, quite a few people who stereotyped me and told me that I could be an advocate for people with disabilities [as if, obviously, I am nothing more than a person who has a disability.]).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To Answer Nazgul's Questions...

1) Yes.

2) Unfortunately, there is evidence; and as I said, it is not surprising, given our family. If Robert Downey, Jr. or whoever claimed to be him would've said nothing about it (besides that Natalie Wood refused to work with Kirk Douglas for "personal reasons"), someone from Kirk's side of the family would eventually have or will (I know how it works, given that quite a few of us on my side eventually piped up about our side's issues, with three of us doing so outrightly. As C.S. Lewis observed, "I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more."). 

If only it did plague his conscience! That's usually not how Daniloviches work, though. They're usually afraid of getting caught. Even when my dad called to say that one of us who spoke up attempted suicide and got the outright statement that I was not surprised, he told me, "I didn't call to get a lecture." 

Also, he balked when I recently mentioned that I found out that his great-granddad Julian (the son of a Daniłowiczówna) had a drinking problem (I was not disparaging his character, as Dad claimed that I was. I even told him that having a drinking problem doesn't make one a bad person, but simply one who struggles with alcoholism.). By the way, yes, Daniloviches are afraid of imperfection and life not fitting with their narratives, too (Even the ones of us who piped up will admit that we're just as afraid to deal with imperfection, etc. After all, that's the attitude that we got passed down to us through, e.g., childhood abuse—i.e., basically, be afraid to admit perfection, etc.).

3) Again, not all Blacks are like this.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A More-Thorough Answer To Questions Which A Fan Asked Me on My Facebook Page

  • "Shalom l'kulam" means "peace for all". You could reply "Shalom l'at[a]" (singular "Peace for you") or "Shalom l'ate[m/n]" (plural, "Peace for you"). 
[The original answer. Since he asked about "Shalom l'kulam" and I wasn't thinking of object forms of Hebrew pronouns, I didn't give correct answers. To be fair, though, my native language is not Hebrew (although it is my ethnic/national language). Also, as I note, I did not know that I am Jewish. 

[I should've answered with the following:

  1. [L'shalom l'lekh.
  2. [L'shalom l'lakh.
  3. [L'shalom l'lakem.
  4. [L'shalom l'laken.
[PS I know that I should use my Rosetta Stone software more. Also, remember that "whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that [not] all of the people in this world [have] had the privileges you've had." (I don't like the original wording by the way, since quite a few people had and have the privilege that Nick Carraway had.)]
  • I myself try not to eat pork, though some Jews (particularly Liberal [more-liberal Masorti/Conservative, Reform/Progressive, Reconstructionist, Alternative, etc.] and secular Non-Messianic Jews) do. 
[I should have mentioned that I've been trying to go more kashrut since I've found out that I'm Jewish and have the classically-Jewish IBS  (By the way, I do not buy that IBS and Chron's are not related. IBS and Chron's, which increases the risk of Colon Cancer, are part of the same system.).

  • As for a bar mitzvah, he is a "son [of the] commandment". A bat mitzvah is a "daughter [of the] commandment". B'nai Mitzvah ("sons [of the] commandment") are found in all denominations (Messianic and Non Messianic); and so are Banot Mitzvah ("daughters [of the] commandment), although only in Messianic and Non-Messianic Liberal denominations do banot mitzvah have teqesim l'b'nai mitzvah (bar- and bat-mitzvah ceremonies). I myself, by the way, did not have a teqes l'bat mitzvah. This is because I did not know that I am Jewish until I was 18 years old.
[By the way, another wrong answer. Non-Liberal denominations do have teqesim l'banot mitzvah nowadays. Nonetheless, teqesim l'b'nai mitzvah are still considered more of teqesim l'yeladim.]

I hope that I answered your questions. Shabbat Shalom.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Please Help...

For all I know, this could be what I'm looking for! My great-granduncle Bernie (Pfc. Bernard S. Czarnecki, WW2) had five nieces: Alexandria "Sandy" Guhanick (now Horoschak), Charmaine Czarnecki (now Cline. Her dad, Joseph, also served.), Gloria Guhanick (now Pushman), Irene Czarnecki (m. Gavrish; d. 1993), and Jane Gladey (a stepniece or an adopted niece who kept the name "Gladey", now).
His sister Alexandria Alice Czarnecki Dombroski (a widow with a son named John, Jr.) took care of him because he was injured in WW2 and DOW in 1963. Their sister Cecelia "Celia" Czarnecki Guhanick died in 1994, and their brothers John (Jane's stepfather), Joseph, and Stanley (Irene's father) died (respectively) in 1995, 1978, and 1995 (Stanley was the last one to die and died shortly after John.).

Forgiveness And Compassion...

Jesus even said to love our enemies. And I have a hard time with that as well, and I nonetheless have a choice: I can either forgive or I can be left unforgiven by God. I can either have compassion or be left without God's compassion.

Even Corrie ten Boom had a hard time with forgiveness [She also mentions this incident in The Hiding Place]:

“Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’
“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course—how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?
“But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.
“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.
“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’
“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.
“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’
“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’
“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

This is not to say, by the way, that I don't think that the Ex Nazi should not have turned himself in to the International Criminal Court or whoever else, since he should have turned himself in if he was fully and/or truly sorry. After all, on a way-lesser and -different level, Achan ben Karmi took the punishment for his own sin. Why, therefore, couldn't the Ex Nazi who had attempted to murder Corrie ten Boom and murdered others take the punishment for his own sin?

In terms of compassion, we have to remember that (for example) not all who speak incorrigibly are being malicious. In terms of Robin Williams' suicide, for example, Rosanne Barr was in denial (She later deleted her denial-filled tweets.), and Shepard Smith and a Facebook friend of mine either do not understand depression and suicidal tendencies or even have experiences with suicides their lives and have opened-up wounds:

"Those who were able to forgive their....enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the...scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that."
Also, again:

 The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.