Deerfield little league ‘stars’ shine

Posted on 19 July 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach Little League President Kathleen Williams was pleased with her program’s postseason results in the District 10 All-Star competition as the 50/70, Junior and Senior Division squads all finished as runner-up in the District 10 All-Star competition.

The Deerfield Beach Little League is in their 60th year and still going strong,” Williams said. “This is the first time in 10 years that our 9/10s have gone more than two games in the district playoffs, so that shows growth.”

Deerfield Beach 9/10 manager Warren Fronte knew from the start that his group had a chance to reach the title game against North Springs; and, despite the defeat, he said the team battled during postseason play.

Listen, they haven’t won anything in 13 years so to bring this to five wins and second place, we are more than happy,” Fronte said. “We are more than ecstatic. These kids are all champions in my book.”

From Day 1, right from the get go, these kids put their hearts out and dominated our first team 25-8 and it was totally amazing,” Fronte said. “It was like, wow, we got a team.”

Selections of the 8-9-10 and 9-10-11 Deerfield Beach Little League All-Star teams came from eight teams in the league to pick from.

It was a little tough with what we had to play with, but we got us some winners,” Fronte said.

There will be lasting memories for the group,” Fronte noted.

Hopefully, they learned to be a professional player as far as their age league goes,” Fronte said. “Hopefully, their parents see it the same. These are players. They are not just little kids playing little league. They are athletes.

You could tell right off the bat which children pushed themselves to the max and a lot of them have,” he concluded. “They have their teammates backing them up and pushing them the rest of the way.”

The Deerfield Beach Little League fielded 25 teams during the regular season this year and 270 players.

We limited the teams to 11 players so everybody got more playing time,” Williams said. “Next year, we are discussing going back to the Major Division, instead of just the 50/70 Division.”

In the in-house divisions, the River Bandits won the Farm Division; the White Caps won the Minor Division; Cubs won the 50/70 Division and Mets won the Junior Division.

Brown wins PBMGA Tourney

Chuck Brown carded a 65 and won a match of cards to take the Class A Division title in the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association tournament on the Pines Course at Pompano Beach Golf Course on July 12.

Brown was closest to the pin on the 15th hole when his tee shot wound up 12 ft., 11 in. from the hole.

Jim DeCicco, who also shot a net 65, was second in the Individual Class Play, while Tom Breur shot a 69 and won on a match of cards for that spot. In the Class B Division, Joe Patchen won with a 66, while Scott Feinman shot a 70 for second place and George Torres carded a 72 for third.

Richard Bell edged Dave Dowling by one shot in winning the Class C Division with a 68, while Bob Bridgman had a 71 for third. 

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FLICKS: War for the Planet of the Apes

Posted on 19 July 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

When the original Star Wars was released 40 summers ago, people began looking for deeper meaning in the film. Writer/director George Lucas admitted to be influenced by Professor Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which explores the theory of the “monomyth.” Regardless of culture, the story of the hero is a universal rite of passage. The same thing holds true in a different film, War for the Planet of the Apes, the final part of a trilogy in which we witness the rite of passage for Caesar, an ape who was destined to destroy the world as we know it.

After the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the charismatic leader of the apes and proud family ape. When the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) raids an ape encampment, Caesar’s wife and child are killed. Caesar plans revenge and the rescue of his surviving son, Cornelius.

With his trusty associates by his side, Caesar pursues his course of action. He is sidetracked by a little orphan girl who cannot speak and bad ape (Steve Zahn), a clumsy chimpanzee who was previously incarcerated in a zoo. Despite his previous military success, Caesar’s quest for vengeance leads the heroic ape into the heart of darkness.

While it would help to see the previously released Planet of the Apes movies, War for the Planet of the Apes works as a standalone drama. The wages of war weigh heavily on Caesar, a heroic protagonist who is unable to find peace for himself. He is a character we have sympathy for, which makes War for the Planet of the Apes such a successfully subversive movie.

While Caesar’s motivation leads to enlightenment, the Colonel’s journey leads to a logical madness. With echoes of Joseph Campbell’s novella Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, this Colonel is both Caesar’s antagonist and alter ego. When both confront one another, the Colonel compares this meeting with the time General Lee met General Grant to close out the American Civil War.

The War for the Planet of the Apes caps off the most intelligent science fiction trilogy of recent years. Using Caesar as our guide, larger issues like genetics, civil liberties and war are examined. The discussions between the Colonel and Caesar are fascinating, but this film has many throwaway moments and Easter eggs that are thought-provoking, but funny also.

Before Star Wars, 20th Century Fox’s most successful science fiction franchise was their five Planet of the Apes films. While pessimistic, these films provided satirical humor about 1960s humanity. With less cartoon humor, the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy is far darker, but it is an entertainingly told story.

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CLERGY CORNER: A different kind of hero

Posted on 19 July 2017 by LeslieM

When God saw what they (Ninevah) did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.”

(Jonah 3:10 NRSV)

Full disclosure, I like comic books. I like comic book heroes. And one of the things I enjoy doing with my family is going to see superhero movies. This summer has produced some pretty great movies and, as a religious leader, I see all kinds of great material that I can use on a Sunday morning.

The Bible is filled with great stories that have inspired great comic book writers. These are stories about heroes and villains, and heroic rescues filled with action and suspense. If you like reading the Bible, you probably enjoy a good comic book now and then.

I have noticed something about comic books and superheroes, as well as villains. While, on occasion, we may stumble across a super hero lacking virtue of a misunderstood villain some gray area may be interjected for plausibility now and then. But, by and large, superheroes are good and villains are bad. But when the superhero captures a villain, a part of us rejoices. Good has defeated evil.

And the victims who find themselves in trouble — the damsels in distress, the kitty who is caught up in the tree, the child hanging on to a cliff — we love to see the hero swoop down from the sky and rescue them. The damsels are always beautiful, the kitties are always cuddly and the child is always cute.

But what if the enemy is the one who needs to be rescued? What if Lex Luthor was dangling from a cliff? Would Superman swoop down and rescue him? What if the Joker or Penguin were trapped by a bear, would Batman come by and rescue his arch enemies? There is a part of us that would say “good riddance.” But that is not how God operates.

I love the story of Jonah, the reluctant hero. He was called by God to rescue the people of Nineveh. Nineveh was the major trade city of the Assyrians, the enemies of the people of Israel. Jonah doesn’t want to do it. He would rather be swallowed by a giant fish than tell the people of Nineveh to repent.

Yet, he was ordered by God to be prophetic and tell the people in this pagan city to repent. After he delivered the message, he waited on the outskirts for calamity. He was even looking forward to their demise. But, something happened that really disappointed Jonah, they repented and God changed his mind.

It was clear that Jonah saw Nineveh as evil, the enemy, people he hated. God loved the people of Nineveh.

The story goes against our comic book sensibilities. But, the words of St. Paul echo the sentiment of Jonah.

Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.”

(Romans 5:7)

Did God send his son when we deserved it? No, “While we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)

Perhaps it is time to write the comic book that has yet to be written. Heroes rescue villains. [Editor’s Note: Dear Pastor Gross … watch the new Spiderman movie]. Unworthy people are saved. Rescued people aren’t always grateful. But wait; that book exists.

We do find ourselves guilty, now and then, thinking that we have earned the right to be rescued. Like Jonah, we cheer for the demise of our enemies and flatter ourselves into believing we are better, or loved more by God, or worthy of God’s love. The message of the Bible is distinctly different than the message of the comic book hero. In comic books, the villains have no humanity and the ones who are rescued have earned the right to be rescued by being innocent, adorable or nice.

The one dimensional lines of a comic book meet the multi-dimensional reality of the world where villains are created in the image of God and damsels in distress are sinful and unclean. Superman will rescue some, but God sends the ultimate hero to rescue all.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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3rd Annual Lace Up Shoelace Foundation’s Football & Fun Day

Posted on 12 July 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Only lightning could stop little feet from rushing down the field on Saturday following a series of “fastest man” races. This was just one of the many activities kids participated in, which included agility drills, tube tug o’ war and more, for the Shoelace Foundation’s 3rd Annual Football & Fun Day at Deerfield Beach High School (DBHS). The kids only stopped activities when the storm began brewing overhead.

Run by former DBHS student and current wide receiver/ running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Denard “Shoelace” Robinson, this event brings kids together to not only have fun, but to learn the sport of football, as well receive inspirational messages from someone who understands where they have been and can motivate them to go as far as he has gone, and beyond.

No matter where you come from you can always come home. It’s a blessing where I’m at now so I want to show them,” said Robinson.

We did different drills than last year. We have to switch it up,” said Tevin Allen, who runs local camps of his own, which Robinson has attended, so he wanted to help him out with his as well. “The kids are training, but they are having fun at the same time. It is more exciting than regular camps.”

We have had way more kids this year than last year, about 100 more. This year, we have had 340,” said Kurt Haralson, who also helped out at the event. “We had eight stations for the kids, 15 to 20 minutes each. Last night, we had basketball in the gym.”

(The 2nd annual Ball for a Cause charity basketball game brought in NBA players and other well known athletes to participate).

DBHS Head Coach Jevon Glenn was impressed with the people Robinson was able to get involved. He said he comes out yearly to be a part of Robinson’s event.

You can see how highly regarded he is,” said Glenn. “I am honored and proud …to see Denard go from being a student to seeing the things he does for the community… Not many guys give back as much as he gives.”

Many DBHS players helped out at the event, including Rosendo Louis, a linebacker, who says he is No. 6 in the country right now.

I helped kids with the drills. I love being here and working with the kids. I grew up in the same neighborhood as them. I think it is great giving back to the community,” he said.

Jakari Norwood, who is a DBHS running back, added, “It is a good experience. It’s my second year here. I like to be around Shoelace. Maybe, someday, I will come back and do the same thing.”

Whidlyne St. Simon brought out her two boys, age 7 and 11, to the event.

I have come the past three years. It is awesome and amazing. I think it gives kids something to look forward to. For the older ones, it is inspirational … someone who comes from here coming back…”

After a day of sports in the hot sun on Saturday, kids came inside to eat lunch provided by the Shoelace Foundation. They also had breakfast provided by Kellogg’s. In addition, kids got to take home a T-shirt.

For more on the Shoelace Foundation, visit www.theshoelacefoundation.org.

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FLICKS: Lost in Paris & Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted on 12 July 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Besides being Bastile Day, this Friday, July 14, marks the opening of Lost in Paris, an enchanting romantic comedy that features visual gags inspired by Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel & Hardy. The cinematography echoes La La Land, but makes Paris, the City of Lights, shine while providing a simple sweet-natured story seldom seen on the big screen these days.

Opening and closing the film with a Currier & Ives setting, Lost in Paris introduces us to the headstrong and independent Martha (the late Emmanuelle Riva) and her niece Fiona. Many years later, Fiona (Fiona Gordon) is a librarian in Canada and she receives word that Aunt Martha is in distress in Paris. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Fiona gets lost in Paris.

While Martha and Fiona keep missing each other, both women cross paths with Dom, (Dominique Abel, who co-wrote and co-directed with his wife, Fiona Gordon) a hobo who pitches a tent by the River Thames. Through misidentification, miscommunication and with plenty of slapstick, the three protagonists find a resolution when they arrive on the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower.

From beginning to end, Lost in Paris is a delight. Gordon and Abel are a fine team both behind the scene and with onscreen chemistry. Minus big budgeted special effects, this film features theatrical visual gags that would inspire “oohs” and “aahs” with a live audience. It will be remembered as a timeless movie, a modern movie that celebrates its cinematic silent movie past.

With very little surprise, Spider-Man: Homecoming blew up the summer box office last weekend. Having appeared last year in Captain America: Civil War, this new Spider-Man movie features an actor (Tom Holland) who is closer to the age of the teenaged Peter Parker found in the comics. For all of his web-slinging superpowers, creator Stan Lee never lost sight that he was telling the story of a teenager going through his rights of passage.

The film references the original Avengers movie which featured the “Battle of New York” post carnage. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a sanitation engineer who is originally commissioned to clean up the mess. Prevented by government bureaucrats, Toomes steals the alien refuge and creates his own mercenary business, complete with new technology, and adopts the moniker “the Vulture.”

Spider-Man battles the Vulture on three occasions, with the first two battles being the most thrilling. However Spider-Man: Homecoming is a human story featuring a flawed hero and his antagonist. This is a character-based story that is as unpredictable as human behavior.

This weekend, enjoy both of these entertaining movies.

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CLERGY CORNER: Fearing going to the dentist & fearing going to church — two things you cannot afford to do

Posted on 12 July 2017 by LeslieM

One particular scene in the movie Deepwater Horizon is oddly convicting. Jimmy Harrell, while in command of the oil rig, voices his dissatisfaction to BP executives for skipping the necessary tests required to verify the integrity of the well—accusing them of playing dumb toward any problems that might further delay completion of the drilling. Jimmy aptly compares their motive to his grandfather’s logic about not going to the dentist in that he “never went to the dentist ‘cause he didn’t wanna know all that was wrong ‘cause then he’d have to deal with it.”

Up until last week, for 14 plus years, I confess that I evaded the dentist myself to deny what I knew I’d have to deal with: cavities. So I bit the bullet — with my good teeth — and scheduled an appointment.

I had two cavities in need of immediate care: one onlay and one crown. Post drilling and being fitted with my temporary cap, the dental hygienist listed all the foods I would have to abstain from until my permanent fitting — essentially my grocery list: pizza and chewy candy. One day later, the temporary cap fell victim to a Mike and Ike while watching Despicable Me 3. Whoops.

Thankfully, my dentist provided me with his personal cell and instructed me to call him if I experienced any problems —probably more for pain than stupidity. After an exhaustive Google search, it was apparent that I’d have to contact him. Flashbacks flooded my mind of my pediatric orthodontist towering over me with that disappointed look on his face each time I lost or destroyed a retainer. How would my new dentist respond?

While my thumbs were busy crafting a text message, I couldn’t help but feel burdensome for disturbing my new dentist on a Saturday. I hit send and awaited my fate. Moments later, I received a reply that started with “Hi buddy,” followed by a compassionate response. He even encouraged me to “reach out again if anything else comes up.” Whoa. And just like that all my false beliefs from childhood about going to the dentist vanished.

For many, the idea returning to church or going to church for the first time yields the similar emotions that I experienced about returning to the dentist: the fear of being judged; the pain that comes with change, etc. Yet, like my retainers, at some point we all find ourselves lost or broken knowing that we can no longer deny what’s wrong: the God-sized cavity in our heart, hoping we won’t have to deal with it.

We must recognize that it is Satan, the great deceiver, who is content to keep us deceived that we are not welcome in church or in the presence of God. He breathes life to those fears. Fear not! It is Jesus who said that “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).

That’s the ultimate “Hi buddy” (relief) and embodiment of the compassion that should dispel the false narratives keeping us away from church and God. The ironic thing is that we take pride in our Instagram pics that don’t require a filter, while unaware that we’re filtering what we believe about church and God through our past experiences. To quote an old MADtv skit with Bob Newhart, “Stop it!” Colossians 3:1 reminds us that when we submit our hearts to Christ, we “have been raised to new life with Christ”— a life with the strength necessary to deal with — not avoid — the realities of life, and stand securely before God.

When I finally faced my reality, accepting that decay did exist, I knew there was nothing I could do except go to the one who could do something about it. Same goes for those of you considering returning to church or attending church for the first time. You don’t have to clean yourself up before returning or going. You just have to set aside any worry and go — like I did by going to the dentist; I had nothing — except my teeth.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@dfb.church.

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Tigers use tournament to get ready

Posted on 06 July 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely High School quarterback Noel Wilson said events like the recent Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 tournament are crucial to the Tigers’ success in the fall.

It is really important because we are out here getting the experience,” said the 15-year-old who lives in Pompano Beach, who will be a sophomore in the fall. “I love the experience of playing football. This will showcase my talent.”

Wilson was on the junior varsity last year and hopes to make the varsity team this season. Events like the 7-on7s will get him that experience by getting the repetitions with the skill position players. Playing against some of the top teams in the Tri-County area, Blanche Ely reached the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Our main (team) goal is to win the state championship,” Wilson said. “These events are also important because you always want to be the best. These tournaments will show you the things you need to work on.”

Blanche Ely’s Nick Ricks, who coaches the linebackers on the varsity team, said the Tigers have a mix of older and younger players so they put two teams in the tournament.

Sometimes, when you go to 7-on-7s, the young guys don’t get a chance to play,” Ricks said. “The older guys want to play because they have already put in the work. I think it was a good idea by (new head coach Calvin) Davis to enter two teams so the young guys can get some experience. Obviously, it paid off.

These events build confidence and camaraderie,” Ricks added. “We take most of the skill guys. Since it is the summer, some guys are away, but we bring the guys who are committed. We even have some kids who are going into the ninth grade and haven’t experienced anything like this and they didn’t even look shell-shocked. Those are the kind of things we were looking for.”

For the 10th consecutive year, the Miami Dolphins hosted the three-day event, which also consisted of a life skills symposium at Hard Rock Stadium that preceded the tourney. The symposium focused on character development, practical life lessons and specific skill training.

The event was followed by two days of 7-on-7 action on the gridiron at Plantation’s Central Park. There were 44 high school teams from the Tri-County area and an additional 23 teams that also competed in the youth tournament, which consisted of three age groups (10U, 12U and 14U).

Palmer released from hospital

Deerfield Beach High School cornerback Demetrius Palmer was back at practice this week after being released from Broward Health Medical Center last Wednesday.

Palmer, who will be a senior in the fall, was injured in a car accident on May 28 that killed teammate T.J. Bradley. He hasn’t participated in the offseason conditioning workouts and said he is a few weeks way from returning to the field.

He has a doctor’s appointment coming up to determine if his dislocated shoulder from the accident needs surgery. He also had injuries to his left arm, his face and head were scraped up when he slid 65 ft. into a pole.

Bradley’s mother had rented a red 2017 Corvette for an after-prom party and the 19-year-old teen reportedly lost control under wet conditions on State Road 7 north of Sunrise Boulevard. The car hit a curb and flipped several times and ejected both teens. Palmer was in a coma for eight days after the accident, according to Bucks coach Jevon Glenn.

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FLICKS: Beatriz at Dinner & Baby Driver

Posted on 06 July 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Previewed at the Sundance Film Festival and hailed as the film of the Trump era, Beatriz at Dinner is being promoted as a satirical dark comedy. Starring Salma Hayek (as the title character) and John Lithgow as (her antagonist) Doug Strutt, Beatriz at Dinner has more sadness than laughs.

Beatriz is a very likeable character. She raises her animals in her small studio apartment and performs massage for terminal Cancer patients and rich people like Kathy (Connie Britton) and Grant (David Warshofsky). When her car stalls, Kathy invites Beatriz to her prearranged dinner party with celebrity mogul, Doug Strutt, a man Beatriz senses that she met before.

Despite some funny one-liners and cultural humor, this film descends into a depressive darkness when one character says, “no matter what they do, everything is dying.” For fans of movies like Melancholia, or stories where dogs, goats and other animals die, then this film is for you.

Film Noir is a cinematic art form that has infiltrated the American Motion Picture industry since the 1940s with films like Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil. The influence of noir can be seen and felt in movies like Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner and Frank Miller’s Sin City.

Baby Driver is a musical comedy noir that is highly entertaining. Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a hearing disability, but is an excellent getaway driver for organized crime master mind Doc (Kevin Spacey). Despite working with multiple scumbags, criminals and sociopaths (played by Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez), Baby is basically a nice guy who cares for his foster father Joseph (CJ Jones), a deaf man in a wheelchair.

Baby develops a conscience when he meets a waitress named Debora (Lily James), who is intrigued by this young man, who constantly wears earphones and listens to music. While the two lovebirds develop a strong connection through music, Baby’s criminal connections threaten to destroy their happiness.

Writer/director Edgar Wright has crafted a fine motion picture that will be studied and analyzed for years. While some critics will say this writer/director is the next Quentin Tarantino, Wright’s influences go historically deeper. Baby Driver features homages to film noir classics like Detour, The Mechanic and Payback.

Like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Baby Driver features a great soundtrack of good songs. Go see Baby Driver.

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CLERGY CORNER: The Buck Stops Here

Posted on 06 July 2017 by LeslieM

There is a very moving episode in the Talmud about a man named Elazar Ben Dordaya. This man lived his life with an uninhibited desire to fulfill all of his promiscuous cravings, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit. He was an addict of the worst kind.

In one particular encounter, the Talmud describes his travel to a distant land when he became aware of a woman he had not yet visited.

After paying a fortune for her services, she sighed and said, “As this breath will not return to its place, so too will Elazar Ben Dordaya never be received in repentance.”

She basically said to him … ‘Elazar, you are doomed… you have a one way ticket to hell!’

Shaken by her statement, the Talmud relates, Ben Dordaya panicked and searched for a way to redeem his life.

He sat between two mountains and hills and said, “Mountains and hills, request mercy for me.”

They couldn’t help him. There was silence.

He said, “Heavens and earth, request mercy for me.”

There was silence. They couldn’t help him.

He said, “Sun and moon … stars and constellations, request mercy for me.”

There was silence. They couldn’t help him.

The Talmud continues the story.

He then said, “This matter depends solely on me.”

He put his head between his knees and began to tremble from crying and remorse until he died. A heavenly voice came out and declared, “Rebbi Elazar Ben Dordaya is ready to enter the world-to-come.”

What does this story mean? Why is he asking mercy from mountains, stars, the sun and the moon? What did Elazar Ben Dordaya seek to achieve by turning to the heaven and earth, stars and constellations, mountains and hills for help? How are they going to assist him in repairing his promiscuous addiction?

My friends, what he was really saying is this, “Heaven and earth, my addictions, my problems, they are not my fault. They are the fault of my environment, my surroundings, my neighborhood. I blame heaven and earth. I grew up with no friends, no good support system; I was ridiculed. My heaven and earth, my surroundings, were cursed. Of course, I can’t be a good husband … I can’t be a good wife … It’s not my fault. I can’t be a mensch. Of course, I am an addict.”

There was silence.

Then he tried, “Mountains and valleys, ‘Harim Vegvaot.” [Harim also means Horim, parents; Gevaot are mountains, referring to our matriarchs, “Migvaot Ashureynu.”] “It’s not my fault; I had a dysfunctional home, terrible parents, and an awful upbringing. Yes, my father was a gambler and an alcoholic whom my mother was dependent. What do you want from me?”

There was silence.

And then he said, “Kochavim Umazalot — stars and constellations, sun and moon, help me. Some people say, ‘I don’t have a good karma, I have no mazal — no luck.’ Look at my astrological signs and you will see that I am prone to all bad things. My brother, he has a great job; he has good life. If I were like him, things would have been different. I would be such an understanding husband, a mature human being, a happy person, a calm person, a committed person, but my Karma really did me in. My zodiac ruined me!”

But again there was silence.

You know why? Because I am responsible for my life and my decisions. Because the buck stops here. I may have endured serious challenges, but I have the power of my divine soul to choose a good path in life. I cannot blame other people and situations. Happiness, goodness, kindness is my choice in life. I have the choice not to be dictated by fear and addiction, but rather by the desire to do the right thing.”

So the end of the story is that Elazar Ben Dordaya gave out a tremendous cry and he said, “This is my fault; this matter is not dependent on anybody else, not my environment, not my school, not my teachers, not my parents, not my karma. It’s me.

He gave such a scream that his soul left him, and a heavenly voice came out and said, “Elazar Ben Dordaya, no more will your name be Elazar Ben Dordaya, but Rabbi Elazar Ben Dordaya. You are now a Rabbi, a teacher. He has taught you and I, and all people, a lesson that no matter how hopeless a situation may be, I can change it, by taking responsibility for my life.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: What is the truth?

Posted on 06 July 2017 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

On its surface, “truthfulness” seems like an open and shut case; but, in many instances, it’s too “open.” There are some scientific facts that are — so far — undeniably true. Until further notice, the earth IS round. And, yes, you either appeared at the XYZ train station at 10 a.m. last Tuesday or you didn’t. These kinds of truths seem non-negotiable.

But there are truths subject to a nuanced “interpretation,” which raises the question … Did you really intend to say that horrible thing about me? Yes, I can prove you said it — that is the truth, even after you tell me that you didn’t mean it. But the fact that you said it is a truth.

Escalating this to another level … There are too many legitimate “your truths” and “my truths.” I see this as being particularly in play as I teach my memoir writing class – and note how memory can distort events.

Mother: “My (now) 40-year-old son played hooky half of his high school senior year.”

Son: “Mom! That’s not true. I was studying in the library all that time.”

This hot issue of TRUTH can be really wiggly, but certainly needs to have some parameters where two parties can agree when irrefutable facts can be shown to exist. This is as important in a free society as healthcare, infrastructure, immigration issues, global warming and the rest. We may need a Secretary of Truth to — oops, wait a minute — sounds kind of like what our Judicial System takes on in instances of significance. And then it becomes matters of “opinion.” But, opinion does not equate to truth.

So, even as I ponder the smoldering discrepancies regarding “ truth” that seem to be tearing our country apart, and, in recognition of this symbolic week, I am tossed back two plus centuries with these famous words ringing in my ears : “We hold these truths to be self evident…” from our venerated Declaration of Independence.

Even these original truths considered to be “self evident” have evolved: “All men are created equal…” This includes both men and women, as well as people of all races and sexual preferences, a “truth” which somehow eluded our founding fathers … “and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Again, the years have expanded the meaning of each of those three entities to the point where they have been dissected and analyzed, and debated, in a sense diminishing their power as agents of “truth,” as in “What is life? When does it begin? Does it include the ‘right’ to healthcare? Does ‘Liberty’ include the right to be secure in the color of your skin? Does the pursuit of ‘Happiness’ include allowing corruption and assorted other anti-social behaviors in the name of that pursuit?”

Even “self evident” truth comes to a dead end as it becomes nitpicked and, in the end, “intent” is thought to be one of the best signifiers of truth and, there again, we can all think of many contrary angles to that. So, we will forever have “your” truth and “my” truth and “the” truth.

And here’s one of the truths we have come to revere: “Truth will set you free.” (Unless it lands you in jail).

I hope you had a good July 4th holiday – and that IS the truth.

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