Friday, May 25, 2012

How Memorial Day Intersects with Shavuot

How Memorial Day Intersects with Shavuot
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 25, 2012

This Memorial Day weekend, as the United States prepares to trot out grills, picnic baskets, baseball gloves, and swim suits for unofficial advent of summer, there is an interesting religious intersection in the Jewish community with the observance of the holiday of Shavuot.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day, officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, was first observed on May 30 of that year as a day of remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

This is a solemn and sacred time not just for veterans who lost comrades in arms or the families of the fallen but for ALL freedom-loving Americans to take time from their activities and remember why and how the United States is the freest nation on earth.

Take time to remember how the right to a free press, free speech, free assembly and the freedom to worship as we choose came about and has been defended time and time again – against the British in the Revolutionary War (1775-83) and the War of 1812; against Mexico (1845-48); against Spain in 1898, during World War I (1917-19), World War II (1941-45), during the Korean War (1950-53), the war in Vietnam (1954-75), the Gulf War (1990-91) and the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brave men and women from various ethnic backgrounds and religions have donned the uniform of the United States only to make the ultimate sacrifice defending the American way of life, the Constitution of the United States, the law of the land, which has stood the test of time since ratification in 1791.

As to the connection between Memorial Day and Shavuot, for the uninitiated, Shavuot literally means weeks and is the culmination of a seven week period beginning during Passover.

Fifty days following the first day of Passover comes the observance of “the single most important event in Jewish history” ( – receiving the Torah by the Jewish people. The Jewish people – those who brought monotheism to the world, the Ten Commandments and the Torah – the law of the Jewish people wherever in the world they may reside.

The key here is the receipt of the Torah. It is one thing to be given something; it is something else entirely to receive it.

This is also a solemn and sacred time where the study of Torah is commanded to be undertaken throughout the night leading into the morning prayers on Shavuot morning where included is the reading of the Biblical Book of Ruth.

But it begs the question, why wait seven weeks to give the Jewish people the gift of the Torah? Why not once they found safety upon crossing the Red Sea escaping Egypt’s Pharaoh? To ensure that the recipients of such a gift were in the right frame of mind and spirit to accept such a responsibility.

It is customary to recite the Yizkor prayer for the departed on Shavuot morning as well, which this year on the Hebrew calendar is Monday, May 28, coincidentally coinciding with Memorial Day.

May they both be meaningful.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Union Boss Acts like Union Thug

Union Boss Acts like Union Thug
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 24, 2012

“It’s creepy. I still hurt every time I see it,” said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) of the piñata ensconced with her likeness that was bashed about by outgoing South Carolina AFL-CIO president Donna Dewitt.

“Hit her again! Give her another whack,” came additional cheers from fellow union degenerates taking pleasure in the beating given to the de facto governor via piñata, all of which was captured on video, clearly demonstrating the thuggish behavior commensurate with being a union member.

In addition to not offering Haley an apology for the mobster-esque behavior exhibited on the video, Dewitt said she was happy with what she did at her retirement party. In fact, after the piñata had hit the table, thus indicating the whacking should have ended, Dewitt continued to beat it with a metal bat with the fervor applied to Joe Pesci in the waning scenes of Casino – overly gratuitous and demonstrative of a lack of civility possessed by the union chief.

“It makes my heels sharper and I keep on kicking,” said Haley, who added that she would not stop taking on the unions or the Democrats. Haley took the high road by noting the strengths of South Carolina in terms of businesses expanding and moving to the Palmetto State, not just domestically, but from Mexico and even China. “We’re doing something right.”

“We are open for business,” said Haley, adding that South Carolina is attracting research and development firms, IT and pharmaceutical businesses as well as building planes, cars and ATVs.

Yet, in spite of Haley’s calm demeanor, it does not detract from the union’s bullying tactics. “Wow. I wonder if the unions think this kind of thing will make people take them seriously,” she said.

Dewitt’s overzealous assault on the Haley-faced piñata also begs the questions: where is the outrage from the Indian-American community? Where is the outrage from the Sikh community? Where is the outrage from the NOW gang? Where is lefty-lawyer Gloria Allred rushing to Haley’s side to sue the deep-pocketed AFL-CIO?

Oh, right – Haley’s fatal flaw: she’s a conservative Republican and a one-time TEA Party-backed conservative at that. Forget the fact that Haley endorsed moderate Mitt Romney early in the primary process when there more conservative candidates from which to choose.

Imagine the outcry if a conservative organization launched such an attack on a Barack Obama piñata. There would be holy hell to pay as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and their gang of race hustlers descends upon whatever entity dared to behave in such a manner. But it’s all in the name of good natured fun – just ask Dewitt. “It was all fun and games,” Dewitt told The Huffington Post.

Haley will survive this de facto physical and real emotional attack, just as she did a week ago when the victim of a racial slur. The AFL-CIO will continue to lose membership as their demands upon corporate America become more and more unreasonable, as more states become right to work environments and as card check continues to be supported by union bosses wanting to take privacy rights away from their rank and file.

Union thuggery must cease and civil discourse must be introduced to their lexicon and behavior.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Birth Control Thrust upon Catholics

Birth Control Thrust upon Catholics
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 23, 2012

The Indianapolis Star smartly printed “Notre Dame joins suit over birth control” (May 23, 2012) written by AP’s Rachel Zoll.

With 42 other Catholic entities joining Notre Dame in a lawsuit to preserve religious freedom, this is not a local news item, but instead a national defining moment regarding the Constitutional rights not just of Catholics, but of all people of faith in the United States.

Yet, in spite of this national Constitutional issue, the national network news outlets remained virtually silent as they are deeply in the tank for the Obama administration. This story was ignored by ABC and NBC, and CBS devoted a mere 19 seconds to it according to Bill O’ Reilly on the Fox News Channel (May 23).

If birth control is thrust upon Catholic institutions counter to Church tenets, what will be next? Will ritual slaughter pertaining to the Jewish dietary laws of Kashrut be banned by the government as cruel to the animals, when it is in fact just the opposite in accordance with Jewish law?

Another sterling example of the deleterious effects the Obama mandate is already having on institutions connected to faith is a decision made by The Franciscan University, located in Steubenville, OH, to discontinue its student health care coverage. It will no longer require health insurance of fulltime undergraduate students, nor will it offer a student health insurance plan.

Franciscan’s basic cost of $600 to cover a student would double in the upcoming school year and then triple in 2013 all thanks to Obamacare. It is unconscionable to force students to purchase something they cannot afford. The university’s decision could be an important factor for potential future students when choosing a college to attend.

Currently, Franciscan students may receive “cheap basic medical care,” without insurance for $5 a visit, and are on their own for anything more, according to Beltway Confidential (May 15). The school’s current plan expires August 15, 2012.

Obamacare requires insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortions, currently not covered at Franciscan. “We will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life,” according to Beltway Confidential.

Such assaults on religious freedoms bring to mind the famous quote by Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), a German Protestant pastor and outspoken foe of Hitler.

          “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
           Because I was not a Socialist.
           Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
           Because I was not a trade unionist.
           Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
           Because I was not a Jew.
           Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

The government has no business interfering in religion in the United States – and the Constitution supports this notion. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (Amendment I).

By imposing his liberal, secular schemes on the rank and file of America, Obama is not only attempting to circumvent the Constitution, but turn this into a modern day civil rights issue as a manner in which to cajole votes from women.

Obama must be stopped, the left-wing, mainstream media must stop carrying his water on this issue and actually tell the truth, and the Constitution must be upheld by preventing this administration from forcibly destroying centuries of religious dicta.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thou Shalt not Speak Ill of the President

Thou Shalt not Speak Ill of the President
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 22, 2012

Obama defense hysteria continues to grow disproportionately out of control to the point that this plague is infecting the young minds in the public schools.

Tanya Dixon-Neely, a social studies teacher at North Rowan High School in Spencer, NC, threatened students in her class that they could be arrested for “speaking ill of the president.” The comment was recorded by a classmate of junior Hunter Rogers, the student with whom Dixon-Neely had an exchange about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each having a past history involving an incident of bullying.

Romney’s alleged bullying has been front page news, splashed across the pages of The Washington Post ad nauseum, while Obama admitted to his bullying within the confines of one of his penned books, Dreams from My Father, where he tells of shoving a girl to the ground. When Hunter mentioned this incident, first Dixon-Neely claimed to have no knowledge of Obama’s indiscretion, but knew of Romney’s, then reminded Hunter of how it is wrong to disrespect the president.

“As a teacher, I am not supposed to allow you to disrespect the president,” Dixon-Neely said in the recorded exchange.

“I was shocked by this kind of behavior in the school,” said Hunter’s mother Gina Rogers during the Fox & Friends interview, adding she didn’t know it was “this extreme…. She is not teaching factual information Rogers said of Dixon-Neely.

Congratulations to Hunter for standing his ground, and doing so with sourced facts – a vital skill all students need.

While not released by the Rowan-Salisbury School District, Dixon-Neely’s name had been discerned by Breitbart News. And also, while not initially reprimanded for her actions, Dixon-Neely has been suspended with pay.

Hunter told the Fox News morning broadcast Fox & Friends on Tuesday, May 22 that there are typically “open discussions” in Dixon-Neely’s class, yet, further said, “she doesn’t want to hear anything but what she believes in.” This, of course, runs counter to the generous notion of open discussions.

Instead of stifling free speech, the teacher should encourage a “fair and balanced” exchange, to borrow a slogan.

“If you disagree, you get berated and put down,” said Hunter, adding “I just decided to get some proof…. “I’ve been taught that no one can take your opinion… or your freedom of speech.”

Hunter’s unnamed friend’s recording of the class proceedings a week ago clearly depict a teacher who, aside from having a poor command of the English language, is also deeply in the tank for Obama, defending him at every turn.

Dixon-Neely also demonstrates a lack of subject matter knowledge, particularly history and the Constitution, by telling the class they could be arrested for “speaking ill of the president,” yet, hypocritically, was called to the carpet by Hunter regarding Dixon-Neely’s foul-mouthed epithet about former President George W. Bush.

Hunter said on the recorded exchange that everybody talked shit about Bush, to which Dixon-Neely responded that Bush was shitty. Yet nothing was said of the language used in Dixon-Neely’s classroom, which is wholly unacceptable by both student and teacher, but the teacher should know better and her usage of the vulgarity is akin to a tacit acceptance by her student’s use.

Having taught grades six through college, opining on political issues is both volatile and frowned upon by administrations at times with stern repercussions. That it took days for the Rowan-Salisbury School District to suspend Dixon-Neely is disturbing – that should have been a no-brainer. That she should be given a vacation – her suspension is with pay – is unconscionable.

Dixon-Neely should not only lose her job, but be stripped of any tenure she may have accumulated. No doubt the teachers union will be defending Dixon-Neely at every turn, demonstrating that the union is there for the weak and ineffective teachers, not the good and effective educators, in a system that only continues to fail the children in the public schools.

Clearly this is a social studies teacher who lacks basic knowledge of law, history and the United States Constitution – three of the tenets of the subject that she allegedly is an expert, let alone in which she is instructing others. Ironically, a fortune find in a cookie just last night read: “to teach is to learn twice.” Did Dixon-Neely even learn once?

A message must be sent that the classrooms are not for political propaganda or for mesmerizing students into becoming drones and liberal hacks.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.