Originally published at customerservant.com. Please leave any comments there.

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson.

This first week of Elul is the fourth week in the Seven Weeks of Consolation, which began immediately following the destruction of Tisha B’Av. God comforts
and consoles us while we work on rebuilding our relationship with Him during Elul (as Moses did on Mt. Sinai), thereby showing us that a relationship with
Him is a two-way street.
The Midrash explains the progression of these seven weeks as a dialogue between us and God (which reflects our introspection in the month of Elul):
· Week One: God sends His messengers, the prophets, to console the people after the destruction of the Temple.
· Week Two: The Jewish people ask the messengers, “Why are you coming here? We want God to come.”
· Week Three: The messengers go back to go and tell God: “The nation is not consoled.”
· Week Four (the first week of Elul): God agrees to come and console the people Himself, and begins consoling them.
· Week Five: God’s consolation intensifies.
· Week Six: The consolation reaches a more profound and powerful level.
· Week Seven (the week before Rosh Hashana): The Jewish people tell God, “We rejoice in Your consolation.”
Why doesn’t God Himself console the people at the very beginning? Why does He send messengers and allow three whole weeks to pass by before He acts?
God teaches us here, first of all, to bond with each other and to console each other. One could argue that we’re all mortals in the same situation, and
that we need someone above and beyond us to console us.
But God says, no, one mortal can console another mortal. One weak person can console another. One vulnerable person can console another. It’s a great gift
that one person can give to another.
Ask yourself: Have you developed the sensitivity to console others in time of sorrow in their lives? Do you seek out opportunities to offer consolation
or do you shirk away from such occasions? What has been your experience in being consoled by others?
– Console someone—visit a sick person in a hospital, or call a friend who is feeling down, or send a greeting to a person you know is lonely.
– Resolve to make consolation a regular practice throughout the month of Elul.

Originally published at customerservant.com. Please leave any comments there.

This seems to be the most sensible thing I’ve read in a long time, and I think people would do well to at least think on it for a minute or two.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS
Sunday Morning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05 ..

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my
beating heart: I have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the
cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty
litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who
Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know
who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they
so important?

I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all
about Tom Cruise ‘s wife. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee
and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and
Jessica are.

If this is what it means to be no longer young , it’s not so bad.

Next confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And
it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit
up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel
discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to
me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a
ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and
sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all
that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach
house in Malibu .. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is
the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t
think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think
people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around,
period. I
have no idea where the concept came from that America is an
explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution, and I don’t
like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from
that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God
as we understand Him?

I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a
lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the
America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh,
this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not
funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham ‘s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and
Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this Happen?”
(regarding Katrina)

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for
years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our
government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we
demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings,
etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her
body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and
we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school…..the
Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor
as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when
they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we
might damage their self-esteem ( Dr. Spock ‘s son committed suicide). We
said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience,
why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill
strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure
it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why
the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but
question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like
wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people
think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely
through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school
and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to
many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what
they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of
us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard
it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process,
don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

Originally published at customerservant.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m seriously debating whether or not to go into work today.
I’ve been seriously congested for the past two days, and so far, it’s not letting up.
I slept OK last night, but I have a raging headache right now, and just feel generally cruddy.
The problem is I’m working on this center-wide newsletter, (which, BTW, got a huge boost thanks to Angel’s “Mr. Frodo’s Hobbit-hole” column, and no, it’s not really called that, I’m just obscuring the names), and the files I need are on the work box’s harddrive.
I wonder if I could get someone to send them to me here?
I’m definitely not in the mood to deal with stupid people, especially on the phone.
This newsletter’s supposed to be out tomorrow in final draft, but I just don’t see it happening.
Not if they expect good quality work, and if Angel and I have to hijack the entire project to ensure that it is quality so that neither of our names get attached to trash, then so be it … I think.
God, my head hurts, and so far the Excedron’s not helped.
I checked the weather, and it looks like we’ve got some major changes coming our way, which probably explains this crud.
We’re supposed to have rain all this week and into next, with the rain increasing as the week progresses.
So I wonder if I’m going to be stuck with this for all that time.
I really hope not.
I just don’t know.

Originally published at customerservant.com. Please leave any comments there.

By Heidi at Euphoric Reality

Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
-Arnold Toynbee

Wide open and unguarded stand our gates, and through them passes a wild motley throng.
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich, “Unguarded Gates,” 1895

You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.
-Woodrow Wilson, Address to New Citizens, 1915

Those who favor unrestricted immigration care nothing for the people.
-Sam Gompers, founding president, AFL, 1921

Why was the border guard so thin? Did the Romans not notice…that their way of life was changing forever?
-Thomas Cahill, 1995

No society has a boundless capacity to accept newcomers, especially when many are poor and unskilled.
-Robert Samuelson, economist and Newsweek columnist, 2005

We can’t protect our own borders.
-Donald Rumsfeld, November 29, 2005

*******

The following excerpts are all from a new book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. Many people may not read it because of the political baggage of the author, but I’ve read the book, despite my disagreement with the author on other issues, and it is entirely right on the money when it comes to the invasion of our country by foreigners. It occurred to me that many people may miss out on the common sense found within its pages so I’m excerpting a little bit of it here for those who may never read the words otherwise.

On November 28, 2005, President Bush, speaking in Tucson, conceded that in five years 4.5 million aliens had been caught attempting to break into the United States. Among that 4.5 million, Bush admitted, were “more than 350,000 with criminal records.” One in every twelve illegal aliens the U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended was a criminal.

That is 70,000 felons apprehended each year, 200 felons every single day for five years, trying to break into our country to rob, rape, and murder Americans. Of the millions who succeeded on Bush’s watch, how many came for just such purposes? How many Americans have been robbed, assaulted, or murdered because the President failed in his duty to defend the borders of the United States?

Nearly 8 million foreigners did enter during those five years, 3.7 million of them illegally. If one in twelve was a criminal, 300,000 felons slipped in during Bush’s tenure. This is an historic dereliction of presidential duty.

There are today 36 million foreign-born in the United States, almost three times as many people as the 13.5 million hear at the peak of the Great Wave in 1910. And it is among these tens of millions of foreign-born that illegal aliens find sanctuary. As James Edwards of the Hudson Institute writes, legal and illegal immigration are two sides of the same coin. If we fail to control the one, we cannot control the other. As a rule, he notes, when legal immigration rises, illegal immigration soars.
[…]
Our foreign-born population today is almost equal to the 42 million who came over three and a half centuries from 1607 to 19965. The Border Patrol catches as many illegal immigrants every month as all the legal immigrants who came to America in the 1820s. Today’s numbers are of a different order of magnitude.

No nation has ever attempted to assimilate 36 million foreigners in a generation. Yet, each year, 1.5 million more are added to the number, half of the illegals, 90 percent of them from Third World countries whose people have never before been assimilated into our population.
[…]
“The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities,” said Theodore Roosevelt. We are becoming was T.R. warned against: a multi-lingual, multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural Tower of Babel. To the delight of anti-Americans everywhere and the indifference of our elites, we are risking the Balkanization and breakup of the nation.
[…]
How many spies and saboteurs have been sent into our country as sleeper agents? How many Al Qaeda are here awaiting orders to bomb subways and malls or assassinate our leaders? We have no idea. Neither does the Department of Homeland Security. Border security is homeland security. But America has lost control of her borders and, as Ronald Reagan said, a country that can’t control its borders isn’t really a country anymore.

In his address in Tucson, President Bush made a startling admission. For decades, he said, the United States has had a separate policy in dealing with non-Mexicans breaking in through the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, a policy of “catch-and-release”: “about four of every five non-Mexican illegal immigrants we catch are released in society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrives, about 75% of those released don’t show up at court.* As a result, last year [2004], only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our southwest border were sent home.”

“This practice of catch and release has been the government’s policy for decades,” said Bush. “It is an unwise policy and we’re going to end it.”

Is this not an astonishing admission? …How can the president say our homeland is secure?

Further on in his Tucson speech, Bush conceded that our government and laws have been frozen in a pre-9/11 world:

Under current law, the federal government is required to release people caught crossing our border illegally if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of times…Those we were forced to release have included murderess, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals.

“This undermines our border security” and the work “these good folks” of the Borders are doing, added the president.

Again, is this not astounding? President Bush was talking about releasing “murders, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals” into our society, because “current law” commands it and the nations whence the criminals come refuse to take them back.

The question begs itself: With Bush and his party in power, why had they not changed “current law”? Why had President Bush not picked up a phone and told the leaders of these “home countries” that there will not be another visa issued to their country until they take back every one of their criminal felons who has broken into ours?

What is the matter with President Bush? What is the matter with us?

What explains the paralysis of the present White House?

George Bush has taken an oath to see to it that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. The immigration laws are clear. Businesses that hire illegal aliens break U.S. law and are subject to sanctions. Yet, as the columnist John O’Sullivan writes, “in the Clinton years 1995, 1996, and 1997 there were between 10,000 and 18,000 work-site arrests of illegals annually. In the same years about 1,000 employers were served notices of fines for employing them. Under the Bush administration, work-site arrests fell to 159 in 2004 where there was also the princely total of three notices of intent to fine served on employers.”

“In this dramatic relaxation of internal enforcement” under George W. Bush, O’Sullivan concludes, “is the explanation of the rapidly rising estimate of immigrants living and working illegally in this country.”

Can anyone say that, with this record, President Bush has faithfully executed the immigration laws of the United States?

Twice, President Bush took an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article IV, Section 4, reads: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”

Yet, with perhaps 4 million illegal aliens having broken in during Bush’s five and a half years in office, and our border states daily breached by thousands more, can anyone say President Bush has protected the states of this Union against that invasion? In an earlier America, this dereliction of constitutional duty would have called forth articles of impeachment.
[…]
America’s leaders claim she is the most powerful country on earth. But American has a government too morally flabby to act as decisively as Ike did** to remove from our national home those who have broken in and had no right to be here. How many America women must be assaulted, how many children molested, how many citizens must die at the hands of criminal aliens and foreign terrorists before our government does its duty?
[…]
If present projections of the U.S. Census Bureau prove accurate, the American our grandchildren will live in will be another country, a nation unrecognizable to our parents.

By 2050, it is now estimated that there will be almost 2.5 times as many people here as in 1960: 420 million. The share of the population of European descent will be a minority, as it is today in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. And that minority will be aging, shrinking, and dying. There will be as many Hispanics here – 102 million – as there are Mexicans today in Mexico. …By 2050, they will be 24 percent of a nation of 420 million. By nation of origin of our people, America will be a Third World Country.

Our great cities will all look like Los Angeles today. Los Angeles and the cities of the Southwest will look like Juarez and Tijuana. Though we were never consulted about this transformation, never voted for it, and have protested against it in every poll and referendum, this is the future the elites have prepared for our children.

I’ll close the excerpt with this warning:

This is not immigration as America knew it, when men and women made a conscious choice to turn their backs on their native lands and cross the ocean to become Americans. This is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in so short a time.

Against the will of a vast majority of Americans, America is becoming transformed. As our elites nervously avert their gaze or welcome the invasion, we are witness to one of the great tragedies in human history. From Gibbon to Spengler to Toynbee and the Durants, the symptoms of a dying civilization are well known: the death of faith, the degeneration of morals, contempt for the old values, collapse of the culture, paralysis of the will. But the two certain signs that a civilization has begun to die are a declining population and foreign invasions no longer resisted.

Here in America, the self-delusion about what is happening and the paralysis in the face of the crises have no precedent. What can be said for a man who would allow his home to be invaded by strangers who demanded they be fed, clothed, housed, and granted the rights of the firstborn? What can be said for a ruling elite that permits this to be done to the nation, and that celebrates it as a milestone of moral progress?

We are witnessing how nations perish. We are entered upon the final act of our civilization. The last scene is the destruction of the nations. The penultimate scene, now well underway, is the invasion unresisted.

_____________________________

*According to Congressional testimony on August 16th, the Border Patrol reported that actually only 90% of released illegals report back for their court date.

**In 1954, when Eisenhower discovered a million Mexicans here who did not belong, without apology he ordered them sent home in “Operation Wetback.” They went.

__________________________________________

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Originally published at customerservant.com. Please leave any comments there.

by louise fiszer

Late summer brings an abundance of good things to feast upon and wonderful opportunities to feed my vegetarian and/or kosher guests. Beautiful vegetables,
fresh herbs from the garden — these are summer’s best.

What better way to showcase these gifts of the season than to combine them with different shapes of pasta for light, colorful and tasty warm-weather fare.
Effortless, elegant and easy dishes can be created in a flash, allowing the cook to serve leisurely without spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen. The
key is simple preparations that rely on the natural goodness of the ingredients.

A fresh tomato basil sauce that requires no cooking, tossed with freshly cooked linguini makes a lovely starter for a casual dinner. (I sometimes add slivers
of leftover salmon or halibut for a heartier main dish). Ripe, garden fresh tomatoes are key to its success.

The scent of fresh basil resonates heartily in a Ligurian pasta, green bean and potato dish that is almost a summer vegetable garden in a bowl.

These sauces can be made ahead to reheat just before serving. Try using a variety of pasta shapes as interesting partners for these savory summertime sauces.

Uncooked Tomato Sauce | Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course

4 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 Tbs. minced shallots
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup imported black olives, pitted
4 Tbs. olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound freshly cooked pasta
basil leaves for garnish

Coarsely chop all ingredients except pasta and basil leaves in food processor. Add salt and pepper for taste and toss with hot, freshly cooked pasta. Garnish
with basil leaves.

Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes |
Serves 4

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (about 2 bunches)
1/2 cup olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
6 Tbs. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)
6 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 medium russet potatoes (about 3?4 pound), peeled, cut into 1?2-inch cubes and cooked
6 oz. green beans, trimmed, cut into 3-inch lengths and cooked
1 lb. trenette pasta or linguine, freshly cooked

Combine basil, oil, Romano and Parmesan cheeses, toasted pine nuts and minced garlic in processor. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add green beans
to same pot and cook until crisp and tender, about 3 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with potatoes. Cook pasta in same pot until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Transfer pasta to bowl with potatoes and green beans.

Whisk reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid into pesto. Add pesto to pasta mixture and toss thoroughly to coat. Transfer pasta to large platter. Serve, passing
additional Pecorino Romano separately.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin.
Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to