A national emergency: an imperial president

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, his security advisors did not suggest that there is indeed a security threat at the border. These advisors recently delivered a report to Congress to delineate the real threats that the U.S. faces.

Based on his putative emergency, President Trump claims that he can and will divert funds from accounts outside the Department of Homeland Security to build a 250-mile border wall.

The real emergency is that the president is disregarding the U.S. Constitution:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives … (Article I, Section 7). No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law … (Article I, Section 9).

In 1976, Congress granted the president the expediency of quickly directing funds for recognized emergencies like hurricanes and wild fires. We see thereby that Congress still has the authority but has granted the president a small share of the “power of the purse.”

It’s now almost Shabbat and an opportunity to tune out the President’s noise.

And to drink a cup of hot tea with sugar.

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This calls for a cup of hot tea with sugar.

(The return path for this reader looks dangerous, so I’m not posting or following it.)

Tea and Sympathy

This time of year is when I began a pivotal life journey in 1971. I left my Chicago home for a junior year abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Let me sit back to reminisce over a cup of hot tea with sugar.

My Bubbe Fischer * had passed away a short time before, on 29 Tammuz. It was then almost three weeks later.*

To proceed to my arrival in Israel, I was hosted by residents of the village Kfar Chabad on the first night when I arrived. A distinguished seatmate on my overseas flight invited me to a relative’s home. As interesting as this is, it warrants an entire account on its own.

Before I left Kfar Chabad, a resident gave me a pair of tefillin. I have been putting on tefillin ever since.

On the next afternoon, I reached Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station. From there I was supposed to go to the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University where I would be staying.

Virtually everything that I owned was loaded into an unwieldy duffle bag. In my stubbornness, I was determined to walk by following my tourist map. I refused to admit that I needed help finding a bus. Besides this, I was too stubborn to admit that I was barely able to carry the bag. (It would still be some time before I saw anyone wheeling a bag along.)

I remember the salt of sweat in my eyes and how my muscles were growing more and more tired. Shuffle along in the summer sun and rest. Shuffle along and rest. I don’t remember any more of that day.

We began the summer ulpan * the next day. The university placed me in the most advanced level of the ulpan because I had studied enough Hebrew, actually from fourth grade on. All students from abroad would receive instruction in Hebrew to help us begin the academic year.

I recall studying a modern Hebrew poem about teh v’sympatia – “tea and sympathy.” I lost interest in the course since we were learning Hebraicized Greek words that had also found their way into English. What is the Hebrew word for ‘sympathy’?

Our dormitories were surrounded by a lush lawn. We could have been in any university surroundings. The path to the university’s front gate and bus stop was wooded, and it skirted the botanic garden. I regret not having visited the garden, but thirty-two years later I would visit the university’s botanic garden on Mount Scopus.

I attended services on Shabbat – Friday night and Saturday – in the campus synagogue. They called me up to the Torah * on a regular basis. I don’t remember the Shabbat meals except for the light Shabbat third meal. We all sat in the synagogue to eat and sing. Where did we eat on Friday night or on Saturday noon?

My cup of tea has run dry as have my reminisces. I’m looking forward to another cup later on.
_____________

* Bubbe – grandma; Bubbe Fischer was my mother’s mother.
* three weeks later – June/July
* ulpan – study of the Hebrew language
* called me up to the Torah – to say the blessings before and after the weekly Torah reading.

I’ve postponed my bête noire appointments

This month was going to be dedicated to the Palestinian Authority — how they’ve done nothing helpful for their people.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies generally aggravate me (March into April).

On the other hand, pundit Bill Bennett (February) has cut back from being an apologist for President Trump. Listening to him has become less aggravating, sometimes not even aggravating at all.

Coverage by journalists tends to aggravate me. More of that in future months.

U.S. tax forms just aggravated me — the forms, not the tax levy.

So, let me step back to watch the star Sirius.

Let me catch up with Israel’s regional and city planning.

And let me sit back to drink a glass of hot tea with sugar.

‘President Trump’, ‘Mr. Trump’ – not ‘Trump’

This is how I try to refer to the chief officer of the United States. How I write does not reflect the required usage of The New York Times, though. (Last time I looked, The policy of the Times was to refer to all people as Mr., Ms., Dr. So-and-So, for instance.)

I respect the office of the President of the United States, if only because of respect for the U.S. Constitution. I do not respect Mr. Trump as a person. His personality, activities, and philosophy are repulsive for me.

Virtually all the activities of his administration are “not in my name.” This phrase goes back to the time in my life of the Vietnam War. I and others were determinedly clear how that war was not being fought in our names. We completely disavowed that war.

I completely disavow the prominent policies of the Trump administration.

I am now ready to brew a cup of tea and to sit back to enjoy hot tea with sugar. I really need the tea.