Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thank God for Disasters???

Why is it that the best of humanity always seems to come out of a crisis, disaster, traumatic event?? Is this the only time we truly feel our connection to others, especially whole groups of people we “hate”, or hate us? 

It’s been very interesting to say the least, watching the posts from Houston. One “redneck” was going on and on about, black people, Latinos, Asians, etc. . . . all working together, helping each other out, looking out for their “neighbors”, and protecting their property and themselves. There was such kindness and concern, such opening of hearts. The rich and famous, brightest stars, godlike sports heroes all giving, becoming involved and coordinating efforts! If someone has been blessed with success, then those blessings were meant to be shared.

Charlottesville and Houston, which one are we? Well, I would say we’re both; we’re the only species on the planet who understands the difference. When our normal -- self-absorbed, constantly consuming, immediately gratified, mostly distracted and indifferent -- lives are disrupted, we come to realize an ancient truth -- We Need Each Other! Who else is there, but others who are enduring the same disaster and without helping one another, we die!

In our Lives 1st Initiative at the TOV Center, we combine ancient values and wisdom with 21st century science. This science is rewriting the book on how our brains function. Research has shown, that humans are wired for fairness, loyalty and compassion. Babies, toddlers and even young children live without prejudice. They have to be taught to discriminate, hate and fear. 

Years ago, I watched a news program about a massive earthquake in Turkey. Greek soldiers were there helping in the rescue efforts. Normally the two groups despise one another. The reaction and coming together after 9/11, Palestinian firefighters working with Israeli firefighters during the forest fires, the looks on the faces of Syrian refugees being bussed and helicoptered to Israeli hospitals for treatment. These types of behaviors reveal who we all are really are!

The Lives 1st Initiative views conflict, crisis and even disaster as catalysts for tremendous growth and transformation. I teach that same idea about grief, loss and recovery as well. When things will never be the same, they can be different. Nothing like going through something that reminds us, that We All Are Interconnected, and We All Bleed Red. What a revelation!

I’ve mentioned before, that in Jewish tradition, we say one blessing when we hear good news and one when we hear bad news, because we truly don’t know the difference.

Disasters? If they help open our eyes, open our hearts and bring out our true nature, which is to Protect, Preserve, Raise Functionality and Increase the Quality of Lives -- then let’s not waste the opportunity to show Love!


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It’s all about putting Lives 1st!
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How Fragmented Can We Become?

Whatever the ideological flavor, the underlying message of an impulse driven market-based culture is the same -- as individuals, we were encouraged, both subtly and overtly, to see our interests as distinct from those of the larger society – and, increasingly pressured to put our individual interests, appetites, desires and longings above the interests and needs of the larger society. At what point does this fragmentation of our nation caused by individuals, consumers, corporations, religions, special interests groups, and political parties all seeking their own self-interest undermine the “security of the whole society”? 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Teens watching, videoing and laughing at drowning man teaches lessons about social media's impact on society

Vicki Panaccione, a Melbourne psychologist who works with children and families, said she has noticed a trend of people becoming "desensitized about what's going on in the world because of everything they're exposed to. It can almost be overwhelming. Kids are being bombarded with all kinds of violence and aggression." Read complete article at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/07/22/drowning-case-teaches-lesson-social-medias-impact-society/502248001/

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Student Loan Rates Go Up on Saturday - more to follow.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve System makes key decisions about interest rates which control the growth of the United States money supply.

Money and water follow similar laws. Water flows down to the lowest point. Money flows up to the highest return. When the FOMC lowers rates the money supply expands as money flows from Treasury bonds, bills and notes seeking higher rates from other investments. When FOMC raises rates, the US money supply shrinks as fund flow from those other investments back into the Fed to purchase Treasury bonds, bills and notes.  

When FOMC raises rates it affects many things in the private sector -- interest rates on everything from car loans, home mortgages, business loans, student loans, etc. will rise. Interest rates on government securities will also rise, meaning that the federal government will have increased borrowing costs, which means the interest citizens are paying on the national debt will increase too. And many other debt instruments including bonds issued by cities, states, school districts, etc. will have rates going up and citizens having to pay more.


The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point at the last meeting of the on Wednesday. It's the Fed's third rate hike since December. On Saturday, July 1, interest rates will rise on new student loans for undergraduates from 3.76 to 4.45 percent. Graduate students aren't spared: Their rates go from 5.31 to 6 percent. Rates were set based on the Treasury Department's May 10 auction of 10-year notes. 

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve System makes key decisions about interest rates which control the growth of the United States money supply.

Money and water follow similar laws. Water flows down to the lowest point. Money flows up to the highest return. When the FOMC lowers rates the money supply expands as money flows from Treasury bonds, bills and notes seeking higher rates from other investments. When FOMC raises rates, the US money supply shrinks as fund flow from those other investments back into the Fed to purchase Treasury bonds, bills and notes.  

When FOMC raises rates it affects many things in the private sector -- interest rates on everything from car loans, home mortgages, business loans, student loans, etc. will rise. Interest rates on government securities will also rise, meaning that the federal government will have increased borrowing costs, which means the interest citizens are paying on the national debt will increase too. And many other debt instruments including bonds issued by cities, states, school districts, etc. will have rates going up and citizens having to pay more.

The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point at the last meeting of the on Wednesday. It's the Fed's third rate hike since December. On Saturday, July 1, interest rates will rise on new student loans for undergraduates from 3.76 to 4.45 percent. Graduate students aren't spared: Their rates go from 5.31 to 6 percent. Rates were set based on the Treasury Department's May 10 auction of 10-year notes.

The US Constitution Article I. Section 8 states that one of the “Powers of Congress” is “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof . . .” The Federal Reserve is a private corporation owned by banks. Maybe now would be a good time, for all of the folks being saddled with paying the increased cost created by those unelected people raising interest rates, to consider becoming more involved in learning how to use the power that Citizens have to change things like this. What do you think?

Monday, June 26, 2017

More Government! Less Government! Either Way, We Need TOV!

I recently read an article taken from a new book by Nancy MacLean called, “Democracy in Chains”, about James M. Buchanan, a Nobel Prize winning economist who helped shape today's “anti-government politics.” It brought into focus for me, the actions of many politicians and their basic memes and actions.

I won’t go into too much detail, but want to share some of the sacred memes I encountered. Today’s demographics have definitely altered the political landscape. Now nearly four in 10 Americans live in the South, roughly, 122 million people. Texas used to be controlled by Southern Democrats like LBJ. The South is the “cradle of modern conservatism” as the article claims. Some of these ideas can be traced back to the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. One main meme here is the conviction that, “an ever spreading government bureaucracy” spelled the end of Democracy.

MacLean states that, “during the post-WW2 years, economists were shaping pro-market economics, part of a growing backlash against the policies of the New Deal.” This also forwarded Libertarian Doctrine. The cherished “mores and folkways” were under siege. The enemy now was the government, its Supreme Court and power and the villain of the “Liberal Establishment” (Media, Jews). These were a danger to the freedom loving individuals and their “rights.”" Every individual should be free to associate with persons of their own choosing, not dictated by the State", the sanitized phrasing of the segregationists.

What I found most interesting was her description of how, "We The People”, the public, are the enemy itself, expressed through the tyranny of majority rule. The have-nots preyed on the rich, government-centered clientelism and dependency. Going back to a purer capitalism would basically” declare war on Social Security recipients, veterans, farmers, educators, state and local officials and the housing industry.” 

I can now better understand politicians like Paul Ryan and his “ilk" whose convictions are that the democratic majority can’t be trusted, empowered minorities like the Freedom Caucus, are the true guardians of our liberty and will resort to drastic measures: shutting down the government, defaulting on the national debt and our modern “vetocracy”, - refusing, for example, to bring an immigration bill to a House vote, lest it pass.

MacLean claims that this is not obstructionism, but an upholding of the sanctity of an ideology against the sins of the majority. “This is what drives House Republicans to scale back social programs and shift the tax burden from the 1 percent onto the parasitic mob, or to come up with a health-care plan that would leave Trump’s own voters out in the cold.” Good Samaritanism, helping the unlucky, cushions them against the consequences of their bad choices.

The Rabbinic sages of the Mishnah understood more than two thousand years ago about governments. In tractate Avot in the Mishnah they teach, “Be guarded in your relations with the ruling power, for they who exercise it draw no man near to them except for their own interests, appearing as friends when it is to their own advantage, they stand not by a man in his hour of need.” On the other hand, they were astute observers of human nature, Rabbi Chanina, the Vice-High Priest said, “Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for the fear thereof, men would swallow each other alive.”

Government stands for order, without it there would be chaos and anarchy. Humans need regulation and they also need to always have someone watching -- to what extent should be determined. Otherwise our greed and lust for power leads to misery for the most vulnerable in society, inequality, poverty, war, apathy and the death of Real Creativity.

I have no answers! But Jim Myers and I have an option. We suggest that people adopt a standard like the TOV Standard to judge both the government and the society. We need to ask, are my words, thoughts and actions going to PROTECT LIFE, PRESERVE LIFE, MAKE LIFE MORE FUNCTIONAL AND INCREASE THE QUALITY OF LIFE? Whom and how will our decisions affect others?

We need leaders, who are not afraid to lead, who have integrity and transparency, who don’t use their election for their own personal agenda, to impose their Memes upon everyone else. Representatives that work for justice and who remember they have a conscience and an obligation to The People.

We are all interconnected. We need one another. We are Genetic, Memetic, Social Creatures. The only way to repair the world is through “nourishing our interconnectedness, our creativity our ability to find solutions together.” That’s what the TOV model offers.

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Shalom,
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guideline for Making Better Decisions and Evaluating Human Actions


We created the TOV Center Guideline for Decision Making & Evaluating Human Actions to increase the number of people doing TOV. We know that when people take time to identify specific lives that will be or were affected by their decisions, it makes a big difference. Most people want to do what is best for other people. Read the complete article and download Guideline at -- http://www.tovcenter.org/decisions.html