Archive | April, 2011

Heartbreak Eraser

13 Apr


There are some instances in our lives that we just want to forget, but would you voluntarily wipe them from you memory?

According to  neuroscience  professor and savant, Andre Fenton, there is a good chance that this will be possible in the future. He and a team of neuroscientists at SUNY Downstate  have been conducting research on this topic for several years, involving rats, shocking them, erasing that specific memory with a drug called ZIP and then seeing if the rats would remember how to avoid being shocked.

I really don’t want to be a rat in my next lifetime.

But here lies the question: are memories, as bad as some might be, worth erasing? In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,  in which specific memories cause debilitating anxiety, it might not be such a bad idea. However, is having such a drug available to society en masse a  good prospect?

I’m going to take this a step further. Below are two individuals who are “in the parsha.” Both have had a less than optimal experience in the dating field and are coping with it as best they can . However…with ZIP on the market, maybe their problems could simply erased. All it takes in one dose and poof…goodbye bad memories.

 Rafi: Like most singles, Rafi endured more awkward first dates and disappointing breakups than he cares to remember, but unlike all singles, he also experienced the searing devastation of a broken engagement. His former kallah broke the wedding off a mere three weeks before the Big Day. It’s taken time to accept that his dream of building a life with her will never be, but he no longer fights reality. He’s even gone out a few times. Still, he struggles to make a solid connection with any of the women he courts. He feels like he did this already and doesn’t have the ability to do it again. In short, he feels like his lost his one chance. If only he could forget about his former kallah, maybe he wouldn’t struggle.

Frayda:  Faced with the challenge of dating as a young divorcee, Frayda has it particularly challenging. At the age of 22, she is back in the position she thought left at the chupa a year and a half ago. Moving on has been extremely hard for her now that she is automatically excluded from marrying certain men (i.e. a Kohen). Though the marriage ended on account of viable reasons, she misses the safety and security she felt while being married. When class gets boring or work becomes slow, she drifts back to the memories of a relationship lost. She sighs over the memory of packing his lunches and the tenderness in his eyes when he brought her flowers for shabbat. There were good aspects…but they couldn’t overcome the differences. She needs medication to sleep through the night; to forget the anxieties she has since accumulated.

What would you tell these people in a society that has access to take ZIP? Would you be in favor of giving them the drug or would you persuade them not to?


Is It Worth It?

12 Apr

There is no question that today’s generation is facing a difficult economic reality. Jobs are harder to come by, funding for public programming such as Pell grants and Medicare have been cut and the housing market is a faint whisp of what it used to be. Though on the outside it may seem like the Jewish community is gliding by without an issue, this is far from true. The lecture halls of Yeshiva University may be full, the waiting list may be long at Camp Dora Golding and the neighbors next door may be adding an extension, but so many, so many people are hurting.

An article in today’s NY Times reminded me of the hard times we are facing. As a college student myself, I understand that taking out loans is supposedly “just part of the process.” True, it has been a part of the process for a generation or so, but times have changed. There is no knowing what one’s salary will be once graduating school. There is no knowing if one will have a job. Yes, one must have bitachon that Hashem, the True Provider, will help those with debt come through it. However, I find it quite similar to “depending on a miracle”, an act G-d explicitly tells us not to do.

My greatest issue lies within private Yeshiva schools- be it elementary, high school or college. They are horrendously unaffordable. Some students score high enough on achievement tests to receive generous scholarships while others have parents or grandparents who are able to pay hefty tuition. Yet most are being carried along through the tedious and tiresome hard work of their parents, who have six-figure salaries but still can’t cover all the expenses. Read this article, look around your community, at your peers and cohorts and tell me, is this worth it? Though our homes are humongous and our schools are laden with intriguing extracurricular activities, are they really worth the debt shackled ’round our wrists? Are we, the next generation, really going to be able to sustain them?

Q&A: What Next?

11 Apr

You went out with someone. You were almost positively certain that this was going somewhere toward happily ever after, but hey, it didn’t. It stinks. I know. Maybe you spent a few days wondering if you’d been struck with an unforeseeable bout of insanity and really that person is meant for you and you won’t have to go back into the unpredictable abyss of dating.

So I ask you to answer the following question: what next?

What are the next possible plans of action that can move you onward in your search?I have a few ideas of my own, which I will share with you tomorrow, but until then…what’s your answer to the question