30 January 2013

Snacking on Bread

Growing up, a not uncommon snack of mine - especially in the afternoon - would be to snag a piece of bread from the kitchen counter.  Although looking back, it clearly was not the healthiest of snacks, it seemed like a pretty snack-worthy item. 
    Imagine my surprise when I started observing more Jewish activities, including saying blessings regarding food, especially insofar as it pertains to bread.  With many foods, such as meat, chicken, fish, cheese, and most drinks, one says a one-line blessing prior to partaking of them and a one-line blessing following them.  For baked goods, one says a one-line blessing prior to partaking them, and a paragraph or two blessing following them.  
      However, for bread, although a one-line blessing is said, one is not only supposed to wash one's hands prior to partaking of it, but supposed to say a four-paragraph blessing following it!  It struck me as strange that one would have to go through all of that blessing for a snack!  However, for the Talmudic rabbis, upon which Jewish law is based, bread was a central component of one's meal and other things, such as meat and cheese, were ancillary.  
     It is an interesting deterrent for me (when my health-minded will power breaks down and I consider snacking on some bread lying around) for me nowadays and not have bread simply because it is a lot of blessing to say for a snack!

29 January 2013

"Marriage Equality"? "Marital Equality"?

Marriage Equality: Are men and women equal in marriage?
Whenever I hear the term "Marriage Equality" or the term "Marital Equality", I think that it pretty plainly means having equality in marriage.  Raising the term in conversation seems to be about how equal is the husband to the wife in the marital relationship?  
     Of course, with last week's inaugural address by President Obama, that's not how it seems to be used in popular discourse.  It sounds strange to me for people to be using it that way (and, no, this is not a discursive attack on our president).  If for no other reason, marriage can be entered into by any man and woman.  But, then, that would be "Equal Access to Marriage" and not "Marital Equality".  
     Anyways, although I've been married for over five years and am good with it, I wonder what types of thoughts pop into other married people's minds about equality in marriage.  Granted, not only is everybody different, but the way (and even how far into the marriage) that people relate to each other within their own marriages matter.  Nevertheless, I wonder how often people think about or strive for "equality" within their marriages or they are fine with their status quo.

24 January 2013

Philanthropic Considerations #5: My Takes on Certain Philanthropic Terms

For a while, I have been bothered by the use of certain terms in philanthropic discourse. Not the terms, themselves, mind you, but rather the way in which they're used. Although I've made brief references to them before, I finally wanted to address these terms here. 

Term #1: "Planned Giving" - As mentioned elsewhere, I consider this term to refer to one looking at one's giving for a certain time period (typically, a year, but could both be longer (e.g. 5-year plan) or shorter (1-month, 3-month, or 6-month plans))) and figuring out not only how much to give, but also whither the allocations would go. For the past two years, I have worked on our planned giving at the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year to determine where we will give (working within a certain amount of money budgeted that my wife and I have negotiated) (granted, we also set aside some money for things that come up (e.g. emergency relief funds)). 

Term #2: "Development" - As mentioned elsewhere, I am horrifically bothered by the use of this term in reference to raising money. Frequently, organizations will reference their fundraising activities as "development work" or have a "development officer" who mainly serves to raise funds. Just call it what it is: fundraising! What is, then, to my mind, development? It's primarily either expanding an organization or creating a new route/initiative/etc. Just as in "Research & Development" of technology companies, the 'development' is creating and advancing the products that the company is producing. The first time I came across a 'development officer' (during my first year at YCT), I thought her job was to work on developing the curriculum or on professional development of the students. It could also have been organizational development, which is streamlining or making the organization more efficient. I was shocked when I discovered the position wasn't meant to improve the organization, but merely to raise funds. If one is raising funds or endeavoring to do so, that's fundraising; if one is seeking to affect development of one sort or another, that is actually development. 

Term #3: "Creating a Legacy" - A legacy is something one creates that endures - not only in one's lifetime, but also following their lifetime. However, I somehow seem to encounter this term primarily as only leaving a post-lifetime gift (maybe I'm encountering a very limited body of literature). Nevertheless, one can create a legacy whilst one is still alive, which can benefit those even in one's own lifetime. Obviously, this legacy - whether financially or otherwise - should hopefully endure to survive the giver's/creator's lifetime. 

Thus ends my little rant on philanthropic terminology. If I have any future semantic gripes, I'll be sure to share them....