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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Calling It Like It Is

Ariella posts:
Yachting to the Promised Land

This week’s local Jewish tabloid features an ad for Machane Mitgalgel. For just $3600 (not including airfaire to Israel) teens ages 14-17 will get to travel “on small yachts to Cyprus” from where they will “backtrack on the yachts to Israel the way the Ma’apillim did” This is supposed to offer them a way to “re-live history first hand” by following the path of those who came to Israel just over half a century ago. I find dressing up such luxurious indulgence as a valuable experience for building Jewish identity in poor taste.
Spot on.

16 Comments:

Blogger The Town Crier said...

wow, some people have chutzpah.

for a third the price we can take the kids for a walk in auschwitz

12:15 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

they probably did not have Ipods, sufficent food, comfortable clothes etc.. so much for re-living.

7:29 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

As usual, Ariella is on the money. . . in this case $3600 + airfare.

My rule of thumb: we don't indulge our children more than we would ourselves. And, we certainly don't indulge them in a single sitting, which so many camps do.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree this this so called "experience" is a waste of time and money, I disagree with SephardiLady's premise that camps is general, and some programs specfically over indulge. If we don't want or can't afford for ourselves to go to "exotic" places, but a cost effective trip is avaliable for our older teen age children (appropirate location and trip of course), why not??

Don't be so anti 5towns.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Ariella said...

Sephardi Lady isn't anti-5Towns (you have to live here to get the full effect - just kidding); she is putting the cost in perspective. If you wouldn't spend so much for a family's trip, why would you on one child?

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think a lot of you are being cynical. While this is no "march of the living",this program definitely has some good points to it. Having these kids be confronted with the actual history of ppl who fought to found the state of Isreal up close and personal can be a major inspiration for them. who cares if they'll be doing it in the lap of luxury or if they'll be roughing it? it makes no difference how they do it, but if they come out of it with a clearer understanding of an important time in our recent hisotry, more the powre to them.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is classic "Wealth-Bashing".
Question - If You have the means and the $$$$, and you're a good person, and you raise your kids "right”, and you give tzedaka, and you employ other people, and give THOSE families parnassa, I ask WHAT IS WRONG HERE? What's the problem?
This company has come up with a creative, new, interesting and unique concept. Yes, it is costly. Yes, for many, the cost is outrageous. Why is that of any concern for you? There are people out there - even some GOOD people - who have gobs of money. And they have a right to spend it in any which way they choose. And, the company who came up with this trip, is wise to offer a way to relieve the wealthy people of the world of some of their gobs and gobs. Then, if it is successful, the travel company owner ALSO has gobs and gobs that HE can now distribute in any which way he pleases.
This is "Distribution of Wealth" - Capitalism style. It is the most fair and most just economic system ever created in the history of mankind because it encourages entrepreneurship, creative thinking, and new and innovative ideas by rewarding those with the best ideas and those who are the most motivated and efficient.
The idea that “this is over the top” or “unfair” is a communistic view and is ancually inherently unfair by it’s nature.
People should learn to be “Misameach B’chelko” and, if you are NOT (A very human and normal vice) you should do everything you can (Pray, work hard) to achieve your goals – and let people who DO have more spend more and enjoy – it makes the world economy tick.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

This is classic "Wealth-Bashing".

Reread the post. You missed the point. This isn't about wealth bashing. It's about being honest. This trip has everything to do with luxury indulgement and nothing to do with "reliving the past."

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krum, you missed MY point.
I'm saying that the post is NOT about "being honest" rather, at it's core, it's really about "wealth bashing".
In other words, I think that people just can't stand when "the rich" casually spend thousands on "luxury indulgement" so, they sub-consciously come up with self-rightous and judgmental issues that are really not THAT big a deal.
For example, "The Town Crier" above made a comment about walking through auschwitz for a third of the price. This is probably true. However, will he/she have her family SLEEP in auschwitz to recreate the experiance? I think not. They would most likely stay at a hotel, with heat and A/C, a comfortable bed and a TV. Why is that not considered "chutzpah"? Your grandparents slept in an unheated barracks with hundreds of others, without proper cloths, under the gun, et, and YOU are sleeping in a hotel and eating a 3 course dinner? chutzpah?
No. why? Because the point of such a trip is to see how our forefathers lived and what they went through and to appreciate what we have now - NOT to try and re-create it.
Just because these people have money and can enjoy a higher level of luxury on their trip does not take away from the historical aspect one iota.
Anyone who says otherwise is simply splitting hairs between a 3 star hotel and a 5 star.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with wealth bashing. This is about presenting a yachting vacation under the guise of being a jewish heritage tour. Ridiculous.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Anyone who says otherwise is simply splitting hairs between a 3 star hotel and a 5 star

Your comparison is absurd. Do you think people would go visit Poland were it not for the historical aspect? Of course not. Cyprus on the other hand is classic getaway for the rich. The history aspect is an excuse.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Azamat said...

Krum, this whole ISSUE is absurd. It's reverse snobbery™ .
Big effin' deal…so a camp is marketing retracing the steps of the Olim from Europe. What is the PROBLEM with that? This is just not THAT big a deal. I’m sorry.
They are not being deceitful – they are (supposedly), in fact, retracing the oceanic voyage of many of the European jews, and they are packaging it as a fun, interesting and historic adventure. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE???????
Anon 1:41/2:24

3:48 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Azamat, your random use of allcaps and, um, rather aggressive punctuation, is somewhat convincing, but ultimately leaves me unmoved. Your argument consists of: "what's the big deal?" (or, more accurately, "what's the BIG DEAL???????"). I don't think anyone is saying it's a big deal just that it's disingenuous. In fact, I think that the use of history in the ad is a system of the "reverse snobbery" that you are decrying. If the marketers of this trip were perfectly comfortable with adtvertising it for what it is (a luxury getaway for rich kids), they would make no bones about it and just market it that way. By injucting history here they are trying to assuage the guilt of by essentially allowing them to justiry this indulgence (or "indulgement") as something educational.

5:11 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

I disagree with SephardiLady's premise that camps is general, and some programs specfically over indulge.

Not camps in general, just some.

It is my own opinion, and not one shared by all others. But (regardless of financial status), I do not think it is particularily healthy to "entertain" children day by day, nor do I think it is healthy to put too many "experiences" on their plate at once.

Some of the camp ads that I have seen in recent years do just that IMO (and, I don't know the cost of these camps).

My husband and I share the opinion that a few memorial trips combined with low key activities is better in terms of chinuch for how we are raising them, and experiences are better shared with family. Just our opinion. :)

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it all depends on how it is phrased. If they state "just like the Ma'apilim did", then it is quite inaccurate and, in many ways, an insult to the real Ma'apilim. On the other hand, March of the Living serves a very important purpose, and nobody in their right mind would ever suggest, or even enunciate, that *any* activity during the March of the Living is "just like the victims of the Shoah did".

As far as the money goes, people have all different sorts of means, and therefore can afford different things. If you let that fact of differing means get to you, you will begin to eat yourself away from within and become a bitter and unpleasant person. Some people are rich, some people are middle class, and some people are poor, that is apparently Hashems will, and we must accept it.

For example, my wife and I have 5 young children, and we choose to send them to day schools and that consumes almost all of our income after the mortgage, the minivan, and food. So, we don't go on fancy vacations, instead we pile into the minivan and drive 10 hours to my in-laws for a visit most summers (well, except for the ones that my dear wife is imminently having a baby, in which case we stay close to home :-). This year we are very lucky in that my wife, eshet chayil that she is, spent a lot of time on the phone last year and managed to get us 5 frequent flyer tickets (our twins are under 2 and don't need a regular ticket) to Israel for Pesach where we will stay with her sister and family most of the time (wow, 4 adults and 9 kids in a 3 bedroom apartment). The kids are so excited, they can't wait to go!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just a luxury trip. It is a luxury trip, which they are not trying to hide, but they are also including a historical aspect. If they were advertising a luxury trip to Cyprus, with no mention of its historical significance, there would be complaints and condemnation in that direction.

1:15 PM  

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