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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                                    Shabbat Announcements Toldot 5782
         Abraham” without any deception, knowing him to be Jacob   However, one man offered a different perspective.
         not Esau.                                            Llewellyn Thompson Jr. had been American ambassador to
                                                              the Soviet Union from 1957 to 1962 and had come to know
         Such is the human price we pay for a failure to      the Russian president well. He had even spent a period of
         communicate. The Torah is exceptionally candid about such   time living with Khrushchev and his wife. He told Kennedy
         matters, which is what makes it so powerful a guide to life:   that the conciliatory message sounded like Khrushchev’s
         real life, among real people with real problems.     own personal view while the hawkish letter, which did not
         Communication matters. In the beginning God created the   sound like him, had probably been written to appease the
         natural world with words: “And God said: ‘Let there be’”.   Russian generals. Kennedy listened to Thompson and gave
         We create the social world with words. The Targum    Khrushchev an opportunity to back down without losing
         translated the phrase, “And man became a living soul,”    face – and the result being that a potentially devastating
         (Genesis 2:7) as “And man became a speaking soul.” For   war was averted. It is terrifying to imagine what might
         us, speech is life. Life is relationship. And human   have happened, had Thompson not been there to establish
         relationships are built through communication. We can tell   which was and which was not the real act of
         other people our hopes, our fears, our feelings and   communication.
                                                              So many aspects of our lives are impacted by
         That is why any leader – from a parent to a CEO – must set   misinformation and enhanced by genuine communication.
         as their task good, strong, honest, open communication.   This is why friends, parents, partners and leaders must
         That is what makes families, teams and corporate cultures   establish a culture in which honest, open, respectful
         healthy. Everyone must know what their overall aims are as   communication takes place, and that involves not just
         a team, what their specific roles are, what responsibilities   speaking but also listening. Without it, tragedy is waiting in
         they carry, and what values and behaviors they are   the wings.
         expected to exemplify. There must be praise for those who
         do well, as well as constructive criticism when people do
         badly. Criticism must be of the act, not the person; the
         person must feel respected whatever their failures. This last
         feature is one of the fundamental differences between a
         “guilt morality” of which Judaism is the supreme example,
         and a “shame morality” like that of ancient Greece (namely,
         guilt makes a clear distinction between the act and the
         person, which shame does not).
         There are times when much depends on clear
         communication. It is not too much to say that there are
         moments when the very fate of the world depends upon
         this. One such instance happened during the Cuban Missile
         Crisis of 1962 when the United States and the Soviet Union
         were on the brink of nuclear war. At the height of the crisis,
         as described by Robert McNamara in his film, The Fog of
         War, John F. Kennedy received two messages from the
         Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. One was conciliatory, the
         other far more hawkish. Most of Kennedy’s advisers
         believed that the second represented Khrushchev’s real
         views and should be taken seriously.

                              Great Neck Synagogue
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023

                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi
                   Rabbi Yehoshua Lefkowitz, Intern Rabbi
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus
                           Yitzy Spinner, Cantor
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director
                          Jordan Wolf, President
                     Dov Sassoon, Chairman of the Board
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