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Jan 16, 2013

UTJ's lousy campaign ads

At the same time that UTJ came up with what I think is an absolutely brilliant campaign, turning the vote for UTJ into a Yissachar-Zevulun relationship, they have come up with a lousy campaign, picking on Euclids.

The UTJ ad:

The ad says "Euclids... this is the name of a Greek mathematician that your child will have to learn about rather than learning Mishnayos".

Honestly, when I first saw this ad I thought it was another spoof of a UTJ campaign that I simply did not understand. I did not know what this ad was talking about. I went to a Jewish day school in the USA. We learned geometry, but I don't remember learning that Euclids was the father of geometry. I don't remember ever learning the name, though I guess it is possible that it was taught or mentioned and I simply did not remember.

Yet, despite not knowing who Euclids was, we somehow all learned geometry just fine, and also learned Torah, both in day school and later in yeshiva and kollel.

The campaign is worded so that it will seem like the government, without UTJ intervention, intends to teach our children Greek philosophy.

Does it matter that the father of geometry was Greek, or that geometry is a basic study of math, used in gemara as much as in the outside world, and it is a study that one would be better off for knowing?

The government has no intention of teaching our kids Greek, Greek philosophy, or even spending a lot of time talking about the Greek founders of geometry or other maths. The government does want to teach the kids math, algebra, geometry and whatever else is essential knowledge.

And, the government is not plaving the education of math as an either/or situation. It is not either math or mishnayos. People all around the world in jewish day schools do fine learning both math and mishnayos, as well as gemara, science, grammar, geography, tanach and history. None of the above are mutually exclusive of any of the others. The advertisement of UTJ is simply fear-mongering, trying to make you think the government is going to steal away your child and inundate him or her with Greek philosophy.

That is all aside from another point that was mentioned elsewhere, that the students of the Gra were encouraged to write a sefer explaining Euclidian Geometry.

That is only one of the lousy campaign ads.

Another one is a slogan somebody just pointed out to me. UTJ has distributed pamphlets in the mailboxes around the neighborhood where they see potential voters. One of the pamphlets distributed bears the slogan, on the cover, that says "Heim Nilchamim, v'kulanu marvichim" - they fight, and we all gain.

Opening the pamphlet one will see that it refers to the various MKs of UTJ who have been, and will be, fighting on the haredi community's behalf - they will be the ones doing the fighting, and we will all benefit.

Taking the slogan out of context, however, makes one wonder how the slogan was chosen. if one were to only look at the cover and not bother reading the rest of it, the slogan can easily be understood to be referring to "they fight and we benefit" - they, the soldiers, the secular, go to the army, while we benefit and get to learn Torah and avoid the dangers (both physical and spiritual) of the army.

One has to take it out of context to see that meaning, but the slogan is really out their on its own, and one has to open and read the pamphlet to see the true context.

perhaps a more appropriate slogan should have been selected.

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  1. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

    Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Rav Amnon, etc all put up banners in my area for their parties. They had no issue putting the signs next to the other parties.

    Yesterday, however, UTJ put up their signs and low and behold..all of the other banners were torn down with only "Gimmel" remaining.

    This is not too different than the signs of certain organizations being torn while others remain up.

    It is "little" issues like this that reflect a broader perception that generally non-Charedim are more tolerant of others while the same can't be said in reverse.

  2. The English translation is 'Euclid', not 'Euclids'. Euclides (like Maimonides or Nachmanides) is how Euclid's name appears in a hellenized Hebrew spelling in ancient or medievel texts.

    BTW, they really taught you geometry in school without mentioning that the fundamentals are Euclid's postulates? (Of course, Lobuchefsky turned that on its head, but that's a topic for Tom Lehrer...)

  3. as I said, perhaps they did and I simply dont remember it, but I truly doubt that my ultra-orthodox day school bothered to mention the Greek founder..


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