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Dec 18, 2014

a humanitarian gesture of releasing a spy

as President Obama spoke at the White House Chanukah celebration event of the release of Alan Gross from prison in Cuba (video posted earlier this morning), I had one thought.

Obama spoke of Gross's deteriorating health and how his family was not sure he'd get out of prison alive.. his release was of a humanitarian nature... my thought was the hypocrisy of recognizing the importance of this humanitarian gesture for a sick man in prison, while ignoring the humanitarian issue of Jonathan Pollard who si seriously ill and has sat 30 years in prison. Obama should give a pardon or clemency based on humanitarian needs for a sick man.


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The miracle of the rediscovered oil flask

wow! what timing! The miracle of the oil. the discovery of a small bit of oil. this is timeless.

From INN:
Just in time for Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday celebrating the miracle in which olive oil burned eight days instead of one as the Maccabees restored the Temple and fought off Greek occupiers, an unprecedented archaeological find has unearthed 8,000-year-old olive oil jar shards.
The jars provide the earliest evidence for the use of olive oil in Israel, and likely in the entire Middle East, and were found in the Lower Galilee area. The findings were recently published by Israel Antiquities Authority researchers Dr. Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov in an article in the Israel Journal of Plant Sciences.

Milevski and Getzov oversaw an excavation between 2011 and 2013 at Ein Zippori ahead of a project widening Highway 79. Their finds proved olive oil was already used in the sixth millennium BCE.
Pottery vessel shards found in the excavation were examined by the two along with Dr. Dvory Namdar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Earth Sciences, in an in-depth chemical process to identify organic remains absorbed by the pottery.
The pottery, which dated to the Early Chalcolithic period, was found to contain olive oil, with a comparison to modern one-year-old oil showing a strong resemblance pointing to how well the ancient oil was preserved. Two of the twenty vessels sampled were found to be particularly ancient, dating back to roughly 5,800 BCE.
"In underwater archaeological excavations directed by Dr. Ehud Galili opposite Kfar Samir, south of Haifa, remains of an olive oil industry from this period were previously discovered, whereas now at Zippori, evidence has been found for first time of the use of olive oil," the researchers noted. "Together with the Kfar Samir discovery, this is the earliest evidence of olive oil production in the country, and possibly the entire Levant (the Mediterranean basin)."
Speaking about the oil, the two researchers added "it seems that olive oil was already a part of the diet and might also have been used for lighting. Although it is impossible to say for sure, this might be an olive species that was domesticated and joined grain and legumes – the other kinds of field crops that we know were grown then. Those crops are known from at least two thousand years prior to the settlement at Ein Zippori."
"With the adoption of olive oil the basic Mediterranean diet was complete. From ancient times to the present, the Mediterranean economy has been based on high quality olive oil, grain and must (grape juice), the three crops frequently mentioned in the Bible," the two noted.


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Wardrobe Malfunction in a shul has everyone in a tizzy

the following clip was a part of an event in a shul that set off a firestorm.

(tzniyus alert)


last week a shul in Tel Aviv was used as the location for a fashion show, an immodest fashion show, while a team of chazzanim were singing shalom aleichem.

According to NRG, the show was specific for the shul as the designed had used inspiration from her studies of shul architecture and design in the design of her clothes.

The event was criticized by all, even by the Tzohar organization the shul is a part of. The rabbi of the shul, Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn, who happens to be an acquaintance of mine, was criticized for having allowed this to happen.

It turns out, though, that there was an agreement to allow the fashion show in the shul, and the rabbi obviously knew about it in advance. However, contrary to some of the claims made to defend him, but the original agreement, which has now been publicized, actually allows for a modest fashion show. The designed and producers of the show broke the agreement and put on the immodest show without agreement or knowledge by the shul administration.

It turns out the chazzan of the shul was behind the event, and was immediately fired when Rabbi Konstantyn discovered what had transpired.

Rabbi Konstantyn himself wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that he wa staken advantage of and he never agreed to such an immodest show, and that he put a stop to it as soon as was possible and he immediately fired the chazzan..




To me it does not seem appropriate to hold a fashion show in the shul, even a modest one. In their contract it is justified by saying it is a part of promoting Jewish content, while safeguarding the holiness of the synagogue.

I know Rabbi Konstantyn somewhat, and I believe he was duped as he says. Rabbi Konstantyn is a heartfelt guy who works to inspire and bring people close, and has been very successful in his shul in Tel Aviv. I disagree with the justification of a modest show, as I think no fashion show is appropriate for a shul, and as we see it is just a short slip to drop from a modest show to an immodest show. His style is different from what I am used to, but what I really don't get is what the chazzan was thinking when he let this go on.





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Yonatan Blank on Cochav Haba (video)

a religious boy from Efrat competed on Kochav Haba, "the Next Star", and it turned into more than just a performance.. his mother defended him like a lioness, while one of the judges did not like the fact that he said he would not perform with women and wouldn't relent until mom forced him down.






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VP Biden and P Obama speak at Chanukah ceremonies (video)









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Hanukkah - How a Small Light Changed the World (video)








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When A Hero is Needed there's.... BatMoses ! (video)

weird but funny






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Shine With Me (Hanukkah Song) (video)

kol isha alert






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Dec 17, 2014

Lighting Up the Holiday with Jewish Hip Hop and Freestyle (video)








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Disturbed's David Draiman: Mainstream Media Laying Ground for 'Next Holocaust' (video)








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Stand Up Comics Laugh at Israel with Israel (video)








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No more apologizing (video)

funny clip from Minister Naftali Bennet






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Christmas Explained By Jews (video)

we've seen the clips of gentiles trying to explain Jewish holidays.. here is the other side of the coin..






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Ani Yehudi 2014 (video)

nice video clip from MK Moshe Feiglin using Lenny Solomon's "Ani Yehudi" song






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Dec 16, 2014

Channukah Apps

(I still can't figure out the right way to spell "חנוכה"in English) 

With chanukah starting tonight, many people are busy polishing their silver menorahs, fine tuning their dreidel skills, and searching for the yummiest jelly donut.  In the spirit of keeping the flame of the Jewish tradition alive,  there are many Channuka apps flying around the tech space and so I decided to search for some of the best Channuka apps. With so many Channuka apps out there, I decided to focus on the apps that offer some educational value and go beyond the simple gamification of Channuka.


There were many apps to choose from and, with that, the future of Jewish education is looking very bright if these apps are an example of what’s in store for innovation that merges technology and Jewish education.

Free
Geared for 2-5 year olds. This app is probably the most comprehensive available. Children can spin the dreidel to choose a color for the candles, set up the Menorah, light their own animated Menorah and sing all the Channukah songs. In addition to teaching kids fundamental skills, during Channukah this app will be sharing to its users via its social channels and blog, a daily packet of supporting materials (infographics, activities, videos) for parents to maximize the 8-day holiday as an opportunity to teach children about core Jewish values.  


MyMenorah is available for PC , Mac, Android, and Apple







Clearly, Jewish Interactive understands the space. The South African organization is dedicated to creating apps that teach children about Judaism, training educators in twenty-first century technology and training students to use tech for Jewish learning.

$1.99
This takes storytelling to a new level. It brings the Maccabee’s victory and the restoration of the Temple to life. The engaging graphics allow children to experience a historic journey of the Channuka story with an undertone of teaching the value of standing for one’s beliefs. Together with the high quality storytelling, this app offers numerous games, gifts and virtual potato latkes.   




Free


While geared towards children, parents will appreciate the educational aspects of the app. Chai on Chanukah is an app for teaching children about Chanukah. The app has four interactive components. Children light the menorah and track the days of Chanukah. If they know the meaning of the letters of the dreidel, they can play spin the dreidel with a group of friends. Using their finger, children can move a pair of scissors and open presents. The app also includes a fun and engaging story about Chanukah.  




Combined, these apps serve as excellent educational tools for children of all ages. From the interactive, animated, talking Hanukkah book with games, to a Touch-n-Read platform geared to learning the blessings, these were designed with one goal- education and inspiration.  
Like Jewish Interactive, the Behrman House is on the right track of continuing its tradition for creating distinguished Jewish educational materials used in schools throughout North America and in English-speaking countries around the world.


While some may argue that mobile devices focus on providing kids with an escape from reality by just zoning out to their screen, these Channuka apps are infusing our children with an interest and desire to engage with Judaism.  By connecting children and the next generation to Judaism with the digital advancements of today, we are actively ensuring that the flame of the Jewish tradition is never extinguished and will shine even brighter.  






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Hanukkah: Fighting the Darkness with Light (video)

nice thought






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