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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘computer’

Tibbi Singer’s Daily Roundup: Be the Best Sheigetz You Can Be…

Monday, May 7th, 2012

This Jewish guy gets to a small town out in the hinterland, and in his kosher traveler’s guide he finds a motel that’s run by a Jewish lady. Sunday morning the church bells are ringing and he hears the motel owner yelling out: Jimmy, the bells are ringing, time to go to church!

So the guest knocks on her office door and asks, What’s it to you if Jimmy goes to church or not?

So she wipes a tearful eye and says, Jimmy is my only child, and, God forgive me, he converted to Christianity. So I’m thinking, if I didn’t merit to have a God fearing Jewish son, at least let him be a God fearing sheigetz.

Reading Menachem Lipkin’s entry (see below) about Ami magazine and their coverage of things non-Haredi reminded me of that story. In a sense, we, Haredi, stam frum, and secular, are wishing for the other to be the best God awful misguided fool they can be.

Better than violence..

GEORGE CONSTANZA COULD WIN THE VIETNAM WAR

What an awesome article by Sultan Knish! And, incidentally, you can apply everything he wrote about GW’s and Obama’s fundamental failures in Afghanistan to Israel’s failures with the Palestinians. It comes down to politicians doing stuff because it made sense at the time. It’s the stuff that spawns all human tragedy.

My recommendation to all political leaders is to follow the example of Seinfeld’s George Constanza, who knew the value of doing the opposite of what made sense to him.

Winning the War

The Afghanistan victory lap is as much about disguising the ‘cut and run’ phase; as it is about reminding the folks in Virginia and Iowa that the man on television parachuted in, cut the throats of all of Osama’s guards, shot him in the face and then made a topical quip. Waving around Bin Laden’s head is a good way to distract them from the fact that the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan, that Obama’s own strategy there failed badly and cost numerous American and British lives, and that we are turning the country over to the Taliban.

Afghanistan and Iraq were part of a strategy for containing and draining the fever swamps of terrorism. That strategy failed for a variety of reasons, not the least of them being that we failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam. The Obama Administration alone managed to roll out a “hearts and minds” strategy and a brief push to intimidate the other side into coming to the negotiating table for a face-saving withdrawal. It’s almost a pity that Obama wasn’t old enough to have to dodged the draft. At least that way he might have actually known something about the Vietnam War. Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish

WE’RE ALL THE SAME UNDER THE BEARD

I’m waiting for the day when the media offer this headline:

Secular People Stole a Million Dollars

Agnostic Molested Children

Religiously Ambivalent Guy Cheated the IRS

It’s only fair. If we’re so happy to point out that this or that individual who just robbed the public treasure is a shomer Shabbat, we should also mention that the guy who did the hit and run eats traif.

With that in mind, here’s a juicy Jewsy:

Again: Haredim Stole Millions From Government In New Yeshiva Fraud, Cops Say Israel police raided several haredi yeshivas earlier today and arrested five school principals in what police say is a multimillion shekel fraud scheme. Failed Messiah

And, speaking of folks who won’t publish the picture of a woman, here’s a gripe against the Haredi Ami magazine.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut Through Charedi Eyes Ami’s CEO and Editor In Chief, Rabbi Yizchok Frankfurter, penned an editorial that was very troubling.  It represents much that is wrong with this type of publication today. Make no mistake, while Ami pretends to be an opened-minded publication, throwing out a few bones here and there to unsuspecting readers, at its core, as proven by this editorial and the fact that they won’t publish pictures of women among other things, they are solidly in the Chareidi camp. Menachem Lipkin, Emes Ve-Emunah

CULTURE SHOCK NEVER GOES AWAY

The difference between knowing and being…

My Children Live a Mixture of America and Israel. Today, my husband mentioned Shirley Temple and my children were oblivious to who she was. It happens quite often and is, for many people, unexpected. For the most part, their English skills are quite good. They are, most definitely, all bilingual. They understand English, read it, and speak it quite well. But where they “fall” – is with the culture and the sayings related to it. Paula R. Stern, A Soldier’s Mother

THERE’S AN INTELLECTUAL IN MY SOUP

Leslie Stein (“The Making of Modern Israel: 1948-1967″) is tackling the familiar question: Can one be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite? But don’t assume you know what she’s about to say. Read, man, read, she’s really good.

My Machberes

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Dealing With Technology’s Negative Aspects

Proclamations abound in Hebrew, English and Yiddish concerning a mass rally called for Sunday evening, May 20, at Citi Field (Roosevelt Avenue and 126th Street in Flushing, Queens). Seating capacity is approximately 45,000, including standing room. Ticket sales, at $10, began on May 2.

The rally will focus on and attempt to deal with the negative aspects of technological advancements, primarily the Internet. Hardly a day goes by without yet another technological breakthrough being announced, with each new device further revolutionizing technological applications.

The rally was called for by Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, beloved Skulener Rebbe in Boro Park, and Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, greatly respected mashgiach ruchani of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood. Rabbi Salomon has for years stressed that the greatest challenge facing the frum world is the encroachment of the Internet.

The Skulener Rebbe’s call represents the invitation to the chassidishe community. Rabbi Salomon’s call represents the invitation to the yeshivishe community.

In addition to the Skulener Rebbe and Rabbi Salomon, attendance at the event has been endorsed and encouraged by the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe, the Beis Din Tzedek of the Eidah Hacharedis of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, Rabbi Aaron Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Yehuda Adas, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, and virtually every leading chassidishe rebbe and rosh yeshiva.

An English broadside proclaims the importance of rabbonim from “out of town” communities participating in the event as representatives of their communities.

The call to “out of town” rabbis is from (in the order on the proclamation): Rabbi Chonon Wenger; Rabbi Doniel Neustadt; Rabbi Avrohom Weinrib; Rabbi Dovid Merling; Rabbi Naftali Burnstein; Rabbi Gershon Bess; Rabbi Moshe Silver; Rabbi Yitzchok Margareten; Rabbi Avrohom Teichman; Rabbi Zev Cohen; Rabbi Shmuel Baddouch; Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro; and Rabbi Dovid Haber, all prominent rabbis in the United States and Canada.

“Expo” hours are listed as 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the “asifa” (assemblage) program is from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane, the sponsoring organization, was established to deal with the challenges of technology perceived to be damaging to the fabric of religious communities.

The Internet

The Internet has of course had a tremendous impact on culture and commerce, including the rise of near instant communication by e-mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) “phone calls,” two-way interactive video calls, and online shopping sites. Every facet of the Internet serves and has an impact on the observant community. And the Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information, knowledge, and commerce. Since 2007, more than 97 percent of the world’s telecommunicated information is carried over the Internet.

Some governments, such as those of Iran, North Korea, Burma, China, and Saudi Arabia, restrict what people in their countries can access on the Internet, especially political and religious content. This is accomplished through sophisticated software that filters domains and their content so that they may not be easily accessed without elaborate circumvention.

In Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, Internet service providers have voluntarily restricted access to socially unacceptable sites listed by authorities. Many countries, including the United States, have enacted laws against the possession and/or distribution of certain material over the Internet, especially that of child abuse. But software filtering is not mandated. There are many free and commercially available software programs with which a user can choose to block offensive websites on individual computers.

The darker side of all the new technological advances is widely recognized. Legislation has been enacted to deal with practical problems such as hand-held cell phone usage during driving, texting while driving, privacy issues, etc. Monumental challenges continue to threaten civilized conduct in addiction to frivolous computer usage and Internet addiction. Some national political leaders, here and abroad, have been disgraced and destroyed by the exposure of their computer habits.

As of 2011, more than 2.2 billion people regularly use the Internet. Torah study has been immeasurably advanced by computers and the Internet. Heaven surely created the Internet for hebrewbooks.org, the website that has more than 51,000 sefarim instantly available, printable and downloadable for free. This means that if you have Internet access, you automatically have access to a Torah library of more than 51,000 sefarim regardless of how much shelf space you have or how small your home is.

Innumerable other websites house seemingly unlimited divrei Torah. Several illustrious chassidishe Rebbes have websites to disseminate their teachings and serve as successful vehicles of outreach.

The positive aspects of the Internet for the observant community can be extolled without end. However, the dark side of the Internet also affects the observant community.

Satmar Internet Usage

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe

The Internet is a reality, literally a necessity, and will not go away. That realization is accepted by all segments of the observant community. But the international Satmar community, led by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe based in Kiryas Yoel and Williamsburg, has laid down the law on Internet usage for its chassidim.

Experts say Stuxnet Neutralized by Iran

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

According to Reuters, based on European and U.S. officials and private experts, Iranian engineers have succeeded in neutralizing and purging the computer virus known as Stuxnet from their country’s nuclear machinery.

In 2009, the malicious code penetrated equipment controlling centrifuges Iran is using to enrich uranium, dealing a significant setback to Iran’s nuclear weapons work.

Many experts believed at the time that Israel, possibly with assistance from the United States, was responsible for creating and deploying Stuxnet. But so far no reliable account of Stuxnet’s creation and its entry into Iran’s nuclear program has surfaced.

U.S. and European officials said their governments’ experts agreed that the Iranians had succeeded in disabling Stuxnet and removing it from of their machinery.

The Supernatural Miracle

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

In September 2010, BBC, Reuters and other news agencies reported on a sensational scientific discovery. Researchers at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado showed through computer simulation how the division of the Red Sea might have taken place.

By sophisticated modeling, they demonstrated how a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon. Sixty-three mph winds from the east could have pushed the water back at an ancient river bend. The water would have been pushed back into the two waterways, and a land bridge would have opened at the bend, allowing people to walk across the exposed mud flats. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in. As the leader of the project said when the report was published: “The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus.”

So we now have scientific evidence to support the biblical account, though to be fair, a very similar case was made some years ago by Colin Humphreys, professor of Materials Science at Cambridge University and professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal Institution in London, in his book, The Miracles of Exodus.

To me, though, the real issue is what the biblical account actually is, because it is just here that we have one of the most fascinating features of the way the Torah tells its stories. Here is the key passage: “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).

The passage can be read two ways. The first is that what happened was a suspension of the laws of nature. It was a supernatural event. The waters stood, literally, like a wall.

The second is that what happened was miraculous, not because the laws of nature were suspended. To the contrary, as the computer simulation shows, the exposure of dry land at a particular point in the Red Sea was a natural outcome of the strong east wind. What made it miraculous is that it happened just there, just then, when the Israelites seemed trapped, unable to go forward because of the sea, unable to turn back because the Egyptian army was pursuing them.

There is a significant difference between these two interpretations. The first appeals to our sense of wonder. How extraordinary that the laws of nature should be suspended to allow an escaping people to go free. It is a story to appeal to the imagination of a child.

But the naturalistic explanation is wondrous at another level entirely. Here the Torah is using the device of irony. What made the Egyptians of the time of Ramses so formidable was the fact that they possessed the latest and most powerful form of military technology: the horse-drawn chariot. It made them unbeatable and fearsome in battle.

What happens at the sea is poetic justice of the most exquisite kind. There is only one circumstance in which a group of people traveling by foot can escape a highly trained army of charioteers, namely when the route passes through a muddy seabed. The people can walk across, but the chariot wheels get stuck in the mud. The Egyptian army can neither advance nor retreat. The wind drops, and the water returns. The powerful are now powerless, while the powerless have made their way to freedom.

This second narrative has a moral depth that the first does not – and it resonates with the message of the book of Psalms: “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalms 147:10-11).

The elegantly simple way in which the division of the red sea is described in the Torah is such so that it can be read at two quite different levels – one as a supernatural miracle, the other as a moral tale about the limits of technology when it comes to the real strength of nations. That, to me, is what is most striking. It is a text quite deliberately written so that our understanding of it can deepen as we mature, and we are no longer so interested in the mechanics of miracles, but rather more interested in how freedom is won or lost.

So while it’s good to know how the division of the sea happened, there remains a depth to the biblical story that can never be exhausted by computer simulations and other historical or scientific evidence. It depends instead on being sensitive to its deliberate and delicate ambiguity. Just as ruach, a physical wind, can part waters and expose land beneath, so ruach, the human spirit, can expose, beneath the surface of a story, a deeper meaning beneath.

Apple Makes First Israeli Acquisition

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

After weeks of negotiations, computer mega-giant Apple has acquired its first Israeli company, Anobit Technologies, for $390 million.

Anobit, based in Herzliya, will develop high-performance flash-memory drive components for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.  The agreement was signed on January 6 and confirmed by Apple spokesman Steve Dowling on January 10.

Apple is also cultivating plans to open a semiconductor development center in Israel, a plan which is unrelated to the Anobit acquisition.

While the Anobit purchase is Apple’s first foray into the Israeli market, competitors Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard already have labs and development centers in the country.  Intel opened its doors in Israel with five employees in 1974, according to Bloomberg business news, and now has 6,600 personnel in the country.  Microsoft’s Israeli research and development center opened in the spring of 2006.

Bloomberg reported that Israel has 60 companies featured on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any country outside North America with the exception of China.  It is also home to the most startups per capita of any country in the world.

Israeli companies have been featured in several major international deals recently, including the sale of Israeli chip developer Zoran to the British makers of chips for Nokia Oyj mobile phones and the $307 million acquisition of Tel Aviv information technology firm Ness Technologies by Citi Venture Capital International.

Coincidences And Happenings

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

To this day, this true story makes the hairs on my neck stand up straight. It’s a story whereby too many “coincidences” just “happened.”

There are some Jewish rites that are practiced by few to benefit many. The many have little if any knowledge about these rites. Literature is scarce, and the topic is usually avoided.

For nontraditional Jews, following Jewish rituals and rites may seem antiquated, useless, or unnecessary. These Jews often forgo our traditions, feeling they do not apply to them.

But it is quite enlightening to learn that practicing tradition may truly affect another soul – observant or not – in a positive way.

A sacred tradition known as taharah (ritually preparing a body for burial) has almost always been done by the Chevra Kadisha, the Holy Burial Society. The society is often secretive.

Chevra members do this work for their love of tradition, Judaism and our fellow human beings, and a belief that we need to tend to the neshamah of the meit.

Miracles, luck, coincidences – everything happens for a reason.

And now my story:

A Chabad rabbi told me by phone that he had just received an odd phone call from a female stranger in Israel. The woman asked the rabbi for help, not for herself but for her best friend from New Jersey. This friend, whose husband was not Jewish, had just died after being very ill.

Both women cherished their Jewishness and traditions. The friend was beside herself with grief and fear, grief for the loss of her friend and fearful that the non-Jewish husband would not provide a Jewish funeral for her.

The caller implored the rabbi to get in touch with the husband of the deceased. Coincidentally, the husband was home and took the rabbi’s call. After their chat, the rabbi called me. Coincidentally, I was home. (I’m usually at work on that day of the week.)

As part of the rabbi’s promise to try to ensure a Jewish burial, and with the permission of the husband, the rabbi asked me for a metaher for the deceased woman. The rabbi was aware that I am a member of a chevra kadisha. It was quite the coincidence that enough female chevra members were home to answer the calls and available to perform this mitzvah on such short notice. We completed the taharah and went our separate ways.

Several weeks passed and, as we frequently do, my husband and I visited my 93-year-old aunt. Our usual routine is to get there in late morning, have brunch, schmooze for about an hour, and return home.

As we were finishing brunch two elderly ladies, walkers in hands, came to wish my aunt a happy birthday as – coincidentally – that day was her birthday. A few minutes later another elderly lady, this one in a wheelchair and with her aide, came to express her birthday wishes.

The small room was now crowded, so we left in order to allow my aunt to spend time with her friends.

Because we left earlier than usual, we were now one hour ahead of schedule. So when I noticed a kosher butcher shop a block from my aunt’s home, I was curious to see if it offered better prices or cuts than the place where I usually shop. I went inside to check it out.

Huge glass windows allowed me to see inside the shop from the street. I could see the woman standing behind the long counter, and she was preoccupied with a computer screen. The screen was tilted in a direction not visible to me as I stood at the entrance.

After not finding anything of interest in the shop, I headed back to the door where I was able to see the computer screen. Various trips, tours and flights were displayed on the screen. Coincidentally, just a few weeks earlier I had turned in my tickets for a trip to Israel because the airport had just instituted the new controversial TSA policies – rules I oppose. Seeing the ads regarding trips on the computer caused me to blurt out, “Oh, I just turned in my tickets for a trip.” When the woman asked me, “Where were you going to go?” I heard her accent and quickly asked her where she was from. After responding that she was from Israel, I said, “What a coincidence, that is where I was to have traveled.”

She looked very sad and I asked her how long she has been here, thinking she was homesick. She told me that a few weeks ago, while she was in Israel, her best friend died. Her friend, who had been quite sick, had confided to her that she wanted a traditional Jewish funeral but was not confident that her non-Jewish husband could or would make that happen. She shared with me that she has trouble sleeping at night, not knowing what actually happened to her friend. Her voice trembled as she told me that while she was in Israel and learned of her friend’s passing, she went so far as to call a New Jersey Chabad rabbi hoping he could help.

Apple’s First R&D Center Outside of US in Israel

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Computer and software giant Apple has begun searching for office space for its first technology development center outside of Cupertino, California  – in Israel.

Real estate companies hired by Apple are on the lookout for 2,500 square feet for Apple’s first research and development facility outside the United States, which will employ 200 staff members. In 2010, Apple spent $2.4 billion on R&D, all in Cupertino, just 2 percent of its annual revenue.

Israel’s reputation as a hub for technology development will be bolstered by the company’s arrival, though powerhouses Microsoft and Intel have already been in country for more than a decade.

Apple is also poised to acquire Israeli chipmaker Anobit, a developer of flash memory for smartphones, tablet computers, and multimedia players.  The deal is expected to be worth $400-$500 million.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/apples-first-rd-center-outside-of-us-in-israel/2011/12/20/

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