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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘credit card’

Shariah Card: Charge Your Way to Mecca

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Users of a Shariah-compliant credit card from the United Arab Emirates can charge their purchases according to Islamic law, direct their prayers toward Mecca, and even put a little aside for the Hajj.

Al Hillaj Bank’s new credit card charges no interest on loans, keeping in line with Shariah law forbidding the charging of interest.  The card gives a percentage of the money spent to charity, and features a small compass which can help the Muslim devotee direct his or her prayers toward Mecca 5 times a day.

And it may help him get there in person.  Card users are eligible for travel vouchers which help pay their way to Mecca on the obligatory pilgrimage which occurs there annually.

Pesach Without Pressure

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I hate to tell you this, but Pesach without pressure is a myth. No matter what anyone tells you (and it’s usually men who tell you that Pesach preparations can be tension free), it just doesn’t exist. To be fair, I don’t know that there is any major holiday or occasion that doesn’t involve some kind of pressure. Eliminating the stress entirely is not a realistic goal. But minimizing it is.

Whether you are home for Pesach or packing up and moving out, it is a major event and, like anything else, requires planning. For those of you who are going to a hotel, I have no advice. Have a great vacation and think of me while you are sitting by the pool on Erev Pesach doing your nails because I promise you, I won’t have polish worthy nails by then. For those of you spending your Yom Tov with relatives, hatzlacha rabbah. I hope everyone gets along well and that the sleeping accommodations are okay. For those of us who are staying home for Pesach, listen up. It’s time to get to work.

Fear not. I am not one of those super efficient people who is ready to kasher her kitchen on Shushan Purim. But I am one of those compulsive people who likes to plan ahead in order to minimize the work, and equally important, the cost of making Pesach, so that both are less intimidating. And believe it or not, the time to get started is now.

I don’t have to tell you just how overwhelming your credit card statement can become Pesach-time. Between making sure that everyone has proper clothing and stockpiling food items, the numbers add up fast, which is why I like to start stocking up on Pesach items now. My first stop for Pesach shopping? My own pantry. You may be surprised to find out how many items you already own that are in sealed containers and have Kosher L’Pesach certification all year round. Check the labels and look for the “P” next to the hechsher. A quick trip through my pantry (know your minhagim) unearthed quite a few products including: assorted coffees and teas, sugar, cocoa, kosher salt, honey, duck sauce, balsamic vinegar and assorted canned goods packed by heimishe companies including sliced mushrooms, hearts of palm, pineapple, sour cherries, Israeli pickles, olives and mandarin oranges. Be sure to check out your freezer as well. Empire raw chicken products are Kosher L’Pesach 365 days a year. So just wipe off your newly acquired Pesach stash, set it aside and you are already one step closer to making Pesach. Make a list of everything you are putting away so that when the time to shop in earnest arrives you will know which items you already own.

Take the time to check out the OU’s Pesach guide (discuss now what your family uses) when it comes out, available both from the OU, in many local kosher stores and online at www.ou.org. Aside from the directory listing items that are supervised for Pesach by the Orthodox Union, the grey pages hold a treasure trove of information telling you which items can be used on Pesach without special supervision. Stock up on those items now as well to help minimize expenses as you get closer to Pesach. No matter when you do your shopping, now or closer to Pesach, take the time to double check every item you put in your cart and make sure it is Pesachdik. You never know when someone will have put an item down in the Pesach area by mistake and trust me when I tell you it is really very disturbing to notice on Pesach that you are holding food that doesn’t say Kosher L’Pesach on it.

Aside from all the cleaning and buying involved for the holiday that is ironically named “z’man chayrusaynu”, the time of our freedom, a major part of your holiday preparations involves food. Before you start googling Pesach cookbooks and recipes, take the time to go through your regular recipes – you may be surprised how many things you make during the year are one hundred percent chometz free. Time is at a premium, so why start experimenting with unfamiliar recipes when so many of your family’s favorites, including soups, main dishes and salads are already Pesach friendly?

Israeli Hacker Retaliates for Saudi Credit Card Attack

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

An Israeli hacker has claimed retaliation for the release of the personal information and credit card data of tens of thousands of Israelis by a Saudi hacker, posting similar information about hundreds of Saudis late Tuesday night.

A Saudi banking official initially denied the claims, saying that Saudis had nothing to worry about, but citizens soon confirmed that their personal information had been compromised.

The Israeli hacker exposed names, e-mail addresses, telephone and cell phone numbers, and credit card numbers of Saudis as well as several Syrians, Egyptians and others. He said he also had obtained the most sensitive credit card information of the people he exposed, but said he was withholding it, intending his move merely as a warning.

“I have nothing personal against these people,” the hacker told an Israeli reporter. “My sole intention is to create a deterrent.”

Earlier, IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee that cyber warfare posed a serious threat to the country, but that Israel was prepared to respond.

The Saudi hacker ignited this latest round of an ongoing Arab-Israeli hacking war by offering up “a gift to the world” of what he claimed was the personal information of nearly half a million Israelis. In truth, between 15,000 and 20,000 Israelis’ information had been compromised.

Israeli credit companies said afterward that they were able to block access to the accounts almost immediately and that, while the attack was large by Israeli standards, it was small by global standards.

Saudi Hacker Publicizes 11,000 More Israeli Credit Card Numbers

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

A Saudi hacker released almost 11,000 new private Israeli credit card numbers on Thursday, after publicizing 15,000 earlier this week and encouraging readers to use them to rack up charges.

The Bank of Israel has promised credit card users they will not be charged for fraudulent uses of their cards.

Bank of Israel: 15,000 Stolen Credit Cards Will Be Protected

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The Bank of Israel assured the 15,000 Israelis whose credit card numbers were posted online by a group of Saudi hackers they they will not have to pay for fraudulent charges on their cards.

The group initially boasted posting approximately 400,000 Israeli credit card numbers on the One sports website.  However, the Bank of Israel has determined the numbers is closer to 15,000, – 6,600 Isracard users, 4,400 Cal credit card users  and 4,000 Leumi Card users.

Army Radio reported that the hackers told One readers to use the cards to make purchases, saying more account information would be published in the future.

The Bank of Israel confirmed that victims of the hack would be protected by the Debit Card Law against making payments on items purchased through fraud.  Credit card companies have taken steps to freeze the compromised accounts, block the use of the cards, and to contact the owners so new cards can be issued.  Victims of the theft will be compensated.

The credit card numbers may have been stolen from coupon websites.  Investigations are ongoing.


Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It was Erev Pesach, three hours before Yom Tov. I was at the checkout counter at the local supermarket. The gentleman in front of me was trying to pay his $48 bill. I noticed that he gave the clerk a credit card that was declined. He offered a second credit card, with the same result. The saleswoman then asked the young man how he planned to pay, to which he sheepishly replied, “May I write a check?”

“Oh,” she answered, “you’ll have to take that up with the manager.”

As soon as he walked away, I turned to the saleswoman and offered her a $50 bill, and said, “Let me pay his bill and run out.”

Perplexed, she asked, “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I responded. “I’d like to leave quickly, and please don’t say a word about it.”

As I was leaving, I overheard the customer saying, “The manager will let me use a check this time.”

The saleswoman responded, “Don’t bother. Take your groceries and have a great holiday. It’s already been paid for.”

The last words I heard as I flew out the door were, “Who paid for it?”

I arrived home, happy that I had been able to do a little mitzvah. When I told my wife the story, she responded, “That was a very thoughtful idea, and a nice mitzvah for Yom Tov.”

During the first day of Chol HaMoed, I happened to step into a newspaper store to buy a lottery ticket. When I scratched the ticket, I won $500.

“Mah Gadlu Ma’asecha, Hashem – How great are Your works, Hashem.”

I recently walked into the supermarket again, and was approached by the same saleswoman.

“By the way, were you the one who paid the $50 for our customer?”

I hesitatingly said yes.

She beamed and replied, “That young gentleman left us a check for you.”

I took the check and mailed it back in a plain envelope with a written note.

“Thank you, but I have already been paid back tenfold. But please do me a favor. If you ever come across someone in a similar situation, please help him.”

As it says, the world is like a great wheel, where everything we do returns to us. It’s just a matter of time.

Fairly And With Respect

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Noach Dear has worn many hats during his nearly 30 years of public service. The hat he currently dons is that of a jurist, as he presides over a courtroom in Downtown Brooklyn, which handles all of the consumer debt cases in the borough.  Each and every day, in Judge Dear’s modest courtroom, a real-life drama unfolds as hardworking people, struggling to make ends meet, step up to the bench in a desperate effort to deal with mounting piles of debt they have scant hope of repaying. While these litigants may not be seeking millions of dollars or trying to avoid a stiff prison term, they are facing a frightening situation in which their families’ financial futures are hanging in the balance.


Recognizing that his courtroom can seem dark and daunting, Judge Dear enters his courtroom each morning, faces the assembled crowd, and tries to alleviate their fears by putting things in perspective.  “The first thing I want from all of you is to wipe those frowns off your faces and put a smile on,” he tells the anxious litigants. “This may not be very pleasant but I can think of a lot worse places to be right now. Health is more important than anything else.”


This theme continues throughout the day as Judge Dear strives to maintain a relaxed, and even friendly, atmosphere in his courtroom. He seems to enjoy reminding litigants about his “no-frowning rule” should they dare approach the bench with a glum look on their faces, and makes a concerted effort to keep the tone of the courtroom calm, controlled, and above all respectful.


“My grandmother always told me that if you want to get respect you have to give respect,” Judge Dear remembers. “I respect the attorneys, the litigants, the courtroom personnel, and that creates an atmosphere of mutual respect from everybody in the room.”  This mood is evident across the board, from the polite way the clerks address those with questions to the mutual civility maintained between the plaintiffs and defendants standing at the judge’s bench.


              Until recently the stewardship of the consumer debt court rotated amongst many different judges. Under the auspices of a new adjudicator every two weeks or so, the court was effectively run by the lawyers working for the debt collection companies. It was difficult for judges who were only at the helm temporarily to keep control over the lawyers who would be there day in and day out.  The City decided to create a permanent courtroom and to appoint Judge Dear as the full-time general supervising the front lines of the debt collection battles.


               Debt is an extremely serious issue facing Americans today. Prior to the current economic meltdown, often dubbed “The Great Recession,” most people didn’t really understand how pernicious excessive debt could be.  But reality has hit like a sledgehammer and many now find themselves mired in debt from which they have no realistic hope of emerging on their own.  Credit card debt is one of the most common problems.


 It is particularly troublesome because it can grow so quickly when not paid promptly, and can extend over extremely lengthy repayment periods.  To exacerbate the problem, credit card companies inject contingencies and fees that can add over 30 percent to outstanding balances.


Cognizant of the dangers posed by credit cards and their inflated fees, Congress enacted the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD) last year. This new law went into effect several weeks ago and its impact is starting to be felt by consumers.  President Obama called it a landmark consumer protection measure that will put an end to credit card companies’  “deceptive, unfair tactics that hit responsible consumers with unreasonable costs.”


Whether or not the new CARD law will truly solve our nation’s credit card woes remains to be seen.  Right now, however, there are many thousands of people with unpaid debt – and for those who happen to live in Brooklyn, there’s a good chance they will find themselves in Judge Dear’s courtroom.


Ironically, defendants who are sued over unpaid credit card debt will often face attorneys who do not actually represent the credit card companies. Instead, they usually represent collection agencies that have purchased the unpaid debt for pennies on the dollar and then do their best to collect it from the debtors. These collection agencies may resort to questionable methods, such as a series of harassing phone calls, in an effort to retrieve the money.


Debtors are often made to feel that the law is against them and that they must capitulate to whatever payment demands are being made.  Judge Dear is out to level the playing field and make sure that people realize that even if they do owe money they still have rights.


 For example, if defendants in the courtroom seems to be committing to payment plans that they will not have the ability to cover, or if they don’t really understand the charges being leveled against them, Judge Dear recommends that they meet with one of the volunteer attorneys working at the courthouse. These attorneys charge their clients nothing while helping them understand the relevant laws.  As a result, the debtor is better prepared to either accept an appropriate settlement or to defend against the claim being made against him. 


         “The best compliment a judge can receive is that he’s fair,” said Judge Dear.  “That’s my goal every day: for everyone who enters my courtroom to feel that they were treated fairly and with respect.” 


          And judging by the way the debtors respond to the user-friendly environment created by Judge Dear, that goal is met daily in his bustling courtroom in Downtown Brooklyn.           

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/fairly-and-with-respect-2/2010/03/17/

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