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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘FREE’

Did Someone Say Free?

Monday, December 5th, 2016

I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

I love free stuff.

I mean, what could be more fun than getting stuff you didn’t have to pay for and doing it legally, so you don’t have to worry about those nice men in uniforms knocking ot your door and escorting you to the station house? Thankfully, the Internet is a treasure trove of free merchandise and, with Chanukah right around the corner, maybe you can cross a person or two off your gift list with one of these sites that will have fun stuff coming your way, completely and totally gratis.eller-120216-recycle-bank

Recyclebank: It was daughter #2 who first turned me on to Recyclebank, a website that is dedicated to, you guessed it, recycling and other environmentally-friendly lifestyle habits. Create an account on Recyclebank’s website and get to work. There are mini quizzes, slideshows and videos, all mercifully short, which is perfect for those all-too-frequent moments when you know you should be working but just can’t put your mind to it. I can’t promise that the site has gotten me to start a compost heap just yet and I am for sure not giving up aerosol cans despite their possible role in global warming, but most of the content is actually pretty interesting and the points rack up quickly, getting you close to getting your free goodies relatively quickly. While Recyclebank’s rewards can include gift cards to various stores, the magazines here are a really great deal. I just ordered two years’ worth of Good Housekeeping for 240 points, not too difficult to accumulate with many activities offering 25 point rewards for less than three minutes worth of my time. To be honest, I have gotten so many magazines from Recyclebank over the last two years that I sometimes find myself a few months behind on my reading pile and it has been years since I have paid for a magazine subscription.

eller-120216-mypointsMyPoints: MyPoints is a shopping rewards program and, once registered on the site, you can earn points in a variety of ways in addition to shopping at one of the many, many affiliated stores. Clicking on emails can earn you five points in less than ten seconds and you can also accumulate points by referring friends, filling out surveys, using the MyPoints tool bar and printing out coupons. Honestly, all I ever do at MyPoints is click the emails and shop through the site and I still manage to accumulate enough points each year to pick up a pair of $25 gift cards from retailers I already love to patronize. What kind of stores are in the program? The list is huuuuuuge and includes Amazon, Target, T.J. Maxx, Starbucks, eBay, Overstock.com, Dell, and American Airlines to name just a few. You can even get pre-paid Visa cards. All in all, I spend minimal time mindlessly clicking on MyPoints emails during those moments when I can’t get my brain to focus on work, so the whole thing works pretty well for me. Be forewarned that MyPoints does send out multiple emails per day, but as a Gmail user, mine automatically get shuffled to a secondary folder in my inbox so I don’t find them to be particularly annoying. If you do, you can still participate in MyPoints without signing up for the email option.eller-120216-ebates

Ebates: I confess that I am fairly late to Ebates. The site has been around since 1996 and, like MyPoints, requires one to begin a shopping trip at its home site. Once on Ebates, click on any one of the more than 2,000 participating stores and accumulate not points, but cold hard cash on every purchase. I just purchased a new winter coat for my son last week from Lands’ End and, because I accessed the site through Ebates, the nice people at Ebates will be sending me a check for six percent of the purchase price when they next send out their quarterly checks. Ebates also offers coupons to stack on top of their cash back offers; they must be doing something right because they have more than 8 million customers in the United States, Canada, Korea and China, according to the Wall Street Journal. So, let’s see if I have this right. Cash back on items I was going to buy anyway? How does that not sound like a great deal?

eller-120216-shop-freebiesShop 4 Freebies: Unlike the previous two sites, there is no shopping involved at Shop 4 Freebies, which sends out daily emails with the latest and greatest in free stuff. Often there are samples of small items like toothpaste, moisturizer and coffee, and there are plenty of free magazine offers as well. Checking out the website as I write this, I see a free $10 promotion from Nordstrom for signing up for Nordstrom Rewards, an updated listing of Black Friday ads, a Sam’s Club freebie offer as well as a long list of printable coupons. Typically I get one email a day from Shop 4 Freebies, but occasionally it sends out an extra one. I have registered for several similar freebie websites over the years, but I opted out one by one, as I didn’t find them particularly productive. Shop 4 Freebies are the only emails left in my inbox and they are among the few emails I read every day before I get down to business.eller-120216-coke

My Coke Rewards: I don’t know that this site offers the best rewards, but there are always Coke products being consumed in our house, so I save up those bottle caps and eventually find time to enter them into the Coke Rewards system. Over time we have scored plenty of free 12 packs of Coke and the occasional gift card. Is it worth the time spent entering those tedious codes that are random 14-character strings printed in that teeny, tiny font? To be honest, I’m not 100 percent sure, because every Coke cap is worth only three points and the rewards don’t start getting good until you have accumulated close to 700 points, but free is free!

Finally don’t forget to take advantage of stores and websites that send you fun stuff just for being born. First off, check out those loyalty programs you are already enrolled in. Many have birthday perks including DSW, Starbucks, Anthropologie, Famous Footwear, Coldstone Creamery, American Eagle, Ulta and Sephora. Also, be sure to check out Huledet.com which will sign you up for a whole bunch of birthday goodies, though despite the Jewish-sounding name, not all of them are actually kosher. Still, there are plenty of great ones here from both local and national companies and they can make your whole birthday month a whole lot brighter.

Finally, remember that while you can use all your great free loot as Chanukah gifts, feel free to keep some for yourself. Come on, don’t you deserve it? I bet you do!

Sandy Eller

On Eve of Trump Presidency, Obama Administration Still Views BDS Militancy as ‘Free Speech’

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

An exchange on Tuesday between State Dept. Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau and a reporter during her daily press briefing, served as a reminder of the vast difference between the ways Obama and Trump officials view sovereignty and a state’s right to defend itself against political enemies from afar.

On Monday, the Knesset plenum passed in a preliminary reading by a vote of 42 to 15 with 7 abstaining an amendment to the Entry into Israel Act banning entry non-Israelis who are members of organizations that promote boycotting the State of Israel.

A reporter, who mentioned that even former Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni called the bill “McCarthyism,” asked Trudeau to comment on the legislation, and the State Dept. senior official said: “We’re aware of the various reactions to the proposed bill to bar pro-BDS activists from entering Israel. We understand. I’d also note that the legislation requires several more steps before becoming law (a committee debate and two more Knesset plenum votes).”

Trudeau continued: “The United States’ strong opposition to boycott and sanctions of the state of Israel is well-known. However, as a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we do not agree with the views espoused.”

Of course, the US as well as several American states do not view the BDS movement’s activities in the realm of freedom of expression, but rather as driving a hostile attack on the vital interests of a friendly country. Only this past Monday, Reps. Pete Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan bill imposing criminal penalties on US companies complying with the BDS movement, including the boycott of communities in Judea and Samaria.

There’s no doubt that a broad consensus of American politicians would strongly disagree with Trudeau when she states, as she did Tuesday: “While every country has a right to control its borders, we certainly support the freedom of expression even when we don’t agree with the policy.”

Not really. The US happens to be one of the toughest countries to get into if one is associated with a large number of groups and organizations or is on record as authoring material that is repugnant to the American public — as it well should be. Why should the US, or Israel, or any country for that matter, play gracious host to individuals who wish to see it dead?

Oh, how we’re looking forward to the first State Dept. press briefing in late January, 2017…

David Israel

A Truly Free Press

Friday, November 11th, 2016

When Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan asked me to serve at the head of the special committee for the establishment of a public broadcasting corporation, I politely thanked him and refused.

“I don’t believe in the concept,” I told my surprised friends. “It is just a rehash of the Public Broadcasting Authority and it will end in the same way.”

When I hear the words “public committee,” “public broadcasting,” “public company,” “public corporation,” and the like, I break out in a rash. Those terms are nothing more than deception. Nothing makes veteran broadcasters Karen Noibach or Razi Barkai more “public” than any other citizen. The only truly public entity that I know of is the free market; in other words, the public itself.

Due to the fact that the Knesset is elected by the free market, the Knesset is the only entity in Israel that can be called public. All the rest, with no exceptions, are agendas, interests, and power plays – anything but faithful representation of the public, anything but public. There is no better proof of this than the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu is attempting to kill the broadcasting corporation. Whether or not he succeeds, the prime minister is showing us that the “public” corporation is a creature that exists thanks to the politicians; it is funded by them and will thus always be vulnerable to their whims and pressure.

The alternative to the Broadcasting Authority is not to rebuild the same mistake. Instead, it is Zehut’s proposed Open Skies law. The following is from the Zehut platform: Israel’s media is not truly open. In order to broadcast, one needs a “franchise” or in other words, authorization from the state. With many and varied excuses (lack of frequencies, endangerment of overhead flights), “Big Brother” erects roadblocks and supervision on the dissemination of information and open discourse in Israel.

The commercial channels are not private or open either. The public outrage that an internal comment of the CEO of Channel 10 evoked highlights just how much the political system is involved in the content of these channels. The commercial channels are free to make money. But when they lose money, the loss is imposed upon the taxpaying public. This arrangement will last as long as these channels continue to serve those who gave them the franchise.

Israel’s media must be truly open. Under Zehut’s plan, all that will be required to broadcast on radio or television is a fee to pay for the frequency. Aside from the limitations already on the law books (slander, security information, pornography and the like), there will be no limit on broadcasting content.

Moshe Feiglin

It’s My Opinion: Free Yom Kippur And Rosh Hashanah Tickets

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation, The Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami, and many participating synagogues in Florida have joined forces to make sure that every Jew can be accommodated with seats for the upcoming Jewish holidays. It is a very special project.

Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are traditionally times that synagogues raise funds by charging for seats in their sanctuaries. However, this expense can be a very difficult challenge for those who barely manage financially from month to month. Unfortunately, these are times where living from paycheck to paycheck is not an unusual occurrence.

Families who have just dealt with back-to-school clothing and expenses find themselves tapped out. Seniors who live on social security or pensions often do not have a dollar to spare. Just putting food on the table and a roof overhead is a daunting task for many of our brothers and sisters.

For some unaffiliated Jews, attendance at a synagogue on the “high holidays” is the last vestige of clinging to their faith. It should not be taken away.

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba-zeh – All Israel is responsible for one another. If you or someone you know can use this help go online at Jewish.Miami.org/highholidays, which includes a link to the list of participating synagogues, or phone 305-371-7328.

To accommodate everyone and to ensure security, advance registration is required.

See you in shul!

Shelley Benveniste

Jordan Holding First Free Parliamentary Elections in 10 Years

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Voting for the parliamentary elections in Jordan started across the Kingdom at 7 AM Tuesday and will continue until 7 PM, with a total of 490,240 Jordanians having voted by noon, Jordan Times reported. The number of eligible voters stands at 4,130,145, according to the Independent Election Commission (IEC).

The Jordanian elections were announced after parliament was dissolved by King Abdullah II on May 29, with the King appointing Hani Al-Mulki as interim Prime Minister following the resignation of Abdullah Ensour.

These elections are the first since 1989 to be held primarily under a form of proportional representation, following electoral reforms announced in 2015. Earlier elections were held under the “one-man one-vote” system, designed to curb the power of Islamic political parties after they obtained 22 seats out of 80 in 1989. The Tuesday vote is monitored by dozens of international observers. The 2015 reforms have led to opposition parties agreeing to participate in this election, including the Islamic Action Front, which boycotted multiple previous elections. According to reports, in order to reduce the IAF influence in these elections the Jordanian government has fomented splits in the Muslim Brotherhood, complete with the seizure of Muslim Brotherhood properties and the defection of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood figures to form a new, supposedly more moderate party.

The elected lower house of Jordan’s parliament is constrained by an upper house of equal legislative responsibility whose members are chosen by the King. While the lower house can initiate legislation, it must then be approved by the senate and the King. If the King returns the law unapproved, it must gain approval from two-thirds of both the house and the senate to go into effect. The King appoints a Prime Minister and Cabinet from the lower house, but he is not required to consult parliament on his choice or choose the leader of the largest party for PM. Cabinet reshuffling by the King within a single parliament are frequent, used to reward loyal MPs and to counter public dissent, as the King can shift blame for issues to the previous Cabinet. The King can dissolve parliament before the end of its term if he desires early elections, or suspend parliament entirely and rule by decree, which has been done twice in the 21st century, from 2001–2003 and 2009–2010.

Maj. Gen. Atef Saudi, Director of Jordan’s Public Security Department (PSD), said that no major security incidents were reported so far.

JNi.Media

Chabad Chayil’s Free Hebrew School For Dade County

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Registration is now open for a new year of Hebrew School for children of North Dade County. This supplementary program is designed for boys and girls ages 5-12 attending American Heritage, Charter, Country Dade, Nova, Pine Crest, and Riviera public schools and anyone looking for a once-a-week Hebrew School.

“As was the case last year, the program will be completely free with no cost and no obligation through the month of October” said Rabbi Moshe Kievman. After the holidays, regular classes will continue at affordable pricing with an option for no cost to parents in need.

The program starts Sept. 7 and will meet weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30-6. Classes are conveniently located in Highland Lakes, across from AWK8, just west of Aventura and north of Skylake at Chabad Chayil.

The curriculum includes prayer, holidays, traditions, and Judaic study with a primary focus on Hebrew reading, and is designed to teach each child at whatever level he or she may be. “This program will offer a first taste of Jewish learning in a creative, joyful, hands-on and interesting way,” said school director Layah Kievman. “We try to impart a sense of tradition using modern and innovative teaching techniques. This is a Hebrew School of the highest quality that kids can’t wait to go to.”

According to all studies, Jewish education is a proven factor in ensuring Jewish involvement and continuity. Chabad seeks sponsors to subsidize tuition scholarships for families unable to pay. “We seek to ensure that every single child has access to a high-quality Jewish education,” said Rabbi Kievman. “Chabad is the place to experience Jewish enrichment classes in a fun yet meaningful way. It’s where parents feel comfortable and where kids don’t want to miss a day.”

The school welcomes every Jew regardless of religious background or level of observance. The school does not require membership of any sort as a condition for enrollment. To register or learn about other after-school activities, call (305) 770-1919 or visit HebrewSchool.info.

 

Shelley Benveniste

Quebec Bill 59 Seeking to Protect Muslims by Quashing Free Speech

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Quebec’s Bill 59, titled “An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals,” has been raising concerns among Quebec residents and people across Canada. As the Center for Inquiry (CFI) has put it, “Human Rights actions in one province often set precedents for other jurisdictions,” and the unusually aggressive measures of Bill 59, should they become law, may threaten free speech everywhere in Canada.

Bill 59, introduced in June 2015, would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to censor speech that promotes “fear of the other.” It doesn’t provide details as to what constitutes such fear, which probably leaves the definition up to the QHRC, and its president, one Jacques Frémount. Back in 1964, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described his threshold test for obscenity (as opposed to legitimate film and literature) saying, “I know it when I see it.” This vague approach is bad enough when it comes to censuring x-rated media, but when it comes to actual free speech, the core of democracy, such vagueness is the stuff of state tyranny.

The CFI points out that the bill’s section 3 allows reporting of hate speech that hasn’t occurred but is anticipated. The section states: “The person can also report any situation that could contravene the prohibitions in section 2, in particular if the person has knowledge that such speech is about to be engaged in or disseminated or if the person has been asked to engage in or disseminate such speech.”

The third item of the bill’s Section 17 sets forth a proposed public record of those who have contravened this proposed legislation: “For the purposes of this Act, the Commission also … maintains an up-to-date list of persons who have been the subject of a decision concluding that they contravened a prohibition under section 2 and makes the list available on its website.”

Section 20 stipulates fines to be paid at between $1,000 and $10,000 with doubling if a prior contravention has occurred.

Section 24 goes after the livelihood of educators who have crossed the QHRC, suggesting that “a person whose name is on the list kept by the Commission … is considered to exhibit behavior that could reasonably pose a threat for the physical or emotional safety of the students.”

Pen Canada has stated that “Bill 59 poses a significant threat to free expression in Québec. Although this piece of legislation aims to combat hate speech and speech inciting violence specifically, its broad language coupled with restrictive prohibitions and significant penalties will place a chill on the expression of legitimate ideas and debate.”

“Not only does Bill 59 prohibit citizens from engaging in or disseminating hate speech, but also from acting in a way that causes the speech to be disseminated,” Pen Canada continues. “This language casts an alarmingly wide net. For those in heated political discussions, will the defense of ‘legitimately informing the public’ be sufficient against anonymous complaints to the Commission?”

A petition to “Stop Quebec Bill 59” spells out what the more polite websites objecting to the bill have not said: “People are trying to impose Islamic blasphemy law right here in Canada, RIGHT NOW! You may or may not have heard about the Quebec Bill 59 but it will affect us all. Bill 59 will enforce Islamic Sharia Law, making it a crime to question or criticize or ridicule an idea. This is a law that would explicitly infringe upon our rights to free speech. Be it in person, on a street, or even on the internet.”

And if you haven’t yet clicked away to add your name to the petition, the authors conclude: “This bill is not only not needed but flies in the face of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It criminalizes criticism of Islam and anything considered an Islamic practice (Honor killings, honor rape, female genital mutilation, female oppression, and beating of wives and children).”

Constitutional attorney Julius Grey commented recently that, “Quebec is not yet a police state, but it is an inspector-state.” True to that definition, Bill 59 has been adopted in principle by Québec’s National Assembly and is currently being studied in detail by the Committee on Institutions. Once the committee releases its report and the National Assembly votes to adopt it, the bill could become law.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quebec-bill-59-seeking-to-protect-muslims-by-quashing-free-speech/2016/09/11/

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