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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

When Good Children Go OTD

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The problem seems to be far worse than anyone thinks. We may even be at an epidemic level. Everywhere I turn these days it seems, I find a family where at least one child has gone OTD (Off the Derech–away from the religious path). Or at least does not follow the Hashkafic path laid out by their parents.

Many of them are all from fine families. Exemplars of great parenting. Nothing dysfunctional about them. The parents have many children all the rest of which are the obvious results child rearing by 2 great parents. Most of their children do fine in the Hashkafic milieu in which they were raised and in which they live. And yet it seem to be increasingly the case that at least one child has no interest in towing the family religious line.

In the families that I know about it seems the problems tend to begin in mid to late elementary school or early high school.

The question is why is this happening? What is it that is driving this OTD phenomenon in good families? It is very understandable when this happens in dysfunctional families where physical or mental abuse exists either between parents; between a parent and child; or both. It does not take rocket science to see why a child associates their strife their parent’s lifestyle. If they are a religious family, then religion is associated with that strife.

But what about the good families with good children where one of them does not want to have anything to do with their family’s religious way of life? Unfortunately I know of far too many situations like these. Hashkafos don’t seem to matter that much. I know families with an OTD child that are very right wing, moderate Charedi, and right wing Modern Orthodox. None of them are so strict as to warrant the kind of rebellion they have experienced from at least one child.

I have no real explanation. But I suspect it has something to do with the current pressure that schools and thereby parents put on their children to excel in their religiosity, Limudei Kodesh or Limudei Chol. I am constantly hearing about how schools of all Hashkafos are ‘rasining’ their standards. That is impacted negatively by the times in which we live. By that I mean the great distractions that now exists that did not exist in the past. Distractions that expose children to a much easier lifestyle than their parents insist upon. Distractions that take away from their study time. Distractions that cause them to question matters of faith. These are distractions that those of us over the age of 30 never had when we were growing up.

The internet, its ease of use and availability, and the ability to easily hide one’s involvement with it puts pressure on young people now – as never before. No matter how much we try to discourage it, limit it, or ban it, it is so pervasive that it is impossible to avoid the influence it has on children. Children can access anything they want as quickly as they can delete it from a screen. A child now has an unprecedented and unfettered window to the entire world. A little curiosity about a taboo subject will beget websites and images that can easily pull a child away from their parents’ influences. It is amazing that there aren’t even more OTD children than there are.

Coupled with this is the increased pressure put upon children in our day to be more religious and be better students than ever before.

The pressure to excel and adopt ever increasing Churmos into our lives has become so ingrained that not conform to these new standards is unacceptable.For example violating a Chumra is as painful to a family as violating a Halacha. I know one family that feels great pain that a child now uses non Chalav Yisroel products. I hasten to add that they are a very loving family – accepting of that child and allowing her to bring non Chalav Yisroel products into the home and use them freely. But it still pains them internally.

And how can any self respecting parent not want their child to excel in school? So with every increase in the amount of material to be mastered, there is a parental motive to see to it that their child measures up. Whether it is the Charedi standard of Limudei Kodesh or the MO academic standard. And in many cases – both.

If you combine the two phenomenon of increased pressure (whether religious or in the level of study)in the home and in school with the ubiquity of the internet – I think one can understand why the OTD phenomenon even in good homes might be near epidemic levels.

I would add that the fact that as the religious population increases, so too do the number of children going OTD – even if the percentages may be the same. But if I had to guess the percentages have increases too and not only the numbers.

I don’t know how to solve any of these problems. But I do have a few thoughts about it. First we ought to be aware of the problems and to recognize that we live in unprecedented times. One cannot for example ignore the internet. Nor can it be successfully banned. But one should do the best they can to set up parental controls, rules, and guidelines about its use. And avoid giving very young children hand held devices.

Of course the most important factor is to love our children unconditionally. Even – and perhaps especially – if they are at risk or OTD. They must know that they will always be loved; part of the family; and welcomed in the homes. Even if they are Mechalel Shabbos, and eat Treif. A bare headed son or daughter whose modesty does not measure up to family or community standards must be accepted. No matter what others in your community think! That may not bring them back. But it will for sure not push them away should they ever want to come back.

Another much harder thing to accomplish is to change the current penchant of religious schools to demand ever increasing religious standards for – not only their students but their parents.

The same thing is to be said with the ever increasing academic standards; or Torah study standards. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be top schools in an area of study in either Limudei Kodesh or Limudei Chol. But they should be special schools reserved for the very best, brightest and most highly motivated students among us. Putting a child that does not have those qualifications into schools like those will almost certainly set up them up for failure. And failure should never be an option.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

IDF Launches New Media Weapon in Information War against Hezbollah

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The IDF has launched new interaction media websites on the Hezbollah terrorist network in a pre-emptive strike to expose the rapidly expanding empire for what it is.

The vastly researched sites provide media outlets and, more importantly, the general public with a wealth of information that is designed to help Israel overcome the worldwide media bias in favor its enemies,

Operation Cast Lead in Gaza four years ago and the war in Lebanon proved how much foreign media were hell-bent to serve up reportage with a strongly pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas viewpoint.

Hezbollah’s move into Syria creates a gigantic threat to Israel, much more than Hamas or even Iran at this point. Hezbollah crippled northern Israel and surprised the IDF with advanced weapons and guerilla tactics in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and it has a huge stockpile of  missiles ready for launching to strike again.

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, the IDF’s director of the new Interactive Branch, told the Jewish Press and a select number of other media outlets Thursday that in last year’s Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation against a barrage of hundreds of missiles on southern Israel,  “mainstream media” did not accurately report the massive attacks on Israel.

Now the military is striking back with its new Interactive Media Branch, which is using 30 platforms for websites in several languages – Hebrew, English, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, French and Russian.

“I am not trying to change the media,” Lt. Col. Leibovitz said. In effect, the IDF is carrying the banner of social protest groups, from the Arab world to Europe and the United States, and getting its message across on a new website while counting on a growing following on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“The idea is similar in its concept of the military adapting to new war zones,” she explained. “This is a new media war zone  of interactive media.”

As of midnight tonight, the IDF has made available nine Hezbollah websites that are stocked with data and researched intelligence information exposing Hezbollah for what it is.

Although Leibovitz said she is not trying  to write an encyclopedia, the websites in fact provide a vast amount of information, with photographs, interactive maps, videos, and documented research, exposing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and not just a  political party. One website covers its illicit drugs and money laundering operations that bring in the funds to finance terror.

Other sites deal with Nasrallah, the Hezbollah media empire and its army of terror.

It is difficult to believe that foreign media all of a sudden will be nice to Israel, but the availability of the new websites for the general public may generate an even larger following on social media sites that will make it more problematic for media to portray Israel in an unfairly negative tone while treating organizations such as Hezbollah as a “militants” and “resistance fighters” trying to eliminate a supposed threat from Israel.

The IDF’s YouTube postings have received 35 million views. It has 340,000 followers in English on Facebook and 130,000 followers on Twitter, according to Leibovitz.

The new websites have been in the works for six months, staffed by approximately 30 regular soldiers and officers and with the cooperation of intelligence units and the Northern Command.

One of the leaders in developing the sites is 25-year-old Gabriel Freund, an immigrant from Australia, “I have been working for several months to get the site ready to tell the story of Hezbollah in a way that will be easy to share and understand,” he explained.”

Click here to reach the overall IDF site on Hezbollah, which provides link for nine others.

The Hezbollah youth movement

The Hezbollah youth movement

Alleged Canadian Bomb Plotter Made Anti-Semitic Statements

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

The suspect in the alleged plot to bomb the British Columbia Legislature wrote anti-Semitic statements online in March,

John Stewart Nuttall, 38, wrote, “The Jews killed Jesus (they are proud of it),” the Canadian Jewish News reported. He also wrote, “Israel attacked the USS Liberty in a false flag op to try and bring us to war. We are sick of the Jews trying to run our lives and it is about time they fought their own war.”

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told CJN, “The anti-Semitic comments and postings of the accused, which attempt to advance tired, idiotic stereotypes about Jews, appear to be part of a broader attitude of intolerance and hatred.”

Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody have been charged with plotting to attack the British Columbia Legislature on July 1, Canada Day, with pressure cooker bombs.

Savvy Israelis Ahead of US in Smartphone Internet Use

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Israel is ahead of the United States and Europe in the use of Internet on smartphones, and Israel is almost at the top of pack in the percentage of people owning smartphones, according to Google and other market surveys.

Israel is the country that gave the world chat instant messaging, disk on-key, Waze and MobileEye, among hundreds of other high-tech gadgets and computer programs.

The smartphone came to Israel in 2009, two years after it was launched in the United States and Europe, but Israelis have made up for lost time.

Approximately 93 percent of Israelis use Internet through smartphone, compared with 83 percent in the United States, and 77 percent watch YouTube, according to Google and Ipsos MediaCT surveys, which examine habits of smartphone use worldwide.

More than 57 percent of Israelis have a smartphone, up from 35 percent last year. At even half that rate of growth, Israelis will be the most smartphone-saturated country in the world next year. The penetration in France is only 42 percent and in Germany is 40 percent.

Approximately 60 percent of Americans are estimated to have smartphones, and 62 percent of Britons have the high-tech gadget.

Israelis have the popular habit of answering phones in the middle of a chupah or Brit Mila. The new marketing surveys show that half of Israelis feel comfortable in using their smartphones at social occasions. When using the smartphones in coffee shops, more than half of the respondents said they use one hand for holding the coffee cup and the other for the smartphone.

When Israelis start trying to speak with the coffee cups and drinking the smartphones, then we knew have a big problem.

Google to Buy Waze for $1.3 Billion

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Google will fork out $1.3 billion to buy the Israeli-based Waze social-friendly navigation app, the Hebrew-language Globes business newspaper reported Sunday. Waze’s staff reportedly will remain in Raanana.

Facebook reportedly was in front of the lineup to buy Waze, but Waze rejected the condition that its staff be transferred to the United States. Waze may also have been holding out for more money, and Google came up with the right price.

Apple had been rumored to be a potential bidder, but Apple CEO Tim Cook denied those reports.

Waze has soared in popularity, with more than 50 million users around the world, and that number is growing every day.

Google has shown that it loves Israel. In 2010, it bought up website gadget developer LabPixies for $25 million and interactive video-clip developer QuikSee for $10 million, and has set up a Google office here. Facebook, on the other hand, has closed down the Israeli operations of most of the companies it bought up.

The Waze app allows drivers using smartphone and tablet to share information on driving times and traffic situations, as well as the location of police radar traps, accidents and hazardous conditions. Based on user-shared information, it helps users find the fastest path to their destination taking into account traffic conditions and preferred routes.

The $1.3 billion price tag is more than 40 times the $30 million of financing Waze received less than year ago, three years after it was founded.  Waze’s founders will be instant multi-millionaires thanks to the Google purchase, which has not been officially confirmed.

But no one has denied the purchase eitehr. Waze told Globes “no comment,” and Google said, “We don’t relate to rumors and speculation.”

The influx of another $1.3 billion into Israel is great news for the Finance Ministry and for anyone purchasing items whose prices are based on the dollar. It is terrible news for exporters and for Israelis whose salaries come from the United States.

The influx of dollars will put downward pressure on the shekel-dollar rate, which dropped last week to 3.61 shekels to the dollar.

Last month. Warren Buffet paid out $2 billion to buy the remaining shares of the Iscar precision tool maker, and PepsiCo and Coca Cola are now rumored to be offering approximately $2 billion for the Israeli SodaStream manufacturer of machines that convert tap water into soda, and which had become an international hit.

The influx of those big bucks, along with the prospects of Israel’s exporting gas and bringing in more foreign currency, has strengthened the shekel. It also is a major headache for corporations and wage earners whose profits and salaries are in dollars and then converted to shekels.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has tried to battle the drop in the shekel-dollar rate by cutting the interest rate by a quarter of a percent, twice in two weeks, and announcing a $2 billion buying binge of dollars. So far, the “Fischer effect” has been negligible and the rate has continued to drop.

Following the report of the Google purchase of Waze, the exchange rate may drop again Monday when currency trading resumes, unless Fischer buys more dollars – lots of them.

Bad Publicity Spurs Internet Sales of Hitler Look-alike Tea Kettle

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Sales of a tea kettle that looks like Hitler have skyrocketed after publicity about the look-alike kettle on a California billboard caused so much commotion that the chain store hurriedly took it down.

The attention sparked by the initial publicity of the $40 stainless steel tea kettle, which was sold out on Penney’s website, where it now has been removed.

But business still is booming. eBay is offering the kettle for four times the price, at $199, or best offer.

It only takes a little imagination to see the kettle’s handles as Hitler’s hair parting, with the lid being his moustache and the spout a Nazi salute.

The power of suggestion from the publicity has made the kettle a hit among Nazi lovers.

JC Penney Tweeted, “If we had designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun.”

However, after the billboard picture originally had been posted, JC Penney stated on its Facebook page, “You won’t be able to stop yourself from whistling at us when you see this billboard off the 405 Freeway in LA!!! If you find it safely shoot us a pic if you can.”

Czech Jews Document Tripling of Online Anti-Semitism

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

The Jewish Community of Prague documented a tripling of online instances of anti-Semitic hate speech last year.

The increase, which the community links to a Jewish politician’s presidential bid, among other factors, was documented in an annual report on anti-Semitism published Tuesday.

The community documented 82 instances of online hate speech on Czech websites in the last year, compared to only 26 the previous year.

According to idnes.cz, a news site, the report attributes the increase to the presidential campaign ahead of elections last January. Jan Fischer, a Jewish politician, was considered a leading candidate but did not make it past the first round.

“The presidential elections have revealed a degree of latent anti-Semitism in some groups, but certainly did not indicate anti-Semitism in the majority or mainstream political speech,” the authors of the report wrote.

Other causes listed were a strategic shift in extreme-right circles to online activity; escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and warm relations between the Czech government and Israel, idnes.cz reported.

The authors recorded no physical assault or threats due to anti-Semitism in 2012 but registered six attacks on property and ten instances of harassment, mainly via email. The report further states that the overall prevalence of anti-Semitism is lower in the Czech Republic than in other European countries.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/czech-jews-document-tripling-of-online-anti-semitism/2013/05/16/

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