web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

Technology, the Move to the Right and The Jewish Press

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

We live in a world of great technological flux. When I was growing up, life was fairly predictable. Things hardly changed at all. Decades would go by and a newspaper stayed pretty much the same… reporting news, commentary, sports, and entertainment. TV was about network broadcast. TV news was the most widely used method for people to get the news.Telephones were land lines and used exclusively to make phone calls.

Then… at the tail end of the 20th century – along came cable TV, the VCR, the mobile telephone, and the internet. That changed everything. The world as we knew it then no longer exists. With the advent of these things and improvements to them occurring in near rapid fire fashion – the only thing that seems constant now… is change. The moment you buy one item, a new improved one comes along making the one you just bought obsolete. It’s truly hard to keep up. And it’s expensive to buy all these new items all the time. Not to mention the expense of data plans required to use most of them.

The most stable items of the past are now running the risk of extinction. Telephone calls are giving way to text messaging. Books are giving way to e-books. Newspapers are giving way to internet news sites.

As a lover of technology I used to be able to keep up on new developments. But things are happening so fast that I can no longer do that without spending time on it that I don’t have. Which is a bit distressing for a technophile like me.

One of the industries that seems to be suffering the most is the newspaper industry. Giants like the New York Times are struggling to stay alive. Weekly periodicals like Newsweek have already conceded defeat and have gone entirely electronic.

As it affects me and other observant Jews the idea that newspapers and books are becoming obsolete is not a good outcome. That is because of Shabbos. On Shabbos observant Jews turn off their electronics. It is a violation of Halacha to use electronic devices on that day. The reasons for that are complex and beyond the scope of this essay.

The elimination of electronics on our day of rest assures the continuation of the publication of Seforim and books that interest the observant reader. Like those published by ArtScroll. And it gives a reprieve from extinction to Orthodox newspapers and magazines. My observation is that there has never been a better time for them than right now.

Which brings me to three publications worthy of discussion. The Jewish Press, Mishpacha Magazine, and Ami Magazine. The two latter ones having debuted relatively recently. They both seem to be flourishing. With Ami, the newest ‘kid on the block’ catching up to rival Mishpacha in circulation.

These two magazines are quite modern in terms of design. With its glossy paper, good photography,state of the art layout and graphics they are easily on par with any secular counterpart like Time and the now defunct Newsweek. The articles are for the most part well written… and an easy read on a Shabbos afternoon. And for the most part pretty informative.

And then there is the Jewish Press. I believe they must be suffering a loss of readership because of competition from these magazines. If that is true, it is very sad although understandable. It’s hard to complete with a couple of ‘glossies’ who have some very talented regular columnists writing for them. Like Jonathan Rosenblum, Avi Shafran, Eitan Kobre, and Emanuel Feldman among others. They also try to cater to a broad based observant readership including Modern Orthodox Jews by featuring articles about Rav Hershel Shachter, the Rav, Rav Aharon Soloveichik and other non Charedi figures – placing them all in a good light forthe most part.

Although these glossies do a good job in attracting readers, they do not represent in any way a moderate all inclusive Hashkafa. Nor do they have the broad representation of Hashkafos as does the Jewish Press.

The truth is that the Jewish Press is really the best of the three in terms of what really counts – content. Even though I do not always agree with their editorial positions. The only thing missing is the ‘glossy’ look of its competitors. But on every other level it is better than both Ami and Mishpacha. There is no doubt in my mind that they represent every Hashkafa in a fair and unbiased way, They feature columnists from all segments of Orthodoxy. And they refuse to cater to the extreme right by not publishing pictures of women. Something both Mishpacha and Ami do. The Jewish Press is definitely fair and more balanced.

Buy It Now: School Supplies!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

School supplies?

I know what you’re thinking.

She is, without a doubt, totally and completely insane.

We just finished putting away the knapsacks, the school uniforms, the crayon stubs, errant markers and half finished bottles of Elmer’s glue that mysteriously defied the odds and survived the school year and she is thinking about school supplies??

Yup. You got that right. Because while most people associate hot dogs, pool parties and fireworks with the Fourth of July, for me Independence Day signifies the start of the school supply shopping season. I know, the summer has just started, the kids have barely gotten off to camp, but as soon as the last explosion of color has faded from the nighttime sky, it is time to start checking your Sunday paper for the sales, some of which are so good you should definitely stock up now for the entire year.

Hear me out before you dial the local insane asylum and give them my address.

Picture this: you are sitting at your desk or in your kitchen and you want to jot down a quick shopping list or a note to a family member. You grab a piece of copier paper that you keep on hand for your printer. Stop for one second and do the math. How much does that piece of paper actually cost you? If you bought that package of five hundred sheets of copier paper on sale for three dollars, you are paying six tenths of a penny per page. Now contemplate this. Instead of grabbing copier paper, you grab an eighty-page spiral notebook that you bought on sale during the summer for fifteen cents and rip out a single page. That paper costs you approximately two tenths of a cent per page, which means it is three times cheaper than copier paper and since many spiral notebooks come with perforated pages, you don’t have those annoying ragged pieces on the side when you rip the page out. While it may be true that we aren’t talking about significant sums of money here, those little chunks of change add up and, if you think about how many times during the week each family member needs a piece of paper, you may realize that in an average year you go through a lot of scrap paper. Of course, the truly thrifty among us will save every half used notebook that their kids bring home from school and use that for scrap paper, but I can’t really ask you to do that, can I?

What you need to remember as the days grow long and hot is that this is the time of year when assorted school supplies, including pens, pencils, glue, folders, paper, crayons, markers and more can be had at a fraction of their normal price and these sales are not repeated during the year. Take advantage now or be prepared to pay double or triple the price when your kids come home from school in the middle of the year and tell you they need yet another marble notebook.

Office supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples, mass merchandisers such as Walmart and Target, drugstores such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid and even major supermarket chains all offer amazing deals. Make some room and clean out a closet shelf or two. It’s time to hit the stores.

The best items to stock up on?

Looseleaf paper. While the days of finding filler paper on sale for ten cents a package are likely behind us, Staples will generally have one week during the summer when it is on sale for somewhere between twenty five and thirty three cents. Their during the year price for the same package of paper? $1.99. Now you tell me. Doesn’t it pay to stock up now? Teachers in the younger grades will generally prefer wide ruled paper, while teachers in older grades may prefer college rule and shockingly enough, your children may have a preference as well, so check with them because there is nothing more annoying than having ten packages of paper in your inventory and having your children say “but I don’t like that paper!”

Marble notebooks are another great buy this time of year and have evolved over the years into all sorts of colorful patterns that your kids will love. At approximately fifty cents apiece, on sale, they are another great buy as during the year they can run between two and three dollars each.

School glue. Yes, it is worth buying Elmer’s and you will likely find it on sale for somewhere around a quarter a bottle. It keeps forever so don’t worry about buying extra. Someone, somewhere, possibly even you, is likely to need it. Pens and pencils are another great buy and you will hopefully find ten or twelve packs of each on sale at two for a dollar. If your kids are little, buy a package or two of Crayola crayons. (Yes, it is well worth paying more for Crayola.) If your kids don’t need them this year, they will need them next year and you never know when they might come in handy on a road trip or some other occasion. At well under a dollar for a box of twenty-four you can afford to keep an extra package or two in the house.

Of course, there are items that have a shorter lifespan and need to be used within the year before they lose their effectiveness. Glue sticks for one. As they age, glue sticks tend to dry out, so while you should buy a bunch to have on hand (and for some reason kids tend to go through these at an alarming rate), don’t overbuy because they really don’t last. Markers are another item that have a limited shelf life. Always buy washable markers and splurge on Crayola – they last longer and the colors are more vivid. Should you have markers that have dried out, take off the cap and sprinkle a few drops of water on the colored portion of the marker. Put the cap back on, wait an hour or two and you may just find that your marker has been magically resurrected.

If you have older kids, this is the time of year to find the one item that will (hopefully) keep them organized and on schedule for the entire year – a planner. Teach them to write down their assignments and tests on a daily basis so they can see at a glance what is looming in their future and prepare accordingly. Both Target and Walmart get these school planners in just once, at the beginning of August. Buy them as soon as they come in because once they are gone, they are gone. Yes, you can probably find them in an office supply store. But at double the price.

So hang in there, take it slow, sip some iced tea and enjoy your summer. But hit the stores and take advantage of those sales. I promise you, come the first day of school you will be thrilled that you did.

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who has written for various websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients in addition to having written song lyrics and scripts for several full scale productions. She can be contacted at sandyeller1@gmail.com.

Summer Safety

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

While for many of us summer is synonymous with vacation, relaxation and a time for a well deserved break from the rigors of the daily grind, the dog days of summer bring with them the need for an extra dose of vigilance as we head for the pool, fire up the barbeque or just spend our days enjoying the great outdoors.

If you are lucky enough to have your own pool, make sure to take proper precautions as, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the number one cause of injury and death among children ages one to four. Children under age five represent nearly seventy five percent of child drowning fatalities, with eighty five percent of those fatalities taking place in residential pools – so while there is no question that pools equal fun, never forget that especially for small children, pools can be deadly. Be sure to install a fence at least four feet high with self-opening and closing latches as well as a lockable safety cover on the pool. Supervise kids very closely around water and be prepared for emergencies: know CPR, basic lifesaving skills and always take a phone to the pool area in case of an emergency. Be sure to keep children away from pool drains and check with your pool service provider to make sure that drains are compliant with all regulations. Finally, if you notice that you can’t find one of your kids, be sure to check the pool first, because once a child is in the water, a delay of even a few seconds can literally mean the difference between life and death.

If it is the smell of a freshly grilled steak that really screams summer to you, then by all means, enjoy the protein-fest, but do it safely. Never grill indoors, which can create carbon monoxide, and before barbequing, check air-tubes and hoses for holes or blockages. Situate your grill on a level surface, away from buildings, dry leaves and other combustibles. Use long handed utensils to avoid burns and splatters and skip the loose fitting clothes when you are manning the grill. Keep a fire extinguisher, water or a bucket of sand nearby for emergencies and use baking soda if needed to control a grease fire. With recent news stories of several cases of metal bristles breaking off grill brushes and becoming embedded in food creating major health hazards to those who unwittingly ingested them, toss your metal grill brush and clean your grill either with a grill stone or even a piece of crumpled up aluminum foil.

Keep germs at bay by marinating food in the refrigerator and then discarding the marinades once they have been used for raw meat, fish or poultry. Cook food thoroughly and never use the same utensils or platters for raw and cooked foods. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold: consider keeping cold food chilled by serving on platters placed on a bed of ice and keep hot food at or above 140 degrees. Discard food that has been kept outside for more than two hours and if the temperature is over ninety degrees, toss any food that has been out longer than one hour.

Thinking about a road trip? Be sure to tune up your car, get an oil change and check your wipers, headlights, turn signal, fluid levels as well as tire pressure. (Don’t forget to check the pressure on your spare tire as well!) Make sure your car is stocked with a first aid kit, vehicle owner’s manual, flashlight, tire pressure gauge, an extra set of keys, water and emergency tire inflator and sealant. Plan your route in advance and don’t even consider leaving your house without maps or a GPS. If you don’t have a GPS, try borrowing one from a friend or check your local newspaper to find out if there is a GPS gamach in your area. Especially during peak weekends, try to travel late at night or in the early morning and no matter when you travel, check the traffic websites, such as trafficland.com, to see road conditions. If you have a smartphone, there are great apps that will give you both a GPS and traffic conditions, so do your homework and find one that works for you.

Bangladeshi Pro-Israel Journalist Pushes On Amid Charges Of Fraud

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

DHAKA, Bangladesh – Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury sat at the cafe of the five-star Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in downtown Dhaka – capital of the third-largest Muslim nation on earth – proclaiming his love for Israel and the Jewish people.

“I am a Zionist and a friend of Israel,” he told JTA in a voice loud enough to be heard by hotel guests and local businessmen sipping their afternoon tea at nearby tables.

But nobody paid any attention. That in itself, said Choudhury, represented enormous progress in the impoverished People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

“Before 2003, you could not utter the word Israel in this country,” the devout Muslim said during a lengthy interview. “Now we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and all the Jewish community in Dhaka participates. Even in some Bangladeshi media, they now allow positive articles on Israel. And I am more vocal than ever before.”

Choudhury, 46, is publisher of the English-language Weekly Blitz – one of hundreds of newspapers in this overcrowded, predominantly Muslim nation of 160 million. He’s also, according to some Jews in the United States and Israel who once supported him, a fraud.

On Nov. 29, 2003, half a year after he began publishing his anti-jihadist tabloid, the media mogul and father of two was arrested at Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Bangkok with connections to Tel Aviv.

“I was tortured with electric shocks. They put nails in my ear. They broke my kneecap with a hockey stick. I was interrogated for 15 days and not allowed to bathe,” he said. “They told me, ‘confess you’re a Zionist spy. Otherwise, why do you support Judaism?’ I said that I’m a good Muslim, and a good Muslim must trust the Jews and Christians. And I’m proud of that.”

On Jan. 24, 2004, barely two months after his initial arrest, Choudhury was charged with sedition, treason and blasphemy. Eventually the sedition charge was dropped, and he was freed on bail in April 2005. His office was later firebombed, he was beaten by mobs and at one point briefly kidnapped by members of Bangladesh’s feared Rapid Action Battalion.

Richard Belkin, a Chicago doctor and Jewish activist, heard about Choudhury’s plight and petitioned U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to intervene on the journalist’s behalf. In February 2007, a resolution co-sponsored by Kirk and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) demanding that Bangladesh drop all remaining charges against Choudhury passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 409 to 1.

The unlikely pro-Israel crusader quickly became the darling of the literary world.

Brenda West, writing in the online New English Review, noted that “many newspapers and institutions sang his praises with weekly articles. The Wall Street Journal carried admiring articles about him, as did many other newspapers, and bloggers flooded the Internet with their awe-stricken appreciation of what looked like Choudhury’s dedication to Western humanistic principles.”

Yet soon after his release on bail, allegations began surfacing that Choudhury was a ruthless con artist with a criminal past and a pseudo-journalist guilty of plagiarism who had strong Islamist connections before he inexplicably became an anti-Islamist. Some have even suggested that Choudhury may be an agent posing as a friend of the Jews in order to raise money for Islamic fundamentalist organizations.

Belkin, who runs a website that exposes alleged Muslim ethnic cleansing of minority Hindus in Bangladesh, has not spoken to Choudhury in several years. Asked why by JTA, he declined to explain. Nevertheless, Belkin expressed nothing but admiration for the man he helped rescue.

Other Jews who had stood up for Choudhury are less kind.

In March 2011, Aryeh Yosef Gallin, founder and president of the Root and Branch Association – a nonprofit group that promotes cooperation between Israel and other nations – expelled Choudhury from its Islam-Israel Fellowship after reports surfaced that the Bangladeshi had bilked “emotionally vulnerable single Jewish ladies” out of tens of thousands of dollars.

West, a self-described “Jewish woman and patriotic American who became very involved in counter-jihad work after 9/11,” told JTA that “subsequent research, easily available to anyone who bothered to do a little bit of reading, showed that he was a total fraud with criminal ties. He had swindled not just two ardent Jewish supporters but everyone in the Zionist and counter-jihad movement who believed in him.”

Fan-tastic!

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer. Long afternoons sitting in a lounge chair, sipping a tall glass of iced lemonade as you enjoy the latest novel, a gentle breeze caressing your face…is there anything like it?

No, there most certainly is not.

Because while you may be fantasizing about the perfect summer day, it’s time for a reality check. More often than not, summer temperatures tend towards sweltering and unless we are of the blessed few who has a pool (or better yet, has a close friend or family member with a pool), we generally spend a significant portion of our summer holed up inside enjoying the air conditioning because it is so beastly hot outside. And while running the air conditioning may be a great way to beat the heat, one fine day the mailman is going to bring that dreaded electric bill, and you may find yourself totally losing your cool when you discover how much it costs to keep your home at a pleasant temperature.

Fear not. I am not going to suggest you set your thermostat at a balmy 80 degrees, avoid turning on your oven and keep a fan blowing on a bowl of ice cubes to save money and stay cool. But I am going to clue you in to possibly the best home improvement we have ever made in our humble abode: installing a whole house fan.

Not to be confused with an attic fan, which does nothing, more than pull hot air out of your attic, a whole house fan can be a gift from heaven if you know how to use it and when. Generally installed in the attic, a whole house fan is an exhaust system that pulls the hot air out of the house, drawing it into the attic and completely out of your house by way of an attic vent, while at the same time bringing the outside air into the house through open windows. It is the perfect solution for beating the heat when the days are hot but the mornings and nights are cool and pleasant. It will cool off an entire house quickly, and considerably more economically than an air conditioner by replacing the air in your house with the cooler outsider air. If your house is well insulated, keep your windows closed during the heat of the day and run your whole house fan in the cooler hours of morning, late evening and nighttime, giving you the ability to beat the heat for just a fraction of the price of running your air conditioner.

There are a few things to remember about a whole house fan. For starters, if it is humid out, running your whole house fan is a very bad idea. After all, do you really want to fill your house with uncomfortably moist, humid air? Also, make sure you have screens on any windows that are open while the fan is running or every bug in a two block radius is likely to get sucked into your house by the fan’s powerful motor. Closing windows in unused rooms will give you even better airflow in rooms that you really want to cool, but most importantly, make sure that you never, ever, turn on a whole house fan with all of your windows closed or the backdraft created by the fan can blow out any pilot lights you might have in your house (think gas hot water heater, dryer or oven), creating potentially dangerous carbon monoxide situations.

The most common place to mount a whole house fan is in a hallway ceiling. Ceiling mounted whole house fans fall into two different categories: those with direct drive motors, where the fan blades are attached directly to the shaft of the fan motor, and those with belt driven motors which are larger diameter fans with four or more blades. Because direct drive motors operate at higher speeds than their belt driven counterparts, they tend to be noisier and while the noise level is one of the negatives associated with whole house fans, in recent years, and with proper installation, fans have become considerably quieter and, thankfully, no longer sound like a jetliner taking off in the middle of your hallway. Ducted whole house fans, which are mounted in the attic, away from the actual living space of the house, are the new kids on the block and operate at much lower noise levels that ceiling mounted fans. With flexible ductwork running from the attic to individual rooms, ducted whole house fans vent the air directly out of the house instead of through attic vents and tend to be more expensive than ceiling mounted units.

Zuckerberg Stiffs Waiter in Jewish Restaurant

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Honeymooning Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his bride, Priscilla Chan, paid $40 for lunch at a Jewish restaurant in Rome’s historic ghetto but did not leave a tip, according to Italian media.

Newspapers ran pictures of what they said was the billionaire couple’s bill at the Nonna Betta restaurant — Jewish style artichokes and fried zucchini flowers (both Roman Jewish specialties) as starters; one order between them of ravioli stuffed with artichokes and sea bass; tea and water.

The total came to just 32 euro – about $40 — including the cover charge for bread that is normal for restaurants in Italy.

Staff at the restaurant were quoted in newspapers as saying the couple did not leave any gratuity.

“I asked him ‘how was it?,’ and he said ‘very good,’ ” Nonna Betta’s owner was quoted as telling the Corriere della Sera newspaper. “I had gone up to him and said, ‘Are you …?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ ”

Media reports said the couple went on to Capri after Rome.

2,300 Palestinian Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Some 2,300 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails went on hunger strike Tuesday to commemorate “Palestinian Prisoner’s Day” and protest what they claim are inadequate conditions.

According to the Israel Prison Service, around 1,200 prisoners commenced an open-ended hunger strike, while the remaining prisoners declared that they would refuse food on Tuesday as a symbolic expression of solidarity.

Among the demands being made are an end to administrative detention and solitary confinement, visitation rights for families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip, and access to newspapers and more television channels. Prisoners are also protesting unscheduled night searches of their cells and the comprehensive searches their visitors are subject to upon entering the prison.

Eight pro-Palestinian activists that arrived in Israel to participate in the “flytilla” over the weekend and are currently being held at Givon Prison also declared that they will refuse food “in solidarity with the April 17 Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.”

Hunger strikes have become another component in the strategy to embarrass Israel and pressure it to make concessions. They have gained in popularity after the “successful” 67-day hunger strike of Khader Adnan, which ended when Israel agreed to release him upon the expiration of his four-month administrative detention term. Adnan is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

“Palestinian Prisoner’s day” is the latest attempt to load the Palestinian calendar with days of mass mobilization and action. Last year saw violence on Nakba day (a day that marks Israel’s independence as the Palestinians’ ‘catastrophe’), and Naksa day (a day that marks Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War as a Palestinian ‘setback’). Most recently, the Global March to Jerusalem on March 30 – the goal of which was to infiltrate Israel’s borders and counter Israel’s “Judaization” of Jerusalem – saw a tepid turnout and was considered a failure.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/2300-palestinian-prisoners-begin-hunger-strike/2012/04/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: