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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘phone’

While in NYC, Bibi Devours Traditional Jewish Food

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

While staying at a Manhattan hotel, on Friday the Israeli prime minister made a phone “to go” purchase from Pomegranate, a kosher supermarket at 1507 Coney Island Ave in Midwood, Brooklyn. The establishment is owned by a Satmar chassid.

Shimi Schwartz and Shlomi Leitner, both employees of Pomegranate, told the website JDN that the PM insisted on sampling absolutely every item on the delivery menu, including gefilte fish, tcholent, kugel, and challah.

The two employees reported that the order had been made very close to the start of Shabbat, when most workers were already headed home, but senior chef Meir Iluz, a former resident of Israel, got on top of the order and made sure it arrived on time.

The order came to some $1,800 – not including the delivery tip. The premier appeared satisfied with the contents.

Going In Circles

Friday, September 14th, 2012

When people ask me what kind of column I write for The Jewish Press, I say, “advice,” but I actually make those quotes with my fingers. I don’t think I’ve actually saved any lives yet. But this column is still great way to vent about your problems, so long as you can figure out how to put them in the form of a question.

Dear Mordechai,

The guy next to me on the road is talking on his phone while driving. Is he trying to get us all killed?

Sent from my iPhone

Dear Sent,

I would say you should stay right on him, lean on your horn, and don’t stop. Eventually, he’ll have to hang up.

This all makes us long for the good old days, when phones were attached to people’s houses, so there was only a limited distance that you could drive with them, depending on the size of your cord. Most people couldn’t leave their neighborhoods.

But the truth is this kind of multitasking is nothing new. People have always been doing other things while driving, and people have always been doing other things while talking on the phone. Before we spent all our driving time staring at our phones, we were eating, finding something good on the radio, shaving, clipping our toenails, blindly groping for things our kids dropped under the seat, and passing back open drinks. And back when we had separate devices for phoning and computing, we would only half pay attention to the people we were on the phone with, who would think they had our full attention until we mumbled, “Uch, where are all the jacks?”

“Um, are you playing solitaire?”

“No, I’m… playing jacks.”

It’s not like the really old days, when phones came in two separate pieces – one for the ear and one for the mouth — and the wire was six inches long, so to talk on the phone, people had to lean over them and use both hands. Maybe that would solve the problem.

Or maybe not. People text with both hands too.

Dear Mordechai,

Why does everyone in my shul walk so slowly during Hoshanos? I need to get to work.

Sent from my iPhone

Dear Sent,

I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be suggesting we all walk faster while holding lulavim.

No shul I’ve ever been to has ever managed to do any better. They could bring in city planners to figure out the best route around the shul, and they could move tables and put up traffic signs, and people will still take shortcuts across corners and merge back in, which, in the end, makes the line go even slower. .

Half of them don’t even realize they’re merging. They’re just looking down at their siddurim and following the tallis in front of them.

Somehow I always end up with a guy in front of me going really slow, and a guy behind me leaning on my back. Or else the guy behind me is a kid, and every time the guy in front of me makes a short stop, the kid pokes me in the back with his lulav. Not that I blame him. The poor kid, with his tiny hands, can’t hold a thousand-page Artscroll machzor and a lulav and an esrog that is bigger than his hands. None of us can really hold all that and turn the page (because somehow you always have to turn the page. That’s the other nice thing about the Artscrolls).

So you figure, “Look, the chazzan is saying everything out loud, 3 words at a time. Why do I need my own siddur?” But then as soon as he’s done, there’s a whole paragraph that you have to say by yourself, and it’s going to take you ten minutes to get back to your seat, because the chazzan, when he finishes, is somehow right back at his shtender, but everyone else is on the exact opposite side of the shul from where they need to be. So yes, you need to have a siddur with you, so you can say the paragraph while blindly making your way to your seat.

We don’t have this problem on Simchas Torah. We go around the shul then too, but people are running, they’re holding each other’s shoulders, weaving in and out, and everything’s fine. And this is on top of Torahs and piggyback riders and sticky hands from all the candy. And I’m not even talking about the kids. But on Sukkos, those same people can’t manage to make it around one time.

Netanyahu Rosh Hashanah Message Highlights Gov’t Achievements

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a Rosh Hashanah youtube message yesterday highlighting his government’s achievements throughout the year, displaying one government achievement per month.

Examples given in the video include the return of Gilad Shalit, increasing funding for education allowing children to attend school from age three, and allowing other companies to use cell phone infrastructure, adding several new cell phone companies to the market with significantly lower prices.

The video, below, is in Hebrew.

The Master Conductor Of All Events

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The incident occurred during The Three Weeks when work at my place of employment for the summer months came to a standstill. I was to meet with a couple of high school buddies of mine at the train shelter in Cedarhurst, from where we had planned to walk to the park.

It was only a few seconds into our walk when I realized that I was missing my cell phone. Even as I searched my pockets, to no avail, I already knew that I had left my blackberry behind at the shelter and hoped I’d find it sitting idle on the bench.

My heart sank. The bench was bare and there was no phone to be found. I borrowed my friend’s phone and dialed my number. A woman answered but spoke only Spanish and didn’t seem to understand anything I was saying. I asked her to put someone on the phone that spoke English. A man said hello.

I explained that they had my phone and asked them to return it to the place where they had found it. The man replied that this would not be possible since he was on the train headed for Jamaica. When I told him he had no right to take it and that I would report him to the police, the phone went dead.

Despite my frustration, my gut instinct told me that my blackberry wasn’t gone for good and that I would be seeing it again. Still, I was no longer in a mood to visit the park and returned home where I used our landline to badger the thieves, determined not to lose track of my phone’s whereabouts. The scenario kept repeating itself; the woman would answer and upon my insistence hand the phone to the same man, until he abruptly terminated the call after saying he had reached his stop and needed to get off.

I called again, but there was no answer. Shortly thereafter our phone rang – the ID displaying my cell number. It was Nanda, my grandmother’s longtime housekeeper who’d been with the family since my mother was a little girl.

“Did you lose a phone?” she asked my mother.

“Yes, Josh did,” answered my mom. “How in the world did you end up with his phone?” she asked the woman who knew us well.

Nanda explained that she was riding the LIRR when a female commuter about to disembark tossed the phone at her.

A startled Nanda checked the blackberry and was even more surprised to find that several recent incoming calls were made from none other than our home number – one she was quite familiar with. That’s when she called us, figuring we’d be able to shed light on the mystery of her unexpected “gift.” (If they weren’t already aware that cell phones can not only be disabled but tracked as well, I had made sure to let the thieves know that their prize find could end up costing them dearly.)

Nanda was scheduled to work for someone in our neighborhood the following day and was more than happy to stop by with my phone. Needless to say I was immensely grateful to her, and more so to Hashem, who saved me the expense of acquiring a new phone, as well as the major hassle of attempting to replace all the accumulated personal data.

The chances of Nanda being in that car of that train at that time and the one passenger (among many) chosen to be the recipient of my blackberry was remote at best. It could only have been arranged by the One that coordinates every aspect of our daily lives.

Netanyahu Touts Economic Achievements in Face Global Crisis

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

At the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted his government’s economic accomplishments and the strength of the Israeli economy relative to the global economy.

“The world is still in a continuing economic crisis, the worst to strike the global economy in 80 years, Netanyahu said. “We are obliged to tighten our belt in order to maintain the Israeli economy.”

Nevertheless, Netanyahu said the government has taken action to increase social welfare programs including making education free starting at age three, which just took affect and providing free dental care for children up to age 12.

The Prime Minister said that extending free education to children to the age of three would save the average household NIS 800 ($200) a month.

He also pointed to the reforms in cellar phone market forcing cell phone companies to share their infrastructure, which has allowed several new companies to emerge offering unlimited cell phone plans at NIS 100 ($25) per month or less.

Netanyahu said these moves were “the most social thing” to do, referencing the attacks made on the government by social justice protestors and Labor party leader Shelly Yachamovitch.

In addition, Netanyahu cited the most recent unemployment report putting the unemployment rate for July at 6.5%, which Netanyahu said was “lower than the unemployment rate in the US, Europe and almost every other developed state.”

Netanyahu also addressed Iran’s nuclear program, reiterating his position that diplomacy has failed because the world has not set clear red lines.

The IAEA “report confirms what we have been saying for some time,” Netanyahu said. “While the international sanctions are indeed making things difficult for the Iranian economy, they are not delaying the progress of the Iranian nuclear project.”

According to the report, Iran doubled the number of centrifuges in its nuclear facility near Qom, which is buried deep in a mountain and considered immune to Israeli attack.

Although not all these centrifuges are operational, according to The New York Times, the facility has three-fourths the amount of centrifuges it would need to be completely operational.

The Times also reported that the agency found evidence of an extensive clean up  at another cite where IAEA inspectors believe explosives tests may have been conducted.

Hungry on the Road? Your Smart Phone Knows the Best Kosher Places

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Have you ever been on the road, realized you were hungry, but had no idea where to get kosher food?  We’ve all had that experience.  But you don’t need to anymore.  “Kosher Near Me” is a smartphone software application (“app”) that will allow you to find kosher food pretty much wherever you are.

Jonathan Myron is a software developer.  Myron also keeps kosher.  In June, 2007 Myron decided it was time to launch a website he called LocateKosher.com.  The site was self-explanatory, and it was pretty useful, but it suffered from a nearly insurmountable hazard – the data became stale very quickly.  There is no greater poison for a website than having outdated information.   Myron imagined that someday, smartphones would evolve sufficiently that they would be the appropriate hosting mechanism for his concept.

That day arrived.  In April, 2011, Myron launched the KosherNear.Me mobile app  compatible with Android phones, the iPhone app was launched in January, 2012, and this April, the KosherNear.Me for Windows mobile went live.

How does it work?

To download the app to your phone, all you need to do is go to your smartphone’s app outlet, and then download – it’s free.  The KosherNear.Me information has been integrated into the LocateKosher.com website.

Because smartphones have a built-in navigation system, all you need to do is click on the app, enter within what range you want to find kosher food, and the listings will appear on your phone.  Conversely, you can enter a specific zip code or search by city, if you are the type to actually plan ahead.  The app also allows you to pull up directions to your destination, and it has a “click to call” button so that you can make reservations or call to find out whether the sweet and sour meatballs are on the menu that night, and it displays an immediate icon so that you know whether a restaurant has meat, dairy or parve options.

What Myron is most excited about, though, is that the mobile application allows for immediate feedback by actual users, which then translates into greater utility for those on the kosher food hunt.  The consumers have become an integral part of the database building mechanism.

KosherNear.Me now has approximately 10,000 users, a steady stream of which provide instant feedback to the site.  That feedback includes names of new kosher outlets, information about restaurants which have closed or changed kashrut supervision, and ratings information.  In turn, the app remains current and the level of detailed information expands. This is a huge step forward from “computer-docked” sites.

According to Myron, KosherNear.Me receives feedback from approximately 25 – 40 users per week.  Part of that feedback includes suggestions for making the site even better, and KosherNear.Me has incorporated many of those suggestions.  For example, a recent suggestion was made to allow sorting of restaurants by specific certification authority, so that  non-relevant listings don’t clutter users’ phone screens.  Myron expects this capability to be available within the next few weeks.

As of August, when The Jewish Press spoke with KosherNear.Me’s developer, there were more than 2o00 restaurants, bakeries or cafes within the app’s database.  The service is available throughout the United States, and is just about completed for use throughout Canada.  By late September the entire English-speaking world will be able to find food that is “kosher near them.”  The next projected build-out will include all the kosher food establishments throughout Europe.

When asked what the biggest obstacle has been for making the KosherNear.Me app successful, Myron’s response was immediate: “New York City.”  He called it a “moving target,” because establishments “come and go so quickly.” There are approximately 800 – 1000 kosher food establishments in New York City, alone.

Because KosherNear.Me tracks a specific aspect of Jewish life, it allows some generalizations to be drawn about the kosher-eating segment of the American Jewish community.  And the news is that services to that community are growing, with tremendous increases seen not only in New York City, but also in New Jersey, California and Miami.

KosherNear.Me is on Twitter and Facebook, so users can share immediate information with others, as well as with the app’s software developers.

One pleasant sidenote the California-based Myron was happy to share, is that Las Vegas has a surprising number of good, kosher restaurants.  Who knew?

 

 

 

Survey Finds Opening for Israeli Advocacy in Non-Western Countries

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

A BBC Sponsored Public Opinion Survey by the Globespan group has found openings for Israeli PR in the non-Western World.

The survey, conducted annually for the BBC, asked 24,090 people from 16 countries to rate countries from “mostly negative” to “mostly positive” on a scale. While Israel itself was rated, no one from the state of Israel was asked to rate other countries. Interviews were conducted either by phone or in person, depending on country.

While Israel’s favorability was rated most positive in the United States with 50% of participants viewing Israel very favourably, strong neutral or positive opinions were found in Nigeria (54% favourable), Kenya (49% favourable), India (54% neutral), Japan (52%) and Russia (49%).

As expected, The Islamic world viewed Israel in negative terms, led by Egypt (85% negative) and Indonesia (63%). The view was followed by Europe and Western Countries, with Canada (59%), France (65%), Great Britain (68%), Germany (69%) and Spain (71%) portraying negative viewpoints. The only countries with worse ratings then Israel were Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.

When asked to justify the ratings, citizens around the world viewed Israeli foreign policy (45% of participants) as a controversial factor. In contrast, Jewish traditions and culture were cited as the lead positive factor by participants.

The survey challenges Israel’s traditional Western-centric foreign policy, and finds openings for development of relations with other countries. In 2011, Israel’s main trade partners were with the United States and European countries, followed distantly by the Far East. In addition, Israel traditionally considers the Western bloc to be its closest ally, often relying on the block’s political power for support in bodies such as the United Nations. This survey finds an opening for Israeli advocacy in non-Western countries where Israel is viewed more favourably.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/survey-finds-opening-for-israeli-advocacy-in-non-western-countries/2012/08/16/

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