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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘phone’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

A Reader’s Compelling Argument:
Is Dor Yeshorim obligated to release one’s lost ID number?

Dear Rachel,

My name is Sholom and I’d like to share with you my ongoing experience with Dor Yeshorim. I believe strongly in my position but I would appreciate a reasoned response from a dissenting point of view.

I took the Dor Yeshorim test last year together with my friend. I lost my ID number. As you probably know, Dor Yeshorim is a genetic testing program to determine genetic compatibility between potential shidduchim. Test results are not disclosed but rather a unique ID number is attached to the file and given to the tested.

In addition to this number, the file contains some bits of personal information, such as home phone number (from which you must call to check compatibility), date of birth, gender and time and place of testing.

If the ID number is lost, Dor Yeshorim’s policy mandates a new test be taken; there is no way they will disclose any information without the ID number present. If I provide my phone number (and call from that number), as well as my date of birth, gender and date and location the test was administered, and all these pieces of information collectively only match one file, then what doubt could exist that this file is mine?

Certainly no reasonable doubt, and I believe none at all, but still Dor Yeshorim insists this is too risky and they are not comfortable going by this, which brings me to my next point: I have autonomy. If DY is not comfortable skydiving, I may skydive. If DY is not comfortable with this “risk,” which in my opinion is non-existent, why should they be allowed to impose upon me? If all my information matches only one file and I am prepared to shoulder the responsibility from here on in, so why then should DY make such a decision for me? This decision should be mine to make.

Lastly, and I would like to hear a rabbinic response to this, I believe that DY is obligated to return my number which has the status of a lost object after I provide two identifying signs. Any ideas on how I could convince Dor Yeshorim legally or rabbinically to release my ID number would be very appreciated.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing any response.

Fairness in numbers

Dear Fairness,

The way we understand it, Dor Yeshorim runs a tight ship and has upheld its rules since the day of its inception in the 1980s. One rule put in place specifies that a person who loses his or her identification number will need to be retested. The entire system is based on anonymity and DY can therefore not connect one with his or her test result file without that vital ID number.

Even if, as you say, you can provide your phone number, date of birth, etc., technically an individual other than you can be in possession of all of this personal information and pose as you. Remote as this may actually be, it seems that the rules instituted by this organization are ironclad and not meant to be broken.

Still and all, your argument is a most persuasive one. Since this column submits to being neither a speaking head for Dor Yeshorim nor a rabbinical authority in any sense of the term, readers are welcome to contribute their views on this young man’s delicate quandary.

Refraining from Vaccinating our Children against Chickenpox: Prudent or ill advised?

Dear Rachel,

My 10-month old recently came down with a full-blown case of chickenpox, and while I was trying to be vigilant in not having it spread to other children, I was floored by how many moms commented that they wished their children would catch it. This is one of those infectious diseases children receive immunizations for (my older children have been vaccinated), yet these moms do not allow their tots to receive this protection. (The vaccine is not administered to babies in their first year of life.)

I questioned one mother about her attitude and her take was that she felt safer with her children contracting chickenpox rather than being injected with lab-induced chemicals. She argues that we’ve all had the chickenpox as kids and survived it.

Rethinking My Social Connections

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Internet usage is something many of us have been thinking about in this post-Asifa world. I am not writing this to debate the effectiveness of Asifa-type events but only to suggest that since the Citi Field Asifa people aren’t as reluctant to talk about the Internet as they use to be. We are discussing, in a positive manner, Internet safety while projects such as the Internet Shiur series created by Rabbi Gil Student and Dovid Teitelbaum are educating and informing people about Internet use.

While I am not as active as some people, I do spend time online. I am told I have a “web presence” and my digital footprint does include blogs, Facebook, and a little Twitter. I have decided, however, that I need to become less socially connected.

Over the past number of weeks I have heard and read several ideas I believe are worth sharing.

Rav Moshe Weinberger (Congregation Aish Kodesh, Woodmere, New York) has mentioned in several of his shiurim over the years that one of the greatest problems facing us today is the effect of shallowness and depression. He says, quoting the author of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, that atzilus (depression or sadness) is really the feeling of not being connected to the Makor Chaim, the true source of life.

When Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein (founder and director of Ohr Naava) spoke at the Asifa for the Five Towns, he described the Internet as being an artificial world that becomes attractive because we don’t find meaning in this world.

Most recently I heard Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum (founder and director of Jewish Media Resources) address a group in Chicago and he mentioned that in a study of high school students in Israel more than half the respondents said their goal in life was “to be famous.” He observed that one of the attractions of Facebook and Twitter is that we want people to pay attention and notice us.

His words hit home. Most of my own activity on Facebook wasn’t spent searching for people who needed Tehillim said on their behalf (Facebook happens to be a great way for people to let others know if and for whom tefillos are being requested) but rather to validate my own life. While I think there is value in social networking, connecting with old friends and sharing good news, I realized I was becoming a little too socially connected.

I decided to take action. The small steps I’ve taken so far are not original in any way but they do seem to be working for me. I deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone (but not Facebook Messenger). Getting rid of those two apps has not only made me feel like less of an eved, a slave, to my phone, it has helped me reclaim the power of bechira, free will.

When I come home from work in the evening I have started putting my smartphone in “airplane” or “flight” mode, which turn off all wireless signals. I do this so that I am not distracted by my phone when I am with my family. After my kids go to sleep, I either turn my phone back on to look at my e-mails or I check the old fashioned way, on a computer. And I now only go onto Facebook every two or three days.

As the days get closer to Tisha B’Av and I mourn the loss of the place where Knesses Yisrael had the strongest connection with Hashem, I can’t help but think about the importance and the value of true connections.

Neil Harris lives in Chicago, where he works in the healthcare industry. When time allows he maintains a blog called Modern Uberdox at www.uberdox.blogspot.com.

Yitzhak Rabin Assassin to Be Released from Solitary Confinement

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Yigal Amir will finish 17 years in solitary confinement after shooting Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to death in 1995.  The assassin will join between one and three other inmates in a locked cell and be allowed time to walk in the prison yard for just two hours a day.  Amir is serving a life sentence without parole.  In the coming days he will also be able to meet with other prisoners, watch television, and receive more phone calls and visitors.

Israeli Chess Champion Loses Match, Wins Hearts

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Though a sudden-death match led to his defeat, a new Israeli hero has gained international recognition– and local celebrity – as a chess champion.

Belarus-born chess grandmaster Boris Gelfand, 43, lost Wednesday’s world chess championship in Moscow to title holder Viswanathan Anand of India.  Gelfand came one point shy of victory in a rapid tiebreaker, after playing 12 games with Anand.

Yet the title match earned Gelfand thousands of fans in Israel and around the world, with so many Israelis logging on to the website of the Israel Chess Federation to view the match that the site crashed.

Thousands of new friends have signed up for Gelfand’s fan page on Facebook, including many Russians, who came out in droves to support Russian-speaking Gelfand at the Moscow match.

Despite his loss, Gelfand’s efforts made the front pages of Israeli newspapers and topped the evening news.  Gelfand received congratulatory phone calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.  According to the Associated Press, chess enthusiast, former Prisoner of Zion and current head of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky – who helped Gelfand immigrate to Israel in 1998 – received several phone calls from the prime minister during the match, to discuss Gelfand’s moves and strategy.

Israel is a top five chess nation, boasting 50 chess grandmasters and medals from the Chess Olympiads. Almog Burstein, executive director of the Israel Chess Federation told the Associated Press that some 3,000 Israelis play in chess leagues throughout the country, with dozens of people having won international tournaments.

The Face That Launched A Thousand Apps: Yours

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Israeli startup Umoove will soon offer a gesture-recognition technology for mobile devices that will control and steer devices by reading gentle facial and head movements, according to a report by NoCamels.

The mechanism uses a front-end camera, which is available on most smartphones, to detect and read facial and eye movements such as smiles, winks, or stares in real time, using those signals to operate games, TVs, computers, applications for reading, tablets, or phones.

According to the NoCamels report, Umoove CEO Moti Krispill told Israeli website Newsgeek that the company hopes to revolutionize the use of mobile devices like Kinect technology did with gaming.  The company is currently focusing on optimization for Android platforms, and is cooperating with Microsoft for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

North Carolina Bans Gay Marriage

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, eliminating the possibility of same-sex marriages in the state.

Unofficial returns showed voters passing the amendment with 61 percent of the vote, making North Carolina the 30th state to adopt a ban on gay marriage.

Campaigning against the amendment included a recorded phone message by former President Bill Clinton, who urged voters to oppose the amendment.

Campaign spokesman for President Barak Obama called the ban “divisive and discriminatory”.

My Friend Baruch Thinks the ‘Antinet’ Event Is Sooo Jewish

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I’ve known my good friend and former neighbor on the Lower East Side of New York Baruch Herzfeld for many years. We davened in the same really quirky shul for a while, the Stanton, where absolutely anything can happen on any given Shabbat morning (and often does). Over the years, I’ve learned to respect his perception of what’s in and what’s out, and so this morning when I went to mine the web and found his comment on Facebook, I decided to a.) take it seriously, and, b.) share it with you.

Here’s the gospel according to my friend Baruch regarding the Citi Field Antinet:

“I’m no expert on the Jews, but May 20th, 2012 might be the most Jewish event in the history of Judaism. Let me explain: some hardcore fundie Jews are renting out Citifield to protest the Internet (all male of course), however some ex-fundie Jews are protesting the protestors, creating a perfect storm loop of protesting Jews protesting protesting Jews. I would go, but I don’t know which side I’m on.”

On the money. It’s not a simple issue, and years of harbored attitudes are starting to explode here, with so many preconceived notions swinging about, it’s getting hard to breathe.

I’ll give you an example: my colleague Jacob Edelist published one of the first reports in English on the May 20th event. It wasn’t his story, though, as he plainly stated, he was merely translating an original story in the Haredi press, plus the text of one ad, a “Kol Koreh,” a call to action, if you will, by several Haredi rabbis.

Some of the reactions we received accused Jacob of using a flippant tone in reporting the story, and of intentionally making Haredi Jews look bad. It was stunning, how some folks project their own attitudes on what was, essentially, a completely newsy, attitude-free story.

The reason for the brouhaha, as my friend Baruch describes it so well, is that the topic at hand, the scourge of Technology or of the Internet, is just too broad to be dealt with on a yes/no (pass/fail?) basis. It’s like attacking the printing press because of some really terrible books printed over the years, or attacking the telephone as a concept because of telemarketing. Like those two, and like radio and television, the Internet will always reflect our own values in the choices we make while surfing it.

The impulse to prohibit a medium rather than deal with its dangers is a recipe for the squashing of creativity and communication, for the sake of some unclear notion of purity. I’m not sure that our Jewish tradition will smile on that impulse.

Over the years I had the privilege of working for the Lubavitch News Service and experienced first hand how a Haredi person may go about taking from the Internet the good that it has to offer, while rejecting, without much fanfare, the ugly stuff. It’s never perfect, folks fail now and then, which is why we have built-in systems of repair in our tradition.

A long time ago, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, one of the leaders of today’s Lubavitch movement, told me that even when you pick up the phone, you take a chance. By answering the call, you are letting a stranger into your home. Who knows what might come next?

One of the common responses to that dilemma is to hang up, if the stranger on the phone misbehaves. Today we also have Caller ID, which helps determine in advance whether we want to deal with this individual. We all operate our phones every day, quite expertly, and I’m yet to hear an outcry to ban the telephone.

Still, on the subject of the dangers of Technology, no one can beat the great Reb Naftali of Rupshitz, in whose time the Russian government began a project of cutting down forests to make room for well paved highways (the railroad was yet to be invented). The Rupshitzer complained that now the wagons would be rolling safely without incident on the new roads, which was a terrible thing. Because when the roads were lousy, wagon wheels would often break or just come off their axle; the passengers were forced to disembark and wait for hours until the wagon driver fixed the wheel – and a Jew could sit down by a tree, say Tehilim and learn a blat gemorah. With the improvements in the roads, all that would be gone.

Now, that was one fundie Jew!

Lt. Col. Eisner: Did You Want to Watch Video of IDF Soldiers Capitulating Before Anarchists?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner has finally broken down and let out everything he had been storing inside. In a phone interview with Channel 10, he shared his version of the incident in which he was captured on video hitting a Danish agent of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

We present the Hebrew video and provide here a translation of the conversation.

News Anchor: Shalom, good evening. Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has postponed his decision regarding the officer who was videotaped hitting a demonstrator. Perhaps he would find interest in the following: Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner sounded today as if he did not have faith in the Chief of Staff or in the regional commander. He also expresses no regret, but rather thinks that thanks to him the demonstration was terminated. Here is the report of our military correspondent Ori Sharon.

Reporter: You have any message to express?

Eisner: I have many messages, and I’ll keep them for the places where I’m permitted to speak.

Reporter: In front of the cameras, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner keeps those “many messages” for other conversations. A conversation like this one:

Eisner (in a recorded phone conversation): We know the history of these anarchists, they came with sticks and broke my hand, but this won’t be told or photographed.

Reporter: Not regretful, not sorry, he claims that only because of this act (cut to the famous gun-to-face shot) the demonstration was dispersed and route 90 remained open.

Eisner: It was a 2-minute confrontation, so it’s true that a few images there look bad, but in the end I used my weapon… I used my weapon not as a firearm, but as a stick. I didn’t kill anyone and didn’t endanger anyone’s life, in order to carry out the assignment and to prevent harm to my soldiers. My feeling is that the demonstrators themselves said afterwards that only because the Deputy Commander behaved this way they stopped the demonstration and stopped trying to break through.

Reporter: Against the background of the IDF disengaging from him, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner is critical of the IDF top brass.

Eisner: All these stories don’t interest our Chief of Staff and my regional commander… Now, there are a few questions here. I said that it’s possible that I committed a professional error in judgment, using my weapon in front of the cameras, and so on. But I told my commanding officer, Agai (Lt. Gen. Agai Yechezkel, Chief of Brigade 261), that I emphatically reject the charge of a moral failure.

Eisner: (cont.) The question here is what’s more important – to carry out the assignment or to look good and photograph well? I argue that the assignment is more important, they argue that it isn’t. Maybe in this case I am wrong and they are right, as if it’s acceptable to allow damage to the State of Israel. Them I tell “as if,” you I can tell “for real.”

Reporter: Shalom Eisner accuses today, “the high brass don’t care that they broke my hand.”

Eisner: What, if they had taken videos of IDF soldiers capitulating before a mob, it would have sounded better? What, I’m now going to let them block highways? I’m going to let them risk lives? That does sound good? Someone gets his hand broken while on duty and the General doesn’t even – he knew well before those pictures were published, he knew my hand had been broken, he understood the meaning of the fact that anarchists broke the hand of a Lt. Colonel in the IDF. But nobody cared.

Later in the clip, Channel 10 news, which is probably the most left-wing of Israel’s major news broadcasts, provides written evidence from the Sha’arei Tzedek hospital doctor who mended Eisner’s broken finger. The reporter then concludes that at least on that count, Eisner spoke the truth.

"Actually, the only thing separating the highway from the cyclists is a row of soldiers."

"Actually, the only thing separating the highway from the cyclists is a row of soldiers."

Channel 10 interviewed one of Eisner’s soldiers, who was present throughout the lengthy incident on Saturday.

Soldier: We blocked the Valley highway. They demonstrated for an hour and a half. And then they decided they were going to enter by force into the Valley highway. Actually, the only thing separating the highway from the cyclists is a row of soldiers.

Reporter: So what happened in the hour and a half before the physical confrontation?

Soldier: Flags, songs, that’s all, really, nothing more. I know that the one who started the confrontation, let’s call it, were the cyclists who were trying to enter by force, through our unit, like.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/lt-col-eisner-did-you-want-to-watch-video-of-idf-soldiers-capitulating-before-anarchists/2012/04/18/

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