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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘plants’

New Worm Takes Down Iranian Nuke Plant, Plays Loud AC/DC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The website NTG reported that an Iranian nuclear scientist told a colleague in Finland about the newest cyber worm which has paralyzed Iran’s nuclear plants.

The Finish scientist, Mikko H. Hypponen, from Helsinki, the chief security research officer at F-Secure, an anti-virus software company, has quoted an email he received from the Iranian scientist, saying “Our nuclear program has once again been attacked by a new worm, which hit the computer systems in Nataz and Fordo.”

According to the scientist, the worm comes with some unusual side effects: the infected computers started to play at high volume the song Thunderstruck by the band AC/DC, in the middle of the night and without any prior warning.

Hypponen said he had no way of confirming the veracity of the story, but he knows for sure that the email has indeed been sent by a real scientist from the Iranian nuclear program.

Grow Your Own Veggies

Friday, May 4th, 2012

With spring in full swing and the hazy days of summer beckoning on the horizon, our thoughts turn towards lighter meals that rely more heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly for those of us who find that despite our best efforts, we really managed to pack on the pounds over Pesach. While your local supermarket may boast an amazing array of produce, and the nearest gourmet store may feature dazzling displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, there is simply nothing that can compare to the taste of home grown. The fact that growing your own produce can save a bundle of money, makes the taste of your home grown bounty that much more delicious.

Planting a vegetable garden is one of those projects that can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Looking for a quick science project to do with your children? Try planting even a single cherry tomato plant in a container on your porch. Looking for something more expansive? Turn as much or as little of your yard as you like into a vegetable garden now, and come mid to late summer, you will hopefully find yourself enjoying some of the best produce you have ever tasted.

While the most economical and fascinating way to grow vegetables is to start your garden indoors, from seeds, it isn’t something I have ever done and for most people in the United States it is already far too late in the growing season to pursue that route. Personally, my mind isn’t capable of contemplating the notion of planting as early as February or March, so any vegetables we have ever grown have come from plants. Where to buy plants? I know there are those who insist on buying their plants from a nursery but check out places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart or even your local supermarket, where there can be a solid selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers at rock bottom prices.

What to buy? Start with items you know your family likes, because with any luck, you will find yourself with an abundant crop of whatever you have planted. Radishes may be easy to grow – but if nobody likes them, why bother growing them? Feel free to experiment with a new item or two; you never know what your family might like. Growing up, tomatoes and cucumbers were staples in our house and my parents always had a nice selection of both in the backyard. Don’t overlook herbs. Fresh dill and basil are both favorites here and both grow just as easily in your backyard as on your kitchen windowsill.

Make sure to situate your garden in an easily accessible area. You are going to need to devote a few minutes to it on a frequent basis. Not only do you want it to be visible, so you don’t accidentally neglect your plants, but you want it to be convenient so that you can tend to your plants and water them with ease. Try to find a spot that gets about six to eight hours of direct sun daily, although leafy green vegetables (think lettuce, mesculun, Swiss chard) or root vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes) can get by with four hours of sun daily. Try not to plant a vegetable garden near trees or shrubs which can deprive your plants of essential nutrients.

Preparing the soil for your plants can go a long way in helping to produce a healthy crop. Feel free to mix compost, leaves, grass clippings, manure, bone meal, peat moss or a sprinkling of fertilizer into your soil before putting in your plants. Once your babies are planted, be sure to water them often and deeply, although how much and how often really depends on a number of factors including current rainfall, temperatures and what kind of plants you are working with. Don’t water during the heat of the day since you will lose a good part of the water to evaporation. Consider investing in a soaker hose, which has small holes all over, allowing the water to drip directly into the ground. Spreading a layer of mulch over the soil will help keep the moisture where you want it as well. If you want to make the most of your plants, be sure to fertilize a few times during the growing season. Pay another visit to your nursery, garden center or discount store and start reading labels to see what type of fertilizer best suits the needs of both you and your plants and how often it needs to be applied.

Visit your garden often so that you can keep both weeds and insects at bay. While there are countless pesticides available to keep those creepy crawlies from feasting on your plants, very often a few spritzs from a spray bottle filled with soapy water is all you need to keep your plants. For those who live in the suburbs, animals, both small and large, can prove to be a major problem, as what looks to you like a vegetable garden looks to them like an engraved invitation to a free all-you-can-eat salad bar and they will be more than happy to indulge, leaving you with absolutely nothing but heartache and aggravation. While a four-foot-high fence will keep out small animals, such as groundhogs and rabbits, they will do nothing to prevent the deer from pigging out on your plants – so if Bambi is a frequent guest, be sure that your fence is high enough that it can’t be jumped over by a hungry deer. Remember that small animals, particularly groundhogs, are excellent tunnelers, so bury your fence at least one foot underground. Don’t overlook repellents although you may have to try a few before finding one that actually works for your particular uninvited guests. Try mixing one tablespoon of hot sauce in a gallon of water and spraying it on your plants as well as along the perimeter of the garden. Bars of soap hung in mesh bags around the garden can sometimes work as a deterrent, as can motion activated sensors, lights, sprinklers or even a noise source such as a radio. For those who have serious deer problems, predator urine is supposed to be a very effective means of keeping the deer at bay and, believe it or not, both hunting stores and countless websites actually sell the stuff.

Following Istanbul Love-In, Iran Declares It Has No Intention of Halting 20% Uranium Enrichment

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, has said that Tehran does not intend to stop producing uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.

According to the Mehr news agency, Jalili, who is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, made the remarks during a press conference in Istanbul on Saturday, after two rounds of talks between representatives of Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany, after a 15-month break in the talks.

The UN Security Council has demanded the suspension of enrichment, both to 20 and 3.5 percent levels. Iran has enough enriched uranium for around four bombs if the material is refined further to about 90-percent purity, according to Western sources..

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represented the group of six nations in the nuclear negotiations and Jalili headed the Iranian delegation.

The two sides agreed to meet again in Baghdad on May 23, and Helga Schmid, the deputy secretary general for political affairs of the European External Action Service, and Ali Baqeri, the deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, will be drawing up an agenda for the Baghdad talks.

According to Reuters, Jalili made it clear at the press conference that Iran has no intention to halt operations at its plants that enrich uranium to contain 20 percent fissile material.

Referring to Iran’s rights, which have been stipulated in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Jalili said, “Enrichment of uranium is one of these rights that every individual member state should benefit from and enjoy for peaceful purposes.”

The main bone of contention between Tehran and the West is Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Iran says all its nuclear activities are totally peaceful, and, as an International Atomic Energy Agency member and a signatory to the NPT, it has the legal right to produce nuclear fuel for its research reactors and nuclear power plants.

Commenting on the talks, Jalili stated, “We witnessed progress. There were differences of opinion… But the points we agreed on were important.”

Jalili also said, “The next talks should be based on confidence-building measures, which would build the confidence of Iranians.”

The continuation of the talks and their success depend on the adoption of the “approach of dialogue” rather than other approaches, he stated.

He also mentioned the fatwa (religious edict) that Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has issued declaring that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram (prohibited in Islam).

Jalili noted that the Leader’s fatwa has “created an opportunity for concrete steps toward disarmament and non-proliferation.”

Regarding the fatwa, see “Asharq Al-Awsat’s Editor to Hillary: Don’t Be Fooled by Iranian ‘Anti-Nuke’ Fatwas.”

Eco-Activists Defend the Environment In Judea & Samaria

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Pollution is everywhere, generated by everyone, and affecting everyone’s life. Eco-activists all over the world, together with government agencies, work to combat it by monitoring polluters, promoting legislation, and providing creative solutions to complex situations.

One would hope to find the same activity in Israel, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The majority of eco-activists in Israel choose not to operate over the Green Line, neglecting to address the eco-needs of the people there. Some of the challenges in Judea and Samaria are unique to the vicinity, while other hazards are common everywhere. However, the lack of suitable legislation and enforcement have resulted in irreversible damage to the land, affecting everyone’s life.

These are just some examples of environmental disasters in Judea and Samaria:

The Palestinians have established unauthorized, makeshift dump sites, one of them at Silwad, near Beit El. Trash was dumped in the open here and not properly treated, contaminating the earth, destroying the landscape, and damaging ancient olive groves. The refuse seeped into the earth, contaminating the ground water under it. Some trash was burnt, generating air pollution.

Improvised charcoal production plants, found primarily in the Jenin area, have been a hazard for decades, but more recently, their heavy air pollution has turned the lives of citizens in the vicinity into a nightmare. “People who live 400 meters away from these plants look out the window, see a black cloud moving towards them and have nowhere to hide or go,” commented one of the residents. Tests conducted by experts show that there is an abnormal concentration of delicate breathable particles 37% of the time. An assessment submitted to the IDF and to the Ministry of Environmental protection stated that: “Exposure to these particles can hinder lung function and is especially dangerous to those who suffer from respiratory complications, which may lead to subsequent hospitalization and even death.” Residents around these charcoal plants suffer tremendously. The air pollution affects everyone, and life expectancy among local Palestinian residents is just 40 years, but the issue is considered sensitive because the plants provide a livelihood to Palestinian families.

Pirate stone quarries, which can be found all over Judea and Samaria, are randomly situated with no prior planning and with complete disregard for the landscape or the environment. The dust generated by stone-grinding is a source of air pollution, while ground water can be contaminated by metal particles from machinery used to cut into hillsides. Specific metal machinery should be used, but there is no supervising entity to enforce the necessary protocols. These quarries are causing irreversible damage to the land.

Yarok Achshav, Green Now, is the only non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to the issue of environmental hazards everywhere in Israel. The group was established in 2008 to provide a response to ecological and environmental problems, and to preserve the nature, landscape, and heritage of the Land of Israel.

Green Now provides legal advice and services in the face of environmental hazards, and promotes pertinent legislation. They are the only organization that runs a public petition hotline, enabling anyone who encounters an eco-hazard to turn to them and receive the required support. They also organize environmentally-related educational and cultural activities and create and promote ecological projects in the community.

Green Now believes that pollution and contamination have no boundaries, and that environmental activists should be everywhere. “Green Now has chosen to address issues that no one else will touch upon,” says Acting Director, Ofer Inbar. “Therefore, the majority of our activities are focused in Judea and Samaria. We address issues that affect all populations, including the Palestinians, and have attempted to cooperate with them in various ventures, such as educational programs and eco-projects. We offered assistance in planning the infrastructure of Rawabi, the new Palestinian city under construction, to ensure that construction meets the proper standards. In every case, we found an utter unwillingness to cooperate. The Palestinians have made an all-encompassing decision not to cooperate with Israelis.”

Green Now has exerted legal and political pressure on the various governmental agencies responsible for addressing these eco-hazards, and their activity has generated results. The makeshift dump site at Silwad was closed by the authorities, the trash was buried, and the site was covered with earth. Today, greenery has returned.

The site of a former illegal quarry in Judea and Samaria

The 400 improvised charcoal production plants are a more complex matter. In June 2011, eleven of them were shut down, but they have since resumed their activity. Green Now will continue to pursue the case through legal venues. Unfortunately, the quarries still present a grave hazard, and are not properly monitored or controlled.

There is still much to be done over the Green Line, both in terms of eco-activity and many other issues, none of which are properly addressed because of an imaginary border.

Desalination Will Allow Israel to Replenish All of its Fresh Water Reservoirs

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Top officials from the nations water company Mekorot told the Knesset’s Economics Committee that Israel’s expanded desalination program will eventually allow Israel to replenish all of its fresh water reservoirs.

With six plants currently in operation, Israel yields 600 million cubic meters of water per year from desalination. Israel currently has a shortage of 2 billion cubic meters of water.

The data presented to the committee stated that by 2013, 75% of Israeli households would be using desalinated water.

Israeli Innovations: Helping the High-Tech and the Under-Privileged

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

A slew of new Israeli innovations are set to make life more convenient – and more viable – all over the world.

Israeli company Lumus has created a set of translucent television glasses which allow the wearer to see high-quality, full-color images such as e-mail, images, and text documents while walking or performing other tasks.

According to a report in Britain’s Daily Mail, the new PD-18-2 capitalizes on Lumus’s special cutting-edge visual technology called Light-guide Optical Element (LOE), which is already in use in professional and military products for soldiers, surgeons and pilots, projecting images into the eye from a micro-display.

Helping the multi-tasker keep up with his various to-dos is the goal of Any.DO, an Israeli social to-do app voted best Android application of 2011 by the Techcrunch blog, Lightbox, and Amazon MP3.

Any.DO has the basic features of a calendar, while also allowing users to add tasks through auto-complete and voice commands, manage them through gestures such as swiping and dragging-and-dropping, and sync with Google tasks, according to Israel innovations website NoCamels.

Israeli technology is also coming to the aid of those who do not yet enjoy the luxury of high-tech gadgets.  Agro-biotech company Rosetta Green, based in Rehovot, has genetically modified plants to grow under ocean water irrigation and to withstand long and severe droughts.  According to No Camels, the company hopes to produce plants which will stand up to harsh climates while maintaining bountiful yields by modifying short RNA molecules associated with a plant’s genetic ability to withstand drought or salty water.

The Jews Of Martinique And Guadeloupe

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

      Note: This article is based on The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean by Mordechai Arbell, Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2002. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from this source.

 

      Martinique and Guadeloupe are two small islands located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Martinique is north of Trinidad and Tobago, whereas Guadeloupe is southeast of Puerto Rico.
 
      “The Jewish history of Martinique and Guadeloupe is relatively short, spanning only about 60 years. It began with the first arrivals from Amsterdam in the 1620s who came to manage Dutch interests in Dutch commercial outposts established on the island and continued until the expulsion of the Jews in 1685.”
 
      In 1635 the French conquered and occupied these islands. Upon their arrival in Martinique they found a number of Jews who had arrived earlier from Amsterdam and who served as agents and managers for various Dutch enterprises.
 
      “The French did not disturb the resident Dutch Jews, whose number was not significant. They were dispersed among the warehouses, plantations, and stores all over the island and, as far as is known, did not form a community. The Jews were able to work and prosper under twenty years of French rule, tolerated and protected by the French governors, who needed their commercial and financial acumen and whose services they used.”
 
      However, the successes of the Jews gradually aroused the jealousy of the French settlers and merchants. “At the same time, the growing number of Catholic monks and priests arriving in the colony could not bear to see Jews residing in French-ruled territory.”
 
      Things changed dramatically for the Jews after the recapture of Recife, Brazil by the Portuguese in 1654. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews left Brazil in fear of what might happen to them under the Inquisition. Ships loaded with Jews roamed the Caribbean looking for places for these refugees to resettle.
 
      When a ship carrying Jews anchored not far from Martinique, Governor M. du Parquet was inclined to grant their request to settle on the island. The Jesuit fathers residing on Martinique would not hear of it.
 
      The governor of Guadeloupe, M. Houel, learning of the refusal to allow the refugees to settle in Martinique, welcomed them to settle on his island. Many former Jewish inhabitants of Tamarica (Itamarica), Brazil, an island not far from Recife, were allowed to settle on Guadeloupe. They were granted the same privileges as the other residents of the island.
 
      Under the terms of surrender between the Dutch and Portuguese in Brazil, the Dutch and the Jews were allowed to leave Brazil with their movable property and their money. Thus, the Jews who came to the Caribbean seeking places to resettle came with means. The residents of Guadeloupe naturally anticipated that the new arrivals would spend lots of silver and gold as they established themselves in their new home. They were not disappointed.
 

      When Governor du Parquet of Martinique saw that he was losing a rare opportunity, he expressed his anger to the Jesuit fathers. The Father Superior went to Guadeloupe and tried to convince Governor Houel to expel the Jews. Houel told the Father Superior to mind his own business, and the Jews were allowed to stay. Shortly afterward, another ship carrying a number of Jewish refugees arrived in Martinique. This time Governor du Parquet received them with open arms.

 

 

      The permission given to the Jews to settle in Martinique and Guadeloupe attracted some French Jews of Spanish-Portuguese origin from Bayonne and Bordeaux, most often related to those who had come from Brazil, increasing the number of Jews in the French islands.
 
      It is difficult to evaluate the exact number of Jews in Martinique and Guadeloupe in 1658. A conservative estimate might be about 300 among a population of about 5,000 whites.
 
      The Jesuit fathers, who saw the settlement of Jews as a battle they had lost, did not rest and continued with incessant efforts to rid the island of Jews.
 
      The Jews, immediately after settling, began to establish commercial houses, sugar cane plantations, and sugar plants on a large scale. This brought a period of prosperity to the impoverished islands and profits to their owners, Houel and du Parquet.
 
      On 2 April, 1658, the Sovereign Council of Martinique issued a decree “prohibiting the Jews from dealing with commerce on the islands,” but due to the intervention of the governor – Seigneur du Parquet – a new decree several months later “reestablished the privileges given to the Jews to deal with commerce,” canceling the previous decree.
 
      The main Jewish contribution to Martinique and Guadeloupe was in agro-industry. The French islands were relatively late in developing sugar production. It was only after the settlement of the Jews from Brazil, who were experienced sugar refiners and merchants, that the sugar industry started picking up. In 1661 there were 71 sugar plants in Guadeloupe with Martinique lagging behind. However, Martinique in 1671 had 111 sugar plants with 6,582 workers and slaves working in them and by 1685 reached 172 plants.
 

      One of the most prominent sugar producers was Benjamin d’Acosta de Andrade, a Jew born as a converso in Portugal, who had settled in Dutch Brazil and had reached Martinique in 1654. He was the owner of two of the largest sugar plants in Martinique (the site is still shown to tourists visiting the Island). D’Acosta de Andrade is known and remembered as establishing the first cacao processing plant in French territory. Cacao processing was started in Spanish colonies in America, but the processing in Martinique was advanced, modernized, and transformed into chocolate.

 

Discrimination and Expulsion

 

      The prosperity of the Jewish community drew inordinate envy from the French planters of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

 

 

      The Brazilian Jews did not only have the expertise, but also were able to finance their sugar plants, which needed a considerable initial investment. The majority of the French planters continued planting tobacco and gradually became more and more impoverished. Their need for cash indebted them to Jewish moneylenders. The Jews were also accused of investing their profits outside Martinique, therefore depriving the islands of their cash liquidity. Thus, a coalition formed by the Jesuit fathers and the French planters and merchants went into action to limit Jewish life and bring about the expulsion of the Jews.
 

      The coalition managed to force the hand of Governor Prouville de Tracy to issue, in 1664, an act in which a paragraph is included saying that “those of the Jewish Nation must purchase and sell on the day of Sabbath, unless otherwise ordered by his Majesty….” The unhappy de Tracy wanted clearer instructions from France. He received ambiguous ones, namely “The King does not want to alter what has been practiced till now towards the Huguenots and the Jews…” De Tracy’s only recourse was to close his eyes to the transgressions of his own act. The Jews continued keeping the Sabbath.

 

 

      The only religion officially permitted on Martinique was Catholicism. As a result, Judaism was not practiced openly. In 1676 the community acquired a Torah from the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam.

 

 

      Theories have been put forward that a synagogue existed in Martinique, and several possible sites have been indicated. However, the prayers were supposedly conducted in a private house, transformed into a prayer-house, which gradually became an improvised synagogue.
 

      The happy and quiet Jewish existence of the Martinique Jews continued until the death of Governor de Baas in 1677. His replacement, Count de Blenac, a devotee of the Jesuits, had served as confessor of [King] Louis XIV. His main aim was the expulsion of the Jews from Martinique.

 

 

      As conditions deteriorated for the Jews of Martinique, they began to abandon the island. On Guadeloupe there were many political upheavals, and, here too, the Jews left in considerable numbers.
 
      In 1685 Louis XIV issued an order expelling all Jews from the Caribbean islands under French control. Most of the Jews who left Martinique went to Curacao. When they left, they took their Torah and other religious objects used in their improvised synagogue.
 
      A few Jews managed to circumvent the Black Code (Edict of Expulsion) as a result of their special connections with the authorities. Indeed, in 1732 there were still as least ten Jews residing on Martinique. But “by the time of the French Revolution there was, for all practical purposes, no serious Jewish presence in Martinique or Guadeloupe.”
 

      Dr. Yitzchok Levine, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. “Glimpses Into American Jewish History” appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at  llevine@stevens.edu.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/the-jews-of-martinique-and-guadeloupe/2007/09/05/

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