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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘television’

Vantage Point

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This is a picture of President Barack Obama watching the Vice Presidential debate aboard Air Force One with members of his staff, en route from Florida to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. It was taken Oct. 11, 2012, when to the rest of us the campaign looked wide open, with a slight advantage to the Republicans.

For mortals like myself it’s difficult to imagine beating an opponent who sits in his office watching live television while flying from Florida to Maryland. I would think you’d have to be extremely persuasive to pull it off. A few have. Not this time. Not last time around, back in 2004. Not the time before that, in 1996.

In fact, the last time it was done was with the help of a third party candidate, who siphoned off 19% of the vote from the incumbent, George Bush I. And the challenger was the best political campaigner in recent memory, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

We should keep this image in mind as we’re approaching a year of open conflict with our best friend and ally across the ocean. He has oodles of power and resources we cannot match. To come up ahead – as we must – we need to be better than Mitt Romney.

Earthquake Drill Begins Alongside Joint US-Israel Military Exercise

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

All across Israel, the nationwide earthquake drill “Turning Point 6″ has begun. The drill simulates massive earthquakes ranging from 5.0 to 7.0 in magnitude, as well as a tsunami hitting Israel near Tel Aviv later in the afternoon.

Emergency services, television, radio and schools are participating in the simulation. The simulation will run over the next few days.

Simultaneously, the IDF and the US Army have begun performing a massive military exercise called “Austere Challenge 12″. This exercise is meant to simulate an air-based attack on Israel, and subsequently defending against it. This exercise will run for a month. Israel’s various missile-defense systems will be tested.

This is the largest joint exercise that has been held between Israel and the US, with 3500 soldiers participating.

 

New Israeli TV series Challenges Thinking on Europe’s Muslims

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

An extraordinary four-part television series is unfolding in Israel, called Allah Islam, which deals in a unique and extremely effective way with the mutual interaction of European society and Islamic immigrants.

This is a tense and highly loaded subject, one that can easily be ruined by an overdose of political commentary or pandering to prejudices. Only three of the four parts have so far gone to air, so it’s unfair to judge the whole work yet. But for us, what we have seen so far constitutes a compelling instance of first-rate reality television. Unfortunately, it exists only in a made-for-Israel television version. So there are no English or other sub-titles, and the audience is assumed to have a basic grasp of an Israeli viewpoint.

The series, “Allah Islam”, is a collaboration between Israeli film director and journalist David Deri (he’s interviewed at length in this Haaretz article from September 12, 2012), and Zvi Yehezkeli who is Israeli Channel 10′s senior news reporter on Arab affairs.

Yehezkeli speaks Arabic well, and the series follows him as he meets – from very close up – Muslims on their European home turf. His interview subjects appear to be at ease in his company, believing he is a fellow Moslem, a Palestinian film-maker, and providing him with access to their candid opinions in ways that it is hard to imagine European or American film-makers ever achieving.

What emerges can be startling – even shocking – to those of us accustomed to smooth-talking community representatives explaining the disturbing aspects of what passes for everyday life in today’s Europe.

Even for viewers lacking familiarity with the Hebrew language, the scenes of Yehezkeli doing street interviews in Malmo, Sweden, in Paris, in Brussels, in London and especially in Luton will be understandable enough. He goes into mosques, is invited into private homes, walks around with young Muslims who open up to him and to the viewers. Once the series is repackaged with subtitles in European languages, it’s likely to have a significant impact on the public discourse about the effects on European life of the massive, and growing, immigration of Muslims and the wrenching changes this is causing in Europe’s cities.

Those who want to see Islamophobia in these programs will find it. But for our taste, the film-makers have done a serious job of allowing the street and its people to speak for themselves without imposing their judgments or clear conclusions.To be direct about this – overall it delivers a very deeply disturbing picture: Yehezkeli finds no shortage of immigrant Muslims who heap scorn on the societies that have granted them shelter, unemployment payments, lives immeasurably more safe and comfortable than those they left behind. There are religious leaders here, not suspecting the man with the microphone is an Israeli, who speak directly into the camera in support of terrorism and terrorists. Even some of the migrants for whom Yehezkeli has obvious feelings of sympathy who confess without embarrassment to lying and subterfuge in order to get what they need from their European neighbours.

Two small vignettes to watch for:

*A young Belgian Muslim describes (Episode 3, at 23m 20s) with utter disdain the education he received at a Belgian Catholic school. To the appreciation of his buddies sitting in on the interview, he mentions some of the totally useless pieces of learning (“stupid things”, he calls them) the system forced him to accept: washing hands after going to the toilet, for instance. He was born in Belgium. So were both of his parents. It was the grandparents who made the transition from Morocco to give their children a better shot at a good life. Three generations into the process of European acculturation and the grandson – disenfranchised, alienated in his native land – burns with zeal and indignation. He seeks to bring his parents back to the true religion.

*Another young Belgian Muslim describes (Episode 3, 22m15s) in good English how he and his friends seek to provoke anger among their non-Islamic neighbours by very publicly praying in the street or in front of the famous Belgian Atomium monument. Provocation, he calls it – over and again. They do this because of the effect, he tells the camera.

Below are links to the Hebrew-only versions (we don’t know of any others at this point) of the first three programs in this excellent series. They might not remain online much longer, so we want to recommend to view them while you can. Each runs for about 45 minutes.

Conservative Rabbi Wolpe to Deliver Invocation to Democrats

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles confirmed that he will deliver the invocation at the Wednesday evening session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

His sermon will focus on the ideals animating the United States, Wolpe said, and will precede speeches by Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, and former President Bill Clinton.

In a bipartisan endorsement of the American rabbinate, the presentation by the Conservative Rabbi Wolpe will balance the invocation given by Orthodox Rabbi Meir Soloveichik at the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Wolpe has been named the most influential rabbi in America this year by Newsweek magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post.

He is the author of seven books and widely known as a newspaper columnist and radio and television commentator.

It’s My Opinion: Hurricane Season

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The Labor Day weekend and the resumption of school are signals that mark the end of summer in many parts of the United States. Families have one last barbecue. Women put away their white shoes. Everyone anticipates the bright colors of falling leaves and cooler weather.

Florida has its own demarcation. It’s called the hurricane season, which comes at this time every year. The population invariably stresses out while watching a series of alphabetically named storms that either miss, brush by or hit our area. The feeling is one of helpless anticipation.

The news channels always have a field day with warnings and veiled prognostications of doom. Scenes of previous disasters are flashed across television screens. Reporters, donning full rain gear give on-scene bulletins, often before the first drops fall.

People are told to purchase water, canned food and emergency supplies. Stock is quickly depleted as shoppers mob local stores. Tempers are frayed.

As I write this column, a tropical storm, predicted to become a hurricane, is barreling toward South Florida. The idea that we have no control over where and if it will hit is sobering. We want to believe that modern technology has helped us to be masters of our fate. The assumption, obviously, is mistaken.

The hurricane season and all its uncertainties are actually of some merit. It serves as a wake-up call and a reality check of life.

Rosh Hashanah rapidly approaches. It is intended as a time of introspection and examination. Hopefully, the lessons of hurricane season will be helpful as we understand we are not the ultimate arbitrators of life.

Israel’s Medical Association: ‘Reality Shows Worse than Experiments On Human Beings’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“Many claim that putting people in high pressure, tense situations, for the purpose of observing their behavior at every moment, borders on performing medical experiments on human beings. If we would examine several reality shows in the context of human experiments, it’s doubtful if it were permitted under the Helsinki Declaration,” states a report submitted by an ethics committee appointed by the Israeli Medical Association, according to a report in The Marker.

The Helsinki Declaration determines ethical principles regarding human experimentation which were developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association (WMA). It is regarded universally as the cornerstone document of human research ethics.

“This would hold true just based on the fact that the participants’ consent is not given from an informed position,” states the report.

The harsh verdict was issued in the aftermath of a scandal in which a psychiatrist working for “The Big Brother” reality television show prescribed psychiatric pills to contenders, ostensibly to enable them to stay on.

The committee added that “in contrast with experiments conducted on human beings, where the primary purpose is the development of drugs and healing methods benefiting humanity, reality shows merely gratify the peeping impulse of the viewers, and their main purpose entertainment for the masses and profits of the producers.”

The committee published the results of its recently completed study on Tuesday. The Health Ministry has decided not to initiate procedures against Dr. Ilan Rabinowitz, the psychiatrist at the center of the Big Brother scandal, after he was found guilty of dispensing psychiatric medication to the contestants during the show’s second season, and also not to initiate procedures against the show’s production company, or the franchise, Keshet, which have both been accused of being aware of Rabinowitz’s alleged manipulation.

The Medical Association’s Report is by far harsher than the findings published by the Health Ministry investigation. It opens with an introduction that completely opposes reality shows on moral grounds and indicates potential emotional harm to contestants as well as damage to the public, resulting from the shows.

Professor Abraham Reches, chairman of the Medical Association Ethics Committee, explained that in spite of the convincing ethical flaws found by the committee regarding reality shows, the committee chose, in effect, to acknowledge that the shows are not going away any time soon, and thus to cooperate with them by establishing guidelines.

“I’m a realistic person, and it’s clear that the reality shows will continue to be aired, even though I have a negative view regarding their very message. Therefore, given that these programs will not stop being televised, we are taking at least one positive step by outlining the proper way to safeguard the participants’ health. I am convinced that this will be a gradual remedial process, and it is my hope that the network and production companies will adopt our recommendations,” Dr. Reches told The Marker.

According to Dr. Reches, “Our concern is for the physical and emotional health of the contestants in the reality shows and we are determining where the red lines are, between our absolute commitment to the patient/contestant, and our obligation to the interests of the producer. A doctor remains a doctor even when he gets his salary from a television production.”

Kipah-Wearing Teen Set for ‘America’s Got Talent’ Semis

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Edon Pinchot, a kipah-wearing Jewish day school student, will be performing in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent.”

Pinchot, 14, of Skokie, Ill., will be among 12 acts performing live Tuesday night on the popular NBC reality show before a a television audience that could top 10 million. The second set of 12 semifinalists will perform Sept. 4.

Other semifinalists joining Pinchot, a singer and pianist, on Tuesday’s show include singers, a dancer, a dog ventriloquist, an acrobat, a mind reader and a comedian.

Should enough TV viewers cast their votes for Pinchot, he will advance to the finals and a chance to take home the $1 million prize. He has performed an audition, in the Vegas round and in the quarterfinals to reach the semis. His kipah has made him a focal point for viewers.

Pinchot,  who is Sabbath observant and keeps kosher, is the fourth of five children and has been playing piano since he was 9. His grandmother, Ginger Pinchot of Silver Spring, Md., says Edon is “very athletic. He’s one of the stars of his soccer team, and he’s also a straight A student. He’s just kind of an all-around guy.”

The show’s three judges — Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern — are Jewish.

Pinchot will be starting high school soon at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kipah-wearing-teen-set-for-americas-got-talent-semis/2012/08/29/

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