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Posts Tagged ‘website’

The Democratic Party And Jerusalem: Another Amendment Required

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Once again we see that no matter what happens, Yerushalayim keeps popping up in the center of world events. Just last week, the Democratic Party was innocently preparing the re-election bid of the incumbent leader of the free world, when it abruptly found itself having to deal with a major brouhaha concerning its omission of Jerusalem from its platform – and an even larger commotion when it put it back in.

It was not immediately clear which part of the debacle – the beginning, end, or middle – was the most embarrassing, awkward and vote-costly for the Democrats.

It began when protests erupted from various quarters against the platform’s omission of Jerusalem. Among those complaining were the Orthodox Union, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and some Israeli Knesset Members. The OU stated, “At a time when Arab leaders persistently… deny the ancient Jewish connection to our holy city, the decision of national leaders of the Democratic Party to go silent on this issue is extremely disappointing… Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and America’s national leaders do no service to the people of the Mideast or the world by refusing to acknowledge [this].”

An official Republican Party statement charged that the Obama administration is “painfully out of touch with the mainstream of the Jewish community, which knows that Jerusalem… must remain the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel.”

From both wings of the Israeli Knesset also came condemnation. Meretz party chair MK Zahava Gal-On expressed concern that Jerusalem was not “on the agenda of the Democrats,” while Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon, of the Likud’s more nationalist wing, said the omission stemmed from Obama’s hostility to Israel. “The things Obama says about Jewish rights in Jerusalem are… an ongoing policy,” Danon said. “We can clearly say that he is no friend of the State of Israel.”

In response, the Democrats tried damage control, at Obama’s behest, but it backfired. At the convention itself, the party changed the platform, adding three short sentences about Jerusalem’s future as Israel’s undivided capital and it being subject to negotiations. This was supposed to be a nod to Israel’s supporters, though the thought of negotiating one’s holy capital with one’s enemies is not a particularly serene one; see below.

Approval of the change was supposed to be made official by a voice vote, requiring an “easy” two-thirds majority. It wasn’t so simple, however, and the chairman’s confusion was painfully apparent when the vocal “aye” and “nay” votes were heard equally loudly. He called for another vote, and then a third, with the same result each time – until finally he overrode both his hearing and democratic compunctions and declared, “In the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of the delegates have voted in the affirmative and the resolution has been adopted.”

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, the leading candidate to be Israel’s next president, said that the addition of Jerusalem to the platform was no reason for optimism, because its original omission had been no oversight. “I am certain that President Obama restored Jerusalem to the platform only because of political and electoral pressure,” Rivlin said, “and because of the sharp criticism in Israel and the U.S.”

The Republicans were also quick on the draw to capitalize on the Democratic flip-flop. The Republican Jewish Coalition released an ad for Jewish newspapers in states with sizeable Jewish populations, charging that the Democrats are “split when it comes to supporting Israel…. It’s become painfully clear that this party is no longer the Democratic Party of our parents’ generation.”

Even many Democrats are still unhappy with the corrected party platform. Some were disappointed that it still does not say Israel is America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East, while others bemoaned the lack of a declaration that the Arab refugee issue will be resolved only within the confines of a PA state.

And of course, the Palestinian Authority was quick to condemn. A top aide to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said a failure to recognize the PA claims in Jerusalem, as in the revised platform, will “destroy the peace process” and lead to “endless war.”

This threat is actually somewhat laughable, in the light of a most fascinating development in the field of Israeli revisionist history. Renowned “New Historian” Prof. Benny Morris, famous for having publicized alleged Israeli massacres such as Dir Yassin and more, and for having refused to serve in the reserves in Judea and Samaria, has lately taken a decidedly hawkish stance. He said that it is mainly due to Arab intransigence and desire to destroy Israel totally that the current Mideast conflict “has no solution.”

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Estonian gas company apologizes for using Auschwitz in ad

Monday, August 27th, 2012

(JTA) — An Estonian gas company apologized for using a photo of Auschwitz in its advertising.

The website of GasTerm Eesti on Aug. 23 published a photograph of the front gate of the Nazi death camp with the famous inscription “Arbeit macht frei,” or “work makes you free.” The caption read “Gas heating — flexible, convenient, and effective.”

The next day the photo was removed from the site and an apology was posted.

Company director Sven Linros said, according to DzD.ee portal, “Hitler killed himself because he got a gas bill … a lot of people laugh at this, but I do not. I visited Auschwitz with dread. I feel sorry for the victims and their families. The picture was intended for a narrow group of people. We wanted to clarify that the CH4 gas is not toxic and can be used to heat buildings even those with such a sad history.”

Auschwitz photos have been used before in ads. In January, a gym in Dubai used an image from the camp with the tag line “Kiss your calories goodbye.”

JTA

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?

 

 

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

SEC Shuts Down $600 Million Alleged Online Ponzi, But Apparent Israeli Offshoot Still Functional

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze to halt a $600 million Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse. The emergency action assures that victims can recoup more of their money and potentially avoid devastating losses.

The SEC alleges that online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C. and his company Rex Venture Group have raised money from more than one million Internet customers nationwide and overseas through the website ZeekRewards.com, which they began in January 2011.

Users who go into the zeekrewards.com website this morning, receive this message: “Zeek Rewards is currently unavailable. More information will be available shortly on this website.”

Not so with zeekinhebrew.blogspot.co.il, which appears to be the Israeli offshoot of the same outfit, and continues to function and lure in unsuspecting get-rich-quick seekers in Israel.

The home page is a Q & A that includes these paragraphs:

How much should you invest after joining ZeekRewards?

To profit from ZeekRewards, you must enter once a day and publish one of the ZeekRewards ads, it takes from one to two minutes a day. In addition, you can invest money in the website and increase your daily interest rate.

How soon see revenues in ZeekRewards?

Once you have registered on the site, you need to post an ad of your choice every day (from a pool of ZeekRewards ads) and paste your ad in one of the free sites that serve ads online (a full list is on the ZeekRewards website).

After you posted an ad, you receive a confirmation which you send to ZeekRewards.

Once you submitted the certificate at ZeekRewards, you have 24 hours during which you are entitled to earn money.

Within 24 hours you can see the revenues (relative to the amount you spent on the site). The gains come by check to your home once you choose [to collect].

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., customers were offered several ways to earn money through the ZeekRewards program, two of which involved purchasing securities in the form of investment contracts. These securities offerings were not registered with the SEC as required under the federal securities laws.

The SEC alleges that investors were collectively promised up to 50 percent of the company’s daily net profits through a profit sharing system in which they accumulate rewards points that they can use for cash payouts. However, the website fraudulently conveyed the false impression that the company was extremely profitable when, in fact, the payouts to investors bore no relation to the company’s net profits. Most of ZeekRewards’ total revenues and the “net profits” paid to investors have been comprised of funds received from new investors in classic Ponzi scheme fashion.

“The obligations to investors drastically exceed the company’s cash on hand, which is why we need to step in quickly, salvage whatever funds remain and ensure an orderly and fair payout to investors,” said Stephen Cohen, an Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “ZeekRewards misused the power of the Internet and lured investors by making them believe they were getting an opportunity to cash in on the next big thing. In reality, their cash was just going to the earlier investor.”

The SEC’s complaint alleges that the scheme is teetering on collapse with investor funds at risk of dissipation without its emergency enforcement action. Last month, ZeekRewards brought in approximately $162 million while total investor cash payouts were approximately $160 million. If customers continue to increasingly elect to receive cash payouts rather than reinvesting their money to reach higher levels of rewards points, ZeekRewards’ cash outflows would eventually exceed its total revenue.

According to the SEC, Burks has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges against him without admitting or denying the allegations, and agreed to cooperate with a court-appointed receiver.

According to the SEC’s complaint, ZeekRewards has paid out nearly $375 million to investors to date and holds approximately $225 million in investor funds in 15 foreign and domestic financial institutions. Those funds will be frozen under the emergency asset freeze granted by the court at the SEC’s request. Meanwhile, Burks has personally siphoned several million dollars of investors’ funds while operating Rex Venture and ZeekRewards, and he distributed at least $1 million to family members. Burks has agreed to relinquish his interest in the company and its assets plus pay a $4 million penalty. Additionally, the court has appointed a receiver to collect, marshal, manage and distribute remaining assets for return to harmed investors.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Brian M. Privor and Alfred C. Tierney in the SEC’s Enforcement Division in Washington D.C. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the Quebec Autorite des Marches Financiers and the Ontario Securities Commission.

Yori Yanover

Jobs in Israel

Friday, August 17th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai presents a series of interviews that are related to finding a job in Israel.  To begin, Yishai speaks to Kim Ephrat, the associate director of employment for Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization dedicated to Aliyah in North America.  Yishai and Ephrat talk about finding employment in Israel and how networking, learning Hebrew, and being flexible are key to success in finding a job in Israel.  Following his interview with Ephrat, Yishai moves on to talk to being able to search for employment in Israel by searching janglo.net, which is a leading English-language website for all things that can be found in Israel.  To discuss the job section, Zev Stub, the founder of janglo.net, joins Yishai.  They discuss the wide variety of jobs found on the site and how employment for almost everybody can be found on janglo.net.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Need an Israel Advocacy Idea? Ask Herzl

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus

As campus Israel groups and leaders begin formulating their plans for next year, the search for innovative ways to achieve their goals commences. Where do they look for new and effective programming?

In past years, students turned to the people they knew for advice or strived to build creative plans on their own. While these approaches can yield strong results, imagine what could be achieved with a nationally networked resource that provides the best of all worlds — tested, proven programming ideas and step-by-step details of best practices for impacting the campus environment.

This year, it is no dream: Savvy campus leaders will be able to access the vast collected experiences of a nationwide movement of campus Israel supporters. It all comes down to two words: Ask Herzl.

When it launches next month, Ask Herzl will serve as a resource for Israel advocates who want “ready to run” programs for their campuses. The website, currently running in beta mode, offers links to program plans that address a wide and growing range of themes and topics. The site, initiated by the Israel on Campus Coalition, also provides a networking space where students and professionals can collaborate on mutual challenges and forge new initiatives.

Ask Herzl emerged in response to a need expressed by campus activists and professionals who wanted a resource that would remain constant even as student leaders graduated and staff people moved on. In the fast-paced campus environment, people felt they missed out on many good ideas simply because they didn’t notice them when they were offered, or the person who knew about them had graduated or moved on.

In light of constant turnover that occurs on campus — every four years the entire student population changes, and professionals come and go — students need a consistent address for ideas and answers. While the project aims to meet campus needs, the website can be used by anyone seeking to educate, engage, and advocate for Israel, including high school educators, college Israel-related professionals, Jewish communal professional and post-college professionals.

“We worked with students and professionals from around the country to make Ask Herzl a relevant, useful tool,” said Stephen Kuperberg, Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “We believe this will provide an incredible resource to activists and a great forum for students and professionals to share experiences and best practices.”

ICC developed Ask Herzl in collaboration with a committee that includes students, professionals and programmers from campus and non-campus communities.

Penn State Hillel’s assistant director, Audrey Bloomberg, who is part of the advisory committee, is excited that the project will streamline programs.

“There are so many opportunities that come to our inboxes each year about Israel programming and resources,” she said, “I can’t wait to have all of that information in one easy location instead of searching through old files and emails!”

Shoshanna Howard, the World Zionist Organization’s national project manager, said she was happy to play a part in creating this new resource. “We want to ensure the best Israel and Zionist educational programs are accessible to students, community leaders and everyone in between,” she remarked, “and we see Ask Herzl as an avenue to achieve this.”

Tzvi Raviv, who directs the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement and also helped develop the website, went even further, saying, “Ask Herzl has the potential to be a game-changer in Israel advocacy on campus by connecting the nodes of the pro-Israel network.”

The website’s interactive features include a tool for rating and critiquing speakers as well as a mechanism for rating programs recently run on college campuses. Awards, labeled The Theo Awards, offer incentive grants of up to $1,000 for top-notch submitted materials and cash prizes to individuals and campuses that demonstrate commitment to Israel advocacy programming through website engagement and submission of quality resources. Raviv noted that the grants make Ask Herzl particularly attractive to activists who need support in order to implement their ideas.

Sam Greenberg, who served as Hillel co-president and Israel chair at Yale University, had long thought about a site similar to Ask Herzl, so he was pleased to have an opportunity to help develop it.

Tamar Shmaryahu, Israel Campus Beat

Hearing on Motion to Dismiss Set in Hebrew National Class-Action Suit

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

A hearing on a motion to dismiss a consumer fraud case against the company that produces Hebrew National products has been scheduled for Nov. 30 in a federal court.

The hearing will be held at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

ConAgra Foods Inc., which owns the Hebrew National brand, on July 26 filed the motion to dismiss a class-action suit that alleges that Hebrew National’s iconic hot dogs and other meats do not comport with the brand’s claim to be kosher “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law.” The ConAgra motion states that the case should be dismissed because, among other reasons, kosher is “exclusively a matter of Jewish religious doctrine.” It also states that under the First Amendment, “federal courts may not adjudicate disputes that turn on religious teachings, doctrine and practice.”

The suit, which was filed May 18 in a Minnesota state court, accuses ConAgra of consumer fraud. ConAgra has rejected the claims.

Triangle-K, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based supervising agency that certifies Hebrew National products as kosher, and AER, which provides the kosher slaughtering services at Hebrew National facilities in the Midwest, including in Minnesota, also rejected the allegations. Neither is named in the suit.

The suit is seeking monetary damages equal to the total amount of monies that consumers in the class paid for Hebrew National meat products.

Zimmerman Reed, an Arizona-based law firm with offices in Minnesota, solicited consumers through its website. The firm advertised a free case review for anyone who purchased Hebrew National hot dogs in the past two years or had information about the preparation of the products.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hearing-on-motion-to-dismiss-set-in-hebrew-national-class-action-suit/2012/08/02/

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