Sunday, February 27, 2011

Plethora of Jewish Organizations Abound

It seems that my recent post on Reminiscing struck a cord with several people. While it is quite enjoyable to relive the glory days of yesteryear, one must still realize that we must live in the present and look toward the future.

One topic that was noticeably absent from the prior post and comments, were the advances made in the medical arena. This past week, Ami Magazine had a short story with the theme of a Shidduch that broke up when the couple found out that they were genetically both carriers of a dangerous disease.

Recently Mishpacha Magazine did a cover story on Dor Yeshorim, the Jewish gene screening system. Rabbi Ekstein has saved countless families, such as the one above, from experiencing the tragic Downs Syndrome, and other genetic diseases via a simple blood test.

Another organization which was unknown years ago is Chai Lifeline/Camp Simcha. Inyan Magazine, the pullout from the weekend edition of Hamodiah, did a full length article on Drs. Steinherz, a rare couple who founded Camp Simcha and who assist pediatric patients with debilitating disease.

There is HASC and P'TACH and RCCS and Misaskim and so many other organizations founded in the last few decades. Too many to mention.

It is sad that there are so many, but it is a real Kiddush Hashem to see so many people give of their time and effort to assist those who are more unfortunate than they are.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Remember When...

I remember when...

There was a column on the back page of the Jewish Press titled "I remember when..."

The Jewish Press was the Orthodox Jewish newspaper of choice...
There was no Yated, Hamodiah, Ami, Mishpacha, Binah, etc.
Newspapers printed pictues of women.
The Jewish Observer still published.

There were no Jewish super-groceries.
Most candy was non-kosher.
There were no bar codes on products.
Storekeepers tallied up your purchases manually.
Milk was delivered by a milk-man - in glass bottles!
Soda came in 64 oz. bottles, not 2 liters.
There were no snack bags. No boxed drinks.
Thermoses were made of glass.
Shabbos "dips" were made in your own kitchen.
There was no velcro.
No Kosher Lamps.

Yeshivishe car meant an old decrepit station wagon.
There was no EZPass.
No GPS. Maps were used to figure out travel plans.
No remote gimmicks to open/start cars.
Tokens only for subways. No MetroCard.
Subway wheels made a racket!
Hotels, hospitals and stores did not have automatic doors.
Metal keys opened doors, not plastic security strips.
Vending machines took only coins.
Toilets were flushed using elbow grease.
Towel dispensers and faucets were operated manually.

No calculators.
Taxes were prepared with pencil and paper.
Watches had faces. No digital.
Phones were rotary. No answering machines.
Pay phones were 10 cents.
No call waiting. Remember busy signals?
No fax. Long distance was expensive.
Car phones followed by cell phones.

Phonograph, Cassette, Compact Disc.
VCR's, No online movie service.
No satellite, cable TV.
No YouTube.
Typewriters were the word processors.
White out was used for corrections.
No personal computers!!!
Librarians knew the answer - not Google.
No Ipads, Iphones, or Ipods.
No keyboards, only piano and accordian.
No online seforim databases.
No internet.

People read physical books. Not kindles.
Seforim were printed using rashi script.
No summer homes, only bungalows.
Entire bungalow colonies shared one public phone.
Strollers had small wheels.
Succahs were made out of old doors. No prefab.
Choirs sang. No choreography.
English Gemora meant Soncino.
Artscroll was not born yet.
Stamps were licked.

Mowers were manual.
No lawsuits if you tripped over your own feet.
Singers sang their own songs.
You needed to be crazy to see a psychologist.
There were no BANS!!!
There were no BLOGS!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ban Bonds Bullied Blogs

One of the ironies of this whole internet thing is how the "BAN", which fueled the Jblogosphere in its infancy, is now coming full circle.

The first BAN that I recall was that of The Making of a Gadol. Rabbi N. Kamenetzky's historical account of his father, Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky Ztl, and his era, was banned for various reasons. Primarily, because it depicted the greats of yesteryear as mere mortals, with all the shortcomings and foibles of such. Unfortunately, as bans are wont to do, this academic work which may have been read by a relative few was catapulted into the limelight and read by thousands. Copies of the book were selling for over 1000 dollars, and a second revised edition was subsequently published.

Shortly thereafter, Rabbi N. Slifkin's works were banned. Apparently, his books which targeted the Yeshiva crowd were more in synch with a Modern Orthodox world-view. This ban that was bandied about banded the Jbloggers together, and they began to fight back. The Yeshiva world had not yet comes to terms with blogging, and the primary Jbloggers were primarily of Modern Orthodox persuasion. This led to a strong backlash against the ban, and the birth of the anti-Yeshiva blogs.

Then came the ban of The Big Event. Some felt that Orthodox concerts were getting out of hand, and gathered signatures to ban the Lipa Schmeltzer "band" concert in Madison Square Garden. This only further eroded confidence in the rabbis, especially because of the methods employed in obtaining the signatures.

Finally, the ban came on the very blogs themselves, as VIN, a Jewish news site was banned. What had begun as somewhat of a police-blotter site had morphed into a full blown news service, culling articles of Jewish interest from a variety of newspapers and periodicals. I'm not sure what fueled the actual ban, but one could have seen it coming. If someone shops in a Jewish supermarket, they are not as careful to check for rabbinic supervision of the products; so too when one visits a Jewish news website, there is a certain assumption that the content and comments should be family friendly.

Unfortunately, I think that many of the comments on the Jblogs do not make us shine. Some have asked why similar Jewish news websites have not been banned. In all likelihood, they probably will be at some point in the future. Either that, or they will feel the shot across the bow and tighten up their commenting policy. Eventually, the comments section may need to be eliminated altogether, such as on the Drudge copycat

Yet even if blogs are banned, most Jbloggers do not follow the rabbis who have issued the bans and hence blogging looks like it is here to stay. Hopefully the Jbloggers will police themselves so that no more bans will be necessary.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Egypt Post - "Faithful and Fortified" via Gruntig!

Well, Egypt has certainly been in the news these days. Below are some video links courtesy of Gruntig!

First we have Yehuda Avner's recounting of the historical meeting between Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ZTL. Then we have journalist Yisroel Katzover describe his meeting with Mubarack, Diaspora Yeshiva Band plays their Beatles remake "I get by with a little help from Hashem". Lekavod Adar we have Reb Benzion Shenker singing his famous Shoshanas Yaakov, Chai Lifeline's Trip to the Wall visits with R' Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in Benei Brak and finally R' Moshe Yess tells us his personal story and plays his "Prayer Book Blues". Fabulous mix. Thanks Gruntig!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Migdal Bavel and the Internet II

One of my first blog posts dealt with the "Migdal Bavel" or "Tower of Babel" aspect of the internet. At that time I discussed the tremendous scientific advances that the internet affords, in that one no longer needs to reinvent the wheel. Once a technological breakthrough is discovered, even in the most remote corner of the world, the entire scientific community can immediately and geometrically build on that discovery.

Yet what is now playing out in geo-political world, particularly the Middle East, depicts the power of the Internet. The "Internet Revolution", has sparked it's own revolutions. Without Facebook and Twitter, the current revolts in the Arab World would probably not have taken root. Egypt's attempt to shut down the internet has been thwarted by users availing themselves of various, albeit limited proxy servers. Even in the USA there is a motion underway to grant the government control to shut down the internet in times of crisis.

The fact that English has become the "international language" and the primary tongue of most world wide web pages, looms ominously that we are amidst a possible modern day electronic Tower of Babel. It is just quite possible that in the End of Time, G-d will unleash on us a Stuxnet of sorts that will disable heretical sites.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

K9 IProtection for IPad, IPod and IPhone

If you have a child with an I-Device, this news may be comforting to you. Please share with others and install.

Bluecoat K9 and Agudah

K9 Web Protection Browser for iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad™

We want to let you know that Blue Coat has extended our K9 Web Protection technology to protect families browsing the Internet on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
The K9 Web Protection Browser app is a safe web browser available for free from the App Store℠. The browser automatically blocks adult content and malicious sites.
Installing K9 on Your Apple Mobile Device
Do the following to install K9 Web Protection Browser:

Go to the App Store and search for "K9".

Install the K9 Web Protection Browser app.

Disable the built-in web browser by following the steps here.

Here's the link to the app page: and our main web site.
Locations of visitors to this page