Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In assembling the 10 Commandments of Social Networking, I aimed to offer guidance for everyone. Hyperconnected? Take a tech Sabbath. Related to a technophobe? Pay a visit, make a call or send an actual letter.
But reading about another tragic suicide that looks to have been set into motion by social media usage, it’s clear that more laws governing online usage are urgently needed. New criminal categories need to be established to punish those who torment others to the point of suicide—whether they do so online or “on land.”
11. Please, don’t kill yourself over something that happens online.
When he spoke to me a few weeks ago, Sam Gliksman, director of educational technology at New Community Jewish High School said “The morals of your virtual life should be no different than the morals of your real life.” New rules aren’t really needed—so here are two old ones:
To those who would torment others, remember, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” (Hillel in the Babylonian Talmud)
And to despondent freshmen, depressed schoolteachers, bullied teenagers, and all those who would do themselves harm: “This too shall pass.” (Attributed to King Solomon and to Persian Sufi poets)
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September 29, 2010 | 11:17 am
Posted by Jay Firestone
From most powerful Jew in Washington to most powerful Jew in Chicago?
But, it’s a likely possibility for the White House chief of staff, who is scheduled to make the official statement this Friday.
From Chicago Sun-Times:
Watch for Rahm Emanuel to hit the bricks running for Chicago’s mayoral mantle this weekend after his formal announcement Friday he is leaving his job as White House chief of staff.
Read more at Sun-times.com.
Will he tweet? Will there be a public backlash? What will Michael Jordan say?
The suspense is killing me.
September 24, 2010 | 7:36 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
[Updated on September 25, 2010 3:35pm]
On Sep. 19, Roz Rothstein, executive director of the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, was kicked out of a public meeting being held by a pro-Palestinian student group at the University of Southern California. When Yael Korin, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the anti-war organization Women in Black, recognized Rothstein, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine called USC’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), and asked the officers to remove Rothstein and StandWithUs Senior Developer Gary Ratner from the meeting. The officers came, asked them to leave, and Rothstein and Ratner complied with the request.
USC’s Senior Vice President for Administration Todd. R. Dickey said in a statement that Rothstein and Ratner should never have been asked to leave. Dickey said the DPS Watch Commander will apologize to them, and that, “additional training and information will be provided to the DPS Watch Commanders so this type of incident is not repeated.” As of Friday, no apology to Rothstein had been made by anyone from USC.
The meeting, held in the Taper Hall of Humanities, was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine. It was to be the Los Angeles launch of a statewide campaign to include an Israel divestment initiative on the ballot in a future election. If approved, the initiative, which was drawn up by the Sacramento-based Israel Divestment Campaign, would force California’s public retirement systems to divest themselves of all holdings of stock in corporations that, the initiative’s promoters say, provide “equipment and services to Israel that are used in the violation of human rights and international law, including but not limited to the building of the ‘Separation Barrier’ and illegal Israeli settlements.”
According to USC’s Annenberg TV News (ATVN), approximately 20 people attended the Sunday afternoon meeting, most of whom were, according to witnesses, “non-students involved in other groups associated with SJP.”
Korin, upon recognizing Rothstein, told her and Ratner to leave. “Our intention was to conduct the training meeting in an efficient way, not at the presence of people that clearly oppose our campaign and our efforts to obtain justice for the Palestinian people,” Korin wrote in an email to ATVN.
Korin told ATVN that Rothstein and Ratner’s presence at the meeting would “endanger our plans and reveal unnecessary working details to those that wish us complete failure.” According to an email from Rothstein, after being ejected from the meeting, Rothstein called the Watch Commander who informed her that she and Ratner had been asked to leave the meeting in order “to ‘keep the peace.’”
“Anti-Israel activists seem more than willing to violate fundamental American civil rights and University standards to further their cause,” Rothstein wrote in an email. “At USC, they did so not just with the acquiescence, but even the complicity of USC police.”
In his statement on Friday, USC’s Dickey made clear that the decision taken to remove Rothstein and Ratner was wrong. He listed the measures that will be taken in response to this incident:
“The DPS Watch Commander will apologize to the individual who was asked to leave the event and acknowledge that this decision was in error.
“Student groups on both sides of this issue will be reminded of university rules regarding meetings of this type.
“Additional training and information will be provided to the DPS Watch Commanders so this type of incident is not repeated. This will include providing the telephone numbers of key individuals in the division of Student Affairs with whom they can consult when questions arise.
“Additional measures may be implemented as we learn more about this situation.”
Korin could not be reached for comment. Attempts to contact representatives from Women in Black, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Israel Divestment Campaign have so far been unsuccessful. We are seeking further comment from both sides on this developing story.
September 20, 2010 | 3:43 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
by Tamara Shayne Kagel
To my mother, I’m sorry I entered you into the Real Housewives of Calabasas auditions,
To my father, I’m sorry I still have your credit card,
To my sister, I’m sorry I always forget you’re not exactly like me,
To my manicurist, I’m sorry I said China - I meant Vietnam,
To the gentleman callers I didn’t call back, I’m sorry I gave you my real number,
To my editor, I’m sorry I use the term “deadline” loosely,
To my professors, I’m sorry I just voice my opinion out loud whenever I feel like,
To my housekeeper, I’m sorry I laughed at the Telenovela (I thought cat fights are always comedies),
To the servers whose restaurants I’ve patronized, I’m sorry I can never seem to order off the menu,
To my grandmother, I’m sorry you always think they’re not good enough,
To the non-Jews, I’m sorry we call ourselves the chosen people (I think it’s weird too),
To the yogis I take class with, I’m sorry I communicate that you should move over with a gentle whack,
To my roommate, I’m sorry I insist on playing NPR 24 hours a day,
To that CHP officer, I’m sorry I thought it was funny to give you a Monopoly Get Out of Jail Free card,
To my sorority sisters, I’m sorry I once showed a boyfriend the secret handshake (but I’m pretty sure he forgot),
To the telemarketers who call my house, I’m sorry I think it’s funny to repeat exactly what you say back to you like a parrot,
To the drivers who are near me on PCH, I’m sorry I have to come to a complete stop for squirrels,
To my landlord, I’m sorry I always start our conversations with “the bundle of rights” theory in property law,
To the girls I teased behind your backs, I’m sorry I didn’t say it to your face,
To all cars in Santa Monica, I’m sorry I believe jaywalking isn’t a crime,
To the TSA scanner people, I’m sorry I never take my toiletries out of my bag but you only catch me half the time so it still seems worth it,
To my writing partner, I’m sorry I put my name first and then said it was only to be in alphabetical order,
To my rabbi, I’m sorry I still make origami in synagogue but very rarely,
And to God, I’m sorry that after I read the New Yorker every week I get convinced I’m an atheist.
Very Truly Yours,
September 20, 2010 | 10:42 am
Posted by JewishJournal.com
For many Jews, Yom Kippur is a time for personal reflection. But for the parents of small children, the Day of Atonement brings with it its own challenges. Adults are expected to be in synagogue, but children aren’t usually as interested in another round of the “Al Het” confession. Which is why congregations offer activities specifically for children.
The following exchange was overheard in the bathroom of a Los Angeles synagogue on the night of Kol Nidre, during the rabbi’s sermon:
A Father and his five-year-old Son stand at adjacent urinals. The Son has just returned from a children’s activity.
Father: Did you like it?
Son says nothing.
Father: I mean, I know you liked the handball part, but what about the Judaism part?
Son: I liked it a little. It wasn’t so bad.
Father: Well remember what religion is.
Son: (struggling to remember) O—
Son gives up.
Father: (enunciating every word) The opiate—
(pauses, like a schoolteacher)
—of the masses.
September 13, 2010 | 12:59 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel, kicked-off its 10th Annual International Conference on Counter-Terrorism on Sunday, September 12 with a 9-11 memorial ceremony held at the Performing Arts Center in Herzliya.
The actual anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center took place on the day before, on a Saturday—Shabbat—capping two days of Rosh HaShanah. The memorial ceremony had local singer, Lee Ganor, performing the American and Israeli anthems, and a speech by James B. Cunningham, US Ambassador to Israel, which you can watch in full below off footage I took from the audience.
Prior to the ceremony, philanthropist and President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, received a special award honoring the Guardians of ICT. IDC’s School of Government is named after him. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Strategic Affairs, and former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen (Ret.) Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, gave the keynote address in which he outlined basic principles for combating terrorism today.
“We as a leadership have to convince the public that terror can be overcome,” he said.
In his opening remarks, President of IDC Herzliya, Prof. Uriel Reichman, said: “We mourn today with the people of the United States the tragedy of 9-11. We know very well from our own experience how painful the loss of a family member in such a situation. The scars will be with the relatives for the rest of their lives. At the same time we salute the United States and cherish the values that country stands for, and because we cherish those values, we stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against terrorism.”
The conference on “Terrorism’s Global Impact,” has drawn about 1,000 participants from 53 countries representing governments, military, security, academia, and the private sector and is considered one of the leading meeting places for the exchange of ideas on counter-terrorism. Talk will focus on the threats of radical Islamic, concerns over a nuclear Iran, the radicalization of Turkey, and issues in international law. Click here to watch the conference live.
September 12, 2010 | 7:05 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
On Sep. 7, a panel of experts on Turkey gathered at the Museum of Tolerance to answer a baffling question: Is Turkey Lost? Over 90 minutes, three journalists and the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles discussed whether the largely Muslim, strongly democratic, and traditionally secular country of nearly 80 million was lost to the West, lost to Israel and lost to democracy. The non-Turkish observers—one a freelance journalist based in Istanbul—came out hoping that Turkey would remain an ally of the United States, would soon reestablish its strong alliance with Israel, and would retain its secular and democratic character. But none could be sure.
“Turkey today stands as something of an enigma,” said Avi Davis, Executive Director and Senior Fellow at the American Freedom Alliance, the education and activist group that organized the event. And Turkey seems even more enigmatic in light of the Sep. 12 referendum in which Turkish voters approved 26 amendments to the Turkish Constitution that appear to strengthen the hand of the legislature over the military and the judiciary, the two branches of Turkey’s governing powers that are often said to be the defenders of the country’s secular tradition.
Critics of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) say that the devoutly Muslim leader has helped to undermine Turkey’s secular system, and that these amendments will only further that trend. Erdogan, who will stand for reelection next year, said that the amendments would strengthen Turkey’s democracy and help bring it into line with the requirements of the European Union. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:
“We have passed a historic threshold on the way to advanced democracy and the supremacy of law,” said Erdogan to applause from supporters gathered to celebrate the victory. “Supporters of military intervention and coups are the losers tonight.”
The argument convinced a majority of the Turkish population, with 58% of the country voting for the package of amendments, but what they will mean for Turkey remains to be seen.
Which may be why at least a few people in the audience last Tuesday evening felt a little confused. Near the end of the question-and-answer period, someone asked in all seriousness, “Who cares? Why does this matter? So what if Turkey is lost?”
The journalists on the panel provided a range of responses: “Turkey could turn off Europe’s lights,” said one. “The loss of Turkey would deal a body blow to NATO,” said another.
When it comes to Turkey’s future, it turns out, we may be the ones who are lost.
September 8, 2010 | 12:51 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
James Mee, the Jewish sheriff’s deputy who arrested actor Mel Gibson on a drunken-driving charge, is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for harassment since the July 2006 incident.
Because he reported requests from superiors to remove Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade from the initial arrest report, the department has continuously passed him over for deserved promotions and retaliated in other ways, Mee charged in his suit, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
When Gibson was stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on suspicion of driving under the influence, he asked Mee “Are you a Jew?” and then ranted that “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Mee, 55, included Gibson’s remarks in his initial report, to illustrate how drunk the actor was, but said that superiors told him to put the Gibson slurs in a separate report, not available to the public.
Yael Trock, Mee’s attorney, charged that the request by Mee’s superiors stemmed from Gibson’s celebrity status and friendship with Sheriff Lee Baca.
Mee, who still works as a sheriff’s deputy, agreed to the separate report, but its content was made public immediately by a Hollywood web site.
Mee was suspected of leaking the report, “because he is Jewish,” Trock said, and the deputy has consistently denied the charge.
A department spokesman denied Mee’s allegations of retaliation and ethnic discrimination.
After his 2006 arrest, Gibson repeatedly apologized to the Jewish community for his anti-Semitic outburst.