11 April, 2014

News about the community: a user's guide

A couple of articles were published recently (in The Age and the Herald Sun) about the latest very public scandal associated with the Yeshivah Centre. Below is a guide to the interpretation of often-used phrases in these and similar articles:

22 March, 2014

Kapital Nun

I've been saying kapital nun (chapter 50 of Tehillim) daily for a while now. Many people in our community have also been saying it daily, as part of a series of prayer and mitzvah initiatives for Rivkie Barber OBM, who passed away on Friday (in New York) after multiple battles with cancer. Many were shocked to hear the news in shul this morning (Shabbos), especially as it punctuated a community in the midst of celebrating several weddings.

I was discussing Beth Rivkah's planned response to students - particularly the cohort in the same grade as Rivkie's daughter, and the group Rivkie taught last school year - with the headmaster, and he commented that in the middle of the meal on Friday night, he and his guests all paused to say kapital nun. His remark hit me like a ton of bricks. Tomorrow, I will continue to say kapital nun, and will continue for several months, and then proceed to kapital nun aleph, and so on IYH U120. But all those who took it on as an extra prayer for Rivkie will stop.

12 March, 2014

Repost: 50 Thousand Haredim March So Only Other Jews Die in War

This was posted on the JewishPress web site, then removed and the writer sacked. I'm reposting it here for posterity, with commentary to follow shortly.

They flooded downtown Manhattan with the anti-draft for Haredim message: everybody else is welcome to get themselves killed. What was even more astonishing was their honesty regarding the bankruptcy of their entire school of faith and study.

They flooded downtown Manhattan with the anti-draft for Haredim message: everybody else is welcome to get themselves killed. What was even more astonishing was their honesty regarding the bankruptcy of their entire school of faith and study.

For the record, I believe the new Shaked-Lapid-Bennett draft law is by far worse than the one it came to replace, the Tal Law. Most importantly, because the Tal Law was getting results, without the idiotic, needless, divisive rancor generated by the new legislation. Killing the Tal Law, or, rather, issuing an edict that it had to be replaced by something that worked faster, was the parting poisonous gift of Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, protégé of that beacon of light unto the nations, Chief Justice Aharon (evil genius) Barak.

25 February, 2014

Flight Attendants as Salespeople

The role of the flight attendant is changing. Airlines are unbundling services - moving from the days of all-inclusive flight, luggage, food and entertainment to making all except the flight itself optional (and therefore paid) extras. This achieves two things: reduce the "headline price" of the flight to the bare minimum (which in turn can be used to confuse the market and make it more difficult for customers to compare offerings), and allow customers who don't need or see value in the extras to not pay for them.

So instead of a single point-of-purchase before the flight, there are now purchase opportunities at almost every stage of the flight experience. You can buy luggage or a special seat at check-in, food and entertainment on the flight itself. This means that the customer-facing staff must evolve from their traditional role of just providing a service to salespeople.

31 January, 2014

Facebook Death Protocol

Marc died yesterday. It was quite a shock - I don't think he was even 60. I knew he had some serious health issues a few years back, but didn't quite know the extent of them. We weren't close friends - I'd see him a handful of times a year at our synagogue and have a bit of a chat. He was always congenial - something of a big friendly giant. The e-mails went around the community mailing lists announcing his passing, with the funeral and minyan details.

Then, this morning, something strange happened. In my Facebook feed, a FacebookFriend™ of mine posted a condolence message on Marc's page. I was a bit taken aback, so I went to his page to discover a handful of messages posted - some of them farewell messages, some directed to his family, and other nice things about him.

06 December, 2013

Celebrating International 'Work a Bit Harder' Week

As the third international 'Work a Bit Harder' week draws to a conclusion, celebrations are being marked all over the world as this tribute to the work ethic continues to gain momentum and popularity.

In Bangladesh, children at the Dhaka-based factory of a popular active-wear manufacturer dedicated an extra shift without pay to their employers, and in India all cricket fixtures were put on hold so workers could spend an extra two hours working without the distractions of sport and leisure.

03 November, 2013

In the Flesh - Zombies meet PC

If you like zombie movies and TV series, and even if you don't, but can tolerate a bit of gore, then the UK series In the Flesh is a real treat.

The zombies in this show are not the frenzied, marauding gangs that decimate the population and overrun the world as in World War Z. This isn't about a post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead which strips society back to the most basic of human needs.

09 September, 2013

Yesterday's Blues but tomorrow we will roar

Firstly, I'd like to thank those friends who offered commiserations and/or asked how I was feeling after Richmond's early exit from the AFL finals yesterday. It certainly made a pleasant change from those Carlton supporters (not all of them) whose instinctive response to victory is to gloat and rub the opposition supporter's noses in it. Such behaviour puts them even lower than