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Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Heebonics is a division of The Canadian Jewish News bringing news and views to Jews in their 20's and 30's interested in Jewish culture, including music, film, travel, business, social activism, and more.
Updated: 51 min 9 sec ago

Will 2015 be a better year for SodaStream?

Thursday December 18, 2014
SodaStream International, producer of the Israeli drink machine that lets you carbonate and flavour beverage bottles in your own home, is a popular product sold in leading home and department stores worldwide.

The company finds itself as a perennial target of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.  Last month we posted that SodaStream announced it would close its West Bank factory and move it to Israel's southern Negev region, to the community of Lehavim near Be'er Sheva, by the end of 2015.

While there was no direct evidence the BDS movement influenced the company's decision, JTA reported today that Harvard University's dining service has chosen to stop purchasing SodaStream equipment for its facilities several months after university officials met with anti-Israel groups on campus, who requested that SodaStream labels be removed existing machines.

The meeting last April was between Harvard's administration, the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society. According to the Harvard Crimson, the school's student newspaper, the two groups expressed their discomfort over the use of the technology and the "potential of the machines to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict."

The Ivy League school's dining services will reportedly be sourcing new machines from American companies.

Harvard's code of arms features the Latin word veritas, which means truth. Could the school's leaders really believe there's is truth in the small-mindedness of the BDS movement?

What say you?

Technological innovation meets Chanukah tradition

Thursday December 18, 2014
This video from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology's department of education in science and technology showed up on our newsfeed and gave us such a sense of awe and wonder that we just had to share it with you our followers.

These three humanoid robots, programmed by Grade 10 students at Ort High School in Kiryat Bialik, expertly execute the serving of a latke, the pouring of shemen (oil) and lighting a chanukiyah. Their construction was supervised by Dan Cuperman of the Center for Robotics and Digital Technology Education (CRDTE).

Simply marvellous.

Classic sandwich flavour in a sufganiyah

Thursday December 11, 2014
There was a time in most North American schools, workplaces and communal events when peanuts were commonly found in lunches, snacks and available as sports game concessions. But recently adopted policies have restricted the consumption and sale of the protein-filled legume.

Nevertheless, sufganiyot (jelly dougnut) makers in New York have kept the lunch staple of peanut butter and jelly alive in the festive Chanukah treat.  
The recipe published by Shannon Sara of the Nosher, which inspired this post, provides step-by-step directions, along with measured quantities for each ingredient and suggestions for substitutions if needed. 
Have a look and nosh away.

Chanukah tradition meets comfort food staple

Thursday December 11, 2014
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, comfort food is defined as food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family or friends.

Most of us are brought up hearing the story of why we celebrate the festival of Chanukah, and we consume traditional foods at gatherings of family and friends.

We eat sizeable quantities of foods fried in oil to recall the oil that lasted eight days in the menorah, when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Greeks.

Melinda Strauss, a contributor to My Jewish Learning's blog the Nosher, also notes that we consume dairy products to celebrate Judith’s victory when she saved her village from the Babylonians.

An enterprising foodie, Strauss joined these two culinary traditions together combining latkes with a favourite North American comfort food that many of us know how to make: grilled cheese. To get this crispy, multi-tiered, melty treat just right, follow her instructions by jumping to the recipe here.

Imagine this Jewish spectacular in a city near you

Thursday December 4, 2014
With this week's edition of The Canadian Jewish News carrying Chanukah gift ideas, food ads and local greetings from community supporters, the web has been burning up with one of the most elaborate performances of familiar holiday songs with a new-age twist.

Imagine if reality competition programs like Dancing with The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance showcased a performance from a troupe helmed by Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra.

This set, recorded in Daley Plaza in Chicago, will have you transfixed along with the energized crowd, enjoying festival favourites such as Sevivon sov sov sov, Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah and even Ocho Kandelikas, a well-loved Ladino Chanukah song, along with top-notch orchestration and beautifully choreographed ballroom, modern and Latino-style dancing.

Throw away heavy bike locks in favour of this Israeli invention

Thursday December 4, 2014
What would be the most convenient way to lock up your bike outside while you run an errand in a store or head inside to work? Ilan and Mickey believe they've found the answer with SEATYLOCK.

The Israeli innovation, designed for urban cyclists, conforms to any bike type and transforms the seat into a lock that holds your bike in place while you step away.

In a process that takes less than thirty-seconds, you fold out the saddle into a meter long chain, and the bike key locks as you normally would to any fixed object.

While it has been rigorously tested, for now, Mickey and Ilan have just a few working samples and are appealing to Kickstarter supporters and fans on their Facebook page to help drive awareness, enthusiasm and interest in the product, which they hope one day to see come to market.

Are your locks cumbersome? How convenient would this be for you?

Sound off in our comments section below.

Lost Girl prepares to say farewell

Thursday November 27, 2014
The time has come Lost Girl fans.

As we told you just a little more than eight weeks ago, the popular sci-fi genre drama will begin airing the first half of its super-sized fifth and final season next month with a total of 16 episodes.

As the end nears, the cast has been looking back on whom they've shared screen time with, and in the video below, Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Reid, Lauren Palmer, Ksenia Solo, Rick Howland and Paul Amos are asked whom they felt was the best character on the show and – no surprise, given all the kissing scenes – who was the best kisser. You can tell they all had a blast together.

With a premiere date on Showcase in Canada of Sunday Dec. 7, the teaser trailers are giving loyal viewers a glimpse into what will surely be an epic conclusion to the journey lead actress Anna Silk's bisexual succubus character Bo began on Sept. 12, 2010. While learning about herself and her origins, and using her supernatural abilities and helping those in need, Bo also fiercely protected the newfound family she came to deeply love and rely on.

Throughout five seasons, the central premise of the show has been upheld from the title sequence's voice-over monologue:

"Life is hard when you don't know who you are. It's harder when you don't know what you are. My love carries a death sentence. I was lost for years, searching while hiding; only to find that I belong to a world hidden from humans. I won't hide anymore. I will live the life I choose."

Nature vs. nurture, free will vs. determinism – the ultimate question will be answered: does Bo truly have the power.

Seth Rogen's Thanksgiving rant

Thursday November 27, 2014
Today is the day our friends south of the border remember the first harvest meal the pilgrims invited local Native Americans to share in their first bounty after settling in the colonies.

It wasn't until 1863, however, in the midst of the Civil War, that U.S. president Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Growing up in Canada, comedian Seth Rogen could never quite understand why he and his family could not partake in Canada's similar festive celebration held in October.

In a new video produced for Funny or Die entitled Seth Rogen's Jewish-Canadian-American Thanksgiving, the 32-year-old recalls: "They told me that Jewish people did not celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. And I believed this, throughout my whole childhood, until I moved to the United States."

In his 20s, after getting to know other Jewish Canadian transplants to the United States who told him they celebrated with all the fixings, Rogen realized there was absolutely nothing non-Jewish about the holiday and that it was quite akin to what happened at our his typical family gatherings in that "All you do is eat and complain!"

I know one of our former Heebonics contributors will likely get a rise from this, so this one's for you Blintzkrieg.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers.

Could hostilities begin again from Gaza?

Thursday November 20, 2014
A rocket launched from Gaza fell into the Mediterranean Sea for the fourth time in 24 hours, according to the Israel military, JTA reported.

It is not known which terror organization launched the rocket, the most recently this morning, the Israel Defence Forces said.

 “Gaza terrorists are experimenting in order to increase rocket-launching capabilities,” the IDF said in a statement.

Several rockets have been fired from Gaza since the end of the summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge, some of which have triggered Israel’s Code Red rocket alert system.

From north to south and east to west, all of Israel may be about to go on high alert yet again.

Are you concerned?

Global hotel brands expand to Jerusalem

Thursday November 20, 2014
Israel's capital has been in the news recently for a number of mostly negative reasons. First and foremost was the terror attack in Har Nof, and before there were the hostilities on the Temple Mount that spurred Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, to urge Jews to avoid the area.

But in more positive news, there will soon be more options for tourists travelling to Jerusalem.

According to YNET , the likes of the W and Four Season luxury hotel chains are expected to follow in the footsteps of the Waldorf and bring their well-appointed suites to the city.

Meanwhile, other international hotel chains soon to be arriving in Jerusalem include Marriott, Ramada and Accor, which will run two hotels under the Ibis brand that are already under construction. Talks are also being held with the Radisson chain.

Ilanit Melchior, tourism director of the Jerusalem Development Authority, says the holy city currently has some 4,000 hotel rooms, with 2,000 more expected to within six years as part of a local and international brand expansion.

In addition, the Jerusalem Development Authority has started an initiative to extend urban accommodation units to tourists, allowing them to integrate with local residents and enjoy a cheaper vacation in Israel.

Wix follows SodaStream with a 2015 Super Bowl ad

Thursday November 13, 2014
There's a long way to go until Super Bowl XLIX and many growing companies are after prime spots to showcase their offerings during the Feb. 1 broadcast.

Among returning advertisers Doritos and Mercedes-Benz, Israeli website builder Wix is getting in on the action.

In an effort to increase it's name recognition, the provider of enterprise-level development tools to small businesses will produce a 30-second spot at a cost of $4.5 million that will air during the fourth quarter of the big game.

From its humble beginnings in 2006, Wix has amassed 55 million paid users for its services and has more than 2.5 million fans on Facebook. Until now, the "Hottest Middle Eastern Startup" – so labelled by Inc. Magazine – has attracted users through conservative spends on direct response marketing. You've no doubt seen the companies sponsored ads in Facebook newsfeeds.

Vice-president of marketing Omer Shai is excited to be part of the most-watched sporting event of the year. While popular overseas, Wix's desire is to raise its standing in the minds of business owners across North America.

Along with the Wix ad, viewers will be treated to a host of new advertisements, from the makers of Loctite glue to a phone-battery extender device called Mophie.

Could Wix's ad go viral like many Super Bowl before it? Time will tell.

ADL speaks out on Nikki Minaj's new video

Thursday November 13, 2014

It's been a week since New York rapper and song writer Nikki Minaj's video for the single Only premièred, and it has drawn criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and fans alike.

The imagery in the video, as you can see from the promotional still, not only seems to glorify Nazism, it was actually intentional, video director Jeff Osborn said in a statement, though he maintains that neither he nor the video are anti-Semitic.

The YM displayed across Minaj's chest and on the red band spread across Chris Brown's cap and lapel stand for Young Money, representing Minaj's label. In the still, that's Canadian Jewish rap star Drake portraying a priest to Minaj's left.

Regarding Osborne's depiction of Young Money as a generic totalitarian regime, he says he's taken images and symbols from several countries and time periods to comment on the continued existence of such ideologies and social practices.

The ADL, however, doesn't buy it. "Nicky Minaj's new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture's exploitation of Nazi symbolism."

Asked why the video was shot in black and white, with colour presented only in the form of the red banners with the YM logo imposed on a white background, akin to the look of a swastika, Osborne said: "The Young Money team came to me with a set of parameters in which they exactly stated: something black and white, dark, ominous, with hints of imagery like Sin City or Metalocalypse."

The song itself imagines what the experience would be like to sleep with Young Money's princess.

Share with us your thoughts after watching the video below.

A special message from Alicia Keys to Raichel

Thursday November 6, 2014
Known for his band's eclectic cultural mix, bringing together Ethiopian, Yemenite, Israeli and South American singers to create a unique sound, Idan Raichel is one artist we here at Heebonics can't stop writing about.

Consistently recognized as one of Israel's greatest exports, the top artist is known the world over for crossing cultural divides and promoting tolerance. He recently received a special video message from American R&B pianist and singer Alicia Keys, who honoured Raichel as he was awarded the MTV Role Model Award.

The Idan Raichel Project received the award for representing Israel around the world and for its collaboration with a long list of international artists, including India Arie, Andreas Scholl, Patrick Bruel, Marta Gómez, Farka Touré and many others.

This post was inspired by Size Doesn't Matter's report from ynet, and we felt we just had to bring it to you, our readers, too.

For more on how Raichel and Keys first performed together and to view her special message, after watching them perform in New York's Central Park, below, jump to the posting on Size Doesn't Matter from the link above.

Iggy's unforgettable bar mitzvah performance

Thursday November 6, 2014
It's clear we've entered a world where the commercialization of bar and bat mitzvah celebrations has reached epic new heights.

Back in August 2013, we told you about Sam Horowitz's bar mitzvah and how the budding performer made a spectacle out of himself by entering the ballroom of the Omni Hotel in Dallas with a dance troupe set to a track from the feature film Burlesque.

For 2014, the award for most outlandish spending on a 13-year-old's coming-of-age ceremony goes to the party for Las Vegas billionaire and MGM mogul Kirk Kirkorian's grandson, Julian. A total of $450,00 was splashed on the James Bond-themed reception at the Beverly Hills Hotel, featuring performances from current hip-hop princess Iggy Azalea and pop star Nick Jonas.

Azalea certainly heated things up during her performance of the J-Lo-collaborated track Booty when she suffered a wardrobe malfunction, splitting her pants dead centre. A few sources report the Fancy/Black Widow hit-maker modified her moves once she realized she was exposed either during or shortly after her wild hip shake.

It was certainly a welcome to manhood that Julian and the rest of his male guests will never forget.

Cotler explains new/old anti-Semitism

Thursday October 30, 2014
It was by far one of the most informative sessions at last weekend's the first-ever Limmud FSU Kultura conference to be held in Canada.

MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler captivated the audience as he outlined the five indicators of the new/old anti-Semitism, which calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state and the Jewish People. These precepts are the basis for the Ottawa Protocol, the 2010 action plan to combat hostility and prejudice against the Jewish People.

The first of the five indicators is toxic genocide converging with genocidal anti-Semitism, as in the case of Hamas and Hezbollah, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah asserts that if all Jews return to Israel, as it is said will happen when the Messiah comes, it will be easier to wipe them out.

The religious fatwas conducted by the terror groups would see the extermination of a people and its ancestral home.

The second indicator is attributing all the world's evil to Israel, which the BDS movement labels an apartheid state, a move that launders anti-Semitism.

Cotler said the first and second indicators lead to the third, political anti-Semitism, but quite honestly, I think it leads more to the fourth, which he identified as acting in ways to mask the de-legitimization of Israel.

The fifth and final indicator of the new/old anti-Semitism is the role the United Nations continues to play as a willing conduit for such hatred.

On an annual basis, Cotler noted, the UN passes more resolutions against Israel than any other member state. Out of the 25 condemnations issued most years, Israel consistently receives 20 to 22 of them, he said.

Cotler believes its far worse for Israel to be demonized with allegations of criminality by international human rights groups and, more importantly, the UN, the supposed champions of human rights, than by extremists near and far.

"To single out one singles out others. If Israel is an apartheid state, what does that say of the countries that support the only recognized democracy in the Middle East?" he asked.

"Talmud Torah neged kulam," meaning we must learn our case in order to teach our case, Cotler urged the audience.

In other words, we must re-frame the narrative with points of fact that make it clear to all that the teachings that lead to extremism are the real root cause of the Middle East conflict.

SodaStream denies BDS involved in factory closure

Thursday October 30, 2014
A popular scapegoat for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli drink machine maker SodaStream International Ltd. announced it will close it's West Bank factory, but not because of ongoing pressure from pro-Palestinian activists.

SodaStream spokesperson Nirit Hurwitz said the decision to move the facility out of Maale Adumim in the West Bank and into Israel's southern Negev region, to the community of Lehavim near Be'er Sheva, came not because of the BDS movement but rather for "purely commercial" reasons.

The move will give the company more manufacturing space and save it two per cent on overhead costs.

The factory in the West Bank, however, employs hundreds of Palestinians, who get the same benefits as their Israeli colleagues. If they wish to move along to the new factory when it opens in a year's time, it will mean longer commute times and work permits to enter Israel.

In July, an Israeli-owned store in England selling replacement parts for the gadget, which allows users to make their own carbonated beverages, closed after two years of weekly protests.

Unlike in England, the latest SodaStream news wasn't a case of caving in to BDS pressure. Here's hoping the potential loss of Palestinian jobs does not further fuel the fires of BDS activists in the months to come.

The Shabbat Project a global event

Thursday October 23, 2014
In recent years in home and shuls around the world, family and communal Shabbat dinners have risen in both frequency and popularity.

Organizations have banded together to host Shabbat Across Canada, and now the Shabbat Project has gone a step further by taking observance of the week's holiest day global.

The idea originated last year in South Africa, where the majority of the country’s diverse Jewish community joined together to observe a single Shabbat, many for the first time in their lives.  
The international Shabbat Project will take place this weekend on Oct. 24 and 25 in more than 212 cities and 33 countries worldwide.

In Toronto, there are three events we here at Heebonics can tell you about. The first, a challah bake, takes place tonight, Thursday, Oct. 23 at the Embassy Grand Convention Center in Brampton, and a second, a  Havdallah concert  , will take place as Shabbat ends on Saturday night at the Lebovic Community Campus in Vaughan. A Shabbat dinner is also being held at the Annex Shul in the downtown core Friday night.

For more, click on the links above for event details.

Shoresh is a three-peat winner

Thursday October 23, 2014
It's a celebratory time for Shoresh, an environmental initiative in Toronto that tackles contemporary food and ecological issues.

Shoresh has been named for the third time as one of the 50 most innovative Jewish non-profits in North America by Slingshot, a U.S.-based resource guide to innovative organizations, projects and programs in the North American Jewish community.

In 2009, Shoresh opened the Kavanah Garden at the Lebovic Community Campus as its flagship programming space. The Kavanah Garden hosts more than 1,400 community members annually at its educational and hands-on programs, workshops, and events. It also produces more than 500 pounds of fresh vegetables each season for community members in need.

We here at Heebonics applaud Shoresh for its continuing efforts to better the environment and the world at large.

Ready, set, swoon with Kunis and Kutcher

Wednesday October 15, 2014
A week this Thursday will have been a month since the birth of Wyatt Isabelle to proud parents Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Both are followers of the spiritual branch of Judaism, Kabbalah, and a blessing ceremony was held over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, Kutcher's ex Demi Moore attended the ceremony with daughters Rumer and Tallulah in tow.

An onlooker at the ceremony told The Sun newspaper that Moore and her daughters congratulated the couple while having a quick hold and coo over the baby. The 51-year-old Hollywood star also reportedly handed out presents, including an engraved picture frame and a personalized cashmere baby blanket.

Since the 90s and early 2000s, many Hollywood celebrities have adopted Kabbalah beliefs and adhere to its principle tenet that there is more to the world than what we usually perceive. What one, therefore, seeks to obtain – in constructive healthy ways –  is more joy and more connection with the things that matter.

It's a lesson Kunis and Kutcher will likely pass on, as soon as their little one is able to learn it.

Profeti Della Quinta coming to Holy Blossom

Wednesday October 15, 2014
In the space between Simchat Torah and Chanukah, Jewish organizations and synagogues roll out a slew of events to nourish the soul of the community. One such event is a concert showcasing the Israeli vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta, who will perform Thursday, Oct. 23 at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.

The talented group will perform classic melodies from the Renaissance compiled by 16th-century Italian Jewish composer Salomone Rossi.

Profeti della Quinta has taken to the stage in venues around the world, from the United States to Japan and Switzerland to the Netherlands. Next Thursday's performance will mark the group's Canadian debut.

The selection of Rossi's Italian madrigals, instrumental pieces and Hebrew prayers will provide an auditory delight, while visually concert-goers will be treated to a screening of the award winning documentary Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi as a prelude to the main event.

For more information and for tickets, contact Mari Lynn Rusak by clicking here or visit the Holy Blossom website.

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