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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: 11 min 53 sec ago

Canada and Israel sign new air service agreements

Thursday January 22, 2015
Lisa Raitt, Canada's minister of transport, signed an air transport agreement in Israel this week, along with a declaration of intent on aviation security and a memorandum of understanding on transportation.

Suffice it to say the new agreement will permit a far greater number of Canadian and Israeli airlines to offer air services to more cities in both countries and allow for the scheduling of many more flights each day for both passenger and cargo purposes.

Jump here to our good friends at Size Doesn't Matter for a full account and some historical quick facts.

Former Saved by the Bell star pleads not guilty

Thursday January 22, 2015
For anyone who grew up in the 1990s, a Saturday-morning staple for adolescents and teens was Saved By the Bell. The show ran from 1989 to 1993, spawning a prime-time spinoff Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and later Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which extended the series to the turn of the century.

Many know Dustin Diamond (whose father is of Ashkenazi decent), or more accurately his character Samuel "Screech" Powers, the often socially awkward yet loyal-to-the-end best friend of Mark-Paul Gosselaar's character Zack Morris. Diamond was present in every iteration of the show from its initial beginnings on the Disney Channel, when it was called Good Morning Miss Bliss before it was retooled by then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff.

While Diamond, now 38, has largely stayed out of the public eye since his sitcom days, falling back on his stand-up comedy, the actor went through many hard times both personally and professionally. The recent holiday season was anything but kind to the once-beloved actor. He and his 27-year-old girlfriend, Amanda Schutz, were arrested following a brawl last month inside Port Washington, Wis.'s Grand Avenue Saloon. Diamond was charged with second degree reckless endangerment and two misdemeanours, while Shutz was charged with disorderly conduct. They've both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Diamond is accused of wielding a stiletto folding blade and stabbing a man who grabbed him as he trying to come to the defence of Schutz, who was being roughed up by a pair of bar patrons.

His one-time fictional school principal Mr. Belding would definitely not approve.

Famed comedian makes Marvel Comics debut

Thursday January 15, 2015
American comedian Sarah Silverman has revelled in success after success – from conquering the stage and screen, both big and small, to writing best-selling books and lending her celebrity to causes around the world.

Now Silverman has been immortalized, like many before her, in the pages of a beloved comic book series.

In Deadpool # 40, about a fictional mercenary anti-hero whose real name is Wade Winston Wilson, from the Marvel canon of characters, the often-vulgar entertainer takes a stand with the equally abrasive Deadpool, or the "Merc with a Mouth," as he's often called, against the Roxxon company and its environmentally damaging practice of "gracking."

Gracking is a softer term for the real-world equivalent of hydraulic fracturing, used to extract natural gas from the earth, only in the Marvel universe, Roxxon's process uses dangerous Gamma rays that turned mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner into the brute known as the Hulk.

We really enjoyed this full account by Renee Ghert-Zand for The Times of Israel about comedians making appearances in the pages of Marvel and DC comics.

Check it out.

The Wachowskis' new film to finally hit theatres

Thursday January 15, 2015
It's been a long road for Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski to get their latest motion picture into theatres.

After giving us The Matrix trilogy, their follow-up films have not quite generated the same level of notoriety nor basked in the same level of success at the box office.

Their last major outing, Cloud Atlas in 2012, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, made a disappointing $130 million and was not entirely well received by critics or cinema-going audiences alike.

Jupiter Ascending, starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, was pulled from last summer's blockbuster roster, as the sibling directors felt the special effects scenes did not meet the level of quality they sought to put forth. Now with a Feb. 6 release date, how will it fare against the Oscar-nominated films contending for this year's coveted awards?

Do you still believe the Wachowskis can capture audiences' attention as they once did?

You could be sitting on the Iron Throne in Tel Aviv

Thursday January 8, 2015
There are a great many television shows that generate niche followings, and then there are the global phenomena that keep everyone talking. The American fantasy drama Game of Thrones, which airs on HBO, falls into the latter category.

Game of Thrones was adapted in 2011 from the same-titled first book of George R.R. Martin's wildly popular A Song of Ice and Fire four-part series. It's signature catch phrase, "Winter is coming," when heard, often signals the new season's premiere is soon to follow.

In 2012, an exhibition showcasing iconic artifacts, original scripts and costumes from its production travelled the world to transport fans to the epic world of Westeros and beyond. Having completed the North Amercian leg of its third annual tour in 2014, it has just been announced the exhibition will once again travel the world to seven international destinations..

Winter will come (in spring) to Israel with a stop in Tel Aviv this April during Passover (April 5-9). Other stops along the way will include London, Stockholm, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.

If you have not yet attended the exhibition, here's a taste of what you'd see.

PM Netanyahu sends heartfelt letter to France

Thursday January 8, 2015
In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Paris headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, resulting in the deaths of 12 people and leaving 10 others wounded, five critical, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent this letter to Francois Hollande, president of the French Republic, with words of condolences for the loss of life and wishes for swift healing of the injured.

While further details of the attack on the offices are still sketchy, witnesses said the assailants knew exactly whom to target at the magazine, which has published a series of satirical cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which may have precipitated the violent act.

Honest Reporting’s Mike Fegelman on how to fight anti-Israel media bias

Wednesday December 24, 2014
In the wake of information leaks from government servers, the release of private emails from movie studios and the seemingly never-ending stream of celebrity assault scandals, adherence to the standards of journalism and the media’s code of ethics in reporting are often questioned and debated in the public sphere.

That’s not news for supporters of Israel.

When it comes to the Jewish state, many critics say journalistic integrity is regularly compromised when reporters from mainstream news outlets cover events in the Holy Land.

On Dec. 14, some 80 members of Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple and the community at large attended a brotherhood breakfast and heard from Mike Fegelman, CEO and executive director of Honest Reporting Canada, on the ongoing battle against anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in mainstream news media and how we can all participate in combating the dissemination of negative narratives.

Fegelman said that when correspondents from many media outlets describe events in the region using words such as “occupation” and when they frame the defensive measures taken by the Israeli government in relation to Israel’s military superiority over its neighbours, it shapes a particular way of thinking about the State of Israel and its people.

And, as Fegelman said, “what gets reported today can essentially become foreign policy tomorrow.” 

News organizations rely on the power of the image, and images are often more powerful than a news report itself, he said.

Additionally, he said, while Hollywood is known for producing movies and TV programs that explore the human condition and shine a light on the accomplishments of notable figures in history, Pallywood is a term coined to describe how Palestinians manipulate and distort news stories, and spread damaging, and often falsified, images to cast doubt on the intent of Israel’s actions to win the public relations war against the homeland of the Jewish People.

Fegelman said that despite the fact “the lion’s share of foreign correspondents are located in Jerusalem,” only a short drive away from many news hot spots, “many human rights atrocities in the greater Muslim world go unreported, [and] these are the important stories we [the public] are not hearing”.

Recognizing that the bottom line for newspapers, radio and television is to sell eyeballs to advertisers and win ratings battles, Fegelman said that at times, journalists take to the airwaves or go to press before facts have been thoroughly checked, and reporters often speak selectively to local sources, as directed by their regional editors and managers.

So how can we encourage media outlets to better balance their reporting on Israel?

In closing, Fegelman suggested a few ways to mobilize and work to alter mis-conceptions promoted by inaccurate articles and broadcasts. He advised his listeners to continue to write letters and emails to the news editors of the outlets you watch, read or listen to. They carry more weight than most people realize, he said, noting that his organization, Honest Reporting Canada, often invites journalists and editors to coffee or dinner to point out critical information they omitted in bringing a story forward, in an attempt to sway them to balance their coverage.

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.

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