Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Message from the URJ on Boston

In light of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, we join together with people of goodwill all over the world in praying for healing and peace.  And we would like to share the following message delivered from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism:

April 16, 2013 | 6 Iyyar 5773
Dear Friends:
Following yesterday's tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, the Boston community remains in our hearts and prayers. We pray for the victims of this senseless crime and for everyone's safety and healing. Throughout the Boston area, Reform Jewish synagogues are planning special services to allow the local Jewish community to grieve and pray together.

The URJ has resources that may be useful for congregations at this time, including:
For all those who escaped harm we pray Birkat Hagomeil, a blessing for giving thanks:
May the One who has bestowed goodness upon us continue to bestow every goodness upon us forever. 
Just as Moses cried out to God on behalf of Miriam to heal her, so do we call upon God. We are reminded that the Holy One has implanted within us the power of healing. As individuals and as communities, may we be sources of God's healing presence. May we heal each other. May we heal this world.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

© Union for Reform Judaism
633 Third Avenue • New York, NY • 10017-6778

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Story of Hatikvah

In observance of Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, and in celebration of Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, we are pleased to share this moving video on Hatikvah:

Hatikvah, Hebrew for The Hope, is Israel's national anthem, and as this documentary explains, the story of Hatikvah, like the story of Israel, and the story of the Jewish people, is complicated. But the sentiment it expresses is simple, and straightforward. Here are the lyrics:

And while we're on the subject, here is a video from 1978, featuring Barbra Streisand in telephone conversation with Golda Meir during the network broadcast of The Stars Salute Israel at 30, followed by Barbra singing Hatikvah:

And so we say, Yom Huledet Same'ach to Eretz Yisrael, to the State of Israel, 65 years old now! 

Happy Independence Day!  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Secondhand Gun Smoke

I have previously shared some of the guest posts I have written for the blog run by the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College here on our congregational blog, namely Hannah Arendt, Jewish PhilosopherHannah Arendt and Charlie Chaplin, History and Freedom, and The Deprivations of Privacy.  

My most recent post on their blog, which was another contribution to their Quote of the Week feature, appeared on February 11th, and addressed a subject that has moved up high on the national agenda ever since the tragedy in Newton, Connecticut his past December. 

The topic of gun violence has also been the subject of several posts here on our own blog: A Response to Tragedy, Eulogy for Noah Pozner, and On the Worship of the False Idol of Firearms. And the issue has been especially prominent in news reporting over the past week.  

So here then is my attempt to apply Hannah Arendt's philosophical views on violence, informed by her own experience with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, to our current controversy over ethical and political responses to gun violence.

"The extreme form of power is All against One, the extreme form of violence is One against All. And this latter is never possible without instruments."

Hannah Arendt, On Violence

The instruments that Hannah Arendt refers to in this quote are instruments of violence, that is to say, weapons.  Weapons, which in the main, translates to firearms, make it possible for One to commit acts of violence against All. And this fact has been brought into sharp focus in light of the devastating tragedy of this past December 14th, 2012:  the massacre of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut by a 20-year-old man using a semi-automatic assault rifle that belonged to his mother, the first victim of a killing spree that ended when he turned his weapon on himself and took his own life. The extreme depravity of this incident sent shockwaves throughout the nation, and reports of subsequent shootings of a more commonplace variety have been picked up by the news media, whereas previously they have more often than not been ignored. Fulfilling their function as agenda-setters, journalists have placed gun violence high on the list of national debates, reflecting the outrage of many citizens, as well as the genuine concern of a significant number of leaders and officials in government and organized religion.

Despite the fact that many citizens find the status quo intolerable, and favor legislation that would increase the limitations on the types of weaponry citizens can legally purchase and own, and on the requirements for sale and ownership of firearms, there has been considerable opposition to any form of what is commonly referred to as gun control. That pushback had come from what is sometimes referred to as the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association being the primary organization representing the firearms industry, and citizens who insist that our constitution's second amendment guarantees them the freedom to arm themselves as they see fit. And whereas one side mostly speaks in the language of moderation, arguing for reasonable restrictions on firearms sales, the other tends to speak in an extremist language of absolutes, arguing against any abridgement of rights and freedom, maintaining that gun control legislation is completely ineffective, and that, in the words of NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Fighting fire with fire is not a method favored by firefighters, except in the most extreme of circumstances, and likewise fighting firearms with firearms is a tactic of last resort for putting an end to gun violence. Firefighters stress the importance of prevention, and we certainly are entitled to ask, how can we prevent a bad guy from getting hold of a gun in the first place? When prevention is ineffective, and violence ensues, it may be necessary to engage in further violence as a countermeasure. But even if the result is cessation rather than escalation, the situation already represents a failure and breakdown of the community. As Arendt explains,

the danger of violence, even if it moves consciously within a nonextremist framework of short-term goals, will always be that the means overwhelm the end. If goals are not achieved rapidly, the result will be not merely defeat but the introduction of the practice of violence into the whole body politic. Action is irreversible, and a return to the status quo in case of defeat is always unlikely. The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world.

LaPierre's insistence that the only way to stop violence is with violence is not only simplistic in his childish morality of good guys vs. bad guys, but in his view of the situation as being One against One. Again, it would certainly be reasonable to concede the point that violent action on the part of one individual is sometimes required to put an end to violent action on the part of another individual, and such action is authorized on the part of duly appointed representatives of the law, e.g., police. But in acting in the role of police, such individuals are acting as representatives of the All, so that what appears to be One against One is in fact a case of All against One.  But LaPierre's notion of a good guy with a gun is not a police officer—indeed police departments typically favor stricter gun control—but an armed private citizen. In other words, his One against One would exist in a larger context of All against All, everyone armed in defense against everyone else, everyone prepared to engage in violence against everyone else.

That guns are instruments of violence ought to be clear. You cannot cut a steak with a gun. You cannot chop wood with a gun. You cannot excavate a mine with a gun. Unlike knives, axes, and even explosives, firearms have no practical use other than to harm and kill living things. There are recreational applications, granted, but there is nothing new about violence in recreational activities, boxing, wrestling, and fencing all have their origins in antiquity, while eastern martial arts disciplines have grown quite popular in the United States over the past half century, and football has become our most popular sport. It follows that hunting is simply another violent recreational activity, as we are now 10,000 years past the agricultural revolution, and few if any of us live in the wilderness as nomadic hunter-gatherers.  And target ranges, skeet shooting, and the like, all of which use obvious surrogates for human and animal bodies, are essentially recreational activities, apart from their function in training individuals  how to use firearms.

Instruments of violence, like all tools, are made to be used, and their violence cannot be confined to prescribed targets and situations. So with All against All, everyone lives under the shadow of violence, the possibility of being fired upon serving as a guarantee against bad behavior. From the individual's point of view, everyone is suspect, everyone is a potential menace that must be guarded against. And of course the danger they pose is greatly amplified if they are bearing arms. So peace is achieved through mutual intimidation, and at best a respect based on threat and fear. Under these circumstances, there is no solid foundation for political action based on consensus and cooperation, let alone social cohesion. With All against All, the potential for action taken by All against One is minimized.

Reducing if not eliminating the potential for All against One is central to the ideology of the NRA, for whom the All is not so much everyone else as it is our representatives in positions of authority. Armed private citizens are the good guys with guns, and it is not only the "criminals and crazies" who are bad guys, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the government. Ignoring the fact that historically, the second amendment was understood as granting individual states in the union the right to create militias in the absence of a standing federal army, gun advocates invoke "the right to bear arms" as a check against government tyranny, insisting that they are entitled to the same right to revolution that was claimed by the founders of our nation in the Declaration of Independence. That the Confederate states invoked the same right in seceding from the Union, igniting a debate settled by the most violent of means, is of little import it seems. The Civil War apparently did not end with Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, but merely underwent a transformation into a subtle insurgency movement that continues to this day. This no doubt comes as a surprise to the vast majority of American citizens, including the multitudes that flocked to movie theaters in recent months to see Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.

Arendt drives home the point that violence exists in inverse relationship to power.  Power is derived from the All, from the consent and agreement of the governed, the source of political legitimacy. Power is the ability to achieve goals without the use of violence. When governments are forced to resort to violence, it reflects a loss of power, one that is difficult to reclaim, and may ultimately result in that governments demise. Violence can destroy power, that is the lesson of revolution, but it cannot create power, only political action can. It follows that gun advocates see the second amendment as curbing the power of government, thereby empowering the individual. That sense of power is something of a chimera, however, for as soon as firearms are used, their power dissipates. If they are used against another private citizen, even a so-called bad guy, the user will have to answer to the legal system, and may be found guilty of unlawful action, or subject to civil liability. If they are used against a government official, the user will sooner or later discover that he (or she, but almost always it is a he) is outgunned, that One against All may only succeed in the short-term but will eventually fall to the vastly superior firepower of organized authorities.

American society, like all societies, looks to a set of values that, upon close inspection, holds logical contradictions, values that, from a distance, appear to be psychologically consistent with each other. We value the individual, and adhere to the most extreme form of individualism of any western society, but we also value the community. We seek a balance between the two, but ultimately they come in conflict with one another, the One vs. the All.  And we value freedom, but we also value equality. Both seem fundamental, but freedom includes the freedom to excel, to dominate, to gain an advantage, enforce and reinforce inequity, while any effort to be truly egalitarian requires restrictions on those freedoms. Moreover, we believe in capitalism, free enterprise as it were, but also in democracy, the American way, politically-speaking, and we assume the two can co-exist without discord. But capitalism is inherently undemocratic, favoring oligarchies and the absence of government regulation and oversight, whereas the exercise of democracy extends to policies that affect and constrain economic and financial activities, and the organization and conduct of business.

In the past, Americans have slightly favored the individual, freedom, and capitalism, all of which are aligned with one another, over the community, equality, and democracy, although the emphasis has shifted somewhat depending on circumstances (for example, during wartime, we become increasingly more likely to rally around the values of community and equality, and belief in democracy). To put it into Arendt's more succinct terms, we try to find a balance between the One and the All, but to the extent that the two are in conflict, we lean a bit towards the One.

In favoring the One, we tolerate the One against All, the result being that we are scarred by gun violence to a degree vastly out of proportion with other western societies. For gun advocates, gun ownership is an individual right and an essential freedom that must not be abridged. Never mind the fact that "the right to bear arms" is rarely found on any listing of basic human rights, as opposed to the right to live in safety and security, free from fear and threat, a right that gun ownership jeopardizes at least as much as it protects. And never mind the fact that our first amendment freedoms are subject to significant limitations and governed by legislation, and those freedoms are listed in a clear and unequivocal manner, in contrast to the second amendment's convoluted and confused diction ("A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"). It is also interesting to note that gun advocates like LaPierre do not hesitate to try to shift the focus onto the first amendment, blaming violence in film, television programming, and videogames for incidents like the Newtown shooting. And what is often downplayed is that the gun lobby, in resisting all attempts at gun control, are defending the interests of the gun industry, the businesses that manufacture, distribute, and sell firearms. Of course, it is hard to play up the importance of free enterprise in the wake of the murder of elementary school children.

In their radical views on the second amendment, and their absolute embrace of individual freedom and capitalism against the interests of community, equality, and democracy, gun ideologues like LaPierre insist on the supremacy of One against All, and it is not surprising that the result is an extreme form of violence.  And, as I noted earlier, leaders representing the interests of the All against the One tend to speak, naturally enough, in the language of practical politics operating within a democratic form of government, the language of negotiation and compromise, but find themselves confronted on the other side with the abstract absolutes characteristic of the language of ideology. You might say, what we got here is a failure to communicate, in the words of Cool Hand Luke, although the two sides probably understand each other better than they let on.

The ideologues know that if they refuse to blink first, the compromisers will most likely give up and move on to more pressing matters. And the compromisers know that the ideologues refusal to negotiate gives them an excuse to turn away from a divisive issue that may cost them a measure of support in the next election, and deal with more pressing matters with a greater probability of reaching a successful conclusion. Only now, after Newtown, is there talk of having reached a tipping point in public opinion, one that may pressure the compromisers to insist upon a settlement, and may force the ideologues to accept the pragmatic need for negotiation. The likely outcome is that the ideologues will make some minor concessions, allowing for some small progress on gun control, a step in the right direction to be sure, but a far cry from the measures needed to curb the high incidence of gun violence in the United States.

Change will come, because the alternative is intolerable. To the extent that we live in increasingly denser populated areas, in urban sprawl rather than rural isolation, so that the consequences of violent action become increasingly more catastrophic, we require more civilized, more civil living conditions, the insurance against violence that can only come from the power of organized authority subject to political oversight, not private citizens responsible only to themselves. To live in a society of All against All is ultimately regressive, and can only make sense if the social system disintegrates, a remote possibility that cannot be balanced against the actuality of incident after incident of gun violence.

Change will come, but it may only come gradually, given our cultural bias towards the One against All, and it may only come generationally.  Over the past half century, Americans have become increasingly more risk aversive, as more information about potential risks to health and safety have been made available through the electronic media. However, as Henry Perkinson argues in No Safety in Numbers, it is the risks that we have no control over that we are particularly averse to. When the risk is perceived as a matter of individual choice, an expression of personal freedom, we are less averse to it than when it is understood to fall outside of our locus of control. Prohibition is often invoked as the archetype of failed measures to eliminate harmful behavior, and the word prohibition is often thrown into discussions on gun control and similar measures in order to summon up those negative connotations. Despite the potential risks to health and safety from alcoholic inebriation, over-consumption, and addiction, drinking was seen as an exercise of free will, and therefore acceptable. It was only with the campaign against drinking and driving that the locus of risk was shifted from the individual consuming intoxicating beverages to the innocent victims of drunk driving, accident victims who had no choice in the matter, whose freedom was in fact curtailed by the drinker. The same is true of tobacco.

Once medical research established that smoking causes emphysema, heart disease, and cancer, modest change in American smoking habits ensued. It was not until the findings about secondhand smoke were established that real cultural change took place, a truly extraordinary shift in attitudes and behavior about smoking. The key was that secondhand smoke exposed individuals to risks that they had no control over, risks that they were subjected to against their own volition.

While this form of risk-aversion is relatively recent, a more basic understanding that permeates American society is that individuals can exercise their freedoms as long as those freedoms do not jeopardize others. The early assertion of a right to own slaves could only persist insofar as individuals were willing to view the enslaved as somehow less than fully human; otherwise the freedom to enslave clearly cannot justify the denial of another individual's freedom. Similarly, free enterprise and free markets, the freedom of individuals to engage in any kind of business and labor practices they might chose to, eventually was understood to conflict with the rights of labor, of workers and employees, as well as the rights of consumers, so that the freedom of capitalism is subject to constraints imposed in the interests of the community and democracy.

In the face of the violence of One against All, what is needed is the power, in the positive sense of democratic political action, of All against One. The power of public opinion and a growing consensus will serve as a bulletproof vest to protect the body politic from assault by the weapons industry and gun ideologues. And the best place to begin is by talking about the dangers that uncontrolled access to firearms pose to citizens who do not choose to live with these instruments of violence, citizens whose freedoms and rights and very lives are put at risk without their consent, citizens who all are victims of secondhand gun smoke.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Adas Emuno's Got Talent!

If you know anything about our congregation, you know that we have some very talented members, especially among our religious school students, but also within our adult population. While we are a small congregation, percentage-wise it's been said that we have we have a higher proportion of talented congregants that many other larger shuls.  Maybe it has something to do with Leonia's long history as a center for creative expression within Bergen County. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Leonia:

After traveling through Leonia after arriving in New Jersey by ferry at Edgewater in 1899, advertising executive Artemus Ward purchased a large piece of land and established the Leonia Heights Land Company to develop and market housing in the community, his advertising attracting many academics and artists who were attracted to Leonia's small size, culture, and location, earning the town's nickname of the "Athens of New Jersey". 
In 1915, the Leonia School of Illustration was established by Harvey Dunn, fostering the artists' colony that subsequently emerged over the next decade. By the 1930s, it had the highest number of residents, per capita, in Who's Who in America and 80% of its residents were college graduates. Transportation through the borough was enhanced with access to ferries and trolley systems and Leonia became a refuge for many of America's most creative thinkers which included five Nobel Prize winners.

Whatever the reasons may be for it, there is no question that Adas Emuno's Got Talent! And we've decided that it's high time we acknowledged the fact, and shared it with the world:

Our first ever (at least in recent memory) Talent Show promises to be an evening of great entertainment, and we have a delightful dinner option available to make it a real night out! It's a fundraiser for the Adas Emuno Religious School, so the proceeds go to a good cause (and you can pay in advance by check or PayPal over on the left side). In addition to the competition, there will be some special additional performances to make the night especially memorable. 

This event is open to the public, so come one, come all, you will not be disappointed!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Survivor's Tale

In honor of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, here is one survivor's tale, TELLING JOKES IN AUSCHWITZ

This short documentary, produced and directed by Sandi Bachom and Mikal Reich, is a winner of the  Current TV/IFP Festival, My Hero Film Festival. The description reads:

In 1944, Werner Reich was in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and under the supervision of the infamous Josef Mengele, a.k.a. "The Angel of Death." Werner was one of the "Birkenau Boys,"a group of 96 kids arbitrarily singled out by Mengele to be kept alive as slave laborers. They were spared it seems, because of a bad joke.

In the midst of darkness, we affirm light. 
In the midst of devastation, we affirm life. 
In the midst of ignorance, we affirm memory.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Miss Israel and Mr. America

On February 27th, Yityish Aynaw was crowned Miss Israel in a pageant held in the city of Haifa. An Ethiopian Jew, she is the first black Miss Israel.  According to a Time magazine article written by Sorcha Pollak,

Aynaw was born in the town of Gondar in northwest Ethiopia. When she was 1 year old her father died, and 10 years later, after her mother died, she was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, who had immigrated to Israel. Growing up, she heard stories of Israel — the land of “milk and honey” — but life in a new country, learning a new language, was a huge challenge for the 12-year-old. “It wasn’t easy because I couldn’t speak the language and I was put into a regular class without any help,” Aynaw told the BBC.

During the 2013 Miss Israel competition, Aynaw told the judges that the time had come for a black woman to wear the crown. “It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community win the competition for the first time,” she told the panel. “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world,” she added, according to the Guardian.

She also decided to take part in the competition using her real Ethiopian name. When the Miss Israel contest first began, some contestants chose to use “pure” Hebrew names over their ethic identities, notes online magazine Tablet, whereas Aynaw was determined to use her birth name. “I was born sick, but my mom believed I had a future,” she says. Yitayish is Amharic for look, or as Aynaw explains it, “looking toward the future.”

Only a few weeks after her coronation, Barack Obama, during his recent visit to the Holy Land, invited her to a state dinner held at the home of Shimon Peres, Israel's president.  According to the article, Aynaw said, 

“I was influenced and inspired by Obama,” she told the BBC. “Like him, I was also raised by my grandmother … and I also had to work very hard and long to achieve things in my life. To this day, he inspires me just as he inspires the rest of the world.” According to Aynaw, she has more in common with the U.S. President than one would imagine: “I’m the first black Miss Israel to be chosen and [Obama] is the first black American President. These go together,” she told the Jerusalem Post. 

Here is a photograph of President Obama being introduced to Yityish Aynaw by Shimon Peres:  

In a Jewish Daily Forward article by Renee Ghert-Zand, we are told,

Peres had the pleasure of introducing Aynaw to the president. “President Peres is an amazing man,” she said. “It was a great honor to be at a dinner at his residence, and he introduced me to President Obama in the most honorable and exciting way. I’ll never forget it.”

“She’s our queen,” Peres said as he introduced her. “In our Jewish tradition, we have already had an Ethiopian queen. [Titi] is our modern Queen of Sheba.”

Obama responded by saying to Aynaw, “You are very beautiful. Michelle would be very happy to be your height.” The high heels must have thrown the president’s estimation of Aynaw’s height off, because the First Lady is merely half an inch shorter than the beauty queen.

“He’s an exciting man, a world class hunk, charming and an outstanding gentleman,” is how Aynaw described the president, whom she had previously said was a role model and hero for her.

The article also reports that, "all eyes were on her as she mingled among the other guests in an elegant black lace dress and high-heeled shoes that added another 5 inches to her 5’11 ½ ” height."

And here is a Jewish News One interview with Aynaw about her preparations for meeting with the  President of the United States:

Our newest Miss Israel says a great deal about the diversity and openness of Israeli society, but of course there is always room for improvement. According to Pollak,

There are an estimated 120,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel, and they frequently complain of being discriminated against, reports the BBC. Indeed, some have reportedly taken to calling Aynaw “toffee queen,” instead of yoffee (Hebrew for beauty) queen. Nevertheless, Semai Elias, a spiritual leader in the Ethiopian-Jewish community, is optimistic that Israeli people will come around. “There is hope that Israeli society has gotten a little bit more open,” he told Tablet.

The Tablet article, written by Daniel Estrin, notes that the Miss Israel pageant has been held uninterrupted for the past 63 years, and that

you can learn a lot about the face Israeli society has tried to put forward by the faces its judges choose each year. In 1952, at the height of tensions between Israel’s European veterans and Middle-Eastern Jewish newcomers, Yemen-born Ora Vered became the first Miss Israel of Middle-Eastern Jewish descent. In 1993, in the midst of Israel’s tidal wave of Soviet immigration, Kiev-born Jana Khodriker won, and in 1999, the peak of Israel’s optimism that Arab-Israeli peace was imminent, judges crowned Rana Raslan the first Arab Miss Israel.

Estrin also notes that despite the problems the persist in Israeli society,

these past few years have been trailblazing ones for Ethiopian-born Israeli women. In 2011, Hagit Yaso was the first Ethiopian-born winner of the Israeli version of American Idol. In 2012, Belaynesh Zevadia was appointed Israel’s first Ethiopian-born ambassador, sent to represent the Jewish state in her native Addis Ababa. And in January, Pnina Tamano-Shata became the first Ethiopian-born woman to be elected to parliament. “There is hope that Israeli society has gotten a little bit more open,” said Semai Elias, a spiritual leader in the Ethiopian Jewish community, about their accomplishments. “The community has been given a chance.”

Whatever the difficulties that exist in Israel, they are nothing compared to what we have gone through in the United States, and we can be confident that the soon will be resolved. And we know that Jews all around the world take great pride in our kinship with the beautiful new Miss Israel!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting Technical Regarding Pesach

Let's get one last Passover post in, for those still observing the festival, here's a Passover greeting from the Technion in Israel:

And according to the write-up over on YouTube:

Drunk with Freedom, Technion students show you how to cross the Red Sea, and pour the wine for the Passover Seder. Dr. Bob's TechnoBrain engineering challenge (supported by Dr. Robert Shillman): to devise a machine that could cross a pool of water -- symbolizing the Red Sea -- fill a glass of wine to capacity and place it on the "Passover Seder table," all without human intervention.. Happy Passover to all!

And while we'e on the subject of the Israel Institute of Technology, another YouTube video on the subject of President Obama's visit to the Holy Land just before the start of the Passover holiday has the following write-up:

At the request of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Technion scientists help create a special gift in honor of President Barack Obama's visit to Israel. Replicas of the Declarations of Independence of the United States of America and the State of Israel are inscribed side by side on a nano-chip by scientists from Technion's Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute. The replicas were chiseled on a gold-coated silicon chip on an area 0.04mm2 by 0.00002mm, using a focused beam of gallium ions. The chip is affixed to a Jerusalem stone dating to the Second Temple period (1st century BCE to 1st century CE), used to seal clay vessels. Prof. Wayne Kaplan, Dean of Technion's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, takes you into the Dual-Beam Focused Ion Beam Lab and explains how this was done. Dr. Tzipi Cohen-Hyams is seen working on the nano-chip.

And here is the video itself:

Speaking of Passover, technology, and Obama, you may have missed Jon Stewart's bit on The Daily Show back on the first night of Passover, so take a gander, and a listen (warning, it is a bit racy and controversial):

Ah well, our religious celebrations may come to an end, but political issues can go on indefinitely. If nothing else, we can all pray for peace in this season of freedom! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pesach Rhapsody and Rap

As the Festival of Pesach winds down, here is a music video worthy of Esther from our friends at, Passover Rhapsody - A Jewish Rock Opera:

And speaking of the Sabbath Queen, let's also let the sweet taste of Passover linger with another tuneful video, Dayenu, Coming Home - The Fountainheads Passover Song:

Now that's a bit of a Passover rap-sody, wouldn't you say? Well, anyway, we all can say, Chag Sameach!