16 December 2014

Hanukkah - Dreidel - music video by Jewish a cappella group Shir Soul - ...

Hanukkah medley and sung a cappella by a great all-men quartet, with fun dreidel spinning to boot. 

Happy Hanukkah tonight everyone. Celebrate Light in the Darkness.

15 December 2014

When is trauma 'terror?'

"A gunman is holding up to 50 people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney. At least one offender took hostages at the popular Lindt chocolate cafe, which has several entrances, just before 10am. Some members of staff could be seen wearing their shop aprons and standing with their hands up at the windows. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is [believed to be] the Black Standard, a jihadist flag. The incident has not been branded a terrorist attack yet, but police have confirmed they have “moved to a footing consistent with a terrorism event” in their response.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters this afternoon it remained a hostage situation “but we are ready to escalate if we need to”. They did not have “direct contact” with the hostage-taker." (news.com.au)

This took place on the morning when further terrorist activities and raids happened in Beecroft in Sydney's northwest. This morning a Sydney man was taken into custody on suspicion of terrorism-related offences after a morning raid from counter-terrorism units of the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police. AFP confirmed a 25-year-old Beecroft man was arrested by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) as part of continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat.

Are these two episodes related? We will soon find out. So when is a terrorist action titled 'terrorism?'

Certainly there is plenty of trauma happening in the CBD just now and for the last 8 hours. And people who think "Lindt chocolates" will remember the episode of this morning for years to come. So with the Islamic flag and the hostility, why are we afraid or reluctant to title this 'terror?'
Time will tell, but I think the counter-terror squad ought to be brought in. We are praying for the government, the mayor, the prime minister, the police, and all in authority. We also are watching our back in Bondi. You never know.

11 December 2014

To tell the truth

When I was a kid in the US, black and white game shows filled the afternoon and early evening time slots on the television. One of my favorites was a 'solve the mystery' game of choosing between two imposters and an honest person in a show called "To tell the truth." Bud Collier was the host, and sometimes (as in this episode) Merv Griffin sat in for him.Within 7 minutes the truth was revealed.

See the episode and guess who is the Aussie Reg Evans who saved President John F Kennedy back in World War 2.  To tell episode 1961 (Also in this episode is a set of twins who are bat boys for the new Minnesota Twins baseball team and a cattle photographer). Regular panelists during the 14-year run of the show were Don Ameche, Orson Bean, Johnny Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Bert Convy, Hy Gardner, Phyllis Newman and Tom Poston.

The great thing about this fact-finding game is that within 7 minutes you discover truth, the crowd applauds, prize money (up to $1,000) is awarded along with a carton of cigarettes, and it's all nice and neat.

If only finding out the truth could happen in the world today, some 53 years later, with such ease and in such a time frame. Do I dream or is this a delusion?

Today I read a report from Israel. Actually just mention the word "Israel" and immediately lines in the sand are drawn, sides taken, and opinions delivered. How is someone supposed to have a reasonable conversation with another when 'truth' has already either been stated or withheld?

So today I read this about photography. And journalistic honesty. Photo truth from the Jewish Forward newspaper. The photographer is questioned and answers about staging pictures. I think about this often when I'm trying to capture a moment on a golf course, or in a concert, with a baby or family, a wedding...you get it. The tough thing about photojournalism is readiness and patience. And if you miss a moment, be honest-- you missed the moment.

Here's the real photo story about the two Israeli boys. True story The whole episode came to the fore in the Gaza conflict last August. What is the truth about what's going on, or was going on, or will be going on in Israel?

I hear that a lot lately in the US news which I often monitor from here in Sydney. Michael Brown is the black man in Ferguson, Missouri who was killed last August. The 'hands up' commentary by the Rev Al Sharpton and repeated by thousands country-wide is supposed to replicate a scene from last summer, but it's also not the truth. The Grand Jury sorted that out well, and the testimony and evidence is all available. Or is it? Even today more evidence is yet to be revealed. And each of us who wonders wants to know, did the Grand Jury get it right? We actually set ourselves up to be the jury ourselves. Dear CNN and BBS, please send all data to me. I will be deciding and will reveal my decision in due course. Thank you.

BBC has a bit on Grand Jury here

And even as I was driving to work today, I heard on the news about a Palestinian leader, Ziad Abu Ein, who was killed today in the West Bank. The story from the Arab side is  published here.

Who is this man? This from the Israeli side of things today. JPost report

Ziad Abu Ein was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli court in 1982 for his role in a bombing that murdered two Israeli teenagers in Tiberias in 1979. He was released in 1985 in prisoner swap.

Just for fun: a joke

Reunion Lunch
A group of chaps, all aged 40, discussed where they should meet for a reunion lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms Hotel because the waitresses had big breasts and wore mini-skirts.
Ten years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because the food and service were  good, and the beer selection was excellent.
Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because there was plenty of parking; they could dine in peace and quiet, and it was good value for money.
Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled.
Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at the Scottish Arms because they'd never been there before.

Too true...


09 December 2014

Democracy vs religion: Hand in hand or face off?

Clay Christensen has been on staff for 20 years at the Harvard (Boston USA) Business School and has conducted a TED talk, but nothing is as important as this 90-second message about a Chinese student and US, and how it all works.


 I hope you ponder the message, especially as religious conversation intensifies as if often the case in December with Hanukkah and Christmas among other events.

 For more info about Christensen, read below:
Before joining the faculty of Harvard Business School (HBS) in 1992, Christensen worked for the Boston Consulting Group and then served as chairman and president of Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (now CPS Holdings), a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. In 2000, he founded Innosight LLC, a consulting and training firm which describes itself as "focusing on idea generation, strategy development, commercialization, and innovative process development." In 2005, together with his colleagues at Innosight, he launched Innosight Ventures, a venture firm focused on investing in India. In 2007, after incubating the processes for six years, Christensen co-founded Rose Park Advisors LLC (named after the neighborhood in Salt Lake City where he was raised), an investment company which applies his research as an investment strategy.

He serves on the board of directors of Tata Consultancy Services (NSE: TCS), Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC), and Vanu, Inc.

He worked as a consultant and project leader with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (1979–1984) and was instrumental in founding the firm's manufacturing strategy consulting practice. He took a leave of absence from BCG to serve as a White House Fellow (1982–1983) as an assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries, Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.

At the HBS, he currently teaches an elective course he designed called "Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise", which teaches managers how to build and manage an enduring, successful company or transform an existing organization. Christensen received an Extraordinary Teaching Award by the MBA class of 2010. He also teaches in many HBS executive education programs. Christensen was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998, and currently holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the National Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Christensen is the best-selling author of five books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997), which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator's Solution (2003), and Seeing What's Next (2004). Recently, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix the American healthcare system. The latter two books have received numerous awards as the best books on education and health care in their respective years of publication. The Innovator's Prescription was also awarded the 2010 James A. Hamilton Award, by the College of Healthcare Executives.

01 December 2014

Identity confusion (Michael Brown, Baruch Goldstein, and you)

Michael Brown was the black man shot in Ferguson, Missouri. Some sorted out who he was just by the color of his skin. Racism works to no one's advantage or credit. He is not to be confused with Dr Michael L. Brown, the Jewish believer in Jesus whose website is here . I wonder if people have confused one Michael Brown with the other?

I remember back in 1994, when an American-born Israeli physician and religious extremist, Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Arab Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125. This was called the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron. At that time I had a former colleague whose English name was Bruce, but for 15 years he had gone by his Hebrew name, Baruch Goldstein. Was that the same? Nope...identity disparity. I'm sure my friend, who passed away a couple years ago, used to hear bad things about the other Goldstein who was killed by the rampaging crowd into which he was shooting.

Identity theft...it's a big deal in the world and a major cause of frustration and expense at checkout counters and on the phone with marketers. Whom should I trust when I give out my PIN or my credit card information? With whom should I be secret or from whom should I hide my punching data? It's a worry, and so many are frustrated by the lack of trust in the world today and those who caused us to be so distrustful.

My Welsh friend Bennett earns a bit of a living helping people whose lives were lost by identity theft. At least I hope he does. This info from the Australian government:

Definition of identity confusions
A set of standard definitions were developed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre's Proof of Identity Steering Committee for use by law enforcement throughout Australia (ACPR 2006:15):
  • The term identity encompasses the identity of natural persons (living or deceased) and the identity of bodies corporate
  • Identity fabrication to be used to describe the creation of a fictitious identity
  • Identity manipulation to be used to describe the alteration of one's own identity
  • Identity theft to be used to describe the theft or assumption of a pre-existing identity (or significant part thereof), with or without consent and whether, in the case of an individual, the person is living or deceased
  • Identity crime to be used as a generic term to describe activities/offences in which a perpetrator uses a fabricated identity; a manipulated identity; or a stolen/assumed identity to facilitate the commission of a crime(s).
What does identity crime cost in Australia?
Recent estimates by the Attorney-General’s Department indicate that identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion each year, with the majority (around $900m) lost by individuals through credit card fraud, identity theft and scams.
More alarmingly, identity crime continues to be a key enabler of serious and organised crime, which in turn costs Australia around $15 billion annually.

So when I hear another Baruch Goldstein or Michael Brown is doing something, it means one thing, but identity theft is quite another for the federal police.

And what does it mean to you? Or to the Almighty?
I think about the identity of God, you know, the Creator of heaven and earth. And how some people get that right, and others, well, less right, or downright wrong. When someone says, "The death of that cricket star just wasn't fair" they are saying that the fairness or justice by the which the Lord of all evaluates things is wrong. And what does that say about themselves? That they are taking the identity of the Almighty for themselves. When someone says, "That person should live" or "That person should not live" and the reality is otherwise, they are assuming command of the issue of justice and determining that God doesn't have it quite right, thus making themselves God. Identity Theft!

Often we use the term 'fair' or "justice' to mean, "I want this to happen", therefore anything less than that is unacceptable. That's assuming the character of Justice for ourselves and thus making ourselves to be God. See how that works? I do not mean to demean the aching for justice which is both inherent in humanity and certainly should be a fruit of the Spirit of God working in those who love Him. But I mean the telling of God that He is wrong.

Let's get this right. Yeshua is God's Son, born in a manger in Bethlehem. No other person comes close to being His Messiah. No other person comes close to fulfilling all the prophecies listed in the record of the Tenach.  And once we get His identity correct, everything else falls into place. Or at least it begins to do so.  Have you sorted out that question.... "Who is Yeshua?" Keep looking and you will find Him. I believe that.

Happy December.


24 November 2014

Boycott, Divest, Sanctions(BDS): Consider the down side

BDS is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. Some churches even joined this noisy global movement which seeks to stall Israeli life. In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner..
A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.
Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.
If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew. If one has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due to the Jews, Spiro and Ellege. Muslims with convulsions must put up with them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of Chloral Hydrate.
Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew.
Should a Muslim child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the “Schick" reaction which was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.

Muslims should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Jewish Nobel Prize winner, Robert Baram. They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew, Jonas Salk.
Muslims must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug against this killing disease.

 Muslim doctors must discard all discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish scientists and medical experts. In short, good and loyal Muslims properly and fittingly should remain afflicted with Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be proud to obey the Islamic boycott."

 Oh, and by the way, don't call for a doctor on your cell phone because the cell phone was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.

OTHER NOBEL CONSIDERATIONS (Compare and contrast):
Meanwhile I ask, what medical contributions to the world have the Muslims made?"
The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.
They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
Literature:  1988 - Najib Mahfooz
Peace:  1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai
Economics:  0
Physics:  0

Medicine: 1960 - Peter Brian Medawar and 1998 - Ferid Mourad

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 850 individuals,of whom at least 20% were Jews, although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world's population (or 1 in every 500 people). 

Overall, Jews have won a total of 41% of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, 28% of medicine, 26% of Physics, 19% of Chemistry, 13% of Literature and 9% of all peace awards.

Jews have been recipients of all six awards. The first Jewish recipient, Adolf von Baeyer, was awarded the prize in Chemistry in 1905. As of 2013, the most recent Jewish recipients were James Rothman and Randy Schekman (Medicine); Arieh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus (Chemistry); and François Englert (Physics), all in 2013.

Jewish laureates Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész survived the extermination camps during the Holocaust, while François Englert survived by being hidden in orphanages and children's homes. Others, such as Walter Kohn, Otto Stern, Albert Einstein, Hans Krebs and Martin Karplus had to flee Nazi Germany to avoid persecution. Still others, including Rita Levi-Montalcini, Herbert Hauptman, Robert Furchgott, Arthur Kornberg, and Jerome Karle experienced significant antisemitism in their careers.

The oldest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize was Leonid Hurwicz, a Polish-American Jew who received the 2007 prize in Economics when he was 90 years old.

Other issues of comparison and contrast:
The Jews are NOT promoting brainwashing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non-Muslims.
The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.
There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church.
Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

 Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.
Otherwise all you have is #OneWayReligiousTolerance and that’s not going to help anyone.

22 November 2014

Muslims' prayer in DC--no big deal, right?

David Lazarus wrote this piece for the internet service Israel Today.co.il  and I had to share it today...

"It looked like a chilling scene from a Last Days, anti-Christ-takes-over-the-world disaster movie. Hundreds of Muslims take over America’s most notable church, prostrate on their prayer rugs as their unified chant echoes out in full volume: “There is only one god, he begets not and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle."

Only this was not a movie. This was the scene, last Friday, for the first time in history, at the iconic National Cathedral in Washington, where orthodox Muslim clerics were invited to lead an Islamic prayer service. A congregation of hundreds were lead by an Imam in declaring that “god has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and that there is no god like Allah.”

Only a single middle-age woman jumped up in the middle of the service and shouted, “America was founded on Christian principles. . . . Leave our church alone!” She was escorted quickly out of the church by security guards.

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has been an extremely important symbol of the Christian roots of the United States. The cathedral was designated by Congress as America's "National House of Prayer." The church has hosted a number of inaugural presidential prayer services, including Franklin Roosevelt and both presidents Bush.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, took to Facebook in reaction to the Muslim prayer service:
“The National Cathedral in Washington, DC–one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America–will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah. It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible, who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, 'I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6)."

The Islamic service at the cathedral was ostensibly intended to promote interfaith dialogue. Its organizers said that they hoped the service would “help correct some Americans’ misperceptions of Muslims as extremists and reinforce tolerance among faiths.”

However, it is hard to understand how a Christian church opening its sanctuary for Islamic prayers that renonce Jesus Christ contributes to interfaith tolerance. Muslims would never allow a Christian to preach the Gospel in a mosque. Palestinian Muslims continue to ban all Jews and Christians from praying at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It would appear that “interfaith dialogue and tolerance” are just more code words calling for Muslims to rise up and conquer.

The Washington Post reported that the Islamic prayer service was closed to the public because of security concerns. Armed guards checked every person and every bag of those in attendance.

Islam is growing rapidly around the world, and is now the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, with an estimated 2.6 million American Muslim citizens."    Here's the link to the published article itself Lazarus' article

What's wrong with a prayer meeting? Isn't that all we want from each other? Let people pray in their synagogues and churches and mosques and come out loving each other. That's right, isn't it? All religions are the same, aren't they?

I hear those comments so often it's almost laughable. But as Lazarus points out in the article, the Islamic religion of peace and the prayers they offer bring no hope for such universal optimism. It's simply #OneWayReligiousTolerance gone mad yet again. Let's see if the mosques of Washington allow Christian ministers to come in and pray for the advancement of their religion or allow Jews to bring in holy objects and pray there... that would be interesting. But don't hold your breath. Their M.O. and their objectives are clear.  God, not Allah, help us all.