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Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
2:22 am
 "Найдена совесть.  Потерявшего прошу срочно забрать, а то мешает спать по ночам..."
 
 
(народное творчество)

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Monday, January 19th, 2009
10:27 pm - Ethics of Journalism: A Short Quiz

(translated from http://riftsh.livejournal.com/91691.html)

 

 

Problem #1
 

In the summer of 2005, shortly after the Israel Defense Forces and Jewish settler withdrawal (otherwise known as disengagement), there was a wave of journalist kidnappings in Gaza.  Within a year and a half, more than ten journalists were kidnapped, including:

 

August 2005.  Mohammed Ouathi, soundman, Agence France-Presse and television channel France 3, is kidnapped in Gaza.

September 2005.  Lorenzo Cremonesi, correspondent, Corriere della Serra, is kidnapped in Gaza.

Mach 2006. Yong Tae-Young, correspondent, KBS, is kidnapped in Gaza.

August 2006.  Steve Centanni, correspondent, Fox News Channel, is kidnapped in Gaza.

August 2006.  Olaf Wiig, freelance cameraman, Fox News Channel, is kidnapped in Gaza.

Ocotber 2006. Emilio Morenatti, photojournalist, The Associated Press, is kidnapped in Gaza.

January 2007.  Jaime Razuri, photojournalist, Agence France-Presse, is kidnapped in Gaza.

March 2007. Alan Johnston, correspondent, BBC, is kidnapped in Gaza.

 

For some of those kidnapped, there were ransom and/or prisoner release demands; others were set free without further conditions.  Some were released in a few hours, others in a few days or weeks.  It was obvious that the main purpose of the abductions was to make it clear to the journalists who now runs the show in Gaza and what will happen to them, should they write/say/show things those in charge of the show would not approve of.  Journalists understood the hint, and after the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was kidnapped on March 12th of 2007, no foreign journalists remained in Gaza.

In the nearly two years that followed, the information from Gaza came through local Palestinian journalists employed by different media outlets or working freelance.  It was a strange coincidence that it these two years these journalists didn’t produce a single article, photo or video report that would show launching rockets into Israel from densely populated civilian neighborhoods, cover construction of Hamas command bunkers under hospitals, or report on storing arms in the mosques, burning of churches and Christian clubs, and destroying every single Internet-cafe in Gaza.

Palestinian journalists knew what to expect should they step outside the boundaries set for them: over 50 of them were arrested by Hamas beween June of 2007 and August of 2008.  One journalist, a Palestinian cameraman for the German ARD news network, Sawah Abu Saif, was arrested by the Hamas security service in July of 2008 and severely tortured.

During these two years, no foreign journalists tried to get into Gaza, even though nobody prevented them from doing so.  However, as soon as the anti-terrorist operation Solid Lead began, this situation suddenly changed.  Foreign journalists expressed an urgent need to enter Gaza, which at that moment was declared to be a military zone.  The media started a mass campaign blaming the government of Israel for abusing the freedom of press (there was no such campaign during the kidnappings and arrests in Gaza).  The Foreign Press Association in Israel filed a court petition against the Israeli government (during the kidnappings and arrests in Gaza nobody filed any court petitions).

Question 1: What has changed?  Why have the journalists and their media agencies decided that now it would be safe to enter Gaza?  Please choose an answer from the following options:

a) Journalists caught a suicidal virus and completely lost their self-preservation instincts.

b) The media agencies were able to acquire bullet-proof invisibility cloaks with built-in microphones and anti-kidnapper repellent spray.

c) All the heads of military groups in Gaza in the past two years went through a Charm School, acquired perfect manners and made a blood oath to protect journalists at all costs.

d) Journalists and their news agencies knew that, once in Gaza, they would come under immediate control of Hamas and, without any opportunity for independent reporting, will be used as a propaganda tool, transmitting only the information that satisfies the demands of Hamas.  They also knew that since at the present moment such reporting is in Hamas’ best interest, journalist abductions and arrests would be temporarily held off.

Question 2: How many newspapers (throughout the world) wrote about the arrest and subsequent torture of the Palestinian journalist Sawah Abu Saif by Hamas?  Please choose the right answer from the following options:

a) 0-20
b) 20-100
c) 100-1000
d) more than 1000

Question 3: How many newspapers (throughout the world) wrote about the restrictions imposed by the Israel Defense Forces on reporter access to Gaza during the military operations there?  Please choose the right answer from the following options:

a) 0-20
b) 20-100
c) 100-1000
d) more than 1000

Correct answers: 1d, 2a, 3d


Problem #2

All the video and photo materials from the conflict zone in Gaza come from two sources: those captured by the Hamas-controlled Palestinian cameramen and those filmed by the IDF cameramen.  The Foreign Press Association in Israel called upon its members (i.e. practically all foreign media outlets represented in Israel) to boycott all the materials from one of these two sources and not to use them in any of the publications.

Question 1: Which of these two sources is The Foreign Press Association calling to boycott?

Question 2: Given such a boycott, is it possible to honor the key requirement of journalist ethics to present the facts objectively and impartially?

Correct answers: 1) 
The Foreign Press Association called upon all its members to boycott photo and video materials produced by the IDF.  2) Decide for yourself.


Problem #3

In 2008 - beginning of 2009, there were several military operations underway throughout the world, similar in character and magnitude to the operation in Gaza: the operation of the Turkish army against the Kurdistan Labor Party, the operation of the army of Shri-Lanka against the Tamil Tigers and the IDF operation against Hamas.

Question 1: How many journalists were covering the Turkish army operation against the Kurdistan Labor Party?

a) 0-100
b) 100-500
c) 500-1000
d) more than 1000

Question 2: How many journalists were covering the Shri-Lanka army operation against the Tamil Tigers?

a) 0-100
b) 100-500
c) 500-1000
d) more than 1000

Question 3: How many journalists were and are covering the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas?


a) 0-100
b) 100-500
c) 500-1000
d) more than 1000

Correct answers: 1a, 2a, 3d


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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
3:54 am
Мама, я физика люблю! err... I mean, сценариста :)

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Monday, October 13th, 2008
11:02 am - Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus
I read JPost regularly, but if not for poslushnik would have completely missed this. Precious.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1222017396250

Chag Sameach, everyone!

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Monday, July 21st, 2008
6:38 am
On the way to Boston - will be getting there on Tuesday night. Can't wait to see everyone again, and especially those people that I didn't get to see on the last trip.

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Thursday, May 1st, 2008
2:24 am
I was asked what prayers are recited on Yom HaShoa.  There are no rules; one of the prayers that people often say is El Maale Rachamim, found below:
God full of mercy who dwells on high
Grant perfect rest on the wings of Your Divine Presence
In the lofty heights of the holy and pure
who shine as the brightness of the heavens
to the souls of my relatives
both on my father's side and my mother's side
the holy and the pure
who were put to death, slain, slaughtered
burned to death or suffocated in the sanctification of God's name
as, without making a formal vow, I pledge to give charity
to commemorate their souls.

Their resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, the Master of mercy will care for them
under the protection of His wings for all time
And bind their souls in the bond of everlasting life.
God is their inheritance and they will rest in peace
and let us say Amen.

Prayer for martyrs

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1:33 am - Yom HaShoa - Holocaust Rememberance Day
In my travels around Israel I often hear: "our minds are back from the exile, but our hearts and spirits aren't."  It seems very true - things that happen here often have a dreamy, elusive quality to them.  Many Israelis appear to go through life with only a partial awareness of who and where they are.  Despite the years that passed since the establishment of the state, wars, miracles, victories, successive governments, Bamba, Tel-Aviv beaches, music, holidays, beautiful Sabra kids, weddings, birthdays, court disputes, traffic, Israeli jokes that only locals seems to laugh at - and pretty much everything else that makes our lives real - Jews don't really believe they are back home.

Working on my film, I have to think about the Shoa a lot and it's impossibly hard.  My mind refuses to take in the facts, my body stiffens when the images of suffering break through my flimsy barriers of self-defense.  Hardest of all, thoughts of the Shoa cast a deep shadow on my daily attempts to converse with Hashem to figure out the path He charted for us through the stormy waters of this world.  It seems impossible to find meaning in what happened.

And yet, during these past two years I became convinced that without getting to the core meaning of what happened to us then we won't be able to understand what's happening to us now.  Jewish history is like a long, complicated sentence - each significant period, each outburst of suffering, each victory etches yet another word in this mysterious writing sequence.  We must hold onto the meaning of each letter to read the whole thing in order to finally see who we truly are, where we find ourselves, and why we must be here and no place else.

It is common to say of those who passed "May their memory be for a blessing."  Then,

May Their Memory Be For A Blessing

and, May Their Memory Be.

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Friday, April 18th, 2008
6:31 pm - Chag Sameach!

I've been really hoping to write something thoughtful here before Pesach, but things got so crazy that I am typing this 10 minutes before lighting the holiday candles - just enough time to wish you all Pesach Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.  I hope you have a happy, peaceful, and meaning holiday.

Love you and miss you all!

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Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
1:51 am - Трактор отважно отстреливался из всех орудий, а затем взлетел и нанёс по Китайской военщине.....
Israel Airports Authority (IAA) inspectors on Monday discovered two tons of dual-purpose fertilizer, which can be used to produce Kassam rockets, during a sample check of a humanitarian aid transport vehicle at the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

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Sunday, December 30th, 2007
11:42 pm
Если гора не идет к.... куда она там не идет?  В общем, и на мою гору пришел новый год.  Я уж было собралась праздновать дома с книжкой и шампанским, но тут оказалось что в Цфате, прямо в двух шагах от моего дома, собирается теплая компания религиозных(!) евреев чтобы отметить это событие.  Чудеса, да и только.

Всех с наступающим новым годом!  Пусть он будет добрым, счастливым и теплым, и пусть все то, что будет желанным, но труднодостижимым - настолько, что может показаться нецелесообразным к нему стремиться - прийдет к вам само, легко, достойным путем, в правильное время.

Ну, и Машиах, конечно - как же без него? :)

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Thursday, December 27th, 2007
7:22 pm
А скажите мне, други мои, кто-нибудь из вас верит в приход Мессии?  Буквальный или гипотетичский - хоть какой нибудь?  Хоть когда-нибудь?  В какой бы то ни было конфессии?

Tell me, dear friends, do any of you believe in the coming of Messiah?  In any shape or form? At any point in time? Related to any denomination?

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Monday, December 10th, 2007
3:13 pm - Here To Stay
You know, in the past, both distant and recent, empirical evidence showed that the best way for me not to get somewhere was to announce that I was going there, surely and soon.  Perhaps my guardian angel has a quirky sense of humor, or maybe, more likely, darn existential uncertainty keeps me stalled where I should be running forward -  whichever it is, the "hope-plan-announce-cancel-hope" formula keeps iterating in my life with unfortunate consistency.  So now, in lieu of my ongoing attempts to come to the States, I am going to say the following:

After a year and a half in Israel I came to understand one thing very clearly - this is my home and I am not going anywhere from here.  Other than for a visit.  Or two.  Or three.  Long ones, too :)   I don't care about Iranian nuclear threat, Syria and Lebanon, rude Israelis, all the Arabs in the world who think we should give this tiny piece of land over to increase their existing real estate in the Middle East, stupid Israeli government (we can give our government to the Arabs instead of the land, now that I think of it), dirty streets and omnipresence of Bamba and falafel that sooner or later really get on your nerves.  There is another kind of omnipresence here that makes it all worthwhile, a phenomenon that I can neither explain nor escape.

I spent the past year and a half trying to comprehend what are Jews really doing in Israel.  Why all the sacrifices?  All the hardship?  All the uncertainty?  It might seem simple but it isn't - definitely not to many of those who live here, and even less so to the Jews in Diaspora, as recent surveys show.

The answer I got so far is... well, a bit weird.  A national destiny - who believes in such things in our post-modern times?  And yet, that's exactly what it seems to be - Jews have a national destiny to fulfill that, upon taking a closer look, seems to be highly spiritual in nature.  There are places where one can talk about this quite comfortably, like Chabad, while at other locales this is a bit of a challenging topic to refer to, say, at the UN or the headquarters of Shlalom Achshav.

And yet, despite all the struggle and grumbling that goes with it, the movement towards this destiny is getting more and more noticeable and, dare I say, more powerful by the day.  A lot changed since I came here - what used to be tacit and only subtly present is spoken loudly today.  Redemption!  Redemption!  You hear about it from mothers who just gave birth, from newly married couples, from old people who've seen it all but suddenly shine with new hope.  I can't tell what brings this torrent of hope on, and I can't tell where it is going, but this much is evident:

Unless everything goes terribly wrong - and it still can, unfortunately - Jews are here to stay, and what lies ahead is strange, mysterious, even scary, but also very beautiful and exciting!

Happy Chanukah!

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Saturday, December 1st, 2007
7:00 pm
Нашла смешной сайт, www.beseder.ru. Из особенно понравившегося:

Из серии Ассошиэйтед стресс:

Иерусалим.
По сообщению израильского ТВ, у Стены плача проходит молитва правых фанатиков, в ходе которой они взывают к Экстремистской Силе с просьбой сорвать справедливое урегулирование.
Бней-Брак. Сегодня у родителей Сарочки большая радость. Они выдали желаемое за действительное.
Москва. Побывавшие в этом городе с рабочим визитом представители движения ХАМАС возложили взрывное устройство на могилу Неизвестного солдата.
Израиль. В лесу Бен-Шемен найдена неразорвавшаяся мирная инициатива, находившаяся там со времен Войны за независимость.
Иерусалим. Вновь избранный президент Шимон Перес заявил, что постарается оправдать опасения народа Израиля.
Бейрут. Ливанское правительство выразило возмущение протестом Израиля в связи с ракетными обстрелами его территорий и подчеркнуло, что все обстрелы полностью соответствуют международным нормам ракетных обстрелов Израиля.

...еще, из заголовков:

Ольмерт принял ислам по его просьбе: На конференции в Аннаполисе Израиль согласился на создание Палестинского государства у себя в государстве со столицей у себя в столице.

Где мографические проблемы? Евросоюз выступил с новой инициативой. Вместо того чтобы добиваться признания Израиля арабскими странами, Израиль будет признан арабской страной.

Асаду цвесть!  Кондолиза Райс и Эхуд Ольмерт сделали Сирии предложение принять участие в мирной конференции в Аннаполисе, иначе Голаны достанутся кому-нибудь другому.

и наконец, самое любимое:

А вы поезжайте в Газу и спросите, кем был Дахлан до интифады. Нет, вы поезжайте и спросите!

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Monday, November 19th, 2007
9:07 am - My favorite cartoon


New Yorker caption reads: "Wait! This is yesterdays." :)

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Saturday, November 17th, 2007
9:43 pm - Знаете ли вы что...
Махмуд Аббас, ака Абу Мазен

а) родился в Тсфате

б) защитил в Институте Востоковедения при Российской Академии Наук диссертацию на тему "Секретные связи между нацистами и лидерами сионистского движения" (диссертация была впоследствии опубликована как книга)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Abbas

и что в Британии все чаще и чаще школьные учителя избегают говорить об истреблении нацистами евреев чтобы не "обидеть" студентов-мусульман?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article1600686.ece

Про Тсфат я была в курсе, но вот остальное оказалось полной новостью. М-да...

Shavua Tov! Всем хорошей недели!

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
2:04 am - 5767 - a year in review
So, it’s been a year. I have not written much about my time in Israel, because for the most part it could be described as the “struggle to understand the antagonism between the universal and the particular in the context of the Jewish national identity and its evolution in the modern world” sort of thing – exciting to experience, but probably a bit boring to observe, like watching a storm that powerfully rages day after day, but sooner or later becomes monotonous in its intensity. If I told you that I honestly lose sleep trying to figure out what it means to be a Jew and what kind of relationship do we, as people, have with God, you’d think I have gone off the deeper end, and you’d be right, more or less.

Still, the year went by. A bunch of amazing things happened kind of suddenly, and another bunch I learned slowly, by osmosis and tireless practice.

What happened:Collapse )

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Monday, November 12th, 2007
4:21 pm - ... и животноводство.
Имагология. Наука такая есть, оказывается. С ума сойти.

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007
12:08 am - Some notes on Shacharit prayer, or how I tried to sleep last night. True story.
Петух включился в четыре утра. Он пел самозабвенно, как хазан в хасидской синагоге, не давая угаснуть надежде на скорый приход зари, до которой оставалось еще как минимум полтора часа. Надежда на сон, между тем, угасала неумолимо, убывая с каждой заливистой трелью. В 4:20 стало очевидно что утра мне прийдется дожидаться вместе с петухом, хотя, в отличие от него, я могу при этом не петь.

Если вы думаете, что среди евреев не нашлось мудрецов, предусмотревших эту уше-раздирающую ситуацию, вы ошибаетесь. В самом начале Шахарит, ежеутренней молитвы, сразу после благословения "Господь, душу чистую дал Ты мне..." заканчивающегося словами "Благословен Ты, Господь, возвращающий жизнь усопшим," мы произносим Барух Ата Хашем, Елохейну Мелех ХаОлам, ашер натан ласехви бина лехавхин бейн йом убейн лайла - "Благословен Ты, Господь, Бог наш, Царь вселенной, давший ПЕТУХУ разумение отличить день от ночи." Но вот что я вам скажу... в полевых условиях получается так - или петух, или благословение. Потому что пока он горланит на весь город, вместо того чтобы его благословлять, петуха хочется ПОЗЮЗИТь. Read moreCollapse )

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Monday, October 15th, 2007
1:08 am - From ChiTown to Zion
ChiTown is apparently one of the names that refer to Chicago, others being The Windy City, City of the Big Shoulders, and The City That Works. It has a rather interesting flag. Does it remind you of anything?




Courtesy of poslushnik.

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Sunday, October 14th, 2007
9:25 pm - Kabbalah
I urgently need to come to Boston for a healthy dose of sanity, because my mind is going, going, going... slowly, but surely. Judge for yourself:

On Friday night, right before the Kabbalat Shabbat services, the gabbai of my shul waved to me and said: "Keren Nechama (the Hebrew name by which everyone calls me here), we have kabbalah for you. It's important that you come for it without delay, as soon as Shabbat is over."

What went over me, I don't know, but my first thought was not of kabbalah, but of Kabbalah! - the big one, you know? I looked at the gabbai humbly, and proceeded to tell him that I don't yet feel ready for Kabbalah, that my knowledge of Torah and Talmud is too scant, that it's not the primary topic of my research, and that while I am grateful for the honor, I am completely not ready to receive it.

Shmuel, the gabbai, looked at me with deep concern. I remember being looked at this way only a couple of times in my life, when I was really really in trouble. I swallowed the last words of an already crumbled sentence. Was I in deeper spiritual straits than I thought? And was "receiving Kabbalah" the way out?

"Keren Nechama," he said gravely, "when was the last time you watched television? Read the news? Saw a movie?" "Yesterday," I answered honestly (I watched Happy Feet with some local kids - it was a lot of fun). "I saw Happy Feet." "Not good enough," said Shmuel, "you have to work at it harder."

"Work harder?" "Yes," said Shmuel very seriously. "And watch some Star Trek, while you are at it - it's good for your soul." (He is the biggest trekkie in Tsfat, I think.)

"Star Trek????" I was starting to feel a bit desperate. It's a known fact that spiritual teachings are often given in a somewhat cryptic manner, and I always disliked it, preferring plain and simple instruction instead. So far I've been able to parse most of what my rabbis taught me here, but Star Trek and Kabbalah joined together were well beyond my grasp.

"Being grounded is important," continued Shmuel. "While reaching for the highest of spiritual highs, we Jews must always remain connected to the world of matter and to our duty to transform and perfect it. If we lose our connection with the material world, we lose our ability to improve it. In the meantime, the receipt for your donation - the KABBALAH - will be waiting for you in my wife's office. Shabbat Shalom!"

Receipt (kabbalah in Hebrew means receipt, Kabbalat Shabbat - receiving Shabbat, etc.). It was a receipt. For my yearly shul membership, paid with kaparot money (that thing you swing over your head instead of a dead chicken before Yom Kippur).

And so it came to pass that I received my first real Kabbalah lesson in the holy city Tsfat, the centuries-old center of mystical learning.

Go to Boston I must. Tired I am.

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