Bookmarks From Israeli Stamps

So this guy in my Ulpan class brought in these bookmarks for us that he makes.

He takes these Israeli stamps like the one for Judges of Israel and Social Welfare for the people, laminates them, punches a hole and strings it. 

And voila, these cool bookmarks from Israel.

We had just learned the Hebrew word for bookmark and he thought to bring these in for the class.

He was so nice that even though he couldn’t make the last classes before the Summer recess, he dropped these off with the teacher for us

Some people are real mensches, and these are the people I personally appreciate.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal

Beyond Burger Good!

So my terrific, son-in-law Itzchak surprised us with some delicious Beyond Burgers before Shabbat. 


They are meatless burgers, and supposed to be pretty healthy, but they taste good too. 


Let’s just say these were very delicious and we gobbled them down. 


Cheesy with tomato, onion, bun, and all. 


As my father would say, “It tastes like more!” 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and thank you again to Itzchak and Rebecca!)

Clip-Clip

So recently I started cutting my own hair. 


Uh, yes!


Not sure what made me actually do this…


But it just seemed like I was wasting money at the Hair Cuttery on something that I could do myself. 


Also, I remember fondly how my dad used to cut his own hair for decades.


So I gave it a try–that’s not me in the picture!


I purchased a simple Wahl clipper and went at it.  


First a little tentatively and then more boldly as I got the hang of it. 


The best part of the clipper is the color-coded guide combs so I don’t completely screw this up. 


What I also like is that ability to give myself a little trim whenever I want. 


Don’t have to wait to get to the barber or to wait on line there. 


So far so good, thank G-d–no big hair disasters.  


And frankly, I look a lot happier than the guy in this photo. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Print Me Some Clothing

How cool is this?


You print you own clothes on a home 3-D Printer. 


This is not science fiction, but reality.


Israeli fashion designer, Danit Peleg, is creating some beautiful clothing by printing them!


The printed clothes is intricate, fashionable, and sexy. 


Choose your outfit. 


Pick your design.


Download it. 


And start printing–day or evening wear. 


See how it looks on the runway models.


And just imagine that you can be printing and wearing it too. 😉

Solve That Problem Simply

Solve That Problem Simply

I have always been intrigued by simple solutions to complex problems.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a great example of how a Fulbright Scholar studying in Beijing solved the smog problem for many people wanting to reduce the danger to themselves and their families.

Air Filters that purify the air can cost around $800, and often one is needed for each room.

But Thomas Talhelm founder of Smart Air Filters found he could do the job with a simple HEPA filter, fan, and velcro strap to hold them together for just $33/kit.

He tested the results and found that he could remove 90% of particles 2.5 microns and above in the room.

Talhem’s biggest problem now are copycat DIY air filters hitting the market.

If only inventors could come up with a simple solution to protecting intellectual property in places where either there aren’t rules or they aren’t strictly enforced.

When innovations are so easily copycatted, there is less incentive to problem-solve and think out of the box, and that’s a problem for society where the s___ really hits the fan. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Passover 21st Century

This video (2011) by Aish.com is terrific! The story of Passover–“Google Exodus”– with all the technology of instant messaging, email, social networking, mapping, and more.I love how they make the traditional and sacred, new and promising again by “letting people go” and being able to see and interact with it in modern terms.

While some may find it challenging not to lose the essence of the old, when keeping it fresh, I think the past becomes more meaningful when we can truly integrate it into our daily lives.

I personally am still not comfortable with the idea of online Passover Seders or DIY Haggadah’s–and I don’t think I ever really will be–probably more because of guilt at not following strictly and the concern that people may change things so much as to either misinterpret or actually distort the truth of G-d.

However, I do think that we can strengthen regular people’s connection to their past and their faith only by truly bringing it in our present and looking to the future, as well.

The world of religion-can often be filled with controversy between those that maintain iron-clad religious practices from thousands of years ago and those that seek evolving routes to religion and G-d today.

When we can use technology to help people bridge the religious divide, we are helping people connect with their G-d and choose good over evil in their daily lives.

Neither modernism nor technology is inherently “bad,” and we do not have to run away from it–or escape through the Red Sea from it.

Rather, faith in the Almighty, in His hand that guides all, and in the doing good in all that we do, are fundamental to religion and can be shared online and off, as G-d is truly everywhere and in each of us.

Sometimes, I wonder when Orthodox people probe and judge with incessant questions of “What Shul do you go to?” “What Yeshiva do your kids attend?” “Do you keep Kosher?”  and more, I imagine G-d looking down on his “people of the book,” not with satisfaction that they follow his commandments, but with disdain for how people can hurt others and not even realize that is notreligious.

While I agree that unguided, people and practices can go astray, I also believe that automatic suspicion and rejection of new things is impractical and actually harmful.

Modernism and technology can be a blessing, if coupled with faith and integrity.

Congratulations to Aish.com for the good work they are doing in helping people integrate the old and new in a balanced way.