Monday, April 30, 2007

JIB Update – Round 1, Part 2

Thanks to everyone's help it looks like every single nomination posted here before has advanced to the finals! (Still waiting for the certified results.) But before the finals start next week there is still part 2 of round 1. I really think some of these nominated posts of mine have a great shot!

1.To vote click on a link below. (Repeat this for all 3 links.)
A new window should open. (Or right click and "open in new window.")
3.Close the window and right click on the next link...

Point of Pinchas –

Best Picture or Video in a Post – Group A
This is for photos I took at a Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight arrival.


Best Series - Group B
This is for my "Only in Israel" Series.

Also – my "Shabbat Candle Ladies" post for Kumah was nominated for

Best Jewish Religious Post (Group A)

It looks to have a great chance at going far. There are links to all of these posts on the respective voting pages if you have time to check them out. Really worth it IMHO...

Thanks again for your support!

Sandy Koufax Drafted to Israel Baseball League

Arutz-7's Ezra HaLevi reports:

( Israel’s new baseball league has made international headlines after symbolically drafting famed Jewish pitcher Sandy Koufax Thursday for its inaugural season. Koufax joins the Modiin Miracle team, one of the only six clubs playing in the brand new league.

Koufax, 71, is famous in Jewish circles for opting out of a World Series game scheduled for Yom Kippur, the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. He threw four no-hitters and a perfect game during his career, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame after his retirement 41 years ago.

Koufax was the final draft pick by Modiin. "It's been 41 years between starts for him,” Miracle manager and former major league player Art Shamsky told reporters. “If he's rested and ready to take the mound again, we want him on our team." Other managers include former Jewish major leaguers Ken Holtzman and Ron Blomberg.

In addition to the new Israel Baseball League (IBL), the league’s officials are also establishing a baseball academy in the country to offer training to beginners as well as advanced skills enhancement courses.

Opening Day for the new league is scheduled for June 24. The six teams that will be playing in the league are the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox, the Modiin Miracle, the Netanya Tigers, the Petach Tikva Pioneers, the Raanana Express, and the Tel Aviv Lightning.

Players hail from nine different countries, with a majority of Jews and about a dozen native Israelis. It is assumed that players will relocate to Israel, at least for the season, though it is uncertain whether Sandy Koufax and others will be officially making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel). The league hopes to be made up of at least 25 percent Israelis by its fifth year.

Take Me Out to the Israeli Ball Game
Organizers say that in addition to stadium seating, Israeli ball parks will have picnic areas, combining the Israeli national “sport” of mangal (BBQ) with the American pastime. “There will be space to spread out blankets and stations to set up barbecues, all with beautiful views of the Israeli landscape in the background,” a statement from the IBL says. “Healthier food items are also offered, as is a wider array of desserts. The reason for this is that baseball in Israel is truly meant to be a family affair, and that includes Mom. Dinner at the ballpark is part of the experience, and part of the fun.”

Israeli Rules Baseball
The rules of the IBL are different than that of America’s baseball league. “Our games are seven innings in duration, with several rules within meant to speed up the tempo. We use a modified designated hitter (DH) rule, where a DH can be used only twice per game for one designated player, adding to the strategic use of the DH.”
The rule adjustment that promises to add the most suspense is that if games are tied after seven innings – they are decided by a home-run derby.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Round one polls now open!

Okay everybody! It's that time again. JIB voting time. Two awards I was nominated for have been delayed a week - but the others are ready to go.

I laid out things real easy for you. The whole thing takes a few seconds.

1.To vote click on a link below.
A new window should open. (Or right click and "open in new window.")
3.Close the window and right click on the next link...

Point of Pinchas -
Best Personal Blog (Group D)

Best Photo/Graphics Blog (Group B)

Best Series - Delayed a week
Best Picture or Video in a Post - Delayed a week

Thanks! If you have another minute I also do some blogging with Kumah (and worked on the new kumah design - see "Best Designed" below) which is in the running for these:

Best Group Blog (Group B)

Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog (Group C)

Best Slice of Life in Israel Blog (Group B)

Best Designed (Group B)

Best Contribution / Blog that Made a Difference (Group C)

Best Jewish Religious Post - Delayed a week <- This is MY post which was cross posted here!
Best Live Event Coverage Post - Delayed a week

Thanks for your support!

Yom HaZikaron 5767

You can feel the heaviness of the day. It's nothing at all like Memorial Day in America – which to most Americans is simply about sales and the beginning of Summer. Here almost all Israelis know of one (or sadly more) soldier personally that fell so that Israel could be. Here it's personal.

The flag on the Knesset is lowered to half staff (above.) And the nation grinds to a halt to remember who made this all possible as the siren sounds (below.)

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Point of Pinchas Nominated for 4 JIBs!

Point of Pinchas is honored to be once again participating in this year’s (delayed or early I guess) Jewish and Israel Blog Awards.

This blog was nominated for:

Best Personal Blog, (I have NO shot at medaling in that at all!)

Best Photo/Graphics Blog, (A long shot but who knows.)

Best Series, (That’s the “Only in Israel” Series – which I’ve now added a link to in the upper right menu.)

and Best Picture or Video in a Post (This was for a really touching post about one of the NBN flights – view it here.)

The Kumah blog, which I'm also involved with was nominated 8 times! And two of these are very meaningful to me. One was Best Designed Blog – and though I didn’t do any of the artwork – as webmaster I spent a great many hours making it look like what is does today. And the other is Best Religious Post for a post that also appeared in this blog about the Shabbat Candle Ladies.

Round one voting starts Sunday night - Israel time - so please check back here for instructions on how to vote. Thanks in advance for your support!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Only In Israel #11: A Yom Hashoah Thought, The Day After

This was orignally posted on Kumah a few days ago...As the siren blared yesterday and I stood still along with everyone else on Kanfei Nesharim Street in Givat Shaul reflecting on the immeasurable horrors that transpired upon our nation it occurred to me that I am standing on a busy street in Jerusalem looking around at hundreds of other Jews who are all also residents of the Jewish State also standing and reflecting on the immeasurable horrors that occurred to our nation while standing still on a busy street in Jerusalem.

Think about that.

I don’t know if there could be any thought that could begin to comfort the Jewish People from our loss. Still it is at least an uplifting feeling to actually be united as one nation sharing our sorrow together – if only for a minute… and something that could only be experienced one place in the world.

We must never forget our past even as we build a brighter future.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Best JIF Movie Clip Since "Passover Noir"

Stars my friend's brother. If the clip above doesn't load click here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yom HaShoah Photos

This morning on Kanfei Nasherim in Yerushalayim:


Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Really Bad Beer Ad

Meet Kevin Peraino. I'm fairly certain (though not completely) that Kevin is not Jewish. Hey, nobody's perfect. Mr. Peraino is also a journalist for Newsweek - their Jerusalem Bureau Chief actually. And this Newsweek reporter understands Israel's purpose better than many, many, many Jews do.

Flashback: The early Zionist dreamed of building a nation where "Jewish criminals are arrested by Jewish police officers, tried before Jewish judges and incarcerated in a Jewish prison." When that occurred, they declared, we will have become a "nation like any other."

But the Zionist dream of being "a nation like any other" is perhaps the most destructive idea a Jew can come up with. Indeed it is this very thought process that led to the post-Zionist movement. It is this thought process that leads Jews to uproot Jewish families and Jewish communities from holy Jewish soil all in the name of being accepted on the world stage. Being accepted as "a nation like any other."

The Jews are not a nation like any other. We are, in fact, a nation unlike any other. We are a light to the nations. Israel's purpose is to promote G-d to the world. Simply that and nothing more. Even if we Jews don't know it - the rest of the world sure does.

Take David Saranga, the Israeli consular official based in New York. Did you hear his latest ploy to help tourism, particularly for the 18-35 male demographic? "...what's relevant to men under 35? Good-looking women," he says. Yep. That's what Israel should highlight about itself.

Benny Elon rightly calls that a waste of money. "It's the only state where you can take the Bible as your tourism guide." Think, Saranga, think!

And though he doesn't agree with Elon, even Alan Dershowitz admits it's "completely not the way to go. I can see models anywhere." One commenter on Newsweek's site wrote that it looks like a really bad beer ad.

And that is exactly the point. Once Israel becomes "a nation like any other" we are thrust onto a world scale we have no right being on. On that scale, Israel appears to be a pretty crummy nation with nothing special at all. Hence the post-Zionists. But if we stay on the scale we are supposed to stay on, the "light-to-the-nations" scale we are untouchable! When we promote G-d, no nation anywhere can come close in terms of history, culture, food, family life, beauty, and spirituality. Indeed we have something no other nation has.

Kevin Peraino ended his article with this sentence: "The reality of Israel is often having to choose: go with the girl, or go with God."

I'm pasting the Newsweek article below in case it "disappears" from their site.

Girls: Israel's racy new PR strategy
Israel flirts with a racy new public-relations strategy.
By Kevin Peraino

April 9, 2007 issue - Jim Malucci has two tattoos, one on each bulging bicep. On the left one, the photographer for Maxim magazine has etched an image of a seductively dressed pinup; on the right, he has stenciled the words GO WITH GOD in Portuguese. He leans on his left arm and points his camera at a model in a bikini on the Tel Aviv beachfront. "That's hot, that's wicked," says Malucci, as the model shifts her hips and parts her lips. "I wanna see the curves. That's it, honey. On your knees, legs apart. Nice arch in your back-boom!" The flash flickers as the sun drops toward the Mediterranean. A Hassidic man in a black hat accidentally steps into the frame. "Love the guy with the hat!" Malucci says, chortling.

Taking in the scene, David Saranga can't help but grin. The Israeli consular official based in New York approached Maxim six months ago. His proposal: the government and other pro-Israeli groups would fly a camera crew across the Atlantic in an effort to remake the Jewish state's public image. Israel's reputation had suffered after last summer's war with Lebanon; in a recent BBC poll taken in 27 countries, 56 percent of respondents considered Israel a "negative influence" in the world, higher than both Iran and the United States. But Israel's real PR problem, according to Saranga, is that Americans-particularly men aged 18 to 35-either associate the country with war or holy relics, or don't think of it at all. "We have to find the right hook," he says. "And what's relevant to men under 35? Good-looking women."

Saranga's effort is the latest volley in a long-running battle over how to sell Israel to the world. Tourism is a nearly $2 billion-a-year industry in Israel, and the art of public relations is something of a national obsession. In Hebrew it's called hasbarah, which means "explaining." For a country that's always craved international acceptance, hasbarah was "the first growth industry of Israel," the American author Richard Ben Cramer wrote. "We almost have a psychological disorder when it comes to public image," adds Eytan Schwartz, the first winner of Israel's top-rated reality TV show, "The Ambassador." Schwartz's prize is proof of that: the winner of "The Ambassador" gets to become a public-relations flack.

Still, by definition, hasbarah is open to interpretation. One of the central dilemmas is which aspects of Israel's wildly diverse society to emphasize. Israelis disagree about which is more likely to appeal to Americans-Tel Aviv's freewheeling, secular charms, or Jerusalem's holy sites. Settler leader Benny Elon, a former tourism minister, says he considers ads touting Israel's beaches a waste of money. For Elon, it isn't only a cultural issue; it's also bad business. Tourists in search of sunshine will always favor the French Riviera or the Caribbean. Israel's "unique selling proposition" is its religious heritage, says Elon. "It's the only state where you can take the Bible as your tourism guide." A recent study by the consulting firm Ernst & Young recommends that the Jewish state target American evangelical Christian tourists-one of Elon's pet projects.

Yet trying too hard to lure Christian tourists could end up alienating secular liberals. "Benny Elon is just dead wrong," says Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, author of "The Case for Israel." "It puts Israel in the camp of arch-conservative people." Already, a recent study by the New York marketing firm Wunderman has concluded that Israel's "brand" is perceived similarly to those of Philip Morris and the NRA. Ultimately evangelicals' support for Israeli tourism will evaporate, says Dershowitz; Christians will eventually become "disappointed" with the Jewish state as their interests diverge. But even Dershowitz thinks the idea of paying to fly a magazine crew across the Atlantic is a little over the top: "Completely not the way to go. I can see models anywhere."

Saranga insists his campaign is just smart niche marketing. "You have to match the message to the audience," the diplomat says. And his supporters argue that the Jewish state's diversity is one of its strongest selling points. Ultimately, says Dershowitz, "Israel is both countries ... a country where models pose at great holy sites." The tattoos on shooter Jim Malucci's biceps make the balance look easy to find. But marketing budgets are finite, and cultural rifts aren't so easily bridged. The reality of Israel is often having to choose: go with the girl, or go with God.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Only In Israel #10: Photos and Free Orange Minutes

I always say the first sign that I'm not Home is when I get into the terminal at JFK airport and reach for the mezuzah and it's not there! Just last week I was in the Post Office and the clerk wished me a "Chag Samayach!" That's what I'm talking about. Home!

You know what I mean. Speaking of which... Orange is giving its customers 200 FREE minutes on Pesach (see details below) as a holiday gift. Awesome! Home!

Here are some photos I took of our beautiful Land on the way out. I miss you already and will be back soon.