“Slash” is famous! See my August column and new personal essay about Avital

We just came back from a great weekend celebrating my grandfather’s 96th birthday.

After two weekends away, both fun, relaxing family time (and both involving all-nighters with a teething, traveling baby…) I maintain my need for a staycation, but also recognize that it isn’t good for me or my family to be all work and no play.

Click here to read my August column about the benefits of the allusive “staycation.”

In other news, we’re planning for Avital’s first birthday, September 25.

Here is a review of her past year, published for the entire world to see how special she is.

Afghan Star and The Jewish Press/Media

I recently had the privilege of meeting Afghanistan’s Ryan Seacrest, Daoud Seddiqi, and watching the documentary, Afghan Star. Daoud is the host of the show on Tolo TV, an independent television station in Afghanistan. From 1996 to 2001 music was illegal in Afghanistan. Watching TV and dancing were illegal. You can imagine the death threats and danger the contestants on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol faced (and the women especially still do).

One third of the country watched the finale of Afghan Star and voted for the multiple ethnicities up for the top prize. It was a fulfilling democratic experience for them.

Daoud says that he is a Muslim but these guys who say music is banned are just using this made up rule as a way to control others and grab power where they can. For 1000 years before the Taliban, Afghanistan was Muslim and music was okay. There is a tradition of music in Islamic societies. Countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia don’t know what the Taliban is talking about. The key to change is young people. Afghanistan is a young society. The key is media. None gets through in very controlled areas of the country.

So the Haredim I referred to in my July column are right? Even if they are, I say you shouldn’t be afraid that your way of life won’t stand up to outside influences.

More importantly, this is an important reminder of the power of the media to build democracy in a time where it is struggling to survive. As I note in my July column, we should use the media to learn about our differences and then learn how to be together.

More articles on the future of the Jewish press….

Jerusalem Post (Correction: The AJPA conference was down only 30% from last year’s level, and that conference had an all-time-high attendance level).

An ‘ever-dying’ medium by Andrew Silow-Carroll, New Jersey Jewish News Editor-in-Chief

Please don’t belch on me!

 

I hadn’t taken the metro since the accident on the red line. This happened while I was in Chicago on business. It was actually the opposite end of the line from where I take it, just as an fyi. Anyway, every day I heard about long delays so I counted myself lucky that I had found a reasonable route to work and was able to drive. However, it really is stressful to drive and I’d rather have the time on the metro to read, write or catch up on work. So I took the plunge and when the news said the red line was supposed to be back to normal, I waited another day and tried it.

There were throngs of people waiting on my platform. I’m lucky in that trains originate from my station so if I time it right, I can get on an empty train. After my station it isn’t empty anymore, but I can at least get a seat before it gets really tight. Two stops after mine, just when the air in the car was about to run out, I hear a woman shouting, “I’m a senior. Excuse me but I’m a senior!” I saw an older woman standing over someone but couldn’t see who it was through the crowd. I heard a man say, “So am I!” In other words, she was demanding his seat and he was refusing. This was even more unexpected than the lack of offers I received for a seat when I was 9 months pregnant.

The young guy sitting next to me immediately jumps up and offers her a seat. She sits next to me and proceeds to BELCH LOUDLY and without saying “excuse me” for the next 20 minutes. It should have only been 10 minutes, but the train kept stopping between stations. I had to pull out my ipod and frantically concentrate on untangling the cord before I could put it on to keep from laughing.

They have not gone back to normal and I still don’t trust that they’ve done anything to make it safer. I’ll try to drive as much as I can until then. I’m all for public transportation and saving money, but not if it isn’t safe!

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