Hanukkah in Santa Monica

One of my professors shared this with me and it is really too good not to share with other people:

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The Thin Jew Line – What is an Eruv Exactly?

What is an eruv?  It’s a part of Jewish law that even many Jews do not understand.  A little over a month ago, Jon Stewart did a clip about them that is hilarious!  Definitely worth watching and sharing.  I saw this during Passover, but didn’t have a chance to share it until now.  Take a look:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wyatt Cenac breaks God’s rules without causing controversy by wearing an eruv hat. Airdate – 03/23/11

Reflections on “Repugnant” UCLA Student Video – Developing an Inclusive Society

It has happened again.  A college student has made insensitive and racist statements.  Not surprising.  Too often, people seem not to think of the consequences of their actions. Yet, college students are supposed to be “educated.”  One might assume that such education would involve cultural understanding and sensitivity.  Too often, that is not the case.  On Friday, a UCLA student posted a video rant against Asian students.  I cannot find the original video, but one of many copies is viewable below:

Today, UCLA’s newspaper posted an article about the video in which a university administrator calls the video “repugnant.”  That’s a good thing.  Yet, more needs to be done.  This is an issue that is larger than UCLA (although I certainly hope that UCLA addresses this appropriately).  There is a general lack of acceptance and inclusion by too many people in our society.  Even those (yes, including myself) who claim to be “pro-diversity” or who say they are not racist do, in fact, discriminate and say or do hurtful things.

We need to educate our young people about acceptance and inclusion, beginning in pre-school and elementary school before learned notions of hate and racism and discrimination are developed.  Yes, we learn to hate and we learn what is “right” or “wrong” about the ways in which we interact with others.  A cultural change is needed beginning with young children and continuing through colleges and universities and into the workplace.

This change will likely need political support and is surely going to take longer than necessary.  Let us all commit ourselves to doing our part to make sure that our future is educated on how we should interact with others.  Treating people “the way we’ve always done it” is not okay anymore.

Ironically, UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project put out a policy paper supporting some of what I am proposing in this post.  Perhaps the university needs to start with it’s students…

 

Purim Videos Galore

The Jewish holiday of Purim is coming up in about a week.  In the run up, it seems that 2789572 related videos have been posted to Youtube.  Some of them are very similar so it begs the question of which came first and if any of the groups are copying each other.

The Maccabeats, an accapella choir from Yeshiva University, made famous by their “Candlelight” video for Channukah this past winter, have come out with a new one for Purim:

The Fountainheads, a group from The Israeli Academy for Leadership have created a video based on the same song parody:

I wonder whose video will become more popular…

 

Sarah Palin’s Responsibility for the Term “Blood Libel”

Sarah Palin recently released a video reaction to the shooting targeting Gabrielle Giffords.  I actually thought she had a number of good points in her video and appreciate most of the sentiment.  However, Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” is shocking and offensive.  One can only hope that if she understand the history of the term and how relevant it is to Congresswoman Giffords that she would have chosen another way to represent her thoughts.  If she meant what she said, I really do have some concern.

I encourage you to watch Sarah Palin’s video.

Afterwards, I encourage you to think about the following:

  1. Why did Sarah Palin release such a video?  What was her motive?
  2. Did she mean “blood libel” as has been interpreted?
  3. Importantly for the recent situation: Are law breakers singularly responsible for what happens?  Are we not all influenced by our environments and communities?

Graduation Video

To celebrate Undergraduate Graduation this past June, me and four friends had a party at Hillel for our families.  Leslie made a video slideshow that has now been posted on YouTube.  It is quite good and brings back many memories.

Here’s to good times, great memories, and wonderful people:

Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver

The University of Denver has launched the public phase of a capital campaign: Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver.  The quiet phase began four years ago and it is set to conclude in 2014, the 150th anniversary of the University of Denver.

DU Today, the university’s news service had an article about the capital campaign:

During Convocation remarks to more than 650 faculty and staff members today, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe publicly announced a multi-year campaign to position the University for the 21st century.

Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver will culminate in 2014 when the University celebrates its sesquicentennial.

“Today, I’m announcing the public phase of our campaign,” Coombe said. “We will focus on additional financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students; support for faculty chairs and professorships as well as research and scholarship; the visual and performing arts; and important improvements and additions to our facilities.”

The campaign has been in a quiet phase for four years, raising more than $250 million to date. Of that, Coombe said $100 million is providing direct support to students and faculty.

Coombe noted that the new class of first-year undergraduate students is the best in DU history in terms of academic credentials, which include GPA, test scores, class rank and the number of Boettcher Scholars. The class also is DU’s most diverse; more than 19 percent are students of color, more than 16 percent are receiving Pell Grants, and more than 7 percent are international students. Also, more than 60 percent of the class comes from outside of Colorado.

Although the campaign’s emphasis is on raising funds to support DU’s “human infrastructure,” according to the Ascend website, the initiative also will fund a “desperately needed new building” to house the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which has a projected price tag of $55 million, most of which has yet to be raised.

Also planned is a transformation of Penrose Library into an “academic commons.”

“The renovation will change the building’s functionality from book storage space to technology-rich people space,” Coombe said. The University has raised $25 million of the $30 million needed for the project.

“I believe all of this is possible. We can be that great private university dedicated to the public good. We can be that university that has a lasting and powerful impact on the human condition. We can ascend to that higher place together,” Coombe said.

The campaign has a video which describes its aims and goals.  You will see a number of friends of mine featured and you can see me as part of a mini-class about microfinance highlighting a class that was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Most Innovative Business School classes –

On the website, I have been included as one of the “profiled” students.  It’s the same “One to Watch” story that appeared in the DU Magazine.  If you are interested, you can read it on the Ascend website.

I know Chancellor Coombe has been working hard on this campaign and I hope that it is successful in meeting each of its goals.  The University of Denver has a lot of potential and a great future ahead of it.  This campaign should position it well for the future.  Before too long, I hope to be able to contribute to future growth needs of the university.

A Bit More On Camp (+ Pictures & Video)

Where has the summer gone?  The last week of campers leaves on Saturday and the staff will be out on Sunday (baring craziness).

We spend all year talking about and getting ready for camp and then it is over just like that.  I did not even work on staff this year and yet this feeling is still real.  So much of the time I spend with my camp friends is spent talking about the upcoming year and reminiscing about the past.  It is amazing how time flies.  I wonder what this next year will bring with so many people discussing not returning to camp…

When I was at camp last weekend, I took a decent amount of pictures. S-F is the home of many memories and friendships.  I’ve got some pretty good pictures of camp, as well as several from Lambert’s.

When I was stepping into a skit during the closing campfire last friday, I asked my friend Ray to take some pictures and he ended up taking a video of part of the Knob Lick Knickerbockers skit, a spoof on the Knob Lick Knockers skit that we do every opening campfire.  S-F Scout Ranch is in Knob Lick, Missouri.  Knob Lick Knockers is a skit about a “model patrol” and how to set up your campsite for a good week of camp.  The Knickerbockers have Jeeves.  Check it out:

There are quite a few things that may be changing for next summer.  I hope they all change for the best.  I look forward to the future.  2010 is the 100th Anniversary of Scouting.  Hopefully it will be here for another 100 years.  I look forward to doing my part to ensure its continuation as boys need to understand the value of citizenship, leadership, service, and the outdoors.

Eating lunch outside of Astronaut's Hall.

DU, Me, and My Friends on VEVO!

During DU’s May Days, OneRepublic was on campus.  I posted the videos that I took of their impromptu concert, but now OneRepublic has posted their video of the event via VEVO on YouTube!  It’s pretty awesome.

The video includes the song “Secrets” – the new single that is pretty awesome.  Check it out.  There are some shots of me and many of my friends.  While I seem to be making fantastic (:-\) faces every time the camera comes to me, this is still a pretty cool thing the band did and good publicity for DU.

B.o.B. – Airplanes ft. Hayley Williams

Airplanes by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore is currently one of my favorite songs.  I had heard bits and pieces, but first heard the song in its entirety while at Lodo’s in Denver with some good friends.  We were reminiscing and celebrating the end of senior year and the song seemed to have relevance as I was about to graduate and hoped (and still do) that the memories and I friendships I had made would stay with me for quite some time.  I like the fact that the song is hopeful, and has more depth than most of the popular music that seems to be overplayed.  It is also a good song with a catchy beat.

While there were plenty of fake music videos for the song, the official video was only recently posted.  Interestingly, I read on MTV’s website (this may be the only MTV article I have read this year), that Hayley Williams and B.o.B. have never met – and did not plan to even for filming the video.  That’s kind of strange, but it is a great song nevertheless.

Lyrics:

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now

Yeah
I could use a dream or a genie or a wish
To go back to a place much simpler than this
Cause after all the partying
The smashing and crashing
And all the glitz and the glam and the fashion
And all the pandemonium and all the madness
There comes a time when you fade to the blackness
When you’re staring at that phone in your lap
And hopin’ but them people never call you back
But that’s just how the story unfolds
You get another hand
Soon after you fold
And when your plans unravel in the sand
What would you wish for if you had one chance?
So airplanes airplanes
Sorry I’m late
I’m on my way
So don’t close that gate
If I don’t make that
Then I switch my flight
And I’ll be right back at it
By the end of the night

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now

Yeah
Yeah
Somebody take me back to the days
Before this was a job
Before I got paid
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank
Yeah back when I was trying to get a tip at Subway
Back when I was rapping for the hell of it
But now days we rapping to stay relevant
I’m guessing that if we can make some wishes out of airplanes
Then maybe oh maybe I’ll go back to the days
Before the politics that we call the rap game
And back when ain’t nobody listened to my mixtape
And back before I tried to cover up my slang
But this is for decater
What’s up Bobby Ray
So can I get a wish to end the politics
And get back to the music that started this shit
So here I stand
And then again I say
I’m hoping we can make some wishes out of airplanes

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, Wish right now