Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will 2015 be a better year for SodaStream?

SodaStream International, producer of the Israeli drink machine that lets you carbonate and flavour beverage bottles in your own home, is a popular product sold in leading home and department stores worldwide.

The company finds itself as a perennial target of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.  Last month we posted that SodaStream announced it would close its West Bank factory and move it to Israel's southern Negev region, to the community of Lehavim near Be'er Sheva, by the end of 2015.

While there was no direct evidence the BDS movement influenced the company's decision, JTA reported today that Harvard University's dining service has chosen to stop purchasing SodaStream equipment for its facilities several months after university officials met with anti-Israel groups on campus, who requested that SodaStream labels be removed existing machines.

The meeting last April was between Harvard's administration, the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society. According to the Harvard Crimson, the school's student newspaper, the two groups expressed their discomfort over the use of the technology and the "potential of the machines to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict."

The Ivy League school's dining services will reportedly be sourcing new machines from American companies.

Harvard's code of arms features the Latin word veritas, which means truth. Could the school's leaders really believe there's is truth in the small-mindedness of the BDS movement?

What say you?

Technological innovation meets Chanukah tradition

This video from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology's department of education in science and technology showed up on our newsfeed and gave us such a sense of awe and wonder that we just had to share it with you our followers.

These three humanoid robots, programmed by Grade 10 students at Ort High School in Kiryat Bialik, expertly execute the serving of a latke, the pouring of shemen (oil) and lighting a chanukiyah. Their construction was supervised by Dan Cuperman of the Center for Robotics and Digital Technology Education (CRDTE).

Simply marvellous.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Classic sandwich flavour in a sufganiyah

There was a time in most North American schools, workplaces and communal events when peanuts were commonly found in lunches, snacks and available as sports game concessions. But recently adopted policies have restricted the consumption and sale of the protein-filled legume.

Nevertheless, sufganiyot (jelly dougnut) makers in New York have kept the lunch staple of peanut butter and jelly alive in the festive Chanukah treat.  

The recipe published by Shannon Sara of the Nosher, which inspired this post, provides step-by-step directions, along with measured quantities for each ingredient and suggestions for substitutions if needed. 

Have a look and nosh away.

Chanukah tradition meets comfort food staple

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, comfort food is defined as food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family or friends.

Most of us are brought up hearing the story of why we celebrate the festival of Chanukah, and we consume traditional foods at gatherings of family and friends.

We eat sizeable quantities of foods fried in oil to recall the oil that lasted eight days in the menorah, when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Greeks.

Melinda Strauss, a contributor to My Jewish Learning's blog the Nosher, also notes that we consume dairy products to celebrate Judith’s victory when she saved her village from the Babylonians.

An enterprising foodie, Strauss joined these two culinary traditions together combining latkes with a favourite North American comfort food that many of us know how to make: grilled cheese. To get this crispy, multi-tiered, melty treat just right, follow her instructions by jumping to the recipe here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Imagine this Jewish spectacular in a city near you

With this week's edition of The Canadian Jewish News carrying Chanukah gift ideas, food ads and local greetings from community supporters, the web has been burning up with one of the most elaborate performances of familiar holiday songs with a new-age twist.

Imagine if reality competition programs like Dancing with The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance showcased a performance from a troupe helmed by Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra.

This set, recorded in Daley Plaza in Chicago, will have you transfixed along with the energized crowd, enjoying festival favourites such as Sevivon sov sov sov, Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah and even Ocho Kandelikas, a well-loved Ladino Chanukah song, along with top-notch orchestration and beautifully choreographed ballroom, modern and Latino-style dancing.

Throw away heavy bike locks in favour of this Israeli invention

What would be the most convenient way to lock up your bike outside while you run an errand in a store or head inside to work? Ilan and Mickey believe they've found the answer with SEATYLOCK.

The Israeli innovation, designed for urban cyclists, conforms to any bike type and transforms the seat into a lock that holds your bike in place while you step away.

In a process that takes less than thirty-seconds, you fold out the saddle into a meter long chain, and the bike key locks as you normally would to any fixed object.

While it has been rigorously tested, for now, Mickey and Ilan have just a few working samples and are appealing to Kickstarter supporters and fans on their Facebook page to help drive awareness, enthusiasm and interest in the product, which they hope one day to see come to market.

Are your locks cumbersome? How convenient would this be for you?

Sound off in our comments section below.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lost Girl prepares to say farewell

The time has come Lost Girl fans.

As we told you just a little more than eight weeks ago, the popular sci-fi genre drama will begin airing the first half of its super-sized fifth and final season next month with a total of 16 episodes.

As the end nears, the cast has been looking back on whom they've shared screen time with, and in the video below, Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Reid, Lauren Palmer, Ksenia Solo, Rick Howland and Paul Amos are asked whom they felt was the best character on the show and – no surprise, given all the kissing scenes – who was the best kisser. You can tell they all had a blast together.

With a premiere date on Showcase in Canada of Sunday Dec. 7, the teaser trailers are giving loyal viewers a glimpse into what will surely be an epic conclusion to the journey lead actress Anna Silk's bisexual succubus character Bo began on Sept. 12, 2010. While learning about herself and her origins, and using her supernatural abilities and helping those in need, Bo also fiercely protected the newfound family she came to deeply love and rely on.

Throughout five seasons, the central premise of the show has been upheld from the title sequence's voice-over monologue:

"Life is hard when you don't know who you are. It's harder when you don't know what you are. My love carries a death sentence. I was lost for years, searching while hiding; only to find that I belong to a world hidden from humans. I won't hide anymore. I will live the life I choose."

Nature vs. nurture, free will vs. determinism – the ultimate question will be answered: does Bo truly have the power.