Monday, January 31, 2011

Can there be a Roadmap to Peace on Campus?

In an effort to curtail the perpetual hostilities, protests and verbal demonstrations on university campuses in the GTA, the ACL (Advocates for Civil Liberties) will hold a one day conference on Tuesday Feb. 16 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The advocates will examine the war against Israel on campus, the realities of war, perspectives for peace and discuss tools to improve the toxic, anti-Israel atmosphere that threatens to rear its ugly head yet again on campuses this March.

For more information on the conference or to register, just click here

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Technion to propel us further into the Final Frontier

Next Thursday January 27th, The Canadian Technion Society will once again host an exploratory look into Israel's technological advances as part of a joint program with JUMP (Jewish Urban Meeting Place) and event co-sponsor

In an interactive discussion, titled Batteries Not Included 2, keynote speaker will be Dr. Victor Chernov. A graduate from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Technion, his work has focused on the rheology of gel fuels. Dr. Chernov, presently a Lyon Sachs post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, investigates the creation and behaviour of soot in hydrocarbon-air flames.

With the human race continuing to push the boundaries on how far we can travel through space, rocket and jet propulsion is a fascinating and complex field that is based on simple, intuitive principles.

Dr. Chernov will discuss the basic physics and the principles (we promise - no equations!) behind modern, state-of-the-art aviation and space propulsion. Additionally, it will be shown how these principles are taken to the edge at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in several ground-breaking works of water ram-jets, the aforementioned gel fuels for rocket propulsion and more.

The cost is $5 at the door. Wine and Cheese Refreshments will be served (Kashrut observed). For more details you can view the flyer from the Heebonics Facebook page. And while you are there, join for the updates on all the latest City Wide Events.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hair donation story follow-up

Just before I left for vacation last month, I received a phone call from a woman who had read my article about Sonia Kafka.

Like many people who’ve cut and donated their long tresses, Sonia gave away two thick braids to be used for wigs for children who’ve lost their hair because of medical issues.

But her story has a unique twist. Sonia’s braids were cut 61 years ago when she was a 13-year-old immigrant, newly arrived in Toronto.

She’d kept the braids in a chocolate box and, when she came across it recently, was inspired to donate the hair, following the example of youngsters whose pictures she’d seen in The CJN.

The woman who called me said she had kept her own braids for 63 years, since she was eight years old. They were 17 inches long and still had little red ribbons on them, she added.

It never entered her mind that they might be of use to anyone else, but now she was seeking information about where she might donate them.

As it turns out, a friend of my mother’s who had also read the article had braids of her own, dating back to when she was a young teenager. She had kept them in tissue paper for well over 60 years – longer than either of the other two women – through moves from one city to another, and then a third.

She said she’ll be thrilled if someone can use them.

To read the original article, click here.

The Whole Truth

Dear Ella
A close friend of mine just bought new furniture. She was very excited when she called and invited me over to see it and give my opinion.
I didn’t think anything of it, as Deb and I go way back and we always consult each other on many issues.
When I got there, I realized she wasn’t kidding. She bought new living, dining and bedroom furniture. She practically redid her whole house!
We did a walkthrough, and she asked me straight out what I thought about each and every piece. I have always been honest with her, as she has with me, and I didn’t feel this situation was any different. However, when I told her I didn’t like her dining room set, she informed me she had bought all the furniture at a bankruptcy sale and it’s non-refundable. She was quite hurt and upset that I didn’t like the dining room. I tried to backtrack, but the damage was done. Was I wrong to give her my honest opinion?
Whole Truth and Nothing But

Dear Whole Truth and Nothing But,
You walked into a trap. Your friend didn’t want your opinion on her new furniture, she wanted to share her excitement with you.
She wanted you to tell her everything was gorgeous, that she has great taste, that she got a fabulous deal. Even without Deb realizing it, all she really wanted was your validation – she was just too excited to think it through, and never expected a negative response.
You can’t take back what you’ve already said, but you can learn from this experience. A truthful opinion can backfire when nothing can be done about the final outcome.
If Deb got a terrible haircut, should you say, “It looks awful, but don’t worry. It will grow back”?
Before you answer the question “What do you think of my new [anything]?” you need to get some facts. Whether it’s as small as a new dress or as large as a new house, get the whole story before you offer your opinion. If the purchase is final, would admitting that you disapprove help in any way? Did telling her you didn’t like her furniture accomplish anything other than hurting her feelings?
You don’t have to come out and lie, but choose your words carefully. You might say something like: “You got a fabulous deal,” or “The furniture fits perfectly in here,” or even “It’s not exactly my taste, but it’s a beautiful set”.
Telling the truth is important, but not necessarily when the situation is a fait accompli. If there’s nothing to be gained by offering a negative opinion, why do it? Don’t dwell on this incident. What’s done is done. Your relationship with Deb will survive. You have learned something from this experience. Once in awhile, when the opportunity is appropriate, skirting the truth may be the gracious thing to do.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lessons from Alexis

Sadly, I began the first week of the year by attending a funeral.

Alexis Wronzberg, who died last week in Israel, was by all accounts a vibrant young woman with a winning smile that matched her love of life.

Toronto’s Jewish community joined her family and friends in rallying for her last fall when she suffered a recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, raising $300,000 so she could travel to Israel for treatment that was not available here. In November, she received a bone marrow and stem cell transplant from her mother, Debra.

At her funeral yesterday morning, four of her grieving friends – each wearing a scarf in tribute to Alexis’ sense of style – recalled her strength, positive attitude, and her capacity for love, friendship and living in the moment.

“Precious, beautiful, funny, caring, loving, giving Alexis” was the way Rabbi Philip Scheim described her.

“Lex didn’t live her life as a cancer patient,” one of her friends said. “Her hospital room was always a party. We were always looking for more chairs... Based on the company, the takeout food, the laughter – you’d never know that we were sitting in a hospital room.”

Lessons from Alexis, according to her friends, include:
• be happy and positive about life
• cherish your friends and family
• travel
• don’t sweat the small stuff
• enjoy the simple things in life
• eat lots of yummy food
• and, most of all, live life to the fullest.

Anyone still contemplating New Year’s resolutions may find them right here.