Of all the questions I am asked by some who are curious of my beliefs, the most frequent is whether or not I celebrate Christmas?

 

I could of course answer this in a word but instead shall offer an explanation of what I believe and "observe."

 

I have grown up in an orthodox Jewish home where my family has observed traditional Jewish festivities and related celebrations.  "Orthodox" Judaism doesn't denote that I wear Hasidic style clothing or spend all day learning Talmudic studies.  Orthodoxy is to Judaism what Catholicism is to Christianity.  It is the accepted traditional style of practicing Judaism and observing Jewish law.  There are other "sects" or styles of Jewish practice & observance but that is another discussion for another day.

 

This probably has suggested that my answer to the original question is no.  I personally do not observe or partake in Christmas in any way.  For me, that would be an assimilating step away from my Jewish identity towards a festival that, whilst many would argue is an annual commercial exercise, is still a celebration with explicit symbolism to the Christian faith.  That is something I do not want to be a part of.  Obviously, on the reverse of this, I do not resent anybody for, or begrudge anybody from celebrating Christmas, nor do I proselytise to Jewish friends who maybe don't believe like I do.  That would contradict my own belief that diversity is preserved by tolerance toward other beliefs.

 

At whatever level it occurs at, I try not to be involved with Christmas activities.  I do not put up a tree, decorate my home with tinsel or other seasonal goodies, and maybe to a fault in some eyes, I am also not renowned for sending cards.

 

Having so many friends, and some family who celebrate Christmas in some way does pose it's problems when trying to find a way to fit in.

 

So, there is the answer to the question.  On that note, please bear in mind that for those of you who aren't Jewish and are curious about this explanation, my practices and beliefs are not to be taken as a yardstick against other Jewish people or their observance.

 

Finally, to those of you who do celebrate Christmas, sincerely, I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of cheer and enjoyment.  To the rest of you, have a great weekend too!

 

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s2smodern

Aside from us doing something potentially good by making the world realise that goal line technology can only help the beautiful game, there really was nothing any good about England's world cup this time around....

 

We were tonk.

 

Maybe we'll do better at the Olympics in 2012.

 

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s2smodern

Not since 9/11 has there been such a user rush to the internet as when news broke, then slowly trickled in about the condition and now death of pop legend Michael Jackson.  I am a Michael Jackson fan and am shocked that he has died, and more so, by the speed at which information surrounding his death has become available.

However, unlike previous world news events, the is the first clear demonstration that user interest in a story can now in effect be measured and influenced by a person's hunger for information about a story using social media websites.

Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Wikipedia groaned under the strain of users wanting to update, tweet, watch and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.  At one point, Youtube posted on their site that watching videos has been suspended, presumably due to excessive demand.  Twitter became oversubscribed (which isn't that rare these days).  Wikipedia strained not only from the barrage of hits to the Michael Jackson page but also as "Wiki-Editors" argued over edited and restored versions of the article stating at that point wether or not the King of pop had died as at the time, reports were still unconfirmed.

Whilst the number of people online grows and have the ability to access content whilst mobile, media organisations the world over are struggling to feed the public thirst for information about the most important stories.  One of the problems they have is that a catch 22 now exists.  Previously, we all received news via newspapers, TV and news websites.  But, with the advent of blogging, tweeting, digging and all the other social media tools out there, the public in effect provide real-time surveys to news-room editors informing them about what we are interested.  News outlets now feel obliged to report non-stop on whatever we are fixated on until our interest dies down instead of other things that might be more newsworthy.

Interestingly, I noticed these other events reported in the UK that have all been reported today that I reckon would have received far more exposure were it not for news agencies ability to respond to end-user demand for information about a particular story instantaneously: -

  • The actress Farrah Fawcett has died at the age of 62 from cancer
  • Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England has said that the banking crisis is easing
  • "Tens of thousands of cases of swine flu could be emerging each week by the autumn, the chief medical officer says"


That last headline would normally have the tabloid press telling us to run for the hills and not to drink the tap water.

Still, it is us humble surfers that now decide what is news worthy....

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s2smodern

How many series of Big Brother are to be made by Endemol here in the UK?  Please, somebody tell me that I am not alone in thinking that it ran its course years ago?

When it first appeared on our TVs it was almost laboratorical.  A bunch of guinea pigs thrown in a house whilst we all watched them for 10 weeks.  What really made it compelling was that they all seemed to be normal everyday people.  Sure, they were very aware that they were being filmed and their daily lives broadcast to the public but they got on with their "living in a box" experiment.  All of which made for unmissable viewing.  Finding out that "Nasty Nick" had sneaked a pencil in to the house and was writing things down in an attempt to influence public voting in the competition was fantastic TV.

However, nine series later and the Big Brother production team seem to be concerned about offending the Oxford English Dictionary editorial staff regarding definitions of the word "diverse".  when choosing BB contenstants now, a varying selection of backgrounds isn't enough.  It seems that to get short listed as a contestant on BB you must posess a quality that is far from "run of the mill".  Contestants qualities these days appear to be from the outer fringes of society.  Sex changes, schizophrenia and chlosterophbia aren't enough anymore.

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s2smodern

I've managed to lose my swanky looking camera having had it for a measly 6 months.

Quite frankly, I am livid.  The main reason being that I can't think where it got lost.  I've tried retracing my steps to no avail.  In fact, I would have to say that I'm more annoyed not knowing where and how the camera was lost than I am at the loss of the camera itself.

This does seem a bit irrational doesn't it?  I suppose it comes from not being able to account for your actions.  Having said that, maybe it's the Agatha Christie in me that likes a good unsolved mystery!

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s2smodern