2015 in Hollywood

2015 in Hollywood,” Chris Cancialosi. Jonathan however said there is nothing unusual about the opposition this time around, Maharashtra,” Explaining the meaning behind this statement Chabad Rabbi Chaim Meir Bukiet wrote “By telling the story it comes to life for both the one who is telling the story and the one who is listening” for all the generations to come As I child I was the one watching and listening and I always wondered why we were being subjected to the Jewish version of a holiday rerun Every year it was the same TV producer who showed up in the guise of my mother with a “to do” list for preparation and planning for the days before and after the Seder My step-father stood in for the TV announcer rehearsing his lines and writing a new script each year It started the same way every year in the weeks leading up to Passover Although the Jews in Egypt left hastily and most likely with little thought to the state of their homes or preparing food for the journey getting ready for Passover in my home meant my mother would be orchestrating days of cleaning cooking and carefully re-ordering our home This was followed by the spring shopping trip to Saks Fifth Avenue to buy new clothes and my annual “cutting out the label” ceremony as I didn’t want my classmates in our blue-collar school to know where my mother bought them Back at home I watched my mother review her cookbooks make a shopping list and unpack all the china glassware and silver Our house would become swathed in the sweet aroma of her matzah cereal as she baked the nuts and honey crumbled matzah and coconut together from a recipe that I thought was hers until a discovery many years later that it was from The Complete Passover Cookbook by Frances R AvRutick There was always great excitement on the night before Passover when my step-father would guide all of us by the hand in the dark with a candle spoon and flashlight in the ancient tradition of finding the last Hametz (forbidden during Passover) in the form of breadcrumbs he had hidden around the house Once found he would burn all of it inside a bag and we would mourn the loss of all bread until Passover ended Finally we would sit down to a dinner which was different each year as my family personalized the ceremony sometimes with plays or magic tricks poems or modern stories based on the holiday I often complained that our Seder was so much longer than those at my friend’s homes many of whom were using the Maxwell House Haggadah one of the best marketing strategies ever created to encourage Jewish families to speed through the story and get to the “good to the last drop” coffee The morning after Seder we eagerly awaited the first matzah brei breakfast a sweet or savory treat and the many leftover charoses and matzah sandwiches we’d enjoy However there was also the absolute embarrassment of packed matzoh sandwiches at school and the insistence of my parents to bring it into restaurants thus assuring everyone in our small Texas town knew we were Jewish Looking back at these rituals of Passover I realize they were as much a part of the story as the actual exodus tale When I became a parent it was no surprise that I continued many of these same traditions and added my own twist on others We do clean our house for Passover but don’t often use china or silver as we prefer to be more casual or have dinner at our friend’s home We do shop for new clothes (but not at SFA) and I have become known for making my mother’s Passover cereal as a gift I have also over the years developed a tradition of making many different types of charoses from around the world including Sephardic Egyptian Israeli and even a California charoses made with avocado We’ve done hunts in the dark for Hametz over the years but often turned it into a bread and candy discovery tour (a Jewish version of an Easter Egg hunt) Many times I have written my own Passover ceremony with poetry from Rabbi Sheryl Lewart’s book Blessings for the Journey or Celebrating the Jewish Holidays edited by Steven J Rubin And I’ve collected props and songs for storytelling and scour the internet each year for alternative Haggadahs Our family rituals and traditions along with travel and Study Abroad in Israel with Alexander Muss High School have become part of the thread I’ve now woven into the Passover story for my children Once we were slaves once we dreamed about freedom and a nation in Israel Now we are free now we have a country and now we have the power to pass these stories and traditions (both religious and personal) onto our children and our grandchildren No matter what your tradition for Passover when we say “Next Year in Jerusalem” we’re saying it because our ancestors made it possible Karen Rappaport is the Director of Admissions for the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (wwwamhsiorg) a Study Abroad program with more than 43000 Alumni including her children A member of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades CA she has been an active congregant and participant in its popular Women’s Seder for many years She prides herself on being the best haametz hunter and afikomen hider in the family and welcomes both Elijah and Miriam to her table Her Passover claim to fame is the seven different types of charoses she makes for seder More from Patheos: Contact us at [email protected] IDEAS TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices providing commentary on events in news society and culture We welcome outside contributions Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editorsAs America comes to grips with two more violent homegrown plots an attempt to mail pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue reality and surreality may seem hard to disentangle Experts are working to figure out exactly what happened in each case and why on levels ranging from the societal to forensic But it appears that the two suspects shared at least one habit: engaging with extreme content online Robert Bowers the suspect in the Pittsburgh shooting posted a message on a niche social network known to be used by white supremacists shortly before opening fire at the Tree of Life synagogue Cesar Sayoc the Florida man charged with sending explosive material to political figures left a trail of conspiracy theories and right-wing sensationalism on Facebook While their use of technology may help reveal their motives it also speaks to bigger problems that researchers are racing to better understand Chief among them is the way that the Internet can make irrational viewpoints seem commonplace “A lot of our behavior is driven by what we think other people do and what other people find acceptable” says Nour Kteily an associate professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management who studies dehumanization and hostility And there’s a good chance that even those who avoid the dark corners of the web are encountering extreme ideas about what is right and who is wrong A Facebook spokesperson says the company took action on 25 million pieces of content classified as hate speech in the first quarter of 2018 There have always been people who espouse vitriol “But the emergence of these online platforms has reshaped the conversation” Kteily says “They in many ways amplify the danger of things like dehumanizing speech or hate speech” Marginal ideas can now spread faster and further creating an impression that they are less marginal and more mainstream Big technology companies are acknowledging the dangers researchers have already uncovered when it comes to the ways that encountering hateful speech can skew attitudes In one 2015 study people who were exposed to homophobic epithets tended to rate gay people as less human and physically distance themselves from a gay man in subsequent tasks And researchers have long warned that dehumanizing people is a tactic that goes hand-in-hand with oppressing them because it helps create mental distance between groups "We are permitted to treat non-human animals in ways that are impermissible in the treatment of human beings" David Livingstone Smith a professor of philosophy at the University of New England explained in a previous interview with TIME Such language can help "disable inhibitions against acts of harm” he said One question raised by the Pittsburgh shooting is what happens when extremists are shut out of mainstream social networks as companies like Facebook and Twitter take a harder line on these issues Facebook has been hiring content moderators and subject matter experts at a rapid clip hoping to do a better job of proactively finding hate speech and identifying extremist organizations Twitter continues to develop a more stringent policy on what constitutes dehumanizing speech that violates its terms “Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service including normalizing serious violence” Twitter employees wrote in a post announcing proposed policy language Gab a social media site on which Bowers wrote anti-Semitic posts disavowed all acts of violence and terrorism in statements to TIME and other publications in the aftermath of the shooting But the site has become a haven for white supremacists and other extremists given its promise of letting people espouse ideas that might get them banned elsewhere says Joan Donovan an expert in media manipulation at research institute Data & Society "What that does is create a user population on Gab of people who are highly tolerant of those views” she says That in turn might make things like rantings about Jewish conspiracies seem more widespread than they would on a platform where poisonous posts are surrounded and perhaps diluted by billions of rational ones Bowers’ final post before the shooting read in part “Screw your optics I’m going in” The term “optics” Donovan says likely refers to tactics discussed among white supremacists specifically the idea that the movement will be more successful if its members are perceived as non-violent victims of “anti-white” thought police Among the figures the movement portrays as its own oppressors she says are big technology companies “[W]e are in a war to speak freely on the internet” a Gab-associated account wrote on Medium before that company suspended it in the wake of the shooting The post accused Silicon Valley companies of “purg[ing] any ideology that does not conform to their own echo chamber bubble world” Such sites where the alt-right flocks have been described as “alt tech” Donovan says that these niche platforms are places “where many harassment campaigns are organized where lots of conspiracy talk is organized” Racist and sexist memes that might get an account suspended on other platforms are easy to find "The problem is when youre highly tolerant of those kinds of things” Donovan explains “other more sane and more normal people dont stay" Though social networks might seem well-established at this point more than a decade after Facebook was founded academics are lagging behind when it comes to understanding all the effects these evolving platforms might be having on users’ behavior and well-being Experts interviewed for this article were not aware of research that investigates on an individual level the possible link between posting extreme or hateful content online and the likelihood of being aggressive offline Posting can serve "a public commitment device” Kteily says But that’s far from a causal link Newer research is attempting at least in the aggregate to better understand the relationship between activity on social networks and violence in the offline world Carlo Schwarz and Karsten Mller researchers associated with the University of Warwick and Princeton University respectively analyzed every anti-refugee attack that had occurred in Germany over a two-year period more than 3000 instances and looked at variables ranging from the wealth of each community to the numbers of refugees living there One factor that cropped up across the country is that attacks tended to occur in towns where there was more usage of Facebook a platform where users encounter anti-refugee sentiment The study’s methodology has come under some criticism and Schwarz emphasizes that the findings need to be replicated before universal conclusions are drawn especially because isolated Internet outages across Germany helped provide special circumstances for their study (When access to the Internet went down in localities with high amounts of Facebook usage they found that attacks on refugees dropped too) But what their research suggests Schwarz says is that there is a sub-group of people "who seem to be pushed toward violent acts by the exposure to online hate speech" The echo chamber effect of social networks may be part of the problem When people are exposed to the same targeted criticisms over and over he says it may change their perception about "how acceptable it is to commit acts of violence against minority groups" Facebook Twitter and Google are dedicating resources to the problem yet there are many challenges: as algorithms are designed to pick up certain red-flag words extremist groups adopt coded language to spread the same old ideas; content moderators need to understand myriad languages and cultures; and the sheer volume of posts on Facebook alone which number in the billions each day is overwhelming The company says that it finds 38% of hate speech before it’s reported a smaller proportion than for terror propaganda and nudity The company expects that number to improve a spokesperson says also acknowledging the difficulty of tackling content that tends to be context-dependent And while major tech companies may feel that getting a handle on this problem is a business imperative a Twitter spokesperson says that maintaining healthy conversation is a “top priority” current law largely shields platforms from responsibility for the content on their platforms That means that while some social networks may get serious in tackling extremist speech there is no legal mandate for all platforms to follow suit That is one reason in the wake of these latest plots that some lawmakers are renewing calls for tighter regulation on social media In the meantime academics will keep trying to provide research that helps companies make decisions based on data rather than good intentions “Research is obviously slow” says Schwarz who is now investigating whether there is a connection between Twitter usage and offline violence in the US “It’s still a new field” Write to Katy Steinmetz at [email protected] “It is instructive to note that citizens are entitled to free speech even if they hold offensive and hurtful opinions. and not be weary; and they shall walk, which allows streaming or downloading, The governorship hopeful called on Ndigbo to rally round President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his second term.

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