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Make Time for Kids

June 4, 2018 - By 

Guest:  Anne Mohr

How did Make Time for Kids get its name? I was looking for the best name to give “I’ve Got an Appointment” (IGAA), the educational card game that I am the author of. This game could have been another electronic game but I was witnessing that electronics were becoming babysitters for too many children. I thought they really enjoyed playing but what I have found was they play because they are bored. Children are losing the art of conversation as well. The name of the company gently reminds us to make time for kids because there truly is so much value in playing games. I am an example of the truth that a family that plays together stays together. We looked forward to playing games while I was growing up in a large family. We still do today. I didn’t have electronics back then and I was never bored a day in my life. We learned so many values all while having fun. This is a good lead in as to why “IGAA” will bring this to your family as well. I am so excited to share the countless hours I have played with children from 2 ½ years of age to 80+. We had so much fun exploring the many ways to play with these cards.
The biggest surprise to me was when an 8th grader was pacing by me looking at what I was doing. I was testing a new game version that I had been thinking about and playing 2 to 3 different hands. That is what I have to do when no one is available to play. My granddaughter and grandson at times help me test the new versions, but I was away on vacation. After the 3rd time he came past my table I asked him if he wanted to play. He said he had never seen cards like that before and was curious. He agreed to try and we played the 3 levels that were part of the original game and then played other versions. During the Deluxe version I noticed his intensity growing as he mastered the art of the game. I asked him, “on a scale of 1-10 what he thought” and this is what he said to me. “Are you kidding? You have my undivided attention. A 10”. He also loved the fact that he was beating the author at her own game. I laughed and told him that it is a game of chance and that he was lucky in making the most appointments. We played for an unbelievable 5 hours and the only reason he left was that he was called to dinner. Memories for both of us!
Another time while on vacation I sat in the game room and played with a 5 year old. She sat down and asked me to teach her one game after the other. After 8 games I asked her if she was going to remember how to play each of them and she nodded her head yes and said, “teach me another”. Her grandmother who was also with her said, “Yes she will, she is so smart.” I was amazed that she was like a little sponge.
I was volunteering at a Boys and Girls club in Florida a few years back and will always remember the child who sat alone and could not speak or hear. She watched us while we played the beginner game where you have to have the Season/Month card with color matching Day and Time cards to win the game and declare “I’ve Got an Appointment”. One of the boys decided to go watch a movie and while I was turned away for a moment the same little girl who was watching came over and sat down next to me. I asked her if she wanted to play, not knowing she couldn’t hear or speak. She nodded her head yes. Children started to tell me she couldn’t hear. I told them it was ok she could see. Another child came up to me and told me she couldn’t talk. I told them it was ok, she could see. Both children were surprised by my response because they were used to her just sitting alone. We began to play the game and I showed her an appointment that didn’t match and shook my head no. Then I showed her the correct matching all cards Season/Month Day and Time having the same color and nodded my head yes. After a few tries she finally got it and also made the appointment. So we clapped for her. I don’t know sign language but when she reached up and stroked my face, I knew it was a sign of appreciation. She had a smile on her face that lit the room. A teacher was watching us and she told me they didn’t even know her grade level. Bringing delight to this child who was just sitting there and became engaged is the reason I do what I do.
One last example I want to share with this awesome game and how it is developing a life of its own. I share with people not to underestimate the minds of their children; they are more advanced than we know. One day after hearing me tell many people day after day that you can become a Version Author, just by coming up with a different way to play, my own granddaughter who was 4 years old at the time said to me that she wanted to “PLAY MY WAY”. So I asked her to show me. So she told me to place the deck on the table and we would each draw a card. If we needed it, we would keep it. If not, we would offer it to the next player. If they didn’t need it, they would discard it. What a cute way to play! I never thought to give a discard to the next player. You see, all the cards are placed face up in front of each player so you can easily see if they need it. Then she goes on to say that the first person to get all 4 season appointments wins the game. Still shocked that this 4 year old came up with such a great version, let alone understood the concept of creating a game, I asked her what the rules were and she said the youngest player goes first and it has to be fun, that’s all. I learned a few things from this smart and loving little girl. Young children don’t like to hold cards in their hands, lovingly giving the next player the card you don’t need and they do, and lastly don’t underestimate even your own grandchildren. This created not only a new version but a “Jenna” style of games where you don’t have to hold the cards. From this idea I have created several versions of this style, some with my granddaughters help. Seniors also have a hard time holding the cards so they will benefit from this style of playing. So a new version with a new style was born.
So as you can see, there is great diversity in playing with this one card game where we have over 55 versions to date and still continuing to come up with more and more. The main focus of developing this game was to create an aid to teach the calendar concepts and time of day in a fun way. But I soon found that adults enjoy playing and creating versions as well. The game spans from easy to more intense with all the many ways to play. Some games are played with game boards of different surfaces. We have placemat games and binder games which can be personalized. Children as young as 2 ½ love to play the match game with the 12 Season/Month cards. The repetition of seeing these cards and discovering which card is their birthday month has delighted them so much. As they play they tell you again and again which card is their birthday card. So much fun! My 6 year old granddaughter can now proudly read the GoodNews/BadNews cards and is excited to now be able to play the Junior version. They learn many more concepts in this version. She wanted to read more of the cards so we came up with a version where each player gets 5 GoodNews/BadNews cards and they have to draw a matching card that is written on the card, ignoring the “ASK FOR” or “LOSE” statement. The first player to match up all their 5 cards wins the game. She added a way to show who wins the round. You will have to wait to read the rules to find out how. This co-created game is called “PRIORITY MAIL”. This one is not yet documented but will soon be in the GAMES folder in my DROPBOX. You can request free access to download the many versions and game surfaces in this folder by sending me an email mtfkfun@gmail.com.
The value of the game becomes greater with each new version. Just think, you can pay upwards of $25 for a game board today and with this game, if you divide the many ways to play to date by the $15 standard price, it only costs $.27 a game. Where can you get so much fun for that price? Nowhere!
In closing, if you enjoyed this article you can follow the fun on Facebook: I’ve Got an Appointment” or IGAA LEARNING. Both have additional fun event posts showing time spent with playing this game. The IGAA game never gets old because, like I said, the game takes on a life of its own with the so many new innovative ways players continue to create. Join us in sharing and becoming part of this awesome game that your children can learn from and your family and friends will love to play.


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Financial Education (In Hebrew)

October 22, 2017 - By 

חשוב לפתח כישורי חיים פיננסים

סרטון מ- ynet כלכלה המתאר יפה את הפעילות של “מפנה – חוויה פיננסית” באמצעות משחקים

With English subtitles.

סרטון של האגף למחוננים ומצטיינים במשרד החינוך בסגנון TED בו אני מדבר על שיטות הוראה

With English subtitles.

הכתבה מיום ראשון בערוץ 10 עם ליאור קינן בנושא חשיבות החינוך הפיננסי המדגישה בצורה טובה

למה ללמוד חינוך פיננסי.

http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1238623

 

הבנק ואני

שר המטבעות


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Educating The Public About Ticks and Their Removal

September 11, 2017 - By 

Guest:  Dan Wolff

Q&A with Dan Wolff of TickEase

Prepared by Ted Lund

Dan Wolff is the president and founder of TickEase, Inc. The company’s mission is to provide safe and effective tools for removing and repelling ticks, facilitating tick testing, and educating the public about the prevention of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease.

We had the chance to catch up with Dan and discuss how he came up with the idea for TickEase and why it’s important.

BeFirst Media Group: How did you get started with the whole TickEase concept?

Dan Wolff: I founded Mass Deer Service that worked closely with residents of the MetroWest area of Boston. You wouldn’t think it, but these urban areas have a quite a problem with deer — and with deer come ticks and all of the problems associated with tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease. So, that’s what we wanted to do; control the deer population and in turn help limit exposure to tick-borne illnesses. There weren’t really any tools on the market specifically for removing ticks from people or pets. This is why we developed TickEase.

BFMG: What makes TickEase so unique?

DW: There are a lot of old wives’ tales out there about removing ticks;

using a hot match, Vaseline, fingernail polish, dish soap and cotton, or various little key-like devices. But they don’t work as consistently as pointy-tipped tweezers. They’re not safe and they’re not effective. TickEase has two ends and is specifically engineered to be the safest, most convenient method of removing ticks. And it’s the only dual-purpose removal tool that works both on humans and pets.

The slender tweezer-tip on one end is designed to remove even the tiniest nymphal ticks from humans. The other end is a slotted scoop, which is the best way to remove larger or engorged ticks from your dogs and cats and other animals. You simply place the scoop under the tick’s mouth parts and gently pry or lift upwards. In either case, you’ll want to clean the area with soap and water and a disinfectant. Whenever you remove a tick, you’ll also want to save it for identification. And if you or your pets start experiencing any symptoms of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease, you should consult a physician or veterinarian immediately.

BFMG: Why is tick prevention so important?

DW:  Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are the fastest-growing infectious disease concerns in the U.S. and prompt and proper tick removal is a critical step in preventing infection. As tick populations continue to grow and their range expands, scientists are finding they are transmitting a growing list of disease-causing microbes like Lyme disease, Babesia protoza, Anaplesma, Ehrlichia (and other rickettsia), and encephalitis – causing viruses and Bartonella bacteria.

The fact is that while ticks in decades past were previously merely an inconvenience, they have become a common carrier of debilitating diseases and must be treated as such. Proper prevention and removal helps fight that.


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A Calling For Our Geula

August 30, 2017 - By 

Guest Hannah Glick

There are a lot of different theories as to why the Messiah hasn’t arrived. Whether Moshiach is a human or a “state of being” gifted to us by HaShem, why the delay?

The answer is so simple: Tikkun Olam “Kol Yisrael arevim ze lazeh”

It’s vital to instill good values not just to our children but also to help our fellow adults behave correctly and have the right manners, refinement, respect, courtesy, compassion, good behavior and chivalry.

My posters highlight these values and many more, they are suitable for all ages.

One of the issues festering that I address, which I feel so very passionately about is, Sinat Chinam I’m referring to intolerance towards to those from different backgrounds who have different customs, minhagim or might look different or use a different nusach, sefard, ashkenaz, etc, summed up in the phrase: אהבת ישראל: אהוב את חברך/חברתך מכל מוצא ומכל מקום

The posters I have designed are a beautiful delivery method that can be displayed in the classroom, office, waiting room, home and everywhere else!

Please take a few moments to browse through the different styles and pick the perfect one for you or someone you know.


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“The Pirate captain Toledano” Award-winning Short Film about Jewish Pirates in the Caribbean

July 31, 2017 - By 

BY  GUEST: ARNON SHORR

About the Production

The Director in front of The Brig Pilgrim at The Ocean Institute, Dana Point, CA Photo courtesy OxRock Productions, LLC

Several years ago, filmmaker Arnon Shorr was introduced to a history book with an eye-catching title: “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean”. The subject-matter, Jewish piracy in the wake of the Inquisition, fascinated Arnon, who is a filmmaker in Los Angeles. “The way the book presents it, Jewish pirates were motivated not just by the usual pirate motivations. They sailed the seas when Spain was the maritime superpower, so Spanish ships, with the Spanish gold fleet in particular, were their primary target. These Jews had fled Spain – they were victims of the Inquisition – so there’s a sense of justice that seeps into their narrative in a way that simply doesn’t exist in typical pirate stories.”  It was a long time before Arnon seriously considered actually making a Jewish pirate film. In September, 2016, Arnon wanted to develop a short film project for the end of the year. He had just attended a presentation by Amir Giveon, the founder of Jewcer.org, and was inspired to give the crowdfunding platform a try. The idea for “The Pirate Captain Toledano” hit Arnon all at once. “It was a Friday,” Arnon says, “and I was working on another project, when the whole story, cut out of whole cloth, occurred to me. I set my work down, outlined the tale of a refugee stowaway and the pirate captain who finds him, and set the outline aside, determined to get back to work. But I couldn’t work. The story called me back. I pushed off some deadlines and set to writing the short script, working off of my hasty outline. In less than an hour, the first draft was written, and it’s actually very similar to the finished film.”

The story was great, but Arnon was crestfallen. He had just written a period piece that takes place on a tall ship. How could he possibly pull that off without the resources of a major Hollywood production? He was tempted to set the script aside, to try writing something else, something less ambitious. But Arnon couldn’t let the project go. “I had to know what it would cost. I figured that if I knew how expensive this film would be to make, I’d give up on it and move on to something more achievable.” So he started contacting maritime museums on the California coast to inquire about the cost of shooting on tall ships. One of his first calls was to The Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California. They have two beautiful replica tall ships that have been used for films from The Power Rangers to Amistad. The folks at The Ocean Institute were very nice, and quoted a price that would have been reasonable to a major Hollywood feature… but far too big for a scrappy little short film. Even so, Arnon wasn’t ready to accept defeat. He asked the Ocean Institute if they knew anyone else who had a tall ship with a less expensive day-rate. And he sent them the script to read. The folks at The Ocean Institute loved the script! They offered Arnon a HUGE discount, and even suggested that they’d get more deeply involved with promoting the crowdfunding campaign and screening the film. In an instant, the production had hope! But this was still going to be an expensive production. In order to pull it off, Arnon had to raise $18,000. For this, he turned to Jewcer.org, a crowdfunding platform that offers nonprofit status to campaigns that raise money for Jewish-themed projects.  Arnon ran a resoundingly successful 6-week campaign on Jewcer.org, and gathered a passionate cast and crew for the film’s production. At last, over the course of a long and thrilling night in December, “The Pirate Captain Toledano” came to life.

Fun Facts & Stories from Behind the Scenes

The Pirates of clan Darksail Bring a Cannon to Set

The Royal French Privateers of Clan Darksail™  (​www.ClanDarksail.com​)   Clan Darksail provided actors, stunt men, props, costuming and more to The Pirate Captain Toledano.  Founded in 1998, Darksail is one of the oldest and largest troupes of acting pirates in the Southwest US.  Members of Darksail have appeared in Conquest for the History Channel, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Master & Commander: Far Side of the World, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Assassin’s Creed: The Devil’s Spear and much much more.  They perform all over at Renaissance and Pirate Festivals, and are available for hire.  In their enthusiasm for this project, they brought their own cannon to set.

Stephen DeCordova’s Kiddush Cup

Stephen DeCordova’s Jamaican Kiddush Cup

There’s a narrative beat in “The Pirate Captain Toledano” that revolves around the discovery of a silver kiddush cup among the Stowaway’s belongings. “When I brought in our actor, Stephen DeCordova, to read for the role of The Captain, he brought a small kiddush cup with him. I figured he simply brought the prop from home so he’d have something to work with during the reading of the scene,” says Arnon. As it turns out, the cup had some history.  Stephen was born in the USA, but comes from a Jamaican Jewish family. His mother was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and descends from Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition and came to the new world in the 16th century.  The cup belonged to Stephen’s grandfather in Jamaica, and has been in the family for more generations than anyone can remember. It’s an authentic piece of Judaica from the heart of the Caribbean. “It was as if Stephen had reached into my script and pulled the prop right out of the pages. I was honored that Stephen even offered to let us use the cup in the film!” (Don’t worry – for the moment when the cup clatters across the deck of the ship, the art department found a “stunt double” so as not to harm the precious antique!)

The Ancient Ladino Folk Song

During the Editing, Arnon used recordings of Ladino folk songs as temp music. One of the recordings, “Camini por Altas Torres”, as composed by David Ludwig and performed by Choral Arts Philadelphia, felt particularly appropriate for the tone of the film. Out of curiosity, Arnon looked up the translation of the song, and found that the first verse says “I walked among high towers, I sailed through storms..” Sailed through storms? High towers like the masts of a tall ship? This was too perfect. Arnon got in touch with David Ludwig to ask for permission to use the piece. Ludwig, who is a notable composer, and who has composed for films before, responded enthusiastically. “Camini por Altas Torres” now plays prominently and sets the tone at the start of the film.

News and Reviews

http://jewcy.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/ahoy-jewish-pirate-movie “Most pirate stories are tired these days… and Jews breathe new life into a genre that never seems to explore new themes”.
http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-pirates-make-pirates-more-interesting/2016/11/09/ “Shorr’s enthusiasm for “The Pirate Captain Toledano” is contagious”.
http://www.danapointtimes.com/hands-set-filmmaker-uses-ocean-institute-tall-ships-backdrop-short-film/ “There’s another reason to tell this story, if the anti-Semitics are using it to inspire the hatred, the good guys need to start telling this story and reclaiming it”. http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/264625/jewish-pirates-caribbean-daniel-greenfield “A fascinating exploration of how much of history is lost when legend becomes cliche”.
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/reclaiming-a-jewish-narrative-in-the-face-of-anti-semitism/ “The very fact that the phrase “Jewish pirate” catches people by surprise is an indicator that this is a type of character that we need to see.  It’s a reminder that Jews can share a cultural heritage with more than just Eastern Europe. It’s a reminder that a stereotype (whether it’s positive or negative)  is still a stereotype”. http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/news/2017-01-20/Arts/Mass_man_makes_Jewish_pirate_movie.html “I like depicting Jewish characters outside the Hollywood norm…I thought pirates were as far away from the typical trope as you could get”.
http://jewishtimes.com/57779/hebrews-on-the-high-seas/news/ “People are nervous about this idea of connecting Jews and piracy, but what we are afraid of is the anti-Semitic usurpation of this narrative, so we need to  make it our own.” http://maxitmagazine.com/2016/11/16/groundbreaking-short-film-about-jewish-pirates/ “It’s astonishing,” says Shorr, “That Jewish pirates are so profoundly absent from popular pirate mythology. Their history is so vibrant, their characters are so rich, and their stories are so full of human drama.

Director’s Statement

My goal is primarily entertainment, not social activism. I’m an entertainer first. But I can’t wriggle free from the sense that as an entertainer, I still bear a responsibility to serve the people I entertain, to make them better for having been entertained. So I write a script, I raise some money, and I make a film about Jewish pirates. What more can I do?

Cast & Crew Bios

Arnon Shorr, Director​: Arnon is an Israeli/American modern-Orthodox Jewish filmmaker who lives and works in Los Angeles. His award-winning shorts and features have screened in festivals across the country.

His work includes award-winning feature films, dozens of shorts, and a Jewish comedy web-series that was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He is an Israeli/American with a blended heritage of European and North African ancestry, including family that was expelled from Portugal – like his characters in this film – by the Inquisition in the late 15​th​ century.

In addition to making films, Arnon has taught film history, production and post-production courses at several high schools and colleges. He founded the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University in 2004 with Adam Irving (director of last year’s hit documentary, “Off the Rails.”) After he graduated, Arnon saw the festival mantle picked up by Scott Feinberg (now the Hollywood Reporter’s awards season expert).

Arnon is an active storyteller, not an observer of moments. Whether it’s dark or comedic, he thinks the audience must feel a part of the scene, embraced by the story. He thinks movies need to transport us, even if it’s just to the house next door. Where would you like to go? Let him take you.

For more about Arnon, his trademark fedora, vintagewear, and goatee, as well as his recent work, check out these links:

www.arnonshorr.com www.facebook.com/arnonzshorr
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2601747
http://arnonshorr.blogspot.com

Stephen DeCordova

Stephen DeCordova, “The Pirate Captain Toledano” ​- Stephen became a professional actor in New York at the age of 55, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his film and TV career. Network TV guest appearances have included: Veep, Frasier, Arrested Development, House MD, General Hospital, Las Vegas, The Bold and the Beautiful, Southland and many others. Stephen first worked with Arnon Shorr as a series regular on Mad Mentsch, the Jewbellish web series, which Arnon directed and produced. He lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife, Debra, and two Cornish Rex cats.

 

Dan Shakad

Dan Shakad, The Stowaway – ​Dan​ ​is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he studied at The Lee Strasberg Film/Theater Inst

itute and at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Relevant theater credits: Boston’s UnderGround Railway Theater’s production of Naomi Wallace’s The Fever Chart, directed by Elena Araoz at the Central Square Theatre (about Israeli-Palestinian relations). His parents moved to Boston in 1974. They moved to the US to pursue the American Dream. Dan is first-generation American and identifies as Israeli-American. Growing up, he spoke both Hebrew and English at home. All four of his grandparents are Holocaust survivors.

Will Beinbrink


Will Beinbrink
, The Quartermaste​r – Will is an American actor whose most recently been recurring on USA Networks Queen of the

South. Also recent films include Free State of Jones with Matthew McConnaghey, I Saw the Light with Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen and Manhattan Nocturne with Adrien Brody. Also was a producer on Manhattan Night.
Will first met Arnon on Benjamin Troubles, a fun feature written by Lee Ross.

 

Richard Rasner

Richard Rasner, Brig Guard-​ is a lifetime actor and stuntman having started as a child actor on Romper Room and growing up through teen dramas and the like before settling into historical roles with Clan Darksail in many popular pirate films of the last 20 years. He was also a Historical Consultant on this film, regarding piracy in the Caribbean, a subject on which he is a published author.

 

 

Diana Haberstick

Diana Haberstick​, Production Designer and Costumes- Diana has a broad background in theater and has worked in TV/Film for the past 5 years. She bases her designs on script analysis, research, the director’s vision, the audience’s perception, and her own intuition. https://www.dianahaberstickdesign.com

 

 

 

Maybelle Pineda

Maybelle Pineda,​ Art Director- From​ humble beginnings in the Philippines to the big city of Los Angeles, Maybelle works in leading industries in motion design, video editing and production. She currently works at ​BOND​ while trying to do a lot of good at ​Resume.Works www.Maybellepineda.com

 

Scott Brown

Scott Brown, Production Manager-​ is a writer, producer, director, publisher and mentor. Having stopped ghostwriting over 7 years ago, Scott has sold and/or optioned 36 scripts under his own name. Scott boarded “The Pirate Captain Toledano” as Unit Production Manager, and contributed the production capabilities of his company, The Indie Vision Project.

 

 

Mendel Katz

Mendel Katz, Cinematographer- Mendel is an LA-based cinematographer with experience in short films, music videos and corporate production. Like this film’s director, mendel doesn’t work on Saturdays. ​https://www.mk-visuals.com

 

 

Phoebe Dawson

Phoebe Dawson, Key Makeup Artist-​ is a Makeup Artist from a small beach town in New Zealand. From doing makeup for the cover of Forbes Magazine, to working on Athletes, chart topping Music Videos or Features Films, Phoebe loves the variety of her job whether it’s helping people look their best or creating a character.

 

Hillel Smith, Poster Design​- is an artist and typography buff. He has painted Hebrew murals in California and Israel, made art commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, and creates posters for the likes of Patton Oswalt.
hillelsmith.info hebrewtype.com The parsha, illustrated!

Quotes From cast and crew:

“My mother was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and I was surrounded by her large Jamaican Jewish family throughout my childhood. When I read Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean four years ago, I realized that many of the pirate names mentioned in the book were surnames from my own family. I am descended from Jewish Pirates! When Arnon first announced his plan to make The Pirate Captain Toledano, I contacted him immediately and pledged my passionate support for the project. Two days later, Arnon offered me the role of the Captain. When we met, I brought along the kiddush cup that had been my family’s in Jamaica for many generations…that is the very cup we used in the film!” “I am thrilled that The Pirate Captain Toledano offers a glimpse at the little-known truth that Jews played a prominent…even dominant…role in navigation, ship command, merchant trade and, yes, piracy, during the Age of Discovery and the settling of the New World. (It’s a refreshing counter to the images of Jews that are too often depicted in popular culture: intellectuals, accountants, victims.)”- Stephen DeCordova

“This movie uncovers and informs the public about an unknown fact about Jewish History that is often overlooked. It truly is a unique story about Jewish Identity that has never been told.“ “I dedicate this film to my grandparents who were all holocaust survivors. This movie is not about Pirates searching for gold- it’s about preserving Jewish Identity, which is exactly what my heritage and family narrative is about- literally.” -Dan Shaked

“It’s a rare glimpse into history most of us don’t know!” -Will Beinbrink

“I’m vested in this project for the fact that, even though it’s fiction, it reveals an important piece of history that has been nearly forgotten.” -Scott Brown

“I think the film should be seen because its different and this story has not been told before, the location was really cool and authentic and I think everyone in the cast and crew did an amazing job! We had a group of “Pirates” playing the crew men that have been Pirates in all kinds of films and brought their own authentic outfits, who knew the proper Pirate mannerisms and how to hold a sword etc! (I didnt even know Jewish Pirates existed, and im sure many others arent aware of this either.)” -Phoebe Dawson

“As a student of Jewish history, I think it’s very important to highlight these lesser-known episodes of Jewish oppression and Jewish resistance, and how they shaped our world.” -Hillel Smith

 


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Creative Writing Task For The Poem The Road Not Taken

April 4, 2017 - By 
By Guest:  Na’ama Shorr

Story Title: My Treasure

Opening his window shades, during a warm winter day, Jack looked out the window at the house across the street being repaired. The house was a light yellow, with magenta shingles and was sitting on a concrete wall, that just so happened to surround the basement. There was a nice large wooden porch attached to the side of the house. A small brown wooden shed sat next to the porch on the far side of the yard. The house was located on a street corner.

While looking at the house and reflecting on its colors, Jack began to daydream of a day that happened long ago. He was but a boy running about in the woods behind his parent’s farm during a beautiful fall day. The leaves on the trees were a beautiful shade of red. Those that fell were yellowish brown and crunched as his feet landed on them. The wood was wet from the rain that fell hours earlier and the birds were chirping gleefully in the warm rays.

That day Jack ventured out further then he had ever gone before. He pretended to be a pirate looking for treasure. Jack walked and walked and hit a fork. He thought to himself, “Treasure wouldn’t be hidden in plain sight, so I must take the unbeaten path”. He turned and walked through thorns, branches, bushes and tight trees. His clothing ripped and his skin bled. Never once did he look back. As he rounded a big oak tree he reached a clearing. There he saw another wooden house, just like his. He thought to himself, “I’m so close…”.

As Jack neared the house he heard a high pitched elated scream and a splash. He ran towards the sound, peered around the house and saw a lake the size of a corn field. Out of the water popped a girl’s head. She was beautiful. She had dirty blond hair, and as she climbed out of the water her slim body shimmered in the sunlight. Jack couldn’t take his eyes off her. He knew at that moment he found his treasure.

Jack snaps out of his day dream as his wife Amy wraps her arms around him.

 


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A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)

March 27, 2017 - By 
Guest: Arnon Shorr

Natalie Portman‘s directorial debut just completed its first week in theaters in the United States. “A Tale of Love and Darkness” started off with a limited theatrical run – just a few theaters in New York and Los Angeles to test the viability of a (slightly) wider release.

I caught the film on Thursday night at the Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, a few short miles from the heart of the biggest Jewish community this side of the Mississippi.I was the only person in the theater.

This is a problem.
I’m going to get a little more personal here than I usually get in these blog posts. As some of my readers know, I am a filmmaker, a practicing Jew, and an Israeli-American.

I’ve been frustrated to see that there’s really very little media that speaks directly to my sub-cultural experience. “Jewish” content in Hollywood tends to be trite and superficial, often written by Jews who, themselves, have very limited (perhaps once a year) contact with the Jewish faith. Israel, when it appears in films at all, is usually nothing more than a military/intelligence factory that produces Zohan-like super-spies.

So what? To many of my (Jewish) friends, the thought of Jewish content coming out of Hollywood (or from the larger-scale independent world) isn’t so exciting. Why do we need another “Fiddler on the Roof”? Or another “Exodus”? Don’t people think the Jews “control” Hollywood already?
My answer to this applies not just to Jewish content, but to all content that reflects a diversity of cultures. Movies and TV tell us stories, and in doing so, they introduce us to characters. If the characters represent people who we (in real life) don’t know, they give us a chance to humanize the mysterious other, to wrap our minds around the lives and needs of people who aren’t like us. I point as evidence to the tremendous change in the tone of the national conversation surrounding the LGBT community over the last couple of decades. There was a big push in the ’90s and ’00s to incorporate gay and lesbian characters (and not caricatures) into Hollywood narrative, and as those stories hit the screen, they kept reminding us that there were real people at the heart of the debate.
We live in a time when anti-Semitism is creeping back into popularity, when Israel, with its complex and emotionally-saturated history, is reduced to a cheap binary of slogans. If there was ever a time when we needed mass media to remind people of the humanity of Jews, the richness of Judaism, or the complexity and nuance of Israel, this is it.
So why wasn’t there anyone in the movie theater on Thursday night? It was the only theater screening the film, so it was the only opportunity in that time-slot for anyone in the entire Greater Los Angeles area to see this movie.

I think that we (Jews and people with an affinity for Israel) have lost sight of the power of media (an irony, considering the anti-Semitic canard that we control media!) When “faith-based” films hit theaters, churches and other Christian groups buy entire blocks of tickets for weeks on end and hire busses and vans to shuttle their congregants to the multiplex. And it works: they get to enjoy their stories, stories that relate to their experience, stories that were made for them, and as a result, those films remain in multiplexes, get talked about in the press, and eventually reach other audiences that might not have much to do with the faith-based crowd. The economics speak for themselves, so more faith-based films get made with bigger budgets, bigger stars, and eventually, a much bigger audience.

But Jewish-themed and Israel-themed films simply haven’t been getting enough of an audience, so the simple task of getting them made is nearly impossible. Natalie Portman, with all of her star-power, had to fight for her film’s $4M budget (she produced “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” for $28M, which, I’m sure, was much easier to raise). Other filmmakers who want to make films for the Jewish audience have to fight just as hard, but raise much less. My own Jewish-themed feature was made for a tiny fraction of Portman’s budget, and I haven’t been able to raise any money for significant Jewish-themed projects since.

If we want to see Jews humanized on a global scale, or if we want to see Israel presented in far greater complexity than Hollywood tends to deliver, we need to be the initial audience that justifies the big investments required to broadcast those stories. These films won’t get made without an audience to justify the investment. We need to be that audience.
What I’m trying to say with all of this is that filmmakers are trying to tell Jewish stories, to humanize the Jewish experience, to bring nuance, complexity and honesty back to the otherwise black-and-white public discourse. Some, like Natalie Portman, can inspire some investment by virtue of their star-power alone. But the rest of us filmmakers simply can’t get these films made when our primary audience, the people who should care the most, simply don’t show up.
Luckily, there’s still a little time for “A Tale of Love and Darkness”. Somehow, it survived its first week of release, and has expanded to a few more cities, a few more screens. If you see the importance of including Jewish and Israeli narrative in mass media, please go see it. Go with friends. Mobilize your congregation. We need to make this kind of content viable, otherwise our story, with all its richness, will not be heard.

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My Own Story by Dr. Eilat Mazar

March 26, 2017 - By 

By Guest:  Dr. Eilat Mazar
Taken from The Discovery of the Menorah Treasure at the Foot of the Temple Mount.

Eilat Mazar

Almost every Jew has some personal connection with the seven-branched menorah. -My personal story is bound up with my family.
Prof. Nachum Slouschz, from whom I am descended on my grand-mother’s side, discovered a seven-branched menorah carved in stone inside a fourth-century CE synagogue in Hamat Tiberias, during an excavation he conducted in 1921 on behalf of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society. This was the first official archaeological excavation conducted by Jews living in the Land of Israel.

My grandfather, Prof. Benjamin Mazar (Maisler), conducted four excavation seasons on behalf of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society during the years 1936—1940 in Beit Shearim, where R. Judah ha-Nasi, the nasi of the Sanhedrin and the redactor of the Mishnah, lived and was buried. His excavations uncovered magnificent burial systems from the second and third centuries CE, with dozens of inscriptions and decorations that included painted, sculpted, and engraved seven-branched menorah embellishments.

The following year, my paternal great-grandfather, Hayyim Maisler, died in Jerusalem and was buried on the heights of the Mount of Olives, at a location overlooking the City of David and the Temple Mount. A seven-branched menorah resembling one of those from Beit Shearim was engraved on his tombstone.

Yet another time, Benjamin Mazar, excavating on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discovered depictions of the seven-branched menorah in his excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount walls in 1968—1978. These menorot were painted on the entrance lintel and walls of one of the rooms, most probably a synagogue, inside a Byzantine-period building that was unearthed at the foot of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount compound.

My three sons, Snir, Dvir, and Ofir, were given Biblical names with the same Hebrew meter as their father’s name, Yair. He had been given this name (meaning “he will give light”) because he was born during the week the Beha’alotekha portion of the Torah is read, in which Aaron is commanded to light the seven-branched menorah:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and say to him, “When you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light [ya’iru] at the front of the candelabrum” (Numbers 8:1—2).

The discovery of the menorah in our excavations of the Ophel in the spring of 2013, at a distance of only 50m south of the Triple Gate in the southern wall of the Temple Mount, expresses and graphically illustrates the incessant longing of the Jewish people throughout the ages for redemption and renewed independence in their homeland.

If only all of those generations had been able to see the realization of the vision, albeit after hundreds of years, and marvel at the magnificence of the State of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem.

Fate has shone upon us, and we enjoy this redemption and rebirth.  Independence, security, and hope are our strength, and the menorah is our symbol.


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Ideas/Tools to Promote Your Teaching Tools

March 24, 2017 - By 
Promote your product in public.  Sharing it with your friends, your acquaintances, your contacts, and the world, will let them know that your product is displayed in www.teacherstrading.com  and that you are promoting it.

Each of your products, in the product detail page, has a number of social network icons under the “add to cart” button.  Click them, and share your products on your social network pages.  Every time you use the social networks to promote your products, make sure to ask your followers to:

1.  Share it with their friends.

2.  Click on the product’s image and visit the product’s detailed page on TeachersTrading.com.

3.  Buy the product.

4.  Rate and Comment on the product in the provided area. – Studies show that many comments and ratings (good and bad) drastically improve the number of sales.

If all members do the same, it will generate traffic that will be good for all.

 

Facebook – Generally, Facebook is a great tool to brand yourself or your product, and to strengthen your contact relations.
Twitter – Generally, Twitter is a great way to open new doors.
Google+ – Generally, Google+ helps you build new relationships, to build a new network of contacts, and also allows you to bring your brand closer to your followers and prospective customers.  Everything you post on G+ is immediately indexed by Google.
Pinterest – Generally, Pinterest converts more browsers into buyers.
LinkedIn – GenerallyLinkedIn is an important social network to reach out to business buyers and connect with professionals in general. The network allows you to build relationships, establish thought leadership, generate leads, gain insights, conduct market research, improve reputation and build online communities.
Blog – Generally, blogs drive traffic to your product.  They increase your SEO/SERP, they position your brand as an industry leader, and they develop better customer relationships.
If you want to post an article in our blog, please email Eran at eran@teacherstrading.com
Email – Make sure you email your mailing list and let people know you are marketing your product.Products’ Rates and Comments – Research show that a product with a large number of comments, good or bad, is sold more times than a product with a few good comments.  We encourage you to rate and comment on other sellers’ products and encourage your followers to do the same. If other sellers will return the favor, we will have a win/win setting for all.

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Why Making A Mistake Out Loud Is A Great Thing!

February 19, 2017 - By 

BY GUEST:  ELINOR G.

Mispronouncing words out loud and getting corrected by someone can be one of the most embarrassing situations we can experience.

We all have been there – you say a word, phrase, or a whole sentence that you’ve said many times before in a foreign language with such confidence only to suddenly hear a native speaker correct you. It can be in writing or a face to face situation, it doesn’t matter. Some of us will take it easy, correct ourselves, and move on quickly, even laugh out loud and thank the person who corrected us. But most of us will probably want the ground to swallow us.

I had some awful mistakes myself. I was sitting in front of a student, teaching her and using a word that I used many times before when I taught that subject, when suddenly she corrected me. What? I thought I hadn’t heard well, but there it was – in front of a student! What a shame!

The first thing you feel is stupidity. You feel stupid. you can’t believe it just happened to you.
Then comes the embarrassment – ‘But I’ve been using this word for years! Why did no one tell me?’
You might even blush for a few seconds. I’m a great supporter of experiencing all the rainbow of feelings, these feelings included. This is why Inside Out is one of the most important movies in my opinion. I won’t try to give you tips on how to turn your embarrassment into an amusing situation. But I will offer you an opportunity to see these situations that will keep happening to you as a blessing.

So why is this great? Because learning a language is a process and part of it is to be in the learning mode at all times. The faster you embrace the fact that there will always be more to learn, the better your learning will be.

Also, forget about feeling stupid. Your intellect has nothing to do with making mistakes in a language that is not your native one. And if someone around you speaks it better, it’s not because he’s smarter, but because he had more opportunities to learn. So all you really need is MORE opportunities.

By not putting your focus on the embarrassment that you’ve experienced you see it as an opportunity. Not only will you know better in future, but the element of surprise and the impact of the embarrassment will make this knowledge so firm that you’ll probably never forget it.

So at the end, always remind yourself what you can say better next time.

 


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