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Archive | 2011 | December | 23

Hanukkah wishes from Canadian Leaders

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December 23, 2011
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Below are statements from Canada’s Federal Leaders wishing everybody a Hanukkah Sameach (happy Hanukkah)!

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada to mark Chanukah

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Chanukah:

“More than two thousand years ago, a small group of Jewish believers overcame the odds and courageously defeated and repelled their oppressors, liberating Jerusalem and reclaiming the Holy Temple as their own. As they rededicated the Temple, a second miracle occurred: a small amount of oil that should have lasted one night instead burned for eight. Since that time, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holy tradition of Chanukah, the yearly eight-day Festival of Light, in commemoration of those miracles.

“Born out of the triumph of light over darkness, of freedom over oppression and of tolerance over persecution, this celebration reminds us that miracles can occur even in the darkest of moments, and that justice must always overcome tyranny. Chanukah also reminds us that, here in Canada, we are truly blessed to live in a free, just and tolerant society, one which has been enriched by the innumerable contributions and achievements of the Jewish-Canadian community.

“On this first night of Chanukah, Laureen and I extend our most heartfelt greetings and wishes of hope and peace to families and friends in communities across Canada and around the world who tonight light their Chanukah menorahs.”

::PM Office


Statement by Liberal Leader Bob Rae on the Celebration of Hanukkah

TORONTO– Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on Hanukkah:

“On the first day of Hanukkah, Jewish families in Canada and around the world will gather to light the menorah and celebrate with their loved ones.

The Hanukkah story is one of perseverance and great resilience, a story of hope and triumph against oppression. The Hanukkah candles help us all remember the universal desire for the right to celebrate and express our own beliefs.

Canada is home to a strong and vibrant Jewish community that will tonight be celebrating with the lighting of the first candle. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus: Happy Hanukkah. Chag sameach.”



Statement from New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel on the beginning of Hanukkah

On behalf of New Democrats across Canada I wish you a Hanukkah filled with joy and hope for a bright future.

The next eight nights are a time for remembering the blessings that we have and the accomplishments of those who came before us. It is a time to remind ourselves of challenges to overcome, to reflect on the beliefs we hold dear, and to re-affirm our commitment to a better world for everyone.

Spending time with loved ones over this holiday season is one of the greatest gifts that the Festival of Lights affords us. May you cherish these moments together, and create precious memories for years to come.

Again, I extend my best wishes to you and yours. May this be the beginning of a Happy Hanukkah!


Greetings from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May for the holiday season

Click here to watch Elizabeth May’s video wishing everybody a happy holiday season.


Canadian PM Harper uses Menorah lighting to reaffirm Canada’s support for Israel

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December 23, 2011
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CALGARY – Prime Minister Stephen Harper reaffirmed his government’s ongoing support for Israel at a Menorah lighting in his Calgary riding Thursday night.

Harper and his wife Laureen were greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre as part of the celebration of Hanukkah.

“We unfortunately look around the world and … don’t forget about the terrible trials and threats that the Jewish people still face in so many countries including in the homeland, the state of Israel,” said Harper, who wore a traditional yarmulke.

“That’s something we always remember, we always make sure as a government that we make it clear we stand by the Jewish people and we stand by Israel.”

Harper drew a few chuckles when he talked about his long history of participating in Hanukkah celebrations, saying it began with his father.

“My late father always said as a Christian, never forget about the Jewish people at Christmas.”

The president of the Calgary Jewish Federation welcomed Harper’s presence and his government’s ongoing support. In the audience were Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and federal Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.

“I thank you on behalf of Calgary’s Jewish community and for your government’s steadfast support of the state of Israel and its people,” said Adam Singer.

“Your government has consistently upheld Israel’s right to defend itself, supported Israel’s right to exist and urged the release of Israel’s captive soldiers.

“We appreciate and admire the conscientious positions your government has taken on many occasions and in many places.”

Source: Winnipeg FreePress

Israeli Company Launches Touchless Technology

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December 23, 2011
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I can remember my parents being overwhelmed by the idea of a touchscreen computer. Growing up in a generation of analog entertainment, the concept of utilizing their fingers to control various tech devices was equivalent to living in the futuristic world of The Jetsons. This technology is so easy to use that even someone as traditional as my father now owns an iPhone and a MacBook. He went from reading a physical newspaper for 20 years to subscribing to various publications on his iPad. Flipping through sections of the paper has never been easier, and companies in Silicon Valley and beyond are to thank.

Apple’s latest innovation is a virtual friend named Siri. Equipped on the new iPhone 4S, Siri is your friendly life assistant. Verbalize a question and Siri magically answers, taking the leg work out of things like “Yelping” a good restaurant or scheduling meetings. Siri was born out of a union between two big tech companies, DARPA and SRI Ventures. This $150 million technology is the largest artificial intelligence project in U.S. history as reported by Fox Business.

Beyond Siri, our good friends in the Middle East are coming up with new ways for us to take short cuts on our smart tech devices. Israeli company XTR3D invented a hands-free technology. If you thought the touchscreen was advanced, think again. “You’ll just have to turn your palm towards the screen, and zap away without ever getting off the couch,” BBC News reported. Much like Microsoft Kinect, XTR3D’s goes beyond the remote control.

The XTR3D website introduces the technology. “Gesture control any device. Motion control any game,” the website says. “XTR3D Gesture Control Interface supports gestures up to 5 meters away from the screen, in real life environment and with multiple people in front of the TV.”

The Tel Aviv company just received a large investment of $8 million. One of the big investors was U.S. company “Texas Instruments”. Other companies clearly see a market in this technology after the Microsoft Kinect gaming console did extremely well despite the $200 price tag. But don’t get XTR3D confused with Microsoft’s popular gaming console. Instead of using depth sensors, XTR3D uses the 2D cameras on your smartphone to create a three-dimensional effect.

“It can be installed into any consumer electronics device,” XTR3D spokesperson Roy Ramati said. He adds that it will be offered at an affordable price to reach a broader amount of consumers.

You can look forward to giving your hands a rest when the technology launches in 2012.

Source: Bangstyle.com

Christmas fervor hits Jerusalem: Municipality hands out free Christmas trees

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December 23, 2011
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Municipality hands out free Christmas trees in J’lem Old City; chaos breaks out as people grab for free trees.

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, the municipality gave out free Christmas trees lastWednesday by the Jaffa gate of the old city. However,  the holiday’s spirit of giving quickly gave way to a chaotic dash by local residents to grab as many free trees as possible.

Nina Asbeck recently moved to Jerusalem from Germany with her husband and three kids for business reasons. She was quite surprised by the chaos.

The municipality expressed its apologies over the incident, claiming that it had  given out about a hundred fir trees over the coarse of the morning.

Despite not succeeding to grab a tree during the chaos, Nina was luckily given a tree later, by a man who dressedas Santa for the occasion.

Click here for full article and Video