Friday, October 30, 2009

Second Life on Zeek

With the financial crisis, many Jewish blogs and online magazines had to find new partners, or vanish completely. Jewcy now is hosted by JDub, and Zeek is partnering with the Forward. The new Zeek website went online this week.
A new feature are artist slide shows. The first one featured actually Second Life's Jewish community (a link can be found here). In 18 slides, a brief history of Judaism in the virtual world of Second Life is presented. Many of the pictures were previously featured in the magazine edition of 2Life, others were older screenshots from the 2Life archive.
The slide show shall wet appetite for more, and more will come with Zeeks winter (print) issue where Julian Voloj will have an essay on the Genesis of Jewish (Second) Life. Something to look forward to.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Virtual Shtetl

When you think about Jews and Poland, you probably think about death camps and ghettos. The Holocaust is definitely very much associated with these two words, but Poland's Jewish history dates back 1,000 years.

Four months ago, Albert Stankowski launched the Virtual Shtetl Web site as a homage to Jewish history in Poland, a country that once offered the community religious refuge in medieval times and later became home to the world's biggest Jewish community.

Stankowski, the son of a Holocaust survivor and a Roman Catholic Pole, likes to call the site a museum without walls—a multimedia precursor to the 2012 completion of Warsaw's long-anticipated Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The website is more treasure trove than institutional preview. Its key feature: wiki technology enabling registered users to contribute memories, documents, and photos to the bilingual (English and Polish) site. Stankowski is also integrating the Virtual Shtetl with sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. According to Stankowski, about 2,000 to 3,000 visit Virtual Shtetl daily. He expects that number to keep growing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2010 – 2011 Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship (RIG)

The Next Generation and Service Initiatives Department of the Joint Distribution Committee are currently recruiting for the 2010 – 2011 Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship (RIG) -- the premiere opportunity for engaging young Jewish leaders in the work of the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian aid organization.

Yes You Can. You Can be the One.

JDC is currently recruiting for the 2010 – 2011 Ralph I. Goldman (RIG) Fellowship -- the premiere opportunity for engaging young Jewish leaders in the work of the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian aid organization.

Who? JDC is looking for the best young Jewish thinkers and doers -- writers, artists, policy shapers, business innovators, and community builders -- there is no single profile that fits. We are looking for leaders in their field who have the promise to influence the future of Jewish life and the world.

What? JDC’s Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship is a one-of-a-kind, paid, professional development opportunity to live and work in overseas locations where JDC is active and engage with the inner workings of the organization.

Where? JDC works in over 70 countries around the world.

When? Fellowship begins in September 2010 with an orientation period at JDC’s headquarters in New York, continues with two or more overseas assignments, and concludes in New York in September 2011.


Deadline: December 30, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Auschwitz on Facebook

The BBC reported that the Polish authorities in charge of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz have launched an official site on the social networking website Facebook.

A spokesman said the move was aimed at reaching the younger generation and educating them about the Holocaust.

It follows the launch by Auschwitz - now a state museum - of a YouTube channel earlier this year.

"We're always trying for new ways of reaching people, and in today's world one of the most popular tools is the internet, and on the internet millions of people use Facebook," said Auschwitz Museum official Pawel Sawicki.

Still, a strange idea. Do you be-friend Auschwitz on Facebook? How do you feel about this?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cao Fei at ICP

The International Center for Photography is currently celebrating its Triennial with the signature exhibition "Dress Codes". The Triennial is a global survey of the most exciting and challenging new work in photography and video. This year, artists variously explore fashion—whether in everyday dress, haute couture, street fashion, or uniforms—as a celebration of individuality, personal identity, and self-expression, and as cultural, religious, social, and political statements.
Surprising enough, visiting the Center in Manhattan's Midtown, I found also a computer with Second Life running on it, featuring Chinese artist Cao Fei, known in-world as China Tracy.
Cao Fei has become deeply involved in Second Life. Her avatar is a striking Chinese woman who often wears shiny body armor.
In 2008, Cao Fei and a team of young web designers created RMB City, a metropolis inside Second Life that brings together various ancient and modern Chinese landmarks. Among the recent events in RMB City was a fashion shoot commissioned by Modern Weekly, a leading Chinese lifestyle magazine. For this project, a Second Life programmer modified numerous real-world runway looks to fit the measurements of China Tracy's virtual body. The resulting screenshots subsequently appeared as an editorial spread in Modern Weekly.
For the ICP Triennial, Cao Fei has installed this group of fashion photographs on billboards throughout RMB City. By maneuvering an avatar on a nearby computer, visitors can explore RMB City and discover Cao Fei's images.
Even if some critics claim that Second Life is dead, having Cao featured in the leading center for photography is an indication that Second Life (or at least parts of it) should be taken seriously as a new art form.

New Jewish Words

Jewbilation (n.) Pride in finding out that one's favorite celebrity is Jewish or that your offspring is marrying a Jewish person.

Torahfied (n.) Inability to remember one's lines when called to read from the Torah at one's Bar or Bat Mitzvah. (OR from the Hagadah at Passover)

Matzilation (v.) Smashing a piece of matzo to bits while trying to butter it.

Bubbegum (n.) Candy one's mother gives to her grandchildren that she never gave to her own children.

Chutzpapa (n.) A father who wakes his wife at 4:00 a.m. so she can change the baby's diaper.

Deja Nu ( n.) Having the feeling you've seen the same exasperated look on your mother's face, but not knowing exactly when.

Disoriyenta (n.) When Aunt Linda gets lost in a department store and strikes up a conversation with everyone she passes.

Hebort (v.) To forget all the Hebrew one ever learned immediately after one's Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Jewdo (n.) A traditional form of self-defense based on talking one's way out of a tight spot.

Mamatzah Balls (n.) Matzo balls that are as good as your mother used to make ..

Meinstein (slang.) "My son, the genius!"

Mishpochadots (n.) The assorted lipstick and make-up stains found on one's face and collar after kissing all one's aunts and cousins at a reception.

Re-shtetlement (n.) Moving from Brooklyn to Miami and finding all your old neighbors live in the same condo building as you.

Rosh Hashana-na-na ( n.) A rock 'n roll band from Brooklyn .

Yidentify (v.) To be able to determine Jewish origins of celebrities, even though their names might be St. John , Curtis, Davis, or Taylor.

Minyastics (n.) Going to incredible lengths and troubles to find a tenth person to complete a Minyan.

Feelawful (n.) Indigestion from eating Israeli street food, especially falafel.

Dis-kvellified (v.) To drop out of law school, med. school or business school as seen through the eyes of parents, grandparents and Uncle Sid. In extreme cases, simply choosing to major in art history when Irv's son David is majoring in biology is sufficient grounds for diskvellification.

Impasta ( n.) A Jew who starts eating leavened foods before the end of Passover.

Kinders Shlep (v.) To transport other kids besides yours in your car.

Schmuckluck (n.) Finding out one's wife became pregnant after one had a vasectomy.

Shofarsogut (n.) The relief you feel when, after many attempts, the shofar is finally blown at the end of Yom Kippur.

Trayffic Accident (n.) An appetizer one finds out has pork

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Japanese Sukkah

One of the most unusual Sukkahs that can be found on TMA (to teleport click here) is the one done by Shmoo Snook. It has a Japanese motive. 2Life asked Shmoo about his creation.

"I wish I had planned all along to make a Japanese sukkah. The reality is that I already had other walls up when I noticed that another builder was using that texture. I didn't want my sukkah to be redundant, so I started casting about for something else, and I remembered the Japanese screens in my Inventory. Once those were erected, I was on my way."

Only later, Shmoo tells us, it occured to him to go to the Chabad of Tokyo website to look for appropriate photos.

"The Japanese sukkah evolved; initially, I actually had a campfire where the table is now. But the motif led I had chosen led me by the hand, sort of, as I added and modified elements of it.
I am very pleased with the result. I feel that the sukkah -- with the simplicity of its elements and its uncluttered feel -- exudes tranquility. Just as I hoped it would."

We agree with Shmoo and congratulate him to his beautiful Sukkah.

Do you want to be featured in 2Life? If so, then write to us or IM Kafka Schnabel or Mayer Rhaspody and we are happy to consider you in the 2Life blog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sukkah Building Contest has nearly 50 entries!

This week is Sukkoth and this means time for the annual Sukkah building contest. If you make your way to TMA, you will be surprised. Not 5, not 10, but nearly 50 Sukkahs can be found in the area between the Second Life Synagogue and the 2Life building. "Amazing," says Beth Odets, the organizer of the competition. Yesterday's count was 48, but, because of the high number of participants, Beth gave one more week for the competition. Already two people showed interest in building their own virtual Sukkah. But it is not about winning, some participants told 2Life. It is more about gaining skills, cooperating with other Javatars and celebrating a Jewish holiday in a virtual world.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Renate in SL Israel

I love Machinima. Well, some of them. Yes, I know, there are some poorly done ones, and yes, the one you can see here might not be the most exciting one, but you know what, it covers SL Israel and for those of you who understand German, it might be fun to see.

The Internet is ...

Yes, the internet is lovely. Isn't it? There is so much to find. The web of endless opportunities. Or not? A friend of mine, who was one of the brains behind Wikipedia and left frustrated to create something else (that is not yet done and therefore won't be mentioned here) send me a link to this website. If you have a minute, check it out and read it.