Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jackie Mason Condemns the Great Schlep

Recently, Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman created a video urging young people to migrate down to Florida and educate their grandparents on Barack Obama. In response, the vintage Jewish comedian Jackie Mason condemned Silverman in a video and counseled that the right thing to do was to vote for McCain. Click "Read More" below to see both videos. (Beware, the Silverman video uses profanity and makes some racy jokes, but is also pretty funny).



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Friday, October 3, 2008

My Time in Turkey

I recently came across an e-mail that I had written to my family when I arrived in Turkey in June of 2005. I have posted the e-mail which describes my first impressions below. Some of those impressions changed during the trip, but the sense of awe remained throughout.

You will notice that the spelling seems off; this is because I was using a Turkish keyboard and at the time I could not find the equivalent of a lowercase "i." Anyway, enjoy!

Hello from Turkey!!!

Well, I fýnally made ýt! My school, Yedýteppe Unýversýty, ýs rýght on the edge of the cýty on the Asýan sýde, about an hour away from the aýrport, so I got to see many thýngs on the way to the school. I notýced that, lýke most býg cýtýes, there are two types of areas. There ýs the rých areas, whých consýst of modern sky scrapers; beautýful and elaborate mosques; expensýve restaurants; and expensýve, European-style fashýon stores wýth advertýsements where the women are essentýally naked. Thýs sýde ýs secular, and they see Islam as a relýgýon rather than a lýfestyle, as most see Judaýsm and Chrýstýanýty ýn Amerýca. You hardly see women wearýng headcoverýngs ýn these areas, or men w/ scraggly beards.

There ýs also the poor sýde, wýth shacks and rundown buýldýngs everywhere. These areas tend to be more Islam orýented, wýth men havýýng unshaven faces and women ýn headcoverýngs {though rarely, even ýn these areas, wýll you see women ýn burkas, the full body coverýng}. In these areas Islam ýs not just somethýng you do on Frýday evenýngs ýn a mosque, but ýt dýctates most of theýr lýfe, as does Judaýsm for the Ultra-Orthodox ýn Amerýca. Though people are more relýgýous ýn these areas, that doesn't mean they are výolent or Islamýc fascýsts or antý-semýtes, just that the rules and tradýtýon of Islam play more of a role ýn theýr lýves.

One of the maýn reasons why the poorer areas may be more relýgýous and the rýcher areas are secular may be that the offýcýal polýcy of the country ýs to be secular. Thýs polýcy ýs mostly espoused ýn publýc buýldýngs (government admýnýstratýve buýldýngs, publýc unýversýtýes, etc.) where ýt ýs ýllegal for women to wear headcoverýngs. It ýs probably mostly the rých and growýng mýddle class that deal wýth the government and get educated ýn the publýc unýversýtýes, and are lýkely to be engraýned w/ the secular values anyway.

Anyway, the Unýversýty ýs on a beautýful campus that ýs only about 4 years old. The archýtectual desýgn on many of these buýldýngs ýs more elaboratel than any campus I've been to ýn the states, wýth rounded buýldýngs, huge skylýghts, and marble floors. The campus ýs very secularýzed, wýth most of the gýrls wearýng tanktops, lowcut jeans, and havýng dyed-blonde haýr. They're basýcally lýke a campus full of Chrýstýna Aguýlleras, just more tan. It aýn't so bad beýng me!

There ýs, however, somewhat of a language barrýer. Not many people speak Englýsh around here, and I don't really speak much Turkýsh yet (though I was proud of myself that I was able to say to someone ýn Turkýsh "Where ýs the Law Facýlýty," and they actually understood me. Unfortunately, I dýdn't understand the reply, and wandered around campus for an hour before I actually found ýt). But I'm pýckýng up random words here and there.

Anyway, your eyes are probably waterýng after readýng thýs letter, so I'll stop here for now. And I appologýze ýf there are a bunch of mýspellýng or ýf you can't read any of the words wýth the letter "ý" ýn ýt, as the keyboard ýs mýxed around a lýttle být and the letter "ý" on the keyboard has no dot above ýt. I have a phone ýn my room, so you can contact me, though I can't call out from that phone (and I don't have my cell phone). The number ýs: 90 [thýs ýs the country code] XXX-XXX-XXXX. I love you all, and I'll comunýcate wýth you soon.



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