Conan O’Brien Teaches Halacha (Jewish Law)

As the founder and director of a kosher certification agency, people often send me anything and everything having anything to do with kosher certification. So last week when the Rabbinical Council of California first certified a sexual lubricant product as kosher and then rescinded the certification, you can imagine I received several articles about the story.

While I wasn’t surprised to see coverage of this story making the rounds on late night TV talk shows, I was taken aback when I saw Conan O’Brien’s uber-esoteric halachic schtick on last night’s episode of “Conan”.

Jewish jokes aren’t anything new for Conan O’Brien, who is Irish Catholic. One of Conan’s long-time writers is Rob Kutner (@ApocalypseHow), who once wrote for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. Kutner has become something of a maven when it comes to writing funny Purim shpiels and created The Shushan Channel, a mail-order Purim shpiel business.

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When Old Technology is What We Need

It’s unusual for me to write about old technology. In the tech field what’s new is what’s interesting and newsworthy. Yesterday’s technology quickly becomes obsolete.

Yet sometimes, old technology can be more interesting than the latest gadget or about-to-be-released mobile app. As is the case with Judaism, we can embrace change and still revere the Tradition. Perhaps as a way to pay homage to the technology innovations of yesteryear and to feel nostalgic I keep a collection of old tech gadgets on display in my office. Hanging on the wall in glass cases are a panoply of laptop computers, personal digital assistants and mobile phones from a much slower and much bulkier time. On the wall in the conference room hang several enlarged framed magazine advertisements for computers from the 1970s and early 1980s.

My grandmother, Adele Gudes, shows the old record album with birthday greetings from her childhood

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Jon Stewart and Other Activist Jews in the Egyptian Uprising

As we Americans celebrated our nation’s 237th year of independence and freedom yesterday on the 4th of July, we also kept a close eye on the precarious situation in Egypt. As the final hours of Mohammed Morsi’s presidency wound down, we continued to monitor the volatile situation there, constantly thinking of how the tense events in Egypt would affect Israel, its close neighbor to the North.Although many were concerned that the Egypt-Israel peace treaty would be broken under Morsi’s regime, that didn’t happen. However, now that the military is in charge of the country the peace treaty seems at risk and there could be a lapse in the protection of the Sinai from terror cells.

Unfortunately, I think we’ll have to wait a while longer to get a good sense of how the Egyptian uprising and protests will affect Israel and her relations with neighboring Egypt. One interesting story that I’ve been following during the continued unrest in Egypt has been the role of Jewish people in the situation.

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