You have to check out Asl Al Yahud, a new project of the AJC (American Jewish Committee). Described by the AJC as “a unique resource on Jewish history, culture and religion,” it is the brainchild of Iraqi Jew Ephraim Gabbai. According to the Sun Herald:
“By providing basic information about Jewish culture and religious practices in Arabic, Asl Al-Yahud will help facilitate a deeper understanding and tolerance towards Jews,” said Yehudit Barsky, director of the Asl Al-Yahud project. “We’re demystifying Judaism and dispelling widespread misinformation about the Jewish people in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.”
Asl Al-Yahud which means the “origins of the Jews,” connects Jewish history, religion and culture to the long history of Jews in Arabic-speaking lands. Like any good Web 2.0 project, the site contains audio and video components as well as a section that allows visitors to ask questions about Judaism.
It is unclear what the impact of this site will be. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Syria regularly filter their citizen’s Internet access, banning porn, human rights and religious Web sites by the hundreds of thousands, as well as otherwise innocuous sites like Flickr and Facebook. But still, I think this is a great idea – at least no one can ever say we didn’t try to reach out.
Speaking of which, check out Big Aish! The Haredi-run, Kiruv organization reproduced an ABC news hidden camera segment wherein a store clerk refused to sell an apple strudel to a Chador wearing Muslim American woman. He loudly berated her for being un-American in front of store patrons most of whom either stood by quietly or actively supported the clerk. Of course this was all a set up – both the clerk and the Muslim woman were in on it. Aish then asked: “Is indifference to hate the same thing as hate?” Some of the comments were patently retarded, likening all Muslims to Nazis (!), though I think most expressed outrage. One commenter cited the Chofetz Chaim on Shmirat HaLashon who said “that when you don’t stand up and say something it is as if you agree with the lashon hara being said.” Despite the retards though, Aish’s position is a refreshing one.
As long as we’re on the subject of lashon harah, no Dan, no one at Jewlicious wants to kill you. Sheesh.