Monday, December 3, 2018

Israel By Foot'  English Hiker Guide Launches and Happy First day of Hanakuh with top 10 Hanakuh Songs

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Generate Love for Others

 The root cause of all negative behavior toward others is "sinas chinam" - feelings of dislike.

On the other hand, the attribute of feeling love for other people generates all forms of positive actions and behaviors. When you plant a small seed, a giant tree bearing delicious fruit will grow. The seed of love for others is a cause whose effect is everlasting bliss! Our forefather Avraham lived with this reality and therefore felt this state of bliss whenever he did acts of kindness for others.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you felt bliss every time you did an act of kindness for someone? Imagine the uplift and surge of warm energy!

Tonight, before going to sleep, visualize yourself feeling blissful for doing acts of kindness. Eventually you will see kindness in your dreams... and in your everyday reality.

Love Yehuda Lave

Top 10 Hanukkah Songs

Tired of listening to Christmas music everywhere you go?

Continue reading Top 10 Hanukkah Songs at JOL.


Rosh Hanikra Part Two of three

On Nov 13, 2018, we go on a beautiful fall day with the sun shining to the undeveloped most Northern coast on the Lebanon border. It is a national park, for the sea caves cut into the rock by the sea and the only place in Israel where the mountains hit the sea. It was a beautiful day with my love

Israel By Foot' English Hiker Guide Launches

Erez Speiser isn't a tour guide or a techie. He's a mechanical engineer in the marketing division of the multinational Iscar metal-working company in Tefen, northern Israel. But Speiser wants to share his love of the Israeli outdoors with English-speakers, so he started a unique website, Israel by Foot.

"The independent traveler who wants to hike by himself in Israel and does not speak Hebrew has a very hard time obtaining information. For example, it is not possible to buy an Israeli hiking map that is not in Hebrew," Speiser tells ISRAEL21c.

Erez Speiser at Orvim Waterfall, Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy

"For national parks you get a map and brochure and rangers to help you along the way, and there are more tourists in these parks. Outside the parks it's a different story," says the 52-year-old hiking and nature enthusiast.

"You can find articles like ISRAEL21c's 'Top 10 hikes in the Jerusalem area,'  but if you want to go by yourself and know where to park your car and what color trail to look for, that information is hard to find in English."

When hiking in other countries, Speiser bumped into many other foreign visitors on the trail.

"In Israel it's rare to see a tourist walking on a trail. This is something that bothered me, so about a year ago I built a website as an experiment," he says.

This is strictly a one-man labor of love and Speiser doesn't expect to make a living from Israel by Foot.The website is free to use and is packed with information not only on hikes but also on scenic road trips and picnic spots as well recommended tourist sites and hostels, safety guidelines and instructional videos.

"In every itinerary there is an option to buy the map, GPS track files and GPS Google Maps coordinate links for the hike for $5. That helps cover my expenses. In the future I'm thinking of expanding to offer guided hikes if I get enough traffic," he tells ISRAEL21c.

Speiser says that for as long as he can remember he has been mountain biking, surfing and especially walking throughout Israel. "So I know the landscape very well and I'm passionate about it."

For more information, click here

Frugal & Kosher: Orlah Update

Unlike in other parts of the world, in Israel, fruits and vegetables are NOT automatically "kosher" - here we need to make sure that they are not "orlah" fruits (harvested during a tree's first 3 yrs, with other rules applying to year 4) and that trumot and ma'asrot have been taken (from both fruits and vegetables). Without these basics, these fruits and vegetables are NOT acceptable in a kosher kitchen!

If you shop at a market that doesn't have an ishur kashrut (kosher certification) on their produce, you'll need to investigate these issues further, if you are interested in adhering to the halachot of the Land of Israel OR if you regularly host people who assume the food in your home is kosher! I must say that it's important to familiarize yourself with these special halachot, as they are part of keeping kosher in Israel! (If you say you keep Kosher in Israel, everyone assumes that you have taken care of these issues; and if you don't, then you may be unwittingly putting someone in a situation they don't want to be in!) 

It's definitely possible to take trumot and maasrot on your own (I do it often), so vegetables are easiest to buy without a teudah, as that is all you need to do (and very often, it would be without a bracha). Some of the fruits on the market may be ok to purchase even from a non-certified establishment and just take trumot and maasrot, because of the extremely low percentage of orlah fruits being sold, but those lists change frequently, so you'll constantly need to stay up-to-date.

Other fruits can be a problem, because of orlah (from the first 3 years after the tree was planted). I try very hard to post a monthly update here on my site with a list of the fruits where the percentage of orlah fruits on the open market is greater than 0.5%. These fruits should only be bought from a reputable source that does not sell orlah fruits (i.e. a place with a teudah). This orlah issue is a serious issue for kosher consumers:

ORLAH Update for Kislev 5779

Fruits to AVOID buying without a teudah:

  • Avocado - Ettinger, Haas varieties
  • Blueberries
  • Annona
  • Grapefruit (White)
  • Guava
  • Strawberry Guava
  • Olives for curing
  • Olives for oil (Barnea)
  • Lemon
  • Seedless grapes: Scarlotta
  • Papaya
  • Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) (Pri Eden and Yellow variety)
  • Prickly Pear (Sabra Fruit)
  • Clementines - Michal, Merav, Morkutt Satsuma varieties
  • Oranges - Newhall variety, Blood oranges
  • Starfruit
  • Passionfruit
  • Almonds
  • Figs
  • Apples - Grand, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Pink Lady

Please be sure to speak with your personal Halachic Authority about purchasing fruit in Israel without a teudah. Not everyone holds by the 0.5% threshold, and there are differences of opinion about certain fruits and whether they are subject to Orlah. This information is just for informational purposes and is not a halachic psak! Even if you follow a psak that relies on the 0.5% threshold, you still must take trumot and maasrot on all produce grown in Israel (or be sure it has been taken), in order to fulfill your halachic obligations.

Also, be aware that this list does NOT apply to fruit grown by an individual. If your friend has a fruit tree, you'll need to find out how old it is! 

I hope you find this helpful! Please follow or like my Facebook page and don't miss out on updates and other posts!

---------- Sketched Worlds ----------



by Fabrice Schomberg

If everyone wanted to be different, they would be all the same.

edited by Janet Cartlidge


copyright © 2016 Fabrice Schomberg

Israeli AI Startup 'Wasteless' Lowers Grocery Prices

About half of all the food produced in the world is wasted every year. That's about two billion tons of food, worth billions of dollars. It's a shocking statistic, and at the end of the day, it's not just the supermarkets or food producers that pay the price – it's all of us. A hungry planet with limited resources, a high carbon footprint, and rapidly changing climate cannot afford to throw food in the bin.

A new Israeli startup, Wasteless, hopes to help cut some of this waste with a new AI system that will transform how supermarkets approach food expiration dates.

"Food expiration dates are the main cause of retail waste and the cost is tremendous, both to business and to the environment," says Oded Omer, co-founder of Wasteless. "Food is the single largest product in landfills, where it emits extremely harmful gases, including methane.''

Wasteless, which was founded in 2017, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can offer customers a variable pricing system based on a product's expiration date. A carton of milk that is set to expire in a few days will cost less than one due to expire in 10 days.

It sounds simple, but the technology behind is not. The Wasteless pricing engine employs a branch of machine learning called reinforcement learning, which automatically maps inventory stock and time of day into a series of optimal prices.

The system operates based on inventory, orders and sales, and executes pricing decisions that are then delivered to the end consumer via electronic shelf labels in the store or during the online checkout process.

With a deep knowledge of dynamic pricing — a function we all use when booking a flight, a hotel, or an Uber, among other things — the Wasteless team, made up of seasoned entrepreneurs and experts in AI, believes this platform can be used not only to increase a product's profitability, but also to help reduce food waste.

The team describes it as the world's first real-time tracking solution for supermarkets, and believes it can be a win-win situation for both the environment and commercial profitability.

Waste down, revenue up in Spanish pilot project

The proof in the pudding comes from a Wasteless pilot project done in partnership with a leading Spanish retailer to assess whether the technology could help improve the key critical elements in the retailer's operations.

The data collected indicated that Wasteless technology slashed one-third of food waste from the retailer's supermarkets, while producing a 6.3 percent increase in revenue.

Omer believes the company's success hinges on the increasing awareness of consumers — especially millennials who are making a conscious decision to live more sustainably and certainly don't mind saving a penny or two in the process.

With a core team of 15 and growing, Wasteless recently completed a $2 million Series A funding round led by smart technology-focused venture capital fund Slingshot Ventures out of Amsterdam.

This new infusion of capital will be used to expand the startup's current team, further develop its pricing algorithm, and Wasteless has already won several awards including the 2018 Rabo Sustainable Innovation Award and Emerce 2018 Top 10 European Start-ups (Israeli retail automation platform Trigo Vision was another of the finalists).

''We're aiming to inspire others in the food chain to take a hard look at their processes and play their part in footprint reduction," says David Kat, VP business development for Wasteless.

The flourishing Israeli startup's second phase will be to utilize the data collected by retailers and consumers to address inefficiencies in the food chain. The company learned that over 40 percent of all food waste in the developed world happens at home.

"With awareness and insight, we will be able to address this pressing issue in households too,'' says Kat.

Although currently focusing on the European market, Wasteless has its eyes set on the huge US market, a food industry that loses around $57 billion in food waste yearly.

To that end, the company plans to add a New York office to its existing ones in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, and is in talks with several leading food retailers worldwide.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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