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June 28, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 28, 2013

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IF PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 28, 2013 (JTA)--Singer-songwrit- er-actor-director--now Barbra Streisand can add another hyphen to her de- scription. On June 17, the entertainer was awarded an honorary degree of "Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa" in front of a packed audito- rium at Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus. The honor came 29 years after her last visit to the Jewish state, when she came to the university to attend the opening of the Emanual Streisand Build- ing for Jewish Studies, which she helped fund and which was named in honor of her fatlaer. In a statement, the uni- versity said that the degree was "an opportunity to recognize her support, her friendship, her generosity" to the school and to Israel. Streisand's speech includ- ed references to her acting career, her connection to Judaism and her ties to Is- rael. "I wish the world could be more like the Hebrew University where women and men, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians all sit together in classrooms and cafeterias," she said. It was to be a busy trip for Streisand. On the same day she received her honor, she made a highly publi- cized visit to the Western Wall, where she offered her opinions on the hot-button topic of women praying at the site--she is in favor of their inclusion without discrimination--as well as other injustices suffered by women in Israel. In an Associated Press report, Streisand is quoted as say- ing, "It's distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of the bus or when we hear about 'Women of the Wall' hav- ing metal chairs thrown at them when they attempt to peacefully and legally pray." Other stops on her itin- erary included attending President Sfiimon Peres' 90th birthday party and two highly anticipated concerts on June 20 and 23 in Jaffa, both of which were sold out. Barbra Streisand celebrates Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday. Meryl Alcabes Rabbi Simon Benzaquen recites the sheva brachot at the wedding of Chana and Yosef Brown in Seattle, March 5. By Debra Rubin (JTA) Five years ago he was D-Black, a hip-hop artist rapping about the violence, gang activity and drugs of his African-American 'hood. Today he's Nissim Black, an Orthodox Jew davening in a Sephardic shul in Seattle and writing songs he describes as ralO/urban alternative that "speak a message of hope and inspiration." The shift in his musical fiaessage will be on full display with his new album, "Nissim," due for release July 16. Meanwhile, the changes in his personal life were under- scored earlier this year when the 26-year-old musician was one of two grooms in a double Jewishwedding ceremony that became a communitywide project. The story starts in 2008: Newlywed with an infant gift and then called Damian Black, he found himself at a crossroad after a friend was shot and killed at a nightclub where Black had been performing. Soon after, he lost his day job working with autistic children. "I had a ton of questions and no answers," Black recalls. There were questions about "religion, about God. about Christianity, about why aren't Christians Jewish if Jesus was Jewish." Black began researching religion, reading about the Torah and begging his wife, Jamie, to study with him. "We almost got a divorce," she says. "We didn't see eye to eye." But the more she read, the more she, too, found herself attracted to Judaism, ultimately taking the Hebrew name Adina. "If this is somethiog that can give me answers, I wanted it," she says, adding that she felt like Judaism, unlike Christian- ity, welcomed questions. "It's like a breath of fresh air." Adina began urging her younger sister (by 10 months) and best friend, Sheree, to study with them. Nissim and Sheree together pulled in Bradley Brown. Black's close friend since kindergarten, fellow musician and Sheree's future husband. They, too. have taken Hebrew names: Chana and Yosef. By 2010, the two cou- Adar Images The wedding of rapper Nissim Black and his wife Adina in Seattle, March 5. ples each with two young children--had moved to an Orthodox enclave in Seattle's Seward Parkandwere studying for conversion at the Sephardic Bikur Cholim Congregation. Their conversions were final- ized with visits to the mikvah. ritual bath, on Feb. 27. As is traditional with a conversion at the congregation involving someone already married, a Jewish wedding ceremofly was next. That's when the four of them came under the wing of congregant Beth Balkany, who was saddened that each couple previously had had wedding ceremonieswithjust ahandful of guests and no celebration. She was determined to make the couples Jewish wedding celebrations they wouldn't forget. Under Balkany's direction. the March 5 double wedding became a community project. "I was really excited to help them." she says, adding that others felt the same way, often asking her, "How can Ihelp?" Through the local bridal gemach, a lending resource, Balkany found gowns that required just hems for each of the women. Ni.ssim and Yosef provided a playlist for the DJ. A couple who mad'tied the previ- ous day donated their flowers. The caterer donated his time, the photographer hers. Some- one contributed money for a videographer, someone else makeup for the brides. "I raised the money to pay for whatever goods and ser- vices, whatever couldn't get donated/' Balkany says. She pulled off a sit-down dinfier for 170 people. Rabbi Simon Benzaquen officiated at the two separate ceremonies,; his wife, Cecilia. walked each o bride down the aisle. The guests came not only from thei], congregation but also from Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, the Seattle Kollel and Ezra Bessaroth, Seattle's other Sephardic synagogue. "People just opened uP their hearts and wallets and came out and danced," Balkany says. The couples were ecstatic. "We had no idea that it was going to be as big and as fabulous as it was,"Adina says. Says her sister: "The love you felt in the room; it was just amazing." By Adam Nicky The Media Line AMMAN--A Jordanian firm specializing in cyber-se- curity has developed"Iris"-- security technology that uses the iris of the computer owner's eye in the manner of a fingerprint in order to prevent identity theft. The new technology comes amid an increase of reported hacker attacks throughout the kingdom. Jordan prides itself of be- ing a center for excellence in matters related to the cyber world, including software development. Recently, the ' Internet giant Yahoo bought a local email provider and made the kingdom its center of Middle Eastern operations. But the reputation of being a center for top talent in the cyber world came with a price: soaring Internet crimes. Last year alone police recorded 700 Internet crimes, mostly targeting financial institu- tions. Police figures show that Internet-based crimes have been increasing at an annual rate of 5percent. A total of 180 cyber crimes were reported during the first three months of 2013, most of which in- volved hacking into bank 1 st ChoiceJ-Iome Companion er ices "Touching our Customer's lives one at a time" Best Prices Quality Services 555 Winderley Place Ste. 300 Maitland, FL. 32751 Call 321.594.3579 24 hrs./7 Days a Week Caring for gou in gour home accounts, ATM card theft, extortion; identify theft and taking over personal social media accounts. "We are witnessing an in- crease of Internet attacks on individuals," a senior police criminal investigator told The Media Line. "The police have intensified their efforts to combat this phenomenon," a senior police investigator told The Media Line. "Leading businessmen are being affected. Private im- ages that could harm their family are targetedby hackers for the purpose of extortion," the police official said. Culprits are mostly hackers from abroad. "Our records show 70percent of Internet crimes are carried out by non-Jordanians. This in- cludes foreigners living in the kingdom Or hackers from overseas," thepolice official told The Media Line. Local banks refuse to reveal the scale of Internet- related losses to protect their interests, but a source in Jor- dan's central bank said banks are increasingly" concerned over the rising attacks. Officials from the Arab Bank, the kingdom's leading financial institution, said they had to implement strin- gent measures concerning Internet-based transactions such as requiring direct phone calls from clients in order to check l ersonal information before it allows transactions to proceed. Computer experts said the hacking is often done through emails sent to in- dividuals urging them to log into their bank account through a link provided by the thieves. "When the individ- ual enters his username and password, the information is registered by the hacker who would later enter the victim's account details and transfer funds to an overseas account," Ebrahim Qadiri, a private consultant special- izing in computer forensics, told The Media,Line. Enter Iris, the technology being introduced by row- ing number of banks in the battle against identity theft. The technology relies on the fact that each iris, the colored part of the eye, is unique, like a fingerprint. A camera connected to the Iris system t kes a digital photo of the customer's iris and algorithmically converts it into a template to be com- pared against others in a data base at banks or by any other end users to see if they match. The technology also allows bank clients to look into a special canaera from home that does away with the need to enter passwords or user names, Iris technology owner Imad Malhas explained. "The Iris print prevents your neigh- bor or any other hacker from robbingyou," he said. Malhas said the Cairo Amman Bank has also successfully intro- duced Iris to its cash machines across the kingdom. Banks aren't the only ones benefiting from the patented Iris technology. Jordanian . border guards, theUnitedArab Emirates, Iraq other coun- tries are using Iris, which has also helped the United Nations to register Syrian refugees. Despite inventions like Iris cutting into the hackers' earnings and information, experts say authorities should also impose tougher penal- ties. The Cyber Crimes Law of 2001 makes Internet crimes punishable by only three months to one year in jail. Jordanian Internet law expert Fadi Alkawalee said, "We need to have laws that fit the nature of the crime. If someone hacks my account and robs millions, they will face a minimum jail sentence. The current law does not do the country a favor; it should be stricter on certain crimes," he told The Media Line. Alkawalee also believes that attacks originating over- seas also need to be dealt with legally, through cooperation with the Interpol or special international units to combat Internet attacks. "We are being attacked from Africa, Europe and even the United States, but the problem is that Jordanian au- thorities are Unable to chase culprits or investigate further without help from other countries," he lamented.