Written by playwright and performer Eve Ensler, “The Vagina Monologues” is a series of monologues presented by women focused around the topic of, well, the vagina. Each one tackles the subject from a different perspective and emotion, some humorous, some serious, all meaningful as they deal with topics such as sex, rape, birth, and more.
The play though is more than just another artistic production; the proceeds benefit various women’s causes as part of a global movement called V-Day which has raised over $85 million for women’s anti-violence groups since 1998.
Running last Thursday through Saturday, proceeds from this production benefitted the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center (JRCC) which serves women who have suffered from sexual violence while raising awareness to prevent future violence. The JRCC approached local resident and American immigrant Kate Nachman to direct the production after she successfully oversaw five previous versions in recent years. Nachman, who runs a gap year program for recent high school graduates from Canada and the United States, jumped at the opportunity, recruiting two of the program’s female participants to join the rest of the female cast, several of whom have acted in past productions as well.
The cast represented several populations with both religious and non-religious women taking part in the show, evidenced by some of the actresses wearing head coverings (in addition to the audience). With large crowds in attendance at each of the three shows, the evening opened with a representative of the center addressing the audience, talking about their important work and where the proceeds would go. The money raised from these shows will not be spent on avoidable or redundant services; rather, they will be used to keep the crisis center from closing. Served by only a small part-time staff, the center works on a shoestring budget to provide such critical services to women whose needs would not otherwise be met.
V-Day events have taken place in over 140 countries around the world through stage performances, educational workshops for both men and women, and more, fighting issues including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sex slavery.
With an overwhelmingly positive response, the performances were a big success, continuing a Jerusalem tradition. The next “Vagina Monologues” rendition will not come soon enough!
If you’ve learned anything from reading this site, hopefully it’s that size doesn’t matter. Or put a different way, good things sometimes come in small packages. But here’s a little secret, a different way of saying the same thing: when size does matter, it often matters in ways you wouldn’t expect, favoring the little guy.
We’ve already talked extensively about Better Place, the Israeli company which is about to rock our worlds by delivering a network of charging stations to power the next generation of electric cars. Just days ago, these cars went live in Israel. Israel of course is the perfect breeding ground for this kind of experiment. Its tiny size is exactly what makes it so conducive to rolling out something en masse. When this young country does lag behind the rest of the first world in something, it’s able to catch up and adapt much more quickly than a larger nation.
(Here comes the segue….everyone ready?)
Seems that over the last several years, Israel’s internet speed has lagged behind much of the Western world’s with speeds too slow to match their “start-up nation” status. That’s about to change. The national electric company is preparing to rollout a massive new network with the highest-speed internet available today, boosting connections by a factor of between ten and (wait for it) one hundred times the current speeds.
According to one of the company’s senior management team, “All the developing countries that have a vision for 10 years ahead, or 20 years ahead, understand that the name of the game will be communications, broadband communications, very fast communications.” Ironically, most of these countries have the internet but not the cutting-edge technology. Israel has the latter and is about to have both.
This broadband internet connection is achieved with technology called “fiber to the home”, a fiber optic cable connection which can deliver a significantly higher amount of bandwidth of various types (data, video, phone) than the old-school copper coaxial connection. Not only are connections much faster but the price is the same, allowing for dramatic breakthroughs in how we use technology in our daily lives and jobs.
Consider the possibilities: poor quality (or non-existent) videoconferencing, no longer a problem. Doctors’ ability to monitor their patients in real time or assist with medical procedures remotely. Heard of this “cloud” that everyone’s talking about? No longer will we be tied to our laptops or home computers. In the time you’re reading this article (or sentence), massive amounts of data and files can be transferred to the cloud for easy access anywhere. And we haven’t even talked about HD movie rentals yet. (Ok, ok, maybe that’s a bit less important.)
There is no question that if all the technology Israel prides itself on is the vehicle to drive into the front of the technology world, internet speed is the key (I almost wrote “gasoline” but that’s so 20th century, right, Better Place?)
With more than 90% of its population living in urban areas, Israel is well positioned for a speedy rollout of this new service with the majority of the country prepared to receive the new connection speed within seven years. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a fast ride!
Tel Aviv is the city that never sleeps. Size Doesn’t Matter takes you through the streets of Tel Aviv to experience the Nightlife everyone is talking about. Tel Aviv is considered by many to be one of the top travel destinations in the world. Lonely planet has dubbed it as one of the 3 cities with the best nightlife in the world.
The bars included in the video:
Morty & Helen
by Benji Lovitt
Thank heavens United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords survived the horrific shooting attack back in January. If not for an innovative Israeli-designed bandage, her fate might have been less clear. Bernard Bar-Natan, a Brooklyn native who immigrated to Israel, is credited with the creation of a unique pressure-applying bandage. Used in armies around the world including the US, the county in which Giffords was shot began using the bandage in 2009. Whew.
Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg. Heard of them? They’re kind of a big deal. As part of their plot to take over the world, Facebook acquired the Israeli start-up Snaptu back in March for between sixty and seventy million dollars. We’re not betting men here at Size Doesn’t Matter but let’s just say that while this was the first, it probably won’t be their last acquisition of an Israeli company.
We’re double-dipping a bit here, borrowing April’s Better Place story from our 2011 top 10 list. And why shouldn’t we? This might only be the biggest technological innovation since, I don’t know, the internet? Electric cars could completely change not just the auto industry but the energy industry as we know it. And from where I come from, that’s pretty INNOVATIVE.
A wise sage once said, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” This past May, at the 12th Asian Physics Olympiad hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel’s future became a little bit clearer as one of their students became the country’s first gold medal winner since 2003. With countries such as China, Russia, and India also in attendance, the strong performance gives good reason to believe that Israel’s technological future continues to shine brightly.
No doubt about it-using your cell phone while operating a vehicle is dangerous. Well…can you allow us to make an exception? If you seem to always be getting stuck in horrendous traffic jams, your life just changed. Meet Waze, the Israeli app which combines GPS with user input. By tracking drivers’ locations, speeds, and more, Waze tells you the best route to your desired destination and keeps you updated on traffic accidents. You’ll thank us later.
Ok, so maybe this doesn’t rival putting a man on the moon, but for the lives of pedestrians who are tired of stepping in Fido’s dinner from last night, isn’t this a bigger deal, really? NUFAR Natural Products has developed a harness which attaches to your dog, eliminating the owner’s need to…you know, shovel $#%&. Estimates for first year sales are around one BILLION dollars. If it’s not the most innovative event of the year, it might just be the most awesome.
Tech Crunch is the most respected technology blog today. So when they decided to handle the increasing number of Israeli start-ups attending their Disrupt conference back in September, let’s just say we noticed. With Israeli company Soluto winning first place in the 2010 competition and the unrivalled number of start-up companies coming out of the “Start-Up Nation”, Tech Crunch gave these companies their own area at the conference, branded with Israeli flags and colors. Here’s hoping to holding the conference in Tel Aviv next year!
If it wasn’t official already, now it is: there’s a whole lotta stuff happening here. Google…Intel….Microsoft….and now you can add arguably the most “it” technology company in the world to Israel with December’s announcement that Apple plans to open a semiconductor R&D center in the Holy Land. When you consider that this will be the very first time Apple has opened an R&D center outside of California, well, consider us impressed.
Microsoft got a lot of attention for its Kinect motion-sensing game device. Leave it to Israeli company Extreme Reality to take it to another place, combining cell phones with motion technology for, voila, a motion-sensing cell phone. Just last month, it was announced that one of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters, Ron Conway, was behind the funding raised by XTR who scooped up another $8 million in the last round of funding. No more taking off your gloves in cold weather to make that oh-so-important phone call. One swipe and you’re connected. Wow.
We may not yet have won the war on cancer but we’re certainly putting up a fight. Just days ago, researchers at Tel Aviv University announced a new procedure to blast cancer tumors, reducing the risk of the disease returning after treatment. Working much like a cluster bomb, atoms disperse alpha particles not in one place but at increasing distances. In testing, those treated with this procedure had tumors reappear in only 50% of the cases as opposed to 100% when the tumor was removed via surgery. While cancer is nothing to smile about, these breakthroughs give us hope that we are in fact getting closer to wiping it out completely.
By: Benji Lovitt
2011, we hardly knew ye. It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up 2010. While there’s always a tiny bit of nostalgic sadness with putting the wraps on another year, here at Size Doesn’t Matter, we’re proud to have borne witness to another pretty sweet year in Israel.
Narrowing down all the parties, events, news headlines, and innovations to a tidy, little Top 10 was pretty tough but we tried, made easier by efforts to spread the love across a variety of categories, showing some of the cool stuff going down in the Middle East’s most vibrant, diverse, and progressive society.
Well, obviously! Have you been to Tel Aviv? Maybe Community Marketing, Inc., the body who put the rankings together only noticed in January, but Tel Aviv oozes sexuality as much as any city we’ve ever been to and the massive LGBTQ community is a big part of that. If you’ve never been to the TA pride parade, put it on your bucket list, like NOW.
For years, we’ve been hearing about Better Place, Shai Agassi’s company which may alter the world as we know it with their electric powered cars. Goodbye, environment-killing oil from certain countries which will remain nameless…hello, batteries!
This game-changer has to start somewhere and in March, it started with the unveiling of the first car-charging station. Just five minutes of plugging in and you’re good to go. Take that, cell phones!
Groan if you want; we get it. But any way you slice it, Justin Bieber is about the biggest thing in the music world these days (and, hey, he’s Canadian, too). When he performed in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park in April, it simply took the number of high-profile concerts to another level. 2011 also brought Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and many other legends and 2012 looks to be even bigger with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and rumors of the Material Girl herself, Madonna.
Fight Club, it’s not, but whereas one isn’t talked about, the Maccabi Jerusalem Boxing Club is proud to open its doors for all to behold. When we profiled Gershon Luxemburg’s 30 year old club back in March, we were impressed to learn that it might just be the only place in the world where Jews and Arabs can come together to fight in peace. Uniting these Middle Easterners from different backgrounds, the boxing club unites these two peoples not out of hatred, but of a shared love for the sport. If these fighters can get along, can’t we all?
This one comes with both good and bad news. The bad news is that US-based Standard & Poor downgraded US-backed bonds to AA+ for the first time since the early 20th century. The good news is that in August, Israel’s rating forecast remained “solid”, on the heels of Moody’s reaffirming Israel’s credit rating at the strong A1 level. Putting aside the United States’ economic state, we’re happy to see the Israeli economy plowing ahead, business as usual, even while economic turmoil continues around the world. They don’t call Israel the “Start-Up Nation” for nothing.
The Dead Sea Scrolls. They contain the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents. Holy cow, they sound like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. First discovered in the late 1940s and early 1950s, these ancient texts can, as of September, now be viewed online, thanks to the Israel Museum where they’re housed and Google technology. If it wasn’t crazy enough that texts from the time of Jesus still exist today, can we agree that the idea that they can now be accessed by anyone with an internet connection is simply mind-boggling? I think my head just exploded.
With Shelly Yachimovich winning the leadership of the Labor party in September, two of Israel’s biggest political parties are now headed by women (joining Kadima’s Tzipi Livni). Can we all agree that this is pretty cool or does it require explanation? Seriously, guys, watch your backs. Men have ruled the world for millions of years. Maybe it’s time to turn it over to the ladies?
This isn’t a political site so don’t think we’re about to start now. But regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, watching a young man return home in October to see his parents for the first time in over five years will put your tear ducts into action. The biggest day in Israel in years.
After hearing of the recent audacity by the United States Congress to call pizza a “vegetable” in school lunchrooms across the country, this one had to make the list. In November, the Israeli cabinet proposed an anti-obesity program costing over a quarter of a billion shekels to promote healthy living. Hey, nobody said looking fit in a Mediterranean oasis nation was easy. When the waistlines of countries across the world are expanding faster than you can say “McDonald’s”, this was a breath of fresh (and slimming) air.
December. Conan. Clare. Partying. TEL AVIV. Questions?
Earlier this year, we wrote about Shyne, the gangster rapper-turned-reformed hip hop star who managed to overcome his jail sentence to start his life over. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Shyne (formerly known as Jamaal Barrow) found himself in the middle of that now-famous bar shooting with Puff Daddy (now known as P. Diddy) and Jennifer Lopez. (Don’t any rappers keep the same names?)
While serving his sentence, Shyne legally changed his name to Moses Levi Ben-David, claiming that his entire life made it clear that he possessed a Jewish soul, not to mention his Jewish grandmother. Lest anyone think that this was a PR move or only the latest celebrity to superficially embrace the Kabbalistic aspect of Judaism (see Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, etc.), think again.
Shyne’s latest move may be getting good PR but it’s anything but a stunt. Along with Oleh! Records and the King David Foundation, the world’s most famous Orthodox rapper (we’ll call Matisyahu a reggae singer) has launched “Let’s Fill This Town With Musicians” to benefit local communities in Belize, his homeland.
Called a “peace corps type music program”, this project plans to bring Israeli musicians and music teachers to Belize to help keep underprivileged urban youth off the streets. By providing music education to foster creativity, these kids can direct their energies into something productive rather than into street crime, violence, and drugs. Aside from the fact that he was born in Belize City and that his father is the current Prime Minister of the country, who better to impart the lessons of “turning your life around through music” better than Shyne?
Ok, so we get it: Shyne is Belizean. But why would Israel send teachers halfway around the world? Because that’s what they do, silly. If you missed it, after the horrific earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Israel was among the first to respond in setting up a field hospital. After the monstrous tsunami of 2005, Israel sent numerous forms of aid to help deal with both survivors and victims in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and other countries. There are numerous other examples of Israel helping other nations, even those with which it lacks diplomatic relations.
You think Canada, the US, and Europe are in financial straits? Belize has a whopping 43% of its population living below the poverty line, and the overwhelming majority of children do not complete primary school. To assist with the building of a state-of-the-art music center for this impoverished community which would not otherwise be able to provide for its children, Oleh! Records and the King David Foundation are also leading a fundraising campaign in hopes of raising $100,000 by January 1, 2012.
If you choose to donate, not only will you be giving to a good cause, but you can earn one of the following, contingent on the size of your donation:
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind a private concert in one of the most fun party cities on the planet. Here’s to Shyne for helping to make the world a better place.