Saturday, October 24, 2009

Conversations with Naomi: Erica and Baxter

The mystery that is Erica and Baxter is somewhat solved by the following interview. Enjoy!

Naomi: What's up with the helmet in your Twitter avatar?

: That is a Boba Fett mask. Boba Fett is a bounty hunter in Star Wars. The picture was taken while on vacation in Disney World. I think it's pretty funny, which is why I used it as my avatar, though I'm sure it probably isn't.

Naomi: Who is Baxter really?

Baxter is my dog, a 3 year old Shih Tzu. He's very cute and quite the snuggler. He is my furry life companion. 

Naomi: You are making Aliyah to Israel next year-- a) why? b) how?

a) I wish I had a good answer to this question! It's very hard to explain how I feel- I guess I just really love Israel. When I got back I really missed the place, I was thinking about how I could go back as soon as possible. But then I realized if I went there, I would never want to leave, so why not just make aliyah? Makes it easier for Baxter to come with. b) I'm saving up money and talking to Nefesh B'Nefesh.

Naomi: How is your Hebrew coming along? Would you recommend the Ulpan method?

My Hebrew is coming along well! I recommend the Ulpan method but I'm taking it in the US- it's different in Israel, much more intensive. I know I'll learn a lot more conversational Hebrew when I make aliyah, but I like that I'm not just learning how to speak, but also read and write in Ulpan, because that's the really hard part about Hebrew. Alef or Ayin? Kaf or Quf? And I don't feel like an idiot asking my morah a question.

Naomi: As a journalist, you've taken on a tough assignment: giving Israel a better media focus.Can you give some examples on how you will attain your goals?

Erica: As a journalist, however, I also think that impartiality is best. The problem with the media now is that it's full of bias and nuance, picks and chooses what information to share about the situation so as to shape opinion. In terms of Israel, the media likes to portray Israel as a war zone in the desert by only covering Israel when it is involved in wars and conflicts, rather than showering every other contribution it has made to the world, which is a lot more than one might think. I want to make sure that all aspects of Israeli life and history are shown in the media by covering stories out of Israel that are not just about war or other foreign affairs. I also want to make sure that ALL the facts and only true, verified information is used when covering Israel in the media, so that people can make up their own minds about Israel instead of the media making it up for them.

Naomi: What would you like to say about the ongoing boycott of Israeli products?

I just think it's ridiculous. Boycotting Israeli products is essentially the same thing as boycotting Israel because of its effect on the economy, and the people who have been boycotting essentially make the same claims that anti-Semites and anti-Zionists do as to why they are boycotting. I just hope Jews buy more Israeli products now to compensate for those that hate us.

Naomi: How do you feel about Facebook?

I strongly dislike Facebook for many reasons- there are really only two reasons I'm still on it, but I don't plan on it for long. Facebook has way too many problems. First of all, Facebook is basically just legalized free internet stalking, which is just wrong. They make no effort to let you know how much of your information is really being seen by people. Their privacy policy is obscure and strangely legislated. They frequently try to make technical updates to make it more user friendly but end up making it more confusing. Those are just a few reasons why Facebook needs to replaced, but I really could go on for awhile. However, I have a lot of people that I really only communicate with on Facebook because it's just easier, especially my Israeli friends, who have been helping me with aliyah and helping me practice my terrible Hebrew. When I do make aliyah, it could be helpful to keep in touch with my American friends. It's also been helpful for my own blog. I just wish I could take all my friends and my blog and move it onto a better version of it, where my information is actually protected and their aren't any anti-Israel groups to infuriate me.

Naomi: You are a supporter of JIDF. What would you like to say about the struggle against anti-Semitism?

: It's exactly that- a struggle. Anti-Semitism is deeply rooted throughout the world, sadly, and it is not easy to change peoples opinions about anything. While I think the world in many ways is more tolerant than it has ever been, there are still enough people out there who want to destroy the Jews. I think the worst thing about all this is that a lot of Jews remain idle to the whole situation, which is quite destructive. The JIDF does incredible work and remains a powerful voice in the struggle against anti-Semitism. By supporting the JIDF, I think we are supporting the struggle to fight against it, and that's one step in the right direction.

Read Erica's Blog  Sababa!

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