In which I find out the source of 99% of my spam. Also, I eat a dosa.

What’s your idea of a good time?  Mine is bitching  about how much Philly sucks.

But unfortunately, it’s started to unsuck for me lately, which is disappointing, because complaining is as much as sport for me as running (which I haven’t been doing too much of lately so I’m definitely going to fail my first 5k next week.) Maybe it’s the spring, maybe it’s the fact that Mr. B is here to add aesthetic to my life, or maybe it’s the fact that I finally don’t feel like I need to hide from Society because I have The Winter/Mr. B-less Sads.

Yesterday, I told Mr. B that I need to be involved in a Jewish community, a foreign policy community, and a nerd community, or my spirit will wither and die like a fragile flower.  Or, I sent him a link to this event and told him, “You’re coming with me.”

Since Mr. B doesn’t work in the city, I had a little bit of me-time beforehand.

A little bit of ING Cafe.

A little bit of dosa.

And then a little bit of discussion about the Middle East situation in a very cool bar with a group of people our age, interested in the same things we’re interested in.  The speaker was from the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia and it was really interesting to hear perceptions from an officially Israeli point of view. Sharon was extremely articulate and while I  disagreed on several points with her, it was interesting to understand how the Israeli diplomatic force perceived social media, and not only because I spend my whole life on Twitter.  I loved meeting more Jews our age and I’m hoping that this is the first of many times that we go to a Collaborative event.

Mr. B and I also learned a really important thing last night: Sharon is responsible for 99% of our spam.  While she is extremely nice, we learned that the Israeli diplomatic community, in addition to others,  originate hundreds alarming emails that we get about threats to Israel.  These emails are so common and plague the Jewish community so much that a whole column has been devoted to them:

The Emails of Zion is a collection of messages from Jewish parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and others who are eager—often way too eager—to inform their children about issues of pressing concern to the Jewish community. Some of these emails may sound crazy, paranoid, ethnocentric, and/or racist, while others are disturbingly sane.

For example, here’s an email I’ve received from at least five different people recently.  This is in no way a comment about any of those people, who are all good wholesome people that would buy me Nutella at a moment’s notice, but just about the type of mail that’s circulated:

These emails evoke an urgent cause to action without presenting any facts.  They usually start with FWD:FWD:RE: URGENT ISRAEL HELP subject lines and end by panicking the reader. For example, this made me panic that 200,000 Intifada-supporters on Facebook would kill me before the radon in our house got a chance.

However, if you go to the actual group on Facebook, it’s written completely in Arabic.  How does the email writer know what it stays, beyond the fact that “Intifada” is in the title?  You can’t analyze the Facebook page, because most of the posters are in Arabic. Unless you understand, you can’t possibly know what the group is being organized for.  Why would you report a group you know nothing about solely based on its name? If the group is really threatening, why wouldn’t you put together an email closer to this CNN story, which has indeed reported that the group has turned violent? Maybe you should include the Arabic translation? And some other options? Nope.  You need to rile up as many Jews as possible.

I’m sure it’s not only Jews that do this…in fact, if you receive any similar emails from ethnic or political groups you are a part of, post them in the comments.  But as a Jew, I am on the receiving end of the majority of these alarmist emails, and it kind of feels like a a little guy is standing on my shoulder and yelling threats at me all day, without giving any context.  Anyway, Israeli diplomatim, please do a better job of putting these emails together.  Please.

I’ll be hiding in the corner, eating my dosa and trying to make new friends to invite over to our Cancer House until you do.




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