Thursday, December 14, 2006

(Sasha said I could come back and post whenever I like, and I have a rare entirely-formed post in my head. Still, this does feel a bit like being that couple you met on holiday who turn up on your doorstep ten years later, greeting you with a "Hey there! You said we should drop by if we were ever in town, so...")

God bless the Chief Rabbi and his brand new version of the United Synagogue Daily Prayer Book, known to most of us as the "Singer's" (after the translator of the 1890 original). I hadn't seen it until today, my in-laws thoughtfully bringing one to San Francisco for us. Chiefy goes to town with his twenty-two-page intro, at one point referencing French mathematician BenoƮt Mandelbrot, discussing the fractal nature of the Amidah prayer and casually deploying the word architectonics. Mind you, given the headaches induced by having to read the small-type pages in reverse order, it's unlikely anyone will get that far anyway. They'll probably give up and carry on reading Melanie Phillips's Londonistan: How Britain Is Creating a Terror State Within, thoughtfully offered by Amazon to all prayerbook purchasers in a "Buy Together" deal. United Synagogue members as shrieking right-wing paranoids - finally, some solid algorithmic evidence! Also, a tip to HQ: next time you attempt an astroturf campaign, try not to make it so bleeding obvious.

Elsewhere in the world of Hebraic Embarrassment, yet another bloody "first Jewish MySpace" - clearly a radical new definition of "first", given that it's the third I've seen this month. (Check the mortifyingly-awful ads in the right-hand column.) Attention, idiots with more server space than sense: We already have a Jewish MySpace. It's called MySpace. Last time I checked, they were still letting us in. But hey, if you want to go creating more non-interoperable electronic ghettos, you go right ahead - maybe there's money to be made in breaking down the social network market into smaller and smaller niches. Or maybe not.

-- yoz

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