Home News International Your daily spiel for Thursday, Aug. 18

Your daily spiel for Thursday, Aug. 18

Fake Forever 21 photo TWITTER SCREENSHOT

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A window into the Jewish history of Toronto’s Kensington Market. A new Toronto art installation at a space “dedicated to downtown Judaism” features a near-replica of the Yiddish sign that once graced the window of Mandel’s Dairy Shop in Kensington Market from the 1920s to the 1970s. You might recall there was a bit of a fuss about it last summer (see: “Toronto’s last Yiddish sign”), when John’s Italian Cafe (whose owner decided to keep the sign in place after Mandel’s closed) shut down, and the Ontario Jewish Archives intervened to preserve it. The art installation is an initiative of the Archives (as well as the Fenster Gallery and Ashkenaz Festival) and will remain on display until October.

Mandel's Dreamery replica window.
The “replica” window at 402 College St. in Toronto.

Not every blog is a credible news source. Duhh. If you’re a rational being, you likely scoffed when you saw the “news story” that Forever 21 was selling swastika rings, because it interpreted it as a Buddhist symbol (and all of its employees failed history, apparently). Yes, fashion designers have released a few controversial clothing items in the past, but swastika rings? Really? Anywho, the company was the victim of a cruel Internet prank when some troll decided to post an image (see below) and people started freaking out, condemning Forever 21 for being insensitive. The company eventually had to release a press release stating the obvious: “Following a thorough investigation, including an audit of all international and domestic store records, we have reconfirmed that the reported item was never sourced, produced or sold by Forever 21. We believe the pictures in question were part of an unfortunate and cruel Internet hoax. Forever 21 would never knowingly source or sell such merchandise.”

The lesson is: DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE before posting your opinions to Twitter.

If only their grandparents could see them now. In a bid to show their solidarity with the Jewish people and distance themselves from their Nazi grandparents, in 2007 a group of Germans started a movement called “March of Life,” an initiative to combat anti-Semitism and support Israel. This week, members of the group recorded their own version of Israel’s national anthem, HaTikvah. “Both sides of my family were ardent Nazis,” says one member in the video for the song. “One of my great-grandfathers was involved in burning the synagogue of Darmstadt to the ground. I was shocked by the truth about my family’s past. I am standing for Israel, I love Israel and I want to break my family’s silence and declare that these things must never happen again.”

Startup Nation taking Ford on the driverless path. Earlier this week, Ford announced its plans to unveil a fully autonomous self-driving vehicle that would provide an Uber-like sharing service for passengers. At the same time, news also emerged that the automotive giant had purchased an Israeli startup, SAIPS, to improve its driverless car technology. “SAIPS has developed algorithmic solutions in image and video processing, deep learning, signal processing and classification,” Ford officials said. “This expertise will help Ford autonomous vehicles learn and adapt to the surroundings of their environment.” Looks like the Startup Nation has struck again.

Nothing like the band name. Garbage, who have been on an international comeback tour this year, performed in Israel this week, with frontwoman Shirley Manson telling an enthusiastic crowd, “We as a band have been getting a bit of flack for coming to play Israel. People are very, very quick to make judgments and they know nothing, necessarily, about all the facts. But we in Garbage believe completely and entirely in tolerance and kindness and respect. We believe in non-violence, we believe in compromise and we believe in discourse and intelligent debate.” She also posted something similar on her Facebook page:

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