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Mindy Meyer, a nice Jewish girl, is running for New York State Senate. Upon seeing her picture, I joked that she reminded me of “Legally Blonde“, but it turns out she actually was inspired by that story. Meyer is 22-years-old and has been interested in politics since she was eleven and a half. Her hot-pink website blares LMFAO “Sexy and I know it”, and says in leopard-print letters “Diva of the District”. Her sparkling slogan is “I’m senator and I know it”. Everything about her screams “I’m young and inexperienced!” Meyer wears her inexperience as a badge of pride. “I can tell you one thing,” she said. “I have no experience in corruption.” (I’m not sure if she is trying to imply that experienced senators are all corrupt, or just innocently stating that she is not.) She knows her audience is the youth vote, which is why she doesn’t mind having a website that looks juvenile and unprofessional. Mindy Meyer seems to have clear goals, and a desire to get things done. She wants to “crack down on crime”, specifically domestic violence, create youth employment programs, and ensure the right to choose where to send one’s children to school, but prevent women’s right to choose to birth an unwanted child. (It’s possible that I do not share her views on this last issue, but I’m trying to keep politics out of this…)

While I applaud Meyer’s initiative, creativity, and activism, I do not quite understand why she is running for senate at such a young age. Why does she not finish her law degree first? Why not get some experience in politics before going ahead and running for office? In the several interviews that I watched her give, she was able to clearly express her points, but was not as well spoken as she could be with a bit of experience under her belt. Perhaps running now is a way to get some publicity as well as experience, even in the event of a loss. Once she has more years behind her and has worked towards accomplishing some of her goals outside of the Senate, people will remember her as the spunky kid who tried to run for State Senate and, inspired by her passion to improve her district, will happily vote for her.

What do you think?

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In case you are not familiar with these advertisements that were aired in certain American communities by Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, I suggest you take a look.

These clips are fairly harsh, a bit exaggerated and certainly leave one thinking.
Of course any country with so many citizens abroad would want to campaign to bring their citizens home. I think the idea of advertising to Israelis in North America to return home is a good one. It shows that the government cares and wants them home. Israel wants back it’s inventors, industrialists and citizens in general. It makes sense to me, although I do not completely agree with the sentiments of the ads.

Having been fortunate enough to grow up in a terrorism-free environment, I am grateful that I do not fully relate to what Israelis go through every year on Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Remembrance Day). There are cultural differences between Americans and Israelis, so yes, there will be a barrier to overcome between an Israeli and American in a relationship- be it in Israel or anywhere else in the world.

As an American with a very strong Jewish identity, I find it problematic to blame America instead of the parents for a child not knowing it’s Chanukah. While assimilation is an issue not to be overlooked, that little girl’s parents could have easily taught her about Jewish culture and holidays. The American culture cannot be blamed for that- that girl wouldn’t have known about Chanukah (aside from sufganiyot and dreidles) even had her parents raised her in Israel.

What interested me about these short clips were the discussions they inspired. They really got a dialogue going, although probably not the one the Israeli government was hoping for. The Jewish Federations of North America were insulted by the ads, and the Anti-Defamation League found them to be demeaning. PM Netanyahu, who apparently had nothing to do with this, had the ads pulled following such negative responses. I’m curious what you all think about the campaign and the various reactions to it.

If you just watch the videos and don’t really think about their implications too much (as we are meant to do with television advertisements) I’m not sure they are really as terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad as Jeffrey Goldberg made them out to be in this piece, published in The Atlantic on November 30. Makom published an interesting analysis last week on the ads and Mr. Goldberg’s take on them, which I enjoyed and recommend.

According to my understanding, the adverts are meant to resonate with Israelis, showing extreme and exaggerated portrayals of what might happen if they do not return to their homeland. I understand that assimilation is a sensitive topic, which is why it may have struck a nerve and insulted or offended Americans, but that is just another one of the many cultural difference that separates Americans and Israelis.

“The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption’s campaign clearly did not take into account American Jewish sensibilities, and we regret any offense it caused,” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said in a statement. “The campaign, which aimed to encourage Israelis living abroad to return home, was a laudable one, and it was not meant to cause insult…”

I like food in general, but ice cream is it’s own special category of wonderful. Once I even went on an “ice cream diet” with a friend. We ate ice-cream for lunch one day; a tub of Ben & Jerry’s each. Don’t judge. Who among us has never finished a carton of ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s containers aren’t that large, by the way.

This morning said friend shared an article announcing a new kind of ice cream in Israel. An investment group has decided to sponsor an Israeli ice cream brand to stimulate competition with imported ice creams. The low-fat ice cream recipe was invented by an Israeli chef from the Galilee working with a gastronomer, using local goat milk.

I look forward to tasting their new flavors, although punctuation in the article caused a bit of confusion in regard to what these flavors actually are. The article says there are “four pretty ordinary flavors: Chocolate, vanilla and coconut, coffee and melon”. Since these are only three flavors, and I assume coffee and melon flavored ice cream is not so ordinary, I postulate that what the author intended was “Chocolate, vanilla and coconut, coffee, and melon”. But I digress…

As excited as I am by the new ice cream and the “coffee and melon” flavor and the idea of an Israeli brand using local products, the concept of the brand weirds me out a bit. The brand has no name. Is not having a brand the new branding? What does that even mean? How can you market a brand with no name?

They are packaging their ice cream with a picture of a scoop of ice cream on the lid, in the hopes that they will become known as “the ice cream with the moon on the package” because the scoop looks kind of like a moon. It’s unclear why they think people will call it a moon instead of an ice cream scoop.

I’m no marketing expert, but as a consumer I’d probably call them “the brand that lacks any vision or creativity so they couldn’t come up with a name” or “tbtlavocstccuwan” for short. Their concept is to not have a concept. That just seems lazy to me. In addition to being an utterly (no pun intended) lame branding tactic, it also limits them from ever doing anything with their brand that doesn’t involve a picture of a lunar-esque ice cream scoop. If Ben and Jerry ever wanted to do something else, like produce sandwiches, for example, they would be able to use their brand name. Tbtlavocstccuwan, on the other hand, has limited themselves to tubs of ice cream. Perhaps they could expand to popsicles if they really wanted to spread their wings.

I am excited to try this brand-less ice cream, but I hope they do themselves a favor and come up with a name. My instinct tells me to go for chocolate since that’s generally the best flavor, but I’m also considering vanilla and coconut since I think those will combine nicely with the goat milk. What do you think?

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