Friday, May 05, 2006

Googlebombing

We received the following email:


"Check out aish creating webpages to googlebomb certain keywords. These pages are against google and other search engines policys.

The pages include:

http://www.aish.com/articles/judaism/
http://www.aish.com/articles/judaism/
http://www.aish.com/articles/torah/
http://www.aish.com/articles/jewish/

You can complain to
Google http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html
Yahoo http://add.yahoo.com/fast/help/us/ysearch/cgi_reportsearchspam
MSN http://feedback.search.msn.com/eform.aspx?productkey=searchweb&page=search_feedback_form

You may publish this material but you may not publish my name or email. I would like to be anonymous.



This might require some explaination. Aish.com (the American Aish, not Aish UK), have set up pages that exist only to 'trick' search engines - and people - into going to their site. These pages are full of links that seem to go to to a particular article, but actually don't. In this way, they fool the algorithms into making the Aish site appear in searches where it doesn't belong.

We wonder if there are Halachic objections to fraud of this kind.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

After a long drought, we received the following email today:


Thought you might be interested in this.

J-Link is setting up a new website and clearly don’t realise it’s online already. Their test data is quite amusing (check out ‘About J-Link’).

The website is : http://jlink.pixata.co.uk


So we took a look, and were indeed interested. On the assumption that this is the real thing and not some kind of elaborate hoax, we'd like to highlight some parts of this test site. It provides a rare insight into what Aish staff think of their own organisation and others. Screenshots are provided, in case the site is modified.

Let's start with the "About J*Link" page (J-link seems to have gone Wal*mart and abandoned their hyphen for a star):


Blah about JLink and how fab we are and how we are going to grab you and brainwash you into becoming a right-wing fanatical religious lunatic - all without telling your Mum and Dad!! (fiendish laugh).


Then here's their news section:

Following the formation of our strategic alliance with AishUK, we are now offering free SHWARMA, PIZZA or BURGER - all served with chips at our lunch'n'learn progs.


Their links are also worth a look:

Shema Yisrael - A large site full of stuff to brainswash you into being a frum Yid!!
Aish.com - The web site of Aish HaTorah Yeshivo in Jerusalem. More stuff to brainwash you.



And finally, a description of one of the schools they work with:

City of London Boys' School

This fine old English school specialises in education, rare amongst schools nowadays.

J-Soc contact(s):

George Spiffington-Smyth
Spiff@posh.com



We add a couple of comments:


Monday, March 13, 2006

HonestReporting UK is Aish

A few people have sent us the following message this morning:

Press Release

HonestReporting launches dedicated UK website

Media monitoring organisation launches website focusing on UK media coverage of Arab-Israeli conflict

Jerusalem, Israel, 13 March, 2006: HonestReporting will be launching its brand-new dedicated UK website on 16 March 2006 at www.honestreporting.co.uk . Since 2000, HonestReporting has monitored the media, exposing cases of bias, promoting balance and effecting change through education and action to ensure Israel is represented fairly and accurately. HonestReporting currently has 140,000 subscribers worldwide and, through regular communiqués, alerts its readership to instances of inaccurate or biased reporting, encouraging large numbers of people to write to the media in an informed and sensible manner.

Staffed from Israel by an experienced and dedicated team of professionals, HonestReporting UK is apolitical and unaffiliated with any political party either in Israel or Britain. It takes no official stand on Israeli government policies but does intend to challenge the media to accurately report the stories and to tackle bias where it occurs. HR UK is a cross-communal organisation that is happy to work in partnership and cooperation with other like-minded bodies and individuals to further its goals.

UK Senior Editor Simon Plosker, a former employee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and previously Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ NGO Monitor comments: The British media has been, over a sustained period of time, a source of concern for Israel, the British Jewish community and anyone interested in seeing fair and balanced reporting of the Middle East. While we are certainly perceived as a pro-Israel organisation, HonestReporting UK’s primary goal is to hold the media accountable to the standards of objectivity and balance to which they claim to adhere. We will educate and empower the grassroots to get involved – one person alone may not make an impact but thousands united can.

Managing Director Joe Hyams adds: HR UK will be at the cutting edge of internet activism, working with the latest technology. We are sure that our reach to the grassroots will impact not only on the media but also on members of the British Jewish community, who are looking for tools to defend Israel in the press, and to strengthen their own knowledge base and understanding of the complex issues in the process. We are looking forward to seeing large numbers of subscribers in the coming weeks and months ahead.

HonestReporting UK will be available from Thursday 16 March at www.honestreporting.co.uk



And who is HonestReporting?

Domain name:
honestreporting.co.uk

Registrant:
Aish Hatorah Uk

Administrative contact's address:
2a Sutherland Ave
Biggin Hill
Kent
TN16 3HE
England

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 23-Oct-2000
Renewal date: 23-Oct-2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Noahide Goldfish

We note that Aish Birmingham will shortly be hosting Stevie Starr, the 'regurgitator', whose swallowing-and-coughing-up-again routine includes a live goldfish.

The small-print says that no goldfish will be harmed during the evening, but not that none will be swallowed. We find this odd, especially in view of the Noachide law of Eiver min Ha'Chai. This universal law makes it a fundamentally immoral sin to eat a limb from a living animal (or a whole living animal, for that matter). It is also a specific sin for a Jew to gain halachic benefit (including enjoyment) from a non-Jew comitting such an act.

That the fish (normally) survives is not necessarily relevent. The halachic definition of eating doesn't include swallowing or digesting - you couldn't be a kosher bullimic by eating and then puking pork and shellfish.

If you go to this event, please let us know - did Aish pay a non-Jew to break the Noachide laws or not?


This man will swallow anything! Pool balls, Rubix cubes, mobile phones and even live goldfish!!

Come see this amazing spectacular with all your friends and watch things disappear & reappear in front of your very eyes!


Free entry into a raffle with every ticket, prizes include a brand new Laptop,
I-pod and tv/dvd combo!

*no goldfish will be harmed during the evening!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A call from a 'friend'

A reader writes in with the following story. His name has been changed to protect his identity.

"My one encounter with Aish was a few months ago, and goes something like this:

I noticed a voicemail on my phone, from a number I didn't recognise. It was a woman's voice, nice-sounding. She said something like 'Hey FRED, some of us are going to Spain for a few days and we'd like you to come with. Call me soon and let me know if you're interested" and left a mobile number.

I couldn't remember who she was; she didn't leave a name. So I called back and asked. After a few questions, she eventially admitted to being from Aish, and that she'd never met me. She didn't know where Aish had got my details from and nor do I.

I'm 22 and wasn't involved in Aish at college, school or any other time. "

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Aish in the Public Record

This post contains public details of Aish's UK operations, from documents available from Companies House and the Charities Commission. The most immediately interesting data is their income and expenditure over the last few years. Note that the accounts are misleading at first glance - Aish has been squirraling away spare funds into Reserves at year-end, to avoid showing a surplus. In other words, they're spending less than it looks.


Full details follow

CHARITIES COMMISSION:

Main Charity 1069048

AISH HATORAH UK LIMITED

AISH HATORAH U K LTD
SAM ROGOFF & CO
PO BOX 2647
LONDON
W1A 3RB
Telephone 020 7637 5310
Fax 020 7580 7483

Who?
Children/Young people

How?
Provides buildings/facilities/open space
Provides services(eg care/counselling)









Financial Year Start Financial Year End Gross Income Total Expenditure
01 Jul 1998 30 Jun 1999 £892,742 £854,636
01 Jul 1999 30 Jun 2000 £1,034,780 £1,105,096
01 Jul 2000 30 Jun 2001 £1,412,653 £1,449,084
01 Jul 2001 30 Jun 2002 £2,196,858 £2,118,322
01 Jul 2002 31 Dec 2003 £3,368,065 £3,289,888
01 Jan 2004 31 Dec 2004 £1,827,055 £1,772,132



-------------------------------------------------------
COMPANIES HOUSE:


Name & Registered Office:
AISH JERUSALEM FELLOWSHIPS LIMITED
2ND FLOOR 167-169 GREAT PORTLAND
STREET, LONDON
W1W 5PF
Company No. 04138560

Status: Active
Date of Incorporation: 10/01/2001

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Company Type: PRI/LTD BY GUAR/NSC (Private, limited by guarantee, no share capital)
Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
7487 - Other business activities

Accounting Reference Date: 30/06
Last Accounts Made Up To: 30/06/2004 (DORMANT)
Next Accounts Due: 30/04/2006
Last Return Made Up To: 10/01/2006
Next Return Due: 07/02/2007

--------------------------------------------------------

Name & Registered Office:
AISH HATORAH UK LIMITED
2ND FLOOR
167 169 GREAT PORTLAND STREET
LONDON W1W 5PF
Company No. 03413207


Status: Active
Date of Incorporation: 01/08/1997

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Company Type: PRI/LTD BY GUAR/NSC (Private, limited by guarantee, no share capital)
Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
9131 - Religious organisations

Accounting Reference Date: 31/12
Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/12/2004 (FULL)
Next Accounts Due: 31/10/2006
Last Return Made Up To: 01/08/2005
Next Return Due: 29/08/2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More on our information policy

We've had a few emails on this, so we'd like to clarify a few things:

1. We don't want information from anyone 'inside' Aish. such information is commercially sensitive, and we simply won't publish it as it's immoral. The one exception would be if someone was whistle-blowing on something they considered immoral themselves.

2. We don't want information that that might be considred to be covered by the Cherem d'Rabbeinu Gershom.

3. We do want to know interesting new projects that Aish are publicising, or if they've tried to sell something to you, or approached your mate, or something similar.

4. We do want to know about problems they've caused your organisation, or your experiences on their programme, or reasons you just aren't comfortable with them.

Blogs are probably subject to the same legal protection as the media when it comes to revealing sources. In other words, even a Court Order might not be enough to force us to reveal them. Rest assured that you can communicate in confidence.

For similar reasons, we are anonymous and our site is based in the USA. More on this later.

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