Tsomet Books, which provides customers with browsing facilities, plans to open five new branches in 2009.

THE TRAGEDY suffered by Chabad as a result of the terrorist attack on Mumbai made not only the Jewish world but the world at large aware of Jewish outreach through loving-kindness. Of course, Chabad is not the only movement or organization engaged in Jewish outreach, but it is arguably among the more successful because it is non-judgmental and accepts misfortune as something divinely decreed, if not always understood. This is the way the movement and the families of murdered Rabbi Gavriel and Rivki Holzberg and their unborn child are reacting, and their "revenge" is to continue the work of the rabbi and his wife. For people interested in Jews and Judaism, though not necessarily via Chabad, there is a comprehensive Jewish Internet Gateway that is marketing everything and anything that would be of interest to religiously observant Jews in particular, and anyone interested in things Jewish in general. Recently overhauled and updated, it is appropriately titled Baba Kama, which in Aramaic means "the first gate." Baba Kama has an incredible wealth of information in both Hebrew and English, including Jewish portals, Jewish matchmaking, newspaper, magazines, radio stations, video, kashrut worldwide, weekly Torah portion discussions, Jewish literature and music, women's organizations, youth organizations, Jewish blogs, charity, outreach, and more. So far, Baba Kama has close to 2,000 links in Hebrew and 393 links in English and still counting. It can be accessed at The portal was conceived, built and maintained by brothers Itai and Razi Hershenhoren, students at Bar-Ilan University whose areas of expertise include biology, computers and electronic engineering. They started the project two-and-a-half years ago, and have kept expenses to a minimum by creating and maintaining the portal themselves and doing their own marketing. ALTHOUGH ISRAELI athletes did not fare well at the Beijing Olympics, Israeli technology was a major factor in ensuring security. Yehud-based MATE intelligence video surveillance systems and video analytics disclosed this week that its intelligent video systems had been part of a large integrated video surveillance system installed at the Beijing National Stadium. Digital China Information System Ltd., MATE's partner in China provided local support for the project which played a crucial role in the safety of both spectators and athletes. MATE's Trigger, an embedded processor for video detection and transmission, was chosen to upgrade the CCTV system to an intelligent video detection system, using MATE's video analytics for 24/7 monitoring of strategic areas and critical points in and around the stadium. All Trigger units were managed from a centralized location and the automated surveillance allowed stadium management to lower supervising costs and increase response time to security alerts. EVERY NOW and again the media raises fears that the People of the Book will stop reading bound volumes, magazines and newspapers and will rely primarily on the Internet as a source of information. Such fears have been magnified by the fact that live and recorded radio and television programs are easily accessible via the Internet, as are newspaper reports. Yet for all that, fears for the demise of the book are premature. Since it was purchased by Markstone, the Steimatzky chain has expanded, and the Tsomet chain is going in the same direction. A year after it introduced its month-long campaign of four books for NIS 100, Tsomet is doing an encore in response to customer demand and expects sales in the course of the campaign to reach NIS 2 million. Moreover, because people continue to buy books despite the economic situation, Tsomet plans to open five additional branches in 2009. "We want to make books as accessible as possible," says Tsomet CEO Avi Shumer. One of the attractions of Tsomet is that it provides browsing facilities, so that people with time on their hands can sit in comfort while they leaf through a book, a magazine or a newspaper. OLD HABITS are hard to break - and more so in a society which is becoming increasingly environment conscience, with environmental activists demanding that we stop using plastic bags and bottles which are virtually indestructible, despite the fact that they can be torn and broken. To stop those of us who are still using plastic bags from feeling guilty or defiant, Hogla Kimberly, under its Nikol brand, is producing totally disposable sandwich and garbage bags that look and feel like the familiar plastic, but are not resistant to destruction, and cost the same as plastic.