Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Like many in our community, I’ve been transfixed by the dramatic FBI arrests in New Jersey that netted prominent rabbis as well as mayors, city council presidents and other officials.
It’s both titillating and scary; first Bernie Madoff, now this. There haven’t been so many high-profile Jewish baddies since Leopold and Loeb.
And this one looks huge, involving as it does some of the leading figures in the Syrian Jewish community, money laundering and trafficking in human organs.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
A gaggle of Jewish leaders met with a record number of Senate Democrats today – 22 lawmakers in all, according to one count, including most of the top leadership.
The meeting, put together by the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), demonstrated the breadth of concerns of the community, according to several participants.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
Here’s the good news for the ADL and other Jewish groups that have fought for it for than a decade: the Senate today passed a new hate crimes bill expanding coverage of existing statutes to include, among others, gays and lesbians. The House already passed the measure.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.(), the Senate Judiciary chairman, has attached hate crimes legislation to the defense authorization bill.
That’s good news for a bunch of Jewish groups, starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which have been pressing for the legislation – which would broaden existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – for a decade.
The lack of sustainability of what is now a $2 billion educational system that caters primarily to middle-class and lower-class students should have been anticipated long ago, when the number of kids in private Jewish schools began to skyrocket, as far back as the 1950s.
When Peter Barland was applying to medical schools 54 years ago, his choices were severely limited — most top universities still capped their Jewish admittances through strict quotas, and winning a seat at such coveted institutions as Harvard, Yale or Columbia was next to impossible.
A recent opinion piece in The Jewish Week by three doctors expressing alarm about so-called kiddush clubs, a phenomenon mostly found in Modern Orthodox shuls, was bound to generate some controversy.
Check next week’s letters page for some pro and con responses.
Whether or not rabbis should allow shul members to step out of services, usually during the Torah reading, to enjoy a private kiddush of mostly liquor and some snacks is a question that probably dates back through generations.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Eight months after Minnesota voters went to the polls, the state is about to get a new senator. And it’s not the old one – Norm Coleman, the Republican whose last appeal of the razor-thin election was rejected by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday in a unanimous decision.
A lower court ruled that Democrat Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comic, won the election by 312 votes, but Coleman continued to argue that an additional 4000 absentee ballots should be counted.
In yet another sign of the toll the economic downturn has exacted on the Jewish community, the trendy Tribeca Hebrew school — which helped re-energize Jewish life downtown after Sept. 11 — has closed its doors and merged with its neighbor, the Jewish Community Project.