Social Issues

CBST’s ‘Gay-by Boom’

The gay and lesbian synagogue in the Village is, despite
the challenges, welcoming an explosion of children.

Associate Editor
06/23/2010

 This fall, when I embarked on a quest to find a Hebrew school for my kids, I did not expect one of the top contenders to be Congregation Beth Simchat Torah.

We are gay-friendly and the proud aunt and uncle of an adorable baby with two mommies. But my husband and I are straight — and CBST, after all, has the distinction of being the world’s largest lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered synagogue. 

Dreams Confront Reality On Pilot Israel Campus Trip

College students, recent grads hopeful and fearful about taking Israel plunge.

06/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

They came from all over the United States and Canada — college and graduate students, ready to embark on a whirlwind tour of Israel.

This wasn’t a Birthright trip, though. The 33 students who participated in the Jewish Agency’s Campus Aliyah Fellowship pilot trip had all been to Israel before. Now, they came with practical goals — and big dreams.

Syosset, L.I., native Brooke Katz shows off her Israeli passport. Jewish Agency

Rubashkin Sentence Seen As ‘Piling On’

But debate over whether 27-year rap will hold up on appeal.

06/23/2010
Staff Writer

The 27-year bank fraud sentence imposed Tuesday on Sholom Rubashkin, former manager of what was once the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, was widely viewed by law professors and criminal defense attorneys alike as too severe.

“A sentence of 27 years is beyond excessive, it is patently offensive — especially for a nonviolent crime in a case where the defendant had no prior criminal record,” said noted criminal attorney Ben Brafman, who was not involved in the case. 

Sholom Rubashkin: Judge said she tacked on points because of his “obstruction.”

Chabad Schools, Gets Schooled in Diplomacy at D.C. Confab

06/23/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Chabad emissaries usually associate Washington with their emphasis on education, but this year they got a taste of foreign policy suasion while handing out some, too.

Hundreds of emissaries from across the United States and the world descended on the U.S. capital for two days last week for a conference organized by American Friends of Lubavitch.

Senators To Obama: Probe Flotilla Leaders

06/22/2010

The Obama administration should probe whether the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation —  whose activists engaged in a violent clash with Israeli soldiers aboard a Gaza flotilla ship on May 31 — is tied to terrorist groups, 80 U.S. Senators said in a letter to the president this week.

Our Town: YIVO’s Jewish Europe

New multimedia encyclopedia embraces a golden age.

06/22/2010
Associate Editor

Emanuel Ringelblum knew Jewish Eastern Europe the way the Stage Manager in “Our Town” knew Grover’s Corners. The Tevye era was modern for Ringelblum, whose doctorate was on the Jews of Warsaw — only up to 1527.

German postcard: A family in cultural flux, walking to shul; bearded grandfather in streimel; clean-shaven father in top hat.

Feeling Phil Spector’s Pain

New documentary sheds light on the ultimate outsider.

06/22/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Among the myriad ways in which Jews became Americans in the 20th century, one of the most felicitous was their involvement in the creation of popular music. The overwhelming presence of Jewish-Americans in the pages of the Great American Songbook is proverbial. Even a gilt-edged WASP like Cole Porter prided himself on “writing Jewish.”

Spector, currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for murder, is the focus of a new documentary by Vikram Jayanti, “The Agony

Richard Cohen Psychoanalyzes President Obama

President Obama, cool and detached and still sounding more like a professor than a president, remains a mystery to many analysts. In today's Washington Post, columnist Richard Cohen takes a stab at psychoanalyzing the chief executive, and the results are interesting.

Judge: Rubashkin To Get 27 Years

Former Agriprocessors executive ‘lied at trial,’ pocketed $1.5 million in fraud; defense says sentence ‘overzealous.

06/21/2010
Staff Writer

A federal judge in Iowa said she plans to sentence Sholom Rubashkin, a former executive at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Iowa, to 27 years in prison and to pay $31 million in restitution for bank fraud.

Judge Linda Reade, chief judge of the Northern District Court in Iowa, wrote in a 52-page sentencing memorandum that the sentence of 27 years is “sufficient, but not greater than necessary,” to comply with the law.

The BP Oil Spill, Personal Responsibility and Jewish Law

06/18/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

This April, an explosion on a BP drilling rig caused the largest oil spill to have ever hit the Gulf of Mexico, which has led to mass public damage and estimates of around 60,000 barrels continuing to flow out each day. There are ongoing debates over who is to blame for this massive spill and who is accountable for the cleanup: The US government? BP? Halliburton? Transocean? Many fingers have been pointed and responsibility needs to be taken, but amid the cacophony of corporate vs. government clashes, we can also learn personal lessons from this fiasco.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
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