the University of Chicago

A Pioneer At Age 12

Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, wanted a bat mitzvah when she turned 12. But that simply was not done in May 1973 at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Orthodox congregation to which the Kagan family belonged.

“I remember she was very definite,” recalled Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “She came to me and very much wanted it; she was very strong about it. She wanted to recite a Haftorah like the boys, and she wanted her bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning.”

Kagan’s bat mitzvah was “watershed moment.”

Liberalism Still Rules

11/18/2005
Staff Writer
If American Jews are tacking to the right, nobody told them. That is the finding of a national public opinion study released last week. According to the National Survey on Race Relations and Changing Ethnic Demographics in the United States of America, commissioned by the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Jews in this country align themselves more with African-Americans on attitudes toward race and poverty, and with Hispanic-Americans on attitudes about immigration, than do other whites.

Jewish Professor, Black Culture

01/26/2010
Staff Writer

About five years ago, Vincent Brown, a historian at Harvard, had to teach a seminar on the birth of black studies. Though the discipline has flourished since the 1960s, its origins were not well known, so Brown, an iPod-generation professor, thought a documentary on the topic might help. He was an amateur filmmaker himself, deft with a Camcorder, and figured he might try to make one on his own.

Jewish Professor, Black Culture

Documentary chronicles the controversial ideas and internal conflicts of a
Northwestern University anthropologist who pioneered African-American studies.

01/28/2010
Staff Writer

About five years ago, Vincent Brown, a historian at Harvard, had to teach a seminar on the birth of black studies. Though the discipline has flourished since the 1960s, its origins were not well known, so Brown, an iPod-generation professor, thought a documentary on the topic might help. He was an amateur filmmaker himself, deft with a Camcorder, and figured he might try to make one on his own.

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Mapping A Controversy

01/31/2003
Staff Writer
The poster advertising the first Palestinian film festival at Columbia University seemed innocuous: a map of Israel with four white doves perched on tree branches and the numbers 1-9-4-8 running the length of the map. But in the Middle East, and on college campuses these days, little is simple or innocuous, least of all a map. On closer inspection, the map promoting last week's festival, called "Dreams of a Nation," was in the colors of the Palestinian flag: red, black and green. And there was no West Bank: all of Israel was symbolically Palestinian.

Graham Apology Not Enough

03/01/2002
Staff Writer
The revelation of anti-Semitic sniping by the Rev. Billy Graham during a private taped conversation with President Richard Nixon in 1972 has stung Jewish and non-Jewish interfaith leaders, who say they feel betrayed by one of America’s most respected religious leaders. And despite the ailing 83-year-old Rev. Graham’s speedy apology, critics said the tape is still disturbing because it apparently sheds light on his true feelings about Jews, even as he was acting like their friend and supporting the Soviet Jewry movement and Israel.

Theologians Cry Foul Over Ward Remarks

04/27/2001
Staff Writer
The “Charlie Ward controversy” is exposing a vein of Christian Evangelical thought that may be far more widespread — and far more harmful to Jews — than previously believed, say religion experts. The remarks by the veteran Knicks guard made during a Bible study session with teammates — that the Jews are Christ killers and that they persecute Christians to this day — point to two troubling developments in Jewish-Christian relations, those experts say.

Off Limits? Talk By Israel Critic Canceled

10/06/2006
Editor At Large
New York University historian Tony Judt sought to claim new ammunition this week for his charge that pro-Israel groups use their influence to stifle debate about their activities. Less than three hours before he was due to give a talk about the Israel lobby at the Polish Consulate Tuesday night, Poland's consul general abruptly canceled the event after being contacted by Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. But the question of whether Jewish groups (in particular, the Anti-Defamation League) pressured Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk remained in sharp dispute.

Obama Pivots Away From Dovish Past

03/09/2007
Editor At Large
Chicago — Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s maiden speech to the pro-Israel lobby last week saw a man described by early supporters as an ardent dove on Israel take flight as a bird of considerably more hawkish mien. Obama, Illinois’ Democratic junior senator, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last Friday that he was committed, above all else, to “peace through security” for the Jewish state.
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