Putnam Valley, N.Y. — On a brisk, sunny Sunday morning last month, a group of children, ranging in age from 5 to 12, and their parents walked from the parking lot at the Eden Village Camp here to a wooded clearing overlooking a lake. Two of the older students, prompted at times by the rabbi who accompanied them, led the morning prayer service.
When Congress declared Labor Day a public holiday in 1894, workers had more to lament than to celebrate: an economic depression, a growing concentration of corporate wealth and power, and the brutal suppression of their unions.
A momentous national railroad strike to protest deep wage cuts and the summary firing of workers who dared to voice their grievances was ruthlessly broken with the help of the U.S. attorney general and federal troops, leaving more than 30 workers dead and the strike’s leader, Eugene Victor Debs, in jail.
A majority of American Jews are welcoming of immigrants, favorably disposed towards American Muslims, support legalizing same-sex marriage, favor legal abortions and oppose overturning the recent health care law, according to a Jewish Values Survey released Tuesday.
It is perhaps no wonder then that the campaigns of this year’s Republican presidential candidates have had little resonance with most American Jews.