Blacks, Jews and the house on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Special To The Jewish Week
Everyone is familiar with the parlor game so fashionable among armchair Jewish and African-American politicos. You know, the one with the implausibly absurd question: Who will become the first Jew or black to be elected president, and which one will come first?
A powerful, and we think important, moment played out in Justice Patricia DiMango’s courtroom in Brooklyn Supreme Court this week. It happened at the sentencing Monday of convicted child molester Rabbi Baruch Mordechai Lebovits, who a jury found guilty of eight counts of sexual abuse. The well-known owner of a travel agency in Borough Park, over the course of nine months in 2004-2005, lured a 16-year-old boy into his car and performed sex acts on him. In an emotional statement read in court, the father of the victim spoke heartbreakingly about what his son, now 22, went through.
Last December, The Jewish Week published an Opinion piece titled "Last Stop On The Libel Tour," in which I discussed a lawsuit that few people had heard of and almost nobody seemed to care too much about. The suit between Rachel Ehrenfeld and Sheikh Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz had proceeded virtually off the media radar. I only learned of it when researching defamation lawsuits initiated by individuals accused of involvement in terror financing.
Several weeks ago the New York State Court of Appeals began hearing arguments in a case with monumental and far-reaching implications for the protection of United States citizens abroad and the rights afforded by the First Amendment. The stakes are high in the case of Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz, and the very future of free expression and public participation for all U.S. journalists, authors and their publishers hangs in the balance. The decision of the Court of Appeals will affect whether foreign defamation judgments rendered against U.S.
Thanks in large part to attention from Elizabeth Samson, 29, a local attorney and Legacy Heritage Fellow, Gov. David A. Paterson signed the Libel Terrorism Protection Act this past week, the first bill of its kind in the United States.