Hebrew, Arabic Schools Seen Stretching Boundaries

Assistant Managing Editor
Are they academies celebrating two Middle East-centered cultures and languages, or a madrassa and a yeshiva incognito, courtesy of your tax dollars? Two nonsectarian schools slated to open next month are fueling a new debate over the boundaries of culture and religion and whether public educators can separate them in a curriculum that does not violate the Constitution. The debate comes at a time when the government is increasingly chipping away at the wall between church and state.

Adviser Sees Rudy As Tough On Saudis

Assistant Managing Editor
Rudolph Giuliani’s most prominent foreign policy adviser hinted this week that the Republican presidential hopeful would break from the Bush administration’s policy of close ties with terrorist-linked and oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

He’s In Tune With Politics

Assistant Managing Editor
Over the past few weeks, Danny Ross’ life has revolved around two events. First came this week’s congressional hearings probing the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to 9-11. Then, there’s his appearance Saturday night at the Bitter End in the West Village, where he’ll premiere his debut album, “Introducing Danny Ross!”

Hikind: No Future For European Jews

Assistant Managing Editor
After a whirlwind tour of Jewish communities in four European countries, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind says local leaders are convinced they have no future there. “It’s scary,” said Hikind, a Democrat whose district includes Borough Park and part of Flatbush. “Is it 1938 again? No, it’s not, but there sure is a very dangerous situation that exists there for Jews. One of the universal things we heard was there is no future, it’s only a question of time.”

Life In The Target Zone

Assistant Managing Editor
It’s hard enough to offer counseling to Israelis traumatized by rocket blasts in Sderot. But what happens when the counselor is also traumatized? “We have a duty, so we do it; only afterward do you think about yourself,” says Aharon Polat, a social worker on call to respond to near-daily attacks by Palestinians on the southern Israeli town. He’s witnessed the Kassam blasts from as close as 150 feet, and like his patients, has his routine when sirens sound: “I go down to the floor and hide very good. I don’t want to die.”

Group Against Arab Home Demolitions Seeks Support Here

Assistant Managing Editor
On the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War, a human rights organization founded 10 years ago by Israelis is raising its profile and seeking more support from Americans. But the organization’s name might be misleading. The Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) is not just focused on preventing the Israeli army’s destruction of Palestinian property — a cause that gained international notice in 2003 when American activist Rachel Corrie was crushed by a bulldozer while protesting such actions on the West Bank.

How Mainstream Are American Muslims?

Assistant Managing Editor
A comprehensive survey of U.S. Muslims released last week, apparently the first of its kind, offered a mostly mainstream picture of a community that has fallen under a microscope since 9/11.

Arabic Public School Sparks Debate

Assistant Managing Editor
The announcement of a planned public school in Brooklyn focusing on Arab culture has taken the city’s education department into uncharted waters, fielding concerns over fundamentalism and the propriety of singling out cultures. Local Jewish groups either favor the creation of the Khalil Gibran International Academy — to open next year for 81 sixth to 12th grade students of all ethnic backgrounds — or have taken no position against it, even as some commentators sound alarms.

Hands-Off Approach

Assistant Managing Editor
With the blessing of rabbinic authorities, the Orthodox Union’s youth group has launched a Web site promoting abstinence and warning of the impact of premarital sex on the body, mind and spirit. While declaring that they are “deeply disturbed” by teens “increasingly engaged in sexual experimentation,” officials of the National Council of Synagogue Youth insisted there was no particular catalyst within the organization’s membership.

Above And Beyond

Assistant Managing Editor
The first time Jacob Dechter received his medals of honor for service during World War II, there wasn’t much fanfare. They came in the mail, he said, with nice letters, but there was no ceremony. The second time, last month, drew more attention as two employees of an Arizona electronics firm — surrounded by news cameras — returned them following a delivery mishap. In between lies a tale of an ex-Marine who got the wrong package, a hero who voluntarily risked his life on behalf of his adopted country, and the genealogist who brought them together.
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