Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
We are disappointed to report that because of the last minute intransigence of New York’s Governor George Pataki, the state Senate failed to pass the two bills important to the Jewish
community which we wrote about last week, and which had been passed earlier by the Assembly. One of the proposed bills would have established a new kosher laws to fill the gap in protection for kosher consumers created by federal court decisions declaring New York’s
kosher law unconstitutional. The other would have permitted private and religious schools to use state aid - already otherwise earmarked for their students - to be also used to purchase badly-needed computers for their students.
Unfortunately, while both bills passed the Democratic-led Assembly, they stalled as the Republican-dominated Senate, apparently taking its cue from Governor George Pataki, refused to act on them despite earlier indications that it would. To be sure, the bills were introduced by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, both Democrats. But an understanding on both sides of the aisle had emerged in the final days of the legislative session that the bills fundamentally stood on their own merits and should be enacted into law, with some minor revisions.
The story of the kashruth bill is particularly disturbing. Despite the fact that Senate leaders had indicated that the Silver/Spitzer bill was a “go, ” and that prominent Republican senators such as Michael Balboni and Martin Golden had signed on as sponsors, at the 11th hour the Senate refused to consider it. As we have pieced things together, it appears that Governor Pataki insisted that any new legislation would have to be built around a bill he had proposed several months ago without discussion with anyone outside of government and which incorporated certain substantive definitions of “kosher.” Yet to the dismay of virtually everyone with whom we spoke, the Pataki proposal - remarkably - flew directly in the face of the court decisions which struck down the old law on the ground that it enforced religious standards of “kosher.”
Plainly, whether or not one agrees with those court decisions it is necessary to recognize that any new law must be consistent with those decisions. The law proposed by Assembly Speaker Silver and Attorney General Spitzer was just that – essentially requiring vendors only to disclose their basis for representing food as kosher, including the name, contact information
and affiliation of any individual or organization certifying the food as kosher. The bill also required stores to post a Kosher Certification Form containing this information, and directed the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop and maintain a website where interested consumers could download the certification information.
Indeed, this approach was endorsed by members of a task force examining the kosher laws that included representatives of Agudath Israel of America, the American Jewish Congress,
COLPA, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the United Synagogue of America and the renowned constitutional lawyer Nathan Lewin. Despite this consensus within the Jewish community, the bill failed to proceed beyond the Assembly.
A similar fate befell another Silver/Spitzer bill, this one to provide computers for nonpublic school students at no increase in the overall amount of state aid. More than three years have
passed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such aid is permissible, and yet New York still does not provide computer aid to non-public school students. The bill would have simply allowed certain moneys already allocated for specific student needs to be spent on computers at the discretion of the schools.
This latter bill was developed on the heels of last year’s Attorney General’s Report on Non-Public Education, which recommended that the State assist nonpublic school students with computers and opined that such aid does not violate either the federal or state constitutions. Here too, the bill passed the Assembly but was then ignored by the Senate after an understanding had been reached as to its passage.
We applaud Speaker Silver and Attorney General Spitzer for championing these issues, even as we are appalled by the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice meaningful legislation for
political gain. We are hopeful that the Jewish community will make its voice heard and that these bills will be considered when the Legislature next convenes.
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With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.
In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.
A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”
Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.
Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”
Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.
Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?
Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.
Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.
Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.
Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status
David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?
sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience
Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”
A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.
The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.
Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.
His many articles on education showed great insight into the problems facing Jewish teachers in a changing student environment.
We cannot forget Secretary Kerry’s obsessive and relentless focus on the Middle East peace process.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/disappointing-political-machinations/2003/07/26/
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