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A Sabbath-observant Orthodox Associate Professor of Education at William Paterson College, a state-run university in New Jersey, won a resounding landmark victory from a federal court of appeals in her religious-discrimination lawsuit. A unanimous Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a 38-page opinion sending the claims of Dr. Gertrude Abramson back to trial court for a full jury trial on her allegations that she had been subjected to a ''hostile work environment'' because of harassment relating to her observance of the Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays. The Court also upheld her claims that her employment had been terminated because she observed religious holidays, and that the College retaliated against her because she maintained her religious observance.
Professor Abramson's appeal was supported by a friend-of-the-court brief filed by The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (''COLPA''). Nathan Lewin, the internationally renowned constitutional litigator, wrote the amicus curiae brief and presented part of the oral argument in Philadelphia before the Court of Appeals on behalf of Professor Abramson. Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. quoted the following language from Mr. Lewin's amicus curiae brief in his short concurring opinion:
When an employer deliberately reschedules important meetings for Friday afternoons, the message to an Orthodox Jewish employee is clear as a bell. Such rescheduling tells the employee that continued observance of his or her faith will be viewed as incompatible with adequate job performance. Repeated requests that work be done on Saturdays or Jewish holidays ? or telephone messages left on a Jewish religious holiday demanding an 'immediate' response ? are aimed directly at an employee's religious observance. Criticism of an employee's effort to reconcile his or her schedule with the observance of Jewish holidays delivers the message that the religious observer is not welcome at the place of employment.
Professor Abramson advised the chairman of her department when she began teaching at the college that she would not be able to teach on Jewish holidays. The chairperson of her department questioned her unavailability on Friday nights and Saturdays, and scheduled faculty meetings for Friday afternoons. The College's tenure committee commended Professor Abramson's work and recommended her for early tenure, but that decision was overruled by the Dean and the President of the College.
The trial judge ruled that the President's decision was based on grounds other than religious discrimination and granted summary judgment in favor of the College. Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the United States Court of Appeals said that there was ''ample evidence to support Abramson's religious discrimination claim'' and ''ample proof'' of a causal connection between her complaints of religious discrimination and the president's decision to deny tenure and terminate her employment.
Lindsay N. Feinberg, the New York City attorney who represented Professor Abramson, called this a ''grand-slam victory for Dr. Abramson'' that accepted all of her arguments.
Mr. Lewin expressed the hope that this overwhelming victory will be a precedent that will enable other religiously observant Jewish employees to prevail over discrimination in the workplace.
We are gratified with this result and salute Nat Lewin, a Vice-President of COLPA, for his continuing, indefatigable efforts in defense of our right to fully participate in all aspects of American society. It was Mr. Lewin who actually drafted the federal law that requires employers across the country to reasonably accommodate the religious needs of employees on the job.
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The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
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No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.
There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
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