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May 30, 2016 / 22 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘american’

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Super PAC Has Big Names Behind It

Film director JJ Abrams, the SEIU and AFL-CIO unions, and billionaire George Soros are all prominent donors to a super PAC run by David Brock, founder of the controversial Media Matters for America.

The super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, just unveiled a new website this past Friday called VeepMistakes.com featuring more than 1,300 pages of purported opposition research and video clips on potential GOP vice presidential candidates.

KleinOnline recently reviewed American Bridge’s donor list. On it was JJ Abrams who gave $37,500 to Brock’s super PAC last June. Abrams is best known for creating the television series “Alias” and “Lost” and directing such movies as “Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek,” and “Super 8.” Abram is also a top Obama campaign donor.

Other American Bridge donors for the fiscal year of 2011 include the National Education Association, SEIU and AFL-CIO. Each gave $100,000. Soros donated $1 million to the super PAC.

Missouri Democrat Defends
Bizarre 9/11 Comments

During an interview on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” on New York’s WABC Radio, M.D. Alam, a Democrat activist running for Missouri secretary of state, defended his claim that 9/11 is a Jewish holiday and that few, if any, Jews were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (In fact, between 200 to 400 Jews, including five Israelis, died in the attacks.)

In the interview, Alam also defended “Loose Change,” a series of online videos arguing the 9/11 attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the U.S. government.

Alam is national chairman of the Democratic Party Asian American Caucus and is founder of Missouri’s Democratic Party Asian American Caucus. He was a manager in Missouri for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Alam has been the focus of news media attention after the Washington Free Beacon reported that he posted in an Internet forum titled, “Was 9/11 a conspiracy?” in 2009. In the forum, Alam asked, “Why 9/11 was a official holidy [sic] for all jewish [sic] people worked in the the [sic] WTC?” Alam went on to tout the “Loose Change” film, asking readers, “Who can tell me how many of the Jewish people died on the 9/11 tragedy?”

Earlier this week, Alam apologized for his remarks in a subsequent interview with the VIN News Jewish blog.

On this reporter’s radio program, though, Alam repeatedly defended his line of questioning about Jews and 9/11. “Do you understand that asking questions is nothing wrong?” Alam stated. “I can ask you something. It doesn’t mean that I am accusing you. Our job is to ask questions to both sides…”

Congressman In Trouble
For Madrassa Remarks

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) has a history of associating with a radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas. Carson is currently coming under fire for suggesting the U.S. needs to be “looking at” the madrassa model of education where the Koran serves as foundation.

The group in question, the Islamic Society of North America, was listed by the Muslim Brotherhood as a “like minded” organization that shares the goal of an Islamic nation.

Carson gave a speech in May to the convention of the Islamic Circle of North America. Clips from that speech have been playing on Fox News this week. During the address, Carson stressed the importance of the Koranic model of education found inside madrassas.

He stated: “America will never win the war against terrorism without help from the Muslim community. America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Koran.”

Continued Carson: “And that model that we are pushing in some of our schools meets the multiple needs of students. …I have found that we need an educational model that is current, that meets the needs of our students. America must understand that she needs Muslims.”

Editor’s note: For the first time, Aaron Klein is available for a limited U.S. speaking tour in August, September and October. Topics include the 2012 Presidential election and Israel. Shuls/organizations interested in having Klein speak should immediately contact Joshua at 215-380-3469 or Joshua@kleinonline.com.

Aaron Klein

Debunking Myths in Women’s Health Update

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society came out with new guidelines concerning Pap smears, which screen for cervical cancer. Conventional wisdom had long held that women should receive annual Pap smears, but in March, doctors announced the new guidelines suggesting that women receive a Pap smear once every three years.

Over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 die each year from the disease. Getting a regular Pap smear can detect the early signs of the disease, when it is most treatable.

Dr. Debbie Saslow, director of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer of the American Cancer Society, said it was the first time the Society was recommending more infrequent screenings. So why the change?

Since cervical cancer grows slowly, many doctors agree that there’s no harm in waiting longer between Pap smears, and that having too many Pap smears carries its own risk, as they often cause false alarms and lead women to undergo unnecessary test procedures that can weaken the cervix. Weak or damaged cervixes can lead to preterm labor, which results in low birth weight for infants.

Also for the first time, the new guidelines say that when women turn 30, they can get the Pap test along with a test for the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer, and if both tests come back negative, most women can wait another five years before taking the tests again.

The new guidelines also suggest that women stop getting screened altogether after they turn 65 if everything still looks okay.

While these new principles were perhaps the biggest change in women’s health advice in 2012 so far, other myths and erroneous ideas have been disproven, although many women may be unaware of them.

Many people think cancer cannot be prevented, but scientists believe that as many as 50 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. are causes by social and environmental factors, as well as poor personal choices.

For example, it’s estimated that more than a fourth of breast cancers in postmenopausal women might be due to physical inactivity and carrying extra weight. Diligent attention to mammograms – women over 40 should have a mammogram every one to two years – can detect breast cancer at its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Women who are concerned with exposure to radiation should know that the American College of Radiology says that the amount of radiation is very minute, and its risk is far outweighed by the benefits of annual mammograms.

In addition, breastfeeding has been linked to lower premenopausal breast cancer rates, as well as lower rates of ovarian cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular screenings also play a role in helping to prevent cervical and colorectal cancer.

Avoiding tobacco is also one of the most important ways to prevent certain cancers, notably lung cancer, as well as coronary heart disease. Even secondhand smoke can have deleterious effects to your health, so make sure to send any smokers in your family outside when they light up (if you cannot get them to quit). Diligent use of sunscreen, to avoid exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, can help prevent skin cancer.

Some young women who have no history of breast cancer in their families believe they don’t need to be vigilant about monthly breast exams, but the fact is that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease, nor do they possess the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene that are risk factors for the disease.

Many women who start families may also believe that certain birth defects are inevitable. But of the estimated 3,000 pregnancies in the U.S. each year result in defects of the brain (ancencephaly), or spine (spina bifida), anamazing 70 percent of these defects can be prevented by consuming adequate amounts of folic acid daily, starting before pregnancy. If you are even thinking of becoming pregnant, or know it may be a possibility, make sure to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.

Many of us have heard the rule that in order to really affect our weight and health, we must exercise at least 30-60 minutes each day. Finding this amount of time each day is not realistic for those who work, parent, or both. Many studies have found that regular bursts of activity – anything from ten minutes a day two or three times a day, or twenty minutes of intense exercise (to the point where you’re breathing so heavily you find it hard to talk) four or five times a week may be as beneficial to your health as continuous periods of exercise.

Tova Ross

June Bride, 1951

Friday, June 15th, 2012

From “Jews in Minnesota,” by Hyman Berman‏ and Linda Mack Schlof:

“The wedding of Clarice Sherman and Mel Zuckman at Tifereth B’nai Jacob in North Minneapolis, 1951.

“At a Jewish wedding, the bride and groom stand under a chupah or wedding canopy symbolizing their future home.

“As long as Jews remained in the compact geographical areas where they were a dominant majority, they continued to attend Orthodox synagogues while moving away from the strict requirements as individuals. American secular life increasingly challenged the rigid traditionalism of Orthodox Judaism.”

Jewish Press Staff

Evangelicals : Righteous Gentiles for Israel

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Jews in democratic countries are disproportionately disposed more than other groups to prefer the left spectrum of political and cultural affairs — a spectrum that is in general unfriendly to the evangelical Christian movement. It is therefore not surprising that only 20% of Jewish Americans hold a favorable opinion of the Christian right, the members of which tend to be favorable to the Republican Party. Yet it is strange when one considers that fact that Evangelical Christians have been strong supporters of Israel. A reasonable conclusion might be that for many American Jews, social and cultural values are more significant than support for Israel. Clearly, differences between many Jews and Christians, especially evangelicals, exist on social questions such as abortion, women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, and political issues, such as separation of church and state. Such differences, however, do not, and should not, prevent a cordial and supportive relationship between those churches and the state of Israel.

Many Christian Evangelicals have supported Israel politically and financially since its creation. Evangelicals may even be the strongest single group supporting Israel. Theologically, a considerable number of evangelicals believe that Jews must possess their historic right to the land before Jesus can return. With the return of Jew to the Holy Land, evangelicals await the coming of the apocalypse, the return of Christ, and the conversion of Jews. Specifically, Israel is seen as playing a key role in events that will lead to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, the holders of this view support the existence of the state of Israel and believe it will play a role in world affairs. Among the groups holding this position are Eagle Wings, Christian Friends of Israel, Bridges for Peace, and Christians United for Israel, which claims a membership of over one million. They often quote and take literally, Genesis 12, in which the Lord is quoted as saying to Abraham, “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee.”

Evangelical supporters also sometimes refers to the Biblical passage in Ezekiel (36: 24); writing at the time of the Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel declared that God is speaking to the house of Israel: “I will gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” Christians also seem to appreciate and support contemporary Israel as a democratic nation, exemplifying individual freedom, the rule of law and modernity in a geographical area otherwise devoid of these attributes. Endorsement also results from the realistic understanding that Israel has been subject to constant attack by modern Pharaohs in the Middle East and elsewhere who call, directly and indirectly, not only for boycott and divestment of the state but also repeatedly from Iran, for the genocidal elimination of Israel — “Wiping it off the map” — — in violation of both Iran’s obligation as a signatory to the United Nations Charter, which prohibits any member nation from declaring war on another member nation, and as a signatory to the 1948 Treaty Against Genocide.

For evangelicals, religious and political beliefs merge: God maintains the Biblical covenant with the Jewish people, even though they were and are not perfect; and further, the religious belief in Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land is deeper than the geopolitical argument. However, some parts of that covenant are more controversial than others in concrete interpretation for evangelicals; in particular Genesis (15:18); “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” Public opinion surveys show that Evangelicals are likely to say that religious belief was the single biggest influence leading them to sympathize with Israel, to believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, that Israel fulfills the biblical prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus, and to declare they were more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinians.

Surveys also show that in the first decade of the 21st century the greatest increase in support for Israel of any religious group came from the Evangelicals. Although this support may partly result from the attempt to force the Second Coming, it is more likely to stem from a variety of factors: God’s promise to bless those who bless the Jews; appreciation that Jews provided the basis of Christianity; remorse over the Holocaust and over the past animosity of Christian churches towards Jews; the belief that God will judge people on how they treat Jews; and the appreciation of the democratic and religious free society that exists in Israel.

Michael Curtis

Say No To UNESCO Waiver

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

We were disappointed by the Obama administration’s announcement that it intended to ask Congress to waive a ban on funding UNESCO because of its recognition of Palestinian statehood.

U.S. funding for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was stopped late last year because of laws banning U.S. funding of any international organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel. American law bars U.S. contributions to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants fall membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes statehood.”

Unfortunately, at the time of the UNESCO controversy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while urging the Palestinians to back off their effort to win UNESCO recognition and warning UNESCO stay out of the political thicket, also told reporters she was “strongly making the case to members of Congress that at some point we need some flexibility because pretty soon, if we don’t pay into these organizations, we lose our right to participate and influence their actions.”

Perhaps. But it would seem a matter of fundamental statecraft that there is no profit in ignoring national law. What is the message when a government seeks an end-run around its own laws in a transparent effort to accommodate an adversary?

As New York Congressman Gary Ackerman put it, while he supports the work of UNESCO, “actions have consequences…. We told the other members of UNESCO that U.S. law would compel us to withhold our funding…. Now both we and they have to live with the consequences…”

Editorial Board

American Jewish Leaders Visit Pollard in Prison

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

American Jewish leaders  visited convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in jail, and pledged to redouble their efforts to secure clemency for him.

Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein recently visited convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

The two American Jewish leaders pledged to redouble their efforts to secure clemency for Pollard. “He has served 27 years, seven of them in solitary confinement,” they said in a statement after the visit. “He suffers from multiple serious medical challenges, which we  believe add urgency to the timeliness of his release.”

“Mr. Pollard made clear that he does not seek a pardon, recognizing that he committed a crime, but seeks a commutation of his sentence,” the statement continues. “Mr. Pollard wants only to be able to build a family and to be a contributing citizen . . . We believe it is overdue that he be allowed to join his wife, who was present at our visit, so that they can live out their lives together.”

Jewish Press Staff

Leaving The December Dilemma Behind

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

No matter our stage in life, one is seldom comfortable feeling left out. Unfortunately, many American Jews experience exactly that feeling each year as Christmas approaches. The term “December Dilemma” is used to describe the tension many Jews feel sitting on the sidelines, unable to fully enjoy or participate in the distinctly Christian themes and activities occurring all around.

One contemporary Jewish author, Sara Y. Rigler, writes:

“I grew up as a strongly identified Jew in Christian America. This posed few problems ten and a half months a year. But every November, when the Xmas decorations started to go up, so did my defenses. The annual Xmas concert in my public school was a real identity crisis for me. Should I refuse to participate? Should I go up on the stage with the rest of my class and just mouth the words of the Christmas carols? Should I sing, but go silent every time we came to the ‘J’ word?

“The concerts ended with elementary school, but not my sense of alienation every December. I felt like I was milling around in a party to which I was not invited. Ours was the only house on our street without decorations. Every department store Santa and every brilliantly lit tree, as well as the avalanche of Xmas cards from my Christian (and Jewish!) friends only accentuated my sense of not belonging.”

To some degree, most American Jews can relate to that writer’s experiences. The challenge we face is finding the best way to deal with this reality. First and foremost, we must know why we feel such a sense of discomfort as the Christmas season nears. The answer is clear: as Jews, we simply cannot fully participate in all aspects of a season dominated by Christian religious themes. As such, we must find a way to deal with our inability to fully participate in our surrounding culture for about a month each year.

Four approaches readily come to mind:

* Move to Israel and live in a thoroughly Jewish environment, where no Jew will ever feel left out. While this may be an immediate option for some, it is not one the majority of American Jews are yet willing to entertain.

* Seek to eliminate all overtly Christian aspects of the holiday season. Although there are several groups trying to do this, to me, forcing Christianity out of the Christmas season seems both quite odd and unfair to our fellow citizens (the majority) who thoroughly enjoy this time of the year. Also, the hostility arising from such a move would be far more problematic to the American Jewish community than any lonely feelings brought on by the December Dilemma.

* Try to level the playing field by demanding absolutely equal “air time” to all things Jewish during the Christmas season. This would be done by forcing Jewish symbols, holiday trappings, and music to appear and be heard wherever and whenever Christmas ones are displayed and heard. When one considers this approach, it does not take long to realize how unrealistic it is. It is rather far-fetched to have a Charlie Brown Chanukah special on TV right after the Christmas one, or hearing a Chanukah-themed song right after “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” while shopping, and I seriously doubt we can expect to see Chanukah-themed Coca Cola bottles displayed right next to the ones with Santa on them any time soon. (Even if such a plan were realistic, I think it is pretty clear it would be unfair imposing Jewish holiday themes on the majority of our fellow citizens, and extremely unwise for American Jewry to push for such an idea.)

*Live authentic, active, and fulfilling Jewish lives. If our days, homes, and routines are full of Judaism, we will not feel much in the way of a vacuum each year when December rolls around. This approach will more than compensate for those brief seasonal experiences we as Jews cannot participate in.

Regarding this last approach, one non-Jewish writer, Terry Mattingly, has this to say: “A child in a family that enjoys Jewish life and faith is less likely to crave a Christmas tree…. But if a family’s life is dominated by television, pop music, movies, shopping and other activities that have little or nothing to do with their faith, then it will probably feel tension during these media-mad and highly secularized holidays.”

If we opt for the fourth approach in dealing with the December Dilemma, I am sure all Jews will feel far less seasonal angst each year. Living actively Jewish lives will not only enrich our beings, it will also enable us to view Judaism as a vibrant life-enhancing force instead of an aspect of our heritage that just causes us to feel like outsiders.

Rabbi Akiva and Layala Males are enjoying Chanukah in Harrisburg, PA.

Rabbi Akiva Males

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/leaving-the-december-dilemma-behind/2011/12/21/

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