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September 24, 2016 / 21 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Columbia University’

New Study: Alarming Spike in Campus Anti-Semitism in 2016

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Nearly 100 more incidents of anti-Semitism occurred on campus during the first six months of 2016 compared with the first six months of 2015, according to AMCHA Initiative’s mid-year study released today. In addition, calls for Israel’s elimination on campus tripled, and that expression highly correlated with actions that harm Jewish students.

“The growing problem of campus anti-Semitism is no doubt a serious threat facing the Jewish community, but this disturbing and dangerous spike and the bolder, more brazen, methods of those perpetrating this hate are particularly alarming,” cautioned Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative director and co-founder.

The study, which examined anti-Semitic activity from January to June 2016 on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

The study also revealed the following disturbing trends:

Suppression of speech approximately doubled from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, 14 incidents that restricted Jewish students’ civil rights by suppressing their speech, blocking their movement or hindering their assembly were found on 12 campuses. These incidents reflect a significant increase from the first half of 2015, in which eight incidents of suppression occurred on seven campuses.

Expression denying Israel’s right to exist nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016 and correlated with actions intended to harm Jewish students. The first half of 2016 saw an almost three-fold increase in the number of campus incidents that contained expression opposing the existence of Israel, a recognized form of anti-Semitism by global leaders such as President Obama, Pope Francis and the prime ministers of Canada, Britain and France and the world’s preeminent scholars of anti-Semitism. There were 43 such incidents in 2016 compared to 15 during the first half of 2015. In fact, expression opposing the existence of Israel highly correlated with conduct that targeted Jewish students for harm.

Divestment resolutions are fueling anti-Semitism. In 2016, the student governments of 10 schools in the study considered anti-Israel divestment resolutions. Of these 10 schools, eight showed the largest increase in anti-Semitism from 2015 to 2016. Conversely, seven of the nine schools in the 2015 study that considered or voted on divestment resolutions showed a marked decrease in anti-Semitic activity in the first half of 2016 when no divestment resolution was considered. The two schools that did not decrease in anti-Semitic activity hosted discussions and votes on divestment.

Anti-Zionism, particularly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities, anti-Zionist student groups, and faculty boycotters, remain the strongest predictors of anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Consistent with 2015, this study revealed that anti-Semitism was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP, and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters. In fact, schools with more faculty boycotters and more BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic activity.

Schools to watch in 2016: the schools with the largest increase from 2015 to 2016 are Columbia University, Vassar College, University of Chicago, NYU, University of Minnesota, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of Florida and the University of Washington.

“Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students,” stated Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers. “Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled. To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.”

The report concluded with recommendations for university administrators including (1) adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that identifies all forms of anti-Jewish bigotry, including when criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism; (2) allocating resources to educate students and faculty about contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination; and (3) establishing clear guidelines about free speech protected under the First Amendment and conduct which violates others’ civil rights, including disrupting or shutting down campus events and restricting free speech and right of assembly.

Read full copy of today’s report.

JNi.Media

German Jews Irate at Sale of Göring’s Silk Underpants

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The Central Council of Jews in Germany is protesting this weekend’s offering by the Hermann Historica auction house of Nazi memorabilia that includes Hermann Göring’s silk underpants. CCJG president Josef Schuster told DPA the idea of “making business, without any limits, with items of Hitler, Göring and Eva Braun” in the auction was “scandalous and disgusting.”

“Such items belong in museums or archives, they should not be sold for profit,” Schuster told DPA.

Titled “The John K. Lattimer Collection — Hitler and the Nazi Leaders — a unique insight into evil,” the auction, to be conducted this Saturday, “includes for the most part objects from the world-famous collection of John K. Lattimer,” who “as a young boy … started his collection with objects of naval and aviation interest and items relating to Native American culture. In later years he collected important historical objects associated with historical figures such as George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy etc.”

Talk about a brief history.

According to the auction house’s website, Dr. Lattimer served as a medical officer during the War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg, where he cared for the prisoners as well as members of the allied forces staff. His objective was to keep those accused of war crimes in good health for long enough to give them an irrefutably fair trial.

Then grab their intimate apparel.

Indeed, “some notable pieces of his collection originate from this period of his service. During this period he also made detailed observations on the men that he processed, which he later included in his book, ‘Hitler’s Fatal Sickness and other Secrets of the Nazi Leaders’ published in 1999 when he was Head Professor of Urology at Columbia University.”

Everyone would agree that Adolf Hitler was a stain on human history, but only an expert urologist can fully appreciate it.

German law prohibits the open display of Nazi memorabilia, but not their purchase or ownership by researchers, collectors, and folks who just wonder what it would be like to own the Reichsminister of Aviation’s silk shorts.

The auction also offers the brass container Göring used to kill himself with hydrogen cyanide just before his scheduled execution in Nuremberg in 1946.

According to the Hermann Historica website, “Also of historical importance are Hitler’s long black trousers whose pockets were leather lined so that he could carry a gun unobtrusively with him.”

Perhaps a lucky buyer could by both Hitler’s pants and Göring’s underpants for that complete Nazi experience.

JNi.Media

40 Columbia University Faculty Sign Anti-Israel BDS Petition

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Dozens of faculty members at Columbia University have signed a petition calling upon their employer to “divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people.”

The 40 signatories proclaimed their solidarity on the petition with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

CUAD demanded last month the university divest from eight corporations that “profit from the State of Israel’s ongoing system of settler colonialism, military occupation and apartheid law” as part of the BDS movement, the Columbia Spectator reported.

“As both scholars and community members, we are professionally, intellectually, and morally invested in our University. We deem it our duty to hold our institution accountable for the ethical implications of its own actions, notably its financial investments and their implications around the world,” the petition said.

“In particular, we take issue with our financial involvements in institutions associated with the State of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands, continued violations of Palestinian human rights, systematic destruction of life and property, inhumane segregation and systemic forms of discrimination.”

As a policy, the University does not comment on specific holdings in its endowment portfolio.

Hana Levi Julian

Hope and Change

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

An American student hands out flyers for ‘SSI’ the Students Supporting Israel Movement, outside Columbia University library in New York City, on February 4, 2016.

Hope and Change.

Photo of the Day

Neurologist Oliver Sacks Dies at Age 82 in New York City

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Dr. Oliver Sacks, one if whose books was turned into an Academy Award-winning movie, died on Sunday in New York City at the age of 82.

He never married. Among his cousins are Nobel Prize Winner Robert Aumann of Israel and the late Abba Eban, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations.

Sacks – a professor, writer and neurologist – authored more than a dozen books, including “Awakenings.” His book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” helped demystify Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s.

He was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University between 2007 and 2012 and was on the clinical faculty of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Sacks was born in London, from where he was evacuated during the Blitz. His best-selling books included case studies of people with neurological disorders.

After the war, he learned physiology and biology and later earned his medical degree at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

He later moved to Canada and then to the United States, where he learned neurology] and experimented with various recreational drugs, which he described in an article in The New Yorker three years ago and in his book “Hallucinations.”

Dr. Sacks was diagnosed with cancer this past January and wrote in The New York Times in February that he had “months” left in his life and wrote that he hoped the time he had left would be spent “in in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can”.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Bias Charge: Obama Is Friends with VP Debate Moderator Martha Raddatz

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

President Barack Obama attended the wedding of the correspondent who will be the moderator for the only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential hopeful Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) which takes place tonight.  Martha Raddatz, ABC Foreign Affairs senior correspondent and tonight’s debate moderator, married Julius Genachowski, in 1991.  Genachowski was a few years behind President Barack Obama at Columbia University, and they were both officers of the elite Harvard Law Review.  Both graduated in 1991, the same year Raddatz and Genachowski married.

Genachowski, from Great Neck, New York, was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC is an independent agency of the U.S. government, which regulates communications capabilities in North America.  Genachowski’s parents are Holocaust survivors.  His cousin is Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, and a well-known scholar and student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

In what has been described by some as a lame effort to downplay the significance of the connection between Raddatz and Obama, David Ford, spokesperson for Raddatz’s employer, ABC News, sent an official statement to various media including Politico and the Daily Beast, even before the article appeared which questioned the propriety of Raddatz as moderator. Even the liberal Huffington Post questioned the propriety of the pre-emptive statement which claimed that “nearly the entire [Harvard] Law Review” attended the wedding of Raddatz and Genachowski.  When pressed by the Daily Caller, which broke the story, to name additional law review members who attended the marriage, Ford came up with only one other name.

The ABC statement was apparently prompted by calls from the conservative news outlet, seeking confirmation of the connection between Obama and Raddatz.  That release states:

Martha Raddatz is known for her tough, fair reporting, which is why it was no surprise to her colleagues inside and outside ABC News that she was chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates for this assignment. Barack Obama was a law school classmate of Raddatz’s ex-husband Julius Genachowski at Harvard. At the time Barack Obama was a student and president of the Law Review. He attended their wedding over two decades ago along with nearly the entire Law Review, many of whom went onto successful careers including some in the Bush administration. Raddatz and Mr. Genachowski divorced in 1997 and both are now remarried.

After an initial story dismissing the Daily Caller‘s suggestion that Raddatz may be biased, or that, at the very least, the connection should have been disclosed, Politico‘s Katie Glueck did a follow-up article, headlined “Right defends Raddatz’ debate role.” Glueck went through a litany of conservative pundits who were unmoved by the suggestion that Raddatz might be an inappropriate choice as moderator simply because Obama attended her wedding some twenty-odd years ago.

Among the conservatives whom Glueck catalogues as certifying the issue as not-an-issue, Commentary‘s John Podhoretz had the best line, “I have no memory of who attended my 1997 wedding to my ex-wife and I’d like to keep it that way. I bet Martha Raddatz is the same.”  Others who expressed disinterest included the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin.  Despite the title of the Politico follow-up, at least as many conservatives were mentioned as bothered by the connection and the lack of disclosure, as those who took a pass.

Absent from the Politico articles, and indeed all other commentaries other than that of the Daily Caller, is the failure to call ABC on its clearly from-the-hip, and outright wrong statement that “nearly the entire Law Review” attended the Raddatz-Genachowski marriage.  In fact, out of approximately 70 members of that year’s Harvard Law Review membership, only Barack Obama and one other, thus far unnamed, member was apparently at that wedding.  That doesn’t make the selection of Raddatz wrong, but it does make ABC’s efforts to downplay it, and everyone’s willingness to ignore the the inaccuracy of the statement, raise at least an eyebrow.

Greta Van Sustern of Fox News, reported that the Ryan campaign said “no” when asked the day before the debate about whether they were concerned that Raddatz would be biased because of the long-time connection between Raddatz and Obama.

Instead, when asked what he thinks Biden’s biggest weakness will be at the debate, Ryan said: “Barack Obama’s record.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Destructive Phenomenon Of Kiddush Clubs

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

A number of years ago I attended a “Kiddush Club” gathering in the basement of a synagogue. Right when the haftarah reading began, several older men snuck out the back and in a small dark room in the basement opened multiple bottles of alcohol. They drank excessively until the sermon was over and then, not so inconspicuously, returned back for the final portion of the Shabbat morning service.

I remember thinking at the time, “Isn’t it only fair for people to enjoy a nice drink on their weekend?”

Since then, I’ve learned how destructive this cultural phenomenon has become in shuls across the country.

To be sure, I’m not the first to raise this concern. A few years back the Orthodox Union launched a campaign to eradicate the Kiddush Club from our midst, and a number of rabbis courageously succeeded in eliminating or reducing the size of these gatherings in their shuls.

These rabbis understood it was disrespectful to the congregation and a terrible influence on the children. This drinking, though it seems harmless to many, can serve as a gateway to drugs, drunk driving, and fatal decision-making.

One rabbi told me that many women begged him to end Kiddush Clubs because their husbands were coming home from shul so drunk they couldn’t even sit at the Shabbat table, and as a result would spend the entire day drunk in bed.

Is this the holy day of rest? What kind of values are we promoting in shul?

Alcoholism, contrary to what many of us choose to believe, is a pervasive problem in the community, one that JACS, a Jewish organization supporting alcoholics and those who are chemically dependent, works diligently to address.

Some studies have shown that 10-15 percent of Jews are alcoholics; contrary to public opinion, it is not the lowest socio-economic groups that predominantly struggle with this problem.

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, who is affiliated with JACS, noted that “A New York survey indicated that 50 percent of Jewish alcoholics studied had an annual income of at least $50,000 per year.”

Knowing that this is a pervasive yet often silenced issue in our communities, how can we possibly take a permissive approach to housing Kiddush Clubs in our synagogues?

Jewish law prohibits achila gasa (overconsumption) because the Torah teaches that when one has consumed excessively, one risks falling victim to greed and self-indulgence. It is not abstinence but moderation that is advocated. The Rambam prioritizes in his teachings on life ethics the shevil zahav, the golden mean, in order that one emulate the ways of God.

Yet, a reader is sure to ask, aren’t there Jewish festivities that might allow or even encourage a little overindulgence?

The Beit Yosef, author of the Shulchan Aruch, went so far as to rule that “the mitzvah to drink on Purim does not mean to get drunk, because being drunk is a totally forbidden, and there is no sin greater than this.”

If this is true for Purim, then how much more so for a Shabbat morning at 10:45a.m.!

Advocates of Kiddush Clubs argue that “it’s not about getting drunk but just about making a littlel’chaim”.

It is rarely manifested this way, however, and pockets of exclusivity that reinforce materialism and reckless consumption are destructive to our spiritual communities. These clubs exclude women (and many men) and send an inappropriate message to our kids about drinking and about what shul and Shabbat are supposed to be about.

Adults who deliberately ignore and disrespect Jewish communal life in effect make the day-school tuition they’ve been paying a waste of money. It is vital for the efficacy of Jewish education that the positive Jewish character traits taught in school are modeled at home and in the community.

A few shuls have recognized the extent of the problem and have fully banned alcohol from the building, aside from the ceremonial wine. While this is a positive start, we must now attack not only the supply but the demand – the culture that prioritizes personal pleasure over communal responsibility.

We must make it clear that a culture of sanctioned hedonism within our most sacred institutions has no place in Jewish life.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek; senior Jewish educator at UCLA; and a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University in moral psychology & epistemology.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-destructive-phenomenon-of-kiddush-clubs/2011/08/10/

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