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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Ivy League’

Inside Look at Princeton’s Israel Divestment Failure

Monday, April 27th, 2015

In a college-wide vote, Princeton university undergraduates voted against a resolution to divest funds from Israeli companies or certain companies that are used in Israel. The ballot closed on April 22, and the results were announced on Friday, April 26.

The proposal lost with 52.5 percent voting against it and 47.5 percent voting in favor.

The proposal on which the students voted asked whether the Princeton University trustees should be called on to divest from “multinational corporations that maintain the infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, facilitate Israel’s and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or facilitate state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian Authority security.”

According to Princeton’s internal regulations, any referendum can be included in the student government elections if a sponsor obtains 200 signatures on a petition.

There are no guidelines or standards for the content of a referendum. Accordingly, for those who are not independently knowledgeable, any student who believes in justice and human rights would be inclined to vote in favor of the ballot question.

Who – especially amongst U.S. college students – would fail to oppose repression or collective punishment?

Even given the biased language, the vote was close, and nearly 39 percent of the student body voted.

An active pro-Israel student at Princeton, Hannelora Everett, spoke with JewishPress.com about the atmosphere on campus, and how she and others worked to help defeat the divestment referendum.

Everett is a Princeton sophomore who hails from Westchester, New York. She has spent quite a bit of time in Israel, including trips with her Solomon Schechter school and with Princeton Chabad. Everett lived in Israel one summer on a study program, and spent another summer in Israel working at a nongovernmental organization (NGO).

When Everett first arrived at Princeton she found the atmosphere regarding the Middle East disturbing.

“I realized students were turning Israel into a polarizing, conservative-liberal political issue,” and she decided to become involved in Israel activism on campus.

Through her engagement with the issue, Everett assumed a leadership role in several organizations focused on improving the understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict amongst Princeton students. She was involved in the David Project, in Tigers for Israel (of which she is now president) and works with other student groups to promote common interests.


Although student proposals to urge their universities’ trustees to divest from certain holdings in or utilized by Israel have taken place elsewhere – at the University of Michigan and Cornell University, to name just two – the vote at Princeton is amongst the first time the student body as a whole voted on such a proposal. A divestment referendum was also defeated at San Diego State University earlier this month.

All other times that divestment from Israel proposals were voted on at universities, it has been the school’s student government which has taken up the issue.

The divestment coalition said the opportunity to have the student body at large discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict was the motivation for choosing this format. Also, previous efforts at divestment had failed, so a new strategy was sought.

Everett told the JewishPress.com that the low bar requirement of only 200 petition signatures to permit a student body referendum undoubtedly made this an attractive option.


Another unusual aspect of the Princeton ballot question was that both Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are mentioned as fellow wrong-doers, along with Israel, for engaging in “collective punishment”  against and/or “repression” of Palestinian Arabs.

It is ironic that this expansion of blame reveals who it is that the Princeton pro-divestment students are most protective: Hamas.

But as Everett pointed out, although the ballot question also condemned Egypt and the PA, “their campaign focused almost exclusively on Israel.”

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio Launches Presidential Run

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has launched his run for the Republican presidential nomination for 2016, reinforcing the new reality in America: diversity is officially “in.”

The senator made his announcement yesterday (Monday) during a speech in Miami.

Rubio is using his heritage as the son of Cuban immigrants to counter the Democratic female wannabe “champion” of the American dream, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Both follow a successful two-term president who ran on the themes of America’s strength in diversity, “hope” and “change” each time around.

Rubio, age 43, is the youngest candidate in the field thus far and represents the up-and-coming generation of the party. He is presenting himself as the person who can unite all the Republican party factions from one end of the spectrum to the other, and bring to the nation new economic solutions for the 21st century.

Rubio served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 and rose to the position of Speaker of the House before he was elected as Senator in 2010. He is seen as a moderate in the party and serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees.

In every way, Marco Rubio stands in complete contrast to Hillary Clinton, 67, a graduate of Ivy League university and a long-standing member of the elite Establishment.

“A leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over and we’re never going back,” he told supporters in his debut attack on Clinton.

Ditto with his closest GOP competitor, Jeb Bush, 62, whose brother and father both have already preceded him in the White House.

“I live in an exceptional country where the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege,” Rubio said, with a nod towards the venerable political background of his GOP competitor.

But in both comments, Rubio also sounds surprisingly like … Bill Clinton and – yes, sadly – incumbent President Barack Obama.

Neither the talk of “change” nor the “American dream” theme were different from any other presidential rhetoric heard on previous campaign trails. Much of it may also be found in his new book, “American Dreams.”

The good news is that Rubio has already made some of his positions clear, openly slamming Obama’s “dangerous concessions” to Iran and his administration’s “hostility” to Israel. In fact, Rubio was talking about the Iranian issue back in 2013, defining it not as an Israeli problem but as one that faces the entire world. An armed Iran is not something the United States can live with or contain, Rubio said at a news conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during a visit to Israel that year. “We hope the sanctions work, but we’re also preparing for the possibility that they won’t,” he said.

Israel lives “in a challenging neighborhood,” Rubio commented. He made it clear that America’s commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship was bipartisan and said “it should remain that way.”

During a meeting with then-President Shimon Peres, Rubio told reporters Jerusalem was “of course the capital of Israel.” He also said that although a two-state solution must be established, it was not clear whether Israel’s security could, in fact, be secured under such an arrangement. The solution, said Rubio, could only be reached in direct talks between the two parties themselves: no third side could force any arrangement. Nor should the United States be dictating any policy about the settlements, Rubio said; this too was an issue for the two sides in direct talks and should not involve any third parties.

‘Reputation Always Lags Behind Reality By Several Years’: A Conversation With Touro College’s Future President

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

At 94, Dr. Bernard Lander, Touro College’s founder and president for 39 years, is finally ready to pass on the leadership mantle.

Last month Touro announced that Dr. Alan Kadish, formerly professor of medicine at Northwestern University, will succeed Dr. Lander as president in the near future with Dr. Lander set to become the university’s chancellor. Meanwhile, Dr. Kadish will serve as the college’s senior provost and chief operating officer.

Dr. Kadish, born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, received his medical degree from Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and postdoctoral medical training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (an affiliate of Harvard Medical School) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his wife and four children.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with Dr. Kadish.

The Jewish Press: Northwestern University is one of the best universities in the country. What made you leave that institution to come to Touro?

Dr. Kadish: I believe, and I came here with the belief, that Touro is on its way to becoming an outstanding academic institution. It’s a relatively young school but we have over 17,000 students in 29 schools. There are outstanding faculty members. It takes time to develop a reputation, but what I saw when I visited Touro was evidence of academic quality throughout the institution which far exceeded its reputation.

Of New York’s two Jewish colleges – Yeshiva University (YU) and Touro College – Touro has a reputation among some for being the less “serious” of the two. How do you regard this characterization?

I don’t think that calling something serious or not serious is really useful. What I would say is that Touro and YU have different goals. YU has a particular philosophy, [Torah U’mada], that it tries to inculcate in its students and it directs its education accordingly. And that’s great.

But Touro feels there’s a role for another kind of education. In fact, the kind of education that Touro offers is really the kind of education most universities in the world offer. Most universities in the world don’t promulgate a particular political philosophy, at least not on paper. They provide education, and that’s Touro’s philosophy. We provide education.

Perhaps the fact that Touro’s education in some of its schools is more goal- oriented rather than philosophically motivated leads people to perceive it as less serious. But we certainly don’t view it that way.

How about Touro’s reputation, in certain circles, for providing a decent rather than a great education?

I think that reputation always lags behind reality by several years.

If you look, for example, at Touro’s undergraduate colleges right now, these are actually outstanding institutions with tremendous faculty and world-class deans educated at Ivy League schools who have tremendous commitment to education. I think our goal in the short term actually is not so much to change all that much in these institutions, but rather to get the word out.

It’s also true that because Touro is such a complex institution with many components to it, sometimes there can be some spillover effect [reputation-wise] if one component is not working so well. That’s why one of my goals is to increase quality throughout Touro.

What are some of your other goals?

The first goal, like I said, is to continue to strengthen the academic quality throughout the institution. It’s a large institution with 29 different schools, and there’s excellent education throughout. But there are some places where it can be made better.

A second goal is to solidify the health sciences programs. We want to increase integration and coordination among these programs to help cross-fertilize ideas and educational opportunities.

And a third goal that Dr. Lander has, which I fully support, is to try to help grow the international programs at Touro, which he views as outposts of Touro and Yiddishkeit for a variety of different communities throughout the world.

Any other goals?

No, those will take a couple of years!

Who’s Watching The Kids?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

A good friend of mine, “Sarah,” recently shared her concern over her two year old grandson’s health. As far as she could remember, he was always coming down with a cold, ear infection, or stomach virus. It seemed as if every other week, the little boy had to be taken to his pediatrician. Since her daughter-in-law worked and took college classes, Sarah often had to use her own personal and sick days at work to be available to watch him when he was sick and home from day care.

Sarah strongly felt that her grandson’s frequent illnesses were due to a combination of being exposed to other ill children at his day care center and the fact that it was unlikely he was napping properly while other babies and toddlers were crying and screaming nearby. He was run down and therefore his immune system was not up to par. And the fact that the boy was in day care, she angrily insisted, was her son’s fault.

Her son, a brilliant young man, had decided after he came back from his year in Israel that he was not going to attend the Ivy League college where he had applied and had been accepted. Instead, he would become a full time learner, and then go into chinuch. His rebbes and friends and applauded this decision. Many expressed how envious they were that they had a son who was such a talmid chacham.

While she and her husband took pride in their son’s Torah study, they were also somewhat concerned. Both were college graduates and they had expected him to be one as well. Though they both had well-paying jobs, they barely managed to pay their mortgage, tuition and camp for five children, insurance and maintenance of their minivan and car, plus all the extras that are part and parcel of raising a frum, middle-class family. How would their son manage to support his family?

Their concerns were realistic. While their son learned, their daughter-in-law, whom they loved and admired, held the fort. “Leah” went to college with the goal of graduating in the health sciences so that she would have a career that paid decently. She also went to work because the bills had to be paid. When she had the baby, she had no choice but to hand him over to a woman in the neighborhood who watched several babies at her home. Both her own mother and her husband’s mother worked and were not available for full time baby-sitting. And staying home with the baby was out of the question.

At one point, Sarah had considered quitting her job for the baby’s sake, but part of her paycheck went to subsidize her son’s expenses and truthfully, she loved her job. She had been a stay-at-home mother until her youngest was in pre-school. She believed in the theory, backed by research, that the first three or four years of a child’s life form the foundation for the future.

A child who felt loved and had his/her mother’s attention and encouragement would likely grow up to be a confident, competent adult. She believed those children who were lacking emotional nourishment grew up to be insecure and unsure of themselves, and easy prey for abusive or manipulative people – whom, she felt, had also been emotionally neglected children.

Those years at home had been draining but fulfilling. When her youngest went off to school, Sarah was ready to join the world of working (out of the house) adults and to make use of her hard-earned education and skills.

Now, Sarah couldn’t understand this new world of barely-home-mothers and barely-home-babies. She blamed it on the barely-home non-working fathers. Whatever happened, she wondered, to men who earned during the day and learned at night and in their spare time? Weren’t the gedolim from the Talmudic times wage earners? Some were royal court doctors, some were shoe-makers and milkmen, but all worked. The great and venerable Chofetz Chaim had a grocery store.

The only solution, as unfair as it sounded, was for only the children of the wealthy to be full time learners, supported by their parents so that their wives could stay at home with their babies. Or perhaps a Yissachar and Zevulun arrangement could be made where a wealthy friend would support the learning family and share the learner’s zechus of learning Torah.

Sounds good, but was it realistic? All I could do was listen. And to say a quiet mazel tov when she called last week to let me know her the young couple was expecting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/whos-watching-the-kids/2004/12/29/

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