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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘mainstream’

Conservatives Decry ADL Report As Partisan Attack

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009


WASHINGTON – Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected.


The ADL did not respond similarly to anti-Bush hatred during the previous eight years, the conservatives have argued, and was unfairly linking mainstream criticism of the president with fringe attacks on Obama.


But the ADL said it frequently denounced extremist rhetoric during the Bush administration, and that its new report does make a distinction between everyday partisan vitriol and more problematic attacks.


“The comments are coming from people who have not read the report,” ADL spokeswoman Myrna Shinbaum said. “They’re reacting to the media spin and not its substance.”


The report, “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” examines some mainstream and more fringe expressions of anti-government anger, which it says is characterized by a “shared belief that Obama and his administration actually pose a threat to the future of the United States.”


“Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice,” the report states, “but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies.”


Among other things, the report cites the “tea parties,” the “Birther” movement and the disruptions of congressional town hall meetings across the country this summer – often by protesters comparing the Obama administration and the Democrats to Nazis.


The report also examines conspiracy theories circulating among anti-government extremists – including fears of the imposition of martial law and government confiscation of guns – and finds a “sudden and surprising resurgence of the militia movement” that had peaked during the mid-1990s.


The ADL charges that some in the mainstream media have played a role in promoting anti-government anger, specifically singling out Glenn Beck of Fox News as a “fearmonger-in-chief” for making comparisons between Obama and Adolf Hitler, and promoting conspiracy theories.


Beck himself responded on his Nov. 25 radio show to the ADL report and a Los Angeles Times piece that mentioned the report and compared Beck to the 1930s anti-Semitic radio broadcaster Father Coughlin.


Beck slammed the ADL, saying it was “nothing but a political organization at this point – and it kills me to say that.”


“Name the person that has been more friendly to Israel, name the person that has spoken more to the Holocaust deniers running Iran,” Beck said.


Among the more prominent critics of the report was Commentary executive editor Jonathan Tobin, who wrote that it essentially argued that those who “merely cry that they ‘want their country back’ from the Democrats while standing outside a town-hall meeting become the thin edge of the wedge of a new threat to democracy and, by extension, a threat to the Jews.”


“By choosing to frame its report denouncing this brand of extremism in such a way as to associate all those who have opposed Obama’s policies in one way or another with the far Right, the ADL has stepped over a line that a nonpartisan group should never cross,” he said.


ADL officials said the report does distinguish between mainstream partisan attacks and more hostile rhetoric.


The introduction states that for the most part, conservative politicians and media figures “eschew the conspiracy theories and more outlandish notions and tactics propagated by others. Some of their activities parallel Democratic tactics during the Bush administration. These mainstream political attacks fall outside the bounds of this report.”


The report adds that “one of the most important effects of these activists, however, is to help create a body of people who may be predisposed to believe the assertions and claims of more extreme individuals and groups.”


Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks argued that the ADL was disproportionately focusing on the right when there were “equally troubling and disturbing actions on the left.” Brooks cited U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for comparing the U.S. health care system to the Holocaust and Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) for comparing town hall attendees to “brownshirts.”


The ADL did send a letter to Grayson taking issue with his remarks, but Brooks argued that the organization should have called on Democratic leadership to denounce the remarks – as it did for the Republican leadership when some spoke at a Tea Party rally featuring two signs comparing Obama health care proposals to Nazi Germany.


Other conservative commentators have argued that the ADL never put out a similar report on anti-Bush hatred.


The ADL did not release a formal “report” decrying inflammatory criticism of President George W. Bush, but it did issue a well-publicized statement in 2004 slamming MoveOn.org for allowing a 30-second advertisement comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler to be posted on its website as part of a contest.


This summer, liberal bloggers pointed to that statement in urging the ADL to condemn statements from the right comparing Obama to Hitler.


The ADL also frequently criticized the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic signs and sentiments at anti-war rallies sponsored by the far-left group ANSWER during the Bush administration, and a lengthy chronology documenting what went on at its events appears on ADL’s website.


The ADL also has released two reports on 9/11 anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that emanate from both the left and the right.

(JTA)

Now You Can Have Your Organic Cake… And Eat It Too

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

            Once upon a time, organic produce and processed foods were found only in health food stores. Today, not only can you walk into most any mainstream grocery store and find a variety of organically certified foods, you can find them in stores catering to the most selective kosher consumer, as well.

 

            The rapidly rising global demand for kosher products bearing a trusted, recognizable kosher logo now parallels that of labeled certified organic products. The two intersecting trends have given rise to a flourishing new specialty food category – kosher organic – which meets both the strict requirements of Jewish dietary laws and the USDA National Organic Program specifications. The major impact on sales of these doubly certified products is reflected in Mintel International’s 2008 research data; both “kosher” and “organic” were amongst the top 10 claims for new products.

 

            In response to the growing numbers of kosher manufacturers worldwide that opt for both kosher and organic certification, STAR-K has recently announced a new joint kosher and organic auditing program with Quality Assurance International (QAI).

 

            QAI is the organic industry leader in certification services with operations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the European Union. QAI’s programs verify organic compliance at every link of the product handling chain, thereby helping to assure consumers that product integrity is preserved in the marketplace.

 

             Effective as of January 1, the joint program offers several advantages, including streamlining the auditing process and reducing overall certification costs. To accomplish these goals, a number of STAR-K kosher inspectors are now trained organic processing inspectors, allowing both audits to be completed in one visit.

 

            Organic farming practices are designed to promote soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. There are several differences between conventional and organic farming practices. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods are also produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation.

 

            Cloning animals or using their products is considered inconsistent with organic practices, and organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. [The Organic Trade Association.]

 

            “The new alliance between STAR-K and QAI highlights our shared commitment to help companies provide high-quality kosher certified organic products in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” said STAR-K president, Dr. Avrom Pollak. “Having realized that many companies have both certifications, we feel that the bundling of our certification efforts will add further efficiency and value on behalf of consumers throughout the world.” 

            Added QAI president, Kristen Holt, “We are thrilled to announce this new alliance with STAR-K. By combining our respective expertise, together QAI and STAR-K will offer two certifications, providing clients both cost and time savings, while continuing to provide the highest levels of service our clients have come to expect.”

 

            For more information on the new certification program, contact Steve Sichel at steve@starkosher.com or 410-484-4110, ext. 224. 

Now You Can Have Your Organic Cake… And Eat It Too

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

            Once upon a time, organic produce and processed foods were found only in health food stores. Today, not only can you walk into most any mainstream grocery store and find a variety of organically certified foods, you can find them in stores catering to the most selective kosher consumer, as well.

 

            The rapidly rising global demand for kosher products bearing a trusted, recognizable kosher logo now parallels that of labeled certified organic products. The two intersecting trends have given rise to a flourishing new specialty food category – kosher organic – which meets both the strict requirements of Jewish dietary laws and the USDA National Organic Program specifications. The major impact on sales of these doubly certified products is reflected in Mintel International’s 2008 research data; both “kosher” and “organic” were amongst the top 10 claims for new products.

 

            In response to the growing numbers of kosher manufacturers worldwide that opt for both kosher and organic certification, STAR-K has recently announced a new joint kosher and organic auditing program with Quality Assurance International (QAI).

 

            QAI is the organic industry leader in certification services with operations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the European Union. QAI’s programs verify organic compliance at every link of the product handling chain, thereby helping to assure consumers that product integrity is preserved in the marketplace.

 

             Effective as of January 1, the joint program offers several advantages, including streamlining the auditing process and reducing overall certification costs. To accomplish these goals, a number of STAR-K kosher inspectors are now trained organic processing inspectors, allowing both audits to be completed in one visit.

 

            Organic farming practices are designed to promote soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. There are several differences between conventional and organic farming practices. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organically produced foods are also produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering and other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation.

 

            Cloning animals or using their products is considered inconsistent with organic practices, and organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. [The Organic Trade Association.]

 

            “The new alliance between STAR-K and QAI highlights our shared commitment to help companies provide high-quality kosher certified organic products in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” said STAR-K president, Dr. Avrom Pollak. “Having realized that many companies have both certifications, we feel that the bundling of our certification efforts will add further efficiency and value on behalf of consumers throughout the world.” 


            Added QAI president, Kristen Holt, “We are thrilled to announce this new alliance with STAR-K. By combining our respective expertise, together QAI and STAR-K will offer two certifications, providing clients both cost and time savings, while continuing to provide the highest levels of service our clients have come to expect.”

 

            For more information on the new certification program, contact Steve Sichel at steve@starkosher.com or 410-484-4110, ext. 224. 

‘Majority Rules’ – The Bum Class

Wednesday, October 1st, 2003

In my last article, I discussed the topic of “teens at risk.” We have always had “teens at risk” within our yeshiva system, but they were segregated and referred to as the “bum class.” This class was separated from the mainstream students, and given its own separate rebbe to provide support services. The success of this system was due to the fact that yeshivas followed the Torah con­cept that “majority rules”. The yeshivas achieved their goals when working with “teens at risk” by keeping a certain balance. On one side of the scale, they had a small group of “at risk” students; on the other side, they had the majority of mainstream students who would outweigh the “at risk” population by 80 to 90 percent.

The benefits of this system were twofold: (1) the major­ity could serve as a positive role model for the minority and, in time, absorb the at rise group, and (2) — this would help prevent the minority group from ending up on the streets, meeting the wrong people, and forming a group of their own — a group which is known today as “teens at risk.”

Well, if the system worked, why did we change it? The rabbanim teach us that environmental factors effect our judgement and how we function. Since the inception of special education in the school system, there became a growing awareness of needs and expectations in the educational system as a whole. Yeshivas were no exception, and they wanted to provide high quality edu­cation consistent with the students’ needs. While the Board of Education put their “special” students in a more restrictive environment, yeshivas put theirs in a less restrictive environment.

The beliefs were that students are more alike than different, and that integrating classes would result in im­proved students. Yeshivas moved quickly to provide qual­ity education to their “bum” classes. In an effort to no longer stigmatize and segregate students from the main­stream, they moved the “bum class” to a less restrictive environment with the best intentions.

In theory, strengthening general education to sup­port all students with high expectations sounded good. But many of these students had special needs, and the integration process moved much too quickly. The stu­dents needed time, tolerance, patience and support ser­vices. Since they felt like failures, many teens rebelled.

About a year ago, a computer based vocational train­ing program was introduced into the Jewish community. It was sponsored in part by the I.D.T. Corporation and a leading rav in the community. Those who headed the project were determined to make a difference for Jewish youth who were not succeeding in the mainstream yeshi­vas. They did this by setting up a balance of 80 percent mainstream, 20 percent “at risk,” similar to what was done in the yeshivas in the past. Together with a team of professionals, a curriculum was developed that would provide students with the skills and training to become network engineers.

This vocational training program was staffed by both rabbonim and computer specialists. This way, they could provide the necessary support services that would enhance positive goals, spiritual self-esteem, and meaningful employment. As a result, the “at risk” teens would be absorbed into the system and become productive citi­zens in the community.

In short, the I.D.T. vocational program was a great success. This vocational yeshiva worked so well that it could have served as a role model for other schools to follow. Soon, they were flooded with phone calls from par­ents all over New York begging to accept their children into this program.

As more and more “at risk” teens were accepted, they began to tip the scale from 20 to 52 percent, lowering the mainstream ratio to 49 percent. Since the balance was upset, there were not enough positive role models to look up to. The majority were no longer the mainstream teens, but the “teens at risk,” and soon the program fell apart.

Rabbi Eleazar Ben Shimon says, “the world is judged according to the majority, and the individual is judged according to the majority. If the person performs one commandment, he should rejoice because he has tipped the scales of the world towards merit” (Gemara Kidushin).

The Torah states that in order to know the future, we must learn from the past. With Hashem’s help, perhaps we can return to the past to help the future of our youth.

Akiba Eger ? Strictly Kosher, Strictly Quality

Saturday, September 22nd, 2001

Shredding the old perception that kosher wines are sweet and inferior to mainstream wines, A.V. Imports introduces Akiba Eger ? an exception brand of wine that is ideal for the ''Holiday of Freedom'' and other special occasions.

Kosher for Passover and perfect for family feasts, celebrations and parties, Akiba Eger is available in a Cabernet Franc or Welsch Riesling ? ideal for pairing with traditional and nouvelle cuisine. Akiba Eger listened to the market and developed wines that defy the status quo. These sophisticated wines produced in Egervin, the second largest winery in Hungary, are a far cry from the sweet wines in square bottles to which many may be accustomed.

The Akiba Eger Cabernet Franc, from the Kunsag region of Hungary, is a fresh and fruity wine with a medium body and measured tannins. Aged in oak, it is produced from 100 percent Cabernet Franc grapes, a close relative of Cabernet Sauvignon and shares many of the same characteristics. Produced from 100 percent Welsch Riesling grapes from the Eger region, the Akiba Eger Welsch Riesling has a medium golden hue with exotic aromas of flint and honeyed apples.

Egervin, which was founded in 1949, has greatly expanded its range of grape varieties that can be used in the production of kosher wines. As one of the most significant wine producers in Hungary, the company uses premium grapes and viticultural techniques, to ensure Akiba Eger wines meet high quality standards. Every step of the wine making process from grape crushing to bottling of the wines is handled solely by Sabbath observant Jews using equipment that is used exclusively for the preparation of kosher products.

Akiba Eger wines are ideal for vegetarians as kosher wines are subject to a very stringent filtration procedure, and no foreign substance may be used (unlike non-kosher wines, which often use gelatin, rice, milk products or animal products for clarification and purification processes).

A.V. Imports, Inc., a Columbia, Maryland-based national wine and spirit importer, has been in business since 1986. The company imports wines and spirits from Italy, Mexico, Chile, Hungary, Spain and New Zealand and distributes them throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Aruba and Bahamas.

For more information, please visit www.avimports.com.

Akiba Eger's Welsh Riesling and New Cabernet Franc are Kosher for Passover.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/akiba-eger-strictly-kosher-strictly-quality/2001/09/22/

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