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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Agudath Israel slams NJ Gay Therapy Law

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Agudath Israel of America condemned a New Jersey law prohibiting gay reparative therapy for minors as an infringement on religious freedom.

The statement from Agudah came just hours after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill barring licensed therapists from providing treatment to help gay teenagers become straight.

“The new law tramples on the rights of mental health therapists to engage freely in their profession, and it unfairly denies teenagers seeking therapy for issues that are troubling them the ability to obtain professional help,” the group said.

“Under the new law, therapists, social workers or counselors who work with minors on these issues risk losing their licenses to practice their professions, and minors who sincerely want to obtain professional help will have nowhere to turn. This is an unconscionable infringement on personal liberty and a trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights.”

New Jersey joins California as the only states with laws barring so-called reparative therapy. The New Jersey bill passed both houses of the state Legislature in June with bipartisan support.

In signing the bill into law, Christie, a moderate Republican who is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential run in 2016, appended a note indicating his reluctance to intrude on parents’ ability to determine the right treatment for their children.

“However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children, we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” Christie wrote. “The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”

Cory Booker, NJ Torah-Versed Black Christian, on Way to Senate

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is leading the Democratic primary polls and if he wins, he is a shoo-in for a general election victory to replace Frank Lautenberg in the Senate.

Already touted as possible presidential candidate in the future, Booker’s interest in Jewish studies began approximately 20 years ago when he met a Chabad rabbi. A “chavrutah” Torah study partner is – who else? – Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

The Wall Street Journal noted Monday that his wide contacts with Jewish sources have helped him fill his campaign chest, even though Lautenberg’s family is far from thrilled with his candidacy and have endorsed one of his opponents, Rep. Frank Pallone.

Booker, a black Christian, usually appears at a Passover Seder, and he is so interested in Israel that he once took his parents to visit the Jewish state.

His knowledge of Judaism “could put many of us to shame,” New Jersey philanthropist and Jewish Federation leader Lori Klinghoffer told the Journal.

Booker has been in politics since a young age, after having grown up in a predominantly white upper-class borough of Bergen County. His parents were among the first black executives at IBM.

After earning a law degree at Yale, he moved to Newark to become a tenants’ rights attorney when he was  only 27. He quickly moved into politics and was elected to the city council in 1998. Booker narrowly lost his seat in 2002 but regained in four years later and then became mayor.

ADL: Anti-Semitism Up in NY and NJ but Down Nationwide

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The number of anti-Semitic incidents dropped 14 percent nationwide last year, but vandalism rose, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents that was released Monday. New York and New Jersey saw increases in anti-Semitic incidents.

Nationwide, the audit counted 927 anti-Semitic incidents reported during the 2012 calendar year, a 14 percent decline from the 1,080 incidents in 2011.

The 2012 figures included 17 physical assaults, 470 cases of harassment, threats and events, and 440 instances of vandalism.

The vandalism figure represented a 33 percent increase over the 330 incidents in 2011. While a majority of the vandalism took place on public property or individual homes, Jewish institutions were targeted in 13 percent of the incidents.

The ADL recorded 248 anti-Semitic incidents in New York in 2012, representing a 27 percent increase from the 195 incidents in 2011. New York City’s five boroughs had a total of 172 anti-Jewish acts, including incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism, compared to 127 in 2011.

“While the great majority of Jewish New Yorkers feel comfortable and safe in their respective communities, it is nevertheless disturbing that we saw almost a 30 percent uptick in the total number of anti-Semitic incidents across the state,” said Etzion Neuer, ADL’s acting New York regional director. “

The number of incidents dropped in other states with large Jewish population. California documented 185 incidents, down from 235; Florida reported 88 incidents, down from 111; Massachusetts logged 38 incidents, down from 72; and Pennsylvania recorded 37 incidents, down from 38.

New Jersey Yeshiva Student Now an Israeli Fighter Pilot

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Notice to readers: Israeli Air Force security severely restricts private information on pilots, whose identity could be exploited by enemies. Lt. B says that many readers who know him will understand from this article that he is the subject. Both Lt. B. and the IDF request that all readers will respect Israel’s need for strict security and will not use the Internet for any communication concerning Lt. B.

 

“Lt. B.” of New Jersey has become one of a few but growing number of religious Jews to pilot Israel’s fighter jets, and he is one of a tiny number of American religious immigrants to do so.

“I had a childhood dream to be a pilot,” says Lt. B., whose name and home town cannot be revealed for security reasons.

In a special interview with the Jewish Press that was arranged through IDF spokesmen under security supervision, he spoke about his unintended venture into the Israeli Air Force. Lt. B. spoke with the Jewish Press on the Fourth of July and said, “Independence Day was a holiday for me when I was in America, but Yom Ha’Atzamaut now is my Independence Day.”

He graduated from a religious high school in New Jersey, and with the support of his father and Israeli-born mother, Lt. B. packed up his bags at the age of 17 for the common “spend a year in Israel” idea before planning to go back to the United States to attend university.

Lt. B. chose a Golan Heights “mechina,” the Hebrew word for a pre-army Torah learning academy, even though he had no intention of serving in the IDF.

He already had made some applications to universities when he was learning in Israel. He was not keen on going into the army until his experience at the mechina “brought out my love for Israel and ambition to do something more special than regular university studies,” the new pilot relates.

Lt. B.rejected the idea of joining the “Machal” program for foreign youth who want to serve for a couple of years before going back home. “I decided to join the army but not to make aliyah,” keeping his eye on university, he admits.

Once he went through the induction tests, the army saw that he was fit both physically and mentally to be a candidate for the Air Force program, in which only one percent of the candidates for pilots’ course eventually end up with their wings.

“I always had a dream about being a pilot,” relates Lt. B. “The Air Force liked my test results. That is when I decided to make aliyah. I told myself, ‘I have a dream and will try to fulfill  it.’ I was 18 and fit. If it had not worked out, I probably would have served 2-3 years and gone back to the States.”

But it did work out.

Lt. B. had a bit of family history to fall back on. “My mother served in the Air Force for five years,” he reveals. “I was not expecting to finish the course because it is difficult, but I did not look that far ahead. You don’t even know what is happening next week.

“My agenda was to take every day and every hour at a time and give 110 percent, finishing the day and knowing that I did what I could, and no less.”

At the age of 22 – yes, girls, he still is single –  Lt. B. was one of several pilots to get their wings last month. His parents were there for the ceremony but did not arrive from the United States. They already had followed Lt. B. to Israel, making aliyah with all of their children and now living in “central Israel,” which is the most specific location that can be published.

The intense pilots’ program is three years, including three semesters of nine courses leading to a Bachelors of Science degree.

Lt. B. is obligated to serve in the Air Force for another nine years.

In training, he flew a Skyhawk fighter jet and his daily routine, after morning prayers and breakfast, is to hop into his plane and fly – every day, except for Shabbat

Lt. B. says that approximately 3-5 percent of Israeli pilots are religious, a sharp increase when compared with 30  years ago when a religious Air Force pilot was a  rarity.

Caesarstone Leads ‘Consumer Reports’ Kitchen Countertops Survey

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

The Consumer Reports magazine rates the synthetic quartz countertops made by Israel’s kibbutz-based Caesarstone Sdot Yam Ltd. the best of 14 materials that were tested.

“Quartz was tops in our tests, whether polished or matte finish. Sharp knives, abrasive pads, hot pots, and most stains didn’t damage it plus it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require sealing,” according the survey. “Quartz also comes in vivid colors such as Caesarstone’s Apple Martini and Red Shimmer.”

Reality star Kim Kardashian recently gave a big plug for the NASDAQ-listed company by choosing its quartz countertops for her Beverly Hills mansion.

In the Hollywood “keeping up with the stars” crowd, her neighbors followed suit.

Caeserstone now is worth $1 billion and has opened a factory in New Jersey.

New Jersey Jewish Student Sues NY Cops over Immodest Frisk

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Bard College student Samantha Rosenbaum is suing the New York Police Department for carrying out an immodest search while she was walking on a Williamsburg street on  the way from the post office back to her place of work at a store last year.

The suit, reported Thursday by The New York Post, comes amid controversy over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charge that the police are carrying out a disproportionate number of frisks on white people. A New York Daily News survey published today revealed that the mayor is wrong, but more troubling is the reason for frisks, whether on blacks or whites.

Rosenbaum, age 22 and from Essex, New Jersey, told the newspaper that she loves animals and stopped to pet a cat she noticed in an alley. The plainclothed police, sitting in an unmarked car, apparently did not look at it that way.

“Hey, stop!” a man yelled from his parked car. “He was really aggressive,” Rosenbaum recalled. “I had no idea who he was, [so] I just kept walking.”

That was the obvious tip-off for the two police officers that she was a criminal, and they ran after Rosenbaum and threw her against the car, asking her if she had drugs.

“This whole time, I didn’t know who these people are,” she told the Post. “Finally, after a few minutes, they tell me they are police. My face and stomach were on the hood. I don’t think anyone, no matter what color you are, deserves to be treated like that.

“I offered to show them the cat. They had two people on top of me, and my arm was really hurting.”

Her lawyer Michael Goldstein added,  “She thought she was getting kidnapped. This is a very nice young lady. This was a false arrest and imprisonment. It’s assault.”

The suit alleges that a policewoman who was part of the search-and-frisk team opened her clothing and peeked underneath at private parts of her body.

According to Rosenbaum, the police finally let her go when she started crying after they threatened several times to haul her off to the police station and charge her with a crime,

“They told me they didn’t want me to have a bad impression of cops so they were going to let me go,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.

Why would anyone even think of such a thing?

There are plenty who would think so.

The New York Civil Liberties Union found in a survey two years ago, quoted by Slate, “Only 11 percent of stops in 2011 were based on a description of a violent crime suspect.” The rest of them were carried out at random, and most of the victim was found to be innocent.

The numbers are astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of people are stopped every year for frisks that turn out to be needless but which the police justify when they file forms after each search. All a police officer has to write is that a person was “carrying a suspicious object” or “wearing clothes commonly used in a crime,” or was wearing “inappropriate attire for season.”

Or, “The suspect was petting a cat.”

Christie Declares Special August Primaries for Lautenberg’s Seat

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday a special primary election will be held August 13, followed by general elections Oct. 16, to fill the seat left vacant by the death on Monday of Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. By law, he could have appointed a temporary replacement.

“I want to have an elected senator as soon as possible,” Christie told reporters at a news conference. “I firmly believe that the decisions that need to be made in Washington are too great to be determined by an appointee for a period of 18 months.”

The new senator who will be elected will serve only a year because Sen. Lautenberg’s term of office expires in 2014, when the seat again will be up for grabs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/christie-declares-special-august-primaries-for-lautenbergs-seat/2013/06/04/

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