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Posts Tagged ‘NJ’

Hint of Antisemitism, Hyper PC, in NJ School Board Vote

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Rosemary Bernardi, a 7-year member of the Evesham, NJ, school board, has issued an apology for remarks she made at the May 23 board meeting that were called insensitive and discriminatory, according to the website South Jersey Local News.

Bernardi emailed the following statement on May 27 to her fellow board members:

“Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt apology to the people of Evesham Township for my remarks at the school board meeting. Categorizing individuals on the basis of their religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation has no place in our society, and most especially in our public discourse.”

It all started, apparently, with a board discussion of moving the first day of the next school year from Friday, Sept. 6, to Monday, Sept. 9, because the 6th coincides with the second day of the two-day Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.

First of all, like most of you, I’m sure, I have to say I didn’t realize Rosh Hashanah is coming so early this year. Second, it doesn’t look to me like such a big deal, starting school on Monday instead of on Friday. In fact, who starts anything on a Friday? Let the folks—Jews and non-Jews—stay on the shore until Sunday night, like human beings, and then make them drive home in bumper-to-bumper traffic the way God intended.

At the meeting, Bernardi objected to changing the school calendar, because she thought it would affect all the students just in order to accommodate a few students.

But the way Bernardi said it is what got the good people of Evesham all riled up. She has been accused of having singled out those few students by calling them “Jews.”

That’s right. She had the audacity to call students who attend Rosh Hashanah services by the J word.

As a person who has been addressed by that word so many times, I know how it must feel when a public official actually uses it to define an entire group of students. Shocking.

But that was not all. In a May 25 Philadelphia Inquirer article, Bernardi stated that she did mention at the meeting that there were five Jewish members on the board, which is why her attempt to keep school open on Rosh Hashanah “won’t happen on this board because there’s five members of the Jewish faith on this board. They have a majority.”

Incidentally, the school board vote on pushing the calendar to Monday resulted in two gentiles voting against, one gentile abstaining, and five Jews voting for the move.

From The Voice of Her Students: In Memory of Mrs. Chaya Newman

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

A Sarah Schenirer of our times, Mrs. Chaya Newman was a trailblazer in the field of women’s Jewish education. She inspired and guided thousands of students and fellow educators with the careful curriculum she created, and example she set. She had the rare gift of bringing out the best in her students, commanding respect while remaining as loving and accessible as a grandmother. Mrs. Newman shaped Bruriah into a top school known for its stellar academic reputation, the close relationships between teachers and students, and as a place where limudei kodesh and limudei chol were not in opposition but instead complement each other. She welcomed students from diverse backgrounds into Bruriah, and the school’s alumnae reflect this inclusiveness.

Mrs. Newman was able to think big, while maintaining her careful attention to detail, especially when it came to her students – she would notice, and compliment, even the smallest achievements. Sitting in the front row during production rehearsals, she would retie someone’s sash, note the lighting, and admire the set. Multiple times a week she spoke to the student body, through the morning announcements students grew to love. In particular, the month of Elul marked a unique practice of Mrs. Newman – she recited the perek of L’David daily with the entire student body, every line pronounced just so in a pattern that strikes a chord in the memory of every Bruriah student.

While she was known and loved by thousands, no one can paint a picture of what Mrs. Newman uniquely accomplished more accurately, more movingly, than the students whose lives she changed. After hearing of her passing, we asked students and alumnae to share how she changed their lives, and the stories came pouring in. The responses, sampled below, range from the general to the specific. All, however, pay tribute to a humbling truth about one person’s ability to alter the Jewish future.

Mrs. Newman was known for her aphorisms, each one containing a bite-size slice of riveting truth. One such aphorism, to which she dedicated her life was: when you educate a girl, you educate a family. Taking that to the next level, when you educate a family, you educate a future. May we be worthy to learn from Mrs. Newman’s example, continuing to build up the Jewish future in her memory and honor.

Student Testimonials:

Rochel Sokoloff, Bruriah Graduating Class of 1975

Mrs. Newman , a”h, came to Bruriah when I was in ninth grade. It was my first year at Bruriah, and hers as well. I had heard that she learned to drive over the summer preceding the school year in order to make the trip to Elizabeth from Flatbush. That single fact amazed me. I saw it as a sign of determination and the sheer will of dedication. I was right. Mrs. Newman set in motion a high school resplendent with fine teachers, both in Kodesh and Chol. Our Kodesh teachers, many of whom traveled in from Lakewood every day, inspired me and shaped my future in a myriad of ways.

Some fifteen years after graduation, I began my own career in chinuch habonos, first as a high school teacher, and today as Dean of Students in Tichon Meir Moshe in Far Rockaway. Mrs. Newman’s leadership continued to inspire me, as I participated in a number of Torah U’Mesorah workshops she ran. What a thrill for both students and principal to work together! Most recently, I was looking forward to participating in the Torah U’ Mesorah Principal’s Fellowship, which she headed. Alas, the Ribono Shel Olam decreed otherwise. I will however continue to inculcate in our students the wonderful lessons she taught me, both as a student and as an educator. Mrs. Newman, we will continue to walk in your footsteps and dedicate ourselves, as you did, to inspire our students to reach for the stars.

Malka (Witkin) Korbman, Bruriah Graduating Class of 1976

As a Bruriah alumnus from Mrs. Newman’s “earlier” days at Bruriah, (I was in the first 9th grade to be in the present main building which we had lovingly referred to as “the new building” at that time…) and as a sister, sister in law, aunt and mother to numerous Bruriah alumni – Mrs. Newman was not just “a principal” – she was a legacy. She hired amazing faculty who introduced us to Tanach, Historia, Halacha, and Hashkafah on a much higher level than we ever thought possible. These mechanchos were wonderful role models for us and helped to shape the way we and our daughters are building our own “batim ne’emanin b’Yisrael“.

Support Israel

Friday, November 30th, 2012

This image was created by Lily Polonetsky of Teaneck, NJ. Lily is 12 years old and a student at Yavneh Academy.

Events In The West

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Prayers for Israel: All over the West Coast, from San Diego to San Francisco to Los Angeles inland to Arizona, and from Las Vegas to Texas to Utah, prayer sessions are taking place daily in shuls and yeshivas for the state of Israel and its IDF. Those who can’t attend the public sessions are saying those same prayers at home. We all hope that by the time you read this, peace will prevail in Israel.

Events In The West: On December 14, YICC will hold a freilich Kabbalat Shabbat davening, led by Yehuda Solomon… From December 24-28, Merkaz HaTorah Community Kollel in the Pico-Robertson area of L.A. will host a yarchei kallah.

Shul News: The latest strategy to get teens to come to minyan on their days off from school and on Sundays is the offer of raffles, featuring sports clothes from hometown teams with snacks following the davening.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Raphy and Michal Shapiro, a daughter… Adam and Joy Kushnir, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Eitan Feifel, son of David and Meira Feifel.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yosef and Sima Bondi, a daughter (Grandparents Howard and Gity Gluck; Great-grandmother Shirley Gluck)… Noah and Marissa Streit, a son (Grandparents Aric and Mary Streit)… Rabbi David and Dr. Ayala Levine, a son (Grandfather Dr. Robert Levine)… Richard and Charlotte Glaser, a son (Grandparents Joseph and Laurene Agi)… Seth and Jenna Rubin, a son… Avi and Aliza Gruen, a daughter (Grandparents Jeff and Judy Gruen; Manny and Sharon Saltiel)… Katriel and Sonia Green, a son… Yosi and Menucha Burston, a daughter… Yoel and Vani Hess, a daughter… Alon and Orlie Zak, a son… Yoni and Chaya Udkoff, a son (Grandparents Drs. Ranon and Rivkah Udkoff of Westlake Village, CA)… Joe and Rochel Socher, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Jonah Kaye, son of Barry and Nancy Kaye… Yuval Harary, son of Avishay and Ravit Harary… Avi Klein, son of Kolev and Shoshi Klein… Yochanan Gabaie, son of Albert and Fardeih Gabaie… Benjamin Goldstein, son of Joey and Tracy Goldstein… Jacob Weiss, son of David and Michele Weiss.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Bracha Stolz, daughter of Joseph and Judith Stolz, to Moshe Hildesheim of Lakewood, NJ… Toby Weiner, daughter of Rabbi Avraham and Frumie Weiner, to Yosef Perkal… Daniela Mordecai, daughter of Dr. David Mordecai, to Dov Kracoff… Chaim Abramson, son of Naftoli and Susan Abramson, to Devorah Elefant… Ayla Simons, daughter of Dr. Steve and Doni Simons, to Betzalel Levin, son of Daniel and Nancy Levin.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Harry Etra, son of Don and Paula Etra, to Daniella Schwartz… Tzivya Isaacs, daughter of Yaakov and Rayme Isaacs, to Yehuda Newman.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Jacob Rubenstein, son of Zev and Janet Rubenstein.

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yechiel and Chavi Leifer of Lakewood, NJ, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Shelaim and Esther Furst)… Avi and Yael Pinsky of Teaneck, NJ, a daughter (Grandparents Barry Pinsky and Linda Scharlin).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Simcha Rauch, son of Rabbi Zev and Rochel Rauch.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Birth: Rabbi Marc and Sara Gitler, a daughter.

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Problem With Rice (I)

I don’t know how those members of the Black Congressional Caucus who labeled criticism of UN ambassador Susan Rice racist and sexist got away with it (“In the Matter of Susan Rice,” editorial, Nov. 23).

She was being challenged because she created a false impression to the public at large, claiming the death of the American ambassador in Libya was not the result of a terrorist attack.

It is indisputable that she did so, though whether she did it knowingly is not yet known. I fail to see any connection to her race or sex in such criticism. I have no doubt that if a white male official did the same thing, he would be similarly criticized. Are those aforementioned members of Congress suggesting otherwise?

Gilbert Rosenberg
(Via E-Mail)

The Problem With Rice (II)

President Obama came into office with a plan to create more balance between America’s relationship with both Israel and the Muslim world. Political reality, however, got in the way and soon forced a midcourse correction. Susan Rice came to office with him but, relatively immune to politics, she remains an unconverted true believer.

I don’t know how much discretion she will have as secretary of state as far as Israel is concerned or how much President Obama will rely on her advice. I do know that at the very least she presents an unacceptable risk.

Rose Ellen Blatt
(Via E-Mail)

The Jewish Vote (I)

I found Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s front-page essay last week (“The Jewish Vote: Same Old, Same Old”) very illuminating. It certainly got me thinking.

I agree with him that cold logic should have drawn most Jews to the Republican Party in the past few election cycles. As he demonstrates quite eloquently, in terms of values and issues we generally are more compatible with Republicans than with Democrats. However, I think it must also be stressed that American Jews continue to worry about their future as a very small minority and are more comfortable with a political party that is seen, rightly or not, as protective rather than merely tolerant of its citizens.

Lawrence Hyman
(Via E-Mail)

The Jewish Vote (II)

The same week Rabbi Pruzansky penned a sour grapes column following the Democratic Party’s sweep of the Jewish vote, an important story was taking place across the ocean. Israel was fighting a defensive war against Hamas, and President Obama demonstrated real leadership.

Contrary to the fears of many Orthodox Republican voters, the president expressed strong support for Israel. As international pressure grew, he insisted that the conflict would be best resolved by local stakeholders, firmly guiding Egypt into a mediator role. Regretfully, Hamas survives to fight another day. But even if we dismiss the record amount in military funding Obama has allocated to Israel in his first term, two words sum up the countless Israeli lives that were saved last week: Iron Dome.

And while Hamas insists on claiming victory, we should be confident that if the truce is broken, President Obama will continue to stand by Israel. A hakarat hatov is in order.

Sergey Kadinsky
Flushing, NY

The Jewish Vote (III)

Rabbi Pruzansky writes: “Based on our race, status, education, employment, etc., Jews should be voting for Republicans but rarely do in significant numbers.” In other words, Jews should vote for Republicans, but they actually vote for Democrats; hence they must be voting based on irrational or misguided thinking.

Now, there are interesting features of Jewish voting patterns that merit examination, but I think the essential incongruity of the Jewish vote is somewhat overstated by Rabbi Pruzansky and others. Consider the exit polling regarding those factors – race, status, employment education, etc. – that Rabbi Pruzansky believes would make any Jew into a Republican Jew.

Most Jews are white, and it’s true that nationally the white vote went overwhelmingly to Romney (59 percent vs. 39 percent). However, Jews are among the most educated groups, and while more college graduates voted for Romney nationally (51 percent vs. 47 percent), in New York, California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the college-educated vote went very heavily for Obama, more so than could be accounted for merely by the number of Jews in the electorate. Moreover, nationally Obama decisively won the vote of those who had done post-graduate study (55 percent to 42 percent).

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Sandy’s Aftermath (I)

Re: “Jewish Communities Among Dozens Decimated By Hurricane Sandy” (front page news story, Nov. 2):

I wonder why President Obama was given such a pass on Hurricane Sandy. The devastation in New York was incredible. My neighborhood is still without power and heat, countless basements are still under water and will need total renovation, and there continue to be long lines lasting hours at those gas stations that mange to get gas. Mass transit is only slowly creeping back.

Yet Obama came to New Jersey and spoke glowingly of his administration’s having pre-positioned food and fuel and other necessities. Then he left almost as soon as he came, leaving all of us to cope with the realities on the ground. One big photo op, that’s all it was.

Harold Miller
(Via E-Mail)

Sandy’s Aftermath (II)

I used to have respect for Mayor Bloomberg even if I found myself disagreeing with him on such things as Sunday metered parking, the midtown stadium plan and the metzitzah b’peh controversy. But he always seemed to be a smart person of rock-hard confidence, vision and the ability to rise above the petty yapping of others.

So I was surprised and embarrassed by his initial refusal to postpone the New York City Marathon in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. How could he have thought even for a moment of diverting resources like police, generators, food, water and hotel space to accommodate the runners?

He should have been spending all his time thinking about how to alleviate the widespread suffering and encouraging all of us to spend our time helping those overtaken by the catastrophe rather than concerning himself with something so relatively unimportant.

Yitzchok Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Israel Needs A Unified Government

I’m not sure I understand the ins and outs of Israeli politics and what exactly the ramifications of a “political juggernaut” will be in the usual political sense (“Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu Election Merger Creates Political Juggernaut,” news story, Nov. 2).

What I do understand is that in the months ahead Israel will need a very strong government to deal with the growing Iranian threat and a probable confrontation with Tehran, as well as what I believe will be increasing challenges from Gaza and Hizbullah. More than ever, a united Israel is crucial.

Chava Stein
Jerusalem

Liberal Churches’ Misguided Focus

The most puzzling aspect of the request by liberal Protestant leaders that Congress cut aid to Israel is the timing (“R.I.P. for an R.S.V.P.”, op-ed, Oct. 26).

At a time when so many minority Christian populations throughout the Muslim world are being decimated by murderous attacks – including churches being torched while parishioners are inside – and are fleeing to any countries open to them, surely these liberal church officials would better serve their co-religionists by restraining the overt animus they harbor toward Israel and focus instead on the life-threatening challenges facing Christians in Muslim-dominated countries.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

Confused By Columnist

I was confused by Rabbi Avi Weiss’s Nov. 2 column, “An Alternative View of the Binding of Isaac.” Rabbi Weiss seems to derive from the Akeidah that God is served “by living and sanctifying every moment of existence” rather than dying in the name of Hashem. How does he then reconcile the concept of yeharog v’al ya’avor regarding certain mitzvot?

Louis Weissman
(Via E-Mail)

Don’t Bash Police

I applaud Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes for dismissing all charges against Ehud Halevy (”New Yorkers Protest Police Beatings; Charges Against Victim Dropped,” news story, Oct. 26).

From what we already know, Halevy seems to have been a victim of circumstance and was not the instigator of the incident. But it would be wrong to generalize from this. Police have a very dangerous job to perform and we should not simply assume they are overreacting.

We should also not resist police even when we feel we are right. It is foolhardy and dangerous. It could also constitute a crime in itself. I think this is something the politicians who rallied for Halevy should have pointed out.

Chaim Dressen
(Via E-Mail)

Stories, Dedications Welcome For New Carlebach Biography

Are you a Shlomo Carlebach fan? Do you have a Carlebach story? A book has been written about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach that is sweeping in scope and destined to become the definitive biography of a charismatic teacher whose influence on Jewish music and liturgy is arguably greater than that of any other person in recent Jewish history.

Separating Religion and Politics – Rabbi Shmuley Loses

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In a race we closely watched, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach lost the NJ 9th District race to his opponent Bill Pascrell 76.1% (97,646) to 22.8% (29,214).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/separating-religion-and-politics-rabbi-shmuley-loses/2012/11/07/

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