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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Tuesday the Rabbi Was Kicked Out for Performing Intermarriages

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

The Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement last month expelled Conservative Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom, the spiritual leader of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and president of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network, for performing “interfaith weddings.”

The Torah, which many rabbis are familiar with, prohibits intermarriages: “You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son, for he will cause your child to turn away from after Me and they will worship the gods of others” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). Granted, the Torah here only forbids intermarriage with the Canaanite inhabitants of the promised land; and, granted, the Bible is full of stories about liaisons between Israelites and non-Jewish spouses; but, in the end, Rabbinical law permits marriage only between a man and a woman whose mothers are Jewish, or who converted to Judaism by embracing the commandments before a Jewish court.

In his op-ed for JTA last April (It’s time to allow Conservative rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings), Conservative Rabbi Rosenbloom, 72, who admitted to having officiated in many intermarriage weddings, starting with his own granddaughter’s, urged his peers:

“We can no longer stand on the sidelines, piously refusing to involve ourselves in intermarriage ceremonies. If we extend ourselves with acceptance, if we affirm the legitimacy of the loving choices people make by agreeing to be part of their ceremonies, more couples would be inclined to seek the spiritual fulfillment that comes from Jewish commitment.”

The internal contradictions in Rosenbloom’s statement are mind-boggling, down to the point where he suggests that the gentile spouses would somehow enhance their Jewish commitment under the chuppah. “As they plan their interfaith ceremony, they learn more about the elements of a Jewish wedding. They typically choose to have a chuppah, blessings over wine, seven marriage benedictions, a ketubah and the breaking of the glass.”

Alas, embracing the symbols of a religion without the faithful message they represent (in Judaism, an obedience to God through the performance of the commandments) is not spiritual but fetishist, or, as the Torah describes elsewhere, idol worship.

The Rabbinical Assembly’s executive vice president, Conservative Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, told JTA they are discussing how to deal with the growing demand for inspirational intermarriage chuppahs, but for now the Conservative movement’s adherence to Jewish law requires banning the performance of intermarriages.

“We are a halachic movement and Judaism envisions the marriage ceremony as taking place between two Jewish people,” she Schonfeld JTA. “Through the lens and the vehicles offered by Jewish law and tradition, that’s the avenue that’s open to us in terms of a Jewish matrimonial ritual.”

The 2013 Pew Research Center Survey of US Jews reported that 44% of all currently married Jewish respondents – and 58% of those who have married since 2005 – indicate they are married to a non-Jewish spouse.

The same report found that the rates of intermarriage vary considerably among the major US Jewish denominations. Virtually all Orthodox respondents who are married have a Jewish spouse (98%), and most married Conservative Jews (73%) also have Jewish spouses. Only half of married Reform Jews have a Jewish spouse. Among married Jews who have no denominational affiliation, only 31% have a Jewish spouse.

In his op-ed, Conservative Rabbi Rosenbloom suggested that “we need to recognize that even when two Jews marry, there is no guarantee that their children will be dedicated Jews.” That’s no longer true in post-Pew 2013 America. We do know with certainty that children who are raised as dedicated Jews–regardless of denomination in most cases–are by far more likely to become dedicated Jewish adults.

At the same time, as Schonfeld hinted, there is a creeping acceptance of intermarriages within the Conservative movement. An organization named “Big Tent Judaism” which seeks to embrace intermarried families in the Jewish fold (presumably without the expectation of a conversion of the non-Jewish spouse down the road), in 2015 sponsored a survey of 249 Conservative rabbis which found that 38 percent— 95 rabbis, would officiate at the marriage of a Jew and non-Jew if the Conservative movement lifted its prohibition on these unions.

The survey finds that intermarriage is part of the daily reality addressed by Conservative rabbis and Conservative congregations. Eight in ten respondents have an intermarried family member; seven in ten work with an intermarried volunteer leader in their congregation. Four in ten respondents have attended interfaith weddings, usually of close family members; a handful already officiate at interfaith weddings under some conditions.

On the whole, according to the survey, Conservative rabbis will not marry a person of patrilineal Jewish descent to another Jew, citing halacha, but the survey suggests “their views on Jewish identity are nuanced, as many distinguish between Jewish identity and halachic status.”

JNi.Media

Report: Obama Talked Hillary into Conceding

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

President Barack Obama called Hillary Clinton on election night and talked her into conceding to Republican candidate Donald Trump, The Hill reported this weekend. Citing Clinton campaign sources, Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen, authors of an upcoming book on the campaign from Crown Publishing, have told The Hill that Obama advised his former Secretary of State, “You need to concede.”

Obama made his move at 1:30 AM, according to the new book, after the AP had called the race for Trump. A while later, close to dawn, Clinton called Trump to concede her defeat.

According to The Hill, a fight has ensued between the Obama and Clinton camps over the wisdom of the concession so early in the process, and of trying to force a recount of three Rust Belt states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Several Clinton campaign sources are now saying the Democratic candidate would not have called Trump had Obama not pushed her to do it, because the numbers were very close. “If anybody knew what actually happened that night, no one would have conceded,” one source said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee does not want to be officially affiliated with Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s effort to recount the votes, because they are afraid of being perceived in a negative light as sore losers and as calling the elections rigged – something they criticized Trump for after the third debate. But the Democrats are nonetheless hopeful that Stein would succeed in proving an error in tabulating, if not worse, an outright hacking of the vote.

Stein filed her request for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday, hoping to be able to enforce a similar move in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well. Wisconsin registered just under 3 million votes, and the deadline to complete a recount is Dec. 13. Stein’s campaign needs to raise about $7 million for the effort, and so far its online crowdsourcing has picked up more than $6 million as of Saturday night.

President-elect Trump has tweeted furiously in response to the recount effort, stating, among other things, “Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change.” He also called the Green Party’s effort a “scam” to “fill up their coffers.”

JNi.Media

PA Governor Signs Anti-BDS Bill

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, (the good PA, not the bad PA) signed a bill on Friday prohibiting the State from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel or are connected to the BDS movement.

The bill, HB 2107, sponsored by Representative Matt Baker, prohibits the Pennsylvanian commonwealth from contracting with any company or organization that engages in an economic boycott against Israel.

Governor Tom Wolf said:

“We must make clear that we are in favor of a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States, stand behind our friends and allies, and will not encourage economic punishment in place of peaceful solutions to challenging conflicts,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We, as a Commonwealth, must make sure that Pennsylvania is not contributing to a cause that is antithetical to our country’s position on the world’s stage.”

Representative Matt Baker said:

“I would like to commend and extend my appreciation to the General Assembly and Governor for supporting and signing this important and historic legislation into law,” said Representative Matt Baker. “This legislation makes it very clear that companies can either perform a BDS action or they can do business with Pennsylvania. However, they cannot do both.”

This law will prohibit contracting with BDS businesses, states that a purchasing agency may not contract with a company unless the company certifies that it is not currently engaged in a boycott of an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction not prohibited by Congressional statute from engaging in trade or commerce. Also, the entity must certify that it will not engage in such boycotting during the duration of the contract.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Samaria Activist Yossi Dagan Asked By Brooklynites To Talk About Israeli Resiliency and Terror on 9/11

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan spent Sunday evening after a day of “9/11″ ceremonies explaining Israeli survival skills and resiliency to a gathering of more than 70 residents in the upscale Basil’s restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Many of those who attended had their own history of trauma, with the violence of the recent 25th anniversary of the August 19, 1991 riots in Crown Heights more than just a passing memory.

The event, a memorial evening of solidarity, was appropriately dubbed “Resiliency In The Face Of Terror.”

The evening began with a moment of silence to honor the thousands of innocent victims who died as a result of the Al Qaeda terrorist attack on 9/11, and a short prayer in memory of the 3,000 victims by Rabbi Mendy Margolin.

Dagan arrived after having first paid his respects to the fallen at the site of the attack in Manhattan; the hijackers had also carried out simultaneous attacks at the Pentagon and — foiled by passengers in their attempt to reach the White House — crashing a fourth plane in a field in Pennsylvania.

“On this day I was humbled to visit Ground Zero to share my sympathy for the families and solidarity with the American people,” Dagan said. “Coming from Shomron (Samaria) and representing a community that suffers from terrorism I understand how difficult this is.”

Rabbi Yaacov Behrman introduced Dagan, saying, “We Americans can learn a lot from how Israelis persevere despite the threat of terror, and how they continue to live meaningful productive lives even after experiencing many horrific attacks.”

Clara Perez, general manager of Basil, told JewishPress.com that the restaurant made a special order of wine from Shomron in honor of the event. ” #BDS — ‘Buy Davka Shomron’,” she declared.

Dagan told the gathering that he came to the United States to participate in a series of events aimed at confronting the BDS movement on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

“More than 35 members of Congress attended our conference against BDS and a Shomron Wine Tasting evening in the Capitol Building,” Dagan said.

“The Shomron (Samaria in Hebrew) is at the forefront of the battle for standing up to the haters of Israel. I was moved by the very warm reception of the Jewish community in New York who showed their support for Shomron, the heartland of Israel.”

Dagan said he also visited The Ohel – the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory – in order to pray for the safety and security for the people living in Shomron.

Hana Levi Julian

Biden Reveals US Going Out of Its Way to Extradite Erdogan’s Archenemy

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Turkish rage at the US has been mounting since the failed July 15 coup, which President Erdogan blamed on his former ally Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled cleric living in Pennsylvania. It has gotten so bad, President Obama sent his VP to smooth things over, and the Turks were not making the task easy for Joe Biden. The Turks began by sending Ankara’s deputy mayor to greet Biden—the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Turkey since the coup—at the airport. And while the VP was still visiting, the pro-Erdogan Daily Sabah stated: “Biden wasted a trip, Turkey wasted time.”

But Joe Biden, no stranger to hardball politics, took all of that in stride and stayed on message. For one thing, as Anadolu reported Wednesday, Biden hinted that Obama may be prepared to throw Gulen under the bus. “I can understand Mr. President how some of your countrymen would feel that the world didn’t respond rapidly enough to the existential crisis your country is facing,” the VP said at a joint press conference in Ankara Wednesday. “That’s why I want to personally be here. And I was asked by the president to personally be here to represent him, to tell you and all of your colleagues and your countryman how very, very sorry I am, the president and the American people are for the suffering and loss you have endured.”

Biden then said the US is “committed to doing everything we can to help bring justice for all those responsible for this coup attempt. Even as [we] speak, our American experts are on the ground here in Ankara, meeting with your people, closely coordinating with our Turkish counterparts to evaluate and gather material with regard to Turkish requests to extradite Gulen in accordance our bilateral extradition treaty.”

“We have more lawyers working on this case than any other extradition in recent history,” Biden reassured his host. According to Anadolu, during his earlier meeting with Speaker of Parliament Ismail Kahraman, Biden said he and Obama “wish Gulen were in another country, not in the US.”

Erdogan lectured Biden on how Gulen is operating a global terrorist network from his little home in Pennsylvania, and repeated his demand thata the US immediately detain Gulen, so he won’t give media interviews. Biden reportedly put his face in his hands at this point, and tried to explain the US Constitution to his Turkish host.

“The Constitution and our laws require for someone to be extradited that a court of the United States has to conclude there’s probable cause to extradite,” Biden said. “How long it will take will depend on what evidence is presented. Thus far, until yesterday, there has been no evidence presented about the coup.”

“God willing, there will be enough data and evidence to meet the criteria that you all believe exists,” Biden added later.

Good luck, Mr. Vice President.

JNi.Media

Trump the Republican Nominee with 1,237 Delegates

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Donald Trump now has the number of delegates needed to become the GOP presidential nominee, according to AP. Trump reached the magic number, 1,237 delegates, after a group of uncommitted party delegates had told AP they now support Trump. The official chart on Thursday put Trump’s delegate count at 1,238, with 335 delegates still left unpicked.

The delegates who pledged their loyalty to Trump included Oklahoma Republican Party Chairwoman Pam Pollard. She told AP that Trump “has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is.” (Although a short review of the world’s map revealed that our country is still where it’s always been, smack between Canada and Mexico).

Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House was another delegate who turned to Trump, explaining that “leadership is leadership.” (It really is).

Pennsylvania delegate Cameron Linton told AP that Trump had won his state’s primary, and so he plans to support him, but only on the first ballot at the Convention in July, and not on a second ballot, because “he’s ridiculous. There’s no other way to say it.” (There won’t be a second ballot, by the way).

The Thursday Rasmussen Reports National Election poll show Trump and the presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton still neck and neck, giving Clinton 40% to Trump’s 39%. But a Tuesday NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which showed Clinton leading Trump 46% to 43%, also showed that close to 60% said they disliked Clinton, and 63% said they disliked Trump. Only 40% said they admired or liked Clinton, and only 36% felt the same way about Trump.

David Israel

Anti-Semitism in Philadelphia on Full Display at Community Meeting

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

A Philadelphia City Council Member is taking steps to deal with a full display of ugly anti-Semitism that turned a meeting on gentrification of his neighborhood into a free-for-all.

City lawmaker Kenyatta Johnson last week proposed a bill authorizing the Human Relations Commission to publicize and enforce an ordinance to “regulate the conduct” of registered community organizations (RCOs).

“Organizations with RCO status have an official relationship with the City of Philadelphia, so we must ensure that they operate with a level of decency and order,” Johnson said. “The vast majority of RCO’s work very hard and play a vital function in the development process. This bill will hold all RCO’s to the same standard and ensure that there is a level of accountability.”

The move followed a raucous round of anti-Semitism aimed at Jewish real estate developers two weeks ago at a local meeting about gentrification in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze.

“I want to go on record stating that that language is totally inappropriate, and shall not and will not be tolerated, but most importantly, does not reflect the sentiments of the loving and caring people who reside in Point Breeze,” Jphnson said in a statement to media.

“I’ll be the first to say that gentrification is a controversial issue by which people often disagree, and meetings in gentrifying neighborhoods are contentious and emotionally charged. I understand that. But hateful comments about one’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation will not and should never be tolerated.”

Activists with the Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze were clearly angry at the meeting on Feb. 22 about the city’s gentrification project for their neighborhood. They aimed their rage directly at the Jewish real estate developers who were presenting their plans for the project, including one wearing a kippah.

“Go back to Israel!” the developers were told, along with a few other choice insults, according to a report by Philly.com.

“This was not one person with a screw loose. This was a mob mentality,” said local Jewish developer Ori Feibush, who was not presenting at the meeting but was in attendance.

Feibush has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. He grew up in the city and is a Philadelphia native. “This is not an isolated incident. There’s been a crescendo over the last several years. But this was incredibly antagonistic. No ambiguity: This was 100 percent anti-Semitism.”

According to an eyewitness who asked Philly.com not to use his name, one person yelled, “Go back to Lakewood!” The reference is to a specific, Orthodox Jewish enclave in New Jersey.

The local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League was also informed and had reached out to the various entities involved.

The Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze never returned the call.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-semitism-in-philadelphia-on-full-display-at-community-meeting/2016/03/06/

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