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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

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.


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

Meet the 16 Democratic Senators Who Can Scuttle ObamaDeal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Opponents to the agreement with Iran are lacking approximately nine Democratic senators to override a Presidential veto of its rejection, but the truth that is an opposition victory might have limited meaning.

Congress cannot strike down the agreement, which was made along with five other Western powers. All it can do is block President Obama’s agreement to lift U.S. sanctions.

Doing so would be very significant, both politically for President Obama and the Democratic party as well as for American’s relations with the other P5+1 countries and Iran.

There are seven undecided Democratic senators, according to a tally by the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips.

If all of them turn against President Obama, it will be easier to convince a couple of others whose positions are not yet known.

The seven undecided Democrats, acceding to Phillips, are:

Michael Bennet of Colorado;

Ben Cardin of Maryland;

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania;

Joe Donnelly of Indiana;

Tim Kaine of Virginia;

Bill Nelson of Pennsylvania;

and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Cardin is one of the most important of the undecided. He attends Baltimore’s largest and wealthiest modern Orthodox Beth Tfiloh Congregation, which is highly pro-Israel.

He told NPR this week:

Israel’s security issues are of major concern. We don’t want to see an arms race in the Middle East, so it is a factor. And it’s a factor that I’m sure we will carefully consider.

Earlier in the week, Cardin told Bloomberg:

There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments.

The nine Democratic Senators whose positions are not known are:

Cory Booker of New Jersey;

Maria Cantwell of Washington;

Claire McCaskill of Missouri;

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota;

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland;

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington;

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

One of the most pivotal of the “unknowns” is McCaskill. She stated this week:

Preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is paramount to our national security, and if this agreement accomplishes that goal, it will make the world a safer place for America and our allies. I plan to spend the coming weeks taking a hard look at the agreement’s details to ensure that it will result in a verifiable way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Phillip’s tally shows 43 senators “leaning” to vote against ObamaDeal, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, and only 26 are in favor or are leaning in favor.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Mass Stabbing in Pennsylvania High School

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

A 16-year-old student went on a mass stabbing spree in Franklin Regional High School on Wednesday. The school is located in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, a suburb of about 20,000 people located about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh.

A security officer and 21 students were wounded before the stabber was stopped by assistant principal Sam King, who tackled him. It took two to handcuff him, finally.

Several of the victims were listed in critical condition; they and a number of others were airlifted by four medical helicopters to nearby hospitals. Most of the wounded were ages 14 to 17 years old.

The attacker was armed with two “straight knives” about 8 to 10 inches long, according to police. He was described by a classmate as a “quiet person who kept to himself,” according to media reports. Neighbors and acquaintances all described the attacker’s family as “nice, just nice.”

Police and FBI searched his home for clues to a motive for the Pittsburgh-area attack. The teenage stabber’s parents both work, and his brother also attends the high school where he carried out his rampage.

Witnesses called student Nate Scimio a “hero,” saying he kept his head during the attack, activating the school’s fire alarm and helping to shield his classmates.

The school is closed for the next several days while security officials investigate the incident.



Jewish Press Staff

New York, Pennsylvania Sukkahs Top ‘Sukkathon’ Competition

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in 'Sukkathon'

Sukkah in Queensbury, New York assisted living facility shares top ranking in ‘Sukkathon’

Three sukkahs, two in the United States and one in Israel, will share the title of “Number One Sukkah” as the winners of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s first Sukkathon competition.

The three winners are the sukkah at Terrace at the Glen, an assisted living facility in Queensbury, New York; the Schachter family sukkah in Pennsylvania; and the sukkah of the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

“We are starting a New Year and these olim (immigrant) children represent the real hope in this country,” said competition judge Betina Schnaid, an artist who made aliyah from Brazil. “I wish for them to be happy in Israel for many years, and that each one give the best of themselves to improve this country and that the ceiling gets higher over the time and that they will have their own families in Israel. The sky is the limit for these beautiful olim!”


JNS News Service

Remembering a Community’s Selfless Response to Hurricane Sandy

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

With the coming of the New Year I can’t help but think of the past year’s highlights. While many memorable events occurred in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Jewish community in 5773, one in particular stands out for me: our response to Hurricane (later named Superstorm) Sandy.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy pounded America’s East Coast. Numerous communities in New York and New Jersey were devastated by flooding. Although Harrisburg experienced strong winds and heavy rains we were, thankfully, spared the fury of our temperamental Susquehanna River.

Our feelings of relief, however, were cut short when we learned just how badly other communities had fared. We soon heard of Jewish communities whose very infrastructure – schools, synagogues and homes – had been destroyed by the storm. To make matters worse, many of the areas most affected by Sandy were left without power for weeks after the storm.

Very quickly, Jewish relief organizations sprang into action to assist those who had lost everything. News stories abounded about ad-hoc aid centers, soup kitchens, and food and clothing distribution points that had been set up in Jewish day schools and synagogues.

It did not take long before Harrisburg’s diverse Jewish community found itself directly involved in the relief effort.

In a short span of time our shul, Kesher Israel Congregation, raised and distributed thousands of dollars to help fund those relief organizations actively assisting families most affected by Sandy.

The teens of the local Jewish Federation’s Bnei Tzedek group collected an incredible amount of canned goods, batteries and flashlights for Jewish families left without power in the Far Rockaway section of New York.

The Federation here also organized a clothing drive to help families of all backgrounds left without belongings in Sandy’s wake.

Perhaps most impressive, however, was our community’s rapidly assembled relief mission to Staten Island, New York.

In a wonderful statement of unity, a group of volunteers spanning Jewish Harrisburg (and beyond) spent Wednesday, November 14 in Staten Island helping hurricane victims in a hands-on fashion. Starting at 4:30 a.m. our group met at our JCC to load our bus with an abundance of supplies and clothing our community had donated for the hurricane victims.

Our group of relief volunteers represented the diverse nature of Harrisburg’s Jewish community. From an excited bunch of 7th graders in our local Jewish day school to a hard-working volunteer in his eighties, our group also spanned all ages. Once in Staten Island, we worked through the Young Israel, which had become one of the command centers assisting area residents hit by the storm.

In the days following Sandy, families of all religions, backgrounds and circumstances who had been devastated by the storm reached out to the synagogue for assistance. Upon our arrival we handed off our collected goods and the synagogue’s relief coordinator found appropriate jobs for each member of our group. In one way we all put in a hard day’s work assisting families, both Jewish and non-Jewish, whose homes had sustained damage ranging from flooded basements all the way to total loss. As a result of our efforts, Harrisburg’s Jewish community gained national attention.

What prompted our relatively small Jewish community out in Central Pennsylvania to be so generous with funds, resources and time? While a number of factors certainly played a role, I believe there is one that cannot be ignored.

The Jews of Harrisburg can honestly identify and sympathize with flood-stricken families, synagogues, and schools. As Harrisburg is nestled along the banks of the Susquehanna River, we know all too well what it means to suffer the effects of a hurricane. Having been through something of this nature on several occasions (my congregants report that the worst was Hurricane Agnes of 1972), our collective reaction was that of understanding, empathy and a sincere wish to be part of the relief effort.

In the months since Hurricane Sandy I have received many thank-you notes from people who were assisted by our community. I would venture to say, however, that those of us who did our best to help others in their time of need were ourselves, on a different level to be sure, very real beneficiaries of that relief effort.

Rabbi Akiva Males

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/remembering-a-communitys-selfless-response-to-hurricane-sandy/2013/08/29/

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