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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

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

Real Estate Developers told ‘Go Back to Israel’ at Philly Community Meeting

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

A community meeting in a changing neighborhood of South Philadelphia known as Point Breeze was the site of an ugly incident on Monday night, Feb. 22.

High levels of crime and urban decay have had their way with Point Breeze for years. But such a depressed housing market beckoned real estate developers to the area. Recent interest and efforts at renewal have created exactly the kind of resentment that arises whenever a down-and-out neighborhood begins to attract the kind of attention that leads to clean-ups and demolitions to create newer, pricier housing stock.

Into this cauldron was thrown a spark of racism during Monday night’s meeting.

Real estate developers were giving a presentation when members of an activist community group, Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze, took the criticism to an unproductive level.

According to the local Philly.com media outlet, anti-Semitic verbal attacks rang out.

Those comments included, “Why don’t you go back to Israel?” and “Go back to Lakewood,” which is an ultra-Orthodox community in nearby New Jersey.

The report noted that “some of the presenters were Jewish,” and that at least “one was wearing a yarmulke.”

The meeting was shut down due to an outcry after the anti-Semitic comments were made. Hostilities continued outside the building after the meeting ended.

Ori Feibush is a local real estate developer who was at the meeting merely in his community resident capacity. Feibush wrote on Facebook:

I am sorry to say that after tonight’s meeting, there is no question that anti-semitism is alive and well in America. I was told to go back to Israel. I was cursed at for being a Jew. I watched as 3 Jewish developers presented and the heads of a registered community organization in my neighborhood said “oh they are Jews.” This is not OK. I made it clear to everyone within shouting range that it would never be OK.

The Philadelphia City Councilman representing the district, Kenyatta Johnson, had a staff person in attendance at the meeting on Monday night. Johnson said that because of the comments made at that meeting he had reached out to the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission.

The Councilman issued a statement after the incident in which he said “an individual” made an “anti-Semitic comment” which was “totally inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”

Feibush, who unsuccessfully challenged Johnson in the most recent election, said about the incident: “This was not one person with a screw loose,” Feibush said. “This was a mob mentality.”

Councilman Johnson also notified the Philadelphia Planning Commission of the incident.

On Tuesday, Feibush received an email from the Concerned Citizens anti-gentrification group. According to Philly.com, the email claimed Feibush, with whom the group has clashed in the past, was lying about what happened. It claimed Feibush tried to “twist what was said at the zoning meeting” and was “play[ing] the victim.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

American Airlines Flight to Tel Aviv Declares Emergency

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Friends and relatives waiting for travelers aboard American Airlines Flight #AA796 from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv will have to wait a little longer to see the passengers.

An emergency was declared at approximately 10:30 am Israel time aboard the flight while enroute over England Tuesday morning.

The plane landed instead at London’s Heathrow Airport in order to evacuate a passenger with severe chest pain.

There were no related security issues on board the flight.

Hana Levi Julian

Delta Adds 4 Weekly Flights on Tel Aviv Route

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Delta is picking up traffic American Airlines will lose when it halts its Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route in January.

Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it is adding four flights a week to its JFK-Tel Aviv route in addition to the current daily round-trip service.

The new flights will begin in May, five months after American Airlines, which is merging with US Airways, halts its Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route. The company claimed it was losing $20 million a year on the route.

Delta obviously sees greener fields in Israel. Its additional flights will use a Boeing-77-200ER craft that can seat 291 passengers. Five daily round-trip flights from Philadelphia to JFK will help pick up the traffic that US Airways-American is abandoning.

Delta’s Senior Vice President Nat Pieper stated:

From next summer, Delta will offer more than 2,300 extra seats between Tel Aviv and New York, one of our largest trans-Atlantic markets, responding to customer demand for increased non-stop service.

With 11 weekly services between the two cities and a choice of departure times, we are offering customers greater flexibility when it comes to planning their travel both to New York and throughout the U.S.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Airways (Now American) to Stop Flights to Israel

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The world’s largest airline carrier will no longer fly to Israel.

American Airlines Inc. announced on Thursday, Aug. 20, that it will end its flights between the U.S. and Israel.

The reason for the cancellation was “strictly financial,” American spokesman Casey Norton told Bloomberg News.

American Airlines inherited the route between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv when it merged with US Airways in December 2013.

US Airways inaugurated the daily service to Israel in 2009. The American Airlines spokesperson said the airline lost $20 million on the route last year, and that it has never been profitable.

The trip of 5,740 miles was the longest of American’s flights. The route was serviced by a US Airways Airbus A330 aircraft, with seating for 252 passengers.

Service from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv is slated to end on Jan. 4. The last return flight to Philadelphia is scheduled for the next day.

But Philadelphia-area Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02) released a statement following the cancellation announcement of American Airlines.

Fattah said: “I am strongly opposed to the decision announced today by American Airlines to cancel this flight route. It is a critically important route, both for the constituents in my district who travel between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, and also for the growing business relationship between our city and Israel. The effects of this decision will not only hurt tourism between our two countries, it will have a negative impact on our economies. The ease and accessibility offered by this flight had significant long-term potential to stimulate growth and communication.”

The Congressman said he hopes to work with American Airlines to see if there might be alternative solutions to canceling the route.

“I hope to work with American Airlines to see if there is an alternative solution to cancelling the route and will seek a meeting with the appropriate officials in the coming weeks to discuss options to keep this flight operating.”

United Airlines and El Al still fly from the U.S. to Israel.

This article was updated to reflect the fact that American Airlines merged with, rather than acquired, US Airways.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Two Jews Killed in Amtrak Crash

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Two Jews, a women CEO of a start-up and a Naval Academy students, were among the seven people killed in Tuesday night’s crash of a speeding Amtrak train in Philadelphia.

The family of CEO Rachel Jacobs, who was active in the Reform Jewish community, said in a statement, “This is an unthinkable tragedy. Rachel was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. She was devoted to her family, her community and the pursuit of social justice. We cannot imagine life without her. \”

Jacobs, a native of Detroit who lived in New York City until, was the CEO if the online apprenticeship service ApprenNet. She is survived by her husband and a 2-year-old child.

Jacobs, 39, who grew up outside Detroit, lived in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and is married with a 2-year-old child. She is the CEO of, an online.

The Naval Academy student was identified as Justin Zemser, 20, who grew up in Rockaway Breach in New York.

He was sophomore at Maryland’s Naval Academy and hoped to be a member of the Navy Seal team.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Anti-Semitic Vandalism in Chicago and Philadelphia

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Religious leaders, political officials and community members gathered in a Philadelphia suburb to denounce anti-Semitic vandalism at a Jewish family’s home, where “Move Jew” was spray painted on the home’s garage door.

“It was shocking,” Samantha Raker, who lives at the Yardley Pennsylvania home with her father, Michael, said at the rally.

In Chicago, a synagogue and more than 10 nearby residential garages were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Congregation Atereth Yehoshua and the garages in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of West Rogers Park were defaced over the weekend with slurs that included a Star of David accompanied by the words “F**k U,” according to Fox 32, a Fox News affiliate.

On Monday, Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation painted over the graffiti.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-semitic-vandalism-in-chicago-and-philadelphia/2014/12/30/

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