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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rosemary Bernardi’

Evesham School Board Member Quits over ‘J Word’ Scandal

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Rosemary Bernardi, a school board member from Evesham resigned Thursday, saying the uproar over what many perceived as her antisemitic comments had become a distraction for the school district, the Courier-Post reports.

“This local issue has become a distraction for the board to fulfill its mission, which is to provide our students with an educational foundation, in a safe, caring, supportive environment through a cooperative partnership with parents and community,” Bernardi wrote in her letter of resignation.

She also stepped down from her position of vice president with the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Evesham School Board President, aptly named Sandy Student, told the Courier-Post Bernardi resignation came under strong public pressure, which made her lose her ability to do her job properly.

“I’m very happy she made the right decision for the community,” said Student.

Jewish Press reader Carrie Lieberstein who lives in the area objected to The Jewish Press original report on the Bernardi affair, which started with a school 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. Bernardi allegedly said that, since the board was comprised of 5 Jews and only 3 non-Jews, the vote was going to come out along ethnic lines – which it did.

In a talkback, Lieberstein wrote: “She humiliated Jewish school board members by addressing an election topic. She stated. ‘There are five Jewish seats and three open seats.’ Why did she have to draw attention to their religious/ethnic Jewish identities?”

Lieberstein, who said he had been instrumental in bringing the Anti Defamation League to the case, added: “Ms. Bernardi resigned today and the ADL informed me of this.”

Evesham resident Sue Wilder has been asking for Bernardi’s resignation since last month. She also filed an ethics complaint against Bernardi, according to the Courier-Post.

Others, like Evesham resident David Thompson, said that Bernardi’s comments were taken out of context.

“Something reprehensible happened that night,” he said of the May 23 meeting. “The reprehensible action was that five board members voted to change the schedule, after voting for it twice before.”

In a separate talkback, after accusing The Jewish Press of taking lightly that which is a very meaningful concern for the Jewish residents of Evesham, Liberstein advises: “By the way, it’s always okay to admit that perhaps you made a mistake. Humility is a good thing.”

I must say, living in a Jewish state, surrounded by nothing but Jews most of the time, it is possible that I’ve forgotten the more brittle quality of Jewish life in diasporah, and so I certainly apologize for that, especially if my callousness hurt a reader’s feelings.

I also have to say, it’s fun living in a Jewish state, surrounded by nothing but Jews most of the time.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hint-of-antisemitism-hyper-pc-in-nj-school-board-vote/2013/06/04/

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