(JTA) — An assortment of pro-Israel groups has issued a joint statement deploring the attack on a Jewish student at Temple University. It also criticized a pro-Palestinian campus organization, and urged universities to monitor it and other likeminded groups.
In a statement released today, 12 organizations, including StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), condemned the incident in which a Temple student, Daniel Vessal, was struck. Vessal, a fellow with CAMERA, was hit in the face by person at an informational booth for the group Students for Justice in Palestine. Students at the booth, set up at a campus fair Wednesday, also allegedly shouted anti-Semitic slurs at Vessal.
SJP issued a statement condemning the attack and denying that the assailant was a member of SJP. The statement also denied that any anti-Semitic slurs were used.
In their statement, the pro-Israel groups alleged that SJP “has a proven track record of intimidation, harassment, and incitement merging into anti-Semitism against Israel and its supporters on campus.” The organizations urged that SJP and groups like it be closely monitored.
They also called on Temple University to condemn the attack. Temple issued such a statement yesterday.
The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty is considering hiring Rabbi Moshe Wiener, the ultra-Orthodox head of the JCC of Greater Coney Island, to replace departing CEO David Frankel.Click here for the rest of the article...
An Ashdod synagogue was hit by a rocket Friday afternoon, injuring three people lightly.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) – Scores of rockets were fired at Israel Friday, one mortally wounding a child in Sha’ar HaNegev, and another lightly injuring three people at an Ashdod synagogue.
The Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council announced the boy’s death. News reports have said that he was 4.
Earlier in the day heavy rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel moderately wounded another Israeli in Beersheva, Haaretz reported.
Two men in their 20s and a woman in her 40s were injured by shrapnel from the Ashdod rocket. All three were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
A senior medic told Haaretz that the rocket damaged the synagogue. “There was a great commotion and many hysterical frightened people,” the medic added.
In Gaza, Hamas reportedly killed 18 Palestinians suspected of being Israeli collaborators on Friday. Seven were reportedly shot in a public execution outside, and another 11 were executed at the Gaza City police headquarters.
A Jewish student at Temple University was punched in the face by someone manning an informational booth for Students for Justice in Palestine.Click here for the rest of the article...
Every day, Edem Richard Adjordor drives throughout Ghana’s Volta region to assist poor families and to rescue children from slavery and abuse. He offers services ranging from medical supplies and health education to providing children with a safe place to live, learn, and grow. Edem is executive director of HardtHaven Children’s Home in Kpando, established in 2007 by Joy Ann Hardt, a registered nurse and American volunteer. The small home cares for orphans and vulnerable children, specifically victims of HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. HardtHaven is a project of UNiTED, a nonprofit community resource and empowerment center also directed by Edem and dedicated to “unifying neighbors through education and development.”
Click on each picture in the gallery below for a full-screen image and a brief caption.
The post Driven by Faith to Help Children of Ghana by Sam Pinczuk appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.
(JTA) — A Jewish student at Temple University was punched in the face by someone at an informational booth for Students for Justice in Palestine.
The pro-Palestinian group condemned Wednesday’s assault of Daniel Vessal and said the assailant was neither a student nor a member of the group, according to the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia.
Vessal approached the booth during a campus fair and allegedly was punched following a verbal exchange that included anti-Semitic slurs, the weekly reported. Vessal was taken to the hospital and subsequently released.
He is a member of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi and a fellow with CAMERA, a pro-Israel media watchdog.
The Temple Hillel expressed “outrage” over the incident. Its director, Phil Nordlinger, told the Exponent that police did not arrest the assailant.
Temple’s Students for Justice in Palestine condemned the incident, “just as we condemn the violence that is committed against Palestinians by the state of Israel on a daily basis.”
However, it also asserted that Vessal had “harassed” its members, calling them “terrorists” and “Hamas.”
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A man who was wrongly convicted of the 1994 murder of a New York City rabbi and spent 16 years in prison received a $10 million settlement from the city.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) — Jabbar Collins, who was wrongly convicted of the 1994 murder of a New York City rabbi and spent 16 years in prison, received a $10 million settlement from the city.
Collins, 42, reached the settlement following three years of litigation that started a day after he was exonerated in 2010, The New York Times reported Tuesday. He had been convicted of murdering Rabbi Abraham Pollack in 1994 as Pollack collected rent in a Brooklyn apartment building.
Collins fought the case from prison by contacting witnesses in the trial and gathering evidence using the Freedom of Information Act. The Times reported that the case shed light on aggressive investigation tactics used by the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
Through discussions with three witnesses whose testimony led to his conviction, Collins found that city lawyers had threatened two of them and a third had been offered an incentive for providing incriminating testimony. Collins also found that the prosecution hid evidence that could have led to his acquittal.
In July, Collins reached a $3 million settlement with New York State.
by Jack Wertheimer
With the new school year nearly upon us, Jewish educational leaders are scrambling to prepare their teachers to discuss this summer’s Gaza War. The most pressing challenge is to design age-appropriate conversations: At which grade level might classroom discussions include potentially frightening topics, such as the wounding of non-combatants, kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets? And how should teachers address the tough issues of civilian casualties in Gaza and the flagrant hostility toward Jews and Israel that has erupted in many parts of the world?
These questions are difficult enough, but are especially freighted with anxiety because they hold the potential to revive stereotypes of Israel that North American Jewish schools have been trying to counter. When Israel was forced to wage three major wars during its first quarter century, its image as an embattled enclave overshadowed everything else about its existence.
In recent decades, though, Jewish schools have endeavored to present a more rounded picture of Israeli life. Without denying the existential challenges facing the Jewish state, teachers have drawn attention to the rich tapestry of Israeli culture — its diverse inhabitants, culinary treats and eclectic music, for example — and, of course, its technological wizardry. School trips to Israel have highlighted the country’s natural beauty and its enjoyable recreational scene, even while exploring the strong connections between the land and the Jewish religion. Educators are understandably loath to resurrect the earlier imagery that simplistically portrayed Israel as a country permanently on war footing.
Responses to the Gaza war require North American Jewish schools to address a second topic that had been pushed to the background in recent years — anti-Semitism. Students in all likelihood are not oblivious of the virulent hostility to Israel and Jews surfacing in the media and on the Web. It’s not clear how prepared schools are to address this issue. In reaction to the overemphasis on the Holocaust the 1960s through the 1980s, the pendulum of American Jewish fashion has swung away from discourse about anti-Semitism. Now, with the blatantly negative media coverage of Israel’s prosecution of the war and the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the globe, the subject warrants considerably more attention.
The dilemma facing schools in addressing the new anti-Semitism is how to avoid reviving what historian Salo Baron once described as “the lachrymose [tearful] conception of Jewish history.” The saga of the Jews is about a great deal more than persecution. Yet with the barely concealed animosity toward Jews evident in some quarters here in America and abroad, alas, the need to teach young people about the insidious nature of anti-Semitism has become pertinent again.
As they formulate a school response to the war, educators might consider three important lessons derived from “Hearts and Minds,” a recent report on Israel education in North American Jewish schools:
First, one size does not fit all students. Classrooms this September will contain some students who are largely ignorant about the Gaza war and others who have been exposed to it up close. Students who spent part of the summer in Israel undoubtedly will attest to what it was like to run to bomb shelters or sense the fear aroused in Israel’s populace by Hamas tunnels. Teachers will face the daunting task of bridging differences in what students heard from their parents and absorbed elsewhere about the war. The diversity of students and their families adds a considerable measure of complexity to an already challenging situation. All of this places a great responsibility upon teachers to prepare differentiated responses to a broad range of students.
Second, when teaching about Israel, it is imperative to work with students’ minds as well as their hearts. Jewish schools have focused their attention especially on the latter, an understandable approach with younger children. But by their middle school and high school years, students deserve to be exposed not only to the joyous dimensions of the Jewish state, but also to the complexities within Israeli society and outside of it in the tough neighborhood of the Middle East.
And third, teaching about other Jewish communities — their achievements and challenges — does not detract from a connection to Israel but strengthens the ties of students to the Jewish people and also Israel. In some parts of the world, notably in several European countries, Jewish communities are under siege. American Jewish students should not be shielded from these ugly realities. This is the time to teach students about the interconnectedness of all Jews, a lesson that will also strengthen their engagement with Israel and its people.
The Gaza war presents Jewish schools with a teachable moment, a time to explore with their students (in an age-appropriate manner) the asymmetrical struggle in which Israel is engaged and the surge in hatred confronting Jews — including children — in many parts of the world.
Jack Wertheimer, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, co-authored “Hearts and Minds: Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools,” published last spring by the AVI CHAI Foundation. This piece and the accompanying photo originally appeared at JTA.org and are reprinted with permission.
A Philadelphia man who served as his synagogue’s informal historian was found beaten to death in his home.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) — A Philadelphia man who served as his synagogue’s informal historian was found beaten to death in his home.
The body of Lee Stanley, 65, a longtime member of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, was found on Friday, CBS Philly reported. Homicide detectives are investigating.
Rabbi Jill Maderer of Rodeph Shalom told the radio station that Stanley’s father, Harry, was a “legendary cantor” at the historic congregation in Center City and that Stanley “had a great love for Judaism, for Jewish prayer, for Jewish history and Jewish music.”
Members of the congregation frequently looked after Stanley, visiting him when he was sick because he had few living family members, the rabbi said.
According to Philly.com, fellow congregants said Stanley as the synagogue’s informal historian “could pluck from his mind details most others had long forgotten — or never thought to preserve: the precise date the congregation changed the melody for a particular song or tinkered with the Hebrew phrasing of a prayer.”
Police said there were no obvious signs of a break-in or of anything taken, indicating the possibility that Stanley may have known or even admitted his killer or killers into the home.
A $20,000 reward is being offered by the City of Philadelphia for information in the case.
Anti-Israel protesters demonstrated outside Geneva’s main synagogue.Click here for the rest of the article...
(JTA) — Anti-Israel protesters demonstrated outside Geneva’s main synagogue.
A Swiss watchdog group said the weekend protests in front of the Beth Yaakov, or Grande, Synagogue were the first public displays of hostility in Switzerland toward Israel since the conflict with Gaza began in early July.
A veiled woman carried a sign reading “Every synagogue is an Israeli embassy” and waved a Palestinian flag on Saturday morning, according to the Intercommunity Coordination Against Anti-Semitism and Defamation watchdog organization, or CICAD. The same protester returned that night accompanied by three men, the group said.
A second woman wearing a Palestinian flag around her neck tried unsuccessfully to enter the synagogue, according to the watchdog. The protesters told police that they have a right to protest and threatened to return the following Saturday.
“With this first public demonstration of hostility towards the Jewish community in Geneva since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, an unacceptable step was taken,” CICAD said. “Synagogues should not become the new places of expression of hatred against Israel.”
CICAD called on local politicians, including those who support the Palestinian cause, to denounce this kind of action against the Jewish community and for authorities to take action to protect the Jewish community.
With the High Holidays approaching, congregations are considering new ways to effectively connect to more youth at this vital time in the Jewish calendar. If your synagogue is among those looking at new approaches this year, consider the following variables:
- Make sure the program content is varied. Teens need spirituality, but are also drawn to the arts, service, current events, and connections to their own passions, hobbies, and commitments.
- Consider the program location. It’s important that teens feel comfortable in the synagogue, but by utilizing different locations, we will open programming to a broader group of teens.
- Timing, schedule, and duration make a huge impact. It’s essential that what we are offering takes place at different times of the day, and for a variety of durations, in order to connect with the greatest number of young people.
- Tap older teens to help plan and recruit their younger peers. We all respond best to personal invitations, and younger teens are always excited when personally invited by an older peer.
In the past, the URJ used email to share different ideas and strategies, and you can still sign up to receive Jewish Holiday Reminder emails from ReformJudaism.org. This year, we are excited to be able to introduce you to an effective collaboration platform, The Tent Yammer Network. Yammer is a great way to share ideas, questions, and thoughts in real-time, and drum up conversation amongst our peers. Want to join the conversation? Visit the Youth Engagement group in The Tent Yammer Network to contribute your examples and see what others are discussing. If you don’t yet have an account or want to learn more about how it works, we’ve put together some helpful information on our website.
The approaching holidays offer us a tremendous opportunity to reflect on all the things we are doing well and the opportunities we have to more deeply connect to even more young people in our communities. Our Reform Jewish youth and their families also look forward to the time when they can acknowledge all they have achieved and their growth while looking forward to the year that lies ahead.
The first two weeks of the Israeli school year will include discussion of Israel’s operation in Gaza, the education ministry announced.Click here for the rest of the article...
JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first two weeks of the Israeli school year will include discussion of Israel’s operation in Gaza, the education ministry announced.
The ministry on Monday issued a syllabus to teachers which calls on them to allow students to talk about their personal experiences and to work on special projects in which they express their feelings about the month-long operation, dubbed Protective Edge.
School starts in Israel on Sept. 1.
Teachers also are asked to hold discussions about freedom of speech in a democratic society and how to hold an open dialogue.
Schools also are expected to hold cultural events and talent shows in an effort to help students relax following a summer of running to bomb shelters and hearing news of rocket attacks.
“We dedicate the first week of school as well as the school year to addressing the scourge of racism and talking with students about the aspects of tolerance, acceptance of others and the eradication of racism in society,” Education Minister Shai Piron said in a statement on the Ministry’s website.
Meanwhile, the Home Front Command is considering changing school bus routes in southern Israel to make sure the students have a protected place to disembark in the event of a rocket attack, according to reports.