The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) will be celebrating its 16th anniversary by honoring nine new individuals at a reception to be held on Monday, May 20 at the Gershman Y.
The 2013 inductees include Ellen Barkann, Bob Brooks, Larry Brown, Fred Cohen, Josh Cohen, Ron Cohen, Bonnie Kay, Marc Rayfield and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Jed Margolis. In addition, the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games' Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes will receive special recognition.
I met Barak Avraham, known as Malaku in his native Amharic, during his 2-week tour of the United States on behalf of AMIT, which supports a network of 108 schools and programs in 29 cities in Israel. Avraham's personal story is a marvelous case study of how AMIT schools turn around individual lives and whole towns. His trek began at age 9 when he walked, with his mother and four siblings, for three weeks from their village of Abu Zava to the city of Gondar in Ethiopia. Sleeping outdoors at night, they were at the peril of anti-Semites, who recognized them as Jews and strangers. (His non-Jewish father, already divorced, stayed at home.)
Technion students Eyal Cohen and Tomer Wassermann from the Mechanical Engineering faculty and Matan Orian and Dvir Dukhan of Industrial Engineering and Management take on the challenge to build a Rube Goldberg machine that lights the Chanukah menorah.
Behind the scenes video of the making of the film follows the jump.
As part of this week's meetings of the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG), U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Israeli Finance Ministry Director General Doron Cohen today marked the extension of the U.S.-Israel Loan Guarantee program in an event in the Diplomatic Room of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a new framework for administering the recently extended U.S.-Israel Loan Guarantee program, which is designed to help the Israeli government access financial resources from private capital markets at affordable rates, in order to promote the country's economic growth and stability. Along with the Loan Guarantee Commitment Agreement administered through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the new framework affirms the United States' confidence in Israel's strong economic fundamentals and the Government of Israel's solid track record of policy implementation.
"Israel is a vital partner and ally of the United States," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "The continued availability of this loan guarantee will allow Israel to continue to enjoy access to capital markets at affordable rates in the years to come."
On July 27, 2012, President Obama signed legislation extending the U.S. loan guarantee program for Israel to 2016. This will allow the U.S. to provide access to up to $3.8 billion in future loan guarantees as part of a $9 billion commitment made by the U.S. in 2003. The loan guarantees, together with effective management by the Israeli government, have helped support Israel's strong economic recovery.
"Israel appreciates the longstanding extraordinary support of the United States for Israel and the relationship between two countries that have so much in common," said Israeli Finance Ministry Director General Doron Cohen. "The JEDG and Loan Guarantees program have contributed to the security and stability of the Israeli economy, and the JEDG will continue to enhance the relationship between our countries."
The Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) awarded three veteran progressive women activists at a ceremony held in the home of Bruce and Carol Caswell in West Mount Airy, Philadelphia, on Saturday, October 13, 2012.
The honorees were State Representative Babette Josephs, City Council member Marion Tasco, and Shelly Yanoff, Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth.
It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama's shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel's capital,
declared Mitt Romney on September 4.
The deletion of a single sentence about Jerusalem in the Democratic platform, which reportedly had been vetted by officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), generated hysterical headlines that went viral and ricocheted throughout cyberspace, arousing panic among Democrats and glee among Republicans. (The Democrats reinserted the language on September 5 after President Obama "intervened directly.")
Ironically, affirming Jerusalem's status as the capital of Israel and the importance of relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been a largely Democratic strategy for nearly four decades, particularly when there has been an incumbent Republican president in the White House. Republicans latch on to it whenever a Democratic president is running for re-election.
(Left to right in back row) Nanci Gilberg, GSC Needs coordinator, GSC members Jay and Robin Cohen and Patti Isakov, and GSC president Stephen Frishberg are thanked by students from the Paley Center who received their bags of school supplies.
— by Scott D. Bluebond and Ann Hilferty
The Golden Slipper Clubs & Charities (GSC) is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2012, as it continues to find new and creative ways to help people in need of their services. Recently, one of the arms of the GSC, its Human Needs and Services (HUNAS) division, launched a school supply drive for children in the Philadelphia area.
Donations by GSC members were collected to buy the supplies. Pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, glue sticks, safety scissors, rulers, etc. were placed in the 50 new school bags that were donated by GSC members Jay and Robin Cohen. Committee members, led by GSC needs coordinator Nanci Gilberg, delivered the bags on Thursday, August 16 to the Samuel Paley Early Learning Center, 2199 Strahle Street in Northeast Philadelphia. The children receiving those bags are graduates of the Center and attended the Paley school.
(L-R) Richard Cohen, inductee; Buzz Bissinger, inductee; Glenn Fine, inductee; Lisa Hoffstein, inductee; Stephen H. Frishberg, board chair; Phil Kendall, accepting on behalf of George Katz; Rich Yankowitz, inductee; (front) Al Schrier, board member; (behind Al), Lewis Katz, Pillar of Achievement recipient; Fred Shabel, inductee; and Michael Barkann, master of ceremonies and Hall of Fame member.
— by Scott D. Bluebond and Debbie Weiss
The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) celebrated its 15th anniversary by honoring eight new individuals in a reception held on May 21, 2012 at the Gershman Y at Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. The 2012 inductees include Buzz Bissinger, Richard Cohen, Glenn Fine, Lisa Hoffstein, George Katz, Fred Shabel, Rich Yankowitz, and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Lewis Katz. In addition, the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games® Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes received special recognition.
The inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent the best of the best, those individuals and teams who, through perseverance, dedication, superior talent and skills, have risen to the top of their respective sports. Their names and achievements are celebrated within the walls of the museum. Each PJSHOF inductee has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, manager, administrator, team owner, or as a member of the media. They must have at least one Jewish parent and have lived within, or competed within the five county Greater Philadelphia area. They have joined a special group of approximately 120 past honorees. This includes the Philadelphia SPHAs, a championship basketball team that was dominant between the two World Wars and later became the NBA Warriors; Philadelphia Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., NFL Films founders Ed and Steve Sabol; Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider; NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, and many others.
President Barack Obama hosted the annual Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House to honor and celebrate the Jewish community's contributions to America. Obama welcomed everyone to the celebration by remarking upon the Jewish community's long and important history of civic involvement. 400 Jewish leaders from across the nation attended. A partial guest list follows the jump below.
Remarks by President Barack Obama White House, East Room, May 30, 2012
This year, we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month — Jewish American Heritage Month, and we're also commemorating an important anniversary. One hundred-fifty years ago, General Ulysses Grant issued an order — known as General Orders Number 11 — that would have expelled Jews, "as a class," from what was then known as the military department of the Tennessee. It was wrong. Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought.
But what happened next could have only taken place in America. Groups of American Jews protested General Grant's decision. A Jewish merchant from Kentucky traveled here, to the White House, and met with President Lincoln in person. After their meeting, President Lincoln revoked the order — one more reason why we like President Lincoln. (Laughter and applause.)
And to General Grant's credit, he recognized that he had made a serious mistake. So later in his life, he apologized for this order, and as President, he went out of his way to appoint Jews to public office and to condemn the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.
Today, we have a few documents on display -- maybe some of you saw them when you walked in. There are two letters of protest from Jewish organizations to President Lincoln. There is President Lincoln's handwritten reply, saying that he had taken action. And there is a receipt for the donation that President Grant made to the Adas Israel Synagogue here in Washington, when he attended a service there in 1876.
So together, these papers tell a story, a fundamentally American story. Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream. But this country holds a special promise: that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.
Today, it's our turn, our generation's turn. And you guys, your generation's turn. You're younger than us. (Laughter.) We got some later generations here in the front. We're the ones who have to stand up for our shared values. Here at home, we have to rebuild an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.
Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace. (Applause.)
It's no secret that we've got a lot of work to do. But as your traditions teach us, while we are not obligated to finish the work, neither are we free to desist from that work.
So today, we don't just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future. And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.
Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein office announced yesterday that 15 Reform and Conservative rabbis will be recognized as rabbis of non-Orthodox communities and put on the state payroll for the first time — on a par with Orthodox community leaders. This out-of-court settlement brings to a close the 2005 petition before Israel's Supreme Court by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and Reform Rabbi Miri Cohen of Kibbutz Gezer. The decision allows for equal financing of non-Orthodox rabbis in regional councils and farming communities throughout the country, but so far does not extend to the larger cities.
Rabbi Gold, who first heard the news on the radio said, "This is a big step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel. Israeli Jews want religious alternatives and with this decision the State is starting to recognize this reality. There is more than one way to be Jewish, even in Israel."
The ruling in this case follows other successes by the Israel Religious Action Center including the placement of a Reform Rabbi in Mevasseret on the Religious Council there, the finding that forced gender segregation on public transportation is discrimination and prohibited, and the allocation of pre-fab units to non-Orthodox congregations for synagogue buildings.
According to DEBKA, "they have a long way to go before their authority is accepted for performing marriages, conversions and other religious matters along with Orthodox and Haredi rabbis." However, this decision has hailed as an important milestone by the Conservative and Reform movements.
"Outside the box and over the top interesting", is how participant Ron Siegel, described his 2012 LimmudPhilly this past weekend. "National leaders and the best of local teachers came out and gave their best. We were like drinking it up." Exclaimed 20 and 30-something Anna and Beth Silver. Sophie Mellon added: "Just today, I learned how to encounter a homeless person in one session, Jewish traditions about creating social change in another, and then I attended a Jewish theater event, a very hot Maccabeat concert, and the discussion at lunch about Jewish values and health insurance, I learned a ton."
Over 400 guests enjoyed this year's Golden Slipper Club Seder.
The Golden Slipper Club of Philadelphia's tradition of holding a Passover Seder for the senior Jewish community continued in 2012. This year's Seder took place at Har Zion Temple in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania on Monday, March 19, a short time before this year's actual Passover holiday on April 6-12, 2012. Passover is a holiday in which Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery to freedom.
This year's Seder committee members, along with events coordinator, Ann Hilferty and executive director, Paul Geller, worked hard coordinating the various entities to make the Seder run smoothly. The 2012 committee includes co-chair Jackie Gilberg and Michael Simon, as well as members Chuck Barsh, David Biloon, Jeffrey Brenner, Robin Cohen, Bob Gilberg, Jessica Gomel, Charlie Hoffmann, Roy Kardon, Howard Levin, Linda Ostach, Barry Sacks, Dan Singer, Shelby Simmons, Lee Tabas, and Scott Wechsler. Stephen H. Frishberg is Club president.
As Penny Kardon, Director of Career Strategies for JEVS, explains,
The program is for current juniors whose families meet a certain income eligibility requirement. This is funded by the Lasko Family Foundation, and it's in its seventh year. It gives students an opportunity to work three days a week in the Jewish community, at a Jewish organization, and two days a week they come to JEVS Human Services' Career Strategies Department, in the Youth Services.
In what appears on its surface to be an unfortunate move shifting Jewish voters out of the district of the only Jewish member of Congress ever elected in Tennessee, Republicans are apparently backing a proposal that would separate Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) from the Jewish constituents and institutions he has represented for a number of years at the state and federal levels.
Austan Goolsbee, former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, advocates for the latke at the 61st annual Latke-Hamantashen Debate on November 26, 2007.
Gary Tubb, Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, advocates for the hamantashen at the 62nd annual Latke-Hamantashen Debate on November 25, 2008.
I learned about these annual debates when my daughter enrolled at the University of Chicago and was even invited to serve as banner-carrier. This year's debate was re-labelled "Sixty-Five and Never Retiring: A debate over Social Security like no other," but I think the more fun symposia are on the original topic of food preferences. The "The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate" published in 2005 by the University of Chicago Press and edited by Ruth Fredman Cernea includes "Consolations of the Latke" delivered by Philosophy Professor Ted Cohen at the 1976 Latke-Hamantash Debate.
So, which do you prefer: the latke or the hamantaschen?
All of us irrespective of party or position should expose and denounce anti-Semitism where ever it occurs, but not tar hundreds of thousands of protestors nationwide because a handful of hateful people show up with offensive signs that can't be taken down in a public park open to all.
As part of a lecture series at the National Museum of American Jewish History, this past Tuesday evening was a session titled, "Challenges to American Jewish Leaders Today." The featured panelists were Dr. Erica Brown, scholar-in-residence at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and winner of the esteemed Covenant Award for her work in Jewish education, and Dr. Steven Cohen, research professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU.
(left to right) Ken Kaiserman, long-time Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) board member and past president, was congratulated on his being honored at the 35th anniversary gala by Mayor Michael Nutter and CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi, who served as auction host.
-- by Bonnie Squires
The Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) dazzled hundreds of supporters with its 35th Anniversary celebration Gala, honoring long-time board member Kenneth S. Kaiserman of Kaiserman Company, Inc., and PTC Producing Artistic Director Sara Garonzik on Monday, June 6 at 6PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Governor Ed Rendell served as master of ceremonies, and his son Jesse beamed approvingly from the first table down front.
In addition to the honorees, Rendell praised Suzanne and Ralph Roberts, and Carl Dranoff, the developer of Symphony House, which houses the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the permanent home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company.
The evening featured appearances by multiple Tony- and Emmy-award-winner Tyne Daly, star of the upcoming revival of Terrence McNally's Master Class on Broadway; Broadway and film star Kathleen Turner, who starred in PTC's world premiere of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins; Tony Award-winner and frequent PTC performer John Glover; Quentin Darrington, star of the recent revival of Ragtime; and the glorious voice of Alexandra Silber.
As world health organizations move toward saving lives through re-introduction of circumcision in developing nations for AIDS prevention, a San Francisco ballot proposes a ban on circumcision under age 18. Since the matter compromises freedom of religion, Jews and Muslims are particularly closely monitoring the process.
While male converts report a negligible loss of sensation, the rite is valued for its spiritual impact. Its meaning is perhaps best expressed as a father once put it to his son at a ritual known to this reporter: 'Son, most men wrestle with this huge impulse to use muscle instead of mind over difficult matters. We circumcised you today because we love you and know that Judaism is the greatest of all treasures that we can pass on to you. Circumcision means to always remember that you are a Jew, and that to be a Jew means to think first, to check out your ethics before you act. Ezekiel said: 'In your blood live.' May this be the only blood that is ever shed in your name." Accordingly, when a Jewish man looks down, his commitment to a mitzvah-centered life, rather than a self-centered or sex-centered life is literally engraved in his flesh. Circumcision is a sign of how much value parent(s) place upon their son being Jewish. It is also part of how a male convert affirms his own "member"ship.
In the accompanying video dialogues with PJVoice Judaism Editor, Rabbi Goldie Milgram and Rabbi Bonnie Cohen discuss the issues around circumcision, Rabbi Cohen's training as a mohelet (mohel - a circumcision professional), her invention of a physical tool to teach the best methods of circumcision, and also ways to make the baby comfortable during the procedure.
In the streets of Madison, we can hear the echoes of Torah. From Moses to Maimonides to modern day Rabbis across the country, Jews have a long and lively history of supporting the rights of working people. Rabbis Bonnie Margulis and Jonathan Biatch recently reported from Wisconsin that standing for worker's rights is "absolutely" the Jewish thing to do. Now is a good moment to ask ourselves, why?
For the past 150 years, labor unions have formed the backbone of progressive movements for social change. In Egypt, the winds of change blew hardest when workers from Alexandria to Aswan joined the youth revolution. In America, unions are woven into the story of empowerment for countless generations of immigrant workers, Jews among them, and the struggle of American minorities-from the sanitation workers of Memphis in the 1960s to the janitors of Los Angeles today.
The 154th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball on Saturday night, January 29, 2011, was supported by many members of the area's Jewish community. A list of the major sponsors, plus a bird's-eye view of participants, highlighted the important role which the Jewish community plays in the cultural life of Philadelphia and the region.
Photos of these community leaders follow the jump.
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