Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, is urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to keep the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia open. Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it is considering closing the consulate.
In a letter dated November 26, 2013, Shapiro wrote that the consulate "is critical to the continuance of the longstanding relationship between the people of Israel and our region." Shapiro went on to say that the consulate "is of vital importance to our respective nations' common interests and its continued operation will serve to enhance the mutually beneficial economic and business connection between Israel and our region in Southeastern Pennsylvania."
In the letter, Shapiro references Netanyahu's upbringing in Montgomery County during which the future Prime Minister graduated from Cheltenham High School. "The Greater Philadelphia region is an economic hub for Israel, processing 25 percent of Israel's nearly $20 billion in exports to the United States each year," Shapiro wrote, adding that the presence of the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia is integral in that process.
Shapiro is active is many Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in the area. He has traveled to Israel six times, and has met Netanyahu twice.
The graph on the right shows how the United States stands out in the world of health care; we spend far more on healthcare than any other country but our life expectancy is lower than most advanced nations.
However, now that healthcare.gov is back online, many Americans have turned back their personal cost-curve on health care. Even Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was embarrassed by his success in signing up for Obamacare during a big show he orchestrated in order to demonstrate the failure of the website. (According to NBC, a DC Health Care exchange representative actually tried to contact Boehner by phone during the enrollment process but was put on hold for 35 minutes.)
Judith Silverstein, 49, a Californian who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. Her family helps her pay the $750 monthly cost of her existing plan--which she only had because of federal law requiring that insurers who provide employer-based insurance continue to offer coverage if the employer goes out of business, as hers did. Next year she'll get a subsidy that will get her a good "silver" level plan for $50.
Mayor Michael Nutter joined the festivities as enormous Hanukkah Menorahs were lit at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station and on Independence Mall. The Philadelphia Lubavitcher Center says the Menorah on Independence Mall is the largest menorah in the world.
Photo of the Mayor Nutter and the 30th Street Station Menorah by Gabrielle Loeb.
Videos of the National Menorah lighting near the White House follow the jump.
Among the wonderful aspects of our Jewish community in Philadelphia is the close relationship we have with the State of Israel. We do not take that relationship for granted. It comes as the product of hard work, constant communication and, perhaps most importantly, personal contact. The close personal contact we have with Israel in Philadelphia comes from the warm relationship which we have with the Israel Consulate and, specifically, the Consul General.
I was saddened to receive the news that the government in Israel is considering closing our Consulate. Understanding the financial burdens which weigh on the State of Israel, I am sympathetic to the need to cut costs in many programs. At the same time, the work of the Consul General and the Consulate creates the close and warm bond which we feel toward Israel, ultimately impacting positively on Israel's economy through our support. We benefit from the Consul and his office through his personal presence at so many of our synagogues and Jewish Institutions. He provides a friendly and knowledgeable voice for the State when he speaks, contributing strong support for Israel when she is attacked, a voice of reason, warmth and encouragement for those of us who work to support Israel.
Titled "Liberty, Food & Justice For All," its goal is to bring hundreds of people across the Jewish community together around issues of food, sustainability and Jewish life, as well as to celebrate Philadelphia's unique Jewish culture. I invite you to join me for my presentation about locusts, the only type of kosher insect. The more intrepid among you will have the opportunity to taste roasted, spiced locusts.
Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER) held a leadership conference the gymnasium of Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 North 12th Street in North Philadelphia, on Monday, September 16, 2013.
POWER is a coalition of religious congregations-Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim-organized to deal with such social problems in Philadelphia as unemployment and low-quality schools.
The Reverend Kevin R. Johnson, Pastor of Bright Hope, welcomed everyone, saying, "Bright Hope has always been (a home for) things that matter to people who are really at the bottom. The reason why POWER is so important is because it gives those at the bottom a voice." Speaking of POWER's work in campaigning for decent schools for Philadelphia children, Johnson said, "The fight for public education and proper (school) funding is not is not for my children and for your children, but it's for the children who have no voice...whether the topic is education, or it they're talking about issues like, we are here, and we're glad you are here." At that point, Johnson handed Royster a check for Bright Hope's membership in POWER.
Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel, also known as "The Little Shul," has hosted sequential Orthodox congregation services since 1886. The current congregation exists in the tiny building since 1914. "Driving down the street, you would not know The Little Shul is here," explained the current congregational president, Richard H. Sisman.
The shul was recently featured in the Philadelphia's Hidden City Festival. Hidden City, a Philadelphia non-profit, holds this festival every few years to Philadelphia's highlight hidden cultural and architectural gems.
"We were chosen as one of nine sites to be included in the festival," said Sisman. "We also had an artist involved, Andrew Dahlgren, who set up a mechanical knitting lab upstairs, and so people were able to participate in making a piece of cloth that was draped in front of the building."
Kahal Kadosh Mikveh Israel, "The Hope of Israel," is the oldest Jewish congregation in the city of Philadelphia, and the second oldest congregation in the United States. It dates its roots back to 1740 when Nathan Levy, upon the death of his child, applied for a grant of land at 9th and Spruce Streets from Thomas Penn, Proprietor of Pennsylvania, to consecrate as a Jewish burial ground.
President Barack Obama met this morning with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and a dozen of his fellow police chiefs and sheriffs:
Police Chief Daniel Oates, Aurora, CO (scene of 2012 movie theatre shooting) seated two to Obama's right,
Police Chief Michael Kehoe, Newtown, CT (scene of 2012 Elementary School shooting) seated next to Biden,
Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County, MD (scene of many of the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks),
Police Chief Robert Villaseñor, Tucson, AZ (scene of 2011 attack on Rep. Gabby Giffords),
Police Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City, UT (scene of the 2007 Trolley Square shooting),
Police Chief Janeé Harteau, Minneapolis, MN (scene of the 2012 Accent Signage Systems shooting),
Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, Las Vegas, NV (scene of the 2010 Federal Courthouse shooting),
Police Chief John Edwards, Oak Creek, WI (scene of the 2012 Sikh Temple shooting),
Sheriff Richard Stanek, Hennepin County, MN (scene of the 2003 Court Tower shooting),
Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago, IL,
Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald from Story County, IA, and
Sheriff Larry Amerson from Calhoun County, AL
They discussed gun violence prevention in the White House's Roosevelt Room, along with Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Biden's chief of staff Bruce Reed.
Obama spoke for roughly three minutes about the importance of hearing from law enforcement leaders on the issue of gun violence and what communities across the country need from the federal government in order to curb the number of mass shootings throughout the the country.
Mr. Obama thanked the police chiefs and sheriffs for coming to the White House today and recalled the executive actions he took earlier this month, as well as his legislative goals, and called on Congress to work with the administration to pass them.
For many spiritual seekers, the complaint about Judaism is that it doesn't seem like it has what it takes to be a springboard for a life of meaningful relevance. The lack of easily accessible contemporary theology seems to create a great divide between honoring the ancient and finding a way to appreciate the practice of Judaism as an integral part of everyday life. Other traditions and practices such as Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness seem to give both solace and a sense of growing personal empowerment that many Jewish practitioners seek in a harried time.
The Food Network is looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they're at the top of the culinary game and want to inspire a Food Network audience through their passion for food and cooking!
Please find the details of our event below:
Philadelphia Open Casting Call
Date: November 8th, 2012
Location: Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Please go online to apply and for more information on casting events!
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.
Honorees Bob and Shelby Ford are joined by Gwen Borowsky and Arlene Silver at the National Liberty Museum awards reception and dinner., where the Fords were honored for their devotion to glass sculpture and their support of the museum and its mission. Photo: Bonnie Squires
— by Bonnie Squires
What do you do when your world-class glass scupture collection outgrows your residence? If your name is Irv Borowsky, you buy an historic former bank building in Philadelphia and transform it into the National Liberty Museum. You commission Dale Chihuly to create a four-story glass chandelier which indicates the flame of revolution and the fragility of freedom. And then you hold an annual Glass Art Weekend & Auction Gala, and you honor supporters of the museum who are themselves connoisseurs of glass sculpture. This year's awards reception and dinner honored Shelby and Bob Ford and Inna and Alex Friedman. Artist Therman Statom, who does unique things with glass, was also honored.
Chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art trustees, the Honorable Constance Williams, joins His Excellency François Delattre, the French ambassador to the U.S., and Michael Scullin, Esq., Honorary French Consul in Philadelphia. Photo: Bonnie Squires.
— by Bonnie Squires
Jules Mastbaum, the Jewish philanthropist who, in the early 20th century, created and donated to the City of Philadelphia his fabulous collection of Rodin sculptures and the "jewel box" of a museum to house it, would have been very pleased with the number of Jewish philanthropists who turned out on September 15 for the Rodin Gala and fundraiser.
Mastbaum, who made his fortune as a movie theater mogul, spared no expense in having his "jewel box" of a Beaux Arts museum designed and built to house his collection.
The Republican Jewish Coalition flew and bused volunteers to campaign yesterday Sunday, September 9 and today Monday, September 10 in three metropolitan areas:
Philadelphia and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
South-Eastern Florida, and
Ron Kampeas reports that this is part of a $6,500,000 microtargeting campaign funded in part by gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson (pictured right at the RJC "Friends of Israel" reception at the Republican National Convention).
Ohio (1.3% Jewish) and Florida (3.4% Jewish) are once again battleground states and are being hotly contested by the Romney and Obama campaigns. Pennsylvania (2.3% Jewish) has traditionally been a swing state, but lately it has been considered fairly safe for the Democrats, and accordingly Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers' Super-PACs "Restore Our Future", "Crossroads GPS" and "Americans for Prosperity" all announced last week that they were pulling out of Pennsylvania and Michigan and concentrating their ad buys on more competitive states. We asked the RJC why they were skipping Nevada which is a very competitive state with a 2.8% Jewish population the most of any swing-state other than Florida, but Stu Sandler and Bill Wanger had no comment. (See comment posted below.)
The RJC invited us to observe their outreach effort in work in our area. Local members of the RJC were joined by supporters bused in from Bethesda, Maryland and the New York area. Some volunteers flew in from as far away as California. In all about 400 Republicans were assembled at the Radisson Valley Forge Casino Resort.
During the breakfast, RJC leaders and volunteers were all eager to share the views with us. One deplored a "certain strain of the Jewish community that cares more about the Democratic party than about Israel." I asked if she was referring to extreme elements of the grassroots or about any particular elected officials, and she cited Rep. Alysson Schwartz as an example saying
Allyson Schwartz will be a Democrat [sic] believer until the day she dies even if they start wearing brown shirts
(a reference to the color of the uniforms of the Strumabteilung which played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power). Other members of the crowd echoed Lynne's contempt for the Democratic Congresswomen and cited DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Former Rep. Robert Wexler, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach, and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro as "traitor to their faith."
I discussed the Democratic and Republican party platforms with Lynne Lechter, Republican Committeewoman in Lower Merion and former candidate for the Pennsylvania Assembly (shown right at the National Women's Committee of the RJC at the Green Valley County Club in 2009). Asked about the Republican platform which echoes Rep. Todd Akin's support for a blanket ban on abortions without any exception for rape or incest, Ms. Lechter said that to her "platforms are not relevent. People don't always agree with everything in the platform." However, she felt that the original Democratic platform "underscored the hatred of Democrats for religion and Israel."
Once you get your ticket for Jewish Heritage Night with the Philadelphia Soul, sign up for the Major League Dreidel tournament which will be held at 5pm before the game. Test your skills in the "Spinagoguge" - 124 people will compete, first come, first served T-shirts, hats and more to participants.
You are invited to join the Philadelphia Jewish Voice and the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community at the Wells Fargo Center for an exciting, family-friendly evening of arena football as the Philadelphia Soul take on the Pittsburgh Power during the Soul's Jewish Heritage Night, Sunday, June 24 at 6:05 pm. In addition to the non-stop action that arena football brings, the evening will also feature kosher food and Jewish themed entertainment.
Each ticket costs $28.
Ticket prices have been reduced to $19!
Tickets can be used for Jewish Heritage night or for any 2012 Philadelphia Soul regular season home game. A portion of the proceeds will support the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
This Thursday, you're invited to the premiere of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's documentary about President Obama's first three years in office and the tough calls he made to get our country back on track.
Check out the trailer (if you recognize the narrator's voice -- that's Tom Hanks) and join a screening in Philadelphia this Thursday, March 15th. RSVP now to save your seat.
Where: Independent Charter School, 1600 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia area Russian citizens vote in Russian Presidential Election at Klein JCC, Saturday, March 3
Russian citizens residing within the Philadelphia area will cast their ballots in the Russian presidential election through a special voting center set up in Room 218 at the Klein JCC, located at 10100 Jamison Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Candidates in this presidential election are:
Vladimir Putin (United Russia),
Gennady Zyuganov (Communist),
Sergey Mironov (A Just Russia aka Social Democrat),
Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democrat), and
Mikhail Prokhorov (Independent).
The special election center is being established through the Russian consulate in New York City. Voters in Russia will go to the polls on March 4.
(JSPAN) The third Progressive Summit in Philadelphia begins Friday night with a debate between Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy at 6:30 pm at Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St. (just north of City Hall).
On Saturday and Sunday there will be workshops and panels about critical issues progressives are working on this year, and some of the best practices in progressive organizing. Saturday evening is a night of comedy and a variety of parties. The full agenda is here. Here is a link to register for the Summit.
The Summit is a place to build relationships and network with other progressives. Start with JSPAN Board member Marc Stier who will be on two panels, Don't Stop Believing: Managing Activism Fatigue, and Building Coalitions That Win.
A friend recently signed me up for a subscription to Philadelphia Magazine (thanks Doug!) I opened the issue and on the first page was a letter from the Chairman (who knew magazines had chairs?) about an incident on a Philadelphia trolley. The basic story is that there were about 20 people riding a trolley, and a mother started hitting her 2 and 4 year old children. All but one person said nothing. One person said "If you hit that child one more time, I will call the police and follow you home and make sure they arrest you."
I put the magazine and asked myself what I would do in that situation. Take a moment and ask yourself what you would do....
Back to the Chair's letter, which went on to talk about the aftereffects of violence on young children. About how we, as a society, tend to look the other way.
Magazine went down again...how many things do we see every day and do nothing about? The SOPA and Komen uprisings of the past few weeks took very little for people to do: Facebook and Twitter posts, a few phone calls, some checks. One-time deals, for a lot of us, and in a lot of ways an abstraction. There was no immediate threat to our internet access, no woman with a breast lump asking us what to do since Planned Parenthood was her sole option for a mammogram. How many of us stand up and really rail at what the right is doing on their march to take America back to the 1850's? How many would say something when a parent is beating a child?
There are a few other things in the story. The original post from the person who stood up is here. Turns out that the mother, and all the other riders, were black and the author was white. You can use the links in the post to see that a lot of people thought the author did the wrong thing: that he is a racist, and that had the parent hitting the child was white, the situation would have been different.
EEWWW....Is this really a racist thing? I read the comments and wondered if people thought it was somehow okay to hit black children but not white children. I read about the "kindness cure" and wondered...had the author picked up the girl, how many people would have accused him of kidnapping, or pedophilia, or something in that vein?
The whole societal, and political, issue to me has to do with standing up. If you're a long time reader, you know that I believe it is incumbent on decent people to stand up. Both in individual direct situations, and in the overall political realm. The sole time I was in a situation where there was a child in immediate danger I saw a father punch his boy in the face and send him into the canned goods on the supermarket shelf. Without thinking, I attached the boy to my leg (he came up to my knee), covered him with my coat, and told the father (who was twice my size) that he would have to hit me before he hit the boy again. The mother, who was pushing the cart with another child in the seat, started screaming that I was trying to kidnap her son. Things got loud, people came, police came, and then they watched the films from the security cameras. They were white people, but I live in an integrated neighborhood, and we all shop in the same supermarkets. I would have done the same thing had that child been black, or purple, or anything - to me, he was just a little boy with a fist impression on his face.
But I fear there is truth in the idea that as a society, most of us are holed up in our houses, interacting through social media, and less involved in "the neighborhood" than we were a generation ago. I heard a pundit refer to Americans as "the silenced majority" as opposed to the silent majority - the idea being that even if we do things, media has so much power that our actions are kept silent from our fellow Americans. I don't know whether we are silent or silenced, but I'm leaning toward "both of the above" and we need to start thinking about changing that. But maybe you feel differently....
What do April 15th and the Shevat 15th have in common? Both are tax days! Two thousand years ago, the 15th of Shevat was when the twelve Hebrew tribes paid tithes to the Levites in Jerusalem. Tu B'Shevat, the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat, is described in the Mishnah as the New Year for Trees. During the times of the Temple, fruit tithes would be calculated beginning on Tu B'Shevat. Fruit that grew on trees after the fifteenth day of Shevat was counted for the tithes that were due the following year. These tithes supported the Levites, helped feed the poor, and paid for Tu B'Shevat festivities in Jerusalem.
Following the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans, the Jews were exiled from Israel, and tithes were no longer paid. The Jews in the Diaspora preserved the memory of Tu B'Shevat by remembering their connection to the Land of Israel. In the Jewish communities of Bukhara, Uzbekistan, and Kurdistan, Tu B'Shevat developed into the "day of eating the seven species." The seven species are the seven fruits and grains that are listed in the Torah as special products of the Land of Israel. In the 16th century Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the famous mystic of Safed, and his students collaborated to create the Tu B'Shevat Seder. The observance of Tu B'Shevat has undergone many permutations
since that time.
How can you and your family enjoy this ancient holiday in present day Philadelphia?
Some hands-on ideas to bring your families the warming spirit of Tu B'Shevat this winter follow the jump.
If you're like me, it's a let-down to buy produce flown or trucked in from California, which is what are available these days in the supermarkets, even in Whole Foods, which may have the biggest selection of organic produce around. Some farmers' markets are open on Saturdays, but if you keep Shabbat, your best option is the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. It's open seven days a week, and it's indoors, so you (and the vendors) do not have to freeze in the open air.
When was the last time you've visited this market? You'll be surprised and delighted by the lively changes there. Check out the Reading Terminal Market website for fun events, including the Valentine Day's wedding of four couples in the center court at noon.
"Children are not like roads. They will not remain static over the next few years and they will not get the chance to redo these school years when the economy gets better."
- Debra Fuchs-Ertman, Scarborough, Maine
William Paterson's distinguished career as New Jersey's governor and senator, and subsequently as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, is a tad tarnished by his service as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
The framers of the Constitution are habitually hailed as visionaries. Not altogether true. Paterson balked at the Virginia Plan for proportional representation in Congress. He predicted that the most populous states would dominate the agenda in Congress. Proportional representation would leave New Jersey and the other small states on the margins of power.
Paterson ultimately accepted the Connecticut Compromise that affords each state equal representation in the Senate and proportional representation in the House.
With 8.7 million people, New Jersey is today America's 11th most populous state, ranking immediately above Virginia. These days it seems as if the least populous states dominate the agenda, leaving the larger states - New Jersey among them - on the margins of power. Moral of this story? New Jersey and you, congested together.
Bruce Ticker has written a new book American Vision. He has given us permission to publish this work as a weekly series. Here is the prologue.
Even on a day when almost nothing happens, the course of American history can be set for more than two centuries.
One such day was July 17, 1787. The birth of the Connecticut Compromise is customarily dated to July 16, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia approved a fresh but flawed legislative system, as part of a broader package of provisions for the budding Constitution.
Prior to 10 a.m. on the 17th, delegates from the most populous states to the Convention gathered at what is now Philadelphia's Independence Hall to assess the convention's vote from the day before.
The Connecticut Compromise created a split form of government: Each member of the House of Representatives would represent the same number of Americans, on a proportionate basis, and each state would be represented by the same number of senators regardless of population.
It's January! Time to snag a spot in the summer camp of your children's choice! One of Philadelphia's hidden treasures is the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in University City. It offers culinary camps for participants from age seven to fifteen. I sent my three children to The Restaurant School camp a few years ago. How did I decide that this would be a good choice for them? I stopped at the Restaurant School's Allison Mansion one day at lunchtime. There, in the middle of what could have been a courtyard in Florence, I saw a chef instructor, surrounded by his students. In one hand, he held a glass of red wine, in the other, a piece of chocolate. I was ready to move in!
Over 900 Jewish high school students from across North America will gather in Philadelphia December 25-29 for United Synagogue Youth's annual international convention. The convention, the largest annual gathering of Jewish young people, wraps up a year of events marking USY's 60th anniversary, and will include an attempt - expected to be successful - to achieve the official world record for the most dreidels spun simultaneously in the same room; remarks by Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, the highest ranking Jewish member of the U.S. military; and student participation in community service work in Philadelphia.
In the spirit of giving this season, personnel from Jefferson at the Naval Yard worked together with the Jewish Relief Agency's JRAid program to make this Chanukah an extraordinary one for two South Philadelphia Jewish families. Due to the Jewish Relief Agency's large outreach in the Jewish community, Jefferson at the Naval Yard, who had supported a family for Christmas last year, turned to the JRAid program to find a South Philadelphia family to support this year for Chanukah, and wound up supporting two.
One family consisted of a destitute mother with a young child. The father abandoned the family after suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, triggered from his deployment in Afghanistan. The other family was an older couple that was in dire straits and had two grandchildren that were coming a long way to visit for Chanukah.
The response was overwhelming. Not only did the children receive numerous gifts, but the adults as well. Each family also received several gift cards, bringing them to tears over the generosity shown to them. It was literally a dream come true.
Please enjoy this clip I filmed about how chamin (Portuguese cholent) came to Philadelphia. It was filmed at Stenton Mansion, one of the best-preserved colonial homes in Philadelphia. I would like to extend my special thanks to Marlene Samoun for permitting me to use her soulful rendition of the ladino folk song Morenika in this clip.
Jewish contact with Spain may go as far back as the Kingdom of Solomon. It is thought that Southern Spain was the country of Tarshish. Tarshish was the furthest place west that people could sail to from Ancient Israel in Biblical times. There was a continuous Jewish presence in Spain until March 31, 1492.
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