Texas Synagogue Steps Up When Local Mosque Falls Victim to Arson

The Muslims of Victoria, a small city in southern Texas, have experienced the healing power of kindness in the face of devastating cruelty. Their mosque, the Victoria Islamic Center, was destroyed by an arsonist on January 28, the morning after President Trump issued his original executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. While the investigation into the fire continues, officials are not yet able to call the arson a hate crime. [Read more…]

Refugee Ban With Holocaust Parallels

“An America which turns away refugees is not America. We forgot that during the Holocaust. Let’s never again forget who we are,” writes Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS. Hetfiled was one of many to point out a compelling coincidence: President Trump issued his controversial refugee ban on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. [Read more…]

Rocking and Rapping the Hanukkah Story With the Musical Group Six 13

Tonight we offer a double musical treat for Hanukkah from Six 13, a nationally renowned, all-male Jewish a capella group. An internet sensation, the group has also performed on national TV and radio, and in venues across the country and around the world. As described on their website, their music is “fueled by thumping beatbox, intricate arrangements, and soulful harmonies” with the goal of “connect[ing] Jews around the globe with their heritage through music.” The lyrics in Six 13’s Hanukkah videos below are impressively creative and thoroughly entertaining.

Here is their 2014 parody of the Taylor Swift song “Shake It Off”:

Six 13’s most recent Hanukkah song, which they performed at the White House for the president and the first lady, is a parody of the show “Hamilton”:

Boathouse Row Transformed Into a Mammoth Menorah

This year, a Hanukkah greeting appeared on one of the boathouses for the first time. Photo credit: NBC10.com

This year, a Hanukkah greeting appeared on one of the boathouses for the first time.
Photo credit: NBC10.com

One of the most magical sights in Philadelphia is Boathouse Row at night, when the riverbank rowing houses are illuminated with a beckoning glow, reflecting on the still waters of the Schuylkill River. For Jews celebrating Hanukkah this season, this visual delight has taken on a new significance: for the first time, the boathouses have been converted into what Mayor Kenney’s office describes in a press release as “one of the largest representations of the menorah in the nation.” [Read more…]

Spreading the Message of Tolerance — One Sign at a Time

An example of one of the signs created by North Park Neighbors, Chicago, Illinois.

An example of one of the signs created by North Park Neighbors, Chicago, Illinois.

“Hate has no home here” — powerful words written by two elementary school students in North Park, a neighborhood in Chicago characterized by its diversity. The students’ message — in English and five other languages — is now plastered on posters throughout their school, and, thanks to a small group of community members, on yard signs throughout the North Park neighborhood. The signs are red on one side and blue on the other, denoting that the message crosses party lines. [Read more…]

Michelle Portnoff: Second Woman in Gratz College History to Chair Board of Governors

Michelle Portnoff, Esq.

Michelle Portnoff, Esq.

Gratz College welcomes the new academic year, not only with new students and new programs, but also with many new faces on the Gratz College Board of Governors. In the last year alone, eight new people have joined the board, bringing the total number of members to 25. And this summer, board member Michelle Portnoff became only the second woman in Gratz College history to assume the role of board chair. [Read more…]

Expressing Your Politics with Swag

In addition to the eloquent speeches by high-profile members of the party, Democrats of all stripes have been touting their political messages around town with great creativity. People are exuberantly exercising their First Amendment right of self-expression through slogans on t-shirts, caps, socks and the ubiquitous political buttons. From Trump toilet paper to “Chillary” iced coffee to the sold-out “Presidential Election 2016 — Moving to Canada” t-shirt, politically themed merchandise can be found all over the city. [Read more…]

Clinton Adviser Responds to Trump Press Conference

At a press conference in Florida, Donald Trump was asked about the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. His response spurred the release of the following statement from Jake Sullivan, senior policy adviser to the Clinton campaign:

This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Below is a video of the Trump press conference. The remarks begin at time marker 35:35, and the especially controversial ones appear at time marker 44:00.