Torah Learn-in at JFK in Support of Refugees

"You shalt not wrong or oppress..." Photo: Dan Loeb.

“You shalt not wrong or oppress…” Photo: Dan Loeb.

This Wednesday, February 8, rabbinical students, rabbis, lay leaders, and people of all faiths and backgrounds will gather together at the chapel at Terminal 4 at JFK Airport for a morning of prayer and Torah learning to offer spiritual support for those refugees who are yearning to reach our shores. [Read more…]

“You’re Fired!” Attorney General Sally Yates Removed for not Defending Immigrant Ban

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

President Trump has fired the head of the Justice Department for the second time in ten days. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for not supporting the Immigrant Ban. Earlier in the day she had sent a letter to her staff directing them not to defend in court the ban on immigrants.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel had approved Trump’s immigration ban before he issued it on Friday. However Yates wrote that as head of the Justice Department she had a broader responsibility “to always seek justice and stand for what is right.” She went on to state that she is not convinced that the ban is lawful. [Read more…]

Faithful Republican Elector Refuses to Vote for Trump

chris_suprun_cnn

Christopher Suprun. Photo: CNN.

Only a very few presidential Electoral College Electors decided not to vote for the candidate chosen by their home state. Several of them were forced to change their vote, or disqualified and replaced by alternates. Texas is one of the states that allows electors to vote in accordance with their conscience, which is in keeping with the Founders original intent. However, the Republican party expects electors to vote for the Republican nominee. [Read more…]

Standing Room Only at Gerrymandering Talk

Dan Loeb explaining gerrymandering.

Dan Loeb explaining gerrymandering.

Many Pennsylvania voters are concerned about gerrymandering and want to work towards fair voting districts. Dan Loeb, publisher of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, gave a lecture on gerrymandering to an overflow crowd at the Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr. After all the seats were filled, dozens more people sat on the floor or stood on the sides and the back of the large meeting room.

State Rep. Mary-Jo Daley and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon were on hand to answer questions. Dan was introduced by Gayle Samuels of Fair Districts PA and the League of Women Voters.

Dan Loeb, a PhD. mathematician, said, “Voters are supposed to choose their legislatures. However, with gerrymandering, legislators choose their voters” (to ensure they will be re-elected). [Read more…]

Orlando Shooting: Statements from Jewish Organizations

Many Jewish organizations have issued statements in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando shootings.

 

(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2016)—B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith is shocked at the horrendous mass murder committed at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. The sheer number of dead (at least 50) and wounded (at least 53) defies comprehension.

Though law enforcement officers have a lot of work ahead, reports at this time indicate the shooter, armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle, a handgun and possibly other firearms, had pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

B’nai B’rith stands in solidarity with the LGBT community, which patronized the popular club.

With deepest sympathy, we mourn the lives lost to this act of depravity and offer our most sincere condolences to their families. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the victims at this time.

B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.

 

 

Israeli-American Council Statement Following Attack on Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida

                                                                                                                                                     

Today the Israeli-American Council (IAC) issued the following statement to the media:

 

“Today we are shocked, saddened, and horrified to learn of the worst mass shooting in American history, with 50 people brutally murdered and 53 injured after a terrorist opened fire at the crowded Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

 

On behalf of the Israeli-American community, we condemn this act of terrorism in the strongest terms. Whether terrorism strikes in Brussels, Paris, Tel Aviv, or Orlando – responsible leaders, policymakers, and moral people everywhere have a duty to speak out forcefully against this global evil, and to stand against the hateful ideology that fuels it. This is a growing danger that threatens innocents everywhere.

 

We offer our full support to our elected leaders, intelligence community, and law enforcement personnel, as they continue their investigation into this attack and work to prevent similar terror attacks in the future. We know that at times like these, the American people will join together with strength and unity to send a clear message that we cannot – and will not – be intimated by acts of terrorism.

 

Today our hearts break for the victims and their families, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them. May the memory of the fallen be a blessing for us all.”

About the IAC: Headquartered in Los Angeles, the IAC is committed to building an engaged and united Israeli-American community that strengthens our next generations, the American Jewish community, and the State of Israel. The IAC strives to achieve these goals through programs and events for all ages – and by empowering and supporting a wide array of non-profit organizations within the Israeli-American community. For more information about the Israeli-American Council, please visit www.israeliamerican.org

White House Seder

Seder Candle Lighting

Michelle Obama lights candles at the 2012 Seder. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

The Obama family and a few Jewish former staffers will celebrate a small, low key Seder in the Family Dining Room at the White House tonight (Thursday night, April 28, 2016). No other VIPs are invited. (Obama was travelling overseas during the beginning of Passover.) This will be the Obamas’ last Seder in the White House, ending what has become a yearly tradition.

Nine years ago, on Erev Passover, then Senator Obama and his staff had an exhausting schedule, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Pennsylvania. Several Jewish staffers realized that they were not going to be able to get home to their families in time to celebrate the first night of Passover. They decided to have a make shift Seder in the hotel where they were spending the night. One of them happened to mention their plans to Obama.

The staffers gathered together in a small basement room with borrowed Passover Haggadahs and a chicken leg in place of a lamb shank bone. Suddenly, a group of Secret Service agents burst in. They quickly checked over the room and then Obama walked through the door.

The Seder was a welcome break from the hectic campaign. They were all very tired and the polls showed Obama was trailing in the Pennsylvania race. (It would turn out that Hillary Clinton won that year in Pennsylvania by a substantial margin, just as she did again this week.) But for a short time, they could relax, tell jokes and recount the deliverance from slavery to freedom. This was particularly meaningful because sitting at the table was the man who could become the first African American president. They ended the Seder with words that turned out to be prophetic: “Next year in the White House!”

Those staff members found jobs in the Obama White House and later moved on to other organizations. However, they still return every year and tell the same stories and the same jokes.

This article is based on a story in “The Guardian” U.K. newspaper 4/28/2016