JEVS Lasko College Prep Program

The Lasko College Prep Program is a program of the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service (JEVS) for Jewish high school juniors preparing to enter college.

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.

More after the jump.

High School juniors, adds Kardon, “get SAT tutoring, college advising, and they have an opportunity to visit two college campuses, and they start writing their essays for the college application. We work with the family on financial aid, we help them get scholarships, and they are matched with a mentor from the Franklin C. Ash program for Jewish college students. These are kids who are already gone through the whole college application procedure, and they help them negotiate the whole college application process.”

This mentoring, says Kardon, entails the “nitty-gritty” issues of “What if you don’t like your room-mate? Or how did they pick their college? Sometimes the mentees visit their mentors in college during the year, and it gives the students a great opportunity to see (how) very successful students negotiate their college application process.”

The Lasko College Prep Program, adds Kardon, is also great for the community because “It places these kids in a Jewish organization three days a week, and they actually do the things that sometimes we don’t have the time to do, (like) data entry, answering phones, filing, working with kids, doing art projects, creating a brochure if the student has some particular graphics talents. So it’s a great opportunity for the community as well.”

“It’s a one-year program,” adds Rhonda Cohen, Coordinator of Community Relations at JEVS, “they start off in the summer, before they enter their senior year. That’s when they spend their three days a week at the Jewish placement, and that’s when they get their SAT tutoring, that’s when they get their mentor from the Franklin C. Ash college program. Once the summer ends the program continues, and they are required to work with our educational counselors until they have successfully get into college, and we work with the parents.

The Lasko program, adds Cohen, “has made the difference for families that don’t have that luxury of spending money on a college consultant or an SAT tutor. This is for low-income families in the Jewish community, and we are very proud to say we have a ninety-nine percent success rate, in seven years, of getting students into college.”

Application is available online.

GOP Redistricts Steve Cohen Out Of Shtetl

— by David Streeter

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.

For details see The Commercial Appeal.

The Great Latke-Hamantaschen Debate


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.

By Hannah Lee

Since 1946, the intellectual nerds at the University of Chicago have had fun giving annual mock-serious presentations on the relative merits of the fried latke versus the baked hamantaschen.  Its popularity has spread to other campuses, including Kenyon College, Middlebury College, Stanford Law School, George Washington University, Amherst College, Swarthmore College, Williams College, Wesleyan University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Brandeis University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Minnesota, Mount Holyoke, Bowdoin College, UCSD, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, University of Denver, Buntport Theater, and one secondary school Milton Academy.  Yeshiva University held its own debate for the first time on November 22nd and Team Hamantasch won.

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?  

Jewish Leaders Denounce Right-Wing Smear of Occupy Wall Street

We are publicly engaged American Jews who support both Israel and the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street and who also strongly oppose right-wing attempts to smear that movement with false charges of anti-Semitism.

It’s an old, discredited tactic: find a couple of unrepresentative people in a large movement and then conflate the oddity with the cause. One black swan means that all swans are black.

One particularly vile example was a television ad during Sunday talk shows paid for by something called the Emergency Committee for Israel that is organized by William Kristol and Gary Bauer.

It is disingenuous to raise the canard about Jews and Wall Street in order to denounce it.

Occupy Wall Street is a mass protest against rising inequality in America, a fact documented last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Anyone who visits Zuccotti Park understands that it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do “with liberty and justice for all.”

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.

We are pleased that the Anti-Defamation League agrees that some random signs “are not representative of the larger views of the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

List of co-signers follows after the jump.
 
Cosigners

  • Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU*
  • Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and President, J Street
  • Richard Brodsky, former Assemblyman, New York
  • Richard Cohen, Washington Post
  • Danny Goldberg, President, Goldve Entertainment
  • Mark Green, former Public Advocate for New York City
  • Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman and District Attorney (Brooklyn)
  • Rabbi Steven Jacobs, founder, Progressive Faith Foundation
  • Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • Madeleine Kunin, former Governor, Vermont
  • Jo-ann Mort, CEO, ChangeCommunicaitons
  • Eliot Spitzer, former Governor, New York State
  • Andy Stern, President Emeritus, Service Employees International Union
  • Hadar Susskind, Vice President, Tides Foundation
  • Margery Tabankin, President, Margery Tabankin Assoc.
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

*Institutions for identification purposes only.

What Do We Need From Our Jewish Leaders?

— By Hannah Lee

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.

More after the jump.
Brown started the conversation with a quote from Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic: “American Jews are the spoiled brats of the 20th century.”  Cohen explained that viewpoint as such: American Jews are ignorant and they don’t even know it.  But he, Cohen, is not as concerned about Jewish literacy–  as defined by the ancient rabbinic texts– but chooses to define and measure Jewish engagement and identity.  Brown declared that American Jews have accomplished a tremendous amount for American culture, but less for the legacy of Judaism.  Once they are finally introduced to their Jewish legacy, they do learn to appreciate the reservoir of Jewish wisdom that is applicable and relevant to their communal roles.  Cohen countered thus: Jewish knowledge comes from being effective.  It’s not essential to know the rabbinic texts.  Furthermore, he said, Jewish knowledge also includes cooking skills.  So, would you come to a program on chicken soup? quipped Brown.  Yes, but only to taste, retorted Cohen, I cannot cook and that makes me a deficient Jew.

Turning to Israel as another indicator of Jewish identity, Brown noted with dismay that American Jews cannot have a civil discourse over issues these days.  Cohen, who’d made aliyah (emigrated to Israel) in 1992, considers  himself  a learned Jew because of his intimate knowledge of Israeli life and politics.  He outlined the two camps of Jews in America thus: one that feels an obligation of loyalty to Israel and the other that is concerned primarily with human rights.  The former is concerned that the human-rights camp undermines the security of Israel while the latter camp is worried that the Zionist hawks undermine the democratic and moral character of Israel.  (Cohen considers himself  a security-driven dove.)  Brown regards incivility as representative of American politics today, as shown in vituperous anonymous exchanges on the Internet and sometimes even in person.  Cohen was more concerned about the lack of knowledge of policies than incivility.  Later, he noted that three comparison groups- American Jews of old (early 20th century), the Orthodox, and Israelis– are all defined by strong passion.  It’s not incivil to be passionate about an issue.

In Cohen’s 2000 book, The Jew Within: Self, Family, and Community in America, he refers to “sheilaism,” a term coined by Robert Bellah and Richard Madsen in their monumental study, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life to encapsulate the egoistic adoption of ritual– Brown called it “the religion of one”– and the resultant breakdown of communal religious life.  Another term they bandied was “journeyism,” to refer to the expectations of the disaffected to be supported in their journeys of spiritual exploration.  They, and we, lose the communal and social reasons for religion.  So, how do we create community for these disaffected youth?  Cohen advocates the growing success the Jewish community has achieved in delivering personal meaning through new venues, such as minyanim and havurot.  Drawing upon semantics, he noted that observant Jews used to greet each other with chag kasher v’sameach for Pesach (Passover), but now we tell each other, “Have a meaningful fast.”  He was wowed by the inclusion of “meaningful” in the Artscroll machzor (High Holiday prayer book) that is widely accepted in the Orthodox community.    According to Cohen, we have moved from the normative system of “This is the right way to live” to an aesthetic system with an enriching culture.

A hot topic is conversion; current debates focus more on who has the right to determine who is a Jew than who is Jewish.  Brown cited Joseph Caro’s 16th century seminal work in traditional Judaism, The Shulhan Aruch, for posing the test question: Are you willing to accept the fate of the Jewish people?  If so, then the proselyte can be taught the mitzvot (commandments).  She claimed  that there is a big price to be paid for taking out the Jewish content.  Cohen said that we should welcome more converts.  He estimated that 10% of intermarried couples will have grandchildren who identify as Jews and only 50% of Gentile inter-married partners do convert.   He proposed cultivating conversionary-minded rabbis.  Brown retorted that a lack of teachers was not the obstruction but communal lack of acceptance.  She taught that the Biblical Ruth was ignored by the women of Bethlehem when she arrived there with her mother-in-law Naomi– and this was after Ruth’s dramatic and poetic declaration of faith.  Cohen agreed that prejudice against converts was morally wrong but its removal would be insufficient to increasing the incentive for conversion.  He thinks there is a sizeable cohort of non-Jews who are connected but would not convert.

Cohen then proposed the radical idea of dropping the God part of Ruth’s oath and calling for Jewish affirmation, not conversion.  Brown protested that this would unfairly narrow the definition of who is a Jew.  Cohen said that it would be gambling a loss of people choosing the cheaper, more accessible product– Birthright, for instance, instead of the more intensive and demanding six-weeks’ stay in Israel– but we’ll be compensated by a wider reach to those who would not have been tempted outright.  Brown quipped that he was offering wholesale instead of retail.  Cohen admitted  it’s a half step toward conversion.  It’s thus not a burden for rabbis and teachers, but we have not yet shown the love to motivate these non-Jewish partners for further engagement.   What is most important is inclusion, to keeping the tent opened wide.  Brown bemoaned the current culture of self-esteem and consumerism, in which our youth do not see themselves as stakeholders, but treat Judaism as “fee for service.”  They will attend High Holiday services but they would not pay dues, which cover the rabbi’s salary and the utility bills.

Regarding Jewish leaders under the age of 40, Cohen noted a major shift from people to purpose, from belonging to judging everything–  family, institutions, Israel–  according to our interests and passions.  

What does it mean to be a Jewish leader nowadays?  Without minimizing Jewish literacy, Cohen extorted us to also recognize other forms of Jewish knowledge.  More than the rabbinic texts, there is an additional corpus of knowledge not recognized by our Biblical scholars and seminarians, but is represented within the gallery space of the new National Museum of American Jewish History. That is also Jewish content, Jewish knowledge.

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 35th Anniversary Dazzles Audience


(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.  

More after the jump.


 (left to right) Jesse Rendell joined Paula Cohen, Richard Green, chairman of Firstrust Bank, and Tim Abell, president of Firstrust Bank, for the festivities at the Bellevue Stratford-Park Hyatt.

A highlight of the Gala was the announcement of the establishment of the Terrence McNally New Play Award presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company annually starting in 2012 in honor of great American playwright, Terrence McNally. McNally  took to the stage to explain that the award recipient will be a playwright who has written a full-length work that celebrates the transformative power of art. Philadelphia Theatre Company premiered Master Class and Golden Age, two of McNally’s works that capture the spirit of this award, which consists of a cash prize for the playwright as well as development support from PTC.


(left to right) Jeffrey Riesenbach, Rachel Hancock, CBS3’s Pat Ciarrocchi, and Cookie and Jerry Riesenbach, Esq., were delighted with the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 35th anniversary gala, especially since Jerry is a past president of the PTC board and both Cookie and Jerry served on the gala committee.

Sara Garonzik, Producing Artistic Director, has directed and produced for Philadelphia Theatre Company since 1982, and introduced more than 140 world or regional premieres of major new American plays and musicals to Philadelphia. Sara is listed in “Who’s Who of American Women” and was named one of Business Philadelphia’s and Philadelphia Magazine’s “People to Watch.” She currently serves as a Board Member of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, as President of the Board of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and on the Advisory Board of PlayPenn, a new play development organization.


(left to right) Howard and Phyllis Fischer; Ron Kaiserman; and Bernie Brownstein, joined the hundreds of supporters at the PTC 35th anniversary gala.

Kenneth S. Kaiserman has served on Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Board of Directors for 34 years, and chaired PTC’s Capital Campaign to build the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Ken is also a Board Member of Brandeis University, Friends of Rittenhouse Square, North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Ken is President of Kaiserman Company, Inc., a real estate development firm which owns and operates commercial and multi-residential property in the tri-state region.


Ralph and Suzanne Roberts were delighted with the support expressed for the Philadelphia Theatre Company and its permanent home at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Co-chaired by Brigitte F. Daniel, Carol Saline and Paul Rathblott, the Gala combines an entertainment-filled evening and an opportunity to bid on tokens of affection including romantic get-aways, candlelight dinners for two at some of the area’s finest restaurants, one-of-a-kind experiences, jewelry, crafts, and VIP tickets to sports and cultural events.

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company is a leading regional theater company whose mission is to produce, develop and present entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience that both ignites the intellect and touches the soul.  By developing new work through commissions, readings and workshops PTC generates projects that have a national impact and reach broad regional audiences.  Under the leadership of Sara Garonzik as PTC’s Producing Artistic Director since 1982, PTC supports the work of a growing body of diverse dramatists and takes pride in being a home to scores of nationally recognized artists who have participated in more than 130 world and Philadelphia premieres.  PTC has received 45 Barrymore Awards and 147 nominations.  In October 2007, PTC moved into a home of its own, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Center City Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, solidifying the Company’s status as a major player on the American theater scene.  In October 2010, Kathleen Nolan joined PTC as its Interim Managing Director.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Squires

Circumcision Update

— by Rabbi Goldie Milgram  

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.  

More after the jump.

Background on Rabbi Bonnie Cohen  

In the early '90's Rabbi Cohen apprenticed to become a Mohelet (feminine grammar for mohel, one professionally trained to do Jewish ritual circumcision). She was surprised to learn that there were no training tools for perfecting surgical technique for infant circumcision, doctors routinely practice on babies. Responding to the need she spent many years developing a proper training tool that is now available.  

Biographical background:  

Rabbi Cohen has changed hats many times over her professional career weaving together a breath of experience along the mind – body – spiritual pathway. For many years her focus and area of expertise was health and nutrition although religion always occupied a major part of her life.  As a young woman she attended psychiatric nursing school but immediately focused on nutrition and other natural healing modalities. She combined hands-on work with nutrition that she taught at the Swedish Massage Institute in New York City, and had offices in NYC, Woodstock and New Paltz, New York.  

Bonnie Cohen was a student of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (z"l) who encouraged her to share her expertise on nutrition and natural healing alternatives with Jewish women. She is grateful for the opportunity to learn with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and to have received rabbinic ordination from him and ALEPH:  Alliance for Jewish Renewal, in 2000. Included in the qualifications Reb Zalman listed on Rabbi Cohen's' ordination certificate is, "practitioner of the sacred healing arts."  

Rabbi Cohen was director of a not for profit educational organization, supported by a wholesale natural foods bakery, that designed and implemented nutrition workshops throughout the New York tri-state area. Beginning in the mid '70's, and for the next thirteen years, she oversaw the total day-to-day operations of large health food stores with juice bars and deli-counters; and then she became interested in Jewish education.  

Bonnie was blessed to work with a dedicated team of visionaries creating the Woodstock Jewish Congregation in Woodstock, New York. She began as the only teacher, teaching all grades plus a special education class and accomplished the impossible; she made Hebrew school fun. The WJC went on to become a powerful magnet for Jewish education in Ulster County, NY.

Rabbi Cohen lived and worked in Woodstock, New York for thirty-two years and then spent eight years working outside of the United States. Upon her return she noticed the exponentially larger number of children with learning disabilities than before she left. After researching the problem and pondering solutions she created, "Thirteen", a mentoring protocol, and Feeling Good – Pass It On, a teaching protocol, to assist those with neurodevelopmental challenges focus and overcome disabilities.  

For further information please contact Rabbi Cohen at [email protected].

The Torah of Wisconsin


— Elissa Barrett and Aryeh Cohen

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.

More after the jump.
The issue in Wisconsin is no longer about budgeting or steep cuts in wages and benefits-the unions and Governor Scott Walker are in full agreement there. When Governor Walker began targeting the ability of public employees to bargain collectively for their common good, he targeted our country’s most fundamental labor right: the right to a voice on the job. Our Jewish tradition urges us to see this as a shofar call to action.

It is no coincidence that the first lessons we receive after being freed from slavery in Egypt are on the treatment of workers. “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger… You must pay him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets… else he will cry to God against you and you will incur guilt” (Deuteronomy, 24:14-15). The third century mishnah and tosefta instructs employers to meet or exceed local custom in terms of wages and benefits, and the Babylonian Talmud gives town residents the right to intervene between a local employer and a worker to insure that wages are fair. All this is codified by centuries of commentaries, Talmud scholars and jurists.

Contemporary Halakhic (Jewish legal) decisions continue this strong tradition.

In 1938, Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Chai Uzziel, the Rishon le-Tziyon (Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel), wrote: “It is obvious that the Sages, of blessed memory, recognized the regulations of a craftsman’s guild or union of laborers or clerks in the general labor federation, or other federations of professionals.” Rabbi Uzziel explicates this further: “Reason also dictates that we should not leave the worker alone, isolated as an individual, so that he would have to hire himself out for minimal wages in order to satisfy his and his family’s hunger with bread and water in meager quantities and with a dark and dank apartment. In order to protect himself the law gave him the legal right to organize, and to create regulations for his fellows for the fair and equitable division of labor amongst them and the attaining of dignified treatment and appropriate payment for his work-so that he might support his family at the same standard of living as other residents of his city.”

And Rabbi Uzziel was not alone. In 1945, Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, a leading Israeli Ashkanzi scholar and posek (authoritative adjudicator of questions related to Jewish law), recognized the right of workers to organize and to have their regulations and rules seen as binding. He also recognized, in certain conditions, their right to strike. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), a Lithuanian Orthodox rabbi, scholar and posek, concurred in a series of Responsa that extended Rabbi Waldenberg’s holding to include the right of workers to prevent scabs from doing their jobs and to include the rights of religious school teachers to bargain collectively, even though community funds and the religious obligation to teach Torah were at stake. In May 2008, a Responsa by Rabbi Jill Jacobs was passed by the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, calling on Jewish organizations and synagogues to allow collective bargaining by their employees.

In sum, Jewish tradition has been clear and consistent-the treatment of workers and their right to organize are among the basic underpinnings of a just society. From the synagogue to the state house, Jews must therefore call on those who govern to find the path toward economic justice regardless of how difficult that road is to travel. Our heritage, as the sweatshop workers and copper miners of yesterday, bears witness to it. Our tradition compels it.

Reprinted courtesy of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

Elissa Barrett is the Executive Director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.  Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, author of the forthcoming Justice in the City: Toward a Community of Obligation (Academic Studies Press), is a past President and current member of the PJA board of directors, and an Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at American Jewish University.

Photo: Rabbi Renee Bauer, director of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin, addresses protesters at a prayer vigil at the capitol building in Madison, Feb. 22, 2011. (Courtesy Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice)

Academy of Music Concert and Ball

Marc Rayfield, head of CBS Radio in Philly, and his wife Nicole, joined friends Haley and David Adelman at the President's Reception in the Academy Ballroom.

Marc Rayfield, head of CBS Radio in Philly, and his wife Nicole, joined friends Haley and David Adelman at the President’s Reception in the Academy Ballroom.

— Bonnie Squires

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.
Linda Scribner and her husband David Paskin, M.D., were the first in the Academy of Music Ballroom, as Linda, as director of the Academy of Music, seems to be in charge of everything that night.
Linda Scribner and her husband David Paskin, M.D., were the first in the Academy of Music Ballroom, as Linda, as director of the Academy of Music, seems to be in charge of everything that night.

Senator Connie Williams, now chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art board, had a chance to chat with the museum's Joe Rishel at the Academy of Music.

Senator Connie Williams, now chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art board, had a chance to chat with the museum’s Joe Rishel at the Academy of Music.



Senator Bob Casey and his wife Terese (center) arrived at the Academy of Music with Richard and Betsy Sheerer.
Senator Bob Casey and his wife Terese (center) arrived at the Academy of Music with Richard and Betsy Sheerer.



Hope Cohen and Richard Green go through the receiving line at the Academy of Music.

Hope Cohen and Richard Green go through the receiving line at the Academy of Music.



Gary Steuer, Philadelphia director of cultural arts in Mayor Nutter's cabinet, attended the festivities with his deputy, Moira Bayleson.
Gary Steuer, Philadelphia director of cultural arts in Mayor Nutter’s cabinet, attended the festivities with his deputy, Moira Bayleson.



David Eisner, the CEO of the National Constitution center, was on hand with his wife Lori.

David Eisner, the CEO of the National Constitution center, was on hand with his wife Lori.



Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman enjoying the festivities.  Jeffrey serves on the Academy of Music Committee.
Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman enjoying the festivities.  Jeffrey serves on the Academy of Music Committee.



David and Sandy Marshall in the receiving line, standing with Academy of Music preisdent and CEO Joanna McNeil Lewis and musician Michael Mills.  Sandy served as co-chair of the Academy Ball.

David and Sandy Marshall in the receiving line, standing with Academy of Music preisdent and CEO Joanna McNeil Lewis and musician Michael Mills.  Sandy served as co-chair of the Academy Ball.



Peter Nero, of the Philly Pops, chatted with philanthropist Anne Hamilton at the President's Reception.  Hamilton chairs the Academy of Music Committee.
Peter Nero, of the Philly Pops, chatted with philanthropist Anne Hamilton at the President’s Reception.  Hamilton chairs the Academy of Music Committee.



John and Christina Saler enjoyed starting the evening at the Academy of Music Ballroom.

John and Christina Saler enjoyed starting the evening at the Academy of Music Ballroom.  



In the Bellevue ballroom, following the reception and concert, are (l to r) Allan Greenspan, M.D., his wife Justice Jane Greenspan (ret.), and Howard Silverman.
In the Bellevue ballroom, following the reception and concert, are (l to r) Allan Greenspan, M.D., his wife Justice Jane Greenspan (ret.), and Howard Silverman.


Photos courtesy of Bonnie Squires