Maine becomes 13th State to vote to overturn Citizens United

On Monday, Maine joined West Virginia, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution on campaign finance. Maine’s State House voted 111-33 with strong bipartisan support in favor of the measure while the Senate voted 25-9.

Polls indicate that 73% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans disagree with the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and want to keep corporate spending out of political campaigns.

To take effect, an amendment must gain the support of two-thirds of the House and the Senate and be ratified by 38 states.

Obama in Connecticut: We Will Not Walk Away From Our Promises

Full transcript after the jump.
President Barack Obama: Let me begin by thanking Nicole, and Ian, for your brave words. I want to thank them and all the Newtown families who have come here today, including your First Selectman, Pat Llodra. Nobody could be more eloquent than Nicole and the other families on this issue. And we are so grateful for their courage and willingness to share their stories again and again, understanding that nothing is going to be more important in making sure the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them.

I want to thank all the educators from Sandy Hook Elementary who have come here as well — the survivors —

Audience Members: We love you, Obama!

The President: I love you back. I do.

— the survivors who still mourn and grieve, but are still going to work every day to love and raise those precious children in their care as fiercely as ever.

I want to thank Governor Malloy for his leadership. Very proud of him. I want to thank the University of Hartford for hosting us this afternoon. Thank you, Hawks. And I want to thank the people of Connecticut for everything you’ve done to honor the memories of the victims — because you’re part of their family as well.  

One of your recent alumni, Rachel D’Avino, was a behavioral therapist at Sandy Hook. Two alumni of your performing arts school, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, lost their daughter, Ana — an incredible, vibrant young girl who looked up to them, and learned from them, and inherited their talents by singing before she could talk.  

So every family in this state was shaken by the tragedy of that morning. Every family in this country was shaken. We hugged our kids more tightly. We asked what could we do, as a society, to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening again.  

And as a society, we decided that we have to change. We must. We must change.

I noticed that Nicole and others refer to that day as “12/14.” For these families, it was a day that changed everything. And I know many of you in Newtown wondered if the rest of us would live up to the promise we made in those dark days — if we’d change, too; or if once the television trucks left, once the candles flickered out, once the teddy bears were carefully gathered up, that the country would somehow move on to other things.

Over the weekend, I heard Francine Wheeler, who lost her son Ben that day, say that the four months since the tragedy might feel like a brief moment for some, but for her, it feels like it’s been years since she saw Ben. And she’s determined not to let what happened that day just fade away. “We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We are here. And we are going to be here.” And I know that she speaks for everybody in Newtown, everybody who was impacted.  

And, Newtown, we want you to know that we’re here with you. We will not walk away from the promises we’ve made. We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. In fact, I’m here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done. We’re not forgetting.

We can’t forget. Your families still grieve in ways most of us can’t comprehend. But so many of you have used that grief to make a difference — not just to honor your own children, but to protect the lives of all of our children. So many of you have mobilized, and organized, and petitioned your elected officials “with love and logic,” as Nicole put it — as citizens determined to right something gone wrong.

And last week, here in Connecticut, your elected leaders responded. The Connecticut legislature, led by many of the legislators here today, passed new measures to protect more of our children and our communities from gun violence. And Governor Malloy signed that legislation into law.

So I want to be clear. You, the families of Newtown, people across Connecticut, you helped make that happen. Your voices, your determination made that happen. Obviously, the elected leaders did an extraordinary job moving it forward, but it couldn’t have happened if they weren’t hearing from people in their respective districts, people all across the state. That’s the power of your voice.

And, by the way, Connecticut is not alone. In the past few months, New York, Colorado, Maryland have all passed new, common-sense gun safety reforms as well.

These are all states that share an awful familiarity with gun violence, whether it’s the horror of mass killings, or the street crime that’s too common in too many neighborhoods. All of these states also share a strong tradition of hunting, and sport shooting, and gun ownership. It’s been a part of the fabric of people’s lives for generations. And every single one of those states — including here in Connecticut — decided that, yes, we can protect more of our citizens from gun violence while still protecting our Second Amendment rights. Those two things don’t contradict each other. We can pass common-sense laws that protect our kids and protect our rights.

So Connecticut has shown the way. And now is the time for Congress to do the same. Now is the time for Congress to do the same. This week is the time for Congress to do the same.

Now, back in January, just a few months after the tragedy in Newtown, I announced a series of executive actions to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe. And I put forward common-sense proposals — much like those that passed here in Connecticut — for Congress to consider. And you’ll remember in my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to give those proposals a vote. And that moment is now.  

As soon as this week, Congress will begin debating these common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence. Your senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy — they’re here — your Representatives, John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Esty, Jim Hines, Joe Courtney, they are all pushing to pass this legislation. But much of Congress is going to only act if they hear from you, the American people. So here’s what we have to do.  

Audience Member: I love you, Mr. President.  

The President: I appreciate that. Here’s what we’ve got to do. We have to tell Congress it’s time to require a background check for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that people who are dangerous to themselves and others cannot get their hands on a gun. Let’s make that happen.  

We have to tell Congress it’s time to crack down on gun trafficking so that folks will think twice before buying a gun as part of a scheme to arm someone who won’t pass a background check. Let’s get that done.

We have to tell Congress it’s time to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines, to make it harder for a gunman to fire 154 bullets into his victims in less than five minutes. Let’s put that to a vote.

We have to tell Congress it’s time to strengthen school safety and help people struggling with mental health problems get the treatment they need before it’s too late. Let’s do that for our kids and for our communities.

Now, I know that some of these proposals inspire more debate than others, but each of them has the support of the majority of the American people. All of them are common sense. All of them deserve a vote. All of them deserve a vote.  

Consider background checks. Over the past 20 years, background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun. A group of police officers in Colorado told me last week that, thanks to background checks, they’ve been able to stop convicted murderers, folks under restraining orders for committing violent domestic abuse from buying a gun. In some cases, they’ve actually arrested the person as they were coming to purchase the gun.

So we know that background checks can work. But the problem is loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks altogether. That’s not safe. It doesn’t make sense. If you’re a law-abiding citizen and you go through a background check to buy a gun, wouldn’t you expect other people to play by the same rules?

If you’re a law-abiding gun seller, wouldn’t you want to know you’re not selling your gun to someone who’s likely to commit a crime? Shouldn’t we make it harder, not easier for somebody who is convicted of domestic abuse to get his hands on a gun?

It turns out 90 percent of Americans think so. Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks. Think about that. How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything? And yet, 90 percent agree on this — Republicans, Democrats, folks who own guns, folks who don’t own guns; 80 percent of Republicans, more than 80 percent of gun owners, more than 70 percent of NRA households. It is common sense.

And yet, there is only one thing that can stand in the way of change that just about everybody agrees on, and that’s politics in Washington. You would think that with those numbers Congress would rush to make this happen. That’s what you would think. If our democracy is working the way it’s supposed to, and 90 percent of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy you’d think this would not be a heavy lift.

And yet, some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that. They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s not right.

Audience: Booo —

The President: That is not right.  

Audience: We want a vote!

The President: We need a vote.

Audience: We want a vote! We want a vote!  

The President: We need a vote.

Audience: We want a vote!

The President: Now, I’ve also heard some in the Washington press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will either be a political victory or defeat for me. Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence. It’s about them and all the families going forward, so we can prevent this from happening again. That’s what it’s about. It’s about the law enforcement officials putting their lives at risk. That’s what this is about. This is not about politics. This is not about politics.

This is about these families and families all across the country who are saying let’s make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down.  

When I said in my State of the Union address that these proposals deserve a vote — that families of Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and a former member of Congress, Gabby Giffords, that they all deserved a vote — virtually every member of that chamber stood up and applauded. And now they’re going to start denying your families a vote when the cameras are off and when the lobbyists have worked what they do? You deserve better than that. You deserve a vote.

Now, look, we knew from the beginning of this debate that change would not be easy. We knew that there would be powerful interests that are very good at confusing the subject, that are good at amplifying conflict and extremes, that are good at drowning out rational debate, good at ginning up irrational fears, all of which stands in the way of progress.

But if our history teaches us anything, then it’s up to us — the people — to stand up to those who say we can’t, or we won’t; stand up for the change that we need. And I believe that that’s what the American people are looking for.  

When I first ran for this office, I said that I did not believe the country was as divided as our politics would suggest, and I still believe that. I know sometimes, when you watch cable news or talk radio, or you browse the Internet, you’d think, man, everybody just hates each other, everybody is just at each other’s throats. But that’s not how most Americans think about these issues. There are good people on both sides of every issue.  

So if we’re going to move forward, we can’t just talk past one another. We’ve got to listen to one another. That’s what Governor Malloy and all these legislative leaders did. That’s why they were able to pass bipartisan legislation.  

I’ve got stacks of letters from gun owners who want me to know that they care passionately about their right to bear arms, don’t want them infringed upon, and I appreciate every one of those letters. I’ve learned from them. But a lot of those letters, what they’ve also said is they’re not just gun owners; they’re also parents or police officers or veterans, and they agree that we can’t stand by and keep letting these tragedies happen; that with our rights come some responsibilities and obligations to our communities and ourselves, and most of all to our children. We can’t just think about “us” — we’ve got to think about “we, the people.”

I was in Colorado. I told a story about Michelle. She came back from a trip to rural Iowa; we were out there campaigning. Sometimes it would be miles between farms, let alone towns. And she said, you know, coming back, I can understand why somebody would want a gun for protection. If somebody drove up into the driveway and, Barack, you weren’t home, the sheriff lived miles away, I might want that security. So she can understand what it might be like in terms of somebody wanting that kind of security.  

On the other hand, I also talked to a hunter last week who said, all my experiences with guns have been positive, but I also realize that for others, all their experiences with guns have been negative.

And when he said that, I thought about the mom I met from suburban Chicago whose son was killed in a random shooting. And this mom told me, I hate it when people tell me that my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was on his way to school. He was exactly where he was supposed to be. He was in the right place at the right time, and he still got shot.

The kids at Sandy Hook were where they were supposed to be. So were those moviegoers in Aurora. So were those worshippers in Oak Creek. So was Gabby Giffords. She was at a supermarket, listening to the concerns of her constituents. They were exactly where they were supposed to be. They were also exercising their rights — to assemble peaceably; to worship freely and safely. They were exercising the rights of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So surely, we can reconcile those two things. Surely, America doesn’t have to be divided between rural and urban, and Democrat and Republican when it comes to something like this.  

If you’re an American who wants to do something to prevent more families from knowing the immeasurable anguish that these families here have known, then we have to act. Now is the time to get engaged. Now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to push back on fear, and frustration, and misinformation. Now is the time for everybody to make their voices heard from every state house to the corridors of Congress.

And I’m asking everyone listening today, find out where your member of Congress stands on this. If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them, why not? Why wouldn’t you want to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job? Why wouldn’t you want to make it harder for a dangerous person to get his or her hands on a gun? What’s more important to you: our children, or an A-grade from the gun lobby?

I’ve heard Nicole talk about what her life has been like since Dylan was taken from her in December. And one thing she said struck me. She said, “Every night, I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so that I can see him again. And during the day, I just focus on what I need to do to honor him and make change.” Now, if Nicole can summon the courage to do that, how can the rest of us do any less? How can we do any less?  

If there is even one thing we can do to protect our kids, don’t we have an obligation to try? If there is even one step we can take to keep somebody from murdering dozens of innocents in the span of minutes, shouldn’t we be taking that step? If there is just one thing we can do to keep one father from having to bury his child, isn’t that worth fighting for?

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had tough days in the presidency — I’ve said this before. The day Newtown happened was the toughest day of my presidency. But I’ve got to tell you, if we don’t respond to this, that will be a tough day for me, too. Because we’ve got to expect more from ourselves, and we’ve got to expect more from Congress. We’ve got to believe that every once in a while, we set politics aside and we just do what’s right. We’ve got to believe that.

And if you believe that, I’m asking you to stand up. If you believe in the right to bears arms, like I do, but think we should prevent an irresponsible few from inflicting harm — stand up. Stand up.

If you believe that the families of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech and the thousands of Americans who have been gunned down in the last four months deserve a vote, we all have to stand up.

If you want the people you send to Washington to have just an iota of the courage that the educators at Sandy Hook showed when danger arrived on their doorstep, then we’re all going to have to stand up.  

And if we do, if we come together and raise our voices together and demand this change together, I’m convinced cooperation and common sense will prevail. We will find sensible, intelligent ways to make this country stronger and safer for our children.

So let’s do the right thing. Let’s do right by our kids. Let’s do right by these families. Let’s get this done. Connecticut, thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.  

Even Hardcore NRA Supporters Begin To Have Regrets


The Pozner family sits shiva as their son Noah, the youngest victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was laid to rest on Monday.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Conservative pundit Joe Scarborough received the NRA’s highest ratings during his four terms in Congress, but now he has changed his mind on gun violence prevention.

It’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while we’re losing the war at home… We must give no more ground… I choose life, and I choose change. And for the sake of our children, we must do what’s right. And for the sake of this great nation that we love, let’s pray to God that we do.

Similarly, Senator Mike Warner says:

I’ve been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. I’ve got an A rating from the NRA. But the status quo isn’t acceptable. I’ve got three daughters. They asked me on Friday evening, ‘Dad, what are you gonna do about this?’ There’s got to be a way to put reasonable restrictions, particularly as we look at assault weapons, as we look at these fast clips of ammunition.

Meanwhile, Senator Joe Machin (D-WV), who famously ran a campaign advertisement where he brandishes a rifle and “takes out” anti-gun legislation, has now moderated his views:

I dont know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.

According to CNN:

There are an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the United States, making Americans the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. Yemen, a tribal nation with no history of strong central government or the rule of law, comes in a distant second.

It is Time for Meaningful Gun Control

— B’nai B’rith International

Even while we grieve and try to come to terms with the senseless Dec. 14 assault on an elementary school, we must also look ahead to ensuring such a horrific mass shooting never happens again. In the wake of the gruesome Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., where gunman Adam Lanza murdered 26 people, 20 of them children, it is well past time to demand sensible gun control measures.

More after the jump.
B’nai B’rith calls for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which went into effect in 1994, but was not renewed when it expired a decade later. At the time, 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country urged the law be renewed and strengthened. Other meaningful, enforceable gun control measures are also needed.

Lanza used a .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle-a civilian version of the U.S. military’s M-16. The magazine-fed civilian weapon is meant for rapid firing, capable of carrying hundreds of bullets in its magazines. Lanza also had two semiautomatic handguns that he did not use.

Assault weapons enable a shooter to fire multiple rounds without stopping to reload as they automatically expel and load ammunition with each trigger-pull. There is no sane, acceptable, reasonable need in a civilian setting to fire off large rounds of ammunition.

B’nai B’rith has called for gun control reform before, most recently in July after the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. where 12 were killed and 58 wounded.

Mass shootings come to be known by a macabre shorthand: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and now Newtown. It’s time for lawmakers to change the vocabulary. Enact and enforce gun control measures.

B’nai B’rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization.  For 169 years, since 1843, B’nai B’rith International has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity and tolerance.  Visit www.bnaibrith.org.

Obama’s Remarks at Memorial Service

I had things prepared to post this weekend but political and social matters seem trivial and inappropriate this weekend, after the school shooting in Connecticut.

Here is an excerpt of Pres. Obama’s remarks at today’s memorial service.  A full transcript is available online via the Washington Post.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

More after the jump.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?

Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?

Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

If Not Now, When?

The only thing more predictable than this wave of gun violence is the response from the GOP and the NRA: “Now is not the time to politicize this tragedy.”

When would be a more appropriate time to consider our gun policy? After the Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007, Americans were rightly concerned about the state of our country’s bridges and other infrastructure, and pushed to have their bridges inspected and make long delayed repairs.

As Ezra Klein writes:

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Similarly, Americans have every right to question now how well we are protecting our children. Should we really make assault weapons available to the general public? Should guns be sold at gun shows without the usual background check? If we require a medical evaluation, written test and practical safety test before giving someone a driving permit, then why not require the same before letting someone own a gun?

As Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) wrote:

This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws – and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait.

Or as the Jewish scholar Hillel said:

If not now, when?

Another Horrific Gun Massacre: Children Slaughtered At Will

Time for the American Faith Community to Acknowledge Gun Violence as Religious and Moral Issue and Demand Action

— by Bryan Miller

According to press reports, as many as 27 people, including 18 elementary school children, were shot and killed by a lone gunman who attacked a school for 1st to 4th graders in Western Connecticut this morning.

Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Vice Chair of Heeding God’s Call and Senior Rabbi of Mishkan Shalom Synagogue in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia said:

In this time of year sacred for so many Americans it is beyond rational comprehension how such a massacre of innocents could occur, but it did.  How much more obvious can it be that such senseless loss of life — loss of God’s Children, as we all are — demands that the American faith community call on all people and communities of faith to address gun violence as the religious and moral issue it is.

More after the jump.
The Reverend James F. McIntire, Board Chair of Heeding God’s Call, the growing faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, and Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Havertown, PA, said:

First, we pray for the lost and all that knew and loved them.  Second, we pray for our country to heal from the deep psychic wound this morning’s slaughter has opened.  Thirdly, and most importantly, we pray that the American faith community goes beyond prayer – to demand action to move this country to safety from mass shootings and the daily carnage of illegal guns that cities like Philadelphia suffer every day.

The Reverend Belita Mitchell, Chair of Heeding God’s Call’s Harrisburg Chapter and Pastor of Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren said:  We at Heeding God’s Call have long recognized gun violence as hostile to God’s peaceable kingdom, so we believe it is absolutely a religious and moral problem that demands that all people of faith take activist roles in diminishing it – which is exactly what we are about.  We call today and everyday on our sisters and brothers in faith to join with us in seeking an end to the carnage, for God’s sake and ours.

The Reverend Todd Stavrakos, Heeding God’s Call Board Member and Pastor of Gladwyne Presbyterian Church in Gladwyne, PA said: “This is the time of the year when Christians witness to the birth of a child, yet we just lost eighteen.”

Heeding God’s Call is the faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence.  Headquartered in Philadelphia, Heeding is growing rapidly and has active chapters in NW, NE and West Phila, in its western suburbs, in Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington, DC.  Heeding seeks to bring faithful and public pressure on gun shops to persuade them to avoid selling to those who would put guns on the street.  Heeding was instrumental in leading federal authorities to shutter notorious Colosimo’s Gun Center on Spring Garden Street in late ’09.  Heeding is currently active at two gun shops in NE Philadelphia.

A Special Kol Nidre for Congress

Kol Nidre is the traditional Aramaic declaration recited for the Yom Kippur evening service. This solemn ceremony is meant to release the community from oaths which were made in error or under duress. The Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven has created a variant of the Kol Nidre formula for use by Congressmen, Senators and otehr politicians trapped by their pledge to Grover Norquist.

Dissolution of “No New Tax” Pledge

All vows, renunciations, bans, oaths, formulas of obligation, pledges,  and promises that were made by members of the House of Representatives or the Senate and other public officials, lawmakers,  city officials and candidates for office in the United States of America  before this Yom Kippur 5773 (17 September 2012), whether in writing or orally, to not raise taxes or impose new taxes, all are undone, repealed, cancelled, voided, annulled, and released, and regarded as neither valid nor binding by our community.  They are hereby released and forgiven by this Earthly Court, and so may they be released and forgiven by the Highest Court.

Thus ordered, thus decreed and thus released by the signatories below, constituting a rabbinic court of three under our authority and the authority of the Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven, Connecticut,  USA, and others who have joined with us.

Beit Din

  • Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen,  
  • Rabbi Yaakov Komisar, and
  • Rabbi Baruch A. Levine

Witnesses

  • Rabbi Murray Levine,
  • Rabbi Alan H. Lovins, and
  • Rabbi Joshua Ratner

כל נדרי ואסרי וחרמי וקנמי וכנויי וקנוסי ושבועות והבטחות והתחייבויות דנדרו ודאשתבּעו
ודאחרימו ודאסרו ודהבטחו והתחייבו חברי בית הנבחרים והסנאט ופקידי הציבור
ומחוקקים וחברי וועדי העיר ומועמדים למשרד בארצות הברית עד יום כפור זה שנת
ה׳תשע״ג בין בכתב ובין בעל פה בכוונה ללא להעלות מיסים וללא להטיל מיסים חדשים
כלּהון יהון שרן שביקין שביתין בטלין ומבוטלין לא שרירין ולא קימין.  אין כאן לא נדר
ולא אסור ולא חרם ולא קונם ולא קנס ולא שבועה ולא הבטחה ולא התחייבות ויש כאן
מחילה וסליחה וכפרה.  וכשם שמתירים בבית דין של מטה، כך יהיו מֻ תרים מבית דין של
מעלה.  

כך צוים וכך גוזרים וכך מתירים אנחנו، חתומי מטה، בישיבת בית דין של שלשה של כנסת
הרבנים בניו היבן ומצטרפים עלינו עוד רבנים מוסמכים כאן בעיר ניו היבן קנקטקט במדינת
אמריקה הצפונית.

   

Tour de Shuls: Biking around the Jewish Community

Local Congregations Featured Tour Stops in the First Annual Tour de Shuls PA/NJ Bike Ride to Benefit Camp Ramah

— by Leonard Abrams and Bruce Tomar

Middle Atlantic Region of Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs proudly presents the inaugural Tour de Shuls a bike ride to benefit Camp Ramah on Sunday morning, September 23, 2012. Cyclists will enjoy a choice of a 45 mile, 20 mile or family friendly 3 mile ride. All rides begin and end at Temple Sinai in Dresher, PA. The ride will feature tour stops at
Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, PA and Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell, PA. The cost to ride is $36 ($54 after 9/9). Check-in begins at 7:00 AM.

Every dollar raised from rider fees, contributions and sponsorships will be donated directly to Camp Ramah. This will be a great day for the Shuls of the Middle Atlantic Region, the Ramah movement and the Jewish community at large. All participants will be treated to a catered lunch by Temple Sinai Men’s Club’s acclaimed “Men in the Kitchen.”

A similar event is planned for September 2 in Indianapolis to benefit Hillels on eight university campuses across Indiana. On June 24, rides were held in Massachusetts and Connecticut rides to support the Tikvah special needs program at Camp Ramah New England.
Register today to ride, donate, sponsor a rider, sponsor the event and volunteer at www.tourdeshulspanj.org For further information contact event co-chairs Leonard Abrams at leonardabrams@marfjmc.org or 215-498-2566 or Bruce Tomar batomar1@hotmail.com or 856-429-9042.

“Severely Conservative” Governor Sweeps All Five Primaries

According to Prof. Andrew S. Tananbaum:

With only Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul as official opponents, Mitt Romney swept to easy victories in five primaries yesterday. Nevertheless, even with such weak opponents, in only one state, Connecticut, did he crack 2/3 of the vote, and there just barely with 67.4%. And this in the region of the country where he is best known and where he is judged by how he governed in Massachusetts rather than by what he was forced to say to placate the base on the primary campaign trail.

Newt Gingrich having focused his efforts on Delaware and only garnering 27% of the vote is said to be reconsidering his campaign although he continues to rally for support in North Carolina which votes a week from Tuesday. (See map below the jump.)

As for Ron Paul, inTrade gives him about a 3.5% chance of carrying his home state of Texas which does not vote until May 29, so he’ll presumably continue his quixotic campaign until the bitter end.

Updated map follows the jump.
Color Key  

Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.

Trivia Contest

  • Find the counties won by Rick Perry.
  • Find the counties where Ron Paul tied Rick Santorum.