U.S. Briefs 10-11-11

The latest news from the American Jewish community. 

(Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.) 

(Click photo to download. Caption: U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor. Credit: United States Congress.)

At Synagogue, Majority Leader Cantor Responds to Obama on Jobs Bill

Singled out by President Barack Obama during a speech in Texas for opposing economic reform, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) responded to the president at a Manhattan synagogue Sunday night, The Daily Beast website reported.

Obama said last week that he“would like Mr. Cantor to come here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in, what exactly he is opposed to.”

Cantor answered just that at the West Side Institutional Synagogue on Sunday, explaining that the bill’s proposed cap itemized deductions at the 35 percent tax bracket would hurt the cause of non-profits.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me to pursue what the president is talking about in the economy we’ve got,” Cantor said, according to The Daily Beast. “Why would you do something that makes it less attractive to give to charities when so many people are in need?”

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: Al Davis speaks on the "State of the Raiders" this past January. Credit: YouTube.)

Al Davis, Legendary Jewish NFL Owner, Dies on Yom Kippur

Al Davis—longtime owner of the Oakland Raiders National Football League franchise who also served as a coach, general manager and league commissioner—died at age 82 on Yom Kippur last Saturday.

Davis, who was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Brockton, Mass., and went on to spend his childhood in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, guided the Raiders organization to three Super Bowl Championships and was known for the mantra “Just win, baby.”

“He was an innovator, a pioneer with a deep love and passion for the game of football,” the Raiders said in a statement on Davis. “His contributions to the game are innumerable and his legacy will endure forever through generations of players, coaches, administrators and fans.”

Davis hired Art Shell, one of the first black coaches in NFL history, among other trailblazing moves.

“As a Jewish person, he understood discrimination,” Eric Golub wrote of Davis in the Washington Times.

On the Silver & Black Pride Raiders’ blog, Raymond St. Martin noted the religious significance of the timing of Davis’s passing.

“Can it get any more Jewish than dying on the day of atonement?” St. Martin wrote.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: Anti-semitic vandalism. Credit: Yonderboy.)

ADL: Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise for First Time Since 2004

The Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit for U.S. anti-semitism, unveiled last week, revealed a rise in anti-semitic incidents for the first time since 2004.

Incidents went up from 1,211 incidents in 2009 to 1,239 in 2010, following a decrease in the occurrences each year since 2004’s U.S. record of 1,821, according to ADL. The audit tracks “incidents of vandalism, harassment and physical assaults against Jewish individuals, property and community institutions across the U.S.,” using reports and data gathered by ADL’s 30 regional offices and law enforcement, the organization said.

California led the U.S. with 297 anti-semitic incidents in 2010, followed by New York at 205, New Jersey at 130, Florida at 116, and Massachusetts at 64.

“While we have come a long way in society as Jews have been accepted into the mainstream, America is still not immune to anti-Semitism and bigotry,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a statement.

—JointMedia News Service


Presidential Candidate Romney Pledges Defense Aid for Israel, Takes on Iran

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that if elected, he would “begin discussions with Israel to increase the level of our military assistance and coordination,” according to media reports from his foreign policy speech in South Carolina last Friday.

Romney added that he would “reiterate that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable,” Ynet reported.

“In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

Romney called the Obama Administration’s foreign policy attitude “ambivalent” and said Israel’s enemies will be gain strength if Obama remains in office.

“I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state,” he said, according to Ynet.

—JointMedia News Service


Orthodox Union Gives Blueprint for Sukkot Sans the Fire Hazards

The Orthodox Union (OU) said the holiday of Sukkot “calls for special attention to fire safety,” while issuing guidelines for the use of candles lit in the Sukkah, electric lights and heaters.

Candles should be placed at least four feet away from curtains, draperies, blinds, kitchen cabinets and bedding, the OU said. Electric lights, according to the OU, should not be placed next to schach (ceiling) or anything else flammable in the Sukkah.

Heaters, meanwhile, should be used with caution because “children and animals can tip them over easily,” OU said.

The OU’s full fire safety guidelines for Sukkot can be found at http://www.ou.org/torah/article/ou_issues_safety_warning_as_sukkot_approaches

—JointMedia News Service


Netanyahu to Address Federations’ General Assembly in Denver

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at the Jewish federation system’s general assembly in Denver next month, headlining an annual gathering that draws prominent global political leaders.

“The Jewish Federation movement very much appreciates this important opportunity to convene with Prime Minister Netanyahu and to dialogue together on our Jewish future,” Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), said in a statement.

The JFNA General Assembly from Nov. 6-8 “comes at a critical juncture for the global Jewish community, with Israel facing serious challenges including the recent unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence at the UN; the possibility of a nuclear Iran; the Arab Spring and ongoing threats of terrorism,” according to a press release from JFNA.

—JointMedia News Service


Indictment: Atlanta-area Jewish Novelist Stole Millions From Women Online

Jewish author Mitchell Gross stole several million dollars from women he met through an online dating service, feigning interest in committed relationships with them in exchange for investing in a phony company, a federal indictment said.

Indicted on charges of wire fraud and money laundering last Friday, Gross, a 61-year-old resident of Marietta, Ga., is a fiction writer who operates under the pen name Mitchell Graham; onewoman, “R.J.,” wired Gross approximately $2.99 million to an account he called “The Merrill Company,” according to the indictment.

“The unsuspecting victims transferred millions of dollars into bank accounts controlled by the defendant, who allegedly depleted the funds to pay back previous victims and enrich himself,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

—JointMedia News Service


Seven Congressmen Scheduled to Visit Israel to Show Support

Seven members of the U.S. Congress, all from the Republican party, are scheduled to visit Israel during October, the first month of the Knesset’s winter session. Trip organizer MK Danny Danon, chairman of World Likud and the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, said on Saturday, “The visit proves without a doubt that we are not alone in our political conflict with the Palestinians.”

The seven congressmen are Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending subcommittee, and a member of the National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations subcommittee; John Fleming (R-LA), a member of the Strategic Forces and Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittees; Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), co-chairmen of the Republican Israel Caucus; Louie Gohmert (R-TX), chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security subcommittee; Randy Forbes (R-VA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a member of Armed Services Committee; and John Carter (R-TX), co-chairman of the House Army Caucus.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service