U.S. Briefs 11-1-1

The latest news in the American Jewish community. 

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(Click photo to download. Caption: Oprah Winfrey. Credit: PD-US.)

Oprah’s Hassidic Journey

Oprah Winfrey recently visited the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Borough Park, and Brooklyn Heights for a crash course on Hassidic life.

As part of “Oprah’s Next Chapter”—a new television series that will focus on the talk show legend’s journeys outside the studio—Winfrey visited Brooklyn to see how “spiritual devotion informs and strengthens [the Hassidic community’s] dealings with the outside world,” according to Chabad.org.

The series premiers on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network in January.

—JointMedia News Service


First ‘Jewish Federation of Israel’ to Debut at Denver Conference

Takdim, the first “Jewish Federation of Israel,” will debut at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly from Nov. 6-8 in Denver, the Jerusalem Post reported.

JFNA “represents 157 Jewish Federations & 400 Network communities raising $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services & education,” according to its website, but to date, a comparable fundraising arm has not appeared in Israel. Takdim was founded earlier this year in Tel Aviv, according to the Post.

“We’re coming to [the General Assembly to] learn since we’ve adapted the Federations model and we want to know more about it from the big to the intermediate and the small,” Arik Rosenblum, Takdim’s director, told the newspaper on Sunday.

—JointMedia News Service


‘Palestine Film Festival’ Organizer Advocates for Israel’s Destruction

The organizer of a film festival in Boston last week has equated Zionism with anti-Semitism, accused Israel of genocide, and called Gaza a “ghetto for surplus non-Jews.”

The Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society (MECCS, Inc.) staged the Boston Palestine Film Festival—cosponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)—from Oct. 21-30. The organization’s president, Ali Abunimah, engages in various anti-Israel campaigns including Israel Apartheid Week, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and the promotion of a “one-state formula.”

On Oct. 26, Abunimah tweeted that Zionism “dehumanizes its victims, denies their history, and has a cult-like worship of ethnoracial purity.” Additionally, he said “supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit” and called Gaza a “concentration camp,” according to NGO Monitor.

—JointMedia News Service


Montel Williams: Israel, Not U.S., Gets it Right with Medicinal Marijuana

Award-winning talk show host Montel Williams last week praised Israel’s openness to prescribing medicinal marijuana in an interview with the Associated Press.

Williams was in Israel to speak with doctors, legislators and scientists about the country’s medicinal marijuana practices, according to the AP. He said, “We need to get out of the dark ages and into the new ages.”

Itay Goor-Aryeh, head of the pain management unit at Sheba Medical Center, told the AP that Israel considers marijuana preferable to “morphine-like drugs and other harmful drugs” for patients because marijuana is less addictive.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: Former New York Mayor David Dinkins. Credit: PD-US.)

Former New York Mayor Calls for Pollard’s Release

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who first asked for Jonathan Pollard’s release during the Clinton Administration in 1993, renewed his call in a recent letter to President Barack Obama.

On Nov. 21, Pollard will enter his 27th year in federal prison. His offense—one count of passing classified information to an ally (Israel) without intent to harm the United States—“ordinarily carries a two-to-four year sentence,” Dinkins noted in a letter distributed by Justice for Jonathan Pollard Oct. 24.

According to Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York, Pollard “pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but that was apparently ignored by the sentencing judge.”

“Mr. Pollard has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions and, by all accounts, has been a model prisoner,” Dinkins wrote.

Read Dinkins’s full letter at http://www.jonathanpollard.org/2011/100411.pdf  

—JointMedia News Service


Supreme Court Will Not Hear Appeal on Placement of Highway Crosses

In a decision that means Jewish veterans won’t be recognized alongside Christian symbols, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday it would not consider two appeals of a ruling that placing crosses on the side of highways in honor of fallen state troopers violates the First Amendment.

The crosses—which include troopers’ names, pictures, badge numbers and biographies, and the symbol of the Utah Highway Patrol—were donated by the Utah Highway Patrol Association and placed near locations where troopers died, according to theNew York Times. The appeals would have challenged the Supreme Court’s ruling that the crosses violate the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion.

Previously during the case, lawyer Peter J. Eliasberg said Jewish war veterans were uncomfortable with the prospect of being honored next to “the predominant symbol of Christianity,” according to the Times.

—JointMedia News Service


Posted on November 1, 2011 and filed under U.S..