A call from Alaska PDF Print E-mail
By Anne Sherman   
Friday, 23 December 2011 01:52

Dr. Max GombergDr. Max GombergWhen was the last time you received a phone call from Kodiak Island, Alaska? For the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association (the Association) office, it was  last summer.

A gathering filled with blessings PDF Print E-mail
By Rabbi Peter W. Stein   
Friday, 23 December 2011 00:00
 NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – I had the extraordinary privilege of participating this past week in the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial convention. A convention for members of Reform synagogues from across North America, it is generally considered the largest Jewish gathering in the country.
Openly gay Jews participate in Orthodox forum PDF Print E-mail
By Dan Klein   
Friday, 09 December 2011 15:02

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (JTA) – The 15th annual conference of Nefesh International, an association of Orthodox mental health professionals, was a study in inclusion.

Dr. Judith Guedelia, director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s neuropsychology unit, became the first woman to receive the conference’s Esther Solomon Mental Health Award. Several participants noted the increased Hasidic representation. And three openly gay men for the first time were permitted to set up a table. Members of Jewish Queer Youth (JQY), a support group for Orthodox and formerly Orthodox LGBT Jews, distributed informational materials and debated – and occasionally berated – conference participants.

JQY members were allowed to participate in last weekend’s conference at a Long Island hotel only as individual advocates raising awareness, not under the banner of an organization. And only after a special appeal to Nefesh.

“They wanted to talk about their struggles as homosexuals in the Orthodox world,” said Simcha Feuerman, a marriage and family therapist in private practice in New York and the president of Nefesh. “Mental health professionals should be aware of those voices.”

Pollard in prison: 27 years and counting PDF Print E-mail
By Jacob Kamaras   
Friday, 25 November 2011 14:57

Jonathan PollardJonathan PollardRabbi Pesach Lerner has been visiting Jonathan Pollard in prison for two decades, and most recently, he has witnessed the deterioration of his health. But when advocating for Pollard’s release, Lerner focuses on justice more than the humanitarian argument.

“Justice has not been served in the fact that he did 26 years [in prison],” Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, told JointMedia News Service. “He deserves to be out because enough is enough. He deserves to be out because he shouldn’t have been there for life to begin with. Anybody doing what he did should be there for two, four, six, eight years, not going into 27.”

On Nov. 21, Pollard entered his 27th year in prison. Convicted of spying for Israel without intent to harm the U.S., he is currently incarcerated at the Butner Federal Correction Complex in North Carolina. Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally.

‘This is what democracy looks like’ PDF Print E-mail
By Brian Sullivan   
Friday, 28 October 2011 02:55

DESPITE PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS, this woman protests. /Brian SullivanDESPITE PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS, this woman protests. /Brian SullivanNEW YORK – A weekend trip with friends to New York City included a stop at Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square by protestors, in Lower Manhattan. I wanted to experience first-hand the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to better understand what was happening. As I stepped off the subway at Fulton Street and approached Liberty Square from the north, the sounds of the protesters could be heard echoing from several blocks away.

At first glance, Liberty Square looked more like a swap meet than the center of a global revolution. But upon closer inspection, I saw that Liberty Square is a self-sustaining community unto itself. Throughout the square there are segmented areas to accommodate the new residents, more of whom arrive on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  Racks of donated clothes are available for protestors. Equipped with buckets, mops and brooms, the trash and recycling areas allow protestors to keep the square clean and orderly. Various stations where protestors can get a haircut, sew clothes, make signs and compost food had sprung up; there was even a makeshift library.

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