Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Palestinian man alleged to be part of terror cell killed in shootout with Israeli troops

JERUSALEM (JTA)A Palestinian man who allegedly was part of a terror cell planning attack on Israeli targets was killed in a gunfight with Israeli troops in the West Bank.

Basel al-Aaraj was killed overnight Monday during an IDF arrest raid in Ramallah in the northern West Bank.

Al-Aaraj, 31, was shot and killed by Israeli troops after they surrounded the house where he was holed up in order to arrest him. He opened fire on the troops, according to the IDF.

Al-Aaraj was alleged to be part of a terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks on Israeli targets and allegedly was responsible for procuring weapons. An M-16 rifle and an improvised Carlo-style submachine gun were found inside the home, the IDF said.

Al-Araj was detained without charges or explanation by Palestinian security forces in April last year, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. He was released in September after mounting a hunger strike in prison amid reports of torture and mistreatment.

On Sunday, two Palestinian men from Nablus were arrested at the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank on suspicion that they were planning to carry out a stabbing attack there. One of the men was carrying a large knife.

Annexing West Bank will lead to crisis with Trump administration, Liberman warns

JERUSALEM (JTA)Annexing the West Bank will lead to a crisis with the Trump administration, Israels Defense Minister warned.

I am saying it as clearly as possible: We received a direct message from the United States saying that Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration, Avigdor Liberman said Monday during an appearance before the Knessets Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Liberman called on the ruling government coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify very clearly, there is no intention to impose Israeli sovereignty. Liberman is due to meet with top U.S. administration officials this week in Washington.

The warning came in response to an interview over the weekend with Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar, who told the Israeli news channel i24 News that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer possible.

The two-state solution is dead, Zohar said. What is left is a one-state solution with the Arabs here as, not as full citizenship, because full citizenship can let them to vote to the Knesset. They will get all of the rights like every citizen except voting for the Knesset.

Liberman said the interview raised red flags around the world. Im getting calls from all of the world wanting to know if this is the position of the coalition, he told the Knesset committee. As far as my opinion is concerned, we need to separate from the Palestinians and not to integrate them. The decision to annex Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) would mean the integration of 2.7 million Palestinians in Israel.

U.S. President Donald Trump has not called specifically for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. When asked about the topic last month during a news conference in Washington with Netanyahu, Trump said: I like the one the two parties like… I can live with either one.

Trumps position diverges with that of previous U.S. presidents, who said two states was the only viable solution for resolving the conflict.

Israeli decries Womens Strike organizer convicted in bombing that killed her uncle

(JTA)The niece of an Israeli killed in a terrorist attack nearly 50 years ago criticized the planned International Womens Strike for allowing one of the convicted terrorists in a leadership position.

In an op-ed published last week on the Huffington Post website, Terry Joffe Benaryeh said she commends the goal of the strike, a push for womens equality. The strike is planned for March 8, the official observance of International Womens Day

But, explain how my family is supposed to reconcile the reality that the woman who stripped my uncle of his life is now deemed a hero by many of my fellow Americans. What justification is there for Rasmea Odeh, a woman who killed two people (with the intention of killing more!) to lead a peaceful fight for human rights? Benaryeh wrote.

Eddie Joffe and Leon Kanner were killed at the Supersol market in Jerusalem on Feb. 21. 1969, when a bomb set by Odeh and an accomplice exploded in the crowded store. Nine people were injured in the blast.

Odeh was arrested in March 1969. She was convicted and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for two bombing attacks on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She spent 10 years in an Israeli prison before being released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980.

Odeh confessed to planting the bomb, though in recent years has claimed that the confession was given under torture, which is disputed by Israeli officials.

Explain to me how Odeh, who was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, was chosen to represent American feminists who seek to peacefully stand up for womens rights, Benaryeh wrote. The Womens Strike lists as its Principle #1 that Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation. Rasmea Odeh signed her name to this movement. And she did so with blood on her hands.

Odeh, an associate director at the Arab American Action Network, was found guilty in November 2014 of lying on her application for citizenship to the United States by covering up her conviction and imprisonment for the bombing attacks when she entered the United States in 1995. She applied for citizenship in 2004.

In December 2016, a federal judge ordered a new trial, in which Odeh reportedly will be allowed to show she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder when she was interviewed in Detroit during the citizenship process, a claim that was not introduced in her first trial.

U.S. lawmakers visit potential sites for embassy move to Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA)A delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Israel for one day, during which they were to visit possible sites in Jerusalem for the American Embassy.

The delegation of lawmakers was from the House Subcommittee for National Security, part of the House Oversight Committee. The lawmakers reportedly met Sunday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials. They also reportedly had a briefing at the US. Embassy in Tel Aviv, and visited U.S. government properties in Jerusalem.

The delegation was led by subcommittee chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis, R- Fla. DeSantis told reporters Sunday evening that U.S. President Donald Trump intends to honor his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

DeSantis told Breitbart News in an interview on Sunday that he thought the U.S. consulate in the upscale Arnona neighborhood of southern Jerusalem would be a good place to house a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

Great security, very big and nice facility, DeSantis told Breitbart. So, that is something that could potentially be a plug-and-play. Where you are literally just changing the sign to the U.S. Embassy. And that obviously depends on what the president wants to do. So, he could potentially do that.

Cuomo at Yad Vashem: No tolerance for acts of anti-Semitism

JERUSALEM (JTA)There will be no tolerance for these acts of anti-Semitism, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a weekend visit to Israel.

We must live by the rules that an abuse to one, an affront to one, is an affront to all, and that large fires start as small fires, and we will have zero tolerance for any abuse or discrimination of any fellow human being, Cuomo said Sunday during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. In the United States now we have had a rash of anti-Semitism, over 100 acts of anti-Semitism, and I am sad to say also in my state, the state of New York. It is disgusting, it is reprehensible, it violates every tenet of the New York State tradition.

He added: To the people of Israel, I say that these acts of anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.

Cuomo continued: This trip has two purposes; number one, while some would weaken the relationship between the people of the State of New York and our Jewish brothers and sisters, the purpose of this trip is to strengthen those relationships through cultural exchange, through economic development partnerships, and well be working on them. The second purpose of this trip is Hineini, I am here, I have been here before, and I will be here again.

Cuomo last visited Israel in the wake of the 2014 Gaza War, also on a whirlwind 24-hour trip.

Rivlin thanked Cuomo for his visit and said, Your arrival to Israel at this time is an extremely important signal that the U.S. people and government will not let anti-Semitism win. On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to express our appreciation for your visit and for the clear and powerful message you have sent.

Rivlin added: The same appreciation goes to President Trump, who condemned the recent attacks. And we are deeply touched by Vice President Pence who went and gave a handand a voicein fixing the broken gravestone. The fact that so many Christians and Muslims, came to aid the Jewish communities sends the clearest message against racism and hatred. It is a sign of great hope and civil courage.

Last month, Pence visited a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis and helped volunteers clean up the area.

Cuomo was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Sunday. The visit also was meant to bolster economic ties between Israel and New York State.

Israel upsets Korea in first game of World Baseball Classic

JERUSALEM (JTA)Team Israel defeated Korea in the first game of the World Baseball Classic.

Israel topped Korea 2-1 in the 10th inning on Monday in Seoul. Team Israel had 8 hits to Koreas 7 in the hard-fought game.

The Israeli team is scheduled to play the team from Chinese Taipei later on Monday, and the Netherlands on Wednesday.

This is the first year that the Israeli team has qualified for the quadrennial baseball tournament, in which 16 countries are represented. In 2012, Israels inaugural WBC team narrowly missed making the tournament.

The game marks the first time that American Jewish baseball players, including several current and former Major League Baseball players, are representing Israel in a world championship. World Baseball Classic rules state that players who are eligible for citizenship of a country may play on that countrys team.

Israel is the only participant in this years tournament not currently among the top 20 in the world rankings. Israel is ranked 41st in the world.

The game was not broadcast on any of Israels major television channels or sports channels.

Ten current and former Jewish major leaguers representing Israel in the World Baseball Classic visited Israel in December.

In an article published on Sunday, ESPN described the Israeli team as the Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC.

Aleppo family claims to be Jewish, calls on Israel to help them

JERUSALEM (JTA)Members of a family in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo have called on Israel to help them leave the country, claiming Jewish heritage.

A recording of a woman calling for the assistance was broadcast Sunday morning on Army Radio.

The younger brother of the woman on the recording, who himself escaped over a year ago to London and identified as Salah, told Army Radio that his mother is Jewish and his father Muslim, and that he and his siblings had considered themselves Jewish growing up.

There is nobody who can help us to get out of this place, said his sister, 30, on the recording, where she is identified as Razan, though that is not her real name. We are asking that the Israeli government does not abandon us, but helps us get out of here to another country. I ask that the government demands from the entire world to do this. All my love and loyalty is to this religion (Judaism).

The Jewish Agency told Israeli media outlets that it was looking into the matter and would work to rescue the family if it is proven they are Jewish. Meanwhile, officials at the Jewish Agency told Army Radio that they had doubts about the familys Jewishness because people in similar positions have hidden their Jewish identity to avoid putting themselves in more danger.

Aleppos last remaining Jews were believed to have left the country with the help of the Jewish Agency in 2015.

Former U.S. envoy to Israel, Dan Shapiro, to join Israeli think tank

JERUSALEM (JTA)Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will join a Tel Aviv-based think tank as a visiting fellow.

The Institute for National Security Studies announced the appointment on its website on Sunday.

Shapiro will participate in several of the institutes research programs, including those on Israel-U.S. relations, Israeli-Palestinian relations, the Arab world, and Israeli society and public opinion, according to the announcement. According to the think tank, he will study opportunities and make policy recommendations to strengthen the U.S.-Israel strategic, economic and societal partnership, and to preserve, expand and strengthen the common interests between the two states.

INSS Director Amos Yadlin said that Shapiro possesses keen insight, deep experience, and a broad network of relationships in Israel, the United States, and the Middle East.

Shapiro was appointed to his post by former President Barack Obama in July 2011. He resigned on Jan. 20, vacating the position for President Donald Trumps appointee, David Friedman.

Shapiro reportedly took the unusual step of asking the State Department for permission to stay in Israel as a private citizen so that his daughter could complete the school year. His daughter is in the 11th grade, a year that is heavy with Israeli matriculation exams

At the end of January, Shapiro wrote an article for Foreign Policy, in which he laid out a path for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a stated goal of the Trump administration.

Trump, Netanyahu discuss dangers of Iran deal in phone call

WASHINGTON (JTA)President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the Iran nuclear deal in a phone call.

Trump called Netanyahu on Monday and the two leaders discussed the dangers posed by the nuclear deal with Iran, according to a statement from Netanyahus office.

The two leaders spoke at length about the dangers posed by the nuclear deal with Iran and by Irans malevolent behavior in the region and about the need to work together to counter those dangers, read the statement.

Netanyahu and Trump have both denounced the deal, which exchanges sanctions relief for a rollback of Irans nuclear program. But the U.S. president and other top officials have wavered in their commitment to undoing the agreement.

During the phone call, Netanyahu also thanked Trump for the warm hospitality during his visit to Washington last month and for condemning anti-Semitism during a joint address to Congress, according to the statement.

The White House statement reporting the call described the conversation in more general terms.

The two leaders discussed the need to counter continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, it said. The Prime Minister thanked the President for his comments at the beginning of his speech before the Joint Session of Congress condemning anti-Semitism

Last Tuesday, Trump noted recent bomb threats on Jewish institutions and vandalism of cemeteries in his first address to a joint meeting of Congress.

Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last weeks shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms, Trump said.

Nearly 100 Jewish institutions have been targeted with bomb threats since the beginning of the year. The Kansas shooting occurred when a patron who was ejected from a bar after hurling racial epithets at two workers from India allegedly returned with a gun, killing one of the men and wounding the other.

Trump has come under fire for his delayed responses to the threats against Jewish institutions, deflecting questions about it before finally issuing a denunciation. The White House did not address the Kansas shooting until Tuesday, six days after the attack.

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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Surprise! Jews are good at baseball – JNS.org

The Sandy Koufax precedent

On a completely different note, why is this team so good? Arent Jews in the Diaspora supposed to be studious scholars who pore over books all day? So first, a clarification: The fact that a team of American Jews has been winning at an international baseball tournament is surprising because the team doesnt include the most successful Jewish players in Major League Baseballlike Alex Bregman, Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler. Actually, this Israeli team is just a footnote in the glorious Jewish history of Americas pastime.

At the inaugural Jewish American Heritage Month celebration in May 2010, President Barack Obama remarked, Weve got senators and representatives, weve got Supreme Court justices and successful entrepreneurs, rabbinical scholars, Olympic athletesand Sandy Koufax.

Koufax is widely considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Jewish or not. He earned his place in Jewish history, though, thanks to his decision to sit out game one of the 1965 World Series game because it coincided with Yom Kippur. He later won that years World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was named series MVP.

David Trager, a Brooklyn judge who also taught at Tel Aviv University, succinctly explained the meaning of Koufaxs Yom Kippur act. He said, Our parents generation was religious, but they still worked on the Sabbath.In the workshops and even at respectable companies, if you didnt work on Yom Kippur you were fired. Koufax didnt justify his decision with big words about religious faith. He was a completely secular man. He simply said, The Dodgers know I dont work on Yom Kippur. He set the precedent that, like any American, Jews can tell their employers that there are days when they dont work.

But Koufax wasnt the first. Thirty years before him, Detroit Tigers slugger Hank Greenberg also sat out a crucial game on Yom Kippur, at a time when Michigan faced a wave of anti-Semitism that was fanned by industrialist Henry Ford.

Israels sports landscape

American Jews are far better at sports than Israeli Jews. Jewish-American athletes have racked up more than 100 Olympic gold medalsto Israels one gold medal. It isnt about the quality of Jewish life in America. Even the Jews of Hungary won 50 gold medals under terrible anti-Semitism. Rather, an athlete performs well when the athletes in the surrounding environment are highly skilled. No Chinese child plays soccer as well as Argentine children. Similarly, Israel wont produce American-caliber baseball stars.

Yet theres no need to bash the Israeli sports landscape, and no need to slam Israels national soccer or basketball teams for not being as prolific as this newly renowned baseball team. The players that comprise the baseball team hail from a baseball superpower, America, even if they represent a different country at the WBC, Israel, that isnt an athletic superpower of any kind.

The Israeli baseball teams American players, meanwhile, arent likely to become heroes in Israel anytime soon. But due to their achievements on the international stage, the world finally knows that Jews are good at baseball.

This op-ed first appeared in Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is distributed in the U.S. exclusively by JNS.org.

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Surprise! Jews are good at baseball – JNS.org

Anti-Semitic violence, fear nothing new – NWAOnline

ATLANTA — Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta’s Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what might come next.

In this Oct. 13, 1958, file photo, authorities investigate the scene of a bomb blast at The Temple on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. If the blast had oc…

Because all of that — and worse — has happened in the city before.

Six decades ago, during the turmoil of the Civil Rights era, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a ragged hole in Atlanta’s largest synagogue. A generation earlier, in 1915, Jewish businessman Leo Frank was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism. A variation on this story was the basis for the 1937 Claude Rains film, They Won’t Forget.

Some fear history is once again arcing toward the viperous climate that set the stage for the earlier violence.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the attacks and threats and desecration of Jewish cemeteries in recent days,” said playwright Jimmy Maize, whose play The Temple Bombing is on stage this month at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater. “I have to say that writing this play feels too much like history repeating itself.”

His play, which addresses anti-Semitism, fear and courage through the drama of the 1958 explosion, was inspired by a book by Atlanta author Melissa Fay Greene.

“We learned over several decades the power of hate speech,” Greene said. “It can lead to people being harmed and killed.”

Recently, more than 100 headstoneswere discovered toppled or damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Jewish community centers and schools in several states also have been targets of recent bomb scares.

On March 3, federal officials said a 31-year-old man is a suspect in at least eight of the threats made against Jewish institutions nationwide, and a bomb threat to New York’s Anti-Defamation League.

Atlanta has played a prominent role in American Jewish life since the late 1800s. Jewish immigrants began some of its most successful businesses, according to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Atlanta was at the forefront of the new, industrial South, and many of its factories were Jewish-owned, said Jeremy Katz, archives director at Atlanta’s William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

Jewish businessmen gained respect and became community leaders. But their success also led to anti-Semitism from Southerners who felt left behind by the changing economy, said Stuart Rockoff, the former historian for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

“There was this push and pull, and it was kind of a powder keg that ignited with the Leo Frank case,” Katz said. “Before the Frank case, Jews were fairly accepted in the community because social lines were drawn by color of skin rather than religion, so Jews really flourished in the South.”

Everything changed on a spring day in 1913, when 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan was found strangled in the cellar of Atlanta’s National Pencil Co. Frank, the factory’s manager, was arrested and put on trial. As newspaper articles inflamed anti-Semitic passions in and around Atlanta, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Georgia Gov. John Slaton, convinced Frank was innocent, commuted his sentence to life in prison. In August 1915, a mob snatched Frank from the state prison in Milledgeville and drove him to Marietta, where Phagan had lived, and hanged him from an oak tree.

“The Leo Frank case showed that Jews were not immune from that type of violence and discrimination,” Rockoff said.

In the following years, many Jews didn’t speak of the Frank case.

But by the late 1940s, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild at The Temple in Atlanta had begun speaking out against racial injustice in Atlanta, said his son, William Rothschild. Some believe that made the synagogue a target for extremists.

The bomb exploded about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 12, 1958. A few hours later, during Sunday morning classes, “there would have been hundreds of children in the building,” said Peter Berg, now senior rabbi at The Temple. But the children hadn’t yet arrived, and no one was injured.

“I remember feeling emptiness,” recalls Carol Zaban Cooper of Atlanta, who was 14 when her synagogue was bombed, and went on to become active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “I felt hollow, numb.”

Alfred Uhry, author of the play and movie Driving Miss Daisy, attended The Temple as a child and had just moved to New York when it was bombed. He recalls the horror he felt after seeing a photo of the destruction in The New York Times.

“It showed a side of the building blown off, and I had gone to Sunday school there,” Uhry said.

A bombing suspect’s first trial ended with a hung jury and the second with an acquittal.

Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield said “every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South.”

Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill called it a harvest of hate. One day after the blast he wrote, “It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many Southern politicians.”

“To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school,” he added in the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial. “But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gate to all those who wish to take law into their own hands.”

Racial hatred put everyone in danger, McGill wrote.

“When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.”

Religion on 03/11/2017

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Anti-Semitic violence, fear nothing new – NWAOnline

Cronig’s Celebrates 100 Years of Feeding the Vineyard Community – The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

When 28-year-old Sam Cronig and his three younger brothers opened their Vineyard Haven market in March 1917, the world was still at war in Europe and Marthas Vineyard had a year-round population of about 4,500.

One hundred years later, the Cronigs name still stands above two grocery stores, though that business changed hands three decades ago, and a real estate company that has remained in the family for the past century. The Vineyard has many older families, but the Cronigs hold a special place in Island history not only as store proprietors who served generations of local families and summer visitors, but as the first Jewish family to settle here year-round.

I am very proud of my heritage and the legacy that was left by the Cronigs, said Gayle Stiller, one of several Cronig grandchildren who still live and work on the Vineyard.

Arriving from Lithuania in 1904, 15-year-old Sam Krengle received his new surname from immigration officials in New York city. The eldest of nine children born to a Yiddish-speaking village grocer who had planned for his firstborn to become a rabbi, Mr. Cronig worked briefly in the city before leaving to stay with cousins in New Bedford. In 1905, he moved to a farm on Marthas Vineyard that had advertised for a hired hand. That didnt last long, either.

David and Robert Cronig outside the Vineyard Haven Store. Courtesy Peter Cronig

I guess he got tired of his job and he came and got a job at Swift, Bodfish & Smith, which was then a grocery market, said Mr. Cronigs son David, who is 102 and now living in Florida. While learning the American retail business, Sam Cronig also worked to bring his younger siblings to the U.S. Edward and Theodore came first and then Henry and sister Tillie, who were smuggled into Germany from Russian-occupied Lithuania.

We traveled chiefly at night, sometimes in wagons, under loads of hay or stacks of milk cans, Henry Cronig told the Gazette 50 years later, in 1964. The nearer we came to the German border, the greater the tenseness. Four other siblings remained behind, later settling abroad.

After a seasick passage from Rotterdam and a terrifying quarantine in New York, Henry and Tillie rejoined their older brothers on a Plymouth County farm Sam had bought with money he earned on the Vineyard.

Henry, who would later found Cronigs Real Estate, was unimpressed with the farm but intrigued by the source of the money. The thought came to me that if I was to learn English, I would have to live with the Gentiles, and it seemed to me, from what I could learn, that Marthas Vineyard was the place to go, he said in the 1964 interview.

Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 1965 after second floor was added. Courtesy Peter Cronig

He arrived on the Island in May, 1915 and soon convinced his brothers to join him. The family was already growing: Sam had married their cousin Libby Levine in New Bedford in 1912 and the couples first child, David, was born in 1914.

By the end of 1916, the four brothers had earned enough money to start their own business. The Cronig Brothers Market opened its doors at Main and Church streets in Vineyard Haven March 10, 1917.

We bought a wagon for $10 and a horse for $30, and we opened, Henry Cronig recalled in 1964. It was a sorry-looking store. We piled everything we had on the shelves in order to make the best showing possible. While working with his brothers, Henry founded his own business, Cronigs Real Estate, which also celebrates its centennial this year.

The original shop began chiefly as a meat market with its own slaughterhouse, David Cronig said this week. The store had grown to a full-service grocery by the time he was old enough to lend a hand, becoming the first in a long line of Cronig kids to work in the family markets over the next six and a half decades.

I think I was seven or eight years old, Mr. Cronig recalled. I wanted to work in the store, so they gave me a broom and said, sweep the floor. That was my first employment.

Working at Cronigs became the first job and in some cases the sole career for a long line of Cronig children and grandchildren as well. While both Henry and Theodore eventually left to run their own businesses, Sam and Edward continued to operate the store with Sams sons David and Robert, his daughter Anne and, for many years, his daughter Ruth Stiller, who died last summer at 94.

David Wade outside the market in the late 1970s. Courtesy Peter Cronig

David took a 12-year break from the family business to work for Capt. Ralph Packers Texaco company, but returned in 1945, and with Robert, took over management of the market in 1957. Their work force was peppered with younger Cronigs and Stillers.

It was total involvement in the store. We lived it and we breathed it, said Roberts daughter Judy Cronig, who started helping out in the office and at the checkout stand when she was about 11. That was our world.

Henry Cronigs grandson Peter, who works at the real estate company, held summer jobs through college at both the original Main Street Cronigs and the State Road market that David and Robert opened in 1976. But its the original market, with its old-fashioned push-button cash registers, that he and his cousins remember best.

It was a small store, so in the summer it was extremely crowded with wagons and people trying to get through the aisles, Peter Cronig told the Gazette. To beat the crowds, many customers telephoned in their orders for home delivery, a service the market had offered since its horse and wagon days.

We would fill the orders early in the morning, he recalled. There would probably be 10 of us who would go around with shopping carts. The orders were boxed and delivered to Vineyard Haven customers, twice a day in high season, on two routes. The south end was everybody in town and the north end was West Chop, said Neil Stiller, who also works at Cronigs Real Estate.

The summer colony at West Chop attracted many artists, actors and other celebrities. Gayle and Neil Stiller both remember their mother Ruths tales of meeting Helen Keller, who felt her face. Notoriously volatile playwright Lillian Hellman got into a screaming match with one of their uncles over whether or not a chicken had been delivered.

Carlyle Cronig with nieces Judy and Nancy Cronig in 1945. Courtesy Peter Cronig

She used to come in the store and just berate workers, Mr. Stiller said. A chance encounter with Carly Simon in her chart-topping heyday left a better taste: Avocados that was my big exchange with her, he said.

But for the most part, Sam Cronigs grandchildren remember a bustling yet peaceful life shaped by the six-day-a-week round of retail chores, from receiving to delivery and accounting, and occasional Sunday trips to the beach.

You were around your friends and relatives and that was what you did, Peter Cronig said.

While the kids worked their jobs and the men managed the meat, produce and grocery sections, Sams daughter Anne was the power behind the scenes.

She was the office lady. She really ran everything, all the billing, all the orders, Peter Cronig said. Assisted for many years by her sister Ruth, Anne Cronig never married and remained on the job for most of her life. A past president of the Marthas Vineyard Hebrew Society, which her father had helped to found in 1940, she died in 1999.

I think if shed grown up in another generation, shed probably have gone to college, Ms. Stiller said.

Anne Cronig, in back, with niece Goodie Stiller at the register in 1975. Courtesy Peter Crong

She was a little woman. I dont think she ever reached five feet. But she had a large presence, she added.

The downtown Vineyard Haven Cronigs eventually became so crowded that David and Robert opened a second location on State Road in 1976, with parking for customers from the town and up-Island. David Cronig retired in 1980, and in the same year the Main Street Cronigs was sold out of the family.

Robert widely known as Robbie sold the State Road store and the Cronigs Markets name to Steve Bernier, a 22-year Star Market veteran, in 1986. In different hands, the downtown Cronigs closed in 1989. In 1990, Mr. Bernier opened Up-Island Cronigs, renovating the market six years later. He added the wellness-oriented Healthy Additions store, behind the Vineyard Haven Cronigs, in 2004.

While David Cronig started his retail career with a broom in his hand, Mr. Bernier begins each work day sweeping up the parking lots and entrances of his store before the doors open to customers. Its my job to make sure this store is presentable, he said. I have a job to do, and I also have an example to set for my employees. The old school has something the young people need to observe. In other example-setting moves, Cronigs added a solar-charging shade canopy in its Vineyard Haven parking lot in 2012, stopped selling cigarettes in 2015 and installed a second solar canopy at the Up-Island store in 2016.

Steve Bernier purchased the business in 1986. Mark Lovewell

Mr. Berniers approach includes stocking local products from more than 50 Vineyard farms, bakeries, soap makers, chocolatiers and other purveyors, sponsoring the Community Grocery Program that encourages shoppers to buy food for needier Islanders and taking energetic part in the Our Island Club discount shopping and donation network. Card-carrying members receive 30 per cent off groceries through the end of this month in celebration of the markets centenary.

He also insists on personal service. There are no signs at the cash register saying Thank you for shopping, because I want the cashiers to say it to the customers, Mr. Bernier said.

Theres no chance he will slap his own name on the business hes owned for 31 years, Mr. Bernier said, pointing out that Cronigs Markets was already 69 when he came along. Who the hell am I? he asked. Its not my market. It belongs to the community.

And although their own days working there are decades-old memories, Sam Cronigs grandchildren are still proud to see their family name atop the two markets and photos of their grandfather and uncles inside.

I am very glad that Steve has talked so much about my grandfather and my father, Judy Cronig said. I like that for carrying on the history. I dont feel everyone would have done that, give so much credit to the past.

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Cronig’s Celebrates 100 Years of Feeding the Vineyard Community – The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

ISIS Hunter: Time to Wake Up to the White Nationalist Terror Threat – Daily Beast

Rita Katz has been tracking jihadist radicals for nearly two decades. She says an equally grave threat is being largely ignored: the rise of white nationalist extremism.

I was born and raised Jewish, and have witnessed anti-Semitism firsthand. My father was executed in a public hanging in Baghdad by Saddam Hussein. His crime: being a Jew. My grandmother, at 52 years old, was murdered by the same thugs, for the same reason.

Later in my life, still a child, I lived in Israel, where the Holocaust was a cornerstone of our education. We grew up in an atmosphere of normalized war as the Arab-Israeli War and others clashes unfolded before us. We saw our very lives and existence as a nation in peril.

My husband and I moved to the United States, after we had three boys, largely so they could be free of such threats and feelings. But over my past 20 years here, I am still hatedeven personallybecause of my heritage.

On white nationalist forums, members threaten Jews and exclaim that they must protect themselves from Filthy Jew Rita Katz, now that I am tracking what they say online. Such rhetoric seems fitting to a recent wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes across the country, including messages on subway windows, the desecration of hundreds of graves in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia, defacements to buildings, bomb threats to Jewish centers, and a plot to shoot a synagogue in the spirit of Dylann Roof.

While we dont yet know who has committed some of these recent crimes, they give more than enough reason for a long-outstanding discussion about this countrys white nationalist movement. Having monitored jihadist and far-right threats for years, Ive always been troubled by how little attention the latter receives from both authorities and the media.

As a result, Americans often hear about hate crimes by white nationalists but miss a full view of the larger community itself. That can no longer stand. With anti-Semitic and white nationalist rhetoric hitting a fever pitch, its time to take such extremism seriously.

White nationalists are not a collection of isolated individuals. They comprise an organized community which recruits, incites, and propagates its message like any other extremist movement. Their hate, just like jihadists hate, is reinforced by structured ideologies and communicational spaces. Websites like Stormfront, an online white nationalist forum with more than 240,000 members (most of whom are Americans), and Vanguard News Network (VNN), a neo-Nazi forum, are hubs for extremist activity. Users often make incitements, distribute literature and articles from white nationalist news outlets, and praise the actions of people like Adolf Hitler and Dylann Roof.

And much like jihadi forums, these sites are also hotbeds for incitement of violent sentimentssome of which manifest into real-life attacks.

Frazier Glenn Miller, a prominent white supremacist leader, was active on VNN for years, expressing disgust for Jews and calling for genocide against them. He was dangerous offline, too. In the 1980s, he was indicted for allegedly plotting the assassination of Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) founder Morris Dees, and was arrested again for running a paramilitary training camp in violation of a signed agreement with Dees.

Despite his high profile, Miller continued posting violent rhetoric on VNN uninterrupted. Such messages included praise of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Miller wrote that he had read some of [Breiviks] manifesto, and suggested to apply the same style of attack on Jewish kids in the United States:

I mean, if some enterprising American fellow, went to a youth camp in the Catskills, Camp David, or Marthas Vineyard, and sprayed some younguns belonging to our immigrant-loving JOG [Jew-owned government]I just might sleep even better than my norm, possibly with a wide grin on my face.

On April 13, 2014, Miller opened fire on a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement community in Kansas. Three were murdered.

Miller was not the only one on these forums to commit violence. Wade Michael Page was a high-profile member of the Hammerskins skinhead organization and larger white nationalist movement. He was also active in the white power music scene with his band, End Apathy. Pages rhetoric on Stormfront, where he was active since at least as early as 2008, and the Hammerskins Crew 88 forum urged action by other white nationalists regardless of the outcome, and proclaimed, Passive submission is indirect support to the oppressors. Stand up for yourself and live the 14 words (14 words referring to the slogan We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children).

On Aug. 5, 2012, Page opened fire on a Wisconsin Sikh temple. Six people were murdered.

Incitements against Jews persist on these forums to this day. Commenting on the Jewish cemetery defacement in Philadelphia, a prominent Stormfront member posted: Jewish cemeteries are a waste of valuable land Jews should be cremated so they dont take up space. A senior American forum members reply brought back chilling memories of my education on the Holocaust, reading: LIVE Jews should be cremated so they dont take up space.

Of course, conversations on Stormfront have also taken aim at me, my extremist-monitoring organization SITE, and other Jewish and Jewish-led observers of extremism, condemning our reporting as anti-white for opposing White advocacy, White solidarity, and White unity.

The white nationalist movement is poised to spread its message on social media through any medium available: songs, videos, memes, you name it. This month, Stormfront users celebrated a parody rap video featuring Moon Man, a white nationalist meme-character taken from old McDonalds advertising. The music video, titled, Right Wing Death Squads, declares fascisms back and both visually and lyrically depicts violence against Jews, Latinos, African Americans, and other minorities. One part shows Moon Man shooting an offensively characterized Jewish man in a YouTube Think tank room. Another part makes a picture of political cartoonist Ben Garrison rap:

Moon Mans dad, back for round two, got a life sentence when I shot a Jew Name the Jew, BLAME the Jew, and when youre online then blame the Jew.

Thank You!

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Though some users on the Stormfront forum wrote the video off, others praised it for finding new angles to promote their message. One user stated:

Moonman is hilarious, but he also has said numerous truths and exposes the lies, propaganda and antiWhite agenda. He is verbally brutal. Good. No time to be a pussy.

Its strange that at a time in which every headline reveals a new hate crime, we somehow fail to bring attention to anti-Semitic statements and videos such as these. And its just as strange that the video, with more than 111,000 views, still hasnt been taken down from YouTube since it was posted on Dec. 14, in clear violation of its policies. When compared to ISIS videos, which are typically taken down by YouTube within hours (sometimes minutes) of being uploaded, this reaction proves pitiful and dangerously permissive.

President Trump did indeed speak about the recent wave of hate crimes in his address to Congress last week with a long-overdue condemnation, stating that we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

The presidents statement was imperative but ultimately useless by any practical measurement, particularly when considering that his administration plans to refocus the governments Countering Violent Extremism program, which has encompassed white nationalist activity, exclusively on jihadi terrorism.

Whether youre assessing recent hate crimes, analyzing the alt-right movement on social media, tallying casualties from deadly domestic attacks, or observing the emboldened rhetorical emanating from white nationalist circles, its clear that jihadism is not the only extremist threat to the U.S. As someone who has received death threats from various extremist communities, I am far more scared of Americas white nationalists than I am of its jihadists. Like any domestic lone wolf jihadist, white nationalist extremists live among us, and recruit and attack on American soil. Some are even so bold as to try running for public office.

The media and investigators seem to prefer masked savages overseas, declaring America as an enemy, over those purporting to fight for the nation. Weve witnessed this double standard at SITE for years. When we report on jihadists calls for attacks, we get emails and phone calls from journalists and government officials asking us for more information. But when we report on the same types of messages from white nationalistsspanning calls for lone wolves to target government officials, statements that Dylann Roof should have shot up a synagogue, or fantasies of anti-whites hanging from every light postwe hear nothing but crickets.

If Trump and other leaders are as concerned with national security as they say, they should counter white nationalism with the same vigor as radical Islamic terrorism. Doing so wont require any violations of constitutional rights or civil liberties, only a look into whats already out in the open. If approached with half the energy as is shown for a teenager praising ISIS on Twitter, attacks like Millers, Pages, and others can very well be prevented.

My family and I came to the U.S. to get away from the threats that had chased us for generations. I want my children to always feel safe and protected. My country, the United States of America, holds dearly freedom and the right to pursue happiness. To enable this pursuit, the U.S. must protect all people under its wing from those who prove a true threat. My family, and numerous other families around our country, depend on it.

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ISIS Hunter: Time to Wake Up to the White Nationalist Terror Threat – Daily Beast

Bishop: Meat’s OK on St. Patrick’s Day – New Jersey Herald

Posted: Mar. 9, 2017 12:01 am

PATERSON — As it does about every seven years, the custom of eating corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day comes up against the Roman Catholic law of fasting (no meat) on Fridays during Lent.

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson, which includes Sussex, Passaic and Morris counties, has issued a letter of dispensation “from the laws and abstinence” to all Roman Catholics living in, or visiting, the diocese on St. Patrick’s Day.

In his letter, issued last month, the bishop added the dispensation “is given with the strong recommendation that the faithful honor both Saint Patrick and this holy season of Lent by some special work of charity or exercise of piety in place of abstinence.”

Not all bishops will issue the dispensation, and some who have are advising their parishioners to exercise moderation and temperance in the celebrations of the Irish patron saint’s birthday. And, in one case, the bishop of Omaha substituted Saturday, March 18, to abstain from meat, rather than Friday, March 17.

The meal of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes is not traditional Irish, but an American tradition for those of Irish ancestry. In Ireland, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal would likely include pork or lamb, according to Smithsonian.com.

In Irish tradition, cows were sacred and only the very rich or Irish royalty would eat beef, and that was usually because the cow had become old or sick and had to be killed.

When the English conquered Ireland, there was plenty of land to raise cattle and ship them to England, where beef was the main meat in the diet. When importing live cattle was banned in England, the Smithsonian reports, the cattle were slaughtered in Ireland, the meat packed in salt, then shipped to England.

Much of the cattle raised in Colonial America was also salted with crystals the size of a kernel of corn and shipped to England.

When the potato famine struck Ireland in 1845, about 1 million Irish died and another million immigrated to America.

Being poor, many Irish settled into neighborhoods adjacent to Jewish neighborhoods, and it was the Jewish tradition of salting beef that the Irish adopted, buying their meat from kosher butcher shops.

That kosher beef has a milder, less salty taste than the English version, and the Jews often cooked the beef with potatoes and cabbage.

The Irish in America celebrated St. Patrick’s Day as a part of their heritage and included parades, feasting and celebrating, while the Irish, until the latter part of the 20th century, still considered the day to be a religious holiday.

In fact, it wasn’t until American tourists began visiting Ireland in the past half-century that Irish pubs were allowed to be open on such a religious holiday.

Bruce A. Scruton can also be contacted on Twitter: @brucescrutonNJH or by phone: 973-383-1224.

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Bishop: Meat’s OK on St. Patrick’s Day – New Jersey Herald

In Atlanta, anti-Semitism is viewed through lens of history – Birmingham Times

By Jeff Martin

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlantas Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what may come next.

Because all of that, and worse, has happened in the city before.

Six decades ago, during the turmoil of the civil rights era, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a ragged hole in Atlantas largest synagogue. A generation earlier, in 1915, Jewish businessman Leo Frank was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism.

Some fear that history is once again arcing toward the viperous climate that set the stage for the earlier violence.

Its heartbreaking to see the attacks and threats and desecration of Jewish cemeteries in recent days, said playwright Jimmy Maize, whose play The Temple Bombing is on stage this month at Atlantas Alliance Theatre. I have to say that writing this play feels too much like history repeating itself.

His play, which addresses anti-Semitism, fear and courage through the drama of the 1958 explosion, was inspired by a book by Atlanta author Melissa Fay Greene.

We learned over several decades the power of hate speech, Greene said. It can lead to people being harmed and killed.

This past weekend, more than 100 headstones were discovered toppled or damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. In New York, a Rochester cemetery was targeted this week in the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents around the county. Cemetery officials said Thursday at least a dozen grave markers were desecrated.

Jewish community centers and schools in several states also have been targets of recent bomb scares.

On Friday, federal officials said a 31-year-old man is a suspect in at least eight of the threats made against Jewish institutions nationwide, and a bomb threat to New Yorks Anti-Defamation League.

Atlanta has played a prominent role in American Jewish life since the late 1800s. Jewish immigrants began some of its most successful businesses, according to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Atlanta was at the forefront of the new, industrial South, and many of its factories were Jewish-owned, said Jeremy Katz, archives director at Atlantas William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

Jewish businessmen gained respect and became community leaders. But their success also led to anti-Semitism from Southerners who felt left behind by the changing economy, said Stuart Rockoff, the former historian for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

There was this push and pull, and it was kind of a powder keg that ignited with the Leo Frank case, Katz said. Before the Frank case, Jews were fairly accepted in the community because social lines were drawn by color of skin rather than religion, so Jews really flourished in the South.

Everything changed on a spring day in 1913, when 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan was found strangled in the cellar of Atlantas National Pencil Company. Frank, the factorys manager, was arrested and put on trial. As newspaper articles inflamed anti-Semitic passions in and around Atlanta, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Georgia Gov. John Slaton, convinced Frank was innocent, commuted his sentence to life in prison. In August 1915, a mob snatched Frank from the state prison in Milledgeville and drove him to Marietta, where Phagan had lived, and hanged him from an oak tree.

The Leo Frank case showed that Jews were not immune from that type of violence and discrimination, Rockoff said.

In the following years, many Jews didnt speak of the Frank case.

But by the late 1940s, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild at The Temple in Atlanta had begun speaking out against racial injustice in Atlanta, said his son, William Rothschild. Some believe that made the synagogue a target for extremists.

The bomb exploded about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 12, 1958. A few hours later, during Sunday morning classes, there would have been hundreds of children in the building, said Peter Berg, now senior rabbi at The Temple. But the children hadnt yet arrived, and no one was injured.

I remember feeling emptiness, recalls Carol Zaban Cooper of Atlanta, who was 14 when her synagogue was bombed, and went on to become active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. I felt hollow, numb.

Alfred Uhry, author of the play and movie Driving Miss Daisy, attended The Temple as a child and had just moved to New York when it was bombed. He recalls the horror of seeing a photo of the destruction in The New York Times.

It showed a side of the building blown off, and I had gone to Sunday school there, Uhry said.

A bombing suspects first trial ended with a hung jury and the second with an acquittal.

Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield said every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South.

Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill called it a harvest of hate. One day after the blast he wrote, It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many southern politicians.

To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school, he added in the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial. But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gate to all those who wish to take law into their own hands.

Racial hatred put everyone in danger, McGill wrote.

When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.

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In Atlanta, anti-Semitism is viewed through lens of history – Birmingham Times

A professor’s view of Chabad on Campus – Heritage Florida Jewish News

My time as a college student involved decision making. My Jewish observance was no exception. I had grown up in a traditional Conservative Jewish home. My four sisters and I attended Hebrew school beginning at age four through the eighth grade, and celebrated our bnot mitzvah. I attended Shabbat services several times a month and learned to read Hebrew, lead prayers, and take an active role in synagogue life. We had lots of Jewish friends in the neighborhood and at public school. At home, we kept kosher, enjoyed Friday evening Shabbat dinners, Passover seders, a sukkah in our backyard and candle lighting each night of Chanukah. At college, most of my classmates were not Jewish and I was anxious to fit into my new environment. Should I attend synagogue? Continue keeping kosher? Go to class on the High Holidays? While I was not alone in my questioning, my fellow Jewish students and I approached these questions differently. I was uncertain what role Judaism would play in my life in this new, unfamiliar environment.

These 30-year-old memories from my college days returned to me as I read the recently released study, Chabad on Campus, by Brandeis University professor Mark Rosen. Rosen and his colleagues set to learn about Chabad on Campus International (www.chabad.edu), an organization with over 200 full-time centers nationwide. Led by Orthodox rabbis and their wives trained by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Chabad on Campus centers seek to be a home away from home for Jews on campus and offer a wealth of social, educational, and spiritual programs.

Rosen et al. find that few students served by Chabad on Campus are raised Orthodox. Most students first come to Chabad for the meals, served on Shabbat and during the week, and the socializing. The rabbis and rebbetzins directing these Chabad on Campus centers are warm and welcoming, regardless of the students level of Jewish observance or frequency of attendance at Chabad functions. No one is turned away nor is anyone charged dues or fees for their participation.

Rosen and his colleagues found that Chabad has a lasting impact on college students. Those taking part are more likely to express a stronger Jewish identity and participate in Jewish rituals later in life at higher rates compared to non-participating Jewish students. The greatest impact is experienced among those raised Reform or culturally Jewish compared with those raised in a more traditional Jewish environment. It is rare for students taking part in Chabad on Campus activities to change denominations, although a large percentage of students maintain contact with Chabad co-directors after graduation.

Why would Orthodox rabbis and rebbetzins, themselves raised in Orthodox homes and often in Orthodox communities with active synagogues, whose parents are rabbis and rebbetzins, move to college campuses where nearly all of the people with whom they will interact possess no such qualities?

I learned the answer when I read Sue Fishkoffs The Rebbes Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch (Schocken Press, 2005). Fishkoff notes that the Chabad movement emphasizes outreach to Jews through their emissaries, many of whom end up on college campuses serving Jewish college students. Chabad emissaries, driven by a deep love and concern for their fellow Jew, anchor themselves into the college communities that they serve.

I have served as the UCF Chabad faculty adviser since its inception 10 years ago, in early 2007. I came into the role when Rabbi Sholom Dubov (co-director, Chabad of Greater Orlando), called to ask if I would meet with his friends, Rabbi Chaim and Rebbetzin Rivkie Lipskier, who had recently moved to town to found a Chabad on Campus center near the UCF campus.

As UCF is the second largest university in the U.S ., it enrolls one of the largest Jewish student populations in the nation. Founding a Chabad on Campus center would be a monumental undertaking.

Like many students served by the Lipskiers, I came to work with them even though I lacked an Orthodox background, and questioned whether I could support them as my approach to Judaism was so different from theirs. Yet the Lipskiers and I developed a strong friendship over the last decade. Our bond goes deeper than just being the Chabad at UCF faculty adviser. Their kindness, hospitality, and charisma is magnetic, and their drive to connect with Jewish students is admirable. They ensure that every student they cross paths with is in good spirits. They will even deliver chicken soup to a student with a cold just ask.

My observation of how the Lipskiers manage their outreach to primarily non-Orthodox students reflects Professor Rosens findings. Shabbat, holiday and festival observance at their home and elsewhere is provided to hundreds of students (even if it means hosting 770 students for Shabbat dinner in a large tent on the UCF Memory Mall after which they walk the six miles home). As well, the Lipskiers are regular fixtures on campus. They distribute literature, smiles, and kosher treats in front of the Student Union on Wednesdays, offer kosher food to passersby while tailgating on weekday football game days, offer classes while serving Pasta and Parsha lunch on campus, and join the larger Orlando community for the Mega Challah Bake. The Lipskiers support secular student efforts as well. Thanks to their ubiquitous presence on Facebook, I have learned that they will spend their late Saturday nights after Shabbat supporting Childrens Miracle Network dance marathoners struggling to stay on their feet or attending UCF home football games.

The Chabad on Campus study reveals that such efforts matter to the future of Jewish life in the United States. At a time when studies such as the 2013 Pew Research Center Portrait of Jewish Americans show that the percentage of Jews identifying as no religion is much higher among younger Jews (32 percent among those born since 1980) than older Jews (7 percent among those born 1927 and before), the Chabad on Campus study shows that Chabad plays an important role in reversing that trend. Rosen and his colleagues find that, despite what appears to be an odd combination of Orthodox couples living and working near secular college campuses and reaching out to young Jews who are questioning their own Jewish identity and practice, Chabad presence on college campuses achieves a positive effect with lasting results.

Terri Susan Fine, Ph.D. is professor of political science at the University of Central Florida. She teaches courses on American politics, religion and politics, civil rights, political psychology and women and politics. She is the recipient of 10 teaching awards and four professional service awards. Her publications have appeared in several academic journals and books. In the Jewish community she has twice been awarded the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlandos Community Relations Awards. She is currently serving as a consultant to the Florida Department of Education Task Force on Holocaust Education to support the development of middle school civics resource materials focusing on Holocaust education.

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A professor’s view of Chabad on Campus – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Jewish American History Month to focus on medical pioneers – San Diego Jewish World

Posted on 06 March 2017.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (Press Release)Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a national commemoration of the contributions that Americans Jews have made to the fabric of our nations history, culture, and society, announces the theme for the May 2017 celebration. This year, JAHM celebrates Americans Jews who have made a significant impact in the field of medical research. Now in its 12thyear, JAHM encourages people of all backgrounds to learn about and draw inspiration from the more than 360-year history of Jewish life in this country.

The stories of American Jews are woven into the rich history of this diverse nation, says Ivy Barsky, CEO and Gwen Goodman Director of the National Museum of American Jewish History. By celebrating JAHM, we honor the values of inclusion, acceptance, and religious liberty cherished by this country. This years focus on American Jews in Medical Research invites deeper exploration of one of the many facets of American life impacted by this community.

According to Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and a member of JAHMs Board of Directors, The Jewish experience in America constitutes a soaring tribute to the noble ideals upon which this republic was founded. It is a timely story that will lift our national spirit by assuring us that liberty and opportunity ultimately triumph over bigotry and divisiveness.

The celebration of a nationwide Jewish American Heritage Month is now in its second decade and it has never been so important, shares Greg Rosenbaum, President of Palisades Associates, Inc. and member of JAHMs Board of Directors. In nervous times where anti-Jewish sentiments and actions appear to be on the rise, telling the story of Jewish contributions to making all Americans lives better is a way to educate our fellow citizens and counter stereotypes.

JAHMs 2017 theme provides an opportunity to recognize the many American Jews who have made invaluable contributions to the field of medical research. American history is full of notable examples. Biochemist Gertrude Elion (1918-1999) developed life-saving drugs, including the first chemotherapy for childhood leukemia and treatments for lupus, hepatitis, arthritis, gout, and other diseases. Virologist Jonas Salk (1914-1995) created the first vaccines against polio, and geneticist Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011) both discovered the Hepatitis B virus and helped develop the first vaccine to prevent it. Mathilde Krim (b. 1926), the founding chair amfAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research), received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000 for her commitment to AIDS patients and research; neuroscientist Eric Richard Kandel (b. 1929) received the 2000 Nobel Prize for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons; and medical physicist Rosalyn S. Yalow (1921-2011) became the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine when she shared the 1977 prize for her work in the development of radioimmunoassay, a technique used to measure minute amounts of substances in the body. The groundbreaking medical research conducted by these dedicated individuals, among countless others, continues to improve and save lives.

JAHMs interactive website, JAHM.us, provides educational resources to facilitate the nationwide engagement around this years celebration. All are encouraged to submit their JAHM-related events to the calendar, whether it is an exhibition, concert, gallery talk, film screening, lecture, or other program. Website visitors will also find stories about American Jews, a historical timeline, lesson plans, reading lists, programming ideas, and more.

* Preceding provided by the Jewish American Heritage Month organization.

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Jewish American History Month to focus on medical pioneers – San Diego Jewish World

Program reveals strong Ireland-Shirley connection – Lowell Sun

By Cheryl A. Cuddahy, ccuddahy@sentinelandenterprise.com

Meredith Marcinkiewicz shows a shillelagh that will be on display. (SUN/JOHN LOVE)

SHIRLEY — When reading through the 19th-century census reports for Shirley, Meredith Marcinkewicz, curator of the Shirley Historical Society Museum, realized how many people immigrated to Shirley from Ireland.

“Some of my ancestors came from Ireland at the same time, and I wanted to find out more about why they left Ireland and why they came to Shirley,” said Marcinkewicz.

And in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Marcinkewicz said, “The month of March seemed to be the perfect time for an exhibit — titled ‘The Irish in Shirley’ — to honor the Shirley people with an Irish heritage.”

“When I began to research this, I found out how terrible living conditions were for the poor people in Ireland, particularly during the potato famines when one quarter of the population died and another one quarter emigrated,” she said.

“I believe that our exhibit explains the causes and effects of this tragedy,” she added.

Through her research, Marcinkewicz found there were originally 90 first- and second-generation Irish immigrants here in 1850. The Shirley Irish population grew and reached its peak in the town at a high of 259 in 1870.

“The early immigrants worked in the mills and worked as domestic servants,” she said. “They had large families, who were mostly Catholic, but it took 50 years before a Catholic church was built in Shirley.

“Later generations branched out into other occupations or moved into larger cities where there were more industrial and social opportunities,” she said.

Several charts are on display explaining the changes in numbers and occupations.

Some of the Irish families who have lived in Shirley for 150 years include descendants of the Flynn, Gately and Daley families.

Now, Marcinkewicz said, there are just a few Shirley people who can trace their ancestry to Ireland, but, one of them — second-generation Irish-American Pat O’Malley Wood, has graciously lent the society a collection of Irish china and linen for the display.

“Among the displayed items, visitors will also find a collection of reference books about the Great Hunger and the lifestyle of the new Irish-Americans — “Out of Ireland, Across the Western Ocean,” and “A Lucky Irish Lad.”

An opening reception and program will be held at 2 p.m. today and will feature an illustrated lecture on the Irish immigrant experience by Christopher Daley.

Daley is a history teacher in the Silver Lake Regional School System in Kingston, a published author and experienced lecturer.

He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bridgewater State College.

His illustrated lecture, titled “Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston,” is being funded by a grant from the Shirley Cultural Council.

The exhibit will remain up through the first week in May and can be seen on Mondays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Shirley Historical Society Museum is at 182 Center Road in Shirley and is fully handicapped-accessible.

For more information, call 978-425-9328 or email mail@shirleyhistory.org.

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Program reveals strong Ireland-Shirley connection – Lowell Sun

In Atlanta, anti-Semitism is viewed through lens of history – BlueRidgeNow.com

JEFF MARTIN, Associated Press

ATLANTA Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta’s Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what may come next.

Because all of that, and worse, has happened in the city before.

Six decades ago, during the turmoil of the civil rights era, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a ragged hole in Atlanta’s largest synagogue. A generation earlier, in 1915, Jewish businessman Leo Frank was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism.

Some fear that history is once again arcing toward the viperous climate that set the stage for the earlier violence.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the attacks and threats and desecration of Jewish cemeteries in recent days,” said playwright Jimmy Maize, whose play “The Temple Bombing” is on stage this month at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. “I have to say that writing this play feels too much like history repeating itself.”

His play, which addresses anti-Semitism, fear and courage through the drama of the 1958 explosion, was inspired by a book by Atlanta author Melissa Fay Greene.

“We learned over several decades the power of hate speech,” Greene said. “It can lead to people being harmed and killed.”

This past weekend, more than 100 headstones were discovered toppled or damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. In New York, a Rochester cemetery was targeted this week in the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents around the county. Cemetery officials said Thursday at least a dozen grave markers were desecrated.

In Indiana, an apparent gunshot fired into a synagogue Tuesday has drawn the attention of the FBI. And Jewish community centers and schools in several states also have been targets of recent bomb scares.

Atlanta has played a prominent role in American Jewish life since the late 1800s. Jewish immigrants began some of its most successful businesses, according to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Atlanta was at the forefront of the new, industrial South, and many of its factories were Jewish-owned, said Jeremy Katz, archives director at Atlanta’s William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

Jewish businessmen gained respect and became community leaders. But their success also led to anti-Semitism from Southerners who felt left behind by the changing economy, said Stuart Rockoff, the former historian for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

“There was this push and pull, and it was kind of a powder keg that ignited with the Leo Frank case,” Katz said. “Before the Frank case, Jews were fairly accepted in the community because social lines were drawn by color of skin rather than religion, so Jews really flourished in the South.”

Everything changed on a spring day in 1913, when 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan was found strangled in the cellar of Atlanta’s National Pencil Company. Frank, the factory’s manager, was arrested and put on trial. As newspaper articles inflamed anti-Semitic passions in and around Atlanta, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Georgia Gov. John Slaton, convinced Frank was innocent, commuted his sentence to life in prison. In August 1915, a mob snatched Frank from the state prison in Milledgeville and drove him to Marietta, where Phagan had lived, and hanged him from an oak tree.

“The Leo Frank case showed that Jews were not immune from that type of violence and discrimination,” Rockoff said.

In the following years, many Jews didn’t speak of the Frank case.

But by the late 1940s, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild at The Temple in Atlanta had begun speaking out against racial injustice in Atlanta, said his son, William Rothschild. Some believe that made the synagogue a target for extremists.

The bomb exploded about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 12, 1958. A few hours later, during Sunday morning classes, “there would have been hundreds of children in the building,” said Peter Berg, now senior rabbi at The Temple. But the children hadn’t yet arrived, and no one was injured.

“I remember feeling emptiness,” recalls Carol Zaban Cooper of Atlanta, who was 14 when her synagogue was bombed, and went on to become active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “I felt hollow, numb.”

Alfred Uhry, author of the play and movie “Driving Miss Daisy,” attended The Temple as a child and had just moved to New York when it was bombed. He recalls the horror of seeing a photo of the destruction in The New York Times.

“It showed a side of the building blown off, and I had gone to Sunday school there,” Uhry said.

A bombing suspect’s first trial ended with a hung jury and the second with an acquittal.

Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield said “every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South.”

Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill called it a harvest of hate. One day after the blast he wrote, “It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many southern politicians.”

“To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school,” he added in the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial. “But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gate to all those who wish to take law into their own hands.”

Racial hatred put everyone in danger, McGill wrote.

“When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.”

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In Atlanta, anti-Semitism is viewed through lens of history – BlueRidgeNow.com

Recent anti-Semitic incidents are pushing local rights groups to stand together – PRI

Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari, of Kol Tzedek synagogue, stood amidst the broken tombstones at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia last Sunday,shocked and saddened by what he saw. It was the second of at least threegrave sites desecrated in recent weeks. In the last month, nearly 100 Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats.

On Friday, law enforcement officials said they had arrested a man in St. Louis in connection with a number of the phone threats. Gov. Andrew Cuoma has asked State Police to investigate the destruction of headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Rochester, New York as a possiblehate crime. Meanwhile swastikas have been showing up on city streets, campuses and communities.

It was heartbreaking in many ways, Fornari said. It was stunningly devastating to see the piles of broken tombstones, echoing back to our history.

Fornari stood in vigil for hours, along with other Jewish community members and others of Muslim, Quaker and Christian faiths who were there in solidarity. The presence of non-Jewish supporters, who helped to pick up the gravestones, provided a glimmer of hope. Amidst the rise in anti-Semitic acts, interfaith coordination and cooperation between different nonprofits and networkshas arisen as aclear path for Jewish groups and individuals to fight hate.

After all, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two heads of the same monster hate. Jewish and Muslim congregations and organizations, in concert with African American organizations, immigrant rights groups and others that advocate for minority communities, are finding that working together is the best way to stand up to hate.

Amidst the grave stones, Fornari met Tarek El-Messidi, director of Celebrate Mercy, a nonprofit that produces webcasts and videos on the life of Muhammad.He arrived at the cemetary, luggage in hand. El-Messidi had been on his way to the airport when he heard of the vandalism. He turned straight around to come to the cemetery.

It was just an incredible act of solidarity,”Fornari said. He stayed all afternoon and into the evening.

El-Messidi, with Linda Sarsour of the organizing network MPower Change, started a campaign to raise funds for repairs to the cemetery.Now, hes working with Fornari to createan ongoing fund that supports solidarity across faiths. Were just beginning to dream up how our communities can support each other, Fornari said. Solidarity happens when we truly show up for one another.

Nationally, the Council on American-Islamic Relationsalso has risen to the forefront, including by offeringa reward for information on who is responsible for bomb threats against Jewish community centers. When the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery was desecrated in Missouri on February 20, the local CAIR chapter worked with the Jewish community to clean up the damage.

Bigots arent brain surgeons, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIRs national office. They tend to hate everybody. Whether its Muslims or Jews or African Americans or Hispanics. You name it, they hate it. Unfortunately in the recent year and months, weve seen a tremendous uptick in the level of anti-Muslim bigotry, but [also] bigotry targeting a number of minority communities.

Interfaith coalitions are not a radically new concept. Jewish Voice for Peace has been building relationships with Muslim, African American and immigrant groups for two decades.

Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of JVP, says the organization has since 9/11 been working with CAIR and other Muslim-led organizations on the damaging impacts of Islamophobia. Weve been building for a long time and have always seen the ways that they are mutually enforcing, she said.

“This moment is an opportunity to deepen these relationships, Wise said. A lot of people now in the Jewish community are scrambling to develop the relationship with the Muslim community.”

Besides Jewish-Muslim solidarity, M. Dove Kent, who recently left her position as executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice in New York City, says working with other allies, such as African American and immigrant communities, is vitally important. Kent has been working over two decades on building communities around police brutality, and anti-Black and anti-Muslim racism.

“Its a blessing to be able to rely on those relationships, she said.

With ally groups, JREF has been doing training for bystanders who witnesspolice brutality,which focus on de-escalation, as well as creating hate-free zones as a method for community defense.

Now were in the next chapter of that work, Kent said. We know that whiteness is about power and not about skin tone. What we are seeing in this moment is the conditions of the Jewish communitys relationship to whiteness are coming to the fore.

While white Jews may benefit from white privilege, they are still targeted by white supremacy, she said.

Minnesota wastargeted with two bomb threats against Jewish community centers, on in St. Paul and one ina suburb of Minneapolis, in addition a number of incidents of swastika graffiti on homes, crushed in the snow, and on the campus of the University of Minnesota. On March 2, the nonprofit organization Jewish Community Action organized a rally that featured many of the partners that JCA has developed relationships with, including the local CAIR chapter, the NAACP, Neighborhoods Organization for Change, and Mesa Latina, an immigrant rights group.

I think what were seeing in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Minneapolis… there are local communities just having each others backs in fundamental, material ways, Kent said. Thats the direction we need to be going.Local organizing is so deeply important. We need both to build power and to keep our neighbors safe.

Vic Rosenthal, the outgoing executive director of Jewish Community Action, says the rally was not just about responding to the rise in anti-Semitism, but also about connecting those hateful acts with Islamophobia,xenophobia and racism. Its all connected, he said. To gather and not acknowledge that connection would be a mistake.

In his remarks, Michael Waldman, of the St. Paul Jewish community center, said that bomb threats and the desecration of cemeteries is outrageous and offensive, the real story is the way that the friends and neighbors of the center came together to show support. We choose to say no to the intent of a phone call and yes to an inclusive community, he said.

Jaylani Hussein, directorof CAIR’s Minnesota chapter, said at the rally that it is time to dust up those old boots and march again. The Jewish community knows that if we hear of hate incidents,they are not anomalous.”

Wintana Melekin, an organizer for Neighborhoods Organization for Change, told the story of how she texted Carin Mrotz, incoming executive director of Jewish Community Action, when she learned that a swastika had been painted on a garage door in North Minneapolis at the end of 2016. Melekin immigrated to the United States from Sudan when she was 3 years old, and is a Black Catholicof Eritrean heritage.

When I saw on Facebook that someone drew a poorly made swastika, the first thing I did was text herand said, Lets paint over it. If our organizing isnt intersectional, it isnt organizing, she said.

Members of Jewish Community Actionshowed to protest the killing of African American teenager Jamar Clark. They also supported Neighborhoods Organization for Change and the greater Black Lives Matter movement when a gunman openedfireon protesters. JCA showed up for us, and we show up for JCA, Melekinsaid.

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Recent anti-Semitic incidents are pushing local rights groups to stand together – PRI

Atlanta history teaches the violent toll of anti-Semitism – ABC News

Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta’s Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what may come next.

Because all of that, and worse, has happened there before.

Six decades ago, during the civil rights era’s turmoil, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a ragged hole in Atlanta’s largest synagogue. A generation earlier, in 1915, Jewish businessman Leo Frank was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism.

Some in Atlanta fear history is once again arcing toward the viperous climate that set the stage for earlier violence.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the attacks and threats and desecration of Jewish cemeteries in recent days,” said playwright Jimmy Maize, whose play “The Temple Bombing” is on stage this month at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. “I have to say that writing this play feels too much like history repeating itself.”

His play, which addresses anti-Semitism, fear and courage through the drama of the 1958 explosion, was inspired by a book by Atlanta author Melissa Fay Greene.

“We learned over several decades the power of hate speech,” Greene said. “It can lead to people being harmed and killed.”

This past weekend, more than 100 headstones were discovered toppled or damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Jewish community centers and schools in several states were also targets of recent bomb scares.

Atlanta has played a prominent role in American Jewish life since the late 1800s. Jewish immigrants began some of its most successful businesses, according to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Atlanta was at the forefront of the new, industrial South, and many of its factories were Jewish-owned, said Jeremy Katz, archives director at Atlanta’s William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

Jewish businessmen gained respect and became community leaders. But their success also led to anti-Semitism from Southerners who felt left behind by the changing economy, said Stuart Rockoff, the former historian for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

“There was this push and pull, and it was kind of a powder keg that ignited with the Leo Frank case,” Katz said. “Before the Frank case, Jews were fairly accepted in the community because social lines were drawn by color of skin rather than religion, so Jews really flourished in the South.”

Everything changed on a spring day in 1913, when 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan was found strangled in the cellar of Atlanta’s National Pencil Company. Frank, the factory’s manager, was arrested and put on trial. As newspaper articles inflamed anti-Semitic passions in and around Atlanta, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Georgia Gov. John Slaton, convinced Frank was innocent, commuted his sentence to life in prison. In August 1915, a mob snatched Frank from the state prison in Milledgeville and drove him to Marietta, where Phagan had lived, and hanged him from an oak tree.

“The Leo Frank case showed that Jews were not immune from that type of violence and discrimination,” Rockoff said.

In the following years, many Jews didn’t speak of the Frank case.

But by the late 1940s, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild at The Temple had begun speaking out against racial injustice in Atlanta, said his son, William Rothschild. Some believe that made the Temple a target for extremists, he said.

The bomb exploded around 3:30 a.m. Oct. 12, 1958. A few hours later, during Sunday morning classes, “there would have been hundreds of children in the building,” said Peter Berg, now the Temple’s senior rabbi. But the children hadn’t yet arrived, and no one was injured.

“I remember feeling emptiness,” recalls Carol Zaban Cooper of Atlanta, who was 14 when her synagogue was bombed, and went on to become active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “I felt hollow, numb.”

Alfred Uhry, author of the play and movie “Driving Miss Daisy,” attended the Temple as a child and had just moved to New York when it was bombed. He recalls the horror of seeing a photo of the destruction in The New York Times.

“It showed a side of the building blown off, and I had gone to Sunday school there,” Uhry said.

A bombing suspect’s first trial ended with a hung jury and the second with an acquittal.

Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield said “every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South.”

Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill called it a harvest of hate. One day after the blast he wrote, “It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many southern politicians.”

“To be sure, none said go bomb a Jewish temple or a school,” he added in the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial. “But let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gate to all those who wish to take law into their own hands.”

Racial hatred put everyone in danger, McGill wrote.

“When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe.”

More:
Atlanta history teaches the violent toll of anti-Semitism – ABC News

Why do people fast for Lent? – Vox

Lent is a mystery to a lot of people. Many folks are generally aware that its a religious observance that happens every spring and somehow involves people getting ashes smeared on their forehead and/or giving up chocolate or booze or Facebook until Easter. But like most practices rooted in Christianity, the way people observe Lent, or whether they observe it at all, varies wildly depending on their heritage, specific religious tradition, and preferences.

Still, there are some rules and guidelines that mark the observance of Lent for Christians who observe the season. And, increasingly, even nonreligious people are picking up the ritual. Heres an overview.

Lent is the greatest and most solemn period of fasting on the Christian churchs calendar, leading up to the celebration of Christianitys greatest feast day: Easter.

The easiest way to understand the church calendar is as a sort of live immersive theater, designed to reenact the life of Jesus every year from Christmas (birth) to Easter (resurrection). During that time, readings in traditional churches revisit stories from the gospels that focus on those events in Jesuss life. (Following Easter is a 50-day Easter Season culminating in Pentecost, and then a season called either the Pentecost season or Ordinary Time, which lasts until Advent begins around the end of November.)

As Advent is the season of anticipation leading up to the great feast day of Christmas, Lent is the season that precedes the greatest feast day: Easter, which marks the day when Christians celebrate Jesuss resurrection and triumph over death.

In English, Lent got its name from the Old English word len(c)ten, which means spring season.

Lent technically lasts for 46 days.

The period is a mirror of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting, praying, and being tempted by Satan before he started his public ministry. Jesus had gone to the desert to prepare his soul for an intense three-year period of healing people, preaching, and ministering, at the end of which he was crucified by the Roman Empire and religious leaders.

The concept behind Lent is that each year, Christians will mimic Jesuss actions in the wilderness. Lent is sometimes called the Great Fast. Its a period of time in which Christians are meant to give up some comfort or adopt some spiritual practice that leads to self-examination, repentance from sin, and, ultimately, renewal of the soul, all in anticipation of greater dedication to serving others and God in the coming year.

Advent, the period leading up to Christmas, is also sometimes observed as a fast. But in that case, the period is meant to foster a feeling of anticipation before celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Lent, by contrast, is more about recognizing and embracing ones mortality, and acknowledging the sinfulness that marks earthly life. Since Christians believe that Jesuss resurrection foreshadows the resurrection and renewal of the whole world at the end of days, Lent is a time to turn away from sin, mourn death and brokenness, and anticipate a day when the broken world will be healed.

Because each week, the fast is interrupted by a Sunday six in all.

In traditional Christian teaching, each Sunday is itself a feast day, a mini-remembrance of Jesuss resurrection that happens every week. So, Christians who observe Lent are told to break their Lenten fast on Sunday and celebrate the feast. The manner in which they break that fast varies, depending on the tradition.

(This mirrors the Jewish teaching that prohibits fasting on Sabbath, except in years when Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls on the Sabbath.)

Its complicated, and it depends on the date of Easter.

In contrast to Christmas, which in Western Christianity (most Protestants and Roman Catholics) is always celebrated on December 25, Easter is a moveable holiday that drifts around the calendar. However, it always falls on a Sunday in the Northern Hemispheres spring.

As with many other holiday observances in Christianity, the history of Easter date-setting is rather long and complicated, stretching back millennia and interacting with various calendars used by people in the ancient world.

But since roughly the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, when church leaders set rules, precedents, and guidelines for many aspects of Christian worship, Easter has been more or less calculated by locating the first full moon following March 21 on the Gregorian calendar. And thats how the date is calculated by Western churches today. Orthodox Christians use a slightly different system which means that when Orthodox Easter (sometimes called Pascha) lands on the same day as Western Easter, as it does this year, its coincidental.

In 2017, both holidays will be celebrated on April 16. In 2018, Western Easter is on April 1, and Orthodox Easter is on April 8.

As with Christmas, the Christian holiday of Easter has been adopted in the mainstream as a secularized holiday and packaged as a commercial product traditionally with chocolate eggs and stuffed rabbits. That secularized version of the holiday is celebrated on the Western Christianity date for Easter.

(The annual White House Easter Egg Roll is held on that date, a tradition dating back to 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes issued an order allowing children to roll Easter eggs on the lawn that day. Intriguingly, current White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer donned the Easter Bunny costume for the event during George W. Bushs years in the White House.)

Once the date for Easter is fixed, all you have to do to calculate the other days of observance that fall during the Lenten period including Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday is count backward. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, and Maundy Thursday is the day before that. Both those days are traditionally marked with special church services.

The Sunday one week before Easter Sunday is called Palm Sunday, in remembrance of Jesuss entry into Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion, as the crowd waved palm branches. Branches used in the church celebration are saved to be used to make ashes for the next years Ash Wednesday observance.

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, falls 46 days before Easter. The day preceding it is sometimes celebrated as Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, depending on who youre talking to.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent on the Western Christian calendar, falling 46 days before Easter. In 2017, Ash Wednesday falls on March 1. In 2018, it will fall on February 14.

In observance of the day, the palm branches that were blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year are burned to create ashes and used to mark foreheads at church services. Traditionally, the minister applying the ashes says “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The latter phrase originates in Genesis 3:19, when God casts Adam and Eve out of paradise after they disobey him and tells them they must labor for their food from now until their deaths. It is echoed throughout the Bible, and refers to the idea that man was created from the dust of the ground, and the body turns back into dust by disintegration after death.

You can think of Ash Wednesday as the Christian spin on memento mori, a yearly reminder that our lives will one day end in death. Its the start of a season meant to remind observers, in a visceral way through denying themselves the comfort of food or some other thing that humans are limited, and must depend on God for their very life. It is a day for humility.

In 1930, following his conversion to Christianity, T.S. Eliot published a famous poem called Ash Wednesday, which includes these lines that illustrate the attitude that the observance of Ash Wednesday is meant to evoke:

And pray to God to have mercy upon us And pray that I may forget These matters that with myself I too much discuss Too much explain Because I do not hope to turn again Let these words answer For what is done, not to be done again May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly But merely vans to beat the air The air which is now thoroughly small and dry Smaller and dryer than the will Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

(The last two lines of the poem are from the Hail Mary prayer, forms of which are prayed by Catholics, Anglicans, and some Lutherans and other Protestant denominations.)

In some parts of the world, the day before Ash Wednesday is celebrated as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, and can involve anything from pancakes and self-examination to wild partying (sometimes to mark the end of Carnival). Its a last hurrah before the season of penitence begins.

Most people know Lent as a time to fast from something chocolate, alcohol, sex, and social media are all popular choices in the US.

Not everyone fasts during Lent many evangelical churches havent traditionally observed the church calendar, though the practice has grown more popular in America in the past few years. LifeWay Research, which studies subjects of interest to churchgoers and pastors, found that in 2017, 61 percent of Catholics plan to fast during Lent, while 28 percent of evangelicals will fast. (In 2014, the same study found that only 16 percent of evangelicals planned to fast during Lent.)

Some people who observe Lent dont fast at all, electing instead to add a spiritual practice during the 40 days, such as regular church attendance, prayer, giving to charity, or performing community service.

Western Christianity typically allows observers to pick whatever they want to fast from (as opposed to stricter fasts observed by other denominations and religions), based on a persons understanding of what earthly comforts distract them from worship or are crutches that prevent them from fully understanding their own sinfulness. Protestants in particular tend to avoid specific church-mandated practices when it comes to fasts (we can probably thank Martin Luther for that), so practices vary widely.

Some Catholics keep a more rigid version of the fast. The most notable and well-known practice is abstaining from meat on Fridays, sometimes in addition to giving up something else for Lent. The observance of this varies widely by parish and from individual to individual some Catholics fast from meat every Friday throughout the year, in a mini-observance of Jesuss death every week.

But even less strict Catholics may fast from meat on Fridays during Lent, and all Catholics are encouraged to skip meat on Good Friday. (Fish is permitted, for reasons that are fascinating and somewhat arcane, which is why those who went to Catholic school often grew up eating fish at lunch on Friday. It basically has to do with the ancient worlds conception of fish, as well as some other practical reasons though eating fish took a political turn at the time of Henry VIII.) Prayer and almsgiving (giving extra money to the poor) are also emphasized during Catholic Lent observance.

Orthodox Christianity is far more strict about the fast. In fact, strict Orthodox observers fast from meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, olive oil, and alcohol every Wednesday and Friday. During Lent, a fairly complicated fast is observed: Every weekday, Orthodox Christians abstain from all of those products.

Additionally, during the first week, worshippers may fast entirely from Monday morning through Wednesday evening, and then observe the strict fast the rest of the week and throughout the Lenten period. Wine and oil are added on weekends in the second through sixth weeks. And Orthodox worshippers may fast from Thursday night through Saturday night before Easter. (Observance can vary from individual to individual.)

Interestingly, Lenten practices are why we have Easter eggs the faithful would abstain from eggs and dairy during Lent, but in the days before refrigeration, the dairy then would spoil. Eggs, however, keep fresh much longer and would still be good when it was time to break the fast.

No. But your purpose for fasting will probably differ, depending on your motivation to join the fast.

Christianity is hardly the only religion in which fasting is part of the yearly observance. Muslims observe a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting during Ramadan, and Jewish observers may also mark high holidays with fasts, particularly Yom Kippur. Fasting is a big part of Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other religious traditions.

Why fasting? For most religious people, their faith and practice is about more than mental assent to a list of beliefs its about the whole human experience, which includes the body. Fasting reconnects the body to the emotions, mind, and soul, often by interrupting our autopilot mode and recognizing the ways we self-medicate that might be destructive to our souls.

Thats probably why even some nonreligious people have picked up on Lent. Writing at Talking Points Memo in 2015, writer Monica Potts explained why she observes Lent, even though shes no longer religious:

If everyone celebrates Lent the way they celebrate Christmas, it could just seem like another way Christianity is taking over. But I think nonbelievers reclaiming the best parts of religious traditions does the opposite, and reestablishes American morals outside of organized religion.

I still give up sweets for Lent every year, and sometimes alcohol or meat. I dont always make it all the way through, but I dont go around breaking Lent willy-nilly. I take it seriously. Partly, its a way to try to jumpstart post-winter weight loss. But theres something more to it for me, a sense of connection with my own past and with others in my present. I look forward to it as much as I do the sun melting the snow. And when Easter Sunday comes April 5, the chocolate bunny I buy will taste better than it ought to.

This sentiment is echoed by everyone from atheists to lifestyle bloggers, who find the observance of Lent without the religious aspects helpful for developing self-control and hitting the reset button, in a manner similar to the observance of New Years resolutions. (That it falls so close to the New Year is part of the appeal: Its a convenient time to pick up those broken resolutions again.)

That said: For Christians in particular, Lent isnt meant to be a time for self-improvement (though that may be a byproduct). In fact, the idea of using Lent to improve yourself even your spiritual life is considered the opposite of Lents purpose.

Lent is specifically designed to dismantle the egotistical ideas we sometimes have about ourselves, to identify the places in our lives where weve grown arrogant or complacent, to remember that we are going to die someday, and to repent and renew our dependence on God. Lent is meant to be uncomfortable. And its meant to end in gratefulness.

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Why do people fast for Lent? – Vox

Soft-toned Trump reaches out to religious and other minorities – Religion News Service

presidential address By Lauren Markoe | February 28, 2017

President Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress, on Feb. 28, 2017. Courtesy of Reuters/Jim Lo Scalzo

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Trump, long chided for failing to address a surge in hate crimes, began his first address to Congress by invoking Black History Month and condemning recent threats against Jewish institutions and the shooting of Indian men in Kansas City.

His uncharacteristically soft-toned speech, which included several religious references, at points emphasized the commonalities among religious groups and toward the end declared thatwe are all made by the same God.

And, heralding a new chapter of American greatness, the president acknowledgedour Muslim allies fighting the militant group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS.

He called itanetwork of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women and children of all faiths and beliefs.

But his other remarks Tuesday night (Feb. 28) would no doubt confirm for many criticsthat he still scapegoats Muslims and other minorities. He defended his Jan. 27 executive order, stayed by a federal appeals court, that temporarily bans nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations from visiting the U.S.

And hepromised to fight terrorism, slowly enunciatingradical Islamic terrorism, to make the point that he would use the phrase, despite even his own national security advisers stated belief that it helpsextremists to paint the U.S. as anti-Muslim.

He also reiterated his intention to build a great, great wall along our southern border.

Trump invoked Scripture when he praised a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens, who died in a controversial raid in Yemen that the president approved.

Ryans legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down ones life for ones friends, said Trump, invoking John 15:13.

And he championed school choice, sayingfamilies should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.

But perhaps what most surprised his audiencewas the speechsopening, a seeming attempt to bridge the divides among Americans that so many have accused Trumpof widening.

Tonight as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nations path toward civil rights and the work that still remains to be done, he said to applause and cheers.

Hate crimes have been a growing concern so far this presidency. In less than two months, bomb threats have targeted about 100Jewish community centers, schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League. Vandals have desecrated hundreds of graves at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.

And last week in Kansas City, two Indian men were shot, one fatally, in what is widely assumed to be a hate crime.

Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries as well as last weeks shooting in Kansas City remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms, the president told the lawmakers.

Trump has dismayed Jewish and other groups for failing, until last week, to denounce rising anti-Semitic hate crimes in the nation. And he has offered no specificcondemnation of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes, which have surged in the past several years.

READ:Trump condemned anti-Semitism. What about Islamophobia?

Trumps remarks Tuesday night were unlikely to mollify Jewish leaders upset with his record on addressing hatred toward Jews.

Just hours before the speech they called on him to address reports that he had, in a meeting with state attorneys general, suggested that threats against Jewish community centers might be coming from the reverse to make otherslook bad.

It was not clear what Trump meant, but some Jewish leaders expressed concernthat hewas implying that the threats could be attempts to frame his supporters, rather than threatenJews, and called on him to clarify his statement.

Jewish leaderswere also worriedabout new reports that the Trump administration is considering scrapping a State Department post created to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

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Soft-toned Trump reaches out to religious and other minorities – Religion News Service

Threats to Jewish community centers concern Pagans – The Wild Hunt

TWH Jewish facilities have been targeted with vandalism and bomb threats in recent weeks, and that has some of their Pagan neighbors on edge even as they stand ready to assist. Hundreds of headstones were damaged in two Jewish cemeteries this month, and 100 bomb threats have been reportedly called into Jewish community centers and temples in the United States and Canada in whats being called telephone terrorism.

It was enough to get a mention by President Trump during his first speech before a joint session of Congress, although those remarks have been criticized for not outlining to plan to stop the attacks.

While most of the bomb threats targeted community centers in the eastern United States, they were located in a total of 33 states as well as two provinces of Canada. The calls may have originated overseas, authorities believe, and used voice-masking technology, as in this example posted online.

No bombs have thus far been found, but federal officials are investigating them as hate crimes. While the threats have caused some participants 67% of which are not Jewish to pull their families out of programs, there are also reports of solidarity as neighbors show up to express their support.

[Penny White]

Its easy to overwhelm a religious community with outsiders good intentions. Were issuing a statement, of course, and supporting on social media. We are prepared to stand guard but that probably wont be necessary, she added, because of the response by local police and FBI agents.

Asheville resident and Pagan Laura LaVoie lives no more than a tenth of a mile away. When I read the news in our local paper, I was stunned. I dont want this kind of bomb threat happening anywhere, but when it is right next door to your house, it impacts you a little differently, she said.

Neither LaVoie nor Ballard believed the threat could have originated locally, an opinion which has since also been shared by law enforcement officials. That doesnt make it any less unsettling, however.

LaVoie said, The Pagan community in Asheville as a whole seems to be very out, so of course I have concerns that it could be targeted. But overall, our community is a welcoming one so I dont imagine it would happen from someone who is a part of Asheville culture.

On the other side of the country, the Marin Interfaith Councils name was added to one such statement. Member Aline Macha OBrien said that Congregation Rodof Shalom, a group that is very prominent and active in that council, was one of the centers which was threatened.

OBrien said, In the current climate, where certain religions (primarily, of course, Islam and Judaism) are openly or implicitly demonized, it is vital to point out these shared values and to use them as a starting point for addressing the ethical issues entailed in todays conflicts.

The issue of the reception of refugees, for instance, touches directly on questions of hospitality and care for the vulnerable that virtually all religious and ethical traditions address.

Mike Novack is both a member of Covenant of the Goddess and a practicing Jew living in Massachusetts. You do raise an interesting question about whether folks should get involved in that as Pagans, he said, but thought that should be answered by those Pagans are who not also Jewish.

Novack went on to say that he wasnt doing anything differently in the wake of the attacks. Jews always consider this sort of thing not out of the ordinary. It is only the recent number of events that is unusual so a little more time must elapse before treated as a real increase (if the rate stays high).

By and large the Muslim and Jewish communities are taking advantage of the attacks to heal breaches between them, he added. Jews coming out to help clean up after attacks on Muslims and vice versa.

To Novacks last point, $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the telephone terrorist[s] via the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The programming and services offer by Jewish community centers have a reach and variety similar to that found in YMCAs, which is why a majority of members, in some cases, are not Jewish. Nevertheless, they do indeed serve as a social hubs for Jews, someof whom no longer observe the religion but wish to honor their shared cultural heritage.

Its a cultural thing, an ancestral heritage, said Hank Eder, an eclectic Pagan with Jewish ancestry who denounced the attacks. Acts against any of us, no matter what their faith, are acts against all of us, no less than cutting off some part of yourself in an attempt to hurt another.

Ballard said that, while shes waiting to learn how best she can support her neighborhood JCC, she does believe that magical work would be an effective response.

The proposed Trump action was poorly thought out and ineffectively designed, in my opinion. Plus messy with too many moving parts. But magical working can be very effective. Certainly protective magic can be part of a strong security system, working in tandem with other kinds of security: electronic, security guards, etc.

The one thing that appears clear is that threats such as these are bringing people together, encouraging them to work for the common cause of protection in solidarity.

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Threats to Jewish community centers concern Pagans – The Wild Hunt

Hundreds gather to support JCC in Cherry Hill after bomb threat – Philly.com

They waved signs, chanted, sang, hugged, and cried to make a point outside a Jewish community center in Cherry Hill on Tuesday — to denounce a wave of anti-Semitism that has struck the nation.

About 200 people gathered for a peaceful rally at a busy intersection in front of the Katz Jewish Community Center on Springdale and Kresson Roads. An announcement for the event read, Hate has no home here.

Organizer Christine Berk, 39, of New York City, said she planned the rally in less than 24 hours to send a message to the community and those responsible for bomb threats at the center and elsewhere that forced evacuations Monday.

I felt like I needed to do something, said Berk, an art therapist who grew up in Cherry Hill and whose mother lives there. Everybody should feel safe. The message is that there are more people that care than dont care.

There were parents carrying supportive signs, pushing their children in strollers and toting dogs. The crowd included people of all races and religions – neighbors and strangers who quickly became friends.

Its what America is all about, said Dave Lipshutz, 62, of Voorhees, a lawyer. Everyone has each others back.

Azmatullah Hussaini, who attended the rally with his wife, Afia, and their three children, echoed those sentiments. His son, Sufyan, 8, held up a sign that read, Our Muslim family stands with our Jewish neighbors.

We stand against oppression of any kind, said Hussaini, 36, a physician at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees. We have to fight for each other.

The Katz center was among several Jewish institutions in the region that were evacuated Monday morning because of bomb threats. The Perelman Jewish Day School (Stern Center) and the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood also received threats.

Earlier Tuesday, it was business as usual at the Cherry Hill center, a hub for the Jewish community in South Jersey. Some members vowed to return to resume their regular activities, to make a statement of defiance against Mondays threats.

Life today is a new normal, and we continue to strive for safety and security while continuing to love our lives fully and with full participation in the Jewish community. We are truly blessed, said Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, which is housed in the center.

The crowd began arriving shortly before 5 p.m. on a corner across from Temple Emanuel. The event was shared mostly through social media. Cherry Hill police were nearby, but the rally was peaceful. Chief William Monaghan and Mayor Chuck Cahn posed for photos with groups of demonstrators.

Its very unfortunate that we have to be here, Cahn said. Theres no place for hatred and ignorance.

There were no speeches during the rally, which lasted about 90 minutes, until a steady rain put a damper on the event. There were occasional outbursts of chants of deport hate. An interfaith group of women sang religious songs. The crowd joined in for a round of God Bless America.

Theres been an unleashing of bigotry and hateful sentiment, said Farhat Biviji of Cherry Hill, a founding member of the Jewish-Catholic-Muslim dialogue group of South Jersey. The only way we can counteract it is to show love and brotherhood.

Motorists passing during the evening rush hour honked their horns in support. A demonstrator waved a sign that read, Make America kind again.

We want to be a visible sign for the community that we do care about each other, said Pat Sandrow, co-president of the Catholic-Jewish Commission of Southern New Jersey. Were all brothers and sisters and Gods family, no matter what we call each other.

Established in the 1940s, the center is a sprawling complex that promotes Jewish heritage and culture. It has an early childhood center, a fitness center, an indoor swimming pool, and social and recreational programs that attract all ages.

Longtime member Howard Miron, 56, of Cherry Hill, said the bomb threats may have scared some members away. He said he plans to continue to go to the center.

If you live in fear, youre not really living, said Miron, who works in supply management at Cooper University Hospital. Once you stop doing what you normally do, they win.

Nationwide, 31 bomb threats were called into 23 JCCs and eight Jewish day schools, according to the JCC Association of America. Centers in Wilmington, York, Pa., and Harrisburg were also evacuated.

The FBI said that the agency and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats.

The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner, a spokesman said Tuesday. He declined further comment.

Since January, there have been 90 threats around the country to Jewish institutions. No bombs have been found.

President Trump on Tuesday told attorneys general from across the country that the recent rash of attacks and threats against Jewish institutions was reprehensible, but suggested that it might not only reflect anti-Semitism, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Sometimes, the president said, “the reverse can be true,” Shapiro said, recalling the conversation at the White House. “Someone’s doing it to make others look bad.”

Shapiro said he found the comment a bit curious.

When he addressed a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, Trump had a different position.

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last weeks shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms, he said shortly after greeting Congress and its leaders.

Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present, he continued. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world.

Published: February 28, 2017 4:15 PM EST | Updated: February 28, 2017 9:41 PM EST

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Hundreds gather to support JCC in Cherry Hill after bomb threat – Philly.com