High Holiday Issue - 5774 - Wishing you fulfillment and social justice in the New Year

JSPAN Newsletter - September 8, 2013

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
High Holiday Issue - 5774 - Wishing you fulfillment and social justice in the New Year
Newsletter: September 8, 2013
Mark Aronchick to Receive 2013 JSPAN Social Justice Award
Save the Date - Monday, November 25

Each year JSPAN honors a recipient whose life work fulfills its mission of advocacy, education and action in pursuit of social justice and Tikkun Olam - repairing the world. This year JSPAN is proud to confer its 9th Annual Social Justice Award to attorney Mark A. Aronchick in recognition of his distinguished contributions to social justice and equality for all people.

The Social Justice Award is JSPAN's annual celebration of a worthy contribution to our community, and also provides major support to maintain the work of the organization. For additional information or to become a sponsor please call Shelley Rappaport at 215-292-9575 or email: jspan@jspan.org


Minimum Wage Matters
Philadelphia Jewish Voice
By Stuart Appelbaum
August 29, 2013

It's not that often when Labor Day and Rosh Hashana fall so close together on the calendar. This year, there's one pressing Labor Day issue that should concern the entire Jewish community of the United States - the pitiful state of the federal minimum wage.

It's not a secret that the federal minimum wage isn't a living wage. At $7.25 an hour, today's full-time minimum wage worker makes just $15,080 a year. Even with two people working minimum wage jobs, the income is hovering at the poverty level - if they are even lucky enough to have full-time jobs. ...

Jews across the United States should remember the situation confronting so many of our ancestors as they came to this country where all they could earn were poverty wages in the garment trades and other sectors.


[read more]


The Scared Worker
The Washington Post
By Robert J. Samuelson
September 1, 2013

On this Labor Day, American workers face a buyers' market. Employers have the upper hand and, given today's languid pace of hiring, the advantage shows few signs of ending. What looms, at best, is a sluggish descent from high unemployment (7.4 percent in July) and a prolonged period of stagnant or slow-growing wages. Since 2007, there has been no gain in average inflation-adjusted wages and total compensation, including fringes, notes the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.

The weak job market has a semi-permanence unlike anything seen since World War II, and the effects on public opinion extend beyond the unemployed. "People's expectations have been really ratcheted down for what they can expect for themselves and their children," says EPI economist Lawrence Mishel. There's a sense "that the economy just doesn't produce good jobs anymore." Possible job loss becomes more threatening because finding a new job is harder. Says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center: "Security is valued more than money because it's so fragile."


[read more]


Religious Action Center Alert: Interfaith Call-In Day September 17 End Employment Discrimination
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a bill in Congress (S. 815) to extend protections against discrimination in employment to Gays and Lesbians. RAC and a large number of other faith groups are organizing a call-in to urge our Senators to support ENDA and to provide workplace protection for all. A toll-free call-in number has been arranged at 1-888-897-0714 for that date.


United Behind a Son's American Dream, No Matter the Consequences
New York Times
By David Gonzalez
September 1, 2013

Antonio Saavedra and Natalia Mendez wanted their three children to stay in school and stay out of trouble. They raised them without television, but with plenty of books, many of which are now crammed into a well-stocked library at La Morada, the Mexican restaurant the family runs on Willis Avenue in the South Bronx. ...

Their children sometimes dip into the books when business is slow. Not that August was uneventful; Marco Saavedra, their middle child, only son and sometimes waiter, order-taker and deliveryman, spent two weeks in an Arizona immigration jail.

By choice.

Marco is among a group of nine young men and women who call themselves Dreamers - immigrants who were brought here illegally as children by their parents and who want the federal government to provide a path to citizenship. He had returned to Mexico and tried to enter the United States in July, asking for asylum on grounds that he feared persecution in Mexico, a country he had not seen since he was a toddler. He was released in early August while his case is pending.

Marco's decision to undertake what he saw as an act of civil disobedience initially upset his parents. But he said it was the inevitable result of thinking about not just his situation but that of thousands of other young people like him.

Their children sometimes dip into the books when business is slow. Not that August was uneventful; Marco Saavedra, their middle child, only son and sometimes waiter, order-taker and deliveryman, spent two weeks in an Arizona immigration jail.


[read more]

JSPAN supports the DREAM Act and other efforts to provide a path to citizenship for "illegals" permanently trapped in irregular status here. - Ed.


The Problem with Giving in on Marijuana Laws
Los Angeles Post
By Karin Klein
August 29, 2013

After years of saber-rattling and even arrests that challenged California's medical marijuana law, the Obama administration is giving in. Now that medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, and two of those have outright legalized recreational use of cannabis (four more are actively considering it), the administration says it won't fight these policies in court and will direct its enforcement people to other tasks. Those include preventing sales to minors - good luck - and to states where marijuana is still illegal.

It's a sensible move but one that raises plenty of questions about when the government should step in to prevent states from attempting to nullify federal laws.

[read more]


New Neighbor's Agenda: White Power Takeover
New York Times
By John Eligon
August 29, 2013

LEITH, N.D. - The bearded man with thinning, gray-and-bleach-blond hair flapping down his neck first appeared in this tiny agricultural town last year, quietly and inconspicuously roaming the crackly dirt roads.

Nettie Ketterling thought nothing of it when he came into her bar to charge his cellphone in an outlet beneath the mounted head of a mule deer. To Kenneth Zimmerman, the man was just another customer, bringing his blue Dodge Durango in for repairs. Bobby Harper did not blink when the man appeared in front of his house and asked him if he had any land to sell. And the mayor, Ryan Schock, was simply extending a civic courtesy when he swung by the man's house to introduce himself.

Their new neighbor, they thought, was just another person looking to get closer to the lucrative oil fields in western North Dakota known -as the Bakken.

But all that changed last week.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Bismarck Tribune revealed that the man, Paul Craig Cobb, 61, has been buying up property in this town of 24 people in an effort to transform it into a colony for white supremacists.


[read more]


Date and Olive Pits Dispel Mystery of King Solomon's Mines
The copper mines at Timna were long thought to have been operated by Egyptians in the 13th century B.C.E., but organic remains now show that they reached their prime during the reign of King Solomon, three centuries later.

By Nir Hasson
September 3, 2013

It took 10 date pits and one olive pit to come to the conclusion that the heyday of the copper mines at Timna, near Eilat, was indeed during the reign of King Solomon, in the 10th century B.C.E.

The samples, which were dug up by a Tel Aviv University team headed by archaeologist Erez Ben Yosef, were sent to Oxford for a carbon-14 dating test. The results proved that the site wasn't populated during the 13th century B.C.E., as previously thought, and that its peak of activity was actually some three centuries later.

But King Solomon had in all likelihood no connection to the mines, although they are called after him.

[read more]


Rabbis Declare War on Chit-Chat in Synagogue
Are Orthodox Congregations More Prone to Crosstalk?

The Jewish Forward
By Josh Nathan-Kazis
September 06, 2013.

Chat during synagogue services and God might kill you, the Talmud warns.

That's if you're lucky. If you're not, God might kill everyone you know: One legend attributes a 17th-century Cossack slaughter of tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews to excessive talking in synagogue.

"Woe to people who carry on conversations during prayer, for we have seen many synagogues destroyed because of this sin," one late 19th-century rabbinic commentator warned.

Despite these threats, Orthodox rabbis say they can't control the crosstalk during their services. Reform rabbis, meanwhile, whose congregants generally don't worry about divinely inspired massacres, say that they're rarely interrupted by even a whisper.


[read more]


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JSPAN Officers
Rabbi George Stern

Deborah Weinstein
First Vice President

Judah Labovitz
Vice President

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M.D., Vice President

Kenneth R. Myers
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Adrienne Jacoby Ph.D.
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Adena Potok
Audrey Ann Ross
J. Sanford Schwartz M.D.
Dan Segal
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Rabbi David Straus
Ilene Wasserman Ph.D.
Lynn G. Zeitlin
Jill Katz Zipin
Gail Zukerman

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Ira Goldberg




The newsletter contains articles and links to articles that we think will be of interest to JSPAN members. They are included for informational purposes, but unless otherwise stated, they do not necessarily reflect official JSPAN policy.

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