Independence Day Edition

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
In This Issue: Independence Day Edition
Newsletter: July 1, 2011
235 Years after the War of Independence –A Good Time to Celebrate American Jewish Heroes
By Ken Myers

How many Jewish heroes of the Revolutionary War (or earlier) can you identify? You probably know that Haym Salomon was a key figure in financing the Revolution. Did you know that Francis Salvador was the first Jew to die in the American Revolution, on August 1, 1776, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence? You might know that Philadelphian Rebecca Gratz founded the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society and other relief organizations. Did you know that her family was prominent among revolutionaries here?

It is well known that Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938), was a member of the United States Supreme Court. His family already had a glorious record in America: David Nunez Cardozo (1752- ?) was a hero of the Revolution. He led the assault on British-held Savannah, Georgia, in which Count Pulaski was killed. Cardozo was taken prisoner by the British while defending Savannah, but was released at the end of the British stay in that area.

Forty-seven Jewish heroes of the Revolution and other major events in American history are listed and their achievements memorialized on the web site of the Florida Atlantic University Libraries, with credit to Seymour Brody. <> But his major opus is the book, Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, by Seymour Brody with illustrations by Art Seiden (Lifetime Books 1996). Spend some time during the Independence Day weekend examining the lives of Jewish heroes during and since our War of Independence.



https://");">Sestak Addresses JSPAN Annual Meeting
Hon. Joe Sestak, ex-Congressman from Delaware County, U.S. Navy Commander rising to 3-star Admiral, graduate of the Naval Academy and today once more a local resident, addressed the JSPAN Annual Meeting this month. His message is to recognize the flaws in our democracy and at the same time to continue to work to correct them, in all the familiar areas such as the gerrymander of elections. Sestak is weighing alternatives to continue to provide public service, but gave no hint to the audience what direction that may take.

JSPAN installed eleven new members to its Board of Directors bringing its total to 50, and announced its new officers at the Annual Meeting. Their biographic data can be viewed on


https://");">Wild West Gunslingers in Pennsylvania?
CeaseFire PA, which JSPAN supports, states that people across Pennsylvania are outraged by the Castle Doctrine expansion bill, which is likely to become law by the end of this week. The expansion will permit the use of deadly force in public spaces - even when it isn't absolutely necessary, or when moving way from a confrontation could resolve the issue. - Ed

Associated Press, June 21, 2011, Harrisburg, Pa. -- A bill to widen the right to use deadly force in self-defense in Pennsylvania is on its way to Gov. Tom Corbett, who's expected to sign it.

In a 45 to 5 vote, the Senate approved the latest Castle Doctrine bill without any debate.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Scott Perry, of York County, would expand the right to use deadly force to include confrontations outside a person's home or business.

It eliminates a requirement that people try to retreat before using deadly force in those situations.

Then Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a similar measure last year, saying it would escalate violence.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association previously opposed the bill, but dropped its opposition after it was amended to make it harder to use as a defense for criminal activity.


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https://");">Democrats Pitch DREAM Act as Needed Economic Patch
Immigration News: the Dream Act, which would give resident status to youths who go to college in the United States or serve in our military, nearly passed the Congress in December 2010 but failed to secure the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. It was reintroduced last month and is in hearings in the Senate. JSPAN strongly supports this effort. - Ed.

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The last time the Obama administration made a hard push to legalize some of the children of illegal immigrants, officials focused on some of the inspirational and sympathetic stories of honor students who could gain legal status through the DREAM Act. …

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who has spent years trying to pass the DREAM Act, said Monday he doubts he has the votes needed to get it passed through the Senate. But he's sponsoring the bill again because enough Republicans have told him privately that there are ways they could support it, so he's confident a compromise can be reached even though so many other immigration-related issues remain divisive.


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Meanwhile right wing bloggers and newsletters are buzzing with claims that the White House has decided to implement the Dream Act policies through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to deport students who would qualify to remain here if and when the Act passes. Under the heading “best incentives for defeating Obama,” Canada Free Press writes:

A new enforcement memo handed down by the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week has some accusing the White House of running around Congress to implement the DREAM Act – and consequent amnesty for some illegal immigrants – by executive fiat.

The new memo, penned by ICE Director John Morton, directs ICE agents, attorneys and directors to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” – meaning less likelihood of deportation – for illegal aliens who have been students in the U.S., who have been in the country since childhood or who have served in the American military.


https://");">Second Circuit Church-State Decision
Hallowed Secularism

6/15/2011—On June 2, in a split opinion, Judge Pierre Leval, joined by Judge Guido Calabresi, upheld the New York City Board of Education policy that exempts “religious worship services” from the general policy allowing community groups to use schools after hours for community purposes. All other uses of school space are permissible except for “religious worship services”. Judge John Walker dissented.

... the court upheld the exclusion in large part because the school board’s concern of possibly violating the Establishment Clause if religious services were allowed constituted a legitimate reason for banning the services.

JSPAN strongly supports and fights for separation of church and state. Cases often turn on appearances, such as the possibility that government involvement in an otherwise wholesome activity will create the appearance of endorsement of one religion over another or over no religion. The desire to advance the wholesome activity should never be permitted to obscure or confuse the meaning of our First Amendment freedoms. - Ed.


https://");">JCPA Outrage at IDF Soldier Gilad Shalit's Continued Captivity
"Four years after Gilad Shalit was illegally captured by Hamas fighters, he remains in captivity with little known of his condition," said Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow, chair and president respectively of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. "His captors continue to ignore international pleas for his release and astonishingly forbid international aid groups any access to him to report on his condition. This week, the U.S. Congress is expected to approve resolutions calling for Shalit's immediate and unconditional release. The JCPA played a key role building support for these resolution and has worked closely with our Senators and Representatives to ensure the United States Congress is speaking with a united voice in support of his release. It is past time for Hamas to stop playing games with this young man's life and return him to his family and friends."


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https://");">Israelis Can Now Marry Abroad and Never Have to Leave the Country
Marriage in Israel is generally within the authority of the religious community to which the bride and groom belong.
By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz

The High Court of Justice has expanded the limited availability of civil marriage in Israel in a precedent-setting decision. The court this week directed the Interior Ministry to recognize the marriages of 14 couples who were married by proxy. They registered in the Central American republic of El Salvador, where the law does not require the parties to the marriage to appear before the government official who conducts the ceremony.

In practice, this means that brides and grooms in Israel can marry in El Salvador and never have to leave Israel.


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https://");">Raising the Altalena
In June 1948, Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to shell and sink an Irgun ammunition and supply ship lying just outside the harbor at Tel Aviv. His action cost both lives and materiel, but reaffirmed the principal that the civilian head of state is in charge of the military, and that Israel would not abide the continuation of independent militias within the land. A proposal to recover the sunken vessel is returning attention to that difficult decision. - Ed.

The operation to recover the remains of the Irgun-controlled ship the Altalena represents a golden opportunity to refine the dispute over the dangers currently lurking for Israeli democracy. ...
By Motti Golani, Haaretz

The mortar shell fired on the Altalena was therefore of the highest fundamental importance. It decided the question, once and for all, of who commanded the army in Israel, who had the authority to bring arms into the country, who gave orders to open fire, and when and where. The Palmach command was dismantled a matter of months after the Altalena incident, and the two developments were not unconnected.


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https://");">Update on Women's Rights
NARAL reports that it is monitoring 470 anti-choice bills in various states, three times the total a year ago, and that 49 bills have passed to date. Taken together, they constitute war on womens' rights, says NARAL

See video excerpts from public talks and state legislative hearings at involved/stupak-on-steroids/war-on-women-states.html


https://");">Public Policy in the Making …
As this issue of the JSPAN Newsletter goes to press, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Legislatures are putting final touches on budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1. These budgets will have major impacts on matters we care about a great deal: adequate funding for public education, healthcare, support of the justice system, environmental quality, and fair treatment for both public employees and taxpayers, to name just some of these issues.

Have a great Holiday and return ready to work with us to preserve our values in these turbulent times!


https://");">Support JSPAN

Remember that JSPAN welcomes your donations to help us continue our important and effective work in Tikkun Olam. You may send gifts via PayPal on or to JSPAN, 1735 Market Street, Suite #A417, Philadelphia, PA 19103

We welcome your comments and suggestions concerning the Newsletter. You can reach us by email at




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JSPAN Officers
Brian Gralnick

Lynn Zeitlin
Vice President

Judah Labovitz
Vice President

Ruth Laibson
Vice President

Kenneth Myers
Vice President

Mark Newman
Vice President

Stephen Applebaum

Stewart Weintraub
Secretary & General Counsel

Susan Myers
Policy Centers Chair


Board of Directors:
Jeffrey Pasek, Chair
Susan Bolno
Adam Bonin
David Boonin
David S. Broida
Deanne Comer
Hon. Ruth Damsker
Marshall Dayan
William Epstein
Kenneth Fox
Sarita Gocial
Paula Green
David Gutin
Raechel Hammer
Rabbi Elliot Holin
Margot Horwitz
Rhoda Indictor
Joanna Klein
Nathan Kleinman
Lazar Kleit
Marlena Kleit
Rabbi Robert Layman
Richard I. Malkin
Theodore Mann
Jay Meadway
Mark Newman
Maureen Pelta
Adena Potok
Audrey Ann Ross
J. Sanford Schwartz
Daniel Segal
Burt Siegel
Marc Stier
Rabbi David Straus
Ilene Wasserman
Rabbi Joshua Waxman
Deborah Weinstein
Alex Urevick
Jill Katz Zipin
Gail Zukerman

Ruthanne Madway
Executive Director

Judah Labovitz
Ken Myers
Mark Newman

Ira Goldberg