September 2014


JSPAN Newsletter - August 30, 2014

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
In This Issue: Labor Day Weekend, 2014
Newsletter: August 30, 2014
Hold the Date
10TH Annual Social Justice Award Honoring Maureen Pelta and Alan Feldman

October 27, 2014, 5:30-7:30, Independence Visitors Center

JSPAN is pleased to announce that Maureen Pelta and Alan Feldman are our social justice honorees this year. Dr. Pelta, Chair of Liberal Arts and Professor of Art History and Curatorial Studies at Moore College of Art and Design, has generously contributed her expertise for many decades as volunteer Chair of the annual Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition. Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the competition encourages middle and high school students to study the Holocaust and respond through creative expression.

Attorney Feldman is Co-Managing Partner of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock and Dodig and a former Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. During his tenure as Chancellor in 2006, he introduced the "Raising the Bar" campaign which continues to raise substantial funds to help provide access to justice through free legal services to the needy in our community.

Click here to honor Maureen and Alan by signing on as a sponsor or to buy tickets:


Message from the Philadelphia JCRC
This coming December, it will be two years since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Soon after that tragedy, we rallied as a community and sent six bus loads of people to Harrisburg to lobby for common sense gun laws; just simple, common sense laws that would help protect the public from the epidemic of gun violence. There have been 74 shooting incidents on school campuses since Sandy Hook.

Therefore, we are pleased to support CeaseFirePA in their continuing effort to advocate for basic, common sense gun laws. On Tuesday, September 16, 2014 CeaseFirePA will be hosting a trip to Harrisburg. The day will begin with a press conference to release a new report focused on Pennsylvania and long guns. The Report will highlight the dangers of long guns and point out the need for universal background checks.

The plan is to arrive around 12:00 noon. We will meet and have a light lunch and a briefing on the report and the rest of the day. There will be a press conference in the Capitol rotunda. We will follow that with visits to our own legislators.

Buses are being made available like last time. So far, one bus will leave from 17th and Market and another from Delaware Co at the corner of Orange and Baltimore Pike, but others could be arranged if there is interest. Please contact Salena Camara if you or your group would like to participate and we will try to accommodate you. At this point we have to assess interest before we can commit to additional buses. Obviously, you are free to travel by car and meet us in Harrisburg if you would prefer.

The timing is just weeks before the election, so getting more legislators on the record to make commitments is critical. Of course, we will follow up with more details as we get closer to the date. Please let us know if you might be interested in participating.

Thank you.
Adam I. Kessler
Director, Jewish Community Relations Council

JSPAN cooperates with CeaseFirePa in supporting gun control legislation. (Ed.)



Deval Patrick Signs Overhaul Of Massachusetts Gun Laws
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed an extensive package of gun control measures on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The legislation allows police chiefs to ask courts to deny firearms identification cards needed to buy guns to individuals they feel are unfit to obtain them, toughens penalties for some gun-based crimes, creates an online portal for background checks in private gun sales, carves out a firearms trafficking unit within the state's police department and requires that Massachusetts join the National Instant Background Check System.

Gun control advocates hailed the measures as ones that make Massachusetts "a leader for the rest of the nation."


[read more]


2014 Tuzman Holocaust Teach-In
JSPAN will once again co-sponsor of the 2014 Tuzman Holocaust Teach-In at Gratz College on November 9. From 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The keynote speaker this year is Father Patrick Desbois, author of The Holocaust by Bullets. A one-hour CLE session is also planned. For further information, contact: Mindy E. Blechman
Gratz College
7605 Old York Road
Melrose Park, Pa 19027
215-635-7300, x154



Deborah E. Lipstadt on the Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe
The New York Times
August 20, 2014

ATLANTA - An old Jewish joke goes like this: "What's the definition of a Jewish telegram? 'Start worrying. Details to follow.' " I am often asked by fellow Jews about contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. "Is this just like 1939? Are we on the cusp of another Holocaust?" Until now, my answer has been an unequivocal "no." I have criticized community leaders who, either out of genuine concern or to advance their own purposes, use Holocaust analogies to describe contemporary conditions. These claims are ahistorical. They overstate what is going on now and completely understate the situation in 1939. ***

And despite all this I wonder if I am too sanguine.


Seventy years after the Holocaust, many Jews in Europe no longer feel safe. Hiring an armed guard to protect people coming for weekly prayer is not the action of a secure people. In too many cities worldwide, directions to the local synagogue conclude with, "You will recognize it by the police car in front of the building." France has seen a sharp rise in the number of Jews who have decided to emigrate (though the figures are still fairly small).

The telegram has arrived. Jews are worrying. It is time for those who value a free, democratic, open, multicultural and enlightened society to do so, too. This is not another Holocaust, but it's bad enough.


[read more]


What Frames Michael Brown's Image?
Philadelphia Inquirer
John Timpane
August 22, 2014

Flesh-and-blood, guns-and-gas demonstrations have continued in Ferguson, Mo., since Aug. 9, when Michael Brown, 18, was killed unarmed in a street. But a media battle is also on, a battle of images. At issue is Brown himself: Who he really was, and what his death means. Beyond that is another battle: over the meaning of the black male body.

Sophisticated, primal, conducted through every available medium, with pervasive potency via social media, the battle is visceral, full of frustration, rage, and shame. It ropes in our pasts, our memories, and the unavoidable, unresolved racial divide in the United States.

[read more]


Ruth Bader Ginsburg Skewers High Court For Forsaking Fight Against 'Real Racial Problem'
The Huffington Post
Shadee Ashtari
August 22, 2014

Although the U.S. Supreme Court was "once a leader in the world" in the battle for racial equality, recent decisions by the high court undermine its role in solving a "real racial problem" in America, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in an interview with The National Law Journal on Wednesday.

Citing recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and racially biased stop-and-frisk policies, Ginsburg reflected on the perpetuation of racial segregation in America, comparing the challenges with those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.


[read more]


Start-up Barbie and the Changing Feminine Ideal
Washington Post
Catherine Rampell, Opinion Writer
August 14, 2014

Lego's groundbreaking female scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.

Yes, that swan-necked, thigh-gapped beauty has had a makeover and yet another career change. As of this summer, she's available as Entrepreneur Barbie. Entrepreneur Barbie doesn't belong to a specific industry or business, per se, but she's sure got a fab wardrobe.


[read more]


In Remembrance: Leonard Fein, Progressive Activist and Writer
Leonard "Leibel" Fein died on August 14, at age 80. He was a leading figure in the progressive Jewish Community. Fein was one of the co-founders of Mazon, Americans For Peace Now, Moment Magazine and the National Jewish Coalition For Literacy. He was a frequent columnist in the Forward, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Nation. Mr. Fein also helped JSPAN get started by coming to Philadelphia, at the request of Ted Mann, and providing a program free of charge. The event was very well attended and provided JSPAN with a very valuable jump start. (Ed.)


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