Support the Pennsylvania Pass Act

JSPAN Newsletter - September 22, 2013

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
Succot 5774 - Zman Simchatenu
Newsletter: September 22, 2013
SAVE THE DATE: November 25, 2013
On November 25, JSPAN will present its Social Justice Award to Mark A. Aronchick, Esq. in recognition of his distinguished contributions to social justice and equality for all people.

The guest speaker will be Patrick J. Murphy, former Unites States Representative and current MSNBC contributor. The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Independence Visitor Center. Look for your invitation in the mail. For further details or to become a sponsor, contact Shelley Rappaport at 215-292-9575 or by email at


JSPAN Supports Pennsylvania PASS Act
At its September 16 Board meeting, JSPAN adopted a resolution urging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass, and the Governor to sign, House Bill 156, Printer's Number 251, known as the PASS Act, or similar legislation that provides comparable anti-bullying tools for schools and comparable protections for all students.

It further resolved that the President, officers and Board of Directors of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network take any measures in support of this resolution as are deemed appropriate, including communication of this position to members of the General Assembly.

The PASS Act would provide bullying prevention and remediation tools for all teachers and school staff and establish reporting requirements with accountability;

The PASS Act extends protection to children who are bullied in schools based on race; color; religion; national origin, ancestry or ethnicity; sexual orientation; physical, mental, emotional or learning disability; gender, gender identity or expression; financial status or physical appearance; or based on an association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more such characteristics. The full text of the resolution can be found on the JSPAN website at

The Board also voted to join the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Partnership in support of the PASS Act.

To learn more about the Act itself and its many other sponsors, click here.


Funeral Held for Bullied Fla. Girl Who Killed Self
Miami Herald
Tamara Lush
(September 16, 2013)

BARTOW, Fla. -- Some 250 mourners thronged a funeral service Monday for a 12-year-old central Florida girl who authorities say committed suicide after being bullied online by several girls for nearly a year.


[read more]


Rich-Poor Employment Gap Now Widest On Record
Huffington Post
Hope Yen

WASHINGTON - The gap in employment rates between America's highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago, according to an analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press.

Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families - those earning less than $20,000 - have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.


[read more]


As Many As 8 of Every 10 Welfare Applicants in 2013 Denied by Pa., Inquirer Has Found
Alfred Lubrano
(September 16, 2013)

The state of Pennsylvania has denied as many as eight of every 10 applications for cash welfare in 2013, a major increase over previous years, an Inquirer review of Department of Public Welfare figures shows.

It's a pattern being repeated in 17 other states.


[read more]

JSPAN is in the process of planning a jointly sponsored program on economic inequality in the United States. Stay tuned for further information. Ed.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Gay Marriage Reflects The Constitution's 'Genius'
Huffington Post
Maryclaire Dale

PHILADELPHIA -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently officiated at a friend's same-sex wedding, told a Philadelphia audience Friday that growing acceptance of gay marriage reflects the "genius" of the U.S. Constitution.

Ginsburg said equality has always been central to the Constitution, even if society has only applied it to minorities - be they women, blacks or gays - over time.

"So I see the genius of our Constitution, and of our society, is how much more embracive we have become than we were at the beginning," Ginsburg said in a far-ranging discussion of her work at the National Constitution Center, steps from the nation's founding at Independence Hall.

[read more]


Pa. Judge Orders Suburban Philadelphia Court Clerk to Stop Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
Washington Post
(September 12, 2013)

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday ordered a suburban Philadelphia court clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and the clerk said he would comply but is considering an appeal.

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not have the power to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution.


[read more]

JSPAN is supporting a constitutional challenge to Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Ed.  

I Am Buying Homeless Signs for Sukkot This Year
Jewish Exponent
Rob Eshman
(August 21, 2013)

LOS ANGELES - I started building my sukkah in December. To those of you who are sukkah DIYers, you know how ridiculous this sounds.

A sukkah is the ritual hut that Jews build each year on the holiday of Sukkot, which begins this year on the evening of Sept. 18. You set it up after Yom Kippur, you take it down after the eight days of Sukkot are over. Most sukkahs come as easy-to-make pre-fab kits - setting one up takes all of 30 minutes, even for a tool- challenged people.

So why did I start making mine eight months ago?

Because this year, I'm making a sukkah from homeless signs.

I collected my first one on a whim. At the off-ramp of the 10 Freeway at Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, a man was standing with a crude cardboard sign that said, “50 But Not Dead.” I couldn't have said it better myself, I thought. When he approached me and asked for some change, I heard myself blurting out, "Five dollars for the sign."

[read more]


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JSPAN Officers
Rabbi George Stern

Deborah Weinstein
First Vice President

Judah Labovitz
Vice President

Richard I. Malkin
M.D., Vice President

Kenneth R. Myers
Vice President

Burt Siegel
Vice President

Jay Meadway

David Gutin
Assistant Treasurer

Joanna Klein

Jeffrey Pasek
Policy Center Chair

Stewart Weintraub
General Counsel

Irwin Aronson
Susan Bolno
Adam Bonin
Hon. Ruth Damsker
William Epstein
Brian Gralnick
Margot Horwitz
Adrienne Jacoby Ph.D.
Hon. Babette Josephs
Nathan Kleinman
Marlena Kleit
Ruth Laibson
Theodore Mann
Mark Newman
Adena Potok
Audrey Ann Ross
J. Sanford Schwartz M.D.
Dan Segal
Marc Stier Ph.D.
Rabbi David Straus
Ilene Wasserman Ph.D.
Lynn G. Zeitlin
Jill Katz Zipin
Gail Zukerman

Judah Labovitz
Ken Myers
Mark Newman
Deborah Weinstein

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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