Judaism

Appointment of Muslim to National Counter-Terrorism Commission Creates a Stir

July 5, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 5, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that the appointment of Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, by House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt to a national counter-terrorism commission has come under attack by major Jewish organizations. Muslim Americans hail the appointment as a "sign that Washington is finally giving them a voice in policymaking." Al-Marayati looks forward to the position: "I hope to broaden the discussion on terrorism by looking at its root...

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Lubavitch Center Opens in Washington, D.C.

July 3, 1999

Source: The Washington Post

On July 3, 1999, The Washington Post reported that the American Friends of Lubavitch has opened a $2 million center in Washington's embassy district. The 10,000-square-foot building houses an Orthodox synagogue, a large meeting room, and a library with more than 2,000 books on Chabad Lubavitch and Jewish mysticism that will be open to the public. The new center also draws attention to its director, Levi Shemtov, who is considered by many to be the "unofficial rabbi of Capitol Hill." Chabad Lubavitch has about 250,000 followers...

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Appointment of Muslim to National Counter-Terrorism Commission Creates a Stir

July 2, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 2, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article by Laila and Salam Al-Marayati on the attempts of Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to disturb Jewish-Muslim relations and block appointments to federal commissions. The Al-Marayatis call for moderation and dialogue to help foster a "viable and mature Jewish-Muslim relationship." "Our major concern is not with promoting any particular foreign group but with enriching the democratic process of debate in America. Our approach is to educate American policymakers and...

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Aish Hatorah

June 26, 1999

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 26, 1999, The Boston Globe published an article on the success of Aish Hatorah, an educational program aimed at Jews between the ages of 25 and 40 that offers seminars on everything from ethics to dating. In the Boston area, Aish Hatorah opened a center in Brookline's Coolidge Corner four months ago, with more than 2,500 people walking through its doors and more than 2,700 people on its the mailing list. Aish Hatorah operates in more than 100 cities on five continents and has been at the center of a resurgence in Jewish...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 23, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 23, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that over 100 federal, state, and local investigators have recovered a great deal of "high-quality evidence" from the three synagogue fires that took place in Sacramento, California on the early morning of June 18th. James Maddock, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation in Sacramento, stated: "Some of the leads appear very promising. We are all optimistic on the task force that this investigation will be done quickly and will identify those responsible and bring them to...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 23, 1999

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

On June 23, 1999, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that up to $6 million in federal loan guarantees will be available to the three burned synagogues as a result of the 1996 Church Arson Prevention Act, which helped churches in the Midwest and South that were destroyed in a string of arsons. Andrew Cuomo, secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, stated: "I would urge you to consider not just rebuilding the temples, but to expand the temples while you're at it. Let's make a clear sign that this act has not...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 21, 1999

Source: Sacramento Bee

On June 21, 1999, the Sacramento Bee reported that several community leaders in Sacramento called for the creation of a Sacramento "museum of tolerance" at a rally held across the street from Congregation B'nai Israel. Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr. and Assemblyperson Darrell Steinberg vowed to raise the resources, both publicly and privately, to construct a museum that would be similar to Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Synagogue Arson in California

June 20, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 20, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that makeshift Shabbat services for Congregation B'nai Israel, held in Sacramento's Community Theater, attracted more than a thousand people. Some of those attending were from the Northern California United Methodist conference across the street. Rev. Faith Whitmore presented the Jewish community with $6000, which was the proceeds from a collection taken at the conference. Throughout the city, there has been an outpouring of support for the burned synagogues from public officials,...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 19, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 19, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that three Sacramento synagogues were set on fire about 35 minutes apart on the morning of June 18th. Flyers were left at the synagogue linking Jews and the "Jewsmedia" with profiting from the war in Kosovo through Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who recently discovered her Jewish ancestry. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the arsons, "clearly the worst such attacks in years." Sacramento has been the scene of previous hate crimes, with...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 19, 1999

Source: Sacramento Bee

On June 19, 1999, the Sacramento Bee reported on the efforts by area temples to help the three congregations. Area congregations have donated prayer books, Torahs, and sanctuary space. Marc Carrel, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council, stated: "Any incident against one house of worship is an act of violence against the whole community. Every Sacramentan should be outraged." Mosaic Law Congregation, a Conservative synagogue, opened its doors to Congregation Beth Shalom to have Shabbat services and a Bat Mitzvah ceremony...

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Synagogue Arson in California

June 19, 1999

Source: The Buffalo News

On June 19, 1999, The Buffalo News reported on the synagogue arsons in Sacramento. These are being investigated as hate crimes; a hate flier that was recovered from the Knesset Israel Torah Center blamed Jews for the war in Kosovo and the destruction caused by NATO bombing.

Controversy over Conversion to Judaism

June 13, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On June 13, 1999, a The New York Times published an article on issues of conversion in the Jewish religion. Gary A. Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco, advocates "a positive, welcoming approach to non-Jews becoming Jews." Approximately 180,000, or 3 percent, of the American Jewish population are converts, who are mostly married or engaged to Jews. Tobin believes that reaching out to non-Jews asserts the American Jewish position in a democratic, religiously pluralistic society: "...

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The Changing Face of Judaism

June 5, 1999

Source: Sacramento Bee

On June 5, 1999, the Sacramento Bee published an article on Rabbi Mendy Cohen, who is affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement and founder of Chabad of Sacramento. Cohen, like his Lubavitch movement, has been a charismatic figure in the Sacramento area and has aggressively made outreach efforts to area Jews with his brand of Orthodox Judaism. Cohen stated: "There is no such thing as Orthodox or Conservative or Reform. There is a Judaism that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and he gave it over to generation after...

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The Changing Face of Judaism

June 1, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On June 1, 1999, The New York Times published an article of reflections on the Pittsburgh Principles. Rabbis Sheldon Zimmerman, president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, emphasized that since American society reminds Jews of their identity less frequently, the question for American Jews is "'Why be Jewish?' No other generation has had to answer that question." Rabbis Paul J. Menitoff, the executive vice-president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, stated: "I think there's a change in the...

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The Changing Face of Judaism

May 31, 1999

Source: The Courier-Journal

On May 31, 1999, The Courier-Journal of Louisville published an article on Congregation Keneseth Israel in Louisville, which recently voted to give men and women equal roles in worship services. Women in this Conservative synagogue will now be allowed to read from the Torah during services. Rabbi Shmuel Mann, leader of Keneseth Israel, stated: "I have ambivalent feelings, in the sense that it's tough for a congregation to go through this move, but hundreds of Conservative congregations have done that over the last 25 years. On...

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