The UK Guardian starts off the morning with a story on Jewish households in the United Kingdom, titled, One in four married or cohabiting UK Jews has non-Jewish partner. Intermarried Jews three times less likely to raise children in the religion, according to Institute for Jewish Policy Research report In a 2011 census, 271,259 people identified themselves as Jewish by religion in the UK. This is less than 0.5% of the region’s total population. The story quotes from “Jews in Couples: Marriage, Intermarriage, Cohabitation and Divorce in Britain,” as published this week by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR). More than 25% of Jews in the UK who are married or cohabiting have non-Jewish partners. This is concerning to some members and leaders in the Jewish community. By comparison, in the USA, 58% of those identifying as Jewish were married to non-Jews in a 2013 survey.
Speaking of Donald Trump, The New York Times profiled his top adviser, his son in law, Jared Kushner. The story attempts to play psychiatrist and compare the two men who are both in Real Estate and scions of real estate development families. Quiet Fixer in Donald Trump’s Campaign: His Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner begins with the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, wanting to communicate with Donald J. Trump, and ending up in the Manhattan office of Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump.
Someone who did not play diplomat is reporter Dana Schwartz of the New York Observer, which is owned by Jared Kushner. In a Open Letter from One of Your Jewish Employees Dana excoriates Trump and Kushner for the apparent anti-Jewish ribbon that runs through the campaign. As reported in The NYT, Dana sent a pitch to the paper’s editor in chief, and asked to write a piece about her feeling of obligation to use whatever platform is available to her to bring that hatred out of the shadows, acknowledging it and discussing it. Her editor gave her a green light and says he did not read it until after it was published. Dana called out “Mr. Trump’s Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and de facto campaign manager, Jared Kushner…” asking him “Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty,… I’m asking you, not as a ‘gotcha’ journalist or as a liberal but as a human being: how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this.”
Jared Kushner responded to Dana’s open letter It can be seen in this article – HERE.
In other political news, THE HILL wonders whether Jews can be a deciding bloc in swing states. Jonathan Easley writes that Donald Trump’s stumbles with Jewish voters could cost him in Florida and Pennsylvania, two battleground states. “I think you’re going to see an all-time high of Jews voting for Democrats in 2016,” said Ira Sheskin, a Jewish demography expert at the University of Miami, referring to Trump “pissing off” Jewish voters with an image taken from a white power website. Professor Kenneth Wald of the University of Florida added that, “For many Jews, the antenna goes up when they hear Muslims or Mexicans being demonized.” Even Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a onetime Republican candidate said, “I can’t give [Trump] my full support because when he talks about banning Muslims, that’s not in line with American values. I’ve challenged him to speak respectfully of minority groups and to run a campaign that’s more in line with American values.”
Speaking of Rabbi Boteach, he was at Eli Wiesel’s private funeral at Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue on Sunday morning, as well as the burial in Westchester. He told a reporter that, ““What went through my mind the entire time was that the six million of the Holocaust were never granted the dignity of a burial; their ashes were merely scattered. Here we were with the privilege of burying the Holocaust’s greatest witness.”
There was an outpouring of sadness at the death of Wiesel worldwide. A sampling of obituaries can be found HERE NYT, HERE LAT, HERE-New Yorker, and HERE -Haaretz. A video obituary can be found HERE.
While most of the world lauded Wiesel for his work, Max Blumenthal, a journalist and critic of Israeli policies (and son of Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal), harshly condemned Elie Wiesel this week tweeting that Wiesel did “more harm than good” and should not be honored due to his support of Israel and groups like Elad. “Elie Wiesel went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them,” he wrote. As well as “Elie Wiesel is dead. He spent his last years inciting hatred, defending apartheid & palling around with fascists.” The Clinton campaign – which is not affiliated with Blumenthal – responded that, “Secretary [Hillary] Clinton emphatically rejects these offensive, hateful, and patently absurd statements about Elie Wiesel.” The Clinton campaign told The Jerusalem Post that “Elie Wiesel was a hero to [Secretary Clinton] as he was to so many, and she will keep doing everything she can to honor his memory and to carry his message forward.”
We also lost Abner Mikva, a nobody who became a somebody in Chicago and Washington< died at 90. Abner Mikva was turned down in his first attempt at working for the government with a line that became embedded in Chicago’s political lore, “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.” (He went to a cigar chomping ward committeeman in Mayor Daley’s Chicago who asked him who sent him. When Mikva replied that nobody did, the pol said, “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”) He was not deterred and became a Supreme Court clerk, an Illinois state legislator, a U.S. congressman, a U.S. federal appellate judge, a Chief Judge, and a White House presidential adviser and counsel to Bill Clinton. Mikva was a reform liberal who clashed with Mayor Daley and the Chicago Democratic machine. In the early 1970s, Mayor Daley arranged to change the borders of Mikva’s Chicago district, forcing the congressman to seek office in the northern suburbs. In 2014, Mikva was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. Actually, when POTUS Obama graduated from Harvard, it was Mikva who encouraged him to pursue public service and mentored him. His daughters are Rabbi Rachel Mikva, PhD of Chicago; Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva; and Attorney Laurie Mikva, who serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Legal Services Corporation.
And Rabbi Max Ticktin, a professor and Yiddish and Hebrew literature at George Washington University in Washington, DC. He was 94. Prior to joining GWU in the 1970s, he served as a leader for Hillel, and a Hillel director at University of Wisconsin and University of Chicago. A famed erudite teacher, GWU named an endowed chair in Israel studies for him. A native of Philadelphia, he was ordained at JTS in 1947. I won’t mention that he was a leader of Breira.
Local NYC tabloids and JTA reported that two diners accuse the manager of a SugarLoaf/Warwick, NY Mexican restaurant of booting them out due to their support of candidate, Donald Trump. Esther Levy, 61, a writer and artist, told the New York Post that it was because she wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and a Trump campaign button as she drank sangrias with retired local judge, Alvin Goldstein. Goldstein was a judge in Warwick, Chester and Greenwood Lake, NY for 31 years (not to be confused with the Real Estate construction attorney in Manhattan of the same name). The couple came for dinner and drinks after hanging at a festival in Goshen, NY. The restaurant is investigating, but told media outlets that the couple was asked to leave because they were intoxicated and disturbing other patrons. The restaurant’s representative said, Judge Goldstein “smart-mouthed a hostess after he exited the restroom and the couple’s rudeness escalated from there.” They were then said to have been rude to the first and then the second server. The restaurant owner added that the couple made disparaging remarks about illegal aliens and said Trump will drive them out of the country when he is elected, saying “By the way, my family came to this country legally—not like yours.” The family that has owned the restaurant for a quarter century is from Quicayan, Mexico, and are legal immigrants. Why no media outlet has interviewed other patrons and witnesses is unknown to me. In addition to being an artist, Levy is a Holocaust educator and author of “Legacies, Lies and Lullabies: The World of a Second Generation Holocaust Survivor.” Her mother survived Terezín. Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, PhD., a Trump supporter, told the New York Post that he planned to spread the word about the incident and encourage a boycott of the restaurant. Rabbi Rosenberg of Edison, NJ, was born in Germany, serves as a Holocaust chairman of the New York Board of Rabbis and received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award… but I suppose that some can look the other way when confronted with racism against Mexicans, Muslims, and Indiana judges.
Also Summer recreation news… it has been decided that women-only pool hours will be allowed to continue at two Brooklyn public pools. Yesterday, the NYC Parks Department confirmed that both the Metropolitan Pool in Williamsburg and the St. John’s Recreation Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn neighborhoods were issued exemptions to the NYC Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender, race or creed. For decades, there have been 6 hours set aside for gender-segregated swimming. This mostly caters to Jewish men and women who did not want to swim with mixed genders. The NYC Commission on Human Rights received an anonymous complaint however and in May, it suspended this practice until it was reinstated by the Mayor.
Was it all about religion? The Park Departments wrote and Sam Biederman – their spokesmodel said – that the decision was also based on a history of domestic and sexual abuse, as well as concerns about body image among women and girls which made them avoid swimming in mixed genders. (Gender is based on ones self identified gender, not the gender assigned at birth or on ID cards). However, New York Civil Liberties Union Senior Staff Attorney Erin Beth Harris said that the women-only swimming hours is legally compromised, biased, and creates “unequal access on a regular basis.” She added that, “This undermines the purpose of the Human Rights Law.” and that the Parks Department decision to associate issues of female body image and sexual abuse with was “paternalistic in a way that’s a bit concerning” and creates a dichotomy between the experiences of men and women.