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Behind the Aegis

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Jewish Centers in Several States Targeted With Bomb Threats


Bomb threats targeted Jewish community centers in at least six states Monday, and some were made with prerecorded telephone calls, according to an official with the Jewish Federations of North America.

It's not clear why up to 20 Jewish community centers across the South and Northeast were targeted, said Richard Sandler, chair of the JFNA board of trustees.

"Some of the threats were robo-calls," said Sandler, adding that the number of threats was unusually high.


In Nashville, Tennessee, 225 people were evacuated from the Gordon Jewish Community Center and an adjacent school after a security guard received a bomb threat over the phone. Buildings were evacuated and authorities investigated similar threats in Atlanta; Tenafly, New Jersey; Columbia, South Carolina; and Wilmington, Delaware.

In Maryland, threats also were called into Jewish community centers in Baltimore and Rockville.


Prelude to an American Kristallnacht? Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey all received threats. Is this nothing more than a test run to see how upset people would be? A prank?

In all honesty, I doubt many would be very upset by multiple attacks on Jewish institutions, and I don't hold much hope that the incoming administration would do much, other than use it to their advantage to restrict more rights or scapegoat the wrong people.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue Jan 10, 2017, 12:27 AM (3 replies)

Pharrell Williams and stars from 'Hidden Figures' condemn 'hateful comments'

Gospel singer Kim Burrell calls homosexuality 'perverted,' Pharrell Williams and stars from 'Hidden Figures' condemn 'hateful comments'

Gospel singer Kim Burrell labeled homosexuality “perverted” in a sermon she gave in her other life as a Pentecostal preacher, quickly eliciting responses from both Pharrell Williams, with whom she sings on the “Hidden Figures” soundtrack, and two stars from that film, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.

Burrell and Williams were originally scheduled to perform the soundtrack song “I See a Victory,” on which he is also a producer, on “The Ellen Show” on Thursday, with Monáe also slated to appear as a guest.

But on Tuesday morning, show host Ellen DeGeneres announced on Twitter that Burrell would not join Monáe and Williams on Thursday’s show.

“I came to tell you about sin,” Burrell said in the recent sermon at the Houston church she founded and where she is pastor, Love and Liberty Fellowship Church International. “That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women.”

A firestorm of criticism was touched off when video of the sermon began to circulate and Burrell took to Facebook Live to add, “There are a lot of people that I’m aware of that struggle or deal or have that spirit. Have I discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them that I don’t love you and you going to hell? … I don’t give that call.”


This is a shameful situation for two reasons, the first being the obvious homophobic rhetoric and hate, and the second is the potential it has to mar what could be a great movie, certainly one of historic importance.

Please read this article!

Black women who helped put America in space get their day onscreen

As if to ensure the 2016 Oscar nominations don’t come out as white as Santa’s beard, three fine films about African-Americans in the late ’50s and early ’60s have come out in the last eight weeks: “Loving,” “Fences” and “Hidden Figures.”

The last, which is the least overtly emotional, makes subtle points while depicting three women who helped NASA enter the space race with the Soviet Union. Most people who watched John Glenn become the first man to orbit the Earth multiple times – myself included, as a boy in 1962 – had no idea such women put him up there safely.

Director Theodore Melfi wrote the screenplay with Allison Schroder, adapting Margot Lee Shetterly’s book. They never overstress a scene: Whites working around black colleagues are quietly dismissive but not overtly cruel, and a Virginia police officer who finds the trio stranded by the roadside is suspicious but not vicious. The movie indicts exclusion and racial hierarchy without finding villains inside that system.

“Figures” takes place at Langley Air Force Base, as officials make calculations for launches at Cape Canaveral. Math prodigy Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) crunches numbers at amazing speed, but she’s more than a human computer in a pre-IBM age. Her insights into patterns go beyond those of male co-workers, and her boss (lethargic Kevin Costner) figures that out.



‘Hidden Figures’ is a crowd-pleaser with math appeal
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 12:47 AM (5 replies)

Vandals turn a Jewish familys home menorah into a swastika

Source: Washington Post

When Naomi and Seth Ellis’ young sons said that they wanted lights on their house in Chandler, Arizona, like all their neighbors’ Christmas decorations, the parents knew what to tell their three Jewish boys: Yes.


After the boys went to bed on the sixth night of Hanukkah, someone dismantled their special menorah and turned it into a giant swastika.

“We talk a lot about the importance of equality and tolerance, loving everybody no matter what,” Naomi Ellis said. “I had to tell them that not everybody feels that way. Some people are ignorant, and this is what they do.”

She watched tears well up in her 9-year-old son’s eyes as she explained.

“They know about the Holocaust. They know about Nazis,” she said. But before Friday morning, the three children — ages 5, 7 and 9 — had never before seen a swastika, the symbol of the Nazi party that carried out the murder of 6 million Jews and of current-day hate groups.

Read more: http://www.heraldnet.com/news/vandals-turn-a-jewish-familys-home-menorah-into-a-swastika/

Just a reminder...
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Dec 31, 2016, 03:45 AM (62 replies)

Once outlawed, Uganda Jews open synagogue

Source: AP

MBALE, Uganda (AP) — Seth Yonadav swaggered along a dirt path in rural Uganda, pointing toward the new synagogue where young men wearing yarmulkes lingered.

Up on a hill the synagogue stood like a crown jewel, surrounded by schools and a guest house, all owned and operated by a small community of Jewish believers in this remote hamlet founded by a single convert a century ago.

The Stern Synagogue, built largely with money donated by Americans, is a source of pride for hundreds of Ugandan Jews known locally as the Abayudaya, who have tenaciously maintained their belief despite the prejudice they have suffered over the years in this Christian-dominated country.

The community continues to pursue formal recognition from Israel, which would give it a further sense of inclusion. The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, has recognized the Abayudaya since 2009, spokesman Avi Mayer said.

Read more: https://www.news-journal.com/news/2016/dec/30/once-outlawed-uganda-jews-open-synagogue/
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Dec 31, 2016, 03:40 AM (3 replies)

Report: Phoenix-area synagogue vandalized on first night of Hanukkah

PHOENIX — Reports surfaced that a Sun City synagogue was vandalized on the first night of Hanukkah, sparking rumors of a possible hate crime in the Valley.

Jewish News reported that Temple Beth Shalom and Jewish Community Center of the Northwest Valley reported damage done to several fixtures at the synagogue, including a menorah, a Holocaust memorial and a basketball hoop.

A board member visited the synagogue on Dec. 25, the first day of Hanukkah, to make sure the menorah was lit up in correspondence of the Jewish holiday, but found “deep tire marks” next to the structure. Two of the menorah’s arms were also twisted downward.

Temple Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Shelly Moss told the publication that the menorah has been on the synagogue’s grounds for more than 30 years.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Wed Dec 28, 2016, 02:50 PM (1 replies)

Happy Chanukah!

Hanukkah (/ˈhɑːnəkə/ HAH-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎ khanuká, Tiberian: khanuká, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced in Modern Hebrew, or in Yiddish; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Ḥanukah) is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah (also called a Chanukiah/Hanukiah), one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical menorah consists of eight branches with an additional visually distinct branch. The extra light, with which the others are lit, is called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש‎‎, "attendant") and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes. Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries.


Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Dec 25, 2016, 02:22 AM (19 replies)

That Other Time Jews Were Hated in America and 3 Lessons To Learn from It Now


"America First!” “Absolute control of the United States by the United States!” “Return to Normalcy!” These may sound like slogans emanating from the campaign of Donald J. Trump, but in fact they date back to 1920, when Warren G. Harding was elected president.

The Harding election, like that of Trump, represented a sharp and shocking break from the policies of the previous Democratic administration, the liberal presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The ugliness that accompanied the administration of the conservative-minded Harding, and responses to it, offer lessons and perhaps even some solace for our own troubled times.

Harding’s election spelled the death-knell to the last Jewish hopes that America’s gates might be kept open, at least for victims of persecution. The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 limited, for the first time, the total number of immigrants who could be admitted into the United States and also introduced a country by country quota that made it particularly difficult for Jews from Russia and Poland to obtain immigration certificates. Meanwhile, more immigrants than ever before were deported for their political views, and entry requirements at Ellis Island were tightened. “Chauvinistic nationalism is rampant,” Louis Marshall, the foremost American Jewish leader of his day and a strong proponent of liberal immigration privately complained. “The hatred of everything foreign has become an obsession.”

Nor was hatred confined only to foreigners. Domestically, hatred of blacks, Catholics, Jews and others surged across the United States in the wake of the Harding election, so much so that historian John Higham famously dubbed the era “The Tribal Twenties.” The Ku Klux Klan, reborn as a small Georgia operation in 1915, flourished under the new administration; at its peak in the 1920s it claimed a membership of 4 to 5 million white males. Numerous municipalities and at least one state, Oregon, enacted laws effectively banning Catholic parochial schools. Discrimination against Jews likewise magnified. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and numerous other universities, private and public, limited Jewish student enrollments, as did innumerable private academies and preparatory schools. Fraternities, clubs, hotels and resorts, in many cases, shut Jews out completely.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Nov 21, 2016, 01:37 AM (3 replies)

American Jews Alarmed By Surge in Anti-Semitism

Reports of anti-Semitic vandalism and other attacks have risen since the election

American Jews gathered Thursday to wrestle with how they should confront an election-year surge in anti-Semitism, a level of bias not seen in the U.S. for decades.

At a national meeting of the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish civil rights group, about 1,000 people listened to talks expressing shock at the hatred expressed during the presidential campaign and questioned what they thought was a high-level of acceptance by other Americans.

“I’m struggling right now in this American moment,” said Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, an education and research organization, in his talk at the event. “I wonder whether I have been — and I think the answer is probably yes — a little bit naive.”

During this past year, anti-Semitic imagery proliferated on social media, Jewish journalists were targeted and longstanding anti-Jewish conspiracy theories got a fresh airing. Much of the bias originated with the alt-right, or alternative right, a loose group espousing a provocative and reactionary strain of conservatism. It’s often associated with far right efforts to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”


This American Jew wasn't surprised by this news, not the increase in anti-Semitism, nor the acceptance of it or the lack of concern. It started early in the process and got worse as time went on, and now...Bannon. Yup, sadly, it was almost what I expected might happen.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sat Nov 19, 2016, 03:31 AM (32 replies)

Today, 11/17, I have been "gay married" for two years.

Most people simply refer to this day, in regards to my situation, as an anniversary. It is. Two years. What makes mine so different from so many is mine was only made legal in my state two years ago (October 2014), and nationally in June of 2015. Last Wednesday, I was in tears because I didn't know if my, then upcoming, anniversary would be my last legal one. Sure, the love for my husband isn't based on a piece of paper, but that "piece of paper" makes a shit-ton of things possible for us both. There have been tons of discussions about this group or that one, but few have taken a hard look at the challenges the GLBT community is possibly facing with this new administration. Sure, the president elect has said marriage equality (and that is what it should beRoe v. Wade overturned. Isn't "RvW" also "settled"? Not to mention his VP is a rancid, rabid, homophobic heterosexist POS and the platform for the party was the most homophobic it has ever been. The president-elect has also said he will "undo" all of President Obama's executive orders, a few which specifically protect LGBT people!

This election will have ramifications for many groups, including those of us who are GLBT. "Undoing" our marriages could lead to a host of other issues: will we have to repay tax refunds? will purchases made as a married couple be "null and void" in regards to who owns what? will children revert to having only one "real" parent?

I am thinking about what my mom says, "expect the worst, hope for the best, and you won't be surprised." The "worst" is pretty fucking bad. Will it happen right away? Of course not. However, the possibility is all too real.

Anyway, that is how I am feeling on my second legal anniversary, but I am not going to let it stop from expressing my love for my husband by making his favorite meal, mustard peppercorn rib roast, and leaving cards all over the house. But I cannot ignore the reality a part of my heart is darkened and sad. Still, I will hold him tight and remember, no matter what may come, he is the love of my life and I am richer for having him in it.

ETA: to all the "congrats" posts. Turns out my husband and I have "gay anniversary" buddies...DU's own, beaglelover! Spread the love to post #15!

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Nov 17, 2016, 05:24 AM (37 replies)

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