Working with a coalition of organizations, ProPublica late last year launched Documenting Hate, an attempt to gather evidence of hate crimes and episodes of bigotry from a divided America. The account from Cincinnati is one of the anti-Semitic incidents the project has chronicled. But there are scores more.
Indeed, Documenting Hate recorded more than 330 reports of anti-Semitic incidents during a three-month span from early November to early February. The accounts our list is by no means comprehensive come via personal submissions, police documents and news articles. The majority, though not all, have been authenticated through either news reports, interviews or other evidence, like photos.
The incidents have taken place in big cities and small towns, along the countrys liberal coasts and in deep red states. Some of the episodes swastikas and threatening messages spray-painted at schools and colleges around the nation have been worrisome, though relatively minor. Others have been more serious, such as the 65 bomb threats targeting Jewish organizations across the country during the period we examined (there have been nearly 70 more since then). In many cases, the culprits singled out specific individuals for abuse, defacing their homes and autos with swastikas and menacing comments.
On a national level, data on hate crimes and bias incidents is spotty at best. The FBI admits the information it collects is incomplete many police departments dont participate in the hate crimes tracking program and the bureau has yet to release statistics on 2016 and 2017. As a result, determining with authority whether anti-Semitic events are rising or declining is difficult.
There is little question, however, that the incidents have generated genuine concern. In a rare show of unity, all 100 U.S. senators this week issued a public letter urging the Department of Justice, FBI and Department of Homeland Security to protect Jewish institutions and prosecute those responsible for terrorizing them. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a $25 million grant to better protect day care and community centers from threats.
The available data does support the idea of an uptick. After years of decline, anti-Semitic crimes began trending upward in 2015, according to FBI data. Experts say that increase seems to have accelerated in recent months, as Trumps unique brand of nativist populism has helped to pull more extreme right-wing groups, some of them avowedly racist, closer to the political mainstream. On Twitter, openly anti-Semitic figures have built vast networks of supporters and cultivated large audiences, while the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website geared towards millennials, has seen its traffic grow to roughly a half a million unique visitors per month. In New York City, the police department said anti-Semitic hate crimes nearly doubled in the first two months of 2017 as compared to the same period last year.
They call it Team Israel, but really, its Team Jew. And theres never been anything like it.
Next month in South Korea, 16 countries will play in the quadrennial baseball tournament known as the World Baseball Classic (WBC), a World Cup for baseball. One of them is Israel, which advanced to the tournament by winning its qualifier in Brooklyn in September.
Almost all the players on this team are Jewish Americans, representing a mix of the American-Jewish community. Some have an integrated Jewish background two Jewish parents, extensive participation in Jewish holidays, and involvement in the Jewish community while others have a Jewish parent but grew up with the other parent after divorce, or have only one Jewish grandparent, and barely know they are Jewish. Yet somehow, they all bought in on being a Jew representing Israel.
I always found it amazing that so many of these guys who had virtually no [Jewish] identity growing up, never celebrated Jewish holidays, embraced being known as a Jewish baseball player, says Jonathan Mayo, 46, a reporter for MLB.com since 1999; and understanding that the Jewish community in the United States loves them unconditionally.
The guys not only embraced their identity as Jewish players, they embraced each other. The weekend before the Brooklyn qualifier, the team gathered for the first time in Wappingers Falls, New York. It was a threeday mini-camp to get them ready to play Great Britain and Brazil. Repeatedly, veterans spoke of their amazement at the team comradery that so quickly came together.
I dont know what the reason was behind it, but everybody got super comfortable with everybody on the first day of the workouts, says Nick Rickles, 27, a catcher with the Washington Nationals organization. The next day, it was like wed played together six months everybody was on the same page immediately. That was very impressive to me. I can feel something special that I dont know that I felt with a team before, especially this soon.
Rickles is one of a handful of returning veterans who played in the WBC in 2012, the first qualifying round in which Israel competed. Its been four years since weve seen each other, but coming back, we hadnt missed a beat in four years, he says. That was also very impressive to me.
Nate Freiman, 30, a free agent first baseman, is another of the five or six players who will be playing on the third Team Israel roster next month ‒ 2012 and September being the first two. He was the star at the first qualifier in Jupiter, Florida, when he hit four home runs, knocked in seven and slugged 1.417.
I'm going to leave this up but I meant to post this in the Jewish group.
What is your dinner routine like? Whether you sit down to the table at 6:30PM on the dot, or eat in front of your TV at 8PM, you probably have some sort of custom. Photographer Lois Bielefeld is fascinated by this particular ritual; it transcends our differences in age, race, and culture, reminding us of our shared humanity. In her series Weeknight Dinners, she captures a typical evening meal for individuals and families in the United States.
Bielefeld was strategic about that the times that she snapped these pictures. I photographed the portraits Monday through Thursday evenings, she writes, when time constraints due to work, parenting, and family activities often dictate dinner rituals. This gives people less of an opportunity to cook a fancy meal on her behalf, and the results are revealing. Although some people eat at a table, just as many eat on their couch or the floor. They also dine together, yet separatedone person will sit in a single chair while someone else will be across the room on a couch.
Each image is a thought-provoking look into that individual (or family), and it makes you wonder what life is like beyond dinner time. These photographs are normally shown as large prints in gallery/museum type spaces, allowing us to observe and take in all of the rich details.
Bielefeld is represented by the Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We had the opportunity to ask her about Weeknight Dinners. Scroll down to read our exclusive interview.
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