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Billionaire debutantes

Russian philanthropists take Bloomberg to the ball

WorldPublished: 30 May 2014

JERUSALEM — There were ballerinas, a full dance ensemble, soloists, a harpist, a video tribute to Jewish luminaries in many fields, a multimedia orchestra performance celebrating the enduring light of creation, a speech from the prime minister, stand-up from Jay Leno, and an audience packed with top Jewish communal movers and shakers from both sides of the Atlantic.

Officially, it was a night at the Jerusalem Theater to honor former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the first $1 million Genesis Prize for embodying Jewish values in achieving excellence in the spheres of business, politics, and philanthropy. Mr. Bloomberg made a day of it, appearing with Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat to discuss urban innovation and holding a briefing with the media before showing up for the grandiose ceremony to take home what some are calling the Jewish Nobel.

 
 

42 Jackie Robinson’s fight with black nationalists over anti-Semitism

SportsPublished: 26 April 2013

Moviegoers who went to the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 last week for the opening of “42” saw the story of how Jackie Robinson displayed legendary courage, class and talent in the face of immense pressure and racial hatred as he broke down baseball’s color barrier.

Less well known is Robinson’s role in a controversy that erupted just a few blocks away, at Harlem’s most famous theater, and underscored his commitment to fighting all bigotry, including prejudice emanating from his own community.

It was 1962, a decade and a half after Robinson first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and just a few years after he retired. Day after day, an angry crowd marched outside Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater protesting against its Jewish owner, Frank Schiffman, and his plan to open a low-cost restaurant with prices that could threaten the business of a more expensive black-owned eatery.

 
 

‘Jewish Jocks’

Plenty of Jews, not enough jocks (What would Howard Cosell say?)

BooksPublished: 08 March 2013

>Near the end of 2012, during the showdown over the fiscal cliff, the New York Times published a profile of Bernie Sanders and his fight to keep Social Security benefit cuts out of any budget deal.

The article, describing Sanders as an unlikely member of the world’s most exclusive club (aka the U.S. Senate), cites several details: He’s the brusque son of an immigrant father; he has a thick Brooklyn accent; he is a self-described socialist who carries around the key chain from the early 20th century presidential campaign of Eugene V. Debs; and he once led a sit-in back in 1962 at the University of Chicago to protest discriminatory housing policies.

 
 

Chicago White Sox pick up Jewish all-timer in Youkilis and the fan base cheers

generalPublished: 06 July 2012

Some Jewish baseball fans went extra bonkers during the 2005 World Series when Geoff Blum smacked a game-winning 14th-inning home run for the Chicago White Sox.

Oops, false alarm — the journeyman infielder wasn’t a Yid.

But assuming the White Sox return to the fall classic soon instead of waiting another half century — it took them from 1959 to 2005 the last time — it may just be an actual Jewish slugger coming through in the clutch. That’s because Chicago’s second most popular baseball team pulled off a trade this week for Boston Red Sox first baseman/third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

 
 

J Street, the book — expect more controversy

WorldPublished: 20 July 2011

NEW YORK – If there’s one thing J Street is good at, it’s getting attention.

Supporters, critics and relatively neutral observers all have conspired — with plenty of prodding from J Street’s own aggressive communications operation — to shine an intense media spotlight on the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization. The result has been waves of positive attention and tough scrutiny, often out of proportion with any actual accomplishment or misdeed.

The debate over all things J Street is likely to continue with the July 19 release of “A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation (Palgrave MacMillan),” the new book by the organization’s founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami.

 
 

Bork turns Kagan process into fight over Israeli justice

WorldPublished: 02 July 2010

It was an unexpected headline in an otherwise relatively mundane U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process: Bork tries to Bork Barak’s Elena Kagan with Barak card.

Like a ghost from confirmations past, failed Reagan nominee Robert Bork grabbed headlines last week when he spoke out against President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the high court. At the top of his complaint list: As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan once referred to former Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak as her “judicial hero.”

 
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Passover 1945

The Passover blog

Cover Story Published: 26 March 2010

The following round-up is adapted from JTA’s Passover blog, blogs.jta.org/passover:

Helping interfaith families navigate Passover

The Jewish Outreach Institute has launched a “Preparing for Passover” blog. The catch: It features women from other religious backgrounds who are raising Jewish children.

One contributor identified as Elizabeth took to the blog to recall her spring situation from last year:

 
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Groups to White House: What about Palestinian incitement?

WorldPublished: 19 March 2010

In response to the Obama administration’s stepped-up criticism of Israeli building plans in Jerusalem, Jewish groups are slamming the White House for failing to speak out more against Palestinian incitement.

Particularly galling, several Jewish organizational leaders said, is that the administration has ratcheted up its criticism of Israel while failing to utter a word about the decision of the Palestinian Authority to go through with plans to name a public square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who led a 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis, including 12 children, were killed.

 
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Conservatives debate antipathy for Palin

WorldPublished: 15 January 2010

Forget 2012 — Sarah Palin must think she’s headed to the White House even sooner.

How better to explain the former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential candidate’s eyebrow-raising comments a few weeks back, when she defended Israeli settlements on the basis that “more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead”? After all, it’s hard to think of anything else more likely to convince American Jews to pack their bags for Israel than Palin’s taking up residence in the White House.

And that’s just based on what Jewish conservatives are saying.

 
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Gates, Crowley, and the Jews

WorldPublished: 07 August 2009

Following Cambridge police officer Jim Crowley’s arrest last month of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, both men found themselves locked in a public feud and under attack from various ideologues. Some called Crowley a bigoted cop, others tagged Gates as a race-baiter.

In the end, however, both took President Obama up on his offer to make peace last week over beers at the White House — a development that probably should not have come as a shock for those in the Jewish community who know either man.

On the eve of the July 30 beer powwow, The Wall Street Journal’s SpeakEasy blog reported that in 2007 Crowley attended a three-day program for police officers on racial profiling at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The Journal quoted museum officials as saying that the staff was so impressed with Crowley that they invited him back a year later for an advanced seminar, museum officials say.

 
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