It’s only Week 2 of the RAC’s Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship Program, and already our participants have been blogging up a storm! You’ve seen their RACblog contributions on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the “new four questions” and paddle boating, but check out what some of the MKs have been writing around the blogosphere:
On Tuesday, Senator Durbin (D-IL), as Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on racial profiling. This was the first Senate hearing on racial profiling since 2000, when then-Senator John Ashcroft convened a hearing on the same issue. Under his tenure as Attorney General under President George W. Bush, the Civil Rights Division issued a “Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.” While this is a commendable effort to prevent law enforcement officials from using physical appearance as a basis for action, Senator Durbin stated Tuesday that this guidance must be revised to account for additional circumstances in which racial profiling is all too easily a means of law enforcement.
Racial profiling not only strips away our right to equal protection under the law, but it actually makes our communities less safe by eroding trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they are supposed to protect. Moreover, racial profiling is ineffective and inefficient because decisions are based on false pretenses rather than actual criminal behavior.
are pleased to announce the new Kovler Black-Jewish
Microgrant Program to promote quality programming and activities that enhance
Black-Jewish relations! Rabbi Saperstein noted in our press release: “Honoring
the history of the Reform Jewish engagement in the great civil rights struggles
of the 20th century and the Center’s ongoing work to strengthen
Black-Jewish relations, we are very pleased to launch this program.”
Your community can apply now for funds aimed at
developing links and common ground between African Americans and Jews. We hope
successful proposals will involve activities that bring members of both
Our community learned a long time that Anti-Semitism can surface even where there are no Jews. In fact, the absence of a local Jewish community has often fueled such hatred, since those who might be inclined to such thinking do not have any personal experience with “real live Jews” to offset the popularly-received stereotypes.
So I guess it’s not a surprise than anti-Muslim animus is flourishing in the United States, especially, it seems, in places with almost no Muslims. As Roger Cohn reports from Perry, Oklahoma in this great New York Times op-ed, “You might not expect Shariah, a broad term encompassing Islamic religious precepts, to be a priority topic at the Kumback [diner] given that there’s not a Muslim in Perry and perhaps 30,000, or less than one percent of the population, in all Oklahoma. And you’d be wrong.”
Micaela Hellman-Tincher is a former Legislative Assistant for the RAC and is currently spending the year at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village as an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Jewish Service Corps member.
I’m pretty stressed about what’s happening with regards to religious tolerance in the U.S. these days. While I’m not there to feel the tension, all the way over in Rwanda I read about the fury over the Islamic Center in NYC and the Qu’ran burning and I am embarrassed and angry. How could a country founded on principles of liberty be so intolerant and oppressive?
I’m currently in Rwanda, a country that was not founded on the concept of liberty and a country where ethnic differences are supposed to be unspoken, lest they rival the unified country that is trying to be formed.
Jonathan Prosnit is a 5th year Rabbinical Student at HUC-JIR in New York. He is the student representative from HUC to the Commission on Social Action (CSA).
Over 40 Hebrew Union College (HUC) students, faculty and administrators turned out in a rally to support Park 51 (aka-”The Ground Zero Mosque”) on Tuesday. Despite vicious New York City heat, the HUC representatives walked the 1.5 miles from Hebrew Union College to the future site of Park 51 in Lower Manhattan. As the closest seminary (of any religion) to Ground Zero and to Park 51, the HUC participants gathered in support of religious freedom, of interfaith dialogue and to welcome Park 51 into the unique religious landscape that is New York City.
The recent wave of hate crimes against American Muslims and nationwide protests against the construction of mosques is alarming to say the least. From coast to coast, mosques are being vandalized, Muslims are being attacked, and families fear for their safety. The RAC and Reform Movement have come out in strong support of religious freedom and condemned this kind of bigotry.
Surely, you’ve been unable to avoid all the frenzy surrounding the so-called “Ground Zero” Mosque to be built on Park Place in lower Manhattan. Politicians and pundits on all sides of the debate have weighed in, and in some instances, staked their political future on this position.