June 21, 2001
Pro-Israel Initiative Launched
A new initiative has been launched to send one or two members of every synagogue in the United States to Israel in the coming months. Dubbed "Operation Joshua," the campaign is the latest effort to show solidarity with the Jewish State.
It is being organized by the Israel Government Tourist Office, with the assistance of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
In a related development, more than 250 American Jewish organizations signed a full-page ad in last Friday's New York Times, saying they are going to Israel this summer.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which canceled its youth trips this summer, signed on to the ad because its other summer programs are continuing.
Anti-Hate Web Site Launched
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced a new initiative Monday to help law enforcement officials in the battle against extremists and hate groups. As part of the initiative, ADL officials unveiled a new Web page the group called a site for "one-stop shopping for current and archival information, trends, analysis and programs." Located at www.adl.org/learn, the site includes a who's who guide to the hate world, a state-by-state calendar of upcoming extremist events and a chronology of extremist-related criminal activity.
Fund Will Help Gays and Lesbians
Chicago's Jewish federation is establishing what is believed to be the first federation fund in North America designated for gay and lesbian needs. The Jewish Lesbian and Gay Fund will raise and allocate money to educate the Jewish community about gay and lesbian concerns, provide services for gay and lesbian Jews and mobilize Jewish support for anti-homophobia initiatives, among other initiatives.
Jews, Blacks Told to Unite
Jews and blacks were discriminated against during the last presidential election and must continue to stand together to fight for justice, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) said at the Third Annual Black/Jewish Congressional Awards ceremony last week.
The comments came in regard to the "butterfly ballot" that confused many Jewish voters in Palm Beach County, Fla., and allegations that blacks in Florida were hindered from voting.
"Our ancestors all came over in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now," Lewis said.
Anti-Semitism Appears Near Auschwitz
Vandals sprayed anti-Semitic slogans on the walls of an uninhabited building near the former Auschwitz death camp, Polish police said Monday. The building formerly housed a convent of Catholic nuns. In 1993, the nuns moved out of the building on orders from the Vatican following protests from Jewish groups, which objected to the location of the convent so close to Auschwitz.
House Condemns Taliban
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution last week condemning the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for forcing non-Muslims to wear yellow badges.
Lawmakers objected to the religious discrimination, which reminded many of the tactics used against Jews in Nazi Germany.
High Court Refuses School Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court's ruling that public school students can offer group prayers at football games or other school-related activities.
The high court refused to hear arguments that a 1993 Alabama law violates the constitutional separation of church and state. Refusing to hear another case Monday, the Supreme Court accepted a lower court's ruling preventing first-graders in public schools from reading the Bible in front of fellow classmates. --Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.