Jewish Journal

This week in power: Word fight and prison meals

by Danny Groner

January 22, 2014 | 7:52 pm

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

'Nazi' ban?
"Israel is on the brink of banning the N-word. N as in Nazi, that is," reported The New York Times. The proposal gained preliminary approval last week that would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi or to use Holocaust-related symbols as a slur. It would be punishable with a $29,000 fine and up to six months in jail. "Many Israelis think that passing a law against a word is stupid and juvenile; others see it as fascist and anti-democratic. Incidentally, saying 'fascist' or 'anti-democratic' is also seen as insulting and offensive. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to outlaw those words in the future, too," wrote Etgar Keret, also in The Times.

"Israel doesn’t face a Nazi threat from within its borders, just a threat within its soul. The crime now is trivializing the past, appropriating Nazi language and symbols and twisting them into something ordinary, temporarily offensive, or just plain awful. But not life threatening. Insult is not the same as genocide," said The Jewish Daily Forward in an editorial.

Florida's kosher option
Prisoners in Florida have been ordering the kosher option at record rates, prompting the state to wonder if the cost of these religious meals should be available to everyone, gentiles included. The kosher meals cost four times as much as the standard ones, officials said. "The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) places a purposefully high standard on government to deny an inmate's religious exercise. Courts have routinely held that avoiding increased costs in not in itself a compelling interest that meets that high standard," said Don Byrd at BJCOnline. Plus, kosher has a reputation for being better for you. "Is prison kosher food really so healthy? asked Lily Wilf at Tablet. "Even the best homemade matzoh balls and challah seem like unlikely diet options. Perhaps the inmates should have requested a juice bar instead."

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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