June 22nd, 2016

How does Israel stay a ‘well-regulated militia?’

Just four percent of guns in Israel are not military issue


(JTA) — Dirty, hot and exhausted Israeli soldiers waiting for their bus home from the army base tend, understandably, to be in a hurry to get on board.

But when I was living in Israel during the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising, soldiers didn’t jostle to be first in line. Rather, the most coveted position was second.

Soldiers attending the funeral of Alon Albert Govberg, who was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem, Oct. 14, 2015. (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90).

That’s because the bus driver had the right – under rules issued by the army and made clear to each armed soldier before she or he left the base – to order any soldier to sit in the front seat and remain alert. And the first one to get on board was the obvious choice.

If you’d just finished three weeks of training with rare interruptions for sleep and were looking forward to a snooze on the long trip home, this was definitely a downer. But it was necessitated by the rash of Palestinian terrorist attacks on bus drivers at the time.

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June 22nd, 2016

Rabbi protested Trump — and lost his job

After leading a protest at candidate’s speech at AIPAC conference, contract was not renewed


NEW YORK (JTA) — A South Florida rabbi must leave his pulpit after his protest of Donald Trump’s speech at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference riled congregants.

David Paskin, who serves as rabbi of the Conservative Temple Beth David synagogue in the city of Palm Beach Gardens, will leave his position in July. In March, Paskin was one of a group of Conservative rabbis who led a protest of Trump’s speech at the annual conference of AIPAC, the Israel lobby.

Some two months later, Paskin’s contract was not renewed.

Rabbi David Paskin, kneeling third from left, and other rabbis protesting Donald Trump’s speech at AIPAC’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., March 21. (Photo: Facebook)

Trump was in the midst of a campaign for the Republican presidential nod at the time of the conference; he is now the presumptive nominee.

Temple Beth David denied that Paskin’s Trump protest cost him his job. Executive Director Steve Bogad called the parting a “mutual decision.” Paskin also used the word “mutual” to describe his departure, and said the synagogue did not tell him the decision was due to his protest.

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June 22nd, 2016

B’nai Abraham hosting Shabbat and two concerts

The B’nai Abraham Museum & Cultural Center in Virginia, Minn., is hosting two concerts and its annual Shabbat on the Range in the next month.

Musicians Alan Phillips and Brent Saari will perform a concert Sunday, June 26.  Phillips is a guitarist while Saari is a pianist. Both musicians are natives of Minnesota’s Iron Range. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is free, though donations are appreciated.

B’Nai Abraham Museum and Cultural Center in Virginia, Minn. (Photo courtesy of B'nai Abraham).

B’nai Abraham Museum and Cultural Center in Virginia, Minn. (Photo courtesy of B’nai Abraham).

On Friday, July 15, Shabbat on the Range will be celebrated at B’nai Abraham Museum. Rabbi David Steinberg, of Temple Israel in Duluth and Cantor Leah Frey-Rabine will co-officiate the service, which will begin at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, July 16, B’nai Abraham will host a classical music concert at 7 p.m. The concert, part of the Northern Lights Music Festival, will be under the direction of Veda Zuponcic.

B’nai Abraham has also teamed with the Virginia Area Historical Society to host a photo exhibit titled, Architecture of Regional Houses of Worship. The exhibit consists of more than 20 posters displaying building interiors and exteriors.

The museum, located at 328 5th St. S. in Virginia, is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday afternoons during the summer.

For more information about B’nai Abraham, visit www.ironrangejewishheritage.org.

June 15th, 2016

An LGBTQ tour of Israel

Josh Mann visits the AJW and talks about the recent Federation-sponsored LGBTQ Mission to Israel


Tel Aviv’s annual Gay Pride Parade, on June 3, attracted some 200,000 people. Although Amir Ohana, an openly gay Knesset member from the Likud Party, received extra police protection because of threats against him, according to a report in Haaretz, the celebration went off without a hitch.

However, it’s likely that many of the Israeli revelers were in tears this week, after receiving news of the Sunday massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. A crazed gunman, ostensibly pledging allegiance to ISIS, killed 49 people in the club, and wounded dozens more.

Josh Mann (left) visits with Daniel Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and his wife, Julie Fisher, a Duluth native, at their home in Herzliya Pituach, May 31 (Photo: Courtesy of Josh Mann).

As it happens, local Jewish activist Josh Mann participated in a May 26-June 2 LGBTQ Mission to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), the umbrella group of Jewish Federations. (LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning or queer.)

During a visit to the AJW offices last week, Mann talked about his notably Zionist family and his impressions from the recent mission.

Mann’s group of 120 Jews from across the United States — “a very accomplished, impressive set of people,” he notes, “a very high achieving crowd” — was accorded VIP status during its tour of the Jewish state.

“The JFNA really pulled out all the stops,” Mann explains. “One day we had lunch with the president [Reuven Rivlin], the next day we had dinner with the U.S. ambassador [Daniel Shapiro], access to high-level Israeli celebrities, business leaders…. They brought celebrity chefs.” Jerry Silverman, JFNA president and CEO, who was in Israel on business, also greeted the LGBTQ mission participants.

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June 15th, 2016

Editorial: Trump fans the flames of hate

In 1968, I attended a George Wallace rally in Minneapolis. Some of our younger readers might not recall the segregationist governor of Alabama, who ran for president on the ticket of the American Independent Party.

In a year that saw the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy, and a variety of riots and insurrections, Wallace toured the country stirring up racial hatred. His stop at the Minneapolis Auditorium was no exception.

The rally took place nearly 50 years ago, but I recall that hundreds of protesters in the auditorium became increasingly agitated as a miserable country-western band, Wallace’s warm-up act, played on interminably. Finally, protesters congregated in front of the stage and were met by a phalanx of Minneapolis cops (likely some of them were Wallace supporters). The cops sprayed mace on the protesters, even before Wallace came out to speak. During the candidate’s oration, a throng of protesters in the seats stage left mocked Wallace by repeatedly thrusting out their arms in the Nazi salute and yelling, “Sieg heil!” It was quite a show.

Wallace went on to carry five Southern states and gain nearly 10 million votes in 1968.

In 2016, we again are faced with a racist, nativist candidate for president — this time, however, he is the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. Donald Trump, a fascistic and bigoted politician, represents a greater danger to this nation than did George Wallace in 1968.

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January 13th, 2016

Seeking an Administrative Assistant

The American Jewish World has an immediate opening for a person to work part-time (15-20 hours per week), M-Th, as an Administrative Assistant. The ideal candidate will be proficient with Sage (Peachtree) bookkeeping and MS Access database software. Other attributes include a pleasant phone and personal presence, a great attention to detail, and, of course, a sense of humor. The job duties are varied, and the office setting is hardworking but casual.

AJW logo-color 040207

We seek someone who is attuned to what’s happening in the world, and would like to be part of a beloved community newspaper that has been publishing for more than 100 years.

Please send a cover letter and resume to: editor [at] ajwnews [dot] com. No phone calls please. Thanks.