July 29th, 2015

When law firms wouldn’t hire Jewish lawyers

Facing pervasive anti-Semitism, especially in Minneapolis, Jewish lawyers formed their own law firms

By ALLEN I. SAEKS

As the American Jewish World celebrates its 100th anniversary, we can look back at one of the more serious challenges to democracy in the history of Minnesota. That challenge was the anti-Semitism that existed during the period from the early-1930s to the early-’60s.

100-Years-of-Minn-Jewish-History

In Germany, as Adolph Hitler came into power in 1933, he issued a decree that no Jewish lawyers could appear as counsel in the Prussian courts. Then, five years later, in 1938, a second Hitler decree disbarred all Jewish lawyers. Thus began the destruction of the Rule of Law in Germany.

Also, in the early-’30s, a virulent anti-Semitism existed in the United States and particularly in Minnesota. This anti-Semitism was engendered by such people as Henry Ford, who published articles in the Dearborn Independent newspaper that generated the hatred of Jews as Communists, and blamed Jews for the difficult economic times of the Great Depression.

Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, University of Minnesota Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey appointed Amos S. Deinard (above, standing) as the first chair of the Minneapolis Fair Employment Practices Commission.

Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey appointed Amos S. Deinard (above, standing) as the first chair of the Minneapolis Fair Employment Practices Commission. (Photo: Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives)

In Minnesota, and elsewhere, speakers such as Gerald L.K. Smith, Father Charles Coughlin, William Riley and Luke Rader openly preached a hatred of Jews. Speeches and other activities of the U.S. aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, who was a friend of Adolph Hitler, had met with Hitler on two or three occasions, generated anti-Semitism in the United States as well as in Germany. Most notable in Minnesota were actions of the militant Nazi Silver Shirts.

Significantly, Carey McWilliams, a nationally known journalist, designated Minneapolis as “the capital of anti-Semitism in the United States.” Keep reading →

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July 29th, 2015

Standing up for a democratic and tolerant Israel

Talia Sasson, president of the New Israel Fund, will discuss the ongoing struggle to support civil and human rights in Israel

By MORDECAI SPECKTOR

Item No. 1: Early in July, David Azoulay, a member of Knesset from the Shas Party and Israel’s Minister of Religious Services, declared on Army Radio: “The moment a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel, let’s say there’s a problem. I cannot allow myself to call such a person a Jew.”

When Reform Jews, in the United States and Israel, objected to his remarks, Azoulay dialed back his comment, saying that he would pray for all Jews “to return” to the faith.

Item No. 2: The Times of Israel reported this week that Tzipi Hotovely, Likud Party MK and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, would meet with representatives of several European Union countries and urge them to end their governments’ funding of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that “work to blacken Israel’s name in the world.”

Courtesy of New Israel Fund Talia Sasson: We are still a democracy and we have our voice.

Talia Sasson: We are still a democracy and we have our voice. (Photo: Courtesy of New Israel Fund)

Previously, right-wing Israeli Knesset members have considered legislation to heavily tax foreign contributions to organizations monitoring civil and human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

At the center of the controversy — which slops over into the American Jewish community — is the New Israel Fund (NIF), which funds a variety of groups dedicated to maintaining Israel’s democratic and pluralistic character. Talia Sasson, president of the New Israel Fund, will visit Minnesota next month and discuss some of the challenges facing her organization.

Sasson’s Aug. 9 talk at the Sabes JCC is titled “Restoring the Vision of a Liberal, Pluralistic Israel.” Sasson talked on the phone with the Jewish World last week from her home in Beit Zayit, just outside of Jerusalem.

Keep reading →

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July 29th, 2015

In the groove through ‘twintuition’

The Potash Twins will release a new album and celebrate with a CD release gig Aug. 11 at Icehouse

By MORDECAI SPECKTOR

The opening track on The Potash Twins, the new album from identical twins Ezra Potash (bass trombone) and Adeev Potash (trumpet) is titled “Lyricless,” and it’s an enticing slow groove with a contemporary New Orleans jazz vibe, à la Trombone Shorty or Kermit Ruffins.

The 21-year-old musical twins, natives of Omaha, Neb., have spent the summer in the Twin Cities, recording and mixing their new album. They’ll celebrate the CD’s release Aug. 11 with a performance at Icehouse in south Minneapolis. Most of the musicians who contributed to the album will be onstage that night.

Courtesy of Nathan Dale Studios Ezra (left) and Adeev Potash record their new album at Essential Sessions Studios in St. Paul.

Ezra (left) and Adeev Potash record their new album at Essential Sessions Studios in St. Paul. (Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Dale Studios)

And they’ll have a lot of friends in the house. The Potash (POE-tash) Twins know a lot of Twin Cities Jews from summers at Herzl Camp and previous visits here. During a recent interview with the AJW at a Starbucks in Hopkins, they mentioned that their father, Alan Potash, is the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. He’s in the Jewish business, as they say.

This is the second album from the Potash Twins. Their first effort, 2012’s Twintuition, a six-song EP, was conceived as the musicians’ “calling card,” when they hit New York City.

“We wrote the music, rehearsed the music and recorded the music in a one-week span,” explains Ezra. Keep reading →

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July 29th, 2015

Editorial: Looking ahead to the second century

We made it.

The newspaper of Minnesota’s Jewish community is marking 100 years of continuous publication — under the American Jewish World flag — with this special edition. (Click HERE to see the cover photo collage.)

First, the Jewish World and its parent company, Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, is deeply appreciative of the subscribers and the advertisers who have sustained us and kept us in business and brought us to this day. We send a big thanks to all of the advertisers in this special issue of the paper. Please patronize our advertisers, and let them know that you saw their ad in the Jewish World.

We are also thankful to those who generously contributed to the American Jewish World 2nd Century Fund (see the ad on this page). If your means allow, please consider a donation to strengthen and expand the newspaper that you enjoy reading every other week.

Dr. Deinard

Dr. Deinard

As the fifth publisher in the newspaper’s long history, I am mindful of the vision and hard work of those who came before. The true visionary of this enterprise was Rabbi Samuel Deinard, a native of Lithuania, who saw the newspaper as a way of uniting Jews from Germany with the “foreigners,” the Eastern European Jews, who arrived in Minnesota after the turn of the previous century. Deinard came here in 1901, and served in the pulpit of Shaarei Tov, a reform synagogue formed in 1878 (now known as Temple Israel in Minneapolis). Keep reading →

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July 29th, 2015

Pissarro’s mother, a free spirit

The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman, Simon and Schuster, 365 pages, $27.99

Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER

Around Rachel, the mother of Impressionist master Camille Pissarro, novelist Alice Hoffman has created a rich, spellbinding tale of forbidden love, alienation, adultery, cultures, death and determination set amid blazing color and wilting heat.

Pissarro’s paintings now command small fortunes, but in keeping with his modest beginnings as a shopkeeper’s son, he doesn’t appear until the middle of The Marriage of Opposites, officially out next Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Marriage-of-Opposities

He’s among eight birth children and three loved stepchildren of the real Rachel Monsanto Pomié Petit Pizzarro, born in 1795 on Danish-ruled St. Thomas, home to about 75 Jews with more arriving regularly.

Hoffman’s Rachel is determined to control her destiny, an unusual idea then that resonates strongly now, endearing her to us. Keep reading →

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