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Trump decries anti-Semitic acts as ‘horrible’ amid calls for stronger White House denunciations – Washington Post

Posted By on February 21, 2017

Growing outcry against a recent spate of anti-Semitic acts and threats pushed President Trump to denunciate the rising violence, calling it “a sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

President Trump called anti-Semitic violence horrible and vowed Tuesday to take steps to counter extremism in comments that followed criticism that the White House had not clearly denounced vandalism and threats targeting Jewish institutions.

Hours before Trumps remarks, Hillary Clinton called on her former presidential rival to speak out against anti-Semitic acts aftermore than 170 Jewish graves were found toppled at a cemetery in Missouri.

The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community at community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil, Trump said following a visit to the Smithsonians National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Trump called the tour a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. Earlier, he told NBC News that anti-Semitism is horrible, and its going to stop.

The remarks by Trump also appear aimed at easing pressure on his administration, which faces claims from opponents that it has failed to distance itself from extremist ideology and has emboldened right-wing groups through its populist, America-first themes.

The tweet from Clinton did not specifically mention the gravesite disturbances inUniversity City, Mo., but noted increasing reports of troubling threats against Jewish community centers, cemetery desecrations and online intimidation.

Clintons message to Trump came as the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, also urged U.S. officials to recognize that anti-Semitism is alive and kicking.

American Jews are worried, Lauder said in a statement. It is shocking to see that Jewish sites are once again being targeted by criminals.

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats since the beginning of the year, it said.The development elicited comments from a White House spokesman and Ivanka Trump, neither of which used the phrase anti-Semitism or mentioned Jews.

Glad to see this, the ADLs chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt,tweeted of Ivanka Trumps comment. All Jews need to urge the president to step forward & share a plan. His words carry weight. His actions will speak even louder.

The exchanges were particularly noteworthy in part because of Trumps unusual response at a news conferenceWednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a question about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the country. Rather than condemning them, Trump responded by talking about his electoral college victory.

Trump has been criticized forrefusing to describe the threats toward Jews as anti-Semitism. An op-ed at the Forward, the New York-based newspaper written for a Jewish audience, described Trumps silence about anti-Semitism as deeply disturbing.

When asked again about the rise in anti-Semitic threats, during another news conference on Thursday, the president responded as ifhe were beingpersonally accused. Trumpsaidthat thequestion was very insulting and that he was the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life.

The weekends events, coming in the wake of last weeks public exchanges with Trump, served to heat up a long-simmering tension between some leaders of the nations Jewish community and the Trump White House.

The perpetrators of the cemetery vandalism and their motives arenot yet established. Police in University City, an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis, have launched an investigation. They are reviewing video surveillance at the cemetery, which is operated on a not-for-profit basis by the Chesed Shel Emeth Society,and calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Because of the Sabbath, the cemetery does not operate on Saturday, the director of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, Anita Feigenbaum, told The Washington Post in a phone interview.

A groundskeeper arrived Monday morning to find gravestones overturned across a wide section of the cemetery, the oldest section, bearing the remains of Jews who died between the late 1800s and the mid-20th century.

She called it a horrific act of cowardice, beyond anything the cemetery had experienced in the past.

The cemetery was founded in 1888 by the Russian Jewish community in St. Louis to aid all Jews who needed burial whether they had the money or not. They started with the burial society and then extended to hospitals and houses that help the poor and the sick. To this day thats what we do. We are not for profit. We help in this horrible time in a persons life.

Feigenbaum had walked through the cemetery during the day and had not yet completed counting the number of damaged stones, most of them pushed over, off their bases. So far she said she had found more than 170. Feigenbaum said she was starting to hear from families of people buried there. We will reach out to the families that are affected, she said.

The cemetery holds the remains of more than 20,000, she estimated.

She said she was getting an outpouring of support from across the United States with people volunteering to help with repairs.

Separately on Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats since the beginning of the year, it said.

While ADL does not have any information at this time to indicate the presence of any actual bombs at the institutions threatened, the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive and must always be taken seriously.

Bomb threats were called in at Jewish community centers in 11cities across the United States: Albuquerque, Amherst, Birmingham, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, St. Paul, Tampa and Whitefish Bay, Wis.Since January, there have been 69 bomb threatcalls targeting 54 centers in 27 different states, according to the Jewish Community Center Association.

In Amherst and Buffalo, the community centers werebriefly closedafter a threat was phoned to the Amherst center. Disruption was the goal, saidRichard A. Zakalik, the local New York JCC executive director, to the Buffalo Newson Monday. They accomplished what they wanted, Zakalik said to the Buffalo News.The whole point was to scare and disrupt.

No devices or bombs were found in connection with thethreats; the Jewish Community Center Association described all of Mondays incidents ashoaxes. The FBI and the civil rights division of the Justice Department will probe the series of calls for federal violations, according tothe Star Tribune.

Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network, the security affiliate of Jewish Federations of North America, told theJewish Telegraphic Agency that the bomb threats appeared to originate from the same serial caller. Noting that not every building that received a call decided to evacuate, he said that the community centers were very well-equipped to handle this. The centers also increased their security measures after the threats, the JCCA noted.

The weekend spate of anti-Semitic threats was not limited to the United States. In Canada, a 70-year-old Toronto woman named Helen Chaiton said that her mezuza, the case containing Hebrew verse traditionally affixed to a doorpost, had been vandalized twice over the weekend. Chaiton and her neighbors also found that the vandals had left behind sticky notes with swastikas, the CBC reported.

[Anti-Semitic jokes cause YouTube, Disney to distance themselves from PewDiePie]

Responding to an inquiry from NBC Newsabout the threats, the White House tweeted back: Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

The tweet from Ivanka Trump, a convert to Judaism, appeared to be unsolicited and drew generally favorable reaction, but also questions about why her father, the president, seemed reluctant to speak out.

The ADLissued a statementon Feb. 16,characterizingTrumps news conference reaction as mind-boggling.

On two separate occasions over the past two days, President Trump has refused to say what he is going to do about rising anti-Semitism or to even condemn it, the ADL said in the statement. This is not a partisan issue. Its a potentially lethal problem and its growing.

And after the new rash of phoned-in threats Monday, theorganizations chief executivedrew a connection between the incidents and the presidential silence. A lack of attention to this from the president creates an environment in which the bigots feel empowered, Greenblatt, of the ADL, told Haaretz. They feel like their intolerance is being tolerated.

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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Trump decries anti-Semitic acts as ‘horrible’ amid calls for stronger White House denunciations – Washington Post

Jewish History is Under Siege in the Middle East and These Volunteers Are Risking Their Lives to Protect It – Newsweek

Posted By on February 21, 2017

On a sunny morning in February 2016, Sami Solmaz, a Kurdish filmmaker from Turkey, took a ride with Kurdish forces from the Iraqi town of Sinjar to the front lines. He spent the day filming gun battles between Kurdish fighters and the Islamic State militant group for a documentary he was making on ISIS attacks against religious minorities. That afternoon, as he was heading back to town, he heard a soldiers voice crackle over his drivers radio: Be careful! ISIS is firing chlorine bombs into Sinjar.

The militant group had been launching homemade rockets filled with chemicals toward Sinjar since Kurdish forces pushed them out of the town in late 2015. Earlier in February, a chemical attack in Sinjar had left Kurdish fighters sick, and Solmaz knew it was best to stay away. The only problem: His drivers car was in town, and so they decided to hurry back and retrieve it. We were only there 10 minutes, but you could smell [the gas], he tells Newsweek.

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On his way out of Sinjar, Solmazs face began to swell and his throat started to burn as he drove toward the Iraqi city of Duhok, where he fell into a deep sleep at his sisters apartment and awoke more than 20 hours later. When he was feeling better, he emailed Jason Guberman, the director of Digital Heritage Mapping, a nonprofit hed been helping in New York, to apologize for slipping out of touch.

Guberman was relying on Solmaz, an atheist from a Muslim family, to document Jewish heritage sitesfrom synagogues and cemeteries to ruins of schools, houses and community centers Jews once used in the Middle East and North Africa. For years, his staff and a rotating cast of about a dozen interns and volunteers have been racing to create digital records of Jewish sites. The projects name is Diarna, which means our home in Judeo-Arabic. As wars in the region destroy these sites, Gubermans team is running out of time.

In his office near Manhattans Union Square, Guberman has created a situation room that has been stripped of cubicles and lined with marked-up maps of Yemen, Iraq, and the Syrian cities ofAleppo and Damascus. This enables the team to prioritize the most at-risk areas and dispatch researchers, like Solmaz, into the field when moments of peace create opportunities. To create realistic renderings of the sites, Diarna has recruited a network of volunteer photographers and paid researchers through social media and word of mouth in countries like Yemen, Syria and Iran. Most live and work in the region and can access dangerous areas more easily than Americans or non-Muslims.

Read more:How the new monument men are outsmarting ISIS

Back in New York, his staff uses SketchUp, a 3-D modeling tool, to transform photographs from the field into digital models of the ancient buildings and plot them, according to their coordinates, on Google Earth. They also look for people familiar with the siteslike former congregants of synagogues, or the architects who renovated themwho can recall details about their appearance. Their recollections about anythingfrom whether the flooring was made of tile, wood or carpet to whether the buildings were lit with stained glass, skylights or chandeliershelp Diarna researchers create more accurate 3-D images and descriptions of the sites. Diarna often shares the witnesses raw recorded testimonies to bring online exhibits to life. Unlike other organizations doing similar kinds of work, Diarna makes its 3-D models publicly accessible.

When Diarna launched, Guberman estimated his team would identify between 500 and 1,000 sites to plot on Google Earth; the number has now surpassed 1,600.

Solmaz, who was in Iraq to collect footage for his film about ISIS, offered to visit abandoned Jewish villages for Guberman. The two had met in the summer of 2014 at the Center for Jewish History in New YorkSolmaz was there to inquire about using the buildings archives to research a documentary about Kurdish Jews, which he would be filming in Syria and Iraq. He wound up in Diarnas office, where he and Guberman chatted about his interest in Jewish culture. Solmaz had grown up in Turkeys southeast, and his grandparents had told him stories about the minorities who no longer lived thereJews, Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. By the time Solmaz was born in 1963, Ottoman and Turkish authorities had massacred or deported most of them in campaigns to Turkify the nation in its violent early days, a part of his countrys history that he thought about often in his work as a war correspondent and independent filmmaker.

An Israeli youth lies on an Israeli flag during the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira in the southern Israeli town of Netivot in January 2015. Thousands of Jews mostly of Moroccan origin came to pray over the respected Kabbalist rabbi. Oded Balilty/AP

As Guberman listened, he realized he might be able to recruit Solmaz to help Diarna. But doing so would be dangerous. Syrias civil war was in its third year, and ISIS was taking over major cities and towns in Iraq. Guberman worried that Solmaz could be captured, kidnapped or killed, especially if ISISor the Syrian regimediscovered his links to an American nonprofit with a Jewish cause. We actually tried to discourage him, says Guberman, but he wanted to go. The two men agreed to stay in touch.

What had started as a chance meeting in a quiet museum would soon become a vital partnershipspanning oceans and war zonesto preserve ancient history before it vanishes.

A month after their first meeting, Solmaz returned to Gubermans office with a file of photographs. The images showed the ruins of a Jewish village in the mountains separating Iraq from Turkey, near the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers Party; the insurgent group is at war with Turkey and the target of frequent Turkish bombing campaigns. Guberman hadnt told him to go there because hed assumed it was too dangerous. Jason was shocked, Solmaz recalled. He said, How were you able to get this?

Over the next two and a half years, Solmaz planned multiple trips to Iraq, northern Syria, Turkey, Israel and Greece, always allaying Gubermans concerns about safety. Jason, I can go there, I am Kurdish, hed tell him. Or Im a war correspondent, dont worry.

The arrangement has been mutually beneficial. Solmaz hikes mountains, cajoles locals and travels to war zones to find the endangered sites Diarna wants to preserve on the internet. In return, Diarna pays him for photographs, videos and reports, which Solmaz often finds useful for his projects.

A Diarna expedition photo shows the exterior of the Tomb of Nahum in Alqosh, Iraq. Diarna

When Diarna launched in 2008, most Jewish synagogues, schools and cemeteries in the Middle East and North Africa had been out of use for decades, and many had fallen into disrepair. Most of the estimated 1 million Jews who lived between Morocco and the Arabian Sea abandoned their homelands to escape anti-Semitic violence in the 1950s and 60s. Now wars in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, along with the emergence of ISIS, which has been attacking ancient sites with pickaxes and dynamite, pose a real threat to preserving the Middle Easts ancient history.

As destroying sacred sites has become increasingly common in the Middle East, analysts, countries and even some militants have come to see the costs of destroying them. In September, an Islamist militant became the first person convicted of a war crime for destroying cultural and religious sites in Mali. At his trial at the Hague in the Netherlands, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who was sentenced to nine years in prison, urged other combatants to refrain from destroying cultural sites, saying such acts are not going to lead to any good for humanity.

Experts on ancient cultures say there is universal value in preserving sacred heritage sights of any religion. All cultures and societies have sacred sites, and these sacred sites are related to concepts of who we are, where we came from and where we are going, says Richard Leventhal, the director of the Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvanias Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. ISISs methodical destruction of holy sites serves a very important purpose for the group. ISIS is not just trying to wipe people off the face of the earth by killing them, says Leventhal, they are also destroying their history.

Under pressure from multiple enemies on multiple fronts, ISIS has been losing territory in Syria and Iraq. Their retreat is slowly revealing the extent of their destruction. The group has targeted religious sites from all faiths within the land it occupied. During the organizations 2014 and 2015 rampage against symbols of idolatry, according to its corruptedversion of Islam, the militants blew up the Mosque of the Prophet Jonah in Mosul. The mosque was one of several sites said to house Jonahs tomb, an important monument for Muslims, Christians and Jews. It seemingly should have been protected because it was inside a Sunni mosque, but they blew it up anyway, Guberman says. So at that point we knew that no site is safe.

But Jews have an unusually deep level of experience with violent enemies doing all they can to wipe out their history. Guberman did not want what happened in World War II in Europethe Nazis destroying hundreds of synagogues to happen in the Middle East. Without physical evidence of Jewish culture, the worlds understanding of Jewish communities in the Arab world will disappear with the death of the last generation who can remember them.

Guberman sees a special significance in his work for the worlds Jews whose heritage begins in Iraq. I mean, this is where all Jewish history comes from, he says. According to Jewish tradition, all Jews trace their lineage to Abraham, the father of monotheism who was born in the Babylonian city of Ur, now in present-day Iraq. Religious scholars say that Abraham and his descendants began to disperse across the Middle East in the 19th century B.C. Population estimates show that the majority of the worlds Jews remained in the region through the Middle Ages. As recently as the early 1900s, nearly 1 million of the worlds estimated 15 million Jews were still living across the Middle East and North Africa, some in Jewish communities with roots in antiquity.

But Israels founding in 1948 led to violence from Muslim mobs and discriminatory policies implemented by local governments aimed at Jews in the Arab world, prompting almost all of them to leave. Most initially went to Israel, which spearheaded their mass emigration through a series of famous missions like the 1949 Magic Carpet airlift that spirited 50,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel, and a subsequent operation that nearly emptied Iraq of its Jewish population. The Jews left; their ancient synagogues remained.

In 2008, when Guberman was finishing his degree in political science at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and wondering what to do next, only about 5,000 Jews remained in North Africa and the Middle East, outside of Israel. Without a Jewish community left to care for them, hundreds of sacred sites were converted into mosques, housing and other structures, or ignored as their roofs caved in and engravings faded.

A Diarna expedition photo shows a child’s grave in a Jewish cemetery in Tangier, Morocco, in 2011. Joshua Shamsi for Diarna Geo-Museum

Guberman considered applying to law school, but he changed his mind after speaking to a friend who had recently returned from a trip to Morocco. His wife is part Moroccan-Jewishand they had just had a daughter. He was very concerned about how his daughter was going to connect with her Moroccan-Jewish heritage when she grew upbecause so much history had already disappeared, Guberman says.

His friends concern piqued his interest. Guberman had always been drawn to Mizrahi (or Eastern) Jewish history and he was surprised by how little attention it received compared with that of Jews in Europejust a paragraph, he recalls, in a college textbook. Guberman and a small group of friends decided to devote themselves to its preservation.

Gubermans Bubbie offered free food and internet to her grandson and his colleagues in Connecticut when they started. The group soon secured enough funding from Karin Douglas, a philanthropist and fellow Sacred Heart graduate, to move out of Bubbies house and launch Digital Heritage Mapping, which would fuel the Diarna project. By late 2008, Gubermans small team was beginning to make renderings of sites in the precarious physical world to preserve forever on the internet. Guberman and his small team of researchers used Google Earth to map the ruins of Jewish villages that had dotted northern Iraq from antiquity through the early 20th century; an 800-year-old cemetery outside of Marrakesh, Morocco, nearly lost to a development project became a virtual exhibit online; Diarnas website published photographs of the tomb of Judeo-Moroccan mystic Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzera in the Nile Delta, before Egypts government banned an annual pilgrimage to the site in 2014 over tensions between locals and Jewish visitors.

Jason Guberman gives a lecture showing a 3-D rendering from the Diarna Geo Museum. Tracy Deer-Mirek/Diarna

Many places were still off limits when Diarna started its project, some three years before the Arab Spring uprisings toppled dictators in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Many of those autocrats clung to anti-Semitic policies. Libya under Muammar el-Qadda was particularly difficult to access for researchers working for a Jewish nonprofit. Qaddafi was notoriously anti-Semiticcanceling all debts owed to Jews, among other thingsand Diarnas efforts to recruit local researchers failed. Libyans were too nervous to be associated with a Jewish organization, Guberman explained.

But when the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in 2010, Diarna saw a unique opening.

When fighting erupted in Libya, for example, reporters descended on the country, including one familiar with Diarnas work. She contacted Guberman, offering to help him. Her only condition was anonymity.

In May 2011, Guberman sent her a map of the Hara Kabira, the old Jewish quarter in Tripoli, to help her locate the Dar Bishi synagogue, the most beautiful in the city when it opened in 1928. After Qaddafi took power in the late 1960s, the government seized and shuttered all Jewish property in Libya. Guberman hoped the reporter could find a way to survey it without raising the suspicion of the government, which was keeping an eye on foreign journalists in the city. Somehow, she slipped out of her hotel and made it there. She entered the crumbling structure through a hole in the back wall and took pictures of its gutted, columned interior, strewn with trash and vandalized by graffiti. She sent the photos to Guberman when she was safely out of the country.

The interior of the abandoned Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli, Libya on September 28, 2011. Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty

Guberman was cautiously optimistic that the rebels who ousted Qaddafi in 2011 might make it easier to access Jewish sites. A Libyan Jew named David Gerbi tested those expectations a few months later by returning to Tripoli from exile in Italy to restore the Dar Bishi synagogue. From New York, Guberman closely followed the news of Gerbis dramatic entrance to the holy site as the Libyan used a sledgehammer.

Guberman wondered how locals would react. He soon found out. A group of protesters opposed to the synagogues restoration gathered in central Tripoli with signs denouncing Zionism and some declaring there is no place for Jews in Libya. Fearing for his safety, Gerbi abandoned his project and returned to Italy, signaling to Guberman that the obstacles he faced researching Jewish sites under Qaddafi would likely remain. As he puts it: We realized that probably nothing good is going to come of doing work in Libya.

Gubermans team published a 3-D model of the once-stately structure on Google Earth, using photographs and coordinates the female reporter had taken. They also used her photographs to make a video tour of the model.

The latter may turn out to be among the only proof the site ever existed.

As governments collapsed across the region, threats to buildings multiplied. One of the higher-profile Jewish heritage sites lost to the fighting in Syria was the centuries-old Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in a suburb of Damascus. The synagogue is named for the prophet Elijah, whose appearance, Jews believe, will herald the coming of the Messiah. According to local tradition, Elijah anointed his successor on the site where the synagogue was built. Still well maintained when the war in Syria began, it appeared in photos published by The Daily Beast in 2014 as piles of rubbleits fine carpets, chandeliers and library of religious texts apparently gone.

Eddie Ashkenazie, a Diarna researcher from Brooklyn with roots in Syria, has been closely following the destruction. He felt a new determination in his work after watching aerial footage shot in the ancient Syrian city of Homs in 2015 that showed block after block of bombed-out buildings.

Ashkenazie has been scouting out Brooklyn synagogues with Syrian congregants whose memories of Jewish sites might still be fresh. I tell them what I do, and they’re like, Oh, bring us your pictures tomorrow, bring us your maps, he says. Just yesterday, after prayer services a group of men helped me [locate] synagogues in Damascus. After the meeting, he returned to his office and added the synagogues to Diarnas expanding database of sites.

A small number of Jews still live in Damascus, Syrias capital, some of whom have helped Diarna document sites. But the material hasnt yet been published due to concerns of drawing unwanted attention to the shrinking community and their lesser-known sacred sites. Wherever there is a community, Guberman says, their lives take precedence over our documentary mission.

Over the past few years, the last Jews in Syriaand much of the wider regionhave left. In 2015, in a controversial operation, Israeli-American businessman Moti Kahana smuggled Aleppos remaining Jewish residents to Israel through Turkey. In 2016, the Jewish Agency for Israel airlifted a family that made up 19 of Yemens roughly 85 Jews to Israel. Tunisian Jews have migrated recently too, as attacks have made the country less safe. When the last people leave, Guberman said, it is just a matter of time before the sites will be repurposed or destroyed.

On a recent stopover in his native Turkey, Solmaz clicked through images on his computer, each one illustrating the precariousness of Jewish heritage in Iraq. In a stone synagogue in Gondik, a small village in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, hay covered the floors to feed the livestock who now occupy it. In another picture, taken in Kirkuk, fresh bullet holes marked the walls of a Muslim familys home whose central feature revealed its Jewish pastan elaborate niche built into the wall for a Torah.

Solmaz plans to return to Iraq once Kurdish and Iraqi forces push ISIS out of Mosul, another city that was once home to thousands of Jews. More recently Mosul was home to tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities who fled their homes ahead of ISISs advance. For his own work, Solmaz will document the damage the jihadis have caused to the citys non-Muslims and the architecture they left behind. For Diarna, he will look much further back in time, for evidence of a small Jewish community that endured for centuries in Mosul before fleeing persecution in the early 20th century.

To understand the present, Solmaz says, you have to know your past.

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Jewish History is Under Siege in the Middle East and These Volunteers Are Risking Their Lives to Protect It – Newsweek

Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

Posted By on February 21, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Tuesday, calling it a beautiful tribute to so many American heroes.

The new president read the names of several prominent black figures from American history, saying, I’m deeply proud that we now have a museum that honors the millions of African American men and women who built our national heritage, especially when it comes to faith, culture and the unbreakable American spirit.”

He pledged to do everything I can to continue that promise of freedom for African Americans and for every American. So important, nothing more important. His visit came as the U.S. celebrates its annual Black History Month during February.

Trump said the fight for racial equality in the United States depicted at the museum is a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. He condemned recent threats against Jewish centers in the U.S., calling them horrible and painful.

But he promised, as he has numerous occasions, Were going to bring this country together, maybe bring some of the world together.

WATCH: Trump visits museum

Popular tourist attraction

The museum, on the National Mall not far from the White House, opened last year and has drawn large crowds and wide critical acclaim. It has nearly 37,000 objects in its collection tracing the history of blacks in America, from their arrival on slave ships from Africa, to the mid-19th century Civil War fought over slavery, to the advances toward racial equality at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

There are exhibits about black communities, their families, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and legalized racial segregation that existed in the United States as recently as 50 years ago.

In his upset presidential election victory last November, Trump won just 8 percent of the black vote compared to 88 percent for his Democratic rival, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump was accompanied on his museum visit by the only African-American in his Cabinet, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is awaiting confirmation as the presidents housing chief. The president promised to work closely with Carson to do great things in our African-American communities together.

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Trump: Black History Museum a Tribute to ‘American Heroes’ – Voice of America

Amid growing calls for action, Trump addresses JCC threats, anti-Semitism – CBS News

Posted By on February 21, 2017

Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 10:23 AM EST

Under growing pressure to address threats against the Jewish community following another wave of bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers around the country Monday, President Trump broke his silence on the issue Tuesday morning.

After previously deflecting a number of questions about the apparent rise in anti-Semitic incidents, Mr. Trump chose to address the issue at the end of his visit Tuesday to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms, the president said. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

His remarks followed days of increasing attention to the problem and weeks of anxiety within the Jewish community.

2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted Tuesday morning that the president should speak out against these incidents himself.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also called on the administration to address these threats. The group issued a statement saying that the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive and must always be taken seriously, despite the fact that all of the threats so far have turned out to be hoaxes.

Later in the day, the presidents daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted about the bomb threats.

On Monday, a White House official put out this statement: Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.

The head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, suggested on Twitter that Mr. Trump should speak out against the threats himself.

The situation Monday marked the fourth time in which bomb threats were called into JCCs across the country, bringing the total to 69 threats at 54 JCCs across the country in 27 states. They have all been hoaxes.

Mr. Trump dodged questions about a rise in anti-Semitismlast week at two White House press conferences. On Thursday, for example, a Jewish reporter asked the president how the administration plans to address the issue and instead of answering it, Mr. Trump told the reporter to sit down and said it was not a fair question, then declared I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life.

CBS News Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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Amid growing calls for action, Trump addresses JCC threats, anti-Semitism – CBS News

Do it this week: Feb. 20-26, 2017 – Pensacola News Journal

Posted By on February 20, 2017

From staff reports , pnj.com 3:41 p.m. CT Feb. 20, 2017

The Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-off Parade happens at 5:30 on Jan. 6.(Photo: Special to The Bacon)

Sunday

Pensacon 2017

Sunday. The fourth Pensacon will take place at the Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St.; Pensacola Grand Hotel, 200 E. Gregory St.; Rex Theatre, 18 N. Palafox St.; Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place; and Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St. World-class celebrities will be on hand all weekend long to interact with fans, sign autographs and take photos, including Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Arrested Development’), David Bradley (“Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter”), Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Goonies”), John Wesley Shipp (“The Flash”) and multiple cast members from “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “The X-Files,” among more than 100 guests. http://www.pensacon.com.

‘Evita’

University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway, Building 82. 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. This multiple Tony Award-winning musical drama is based on the true story of Eva Peron, who leaves her small hometown as a teenager to seek fame and fortune in Buenos Aires. There she becomes a celebrated actress and, eventually, the second wife of Juan Peron, helping him become elected president of Argentina. Ultimately, she becomes a true voice for the people of Argentina before her death. The show features popular hits Dont Cry for Me, Argentina, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and You Must Love Me. Tickets: $16; $12 for senior citizens and active military; $10 for non-UWF students and UWF faculty and staff; $5 for high school students; free for UWF students with valid Nautilus cards. 857-6285, http://www.uwf.edu/tickets.

Penny & Sparrow in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Sunday. “Let a Lover Drown You,” the new album from Penny & Sparrow, is set for a March 11 release on Single Lock Records/Thirty Tigers. Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke began making music together in 2010 while roommates at the University of Texas in Austin. The duo built a reputation for creating strikingly honest, bare-boned acoustic music that resonated deeply with those who heard their songs and saw their performances. Tickets: $12 for general admission standing; $20 for general admission seated at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Bruce Katz Band in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 3 p.m. Sunday. Bruce Katz is a four-time nominee for the Blues Music Award for “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year,” selected by the Blues Foundation of Memphis. Besides leading the Bruce Katz Band, Katz performs regularly with the Delbert McClinton Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, John Hammond and other artists, and was a member of the Gregg Allman Band from 2007-13. He had also been touring with legendary Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks and the Freight Train (until Trucks’ recent sudden death), as well Allman Brothers spinoff band, Les Brers. http://www.paradisebar-grill.com.

Divas Galore at Super Jazz Gumbo Fundraiser

Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 5:30 p.m. doors; 6:30 to 9 p.m. event, Monday. Show your love for jazz at Jazz Pensacolas fundraiser. The Big Band of Misfits presents Divas Galore talented female vocalists Saundra Daggs, Angie Powers Bartlett, Sharon Carroll, Joanna Hayes, Holly Shelton, Cynthia Domulot, Crystal Joy Albert and Kathy Lyon. The evening of big band music serves as a fundraiser for the free Pensacola JazzFest, scheduled for April 1-2 in historic downtown Seville Square. Tickets: $20. Admission includes a cup of seafood gumbo, and you can order from the menu and cash bar. Hold onto your admission tickets for door prize drawings. Attendees can also purchase 50/50 tickets for a cash drawing. 433-8382.

Agent Orange, Guttermouth and The Queers in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. Enjoy a triple bill of classic punk rock as Agent Orange, Guttermouth and the Queers share the Vinyl Music Hall stage. Scars & Stripes will open the show. Tickets: $15 at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Selwyn Birchwood in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 6 p.m. Tuesday. Florida’s rising young blues star Selwyn Birchwood received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critics’ Award for Best Debut Album of 2014 for his Alligator Records debut, “Don’t Call No Ambulance.” Birchwood is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy who delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma. Free. 916-5087, http://www.paradisebar-grill.com.

‘The Arch of Titus Menorah Panel: Adding Color to the Jewish War’

University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Join Dr. Steven Fine, professor of Talmudic history at Yeshiva University in New York, on an exploration of his recent research into the relief sculptures of the Arch of Titus, in cooperation with the Institute for the Visualization of History. Standing uniquely at the matrix of Roman, Jewish and Christian literary and visual sources, the menorah panel of the Arch of Titus (circa 81 CE) is a unique artifact of Roman imperial propaganda. This presentation builds upon the discovery of the original yellow ochre pigment of the Arch menorah relief by the Arch of Titus Project and the implications of this discovery for the experience of Roman art and for our understanding of the Jewish War (66-74 CE). Free. 474-2658.

WSRE Public Square Speakers Series presents Ellen Prager

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. event, Thursday. The WSRE Public Square Speakers Series will present Ellen Prager for a free evening lecture based on her book, Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime. With her ability to make science fun and understandable for people of all ages, Prager has built a national reputation as a spokesperson on earth and ocean science issues. She has appeared on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” CNN, CBS, NPR, The Discovery Channel and more. She has participated in research expeditions to locations such as the Galapagos Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and throughout the Caribbean. Formerly the chief scientist at the worlds only undersea research station in the Florida Keys, she now acts as the science adviser to the Celebrity Cruise ship Xpedition in the Galapagos. Free, but registration is requested at wsre.org/speakers.

Black History Month celebration with Clint Smith

University of West Florida Commons Auditorium, 11000 University Parkway, Building 22. 6 p.m. Thursday. The UWF Office of Equity and Diversity will welcome renowned poet Clint Smith as the keynote speaker for Black History Month. Smith is a writer, acclaimed spoken word poet, award-winning teacher and doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, have been viewed more than four million times. In 2014, he earned the spotlight as the National Poetry Slam champion and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. A book signing will follow Smith’s speech. Free. http://www.uwf.edu/respect.

Kountry Wayne and Friends

Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place. Up and coming comedian Wayne Colley, known online as King Kountry Wayne, has a following on social media of more than 3.5 million fans who support his comedic ventures. Tickets: $40, $35 and $28 at the Saenger Theatre box office, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. Additional fees may apply. 595-3880; http://www.pensacolasaenger.com.

2017 Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Celebrate the Krewe of Lafittes 62nd year at the Illuminated Night Parade. The Grand Marshall for the parade will be Buck Lee, formerly of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. Line the parade route along Garden and Palafox streets to catch beads and throws from the lighted Krewe of Lafitte floats and their band of pirates, who will be leading the way for more than 70 parade entrants, including floats from many of the local krewes, marching bands, local celebrities and area dance groups. http://www.kreweoflafitte.com.

African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship Banquet

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Pensacola State College is celebrating black history and heritage with an annual scholarship event. Nine students will receive scholarships at the African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship (AAMES) Banquet and Dr. Garrett T. Wiggins Live Your Dream Scholarship program. The public is invited to join scholarship recipients and community leaders for this evening of entertainment, inspiration, student recognition and dinner. The guest speaker is Verdell Hawkins, executive director, Gulf Power Foundation/ Community Relations Manager. Tickets: $12; must be purchased by Feb. 17. 484-1759.

Eric Lindell in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 8 p.m. Friday. Eric Lindell is accomplished on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and bass, and has performed with many of New Orleans’ top musicians since bursting on the scene in 2005, when he first appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. His live shows draw as much attention as his material, and his combination of sweet, blue-eyed soul with foot-stomping R&B, swamp pop, funk and blues has won him critical and popular acclaim across the country. Vintage Pistol will open the show. Tickets: $15 at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 10 a.m. line-up; 2 p.m. parade, Saturday. Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc. presents the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade. In the past, more than 225 parade entries and 6,000 people have participated in the parade. http://www.pensacolamardigras.com.

Arsonwave CD Release Party

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Saturday. Popular metalcore band and Pensacola natives Arsonwave will release their debut self-titled album, “Embrace Reality,” at Vinyl Music Hall. The first 200 people in line will receive a free copy of the CD. Limbs, Brave New World and Rise Up Lights will open the show. Tickets: $15 at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

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Do it this week: Feb. 20-26, 2017 – Pensacola News Journal

After wave of threats on Jewish centers, ADL calls for action – Politico

Posted By on February 20, 2017

Breaking: ADL Head Tells Trump What To Say About Anti-Semitism – Forward

Posted By on February 19, 2017

Lets be clear at the outset: I do not believe that President Trump is an anti-Semite. When he talks lovingly about his Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren; when he refers to his many lifelong Jewish associates and friends and to the Jewish individuals he has appointed, there is no reason to question his sincerity. These facts reflect of a genuine comfortableness with Jews.

That is his why his silence on the issue of anti-Semitism is so stunning.

We have seen this again and again. During the campaign, he derided those who questioned his tweets of anti-Semitic memes or his use of language that evoked age-old stereotypes. And yet, during the campaign a tsunami of anti-Semitic tweets and threats surfaced on social media directed at Jewish journalists. Haters who may have long held anti-Semitic beliefs suddenly seemed to be emboldened and empowered to act on those beliefs.

And that disturbing trend has continued since the election and inauguration.

There have been more than 50 bomb threats called in to synagogues and Jewish institutions across the nation. Vandalism of Jewish institutions has significantly increased. Reports of bullying of Jewish students in schools are surging.

And we have far more to worry about. ADL polls on anti-Semitic attitudes in America report over and over again that despite the remarkable diminution of anti-Semitic attitudes in America over the decades, there still are 30 million to 40 million Americans who harbor anti-Semitism.

In the past, we were not overly worried about such numbers, because inhibitions largely deterred those people from acting out their beliefs. In the current environment, however, there is reason to be much more troubled by those numbers, as some haters are feeling freer to commit anti-Semitic acts of one kind or another. Just this week, a South Carolina man sought to attack a synagogue and emulate his hero, Dylann Roof, who murdered nine parishioners in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. He was apprehended by the FBI and was arraigned in court on charges.

All of which brings us to the last two days of public appearances by the president: the first in a joint press briefing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the second his press conference to announce a new nominee for secretary of labor.

The subject of anti-Semitism was raised in both sessions, first by an Israeli journalist and in the second instance by a reporter for an ultra-Orthodox media outlet. Both questioners were respectful and hardly accusatory. Indeed, the Hasidic reporter began his question by making it clear that no one thought the president was anti-Semitic.

Both opportunities offered the president a perfect opportunity to state clearly: I am concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism; I think it is abominable and un-American. If, in any way, the language I have used has encouraged such people to act, then I must be clear: Hatred is not what America is about. The anti-Semites and bigots are not good Americans. And I will do everything in my power, by word and action, to fight that hatred and make sure it is unacceptable in the land of the free.

And he could have spelled out specifically what steps he will take to demonstrate that he takes this threat seriously.

But once again, President Trump failed to meet this basic test of presidential leadership. It is long overdue for him to clearly and cogently put the doubts to rest. And at this point, he needs to shift from rhetoric to real action and explain how his administration will combat hate. As the leader of all Americans, he must speak out but also step forward and present a plan to assuage those Americans who are concerned.

The issue is not whether Trump is anti-Semitic. The issue is whether he will stand up to anti-Semitism, let alone other forms of bigotry. And, as president, he will face far more difficult and daunting challenges in the years ahead, but speaking out against intolerance should be a no-brainer.

We urge the president to find an occasion sooner rather than later to use his bully pulpit to reverse the trend and stem the dangerous tide that has seeped into our society over the past year.

Jonathan Greenblatt is CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Breaking: ADL Head Tells Trump What To Say About Anti-Semitism – Forward

ADL Welcomes Virginia Court Decision Enjoining Parts Of The … – Alexandrianews.org

Posted By on February 19, 2017

The Anti-Defamation League today welcomed the decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Aziz v. Trump, a challenge to President Trumps Executive Order (EO) on immigration and refugees. The Court issued a preliminary injunction, barring the implementation of portions of the EO in Virginia.

In its decision, the Court held that implementation of the Executive Order would cause irreparable harm to the Commonwealth and its Universities. In addition, the Court explicitly recognized direct evidence presented by the Commonwealth of anti-Muslim animus through the Orders singling out of seven majority-Muslim nations for additional scrutiny and statements indicating an intent to discriminate based on religion.

Doron Ezickson, ADL Washington DC Regional Director issued the following statement:

We strongly agree with the Court that implementation of this Executive Order will cause irreparable harm to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Throughout U.S. history, we have too often faltered when we have let prejudice and fear predominate over reason and compassion, shutting the door on refugees and immigrants. When we strayed from core principles of equality and religious freedom there have been devastating consequences for which the US has later apologized and looked back in shame. History will reflect on the Executive Order as a sad point in the American story, but the Courts decision will shine through as an example of the best of our system: checks and balances at work. We welcome the Courts decision to grant a preliminary injunction in this case to bar further harm to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

ADL filed an amicus brief in the case supporting the Commonwealth of Virginias challenge to the Executive Order. The brief traces Americas history as a nation dedicated to ideals of equality, liberty and justice, and warns against repeating the shameful times in our past when America has turned against its core ideals of equality, liberty, and justice. The law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC prepared the brief on behalf of ADL and the law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP served as local counsel in Virginia.

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ADL Welcomes Virginia Court Decision Enjoining Parts Of The … – Alexandrianews.org

Springfield chapter of B’nai B’rith marks 150 years – The State Journal-Register

Posted By on February 19, 2017

Steven Spearie Correspondent

Les Eastep got a “gift membership” to the Springfield B’nai B’rith lodge in 1990.

He’s stayed with it ever since.

“It’s about being part of a large group and appreciating what they do on a national and international level,” said Eastep. “B’nai B’rith touches Jewish lives around the world.”

Closer to home, about 100 group members hold an annual chilli dinner fundraiser, provide a monthly meal Chaverim, literally, “friends” for senior citizens and support local causes, like the Jewish School of Religion, a combined effort between Temple B’rith Sholom and Temple Israel.

The Emes Lodge No. 67 (Emes is Yiddish for “true” or “truth”) celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding with a dinner in December. That makes it one of the oldest B’nai B’rith lodges in central Illinois, the founding dating to a time shortly after Jews started arriving in Springfield.

Lodge histories point out that B’nai B’rith members here were involved in everything from responding to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 to organizing war bond sales during World War II to assisting Russian immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s.

Numbers and activities have declined in more recent times, admitted Patrick Chesley, but, noting the anniversary, “there is certainly an obligation to keep the organization operating because it does a number of good things for the Springfield community and the Jewish community.”

The 19th century was big on lodges, like the Masons, the Loyal Order of Moose and the Elks, said Rabbi Barry Marks of Temple Israel, but some excluded Jews, leading to B’nai B’rith’s international founding in 1843 in New York City.

“This was a fraternal organization,” added Marks, who became a member of the local lodge when he arrived in Springfield in 1973. Auxiliary groups for women, young men and young women eventually developed but faded, added Marks.

Both temples have sisterhood groups and there is a local chapter of Hadassah, an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization that raises funds for community programs and health initiatives in Israel.

While many other B’nai B’rith lodges have allowed women, Chesley pointed out that locally there wasn’t an organization for men at the time of its founding. Chesley said while he isn’t personally opposed to allowing women in the lodge, most other Jewish organizations are facing the same membership decline and “aging out” as B’nai B’rith.

“Most of the Jewish children born in Springfield move out of the city,” said Chesley, a former federal prosecutor. “My wife (Nancy) and I have three children and none of them live in Springfield. Some of the kids stayed, but it’s a fairly small percentage.

“Many (young) Jewish professionals want more of a Jewish community than what we have here (about 1,000 Jews.) The generations that have followed us aren’t joiners. They don’t seem to have the same interests getting involved in groups and providing the next set of leaders. They have their own sets of interests.

“They don’t necessarily want to do what their parents did or be as committed (to these types of groups.)”

Eastep, who lives in Rochester, was part of a congress that looked at the decline fraternal organizations in Illinois.

“The demand that culture puts on people’s time,” said Eastep. “The first thing I do in the morning is look at the calendar. What am I doing today?”

Fraternal organizations, added Eastep, “will never go away entirely.” Some organizations that may be forced to merge may lose part of their identity, he added.

“To be honest and fair, B’nai B’rith is going through what every organization is going through (in terms of membership),” said Jeri Schwarz Atleson, vice-chairman of B’nai B’rith’s Midwest Board, who spoke to the Springfield group at its anniversary dinner. “It’s a big topic of conversation, how to recruit new members.

“Given the current environment, I hope we become as well known as we once were and people can go to in times of need.”

It was B’nai B’rith, pointed out Atleson, that gave birth to the Anti-Defamation League which sought to “stop the defamation of Jewish people,” according to its original 1913 charter.

Any issues of anti-Semitism locally, said Chesley, would be taken up by the Jewish Community Relations Council which is comprised of representatives from all the Springfield Jewish organizations: the Jewish Federation of Springfield; Temple B’rith Sholom and Temple Israel and their sisterhoods and the Springfield Chapter of Hadassah in addition to B’nai B’rith.

Chesley said that one of the activities the local lodge was known for was its Christmas Substitution program. Members would staff especially social service organizations, like the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery and Sojourn Shelter, so workers could spend Christmas Day with their families.

Eastep said B’nai B’rith helped Russian immigrants who came to Springfield in the late 1980s and early 1990s find housing, jobs and education.

“It was done quietly,” he said. “It was like taking care of family and B’nai B’rith is a big family.”

Atleson, who lives in Lake County, near the Wisconsin border, said she was happy to spend time in Springfield helping the lodge celebrated such an important milestone.

“It is remarkable that any organization survives that long,” said Atleson. “What I know about this local lodge is that their generosity, time, money, spirit, service to the community and commitment to the organization is tremendous.

“I hope they don’t change the spirit of who they are.”

Chesley said the purpose of the anniversary wasn’t necessarily to get new members, but several people did ask for applications.

“I get a lot of self-satisfaction from being able to help other people and keep a tradition like B’nai B’rith going here in Springfield,” he said. “I find it fulfilling and worthwhile.”

For more information on the Emes Lodge No. 67 of the B’nai B’rith, contact Patrick Chesley at 210-1920.

–Steven Spearie contact: spearie@hotmail.com or follow on Facebook or Twitter (@StevenSpearie)

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Springfield chapter of B’nai B’rith marks 150 years – The State Journal-Register

Bored? Need something to do? We got you – Pensacola News Journal

Posted By on February 19, 2017

From staff reports , pnj.com Published 4:26 a.m. CT Feb. 19, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago

Penny & Sparrow returns to Vinyl Music Hall on Sunday.(Photo: Jamie Clayton/Special to the News Journal)

Pensacon 2017

Sunday. The fourth Pensaconwill take place at the Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St.;Pensacola Grand Hotel, 200 E. Gregory St.;Rex Theatre, 18 N. Palafox St.;Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place; and Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.World-class celebrities will be on hand all weekend long to interact with fans, sign autographs and take photos, including Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Arrested Development’), David Bradley (“Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter”), Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Goonies”), John Wesley Shipp (“The Flash”) and multiple cast members from “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “The X-Files,” among more than 100 guests. http://www.pensacon.com.

Pensacon: Five things you don’t want to miss

‘Evita’

University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway, Building 82. 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Fridayand Saturday.This multiple Tony Award-winning musical drama is based on the true story of Eva Peron, who leaves her small hometown as a teenager to seek fame and fortune in Buenos Aires. There she becomes a celebrated actress and, eventually, the second wife of Juan Peron, helping him become elected president of Argentina. Ultimately, she becomes a true voice for the people of Argentina before her death. The show features popular hits Dont Cry for Me, Argentina, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and You Must Love Me. Tickets: $16; $12 for senior citizens and active military; $10 for non-UWF students and UWF faculty and staff; $5 for high school students; free for UWF students with valid Nautilus cards. 857-6285,www.uwf.edu/tickets.

Penny & Sparrow in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Sunday. “Let aLover Drown You,” the new album from Penny & Sparrow, is set for a March 11 release on Single Lock Records/Thirty Tigers. Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke began making music together in 2010 while roommates at the University of Texas in Austin. The duo built a reputation for creating strikingly honest, bare-boned acoustic music that resonated deeply with those who heard their songs and saw their performances.Tickets: $12 for general admission standing; $20 for general admission seated at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Bruce Katz Band in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 3 p.m. Sunday.Bruce Katz is a four-time nominee for the Blues Music Award for “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year,”selected by the Blues Foundation of Memphis.Besides leading the Bruce Katz Band, Katz performs regularly with the Delbert McClinton Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, John Hammondand other artists, and was a member of the Gregg Allman Band from 2007-13. He had also been touring with legendary Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks and the Freight Train (until Trucks’ recent sudden death), as well Allman Brothersspinoff band, Les Brers.www.paradisebar-grill.com.

Movie listings for Feb. 17-24, 2017

Save Ferris in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Monday. Returning to the stage and the studio after a long absence, Orange County ska-punk band Save Ferris is best known for its hit cover of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen” and their song The World is New, which was featured in the film The Big Hit. Touring behind its first new music in 14 years, the band will perform at Vinyl Music Hall with support fromBaby Baby andOperation Hennessey. Tickets: $20 at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Divas Galore at Super Jazz Gumbo Fundraiser

Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 5:30 p.m. doors; 6:30 to 9 p.m. event, Monday. Show your love for jazz at Jazz Pensacolas fundraiser. The Big Band of Misfits presents Divas Galore talented female vocalists Saundra Daggs, Angie Powers Bartlett, Sharon Carroll, Joanna Hayes, Holly Shelton, Cynthia Domulot, Crystal Joy Albert and Kathy Lyon. The evening of big band music serves as a fundraiser for the free Pensacola JazzFest, scheduled for April 1-2 in historic downtown Seville Square. Tickets: $20. Admission includes a cup of seafood gumbo, and you can order from the menu and cash bar. Hold onto your admission tickets for door prize drawings. Attendees can also purchase 50/50 tickets for a cash drawing. 433-8382.

Agent Orange, Guttermouth andThe Queers in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. Enjoy a triple bill of classic punk rock as Agent Orange, Guttermouth and the Queers share the Vinyl Music Hall stage. Scars & Stripes will open the show. Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

Get set for ‘St. Practice Day’

Selwyn Birchwood in concert

Paradise Bar & Grill, 21 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach. 6 p.m. Tuesday.Florida’s rising young blues star Selwyn Birchwood received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critics’ Award for Best Debut Album of 2014 for his Alligator Records debut, “Don’t Call No Ambulance.” Birchwood is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy who delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma. Free. 916-5087,www.paradisebar-grill.com.

‘The Arch of Titus Menorah Panel: Adding Color to the Jewish War’

University of West Florida Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 11000 University Parkway. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Join Dr. Steven Fine, professor of Talmudic history at Yeshiva University in New York, on an exploration of his recent research into the relief sculptures of the Arch of Titus, in cooperation with the Institute for the Visualization of History. Standing uniquely at the matrix of Roman, Jewish and Christian literary and visual sources, the menorah panel of the Arch of Titus (circa81 CE) is a unique artifact of Roman imperial propaganda. This presentation builds upon the discovery of the original yellow ochre pigment of the Arch menorah relief by the Arch of Titus Project and the implications of this discovery for the experience of Roman art and for our understanding of the Jewish War (66-74 CE). Free. 474-2658.

WSRE Public Square Speakers Series presents Ellen Prager

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. doors; 7 p.m. event, Thursday.The WSRE Public Square Speakers Series will present Ellen Prager for a free evening lecture based on her book, Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime.With her ability to make science fun and understandable for people of all ages, Prager has built a national reputation as a spokesperson on earth and ocean science issues. She has appeared on “The Today Show,””Good Morning America,” CNN, CBS, NPR, The Discovery Channel and more. She has participated in research expeditions to locations such as the Galapagos Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and throughout the Caribbean. Formerly the chief scientist at the worlds only undersea research station in the Florida Keys, she now acts as the science adviser to the Celebrity Cruise ship Xpedition in the Galapagos. Free, but registration is requested atwsre.org/speakers.

Black History Month celebration with Clint Smith

University of West Florida Commons Auditorium, 11000 University Parkway, Building 22. 6 p.m. Thursday.The UWF Office of Equity and Diversity will welcome renowned poet Clint Smith as the keynote speaker for Black History Month. Smith is a writer, acclaimed spoken word poet, award-winning teacher and doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, have been viewed more than fourmillion times. In 2014, he earned the spotlight as the National Poetry Slam champion and Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. A book signing will follow Smith’s speech. Free. http://www.uwf.edu/respect.

Kountry Wayne and Friends

Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place. Up and coming comedian Wayne Colley, known online as King Kountry Wayne, has a following on social media of more than 3.5 million fans who support his comedic ventures.Tickets: $40, $35 and $28 at the Saenger Theatre box office, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. Additional fees may apply. 595-3880; http://www.pensacolasaenger.com.

2017 Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Celebratethe Krewe of Lafittes 62nd year at the Illuminated Night Parade.The Grand Marshall for the parade will be Buck Lee, formerly of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. Line the parade route along Garden and Palafox streets to catch beads and throws from the lighted Krewe of Lafitte floats and their band of pirates, who will be leading the way for more than 70 parade entrants, including floats from many of the local krewes, marching bands, local celebrities and areadance groups.www.kreweoflafitte.com.

African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship Banquet

WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd. 6:30 p.m. Friday.Pensacola State College is celebrating black history and heritage with an annual scholarship event.Nine students will receive scholarships at the African American Memorial Endowment Scholarship (AAMES) Banquet and Dr. Garrett T. Wiggins Live Your Dream Scholarship program.The public is invited to join scholarship recipients and community leaders for this evening of entertainment, inspiration, student recognition and dinner. The guest speaker is Verdell Hawkins, executive director, Gulf Power Foundation/ Community Relations Manager. Tickets: $12; must be purchased by Feb. 17. 484-1759.

Eric Lindell in concert

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 8 p.m. Friday.Eric Lindell is accomplished on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and bass, and has performed with many of New Orleans’ top musicians since bursting on the scene in 2005, when he first appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.His live shows draw as much attention as his material, and his combination of sweet, blue-eyed soul with foot-stomping R&B, swamp pop, funk and blues has won him critical and popular acclaim across the country. Vintage Pistol will open the show.Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

PensacolaGrand Mardi Gras Parade

Downtown Pensacola. 10 a.m. line-up; 2 p.m. parade, Saturday. Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc. presents the PensacolaGrand Mardi Gras Parade. In the past, more than 225 parade entries and 6,000 people have participated in the parade. http://www.pensacolamardigras.com.

Arsonwave CD Release Party

Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place. 7 p.m. Saturday.Popular metalcore band and Pensacola natives Arsonwave will release their debut self-titled album, “Embrace Reality,” at Vinyl Music Hall. The first 200 people in line will receive a free copy of the CD. Limbs, Brave New World and Rise Up Lights will open the show. Tickets: $15at the Vinyl Music Hall box office or online at http://www.vinylmusichall.com or http://www.ticketfly.com. All ages are welcome, but there is a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21, and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult guardian. http://www.vinylmusichall.com.

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