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Flier promoting purported N.J. white supremacist group spotted in New Dorp: Tired of the anti-white propagan –

Posted By on November 21, 2019

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A sticker plastered to a pole at a busy New Dorp intersection promotes a New Jersey organization deemed by the Anti-Defamation League as a white supremacist group, which preaches that white people are an endangered species that needs to take action immediately.

Since 2018, fliers promoting New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA) have been spotted in Freehold, North Bergen, on the campus of Princeton University and now in a commercial area of Staten Island. The flier spotted Monday at the intersection of Hylan Boulevard and Tysens Lane, near the New Dorp Plaza, reads: "Tired of the anti-white propaganda?

NJEHA also has organized and participated in white supremacist rallies and demonstrations, including in November 2018, when members reportedly walked around the town of Princeton carrying Its okay to be white posters with duct tape covering their mouths to symbolize denial of freedom of speech in their own country, according to the Anti-Defamation League website.

The NJEHA mission statement reads in part: History has proven, once our people are united, no obstacle is too difficult.

The group does not appear to have an easily searchable social media presence, though opposing groups have mentioned NJEHA in their own posts.

Activists sound off

Civil rights activists in and around Staten Island were taken aback by the flier.

Im astonished to see that in New York City, said Hawk Newsome, who chairs Black Lives Matter New York. The fact that New York has not taken steps to dismantle these hate groups is the reason why they are becoming more aggressive.

On Sunday, the far-right group Proud Boys hung banners across the city to show solidarity with a member of the group who was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a brawl. The brawl took place outside the Metropolitan Republicans Club in Manhattan, with individuals associated with Antifa. Some of the banners also mocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who responded in part: Crawl back into your hole, Bigot Boys theres no place for hate in our state.

Newsome lamented that white nationalist groups are capitalizing on this beef with the governor.

Troubling pattern

In October, an apparently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic flier found in New Dorp drew the ire of elected officials in the borough.

The flier, which contains a bold headline reading 911 was an outside job, features a series of websites focused on Middle Eastern policy, Israel-connected 9/11 theories and names of authorities who have made anti-Israel statements -- urging readers to: Educate yourself on the facts the (((fake news))) isnt telling you.

As of September, anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City were up 63% in 2019, compared to the same time period in 2018, according to an NPR report.

Hate speech was found written on a synagogue wall in Meiers Corners earlier this year, on the eve of a Jewish holiday celebrating unity and freedom from persecution. (Staten Island Advance/Shira Stoll)

Recruiting tactics

The NJEHA websites homepage states that it does not support violence to further its agenda, but rather political and educational action. However, a flier posted on a different page of the site reads: voting wont make a difference... join the struggle and fight for our peoples survival and freedom together with your patriotic brothers and sisters."

NJEHA members attended the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington D.C., as part of an anniversary nod to the previous years violent Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the ADL. The 2018 rally in D.C. was reportedly organized by Jason Kessler, a known white supremacist.

Local civil rights activist Pryde Smith-Gilbert said the mystery surrounding who posted the flier, and the possibility of Staten Island residents being drawn in by the propaganda, is alarming.

Its also disheartening to see that white (residents) feel as if they are being attacked, said Smith-Gilbert, who formerly served as the boroughs NAACP youth leader, and helped lead the opposition to a racist incident at the St. Johns University Staten Island campus in 2018.

Community response

A Staten Island resident shopping at New Dorp Plaza on Monday, within a short walk of the flier, said hes probably more familiar with the history of white nationalism than most.

My parents were born in Germany in 1924 and were part of the Hitler Youth indoctrination, said John Meissner, 64, of New Dorp. I think (white supremacists) should all be beaten to death."

A local high school student, when asked about the flier, expressed mixed feelings.

I dont support it," said 17-year-old George Perez. But people have their own opinions, I guess.

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Flier promoting purported N.J. white supremacist group spotted in New Dorp: Tired of the anti-white propagan -

I-Team: How White Nationalists Are Using Social Media To Target and Recruit Teenagers – NBC New York

Posted By on November 21, 2019

What to Know

Writer and mother Joanna Schroeder was shocked to find her 14-year-old accidentally liking a picture of Hitler.

A lot of these memes like that are coming up because you may be accidentally liking these things that have a sort of subtle message of things that might be anti-Semitic or homophobic," said Schroeder.

Schroeder says that since she posted on Twitter about what she saw on her sons feed, hundreds of parents and teachers have written to her about similar experiences.

A growing number of accounts on social media are posting memes geared toward teens featuring subtly racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic content and glorifying violence.

Anywhere that there is a new platform there will be extremists, says Oren Segal, director of the Antidefamation League Center on Extremism. Extremists are able to reach, research and radicalize in ways that they havent had to, or could do, in human history.

Since 2012, FBI hate crime numbers have increased, with more than 7,000 reported hate crimes in 2018. According to investigators, suspects of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Pittsburgh and New Zealand had all engaged with extremist content online.

As part of his Role, Segal monitors hateful content and reports it to local authorities and law enforcement. You dont know who is reading that [hateful content], how it will land on them and what they will then do

Segal says identifying the content isnt always so straightforward.

Right on first blush you might not recognize that this is an extremist meme or what the intent is its a challenge for parents to educate themselves before they even have that conversation with their kids, he said.

The ADL has created a database of some of these hate symbols.

A Sense of Belonging

Teenage boys are a vulnerable demographic which are particularly susceptible to influence from extremist groups, according to Schroeder, due to a strong desire during adolescence to fit in. But while Schroeder was able to intervene her sons engagement with hateful content, many arent so lucky.

Long Island-born Yusuf Abdul-Lateef found himself in the middle of the skinhead movement during the late 1980s, dealing with his fathers death and watching a family member struggle with drugs.

Yusuf turned to music as an escape. He picked up a record by the band Screwdriver known as the original Hate Rock band. As he replayed the songs over and over, the messages in the music began to resonate with him.

The songs, he said, were filled with messages about how the white man was oppressed and had other white nationalist themes that gave him the answers we were searching for.

Its like a gang: My mothers not taking care of me, my father, you know well take you in, its all this false hope, its a fraternity, were all part of the white race, said Abdul-Lateef. Propaganda gets in your head. I was very angry at that time.

That messaging can reach teens without ever leaving their couch, Segal says. Even the darkest online spaces can provide a sense of comfort to some individuals who feel alienated, a tactic which extremists have been using for generations. When you combine alienation and that sense of belonging with extremists that pretend to give you that answer that you want, thats very powerful and very empowering to that person who is searching for meaning.

Lateef eventually found his way out of the skinhead music, ironically he says, through hip-hop music. He is now a devout Muslim with an interracial family.

Opening Up The Conversation

Schroeder feels that opening a dialogue with teens and adolescents is the best way to mediate and foster important lessons in tolerance.

Segal wants websites to step up their own monitoring of accounts promoting hateful and extremist content. But until changes are made, its up to parents to flag any questionable material.

The more engaged parents are with their kids, whether its online, the better prepared they will be to mitigate any error in judgment early on. He says.

Schroeder admits that these conversations are easier said than done.

I can say you're not alone if your kids have fallen on this rabbit hole, Schroeder said. It doesn't make you a bad person. Nobody is teaching parents how to have these conversations.

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I-Team: How White Nationalists Are Using Social Media To Target and Recruit Teenagers - NBC New York

Airman accused of spreading white-nationalist propaganda is demoted but remains in military – Stars and Stripes

Posted By on November 21, 2019

Airman accused of spreading white-nationalist propaganda is demoted but remains in military

For years, Cory Reeves allegedly posted hundreds of messages on a secret online forum for white supremacists under a pseudonym. In now-public posts, Reeves appeared to swap workout routines and diet tips with his like-minded internet friends; he also appeared to paper his town with far-right propaganda, participate in white-nationalist group meetups and share racist memes.

All the while, the Air Force master sergeant kept his apparent role in the white-nationalist group Identity Evropa quiet as he served in the military in Colorado Springs.

But in March, anti-fascist activists in Colorado used a massive leak of chat logs to identify the airman. The chat logs, from now-defunct Discord servers, revealed how Reeves had allegedly spent his spare time spreading white-nationalist propaganda and socializing with other members of a group then known as Identity Evropa. The Air Force Times reported in April that the military branch launched an investigation into Reeves' alleged white-nationalist ties. In August, the Denver Post noted the airman was still serving at his master sergeant rank despite the 729 Discord posts, written between October 2017 and March 2019, that appeared to lay out his white-nationalist sympathies.

The investigation recently came to a head when the Air Force demoted Reeves in September but officially allowed him to remain on active duty despite hundreds of online posts linking him to a white-nationalist group. The Air Force Times first reported Reeves' fate last week.

"The Air Force has completed its investigation," Lynn Kirby, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, told The Washington Post in an email late Tuesday. "Racism, bigotry, hatred, and discrimination have no place in the Air Force. We are committed to maintaining a culture where all Airmen feel welcome and can thrive."

The episode highlights a growing concern about active-duty military and veterans joining the ranks of white-supremacist organizations. The leaked Discord chat logs, published by the nonprofit media collective Unicorn Riot in March, led journalists and activists to expose members of the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps as members of Identity Evropa, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In his alleged Discord posts, Reeves discouraged people from using slurs and violent language, not because he opposed it but because he wanted to keep the Identity Evropa server "more refined." Under the username "Argument of Perigee," a reference to the orbit of satellites, Reeves posted photos of himself at Identity Evropa events, with a distinctive, often visible tattoo on his left forearm.

He claimed to be the only Identity Evropa member in Hawaii for four years while stationed there, before he moved to Colorado Springs to work at nearby Schriever Air Force Base. There, he joined forces with a more active chapter of the group, plastering parks with teal stickers branded with the group's recognizable dragon's eye symbol. Reeves held up Identity Evropa banners and signs in front of an immigrant detention center run by the contractor the GEO Group, according to photos posted to the Discord server. He railed against interracial marriage and shared memes of Pepe the Frog, a meme used as a hate symbol by the alt-right.

Reeves repeatedly referenced an "ethnostate" in the his alleged posts. He also appeared to mock people in interracial relationships, including his own family members: "We have little-to-no control over our family members," one post read. "My younger brother reproduced with a full blood Aztec...."

"Respectable, upstanding men of Evropean heritage shouldn't be engaging in sexual relations with women of other heritage," another post said.

Less than six months after he was publicly linked to the Discord posts, the Air Force stripped Reeves of his rank, reducing him to a technical sergeant and dropping him from his status as a senior non-commissioned officer. But his commander decided to keep Reeves in the Air Force, despite posts that showed him making racist comments and recruiting for a white-nationalist organization so toxic it had to rebrand when its secret message boards were outed, taking on the name American Identity Movement.

White-supremacist and extremist groups have long targeted military service members and veterans. In 2008, the FBI published a report warning about the tendency for white-supremacist groups to recruit active members of the military and veterans, often placing people with combat experience in leadership roles. The leader of Vanguard America, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as a white-supremacist group, was a recruiter for the Marine Corps. A self-avowed white nationalist, Christopher Hasson, 50, a Coast Guard lieutenant and Marine veteran, allegedly plotted a mass terrorist attack this year to "establish a white homeland." Colorado ranks among the top states for white-supremacist propaganda, the Denver Post reported in March.

The Air Force, like each branch of the military, has an explicit policy banning its members from promoting white-supremacist groups.

"Air Force military personnel are prohibited from actively advocating supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes," the branch's instruction manual says. "Members who actively participate in such groups or activities are subject to adverse action."

Kirby told The Post that Air Force commanders have several disciplinary actions to choose from when an airman is found to violate that policy.

"When Airmen fall short of this expectation, they are held accountable," she said in an email. "Each case is evaluated based on the facts presented, and commanders have a variety of administrative and/or disciplinary actions they can administer based on the findings of the case."

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Airman accused of spreading white-nationalist propaganda is demoted but remains in military - Stars and Stripes

Far-right terrorism has more than tripled over last four years, report warns – EURACTIV

Posted By on November 21, 2019

Although terrorism-related deaths saw a downward trend for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, widespread activity among right-wing terrorist groups has become a particular cause of concern, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) of 2019 published on Wednesday (20 November).

The Global Terrorism Index ranks 163 countries according to the impact of terrorism, based on factors such as the number of attacks, fatalities, injuries and the extent of property damage.

Despite the notable decrease in the level of Islamist terrorism in the West, Europe and especially North America are witnessing a dangerous rise in far-right terrorism, the 2019 GTI report, developed by the conflict watchdog of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has found.

Over the past few years there have been increasing fears about the growth of far-right extremism, following the events in Charlottesville in the United States 2017, or in Chemnitz, Germany, in 2018, and the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 2018, far-right terrorist attacks accounted for 17.2% of terrorist incidents in the West. By contrast, attacks by Islamist groups accounted for 6.8% of attacks, and attacks not attributed to any group accounted for 62.8% of incidents in the West, the report has found.

The total number of extreme-right incidents has risen 320% in the past five years, with 71 countries having suffered at least one terrorism-related death in 38 attacks recorded in 2018, compared to only nine in 2013.

Over the past four decades, one in every five mass shootings in the US has been classified as a terrorist attack. In the last decade, that number has risen to one in three, the report found.

The majority of right-wing terrorists are not aligned to any particular group, operating as so-called lone wolf attackers. However, experts have pointed out that the phrase is misleading, as the terrorists tend to belong to support networks and their radicalisation process usually requires a base organisation.

In the US, currently ranked 22 in the index, the Trump administration has so far done little to meet the domestic pressure to combat the far-right and defunded programs intended to stop the radicalization of young white people.

In January 2019, the Anti-Defamation Leagues Center on Extremism reported that every extremist killing in the US in 2018 was linked to far-right individuals or organizations, according to US media reports.

The report specifically highlights the March 2019 attack on two mosques in Christchurch, where 51 people were killed, as an example of terrorism spreading to countries with almost no prior history or terrorist activity as a result of far-right ideology.

UK tops the European list

The UK is the country worst affected by terrorism in the EU, finding itself in the top 30 of the worlds 168 nations, ahead of France, Germany, Belgium and Spain, as well as Sri Lanka, Iran, Russia and Israel.

Researchers pointed towards the rising threat from the new IRA movement as a key contributor to the UKs high position in the ranking, although it also warns of a significant rise in right-wing terrorism.

After a series of terrorist attacks in the past years, European countries have seen a decline in the terror threat level reduced from severe to substantial, which means an attack is likely.

Decrease in Islamist terrorism

According to the researchers, conflict remains the primary driver of terrorism, with more than 95% of deaths from terrorism occurring in countries involved in a civil war or cross-border conflict or battling domestic militants.

Terrorism is quite often used as a tactic in war, Steve Killelea, founder and chairman of the IEP, told reporters.

The number of deaths from terrorism fell by 15.2% between 2017 and 2018 to a total of 15,952 people worldwide, with the largest declines in Iraq and Somalia due to the Islamic States (IS) defeat and US-led airstrikes on Al-Shabaab, the report noted.

This represents the fourth consecutive year-on-year reduction for fatalities, with the number of deaths having dropped 52% since 2014.

The Taliban has surpassed the IS, making it the worlds deadliest terrorist group, responsible for 38% of all terrorist deaths worldwide in 2018.

In total, 98 countries worldwide recorded a decrease in the number of deaths, which is the highest annual improvement since 2004. On the downside, 40 countries showed a deterioration.

Notably, womens participation in terrorism has increased, although it still accounts for only a small percentage of all attacks.

Terror groups may choose to include female suicide bombers due to their potential to conduct deadlier attacks, the report noted.

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of female suicide bombers rose by 450%. By contrast, the number of male suicide bombers fell by 47% over the same period.

Most of this increase is attributed to Boko Haram, who has accounted for nearly 80% of all female suicide bombers in the past five years.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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Far-right terrorism has more than tripled over last four years, report warns - EURACTIV

Neo-Nazi terror group threatened to find and harm US activist in Germany – The Guardian

Posted By on November 21, 2019

An US activist in Germany who was targeted by the neo-Nazi terror group Atomwaffen Division (AWD) has told the Guardian German police were last year warned by US authorities of a specific threat to find me and do me harm.

The activist, who moved to Germany in part because of the threats she was receiving from the far right in the US, was told last November that German Federal Criminal Police had been warned by US federal authorities about an AWD member who had traveled to Germany with the possible intention of harming her.

She was also advised to take security precautions, including delisting her address from official government records, and to exercise vigilance when walking at night.

The activist, whose name is being withheld due to safety concerns, has been a consistent and vocal critic of the far right, and has participated in prominent anti-fascist demonstrations.

She showed the Guardian Twitter direct messages sent by German police last November, asking her to call them about the threat. German magazine Der Spiegel, who first reported on the transnational warning, confirmed the activists account with German authorities.

The activist believes the person who triggered international concerns was allowed to enter the country.

At the time, the activist says, German police told her they knew who he was, they knew who he was meeting with, and they knew who was behind the threats, but they didnt know where they were.

Last week, however, a suspected American member of AWD was denied entry to Germany.

The activist said she had decided to go public about the incident because of the assassinations and death threats carried out by extremist groups in Germany in recent months, and the apparent expansion of the accelerationist neo-Nazi groups operations to Germany.

On 27 October, German Green politicians Cem zdemir and Claudia Roth received email death threats signed by Atomwaffen Division Deutschland. In the threats, the groups claimed to have a list of people marked for assassination. The German expansion of the group have reportedly flyered German universities, and posted propaganda to homes in a Turkish neighborhood.

In June, a far-right extremist confessed to the assassination of pro-refugee Christian Democrat politician, Walter Lbcke.

Also in June, German neo-Nazi doomsday prepper group Nordkreuz were found to have assembled a kill list of politicians which the group saw as pro-refugee.

In October, a far-right antisemite attacked a synagogue in the city of Halle, armed with homemade firearms and explosives.

AWD has been linked to at least five murders in the US. Several members are currently facing charges ranging from weapons offenses to alleged bomb plots. US AWD members have been banned from traveling to countries including Canada and Germany.

AWD began in the United States, as an outgrowth of the neo-Nazi subculture incubated on the Iron March forum. Earlier this month, when Iron Marchs entire archive was leaked by anonymous activists, it was revealed that the website had been the glue for an international network of extremists.

Members of the group embraces a philosophy of accelerationism, which seeks to use violence to hasten the collapse of society as we know it, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The same perspective was embraced in the manifesto of the man charged with the murder of 51 people in Christchurch last March.

The activist who was the subject of threats from the group urged US authorities to start treating this as international terrorism, which it is.

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Neo-Nazi terror group threatened to find and harm US activist in Germany - The Guardian

Netanyahu urges Gantz to resume coalition talks after conceding defeat – The Times of Israel

Posted By on November 21, 2019

Satellite images show alleged Iranian base in Syria destroyed by Israeli strikes

Satellite images show the destruction of two suspected Iranian headquarters around Damascus that were hit in Israeli airstrikes earlier today in response to a rocket attack on northern Israel yesterday.

The photographs, released by the private Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International, show two buildings that are believed to have been home to Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force. One was located in Damascuss international airport, the other was nearby at the al-Mazzeh airport just outside the capital.

The top two floors of the building at the Damascus airport referred to by ImageSat as the Glasshouse were destroyed in the Israeli strikes.

According to the satellite imagery analysis company, this building was believed to have been used as a headquarters by the Quds Forces intelligence unit.

Satellite image showing the destruction caused by Israeli airstrikes to an alleged Iranian-controlled facility at the al-Mazzeh airport on November 20, 2019. (ImageSat International)

Currently the site looks abandoned, without any sign of activity, the company says.

The second Quds Force headquarters at the al-Mazzeh airport was almost completely demolished in the strike.

A photograph of the site taken yesterday shows two large rectangular buildings across from the one another. The image captured today shows one building completely leveled, while the other is mostly knocked down.

Satellite image showing the destruction caused by Israeli airstrikes to an alleged Iranian-controlled facility at the Damascus International Airport on November 20, 2019. (ImageSat International)

A long line of vehicles could also be seen around the site, apparently being used by search and rescue workers.

According to a Syrian war monitor, at least 23 fighters were killed in Israels predawn airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, 16 of them likely Iranians.

Judah Ari Gross

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Netanyahu urges Gantz to resume coalition talks after conceding defeat - The Times of Israel

Members of Greek life should embrace suspension of social activities – The Daily Orange

Posted By on November 21, 2019

Syracuse University has suspended all social activities of fraternities on campus after members and guests of a fraternity yelled a racial epithet at a black woman on Saturday night. The decision to suspend all fraternity social activities along with the suspension of the specific fraternity involved in this racist incident was a necessary action that had to take place.

While only one fraternity may have been involved in this particular incident, given recent history, all fraternities must come together with the university community to reflect upon how to prevent recurrence of such seriously troubling behavior, Chancellor Syverud said in a campus-wide email.

Many people have argued that this decision is a way to place blame on someone that the male Greek system is Syracuses scapegoat for the disgusting events that have taken place on campus in the past two weeks.

These ignorant responses to the suspension neglect to take into account the entire situation. The suspension of male Greek activity on campus is the first step in a long series of changes that need to be made on SUs campus in order to reinstate a safe environment for those studying and working here.

Fraternity is defined as the state or feeling of friendship and mutual support within a group. Instead the word fraternity has been used since the time of British imperialism to design a facade of brotherhood.

The male Greek system should be an amazing way to give this word a new connotation. But the devastating truth at Syracuse University is that the male Greek system only seems to deepen these prejudiced notions in the community.

Fraternities at SU have a history of racial prejudice. In April of 2018, a Syracuse fraternity was suspended over a video which was extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.

Members of Greek life should embrace this suspension as a chance to unify with the rest of the university to create some true lasting change and to ensure that #NotAgainSU becomes #NeverAgainSU.

Kailey Norusis is a freshman English literature and history major. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at She can be followed on Twitter @Knorusis.

Published on November 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

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Members of Greek life should embrace suspension of social activities - The Daily Orange

We’ve given those responsible for racism on campus too much power over us – The Daily Orange

Posted By on November 21, 2019

Dear Editor,

The series of hate crimes that have been occurring on campus has inflicted fear and anxiety among our students of color and non-Christian students and faculty. Students and staff have shown solidarity through the sit-in protest at the Barnes Center at The Arch. Theyve provided a list of demands to administration in an attempt to promote change and safety in our community. Professors have cancelled classes and postponed assignments. Safety precautions have also been offered and suggested to students as a result of these heinous acts.

As a fellow student and an Asian American, I relate to those who are offended, angry and afraid because of the racist incidents. It is not right for us to feel unsafe in a community in which we spend so much of our time in and live in. These hate crimes are unacceptable, and whoever is responsible should be punished.

We need to unite against the crimes themselves, yet there has been more anger directed towards the university and administration than towards the culprit. I have seen a tremendous amount of negative energy directed towards the university for their lack of transparency. I havent seen nearly the same amount of positive energy focused on the value of coming together in a time where it is more necessary than ever.

Although I condemn racism and harm towards others, I feel that we have given whoever is responsible exactly what they want: the attention that they were seeking; the ability to hurt and scare us; and influence over others to act in a similar fashion as them.

We have given those responsible for racism on campus too much power over us. I understand that it is conflicting to approach these incidents because our safety is most important; I understand that similar incidents have occurred over the years and that it is important to put a stop to them; but I believe we should work on making a change through a different approach because these crimes keep happening despite the measures being taken.

I am not saying that students should be required to go about their regularly scheduled days if they feel threatened in any way. However, we shouldnt let the unknown culprits consume our emotions and control our actions in the way that they have. We are letting them win by allowing them to affect our education and our ability to walk freely in our own community.


Jessica C. Infante


Published on November 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

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We've given those responsible for racism on campus too much power over us - The Daily Orange

Inside The Synagogue Where Broadway’s Biggest Stars Used To Pray – The Australian Jewish News

Posted By on November 19, 2019

NEW YORK (JTA) On a recent Friday night, about 20 people gathered for Shabbat services at the Actors Temple, a synagogue just a few blocks from Times Square.

Rabbi Jill Hausman greeted each one by name with a kiss on the cheek and a Good Shabbos. Some sang along and others listened as she led the small crowd in a service using a prayer book and a packet she had printed out just minutes earlier in her upstairs office.

Its a far cry from the era when some of the biggest celebrities in the country used to gather at the West 47th Street shul. The Three Stooges, actors Shelley Winters and Aaron Chwatt (better known as Red Buttons), baseball stars Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg, and TV host Ed Sullivan all prayed there. Sullivan, whose wife was Jewish, also hosted the annual temple benefit at The Majestic Theater. Headshots of stars who frequented the synagogue hang on a wall.

The synagogue was founded in 1917 for a much different crowd: Orthodox shopkeepers who worked in Hells Kitchen, a neighborhood lined today with bars and restaurants catering to the pre-theater crowd but at the time was rife with gangs.

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In the 1920s, the synagogue, formerly known as Congregation Ezrath Israel, hired Bernard Birstein as its first rabbi. Birstein had his eyes on Broadway, which was home to many Jewish actors and actresses but few regular synagogue-goers.

They werent socially acceptable, their morals were questionable because they were all in vaudeville, and they toured all around the country and they werent really welcome in the large wealthy synagogues, Hausman said.

The synagogue was founded in 1917 and has been in its current building since 1923. (Josefin Dolsten)

One of Birsteins first recruits was the popular Ukrainian-born entertainer Sophie Tucker. At first she resisted his advances, but after multiple visits the rabbi swayed her with a heavy load of Jewish guilt.

He said to her, Sofele, whos going to say Kaddish for your Yiddishe mama? Andthat was one of her big numbers,and he really touched her in the heart, Hausman said.

After Tucker, other stars started flowing in and the synagogue became known as the Actors Temple. In addition to the famous members, a number of other big names would perform at its annual gala, including Barbra Streisand, Bert Lahr, Danny Kaye and Jimmy Durante.

At some point after Tucker joined, the synagogue became Conservative. Hausman isnt sure of the year, but she says that at one Shabbat service, a wealthy woman decided to sit in the mens section with her husband rather than in the womens balcony, as is the Orthodox custom. She was joined by Tucker and eventually the rest of the women. Today the synagogue is nondenominational and welcomes interfaith couples and members of the LGBTQ community.

The synagogue continued to attract Broadway stars through the 1960s, when membership started declining.

When Hausman, who is in her 60s, came on board 14 years ago, the temple had only 12 members and was struggling financially. The board thought it may be time to close its doors, the rabbi recalled.

But Hausman was able to turn things around by returning the synagogue to its show business roots. She took out the pews and converted the sanctuary into a space that she rented out as a dance studio.

Shortly after, she met a theater manager who suggested that she rent out the synagogue as an off-Broadway performance space. The manager helped install a stage and put theater lights in the balcony where the women once sat.

It was economic necessity because our dues are $180 per person per year, Hausman said. Were not built on a dues model.

The Actors Temple can host shows up to eight times a week. (Josefin Dolsten)

The first show opened in the fall of 2006, and since then the synagogue has been renting out its stage for performances almost every week. It can host up to eight performances a week only Friday nights and High Holidays are out. The synagogue also rents out space to a program that provides enrichment classes for children who are homeschooled.

Hausman estimates that there are between 150 and 200 members today and about 20 show up on a typical Friday night. She said around 40 percent of regulars are involved in show business in some way.

We are not a family congregation the way most congregations are, she said. Not that we dont like families, but our membership is mostly singles and couples from early through late middle age.

Rabbi Jill Hausman converted the sanctuary into a space that she rents out for off-Broadway performances. (Josefin Dolsten)

Though most shows have nothing to do with Judaism, for some the setting resonates. For four months this spring and summer, the Actors Temple hosted performances of The Last Jew of Boyle Heights, a play by Steve Greenstein about a Los Angeles neighborhood that once was home to a large Jewish population and now is predominantly Latino.

Greenstein, who is a member of Actors Temple, said that putting on his play in a Jewish setting carried special meaning. Thener tamid,the eternal light hanging above the synagogue ark, peaked out behind the stage during performances and the stained glass windows were visible when one of the characters recalled an old synagogue in Boyle Heights.

The space fit the play, Greenstein said. And thats important when youre creating a piece of theater.

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Inside The Synagogue Where Broadway's Biggest Stars Used To Pray - The Australian Jewish News

After staying while other congregations fled to Baltimore burbs, Beth Am synagogue celebrates $5.5M overhaul – Baltimore Sun

Posted By on November 19, 2019

At some point, we realized that being in the neighborhood was not sufficient, we needed to get involved in the neighborhood, Burg said. So, we started doing social action work, volunteerism at the local school, neighborhood cleaning efforts, collections for social charities. ... We do a lot of relational work, a lot of kind of softening boundaries, getting to know our neighbors, hosting them in our building, going out into the community and participating in community events in Reservoir Hill.

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After staying while other congregations fled to Baltimore burbs, Beth Am synagogue celebrates $5.5M overhaul - Baltimore Sun

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