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richards | November 29, 2017

In the 1970s, a movement known as Jewish feminism started in the American Jewish community. It was a movement that originally sought to make Jewish woman superior to equal to Jewish men.

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richards | November 24, 2017

Current undergraduate and graduate students can explore New York City through our Passport to Museums program. With your CUID and semester validation sticker you can visit over 30 museums that generously provide Columbia students with free admission.

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richards | November 21, 2017

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris.

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admin | September 29, 2017

in 1923 in the state of Massachusetts. He now goes by the name, Sumner Redstone

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simmons | September 29, 2017

The Asian American Heritage Committee promotes awareness of Asian and Asian American cultures in the United Federation of Teachers and the broader labor movement. We accomplish this goal by hosting a wide array of events throughout the year and participating in all union activities.

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admin | September 20, 2017

The Annual Russian Heritage Month celebrates and honors the rich diversity of cultural traditions brought to the U.S. from the many countries of the former Soviet Union. The Russian-speaking community plays an indispensable role in the culture, economic and social life of New York, the US and the world.

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admin | August 25, 2017

A judge in Belarus approved the construction of apartments atop two former Jewish cemeteries.

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richards | August 25, 2017

BBC News Trump economic aide Gary Cohn chides him on Charlottesville BBC News US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser has criticised the White House’s response to a far-right rally this month in Virginia. National Economic Council director Gary Cohn told the ..

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simmons | August 25, 2017

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation unveiled a historical marker at Crescenta Valley Community Regional Park in La Crescenta on Aug. 18that includes an explanation of the parks historical ties to Nazis.

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richards | August 24, 2017

On Wednesday, a new month began in the lunar calendars of Jews and Muslims. And it couldnt have come soon enough

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Jewish American Heritage Month | In Custodia Legis: Law …

Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in New Amsterdam in 1654.

Every year since 1980, Congress and the President have acted together to declare an official observance to recognize the contributions of Jewish Americans to American society. Since 2006, Congress and the President have proclaimed that the month of May is Jewish American Heritage Month. On April 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued this years proclamation. In his statement, President Trump said: The achievements of American Jews are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession. American Jews have built institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and manifold cultural and philanthropic organizations.

As this is a law blog, we thought we would take a look at three Jewish Americans who were among the earliest to contribute to the legal profession in America:

Asser Levy van Swellem

The government of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (which became New York after its capture by the English in 1664) did not recognize attorneys as a distinct profession. In its court, the Court of the Schout, Burgomaster and Shepens, neither the judges nor the advocates had the benefit of formal legal education. But since cases were nevertheless tried, people found it useful to rely on whoever among their neighbors was most skillful at pressing claims in court to represent them when the need arose. One person who frequently appeared as an advocate in the court records of the time was a Jewish man named Asser Levy van Swellem (d. 1680). Although he was probably born and raised in Amsterdam, Asser Levy was connected to the group of 23 Jewish immigrants who arrived from Brazil in 1654, a group that is often thought of as the first Jewish immigrants to the region that would later become the United States (Jews, however, likely arrived in what is now New Mexico somewhat before this time). A butcher by trade, he became one of the first licensed butchers in the colony.Within a year of his arrival, he successfully petitioned the governor to remove a ban on Jews bearing arms in defense of the colony and to undo a discriminatory tax. In 1657, he successfully petitioned the governor to remove a ban on Jews enjoyment of certain trade privileges. In an astonishingly short time, he built trade relations with partners as far away as New England and built relationships with merchants in Holland whose interests he represented in court. By 1661, he purchased an estate near Albany, as well as a piece of land in lower Manhattan (becoming the first Jewish citizen to own land in New York City). By 1664, he was counted among the wealthy men of the colony who were asked to finance the defense of the city from the English. In the meantime, he participated in several dozen lawsuits, representing himself and many others, both in New York and in neighboring Connecticut. His name appears frequently as a trustee and as executor of a number of Christian wills. Records show he contributed funds for the construction of the citys first Lutheran Church. Toward the end of his life, he owned a successful tavern and a slaughterhouse in New York City.

Isaac Miranda

One of the earliest known Jewish settlers of Pennsylvania was Isaac Miranda (d. 1733). He was said to have come to Philadelphia from Tuscany, Italy, by way of London as early as 1710, and may have been the first Jewish resident of that city. He settled in Lancaster in 1715, where he is known to be the first Jewish inhabitant. Other families soon followed, so that by 1740, there were ten Jewish families in Lancaster. Although he kept a collection of Hebrew books, which he brought with him from abroad, he maintained that he was a Christian; he likely converted to marry his wife, Mary Raynolds, in London before coming to America. The secretary of the province of Pennsylvania, James Logan, described him in 1723 as a superficial convert to Christianity. The accusation was not trivial. Under William Penns Charter of Pennsylvania, Jews were free to worship, but they could not vote or hold public office. In 1727, the colonial administration appointed him agent to receive and collect the perquisites and rights of Admiralty, and on June 19, 1727, he was made a deputy judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court. This appointment made Miranda the first Jew to hold a judicial office in America. Over time, Miranda grew wealthy from trade with Native Americans and came to own a significant amount of land, including two houses in Philadelphia. He died in Lancaster in 1733.

A daguerreotype by Matthew Brady depicting Sampson Simson between 1844 and 1857 [Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division]

After the English seized New York from Dutch control, the colony prohibited Jews from practicing law. This prohibition remained in force for most of the 18th century until it was lifted after the enactment of the New York Constitution of 1777. It was not until 1802, however, that a Jewish attorney was admitted to the New York bar. His name was Sampson Simson (1780-1857). Simson was born in Danbury, Connecticut, where his father, also named Sampson Simson, had taken his family when the British occupied New York during the War for Independence. Sampson Simson the elder was a successful shipowner; his success left his son with a large fortune that supported him throughout his life. Sampson Simson (the younger) graduated from Columbia College in 1800, the first Jew to graduate from that institution. He read law with Aaron Burr (the sitting vice president of the United States) between 1800 and 1802 and practiced law in the law office of J.L. and H.L. Riker at 150 Nassau Street. He practiced law for a short timeonly a few yearsbefore an accident left him temporarily disabled. Afterwards, he retired to his farm in Yonkers for a life of charitable work and philanthropy. It is for this work that he is most remembered. Chief among his accomplishments was his role in founding in 1852 the Jews Hospital, renamed Mount Sinai Hospital in 1866. The hospital was built on land donated by Simson on W. 28th St. between 7th and 8th Avenues. He served as the first president of its board of directors and for the remaining years of his life personally assumed many of the hospitals financial burdens. In 1856, he helped to fund the purchase of the Welsh Chapel on Allen Street to house theBeth Hamedrash Hagodol, a new and rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish congregation. He bequeathed a large sum of money to the North American Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Jerusalem, an organization that supported the impoverished Jewish community then living in Ottoman Palestine. Myer S. Isaacs (1841-1904), a Jewish attorney and philanthropist who lived in New York throughout the second half of the 19th century, recorded his personal recollections of Simson in 1902. He remembered Simson and his father chatting endlessly about their memories of the important men of the founding generation as well as about their religious and philanthropic activities. He recalls:

He affected the old fashioned costume, sometimes wearing knee breeches and buckles. He was above the average height, very stiff and upright in his bearing. His hair was white and he wore it in long wavy locks. His spectacles were of great size. His habitual walk was in short, quick steps-and he carried a silver headed cane, upon which he would lean when seated. His voice was not musical and he rarely laughed. He was exacting and even tyrannical-would not endure criticism or contractionthere were men he did not like and he let them perceive it quicklyHe was precise in his religious views, rose very early and spent some time at his devotionshe was interested in prison reformHe was a great admirer of Andrew Jackson and preserved a stick presented to him by the President. He was captain of a regiment of Militia, but it is not known that he took part in active service. In the practice of law, he was always considerate towards colored people. He was specially interested in agricultural affairs; new machines attracted him.

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Jewish American Heritage Month Part Asian-American, All …

Posted By richards on November 21, 2017

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris. Theyve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris. Theyve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith.

I was five years old when my mother threatened to give me away to journalist Connie Chung.

Chung and her husband, Maury Povich, had just announced their intention to adopt a half-Chinese, half-Jewish child. At this, my mother, watching on TV in our living room, did a double take. She looked at the screen. Then she looked at me, her half-Chinese, half-Jewish, fully-misbehaving daughter. How would you like to go live with that woman? she said.

It was then that I had a startling realization: I was special. Not special in the way that everyones kids are special I mean really special. I, with my chubby Chinese cheeks and frizzy Jewish hair, was a unique snowflake, shaped like the Star of David, dusted with matcha green tea powder.

Im special! I announced. Famous people want to adopt me!

Mom rolled her eyes as if to say, oy vey.

Only later would I learn the truth: Not everyone was as thrilled about my heritage as I was. The problem was mainly on the Jewish side. As I grew up, announcing I was Jewish often felt like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, in Joan Didions words. But you dont look Jewish! came the incredulous reply. Some even implied that the union that produced me was nothing less than a threat to the Jewish people that I was what was wrong with Judaism today.

This view, it turns out, is ancient. You shall not marry (gentiles), you shall not give your daughter to their son because he will lead your son astray from Me and they will serve strange gods, it is said in Deuteronomy. Thousands of years later, many still share this opinion.

Intermarriage is a serious concern, Steven Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union College, told me recently. It weakens Jewish commitment and diminishes the number of people who identify as Jews.

Cohen was referring to the fact that children of intermarried Jews tend to be less religiously Jewish than those born to two Jewish parents, as found in the Pew Research Centers 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans. But theres another way of looking at it. While they may be less religious, more and more mixed-race Jews are choosing to identify as Jewish. Among the adult children of intermarried parents surveyed, as many as 59 percent identified as Jews.

Kosher or not, no amount of hand-wringing will change the fact that intermarriage is happening. Since 2005, 6 in 10 Jews who married chose a non-Jewish partner, according to the Pew report. Faced with this reality, even staunch anti-intermarriage scholars are beginning to make concessions. Upon realizing that I was a mixed-race Jew, for instance, Cohen still encouraged me to marry Jewish. He also assured me that even if I didnt I would still be welcomed by the Jewish community.

Mazel tov?

Two scholars on the forefront of understanding the changing face of Judaism are Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, sociologists at Whitman College in Washington state. For the last decade, Kim and Leavitt have trained their attention on the intersection of Jewish and Asian cultures. This is no coincidence: The two are a Korean-Jewish couple, raising two Reform Jewish children. Every week, they celebrate Shabbat dinner, observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and perform the Havdalah service as a family.

President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York Citys Central Synagogue. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York Citys Central Synagogue.

Kims and Leavitts interest began when, flipping through the The New York Times style section, they noticed something strange. Suddenly, it seemed that more and more couples looked like them. Jewish-Asian pairings filled the news, from Tiger Mom Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld to Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Some children of these marriages are grown up and in the news, too. Angela Buchdahl, the wildly popular Korean-American rabbi of New York Citys Central Synagogue, has written about facing challenges to her faith as a young adult.

I did not look Jewish, I did not carry a Jewish name and I no longer wanted the heavy burden of having to explain and prove myself every time I entered a new Jewish community, Buchdahl recalled in a 2003 essay in the journal Shma.

Once, she even told her mother she wanted to give up Judaism. Is that possible? her mother asked.

It was only at that moment that I realized I could no sooner stop being a Jew than I could stop being Korean, or female, or me, Buchdahl wrote.

The affinity between Jews and Asians has some grounding in culture, according to Kim and Leavitt. In 2012, they published a study that sought to explain what draws these two ancient cultures together. Both Asians and Jews, they found, shared deeply ingrained values of academic achievement, strong family ties and frugality. There are also fewer religious barriers: While Asian-Americans may subscribe to a philosophical system like Buddhism, less often do they have overt religious beliefs that clash with Judaism.

As the pair began to raise their two children Ari, 6, and Talia, 3 their questions changed. How would Jewish values translate to mixed-race kids, they wondered?

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari.

This was the logical next step, says Leavitt. We wanted to know how these kids are going to make sense of the different strands of who they are. So they decided to do something novel: ask the kids themselves. For their next study, published last month in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Kim and Leavitt conducted in-depth interviews with 22 children of Jewish-Asian marriages.

What they found flew in the face of the scenario Cohen described. Overwhelmingly, the young adults they talked to considered themselves Jews no ish about it. The majority grew up going to Hebrew school or Jewish day school, attending synagogue, celebrating the High Holidays and feeling part of a larger Jewish community. Half had been bar or bat mitzvahed. Most wanted to pass on a sense of Jewish identity to their own children.

These kids are Jewish, they really are, says Kim.

Unfortunately, a strong sense of personal Jewishness didnt stop the haters. At school, in the synagogue and in casual conversation, respondents recalled getting the same doubtful looks and comments that I did. If it wasnt Funny, you dont look Jewish, it was Oh, you must mean half-Jewish. (This is usually the case when your father is Jewish; in more traditional strains of Judaism, it is believed that Jewish identity flows through the maternal line.)

Refreshingly, the respondents managed to turn these confrontations into opportunities. They felt that they had to assert their Jewishness in a much stronger way, says Kim. So theyd end up saying, I am legitimately Jewish, and youre wrong in your assumptions about me and Jews.

As an exploratory first paper, the study was limited. Besides the small sample size, almost all of the participants had Chinese or Japanese heritage, and none were raised Orthodox Jewish.

Nevertheless, Kim and Leavitts approach is highly original and needed, says Keren McGinity, the editor of the journal in which the work was published, and a Jewish historian at Brandeis University who specializes in intermarriage. The very idea that there can be multi-racial, multi-ethnic Jews is a wake-up call.

Far from being diluted, these mixed-race Jews saw themselves as critical to what todays Jewish values are all about. For them, multi-raciality and Jewishness are intrinsically tied together, the authors wrote.

These kids are thinking about being Jewish in a variety of ways, says Leavitt. Spiritually, religiously, culturally, ethically. Its a huge smorgasbord of what parts of Judaism they draw on to connect with.

What Do You Mean, Half-Jewish?

This question is always a tricky one. Do I cite my grandmothers matzo ball soup? My love for the lilt of Hebrew prayer? The fact that I was so drawn to my Jewish roots that I ended up working for a Jewish magazine? Like Buchdahl, I can no more explain what makes me feel Jewish than what makes me feel Chinese, or female, or human. I usually go with, It means I really, really like Chinese food.

The point, for Kim and Leavitt, is that todays Jews have a choice. For millennia, being Jewish was like being pregnant: You either were, or you werent. But as the number of Jews with hyphenated identities continues to rise, that idea needs rethinking. Maybe it isnt an all-or-nothing affair. Maybe the question shouldnt be, Are you Jewish? but: How are you Jewish? Maybe, for some, being chosen can be a choice.

Rachel is a writer and editor at Moment Magazine, an independent Jewish magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, New Scientist and Slate. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelegross.

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Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Ari’s bris. They’ve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Ari’s bris. They’ve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith.

I was five years old when my mother threatened to give me away to journalist Connie Chung.

Chung and her husband, Maury Povich, had just announced their intention to adopt a half-Chinese, half-Jewish child. At this, my mother, watching on TV in our living room, did a double take. She looked at the screen. Then she looked at me, her half-Chinese, half-Jewish, fully-misbehaving daughter. “How would you like to go live with that woman?” she said.

It was then that I had a startling realization: I was special. Not special in the way that everyone’s kids are special I mean really special. I, with my chubby Chinese cheeks and frizzy Jewish hair, was a unique snowflake, shaped like the Star of David, dusted with matcha green tea powder.

“I’m special!” I announced. “Famous people want to adopt me!”

Mom rolled her eyes as if to say, oy vey.

Only later would I learn the truth: Not everyone was as thrilled about my heritage as I was. The problem was mainly on the Jewish side. As I grew up, announcing I was Jewish often felt “like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials,” in Joan Didion’s words. “But you don’t look Jewish!” came the incredulous reply. Some even implied that the union that produced me was nothing less than a threat to the Jewish people that I was what was wrong with Judaism today.

This view, it turns out, is ancient. “You shall not marry (gentiles), you shall not give your daughter to their son … because he will lead your son astray from Me and they will serve strange gods,” it is said in Deuteronomy. Thousands of years later, many still share this opinion.

“Intermarriage is a serious concern,” Steven Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union College, told me recently. “It weakens Jewish commitment and diminishes the number of people who identify as Jews.”

Cohen was referring to the fact that children of intermarried Jews tend to be less religiously Jewish than those born to two Jewish parents, as found in the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans. But there’s another way of looking at it. While they may be less religious, more and more mixed-race Jews are choosing to identify as Jewish. Among the adult children of intermarried parents surveyed, as many as 59 percent identified as Jews.

Kosher or not, no amount of hand-wringing will change the fact that intermarriage is happening. Since 2005, 6 in 10 Jews who married chose a non-Jewish partner, according to the Pew report. Faced with this reality, even staunch anti-intermarriage scholars are beginning to make concessions. Upon realizing that I was a mixed-race Jew, for instance, Cohen still encouraged me to marry Jewish. He also assured me that even if I didn’t I would still be welcomed by the Jewish community.

Mazel tov?

Two scholars on the forefront of understanding the changing face of Judaism are Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, sociologists at Whitman College in Washington state. For the last decade, Kim and Leavitt have trained their attention on the intersection of Jewish and Asian cultures. This is no coincidence: The two are a Korean-Jewish couple, raising two Reform Jewish children. Every week, they celebrate Shabbat dinner, observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and perform the Havdalah service as a family.

President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York City’s Central Synagogue. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York City’s Central Synagogue.

Kim’s and Leavitt’s interest began when, flipping through the The New York Times style section, they noticed something strange. Suddenly, it seemed that more and more couples looked like them. Jewish-Asian pairings filled the news, from “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Some children of these marriages are grown up and in the news, too. Angela Buchdahl, the wildly popular Korean-American rabbi of New York City’s Central Synagogue, has written about facing challenges to her faith as a young adult.

“I did not look Jewish, I did not carry a Jewish name and I no longer wanted the heavy burden of having to explain and prove myself every time I entered a new Jewish community,” Buchdahl recalled in a 2003 essay in the journal Sh’ma.

Once, she even told her mother she wanted to give up Judaism. “Is that possible?” her mother asked.

“It was only at that moment that I realized I could no sooner stop being a Jew than I could stop being Korean, or female, or me,” Buchdahl wrote.

The affinity between Jews and Asians has some grounding in culture, according to Kim and Leavitt. In 2012, they published a study that sought to explain what draws these two ancient cultures together. Both Asians and Jews, they found, shared deeply ingrained values of academic achievement, strong family ties and frugality. There are also fewer religious barriers: While Asian-Americans may subscribe to a philosophical system like Buddhism, less often do they have overt religious beliefs that clash with Judaism.

As the pair began to raise their two children Ari, 6, and Talia, 3 their questions changed. How would Jewish values translate to mixed-race kids, they wondered?

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari.

“This was the logical next step,” says Leavitt. “We wanted to know how these kids are going to make sense of the different strands of who they are.” So they decided to do something novel: ask the kids themselves. For their next study, published last month in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Kim and Leavitt conducted in-depth interviews with 22 children of Jewish-Asian marriages.

What they found flew in the face of the scenario Cohen described. Overwhelmingly, the young adults they talked to considered themselves Jews no “ish” about it. The majority grew up going to Hebrew school or Jewish day school, attending synagogue, celebrating the High Holidays and feeling part of a larger Jewish community. Half had been bar or bat mitzvahed. Most wanted to pass on a sense of Jewish identity to their own children.

“These kids are Jewish, they really are,” says Kim.

Unfortunately, a strong sense of personal Jewishness didn’t stop the haters. At school, in the synagogue and in casual conversation, respondents recalled getting the same doubtful looks and comments that I did. If it wasn’t “Funny, you don’t look Jewish,” it was “Oh, you must mean half-Jewish.” (This is usually the case when your father is Jewish; in more traditional strains of Judaism, it is believed that Jewish identity flows through the maternal line.)

Refreshingly, the respondents managed to turn these confrontations into opportunities. “They felt that they had to assert their Jewishness in a much stronger way,” says Kim. “So they’d end up saying, ‘I am legitimately Jewish, and you’re wrong in your assumptions about me and Jews.’ “

As an exploratory first paper, the study was limited. Besides the small sample size, almost all of the participants had Chinese or Japanese heritage, and none were raised Orthodox Jewish.

Nevertheless, Kim and Leavitt’s approach is “highly original and needed,” says Keren McGinity, the editor of the journal in which the work was published, and a Jewish historian at Brandeis University who specializes in intermarriage. “The very idea that there can be multi-racial, multi-ethnic Jews is a wake-up call.”

Far from being “diluted,” these mixed-race Jews saw themselves as critical to what today’s Jewish values are all about. For them, “multi-raciality and Jewishness are intrinsically tied together,” the authors wrote.

“These kids are thinking about being Jewish in a variety of ways,” says Leavitt. “Spiritually, religiously, culturally, ethically. It’s a huge smorgasbord of what parts of Judaism they draw on to connect with.”

“What Do You Mean, ‘Half-Jewish’?”

This question is always a tricky one. Do I cite my grandmother’s matzo ball soup? My love for the lilt of Hebrew prayer? The fact that I was so drawn to my Jewish roots that I ended up working for a Jewish magazine? Like Buchdahl, I can no more explain what makes me feel Jewish than what makes me feel Chinese, or female, or human. I usually go with, “It means I really, really like Chinese food.”

The point, for Kim and Leavitt, is that today’s Jews have a choice. For millennia, being Jewish was like being pregnant: You either were, or you weren’t. But as the number of Jews with hyphenated identities continues to rise, that idea needs rethinking. Maybe it isn’t an all-or-nothing affair. Maybe the question shouldn’t be, “Are you Jewish?” but: “How are you Jewish?” Maybe, for some, being chosen can be a choice.

Rachel is a writer and editor at Moment Magazine, an independent Jewish magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, New Scientist and Slate. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelegross.

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Passport to Museums | Arts Initiative Columbia University

Current undergraduate and graduate students can explore New York City through our Passport to Museums program. With your CUID and semester validation sticker you can visit over 30 museums that generously provide Columbia students with free admission. From Museum Mile in Manhattan to sculpture gardens in Queens, use your Passport to visit these amazing cultural destinations.

You mayobtain your current semester validation stickerfrom your school’s ID center: 204Kent Hall for all Columbia University and Barnard students, 160 Thorndike Hall for Teachers College students, or 1-405C P&S for all CUMC students.

The Arts Initiative can help faculty arrange and subsidize class visits to Passport to Museums partners through our ArtsLink program. Click here to learn more.

*The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters also provide free admission to Columbia University faculty who present a current CUID at the admission desk. Free admission is available only to the faculty member (does not extend to family members or guests).**El Museo del Barrio extends free admission to all current Columbia University students, faculty, and staff, plus aguest (Columbia affiliate must showCUID).

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Welcome to JICNY – Jewish International Connection of New …

I have an American passport and was born in West Caldwell, New Jersey. Together, my parents and grandparents instilled the importance of family, education, chesed, and a good name. As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I grew up with a robust sense of history, Jewish identity, models of …

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NJ Car Dealership Pulls TV Ads from NFL Broadcasts over National Anthem Protests

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 1: Members of the Seahawks sit on the bench during the national anthem before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field on October 1, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
A New Jersey car dealership is pulling its television ads from NFL broadcasts for the rest of the 2017 football season in response to NFL teams protesting the national anthem.

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Michael Flynn’s Brother Starts Legal Defense Fund to Fight ‘Egregious Public Political Assassination’


The Flynn siblings are rallying around Michael Flynn, and earlier this month they pushed him to start a legal defense fund to meet the “crippling” costs of legal representation related to the investigations of the 2016 election.

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Exclusive: House Passes Bill to Stop Abortion After Unborn Child Can Feel Pain


The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—which now goes to the Senate–and President Donald Trump promises to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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Jewish American Heritage Month Jewish American Heritage …

richards | November 29, 2017 In the 1970s, a movement known as Jewish feminism started in the American Jewish community. It was a movement that originally sought to make Jewish woman superior to equal to Jewish men. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Why Is There A Prolific Jewish Presence In The American Tags: richards | November 24, 2017 Current undergraduate and graduate students can explore New York City through our Passport to Museums program. With your CUID and semester validation sticker you can visit over 30 museums that generously provide Columbia students with free admission. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Passport to Museums | Arts Initiative Columbia University Tags: richards | November 21, 2017 Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Part Asian-American, All Jewish? : Code Switch : NPR Tags: admin | September 29, 2017 in 1923 in the state of Massachusetts. He now goes by the name, Sumner Redstone Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on The Jewish Debasing Of American Culture | Real Jew News Tags: simmons | September 29, 2017 The Asian American Heritage Committee promotes awareness of Asian and Asian American cultures in the United Federation of Teachers and the broader labor movement. We accomplish this goal by hosting a wide array of events throughout the year and participating in all union activities. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Asian American Heritage Committee | United Federation of Tags: admin | September 20, 2017 The Annual Russian Heritage Month celebrates and honors the rich diversity of cultural traditions brought to the U.S. from the many countries of the former Soviet Union. The Russian-speaking community plays an indispensable role in the culture, economic and social life of New York, the US and the world. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on 15th Annual Russian Heritage Month rhmonth.org Tags: admin | August 25, 2017 A judge in Belarus approved the construction of apartments atop two former Jewish cemeteries. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Belarus court OKs luxury flats atop former Jewish cemeteries Cleveland Jewish News Tags: richards | August 25, 2017 BBC News Trump economic aide Gary Cohn chides him on Charlottesville BBC News US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser has criticised the White House’s response to a far-right rally this month in Virginia. National Economic Council director Gary Cohn told the .. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Trump economic aide Gary Cohn chides him on Charlottesville BBC News Tags: simmons | August 25, 2017 The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation unveiled a historical marker at Crescenta Valley Community Regional Park in La Crescenta on Aug. 18that includes an explanation of the parks historical ties to Nazis. Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on La Crescenta Parks Nazi ties reflected in new historical marker Jewish Journal Tags: richards | August 24, 2017 On Wednesday, a new month began in the lunar calendars of Jews and Muslims. And it couldnt have come soon enough Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Jews and Muslims are natural allies against religious discrimination The Hill (blog) Tags:

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December 5, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Jewish American Heritage Month | In Custodia Legis: Law …

Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in New Amsterdam in 1654. Every year since 1980, Congress and the President have acted together to declare an official observance to recognize the contributions of Jewish Americans to American society. Since 2006, Congress and the President have proclaimed that the month of May is Jewish American Heritage Month. On April 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued this years proclamation. In his statement, President Trump said: The achievements of American Jews are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession. American Jews have built institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and manifold cultural and philanthropic organizations. As this is a law blog, we thought we would take a look at three Jewish Americans who were among the earliest to contribute to the legal profession in America: Asser Levy van Swellem The government of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (which became New York after its capture by the English in 1664) did not recognize attorneys as a distinct profession. In its court, the Court of the Schout, Burgomaster and Shepens, neither the judges nor the advocates had the benefit of formal legal education. But since cases were nevertheless tried, people found it useful to rely on whoever among their neighbors was most skillful at pressing claims in court to represent them when the need arose. One person who frequently appeared as an advocate in the court records of the time was a Jewish man named Asser Levy van Swellem (d. 1680). Although he was probably born and raised in Amsterdam, Asser Levy was connected to the group of 23 Jewish immigrants who arrived from Brazil in 1654, a group that is often thought of as the first Jewish immigrants to the region that would later become the United States (Jews, however, likely arrived in what is now New Mexico somewhat before this time). A butcher by trade, he became one of the first licensed butchers in the colony.Within a year of his arrival, he successfully petitioned the governor to remove a ban on Jews bearing arms in defense of the colony and to undo a discriminatory tax. In 1657, he successfully petitioned the governor to remove a ban on Jews enjoyment of certain trade privileges. In an astonishingly short time, he built trade relations with partners as far away as New England and built relationships with merchants in Holland whose interests he represented in court. By 1661, he purchased an estate near Albany, as well as a piece of land in lower Manhattan (becoming the first Jewish citizen to own land in New York City). By 1664, he was counted among the wealthy men of the colony who were asked to finance the defense of the city from the English. In the meantime, he participated in several dozen lawsuits, representing himself and many others, both in New York and in neighboring Connecticut. His name appears frequently as a trustee and as executor of a number of Christian wills. Records show he contributed funds for the construction of the citys first Lutheran Church. Toward the end of his life, he owned a successful tavern and a slaughterhouse in New York City. Isaac Miranda One of the earliest known Jewish settlers of Pennsylvania was Isaac Miranda (d. 1733). He was said to have come to Philadelphia from Tuscany, Italy, by way of London as early as 1710, and may have been the first Jewish resident of that city. He settled in Lancaster in 1715, where he is known to be the first Jewish inhabitant. Other families soon followed, so that by 1740, there were ten Jewish families in Lancaster. Although he kept a collection of Hebrew books, which he brought with him from abroad, he maintained that he was a Christian; he likely converted to marry his wife, Mary Raynolds, in London before coming to America. The secretary of the province of Pennsylvania, James Logan, described him in 1723 as a superficial convert to Christianity. The accusation was not trivial. Under William Penns Charter of Pennsylvania, Jews were free to worship, but they could not vote or hold public office. In 1727, the colonial administration appointed him agent to receive and collect the perquisites and rights of Admiralty, and on June 19, 1727, he was made a deputy judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court. This appointment made Miranda the first Jew to hold a judicial office in America. Over time, Miranda grew wealthy from trade with Native Americans and came to own a significant amount of land, including two houses in Philadelphia. He died in Lancaster in 1733. A daguerreotype by Matthew Brady depicting Sampson Simson between 1844 and 1857 [Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division] After the English seized New York from Dutch control, the colony prohibited Jews from practicing law. This prohibition remained in force for most of the 18th century until it was lifted after the enactment of the New York Constitution of 1777. It was not until 1802, however, that a Jewish attorney was admitted to the New York bar. His name was Sampson Simson (1780-1857). Simson was born in Danbury, Connecticut, where his father, also named Sampson Simson, had taken his family when the British occupied New York during the War for Independence. Sampson Simson the elder was a successful shipowner; his success left his son with a large fortune that supported him throughout his life. Sampson Simson (the younger) graduated from Columbia College in 1800, the first Jew to graduate from that institution. He read law with Aaron Burr (the sitting vice president of the United States) between 1800 and 1802 and practiced law in the law office of J.L. and H.L. Riker at 150 Nassau Street. He practiced law for a short timeonly a few yearsbefore an accident left him temporarily disabled. Afterwards, he retired to his farm in Yonkers for a life of charitable work and philanthropy. It is for this work that he is most remembered. Chief among his accomplishments was his role in founding in 1852 the Jews Hospital, renamed Mount Sinai Hospital in 1866. The hospital was built on land donated by Simson on W. 28th St. between 7th and 8th Avenues. He served as the first president of its board of directors and for the remaining years of his life personally assumed many of the hospitals financial burdens. In 1856, he helped to fund the purchase of the Welsh Chapel on Allen Street to house theBeth Hamedrash Hagodol, a new and rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish congregation. He bequeathed a large sum of money to the North American Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Jerusalem, an organization that supported the impoverished Jewish community then living in Ottoman Palestine. Myer S. Isaacs (1841-1904), a Jewish attorney and philanthropist who lived in New York throughout the second half of the 19th century, recorded his personal recollections of Simson in 1902. He remembered Simson and his father chatting endlessly about their memories of the important men of the founding generation as well as about their religious and philanthropic activities. He recalls: He affected the old fashioned costume, sometimes wearing knee breeches and buckles. He was above the average height, very stiff and upright in his bearing. His hair was white and he wore it in long wavy locks. His spectacles were of great size. His habitual walk was in short, quick steps-and he carried a silver headed cane, upon which he would lean when seated. His voice was not musical and he rarely laughed. He was exacting and even tyrannical-would not endure criticism or contractionthere were men he did not like and he let them perceive it quicklyHe was precise in his religious views, rose very early and spent some time at his devotionshe was interested in prison reformHe was a great admirer of Andrew Jackson and preserved a stick presented to him by the President. He was captain of a regiment of Militia, but it is not known that he took part in active service. In the practice of law, he was always considerate towards colored people. He was specially interested in agricultural affairs; new machines attracted him.

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November 30, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Jewish American Heritage Month Part Asian-American, All …

Posted By richards on November 21, 2017 Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris. Theyve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Aris bris. Theyve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. I was five years old when my mother threatened to give me away to journalist Connie Chung. Chung and her husband, Maury Povich, had just announced their intention to adopt a half-Chinese, half-Jewish child. At this, my mother, watching on TV in our living room, did a double take. She looked at the screen. Then she looked at me, her half-Chinese, half-Jewish, fully-misbehaving daughter. How would you like to go live with that woman? she said. It was then that I had a startling realization: I was special. Not special in the way that everyones kids are special I mean really special. I, with my chubby Chinese cheeks and frizzy Jewish hair, was a unique snowflake, shaped like the Star of David, dusted with matcha green tea powder. Im special! I announced. Famous people want to adopt me! Mom rolled her eyes as if to say, oy vey. Only later would I learn the truth: Not everyone was as thrilled about my heritage as I was. The problem was mainly on the Jewish side. As I grew up, announcing I was Jewish often felt like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, in Joan Didions words. But you dont look Jewish! came the incredulous reply. Some even implied that the union that produced me was nothing less than a threat to the Jewish people that I was what was wrong with Judaism today. This view, it turns out, is ancient. You shall not marry (gentiles), you shall not give your daughter to their son because he will lead your son astray from Me and they will serve strange gods, it is said in Deuteronomy. Thousands of years later, many still share this opinion. Intermarriage is a serious concern, Steven Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union College, told me recently. It weakens Jewish commitment and diminishes the number of people who identify as Jews. Cohen was referring to the fact that children of intermarried Jews tend to be less religiously Jewish than those born to two Jewish parents, as found in the Pew Research Centers 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans. But theres another way of looking at it. While they may be less religious, more and more mixed-race Jews are choosing to identify as Jewish. Among the adult children of intermarried parents surveyed, as many as 59 percent identified as Jews. Kosher or not, no amount of hand-wringing will change the fact that intermarriage is happening. Since 2005, 6 in 10 Jews who married chose a non-Jewish partner, according to the Pew report. Faced with this reality, even staunch anti-intermarriage scholars are beginning to make concessions. Upon realizing that I was a mixed-race Jew, for instance, Cohen still encouraged me to marry Jewish. He also assured me that even if I didnt I would still be welcomed by the Jewish community. Mazel tov? Two scholars on the forefront of understanding the changing face of Judaism are Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, sociologists at Whitman College in Washington state. For the last decade, Kim and Leavitt have trained their attention on the intersection of Jewish and Asian cultures. This is no coincidence: The two are a Korean-Jewish couple, raising two Reform Jewish children. Every week, they celebrate Shabbat dinner, observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and perform the Havdalah service as a family. President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York Citys Central Synagogue. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York Citys Central Synagogue. Kims and Leavitts interest began when, flipping through the The New York Times style section, they noticed something strange. Suddenly, it seemed that more and more couples looked like them. Jewish-Asian pairings filled the news, from Tiger Mom Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld to Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Some children of these marriages are grown up and in the news, too. Angela Buchdahl, the wildly popular Korean-American rabbi of New York Citys Central Synagogue, has written about facing challenges to her faith as a young adult. I did not look Jewish, I did not carry a Jewish name and I no longer wanted the heavy burden of having to explain and prove myself every time I entered a new Jewish community, Buchdahl recalled in a 2003 essay in the journal Shma. Once, she even told her mother she wanted to give up Judaism. Is that possible? her mother asked. It was only at that moment that I realized I could no sooner stop being a Jew than I could stop being Korean, or female, or me, Buchdahl wrote. The affinity between Jews and Asians has some grounding in culture, according to Kim and Leavitt. In 2012, they published a study that sought to explain what draws these two ancient cultures together. Both Asians and Jews, they found, shared deeply ingrained values of academic achievement, strong family ties and frugality. There are also fewer religious barriers: While Asian-Americans may subscribe to a philosophical system like Buddhism, less often do they have overt religious beliefs that clash with Judaism. As the pair began to raise their two children Ari, 6, and Talia, 3 their questions changed. How would Jewish values translate to mixed-race kids, they wondered? Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. This was the logical next step, says Leavitt. We wanted to know how these kids are going to make sense of the different strands of who they are. So they decided to do something novel: ask the kids themselves. For their next study, published last month in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Kim and Leavitt conducted in-depth interviews with 22 children of Jewish-Asian marriages. What they found flew in the face of the scenario Cohen described. Overwhelmingly, the young adults they talked to considered themselves Jews no ish about it. The majority grew up going to Hebrew school or Jewish day school, attending synagogue, celebrating the High Holidays and feeling part of a larger Jewish community. Half had been bar or bat mitzvahed. Most wanted to pass on a sense of Jewish identity to their own children. These kids are Jewish, they really are, says Kim. Unfortunately, a strong sense of personal Jewishness didnt stop the haters. At school, in the synagogue and in casual conversation, respondents recalled getting the same doubtful looks and comments that I did. If it wasnt Funny, you dont look Jewish, it was Oh, you must mean half-Jewish. (This is usually the case when your father is Jewish; in more traditional strains of Judaism, it is believed that Jewish identity flows through the maternal line.) Refreshingly, the respondents managed to turn these confrontations into opportunities. They felt that they had to assert their Jewishness in a much stronger way, says Kim. So theyd end up saying, I am legitimately Jewish, and youre wrong in your assumptions about me and Jews. As an exploratory first paper, the study was limited. Besides the small sample size, almost all of the participants had Chinese or Japanese heritage, and none were raised Orthodox Jewish. Nevertheless, Kim and Leavitts approach is highly original and needed, says Keren McGinity, the editor of the journal in which the work was published, and a Jewish historian at Brandeis University who specializes in intermarriage. The very idea that there can be multi-racial, multi-ethnic Jews is a wake-up call. Far from being diluted, these mixed-race Jews saw themselves as critical to what todays Jewish values are all about. For them, multi-raciality and Jewishness are intrinsically tied together, the authors wrote. These kids are thinking about being Jewish in a variety of ways, says Leavitt. Spiritually, religiously, culturally, ethically. Its a huge smorgasbord of what parts of Judaism they draw on to connect with. What Do You Mean, Half-Jewish? This question is always a tricky one. Do I cite my grandmothers matzo ball soup? My love for the lilt of Hebrew prayer? The fact that I was so drawn to my Jewish roots that I ended up working for a Jewish magazine? Like Buchdahl, I can no more explain what makes me feel Jewish than what makes me feel Chinese, or female, or human. I usually go with, It means I really, really like Chinese food. The point, for Kim and Leavitt, is that todays Jews have a choice. For millennia, being Jewish was like being pregnant: You either were, or you werent. But as the number of Jews with hyphenated identities continues to rise, that idea needs rethinking. Maybe it isnt an all-or-nothing affair. Maybe the question shouldnt be, Are you Jewish? but: How are you Jewish? Maybe, for some, being chosen can be a choice. Rachel is a writer and editor at Moment Magazine, an independent Jewish magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, New Scientist and Slate. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelegross. Go here to see the original: Part Asian-American, All Jewish? : Code Switch : NPR Category: Jewish American Heritage Month Tags:

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November 29, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Part Asian-American, All Jewish? : Code Switch : NPR

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Ari’s bris. They’ve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Ari’s bris. They’ve worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith. I was five years old when my mother threatened to give me away to journalist Connie Chung. Chung and her husband, Maury Povich, had just announced their intention to adopt a half-Chinese, half-Jewish child. At this, my mother, watching on TV in our living room, did a double take. She looked at the screen. Then she looked at me, her half-Chinese, half-Jewish, fully-misbehaving daughter. “How would you like to go live with that woman?” she said. It was then that I had a startling realization: I was special. Not special in the way that everyone’s kids are special I mean really special. I, with my chubby Chinese cheeks and frizzy Jewish hair, was a unique snowflake, shaped like the Star of David, dusted with matcha green tea powder. “I’m special!” I announced. “Famous people want to adopt me!” Mom rolled her eyes as if to say, oy vey. Only later would I learn the truth: Not everyone was as thrilled about my heritage as I was. The problem was mainly on the Jewish side. As I grew up, announcing I was Jewish often felt “like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials,” in Joan Didion’s words. “But you don’t look Jewish!” came the incredulous reply. Some even implied that the union that produced me was nothing less than a threat to the Jewish people that I was what was wrong with Judaism today. This view, it turns out, is ancient. “You shall not marry (gentiles), you shall not give your daughter to their son … because he will lead your son astray from Me and they will serve strange gods,” it is said in Deuteronomy. Thousands of years later, many still share this opinion. “Intermarriage is a serious concern,” Steven Cohen, a professor at Hebrew Union College, told me recently. “It weakens Jewish commitment and diminishes the number of people who identify as Jews.” Cohen was referring to the fact that children of intermarried Jews tend to be less religiously Jewish than those born to two Jewish parents, as found in the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans. But there’s another way of looking at it. While they may be less religious, more and more mixed-race Jews are choosing to identify as Jewish. Among the adult children of intermarried parents surveyed, as many as 59 percent identified as Jews. Kosher or not, no amount of hand-wringing will change the fact that intermarriage is happening. Since 2005, 6 in 10 Jews who married chose a non-Jewish partner, according to the Pew report. Faced with this reality, even staunch anti-intermarriage scholars are beginning to make concessions. Upon realizing that I was a mixed-race Jew, for instance, Cohen still encouraged me to marry Jewish. He also assured me that even if I didn’t I would still be welcomed by the Jewish community. Mazel tov? Two scholars on the forefront of understanding the changing face of Judaism are Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, sociologists at Whitman College in Washington state. For the last decade, Kim and Leavitt have trained their attention on the intersection of Jewish and Asian cultures. This is no coincidence: The two are a Korean-Jewish couple, raising two Reform Jewish children. Every week, they celebrate Shabbat dinner, observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and perform the Havdalah service as a family. President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York City’s Central Synagogue. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption President Barack Obama puts his arm around Rabbi Angela Buchdahl during a White House Hanukkah reception in Dec. 2014. Buchdahl, who is Korean-American and Jewish, leads New York City’s Central Synagogue. Kim’s and Leavitt’s interest began when, flipping through the The New York Times style section, they noticed something strange. Suddenly, it seemed that more and more couples looked like them. Jewish-Asian pairings filled the news, from “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and husband Jed Rubenfeld to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Some children of these marriages are grown up and in the news, too. Angela Buchdahl, the wildly popular Korean-American rabbi of New York City’s Central Synagogue, has written about facing challenges to her faith as a young adult. “I did not look Jewish, I did not carry a Jewish name and I no longer wanted the heavy burden of having to explain and prove myself every time I entered a new Jewish community,” Buchdahl recalled in a 2003 essay in the journal Sh’ma. Once, she even told her mother she wanted to give up Judaism. “Is that possible?” her mother asked. “It was only at that moment that I realized I could no sooner stop being a Jew than I could stop being Korean, or female, or me,” Buchdahl wrote. The affinity between Jews and Asians has some grounding in culture, according to Kim and Leavitt. In 2012, they published a study that sought to explain what draws these two ancient cultures together. Both Asians and Jews, they found, shared deeply ingrained values of academic achievement, strong family ties and frugality. There are also fewer religious barriers: While Asian-Americans may subscribe to a philosophical system like Buddhism, less often do they have overt religious beliefs that clash with Judaism. As the pair began to raise their two children Ari, 6, and Talia, 3 their questions changed. How would Jewish values translate to mixed-race kids, they wondered? Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. The Kim-Leavitt family hide caption Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt with their children Talia and Ari. “This was the logical next step,” says Leavitt. “We wanted to know how these kids are going to make sense of the different strands of who they are.” So they decided to do something novel: ask the kids themselves. For their next study, published last month in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Kim and Leavitt conducted in-depth interviews with 22 children of Jewish-Asian marriages. What they found flew in the face of the scenario Cohen described. Overwhelmingly, the young adults they talked to considered themselves Jews no “ish” about it. The majority grew up going to Hebrew school or Jewish day school, attending synagogue, celebrating the High Holidays and feeling part of a larger Jewish community. Half had been bar or bat mitzvahed. Most wanted to pass on a sense of Jewish identity to their own children. “These kids are Jewish, they really are,” says Kim. Unfortunately, a strong sense of personal Jewishness didn’t stop the haters. At school, in the synagogue and in casual conversation, respondents recalled getting the same doubtful looks and comments that I did. If it wasn’t “Funny, you don’t look Jewish,” it was “Oh, you must mean half-Jewish.” (This is usually the case when your father is Jewish; in more traditional strains of Judaism, it is believed that Jewish identity flows through the maternal line.) Refreshingly, the respondents managed to turn these confrontations into opportunities. “They felt that they had to assert their Jewishness in a much stronger way,” says Kim. “So they’d end up saying, ‘I am legitimately Jewish, and you’re wrong in your assumptions about me and Jews.’ ” As an exploratory first paper, the study was limited. Besides the small sample size, almost all of the participants had Chinese or Japanese heritage, and none were raised Orthodox Jewish. Nevertheless, Kim and Leavitt’s approach is “highly original and needed,” says Keren McGinity, the editor of the journal in which the work was published, and a Jewish historian at Brandeis University who specializes in intermarriage. “The very idea that there can be multi-racial, multi-ethnic Jews is a wake-up call.” Far from being “diluted,” these mixed-race Jews saw themselves as critical to what today’s Jewish values are all about. For them, “multi-raciality and Jewishness are intrinsically tied together,” the authors wrote. “These kids are thinking about being Jewish in a variety of ways,” says Leavitt. “Spiritually, religiously, culturally, ethically. It’s a huge smorgasbord of what parts of Judaism they draw on to connect with.” “What Do You Mean, ‘Half-Jewish’?” This question is always a tricky one. Do I cite my grandmother’s matzo ball soup? My love for the lilt of Hebrew prayer? The fact that I was so drawn to my Jewish roots that I ended up working for a Jewish magazine? Like Buchdahl, I can no more explain what makes me feel Jewish than what makes me feel Chinese, or female, or human. I usually go with, “It means I really, really like Chinese food.” The point, for Kim and Leavitt, is that today’s Jews have a choice. For millennia, being Jewish was like being pregnant: You either were, or you weren’t. But as the number of Jews with hyphenated identities continues to rise, that idea needs rethinking. Maybe it isn’t an all-or-nothing affair. Maybe the question shouldn’t be, “Are you Jewish?” but: “How are you Jewish?” Maybe, for some, being chosen can be a choice. Rachel is a writer and editor at Moment Magazine, an independent Jewish magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, New Scientist and Slate. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelegross.

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November 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Passport to Museums | Arts Initiative Columbia University

Current undergraduate and graduate students can explore New York City through our Passport to Museums program. With your CUID and semester validation sticker you can visit over 30 museums that generously provide Columbia students with free admission. From Museum Mile in Manhattan to sculpture gardens in Queens, use your Passport to visit these amazing cultural destinations. You mayobtain your current semester validation stickerfrom your school’s ID center: 204Kent Hall for all Columbia University and Barnard students, 160 Thorndike Hall for Teachers College students, or 1-405C P&S for all CUMC students. The Arts Initiative can help faculty arrange and subsidize class visits to Passport to Museums partners through our ArtsLink program. Click here to learn more. *The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters also provide free admission to Columbia University faculty who present a current CUID at the admission desk. Free admission is available only to the faculty member (does not extend to family members or guests).**El Museo del Barrio extends free admission to all current Columbia University students, faculty, and staff, plus aguest (Columbia affiliate must showCUID).

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November 21, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Welcome to JICNY – Jewish International Connection of New …

I have an American passport and was born in West Caldwell, New Jersey. Together, my parents and grandparents instilled the importance of family, education, chesed, and a good name. As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I grew up with a robust sense of history, Jewish identity, models of …

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October 13, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

NJ Car Dealership Pulls TV Ads from NFL Broadcasts over National Anthem Protests

A New Jersey car dealership is pulling its television ads from NFL broadcasts for the rest of the 2017 football season in response to NFL teams protesting the national anthem.

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October 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Michael Flynn’s Brother Starts Legal Defense Fund to Fight ‘Egregious Public Political Assassination’

The Flynn siblings are rallying around Michael Flynn, and earlier this month they pushed him to start a legal defense fund to meet the “crippling” costs of legal representation related to the investigations of the 2016 election.

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October 3, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Exclusive: House Passes Bill to Stop Abortion After Unborn Child Can Feel Pain

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—which now goes to the Senate–and President Donald Trump promises to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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