This month, the Coalition for Jewish Values had a series of new opportunities to represent and work for our community — so many that I’m going to try to be as brief as possible.
We had an extremely successful call-in conference featuring Rav Aharon Feldman, Dean of Ner Israel Rabbinical College, and Gary Bauer, the President of American Values and a new Trump nominee to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Rav Feldman encouraged as many rabbis as possible to join our organization, while Mr. Bauer told us that a Jewish voice is sorely needed, and will be welcomed, to help correct society’s moral decline.
The recent graduation of the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles resulted in surprising coverage for the CJV. The keynote speaker, Michael Chabon, is a known anti-Israel activist, and in his address he managed to denigrate Jewish self-defense, the Jewish religion, and Jewish peoplehood — and the graduating Reform Rabbis gave him warm applause. We did a write-up of what transpired merely to inform our rabbis, but others asked to see and publish it as an important summary for the general public.
Everyone knows by now of the important Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which preserved religious free choice and exercise for Jack Phillips and his family. We had the opportunity to connect with Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips’ legal counsel, and learn their understanding of the ramifications for future cases.
We have also been involved in two separate cases of confronting bigotry at US schools.
As you probably also know, New York’s public Beacon High School held a moment of silence for “Palestinians killed in Gaza.” Our first release called this “abandonment of its educational mission.” We then sent a letter to principal Ruth Lacey in which we questioned whether the school was “honoring humanity, or barbarism.” As we pointed out in a second release, we asked rhetorically if the school held similar moments of silence for victims of terrorism domestically and around the world, before questioning the wisdom of commemorating only “those killed while trying to murder Jews.”
The second case, also reasonably well-known, involves a woman who accosted a pair of men who were performing a Jewish ritual at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel. A Chabad representative was helping a fellow traveler put on Tefillin, phylacteries, when the woman approached and insisted they not do this in a “public place.” It turned out that the woman was Professor P’nina Peri, who is in the Department of Israel Studies at the University of Maryland. A web listing of Middle East Studies faculty at American University erroneously included her name, and the AU Department of Communications immediately reached out to us to say that she had not taught there since 2015.
We received a very different reaction from the University of Maryland. Professor Peri offered an untenable excuse, that the men started by standing over her and, when she asked for space, by shouting at her and calling her terrible names. A second video then emerged, which Israelis all recognized as confirming the Rabbi’s version of events: yet another secular person is yelling at him, while the Rabbi says nothing at all. At no time did he raise his voice, neither were he and the other man standing over her. Yet the University wrote us to say that this second video confirms her account. It is clear that they are “circling the wagons” because her husband is the Director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, but the bigotry she displayed towards religious observance is simply not acceptable. Further steps are being taken; expect further discussion in our next update!
Due to these stories, the CJV was mentioned by media outlets more than two dozen times in the past month, and also produced 16 op-eds found below.
As we went to print, we added a new press release that both endorses a sober solution to the illegal immigration crisis, such as that proposed by Senator Ted Cruz, while criticizing Orthodox groups that joined a statement dominated by liberal voices whose response to anything regarding this administration is entirely and sadly predictable.
All of this happened only thanks to your support. Your generous donation to the CJV will help us continue to grow and pursue this crucial work.
Beacon School “Abandoned its Educational Mission, ” says Rabbinic Group, May 23
Rabbinic Group Calls for Review of Professor in Viral Video Bias Incident, May 30
Did Beacon High School Honor Barbarism?, May 31
Rabbis Welcome Supreme Court Decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop Case, Jun 4
CJV Calls for “Sober Response” to Immigration Crisis, Jun 19
Letters & Statements:
Special Memorandum: Concerning the Recent HUC Graduation, May 28
Letter to Principal Lacey of Beacon High School Concerning Moment of Silence, May 29
Letter to University System of Maryland Chancellor Concerning Professor in Viral Video Bias Incident, May 29
Trump 1, Abortionists 0
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in The American Thinker, May 23
The Challenge of Gratitude
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in Israel National News, May 23
Why Is Rabbi Riskin Ordaining Female Rabbis?
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in The Jewish Press, May 24
Dismantling The Palestinian Lie
Rabbi Yaakov Menken in The Jewish Press, May 25
Israeli Chief Rabbinate Slams The Door On Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in Yated Neeman, May 30
Knock on the Door? Call on the Phone? Not in The New World
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky in Baltimore Jewish Life, May 30
Jews Marrying Jews: That’s Apparently The Problem
Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Rabbi Yaakov Menken in The Jewish Press, May 31
The never-ending saga of unrecognized American conversions
Rabbi Dov Fischer in Israel National News, Jun 1
The Chief Rabbinate Did What Was Necessary — And There Is No Blacklist
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in Times of Israel, Jun 4
Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling Looks Tasty But Is Only Half-Baked… Meantime
Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, Jun 5
California Dreamin’ — A Night in the Jungle
Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, Jun 7
Not Even Your Bubbe’s HUC
Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Rabbi Yaakov Menken in Matzav.com, Jun 11
DeNiro and Trump
by Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, Jun 12
In Siding With Masterpiece Cakeshop, The OU Made A Tough Choice, But The Correct One
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer in The Forward, Jun 13
No Obstruction If Boss Cans Insubordinate Subordinate
Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, Jun 15
On Separating Children From Parents and Incarcerating Orphans for Life Without Parole
Rabbi Dov Fischer in The American Spectator, Jun 18