Nearly 500 rabbis have signed onto a letter to President Obama, urging him to continue to work toward peace in Sudan.
The May 24 letter was written by Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and signed by 492 rabbis from across the country and from various streams of Judaism.
The letter calls for the appointment of a high-level special envoy “with the experience, political stature and resources to tackle effectively the myriad of challenges facing Sudan today,” increased humanitarian access for Sudanese people in need and a United States policy which will help in that country’s democratic transformation.
“The Jewish community will remain committed to achieving a peaceful Sudan, and we urge you to remain personally involved as well,” the letter states.
The Jewish community has been active in fighting violence and human rights abuses in Darfur and has joined with other religions to form Save Darfur.
Maryland rabbis signing onto the letter include Reeve Brenner, Rockville; Susan Grossman, Columbia; Jonah Layman, Olney; Michael Safra, Rockville; Jonathan Schnitzer, Rockville; Binyamin Biber, Silver Spring; Rebecca Gould, Silver Spring; and Sonya Starr, Silver Spring.
Rabbis Fred Scherlinder Dobb and Charles Feinberg of D.C. signed the letter.
In Northern Virginia, Rabbis Bonny Grosz, Reston; and Jack Moline, Alexandria signed on.
– Suzanne Pollak
Conyers condemns Farrakhan diatribe
U.S. Rep. John Conyers condemned what he called an anti-Semitic speech by Louis Farrakhan in Detroit.
Conyers (D-Mich.), the longest-serving African American serving in Congress, was on hand for the Farrakhan address at the Fellowship Chapel.
“During this speech, Minister Farrakhan made unacceptable racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements, which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Conyers said in a statement released May 22.
Conyers said he had expected Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam group to use the speech to address revitalization in the Detroit area.
In his May 17 speech, Farrakhan repeatedly referred to Jews as “satanic” and suggested they were controlling President Obama.
– JTA News and Features
Adelsons donate another $40 million to Birthright
Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated another $40 million to the Birthright Israel Foundation.
Their latest gift brings the couple’s overall donations to the program to $180 million.
In recent years, the Adelsons have given major donations to several Jewish institutions and organizations. In 2011, they donated $25 million to Yad Vashem. Other recipients of their largesse include the Shalem Center, a think tank in Jerusalem, and the Zionist Organization of America. In addition to their philanthropy, the Adelsons have given tens of millions of dollars in support of Republican politicians and conservative causes.
– JTA News and Features