A Unitarian Universalist church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan found itself the victim of vandalism with two swastikas carved into its front doors on Tuesday.
The Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York on Central Park West and 76th Street voted on February 5th “to offer short term sanctuary to undocumented individuals and families facing deportation,” according to its website.
“Our congregation has Jewish members, and even someone who fled the Nazis themselves, so the symbol has real power here,” Rev. Schuyler Vogel told DNAinfo. The reverend also said they are planning an interfaith event in response to the vandalism.
Unitarian Universalist churches accept people of all faiths. “Unitarian Universalists believe more than one thing,” according to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s website. “We are Unitarian Universalist and Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, atheist and agnostic, believers in God, and more.”
New York City has seen a doubling of hate crime so far this year, according to the NYPD.
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Basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire, a star forward for the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem, apologized for comments which were taken to be anti-gay.
“I want to apologize for my offensive comments against the LGBT community. These remarks were taken from a larger interview where a reporter was asking me hypothetical questions, and all my answers had a comedic undertone,” Stoudemire said in a statement released by Hapoel Jerusalem.
Stoudemire previously told the Israeli website Walla Sport that he would “shower across the street” if he found out he had a gay teammate. The statement quickly caused a media firestorm.
“The answers I gave were meant to be taken as jokes and I am deeply sorry for offending anyone,” Stoudemire said. “I am open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily and will continue to focus on playing basketball.”
Stoudemire signed a two-year contract with Hapoel Jerusalem last year. On Sunday, he received Israel’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, for his philanthropic work, which has continued since his move to Israel.
Stoudemire’s move to Israel is not strictly professional — but also spiritual. Stoudemire identifies as a Hebrew Israelite, meaning he views the ancient Israelites as his ancestors and the land of Israel as an ancestral homeland.
In a rare spot of irony amid the potential for tragedy in the threats leveled against Jewish community centers nationwide, Dallas’s JCC didn’t respond to a recent threat because it landed in the organization’s spam folder, only to be discovered when police alerted the JCC about a possible threat.
“That’s right,” Dallas News columnist Robert Wilonsky wrote. “The terroristic threat wound up in the junk folder alongside erection-pill ads, pleas from Nigerian princes who need fast cash and Nextdoor notifications.”
The threat was e-mailed last week and was found that Friday after the police alert. But the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center hasn’t escaped the scares that have engulfed JCCs throughout the country. Threats directed at the institution made it to the intended recipients in January and this Wednesday, when folks were forced to evacuate the Dallas site.
For the past 328 days, Nuseir Yassin has been traveling the world - from Nigeria to Myanmar, the Philippines to Mount Fuji - making daily one-minute videos that shine a light on the people, places and passions he comes across: good, bad and in-between.
The style and format - quick cuts, an engaging delivery and snappy subtitles - have helped make the videos go viral. Some of his mini-films have earned 25 million views.
“I just wanted to do something that felt meaningful,” Yassin, 24, an Israeli-born Palestinian and Harvard graduate who goes by the name Nas. “I realized that I’d lived 32 percent of my life and there was so much more I wanted to do.”
He wears a t-shirt bearing an image of a battery charger showing 32 percent of life complete.
In the early stages, Yassin felt his videos were sometimes touristy - “look at this place,” “how cool is this?” - but now he structures each more carefully.
In recent days, he has explored the social gaps between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, efforts to bring both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict together via culture and security issues in Israel.
“I’ve learnt how amazingly flexible people are,” he said. “I’m enjoying it.”—Reuters
A Jewish cemetery in Rochester, New York is the latest to report topped headstones, after Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia reported hundreds of similar incidents. At least five headstones were toppled at Vaad Hakolel Cemetery, also called Stone Road Cemetery. Rochester has two Jewish cemeteries.
Michael Phillips, director of the Britton Road Association, which manages Rochester’s Jewish cemeteries, was hesitant to call the incident anti-Semitic. “I don’t think there’s any proof of that,” he told the Democrat and Chronicle. None of the headstones were defaced, as many had been at the cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia, he said.
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