Gus Tyler, Labor Activist and Forward Columnist, Is Dead at 99

Gus Tyler, a longtime labor activist and a Forward contributing editor, who wrote the newspaper’s “Der Yiddish Vinkl” column well into his 90s, died June 3 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 99.

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Democrats Use GOP Medicare Cuts To Excite Jewish Voters

Jewish Democrats are turning a spotlight on social issues — and particularly the dangers posed to Medicare and Medicaid — as a way to counter Republican attempts to use President Obama’s contentious relations with Israel to capture more Jewish votes. This strategy was first tested in late May in a New York State special congressional election, when the National Jewish Democratic Council played a key role in securing votes for its successful candidate. According to the NJDC, what most motivated Jewish voters in this election and will galvanize them in 2012 is the fear that House Republicans will cut Medicare benefits for seniors. The issue has since been raised again in Florida, home to a large Jewish senior citizen population.

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California’s Fiscal Crisis Affects Jews in Jail

For Jewish inmates at California Men’s Colony, a penal outpost sprawled between sunny vineyards and breezy horse pastures on California’s central coast, the annual Passover Seder led by Rabbi Lon Moskowitz is usually a celebration of the spirit of freedom, if not its reality. But last April, guard shortages stemming from draconian state budget cutbacks forced a rolling lockdown throughout the California state prison system. And many prisoners were left sitting idle in their cells instead of singing “Dayenu” at the Seder table.

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Russia Seeks Exemption From Cold War-Era Law Aimed at Soviet Repression

The goal the statute sought to achieve is long accomplished. In fact, the country at which it was aimed doesn’t even exist anymore. But as successor government to the Soviet Union, Russia is still being sanctioned by the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a 1974 piece of legislation imposing trade penalties against communist countries that restricted free immigration.

Advice to the Graduates: ‘Get Out of Facebook and Into Somebody’s Face’

With the 2011 commencement season in full swing, hopeful graduates, proud parents and noteworthy speakers filled the stands at ceremonies across the country. The Forward turned its attention to a group of Jewish keynote speakers that included executives, writers and a Holocaust survivor, each imparting his or her own life lessons, inspiration and spark of passion to the next generation.

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