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.8
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.
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.8
“He is a Renaissance admiral and a consummate diplomat,” Mel Immergut, co-chair of the May 26 Salute to Freedom Award Dinner, said of multifaceted Admiral James G. Stavridis, recipient of the 2011 Intrepid Freedom Award. Immergut, chairman of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and a 2006 recipient of the Simon H. Rifkind Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary, listed but few of the admiral’s rankings and proficiencies: He is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander of Europe and commander of the U.S. European command. He also noted that Stavridis holds a doctorate in international relations, law and diplomacy from Tufts University and is the author of several books.
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