Along the broad boulevards and dignified streets of the largely liberal, Jewish Upper West Side, sweatshops don’t seem to be sprouting. From Riverside Park to Lincoln Center, from Harry’s Shoes to Zabar’s, the neighborhood appears to be a civilized place where the days of residents, working folk and visitors unspool in familiar, reassuring rhythms.
Garment industry sweatshops are hardly a thing of the past in New York City: They are a feature of commerce today. The New York State Department of Labor has found it necessary to maintain particular vigilance for several decades, founding the Apparel Industry Task Force in 1987 to monitor the city’s largest manufacturing sector. Today, that task force has a staff of 30, including multilingual investigators, who also comprise the Fair Wages Task Force. The chief of both units, Lorelei Salas, director of strategic enforcement, said that their missions overlap because “the same conditions you find in the garment industry, you can find in other low-wage industries.”
The Union for Reform Judaism has designated a prominent congregational rabbi and critic of the URJ as its new president and the de facto leader of the Reform Jewish movement in North America.
The two adults and three children murdered in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar last week were killed not because they were settlers but because they were Jews, American Jewish leaders told a New York memorial service for members of the Fogel family Thursday.34
They’ve long faced off on college campuses and in the media, and now Israel’s supporters and detractors are in a pitched battle for the hearts and minds of the gay and lesbian community.56
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