Composer Elizabeth Swados has dramatized tragedy before, but never the fear that rises from the gut when flames are sweeping nearby and escape is far away. In creating the music for the most terrifying moments in an original oratorio for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Swados turned to raw instinct.
The editor of the weekly Jewish newspaper of the nation’s capital has been fired following tensions with the paper’s new owners over coverage of the local Jewish federation. Debra Rubin was dismissed from Washington Jewish Week on February 23 and was told that the owners had decided to take the paper “in a different direction.” Three sources have told the Forward that the decision came after repeated attempts by the ownership group to intervene in editorial content relating to the Jewish federation, where most of them are or have been top leaders.5
Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Israel’s first national poet, defined Zionism’s aspiration to make the Jews a normal people via statehood: “We will be a normal state only when we have the first Jewish prostitute, the first Hebrew thief, and the first Hebrew policeman.” But in the 21st century, it’s not enough to be a local thief; you have to go global. And the upcoming Los Angeles trial of Itzhak and Meir Abergil promises to update Israel’s “normalization” when it comes to crime in a way that befits the times.8
A long and sometimes ugly legal battle between the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its former employee Steve Rosen has ended with a victory for AIPAC. A Washington, D.C., Superior Court judge effectively threw out Rosen’s $20 million lawsuit against the pro-Israel lobby in which the former staffer alleged AIPAC had defamed him by claiming his conduct was beneath the lobby’s standards. Rosen, and colleague Keith Weissman, were fired from AIPAC after being charged by federal prosecutors, under a rarely used clause in the Espionage Act, with receiving classified information and passing it on to Israeli diplomats and reporters.
In a cold and windswept Staten Island cemetery, four dozen people huddled together to recite Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, and to mark the 100th yahrzeit of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire’s victims. Twenty-two of the victims were laid to rest in 1911 at the Mount Richmond Cemetery, which is owned by the Hebrew Free Burial Association.
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