Curious Case of Kiryas Joel

Author: Louis Grumet
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
ISBN: 1613735030
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Twenty years ago, on the last day of session, the New York State Legislature created a publicly funded school district to cater to the interests of a religious sect called Kiryas Joel, an extremely insular group of Hasidic Jews. The sect had bought land in upstate New York, populated it solely with members of its faction, and created a village that exerted extraordinary political pressure over both political parties in the Legislature. Marking the first time in American history that a governmental unit was established for a religious group, the Legislature's action prompted years of litigation that eventually went to the Supreme Court. The 1994 case, The Board of Education of the Village of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet, stands as the most important legal precedent in the fight to uphold the separation of church and state. In The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel, plaintiff Louis Grumet opens a window onto the Satmar Hasidic community and details the inside story of his fight for the First Amendment. This story—a blend of politics, religion, cultural clashes, and constitutional tension—is an object lesson in the ongoing debate over freedom of vs. freedom from religion.

When the Nazis came to Skokie

Author: Philippa Strum
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In the Chicago suburb of Skokie, one out of every six Jewish citizens in the late 1970s was a survivor -- or was directly related to a survivor -- of the Holocaust. These victims of terror had resettled in America expecting to lead peaceful lives free from persecution. But their safe haven was shattered when a neo-Nazi group announced its intention to parade there in 1977. Philippa Strum's dramatic retelling of the events in Skokie (and in the courts) shows why the case ignited such enormous controversy and challenged our understanding of and commitment to First Amendment values. The debate was clear-cut: American Nazis claimed the right of free speech while their Jewish "targets" claimed the right to live without intimidation. The town, arguing that the march would assault the sensibilities of its citizens and spark violence, managed to win a court injunction against the marchers. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union took the case and successfully defended the Nazis' right to free speech. Skokie had all the elements of a difficult case: a clash of absolutes, prior restraint of speech, and heated public sentiment. In recreating it, Strum presents a detailed account and analysis of the legal proceedings as well as finely delineated portraits of the protagonists: Frank Collin, National Socialist Party of America leader and the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor; Skokie community leader Sol Goldstein, a Holocaust survivor who planned a counter demonstration against the Nazis; Skokie mayor Albert Smith, who wanted only to protect his townspeople; and ACLU attorney David Goldberger, caught in the ironic position of being a Jew defending the rights of Nazis against fellow Jews.While the ACLU did win the case, it was a costly victory -- 30,000 of its members left the organization. And in the end, ironically, the Nazis never did march in Skokie. Forcefully argued, Strum's book shows' that freedom of speech must be defended even when the beneficiaries of that defense are far from admirable individuals. It raises both constitutional and moral issues critical to our understanding of free speech and carries important lessons for current controversies over hate speech on college campuses, inviting readers to think more carefully about what the First Amendment really means.

The Pious Ones

Author: Joseph Berger
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062123351
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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As the population of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the United States increases to astonishing proportions, veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger takes us inside the notoriously insular world of the Hasidim to explore their origins, beliefs, and struggles—and the social and political implications of their expanding presence in America. Though the Hasidic way of life was nearly extinguished in the Holocaust, today the Hasidim—“the pious ones”—have become one of the most prominent religious subcultures in America. In The Pious Ones, New York Times journalist Joseph Berger traces their origins in eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, illuminating their dynamics and core beliefs that remain so enigmatic to outsiders. He analyzes the Hasidim’s codified lifestyle, revealing its fascinating secrets, complexities, and paradoxes, and provides a nuanced and insightful portrayal of how their all-encompassing faith dictates nearly every aspect of life—including work, education, food, sex, clothing, and social relations—sustaining a sense of connection and purpose in a changing world. From the intense sectarian politics to the conflicts that arise over housing, transportation, schooling, and gender roles, The Pious Ones also chronicles the ways in which the fabric of Hasidic daily life is threatened by exposure to the wider world and also by internal fissures within its growing population.

The Culture of Disbelief

Author: Stephen L. Carter
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0385474989
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In an updated version of his successful book, the author of Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby argues that religion can play a role in the nation's politics, law and culture while maintaining its separation from state. Reprint.

Putting God Second

Author: Donniel Hartman
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 0807063347
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Why have the monotheistic religions failed to produce societies that live up to their ethical ideals? A prominent rabbi answers this question by looking at his own faith and offering a way for religion to heal itself. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life's most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards? To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion's moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary. Hartman identifies the primary source of religion's moral failure in what he terms its "autoimmune disease," or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While God obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions' core moral truths. The answer Hartman offers is this: put God second. In order to fulfill religion's true vision for humanity--an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others--religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one's neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind. In this book, Judaism serves as a template for how the challenge might be addressed by those of other faiths, whose sacred scriptures similarly evoke both the sublime heights of human aspiration and the depths of narcissistic moral blindness. In Putting God Second, Rabbi Hartman offers a lucid analysis of religion's flaws, as well as a compelling resource, and vision, for its repair.

The Devil s Diary

Author: Robert K. Wittman
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062319035
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A groundbreaking World War II narrative wrapped in a riveting detective story, The Devil’s Diary investigates the disappearance of a private diary penned by one of Adolf Hitler’s top aides—Alfred Rosenberg, his “chief philosopher”—and mines its long-hidden pages to deliver a fresh, eye-opening account of the Nazi rise to power and the genesis of the Holocaust An influential figure in Adolf Hitler’s early inner circle from the start, Alfred Rosenberg made his name spreading toxic ideas about the Jews throughout Germany. By the dawn of the Third Reich, he had published a bestselling masterwork that was a touchstone of Nazi thinking. His diary was discovered hidden in a Bavarian castle at war’s end—five hundred pages providing a harrowing glimpse into the mind of a man whose ideas set the stage for the Holocaust. Prosecutors examined it during the Nuremberg war crimes trial, but after Rosenberg was convicted, sentenced, and executed, it mysteriously vanished. New York Times bestselling author Robert K. Wittman, who as an FBI agent and then a private consultant specialized in recovering artifacts of historic significance, first learned of the diary in 2001, when the chief archivist for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum contacted him to say that someone was trying to sell it for upwards of a million dollars. The phone call sparked a decade-long hunt that took them on a twisting path involving a pair of octogenarian secretaries, an eccentric professor, and an opportunistic trash-picker. From the crusading Nuremberg prosecutor who smuggled the diary out of Germany to the man who finally turned it over, everyone had reasons for hiding the truth. Drawing on Rosenberg’s entries about his role in the seizure of priceless artwork and the brutal occupation of the Soviet Union, his conversations with Hitler and his endless rivalries with Göring, Goebbels, and Himmler, The Devil’s Diary offers vital historical insight of unprecedented scope and intimacy into the innermost workings of the Nazi regime—and into the psyche of the man whose radical vision mutated into the Final Solution.

The State vs Nelson Mandela

Author: Joel Joffe
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1780746156
Format: PDF
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On July 11, 1963, a seemingly harmless dry cleaning van drew up outside a rural farm near Johannesburg, South Africa. Within seconds, heavily armed police had burst out and arrested the entire high command of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). Together with the already imprisoned Nelson Mandela, they were put on trial and charged with conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government by violent revolution. Their expected punishment was death. In this compelling book, their defense attorney, Joel Joffe, gives a blow-by-blow account of the most important trial in South Africa’s history, vividly portraying the characters of those involved and exposing the astonishing bigotry and rampant discrimination faced by the accused, as well as showing their incredible courage under fire.

When God Isn t Green

Author: Jay Wexler
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 0807001929
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this lively, round-the-world trip, law professor and humorist Jay Wexler explores the intersection of religion and the environment. Did you know that * In Hong Kong and Singapore, Taoists burn paper money to appease "hungry ghosts," filling the air with smoke and dangerous toxins? * In Mumbai, Hindus carry twenty-foot-tall plaster of Paris idols of the elephant god Ganesh into the sea and leave them on the ocean floor to symbolize the impermanence of life, further polluting the scarce water resources of western India? * In Taiwan, Buddhists practicing "mercy release" capture millions of small animals and release them into inappropriate habitats, killing many of the animals and destroying ecosystems? * In Central America, palm frond sales to US customers for Palm Sunday celebrations have helped decimate the rain forests of Guatemala and southern Mexico? * In New York, Miami, and other large US cities, Santeria followers sprinkle mercury in their apartments to fend off witches, poisoning those homes for years to come? * In Israel, on Lag B'omer, a holiday commemorating a famous rabbi, Jews make so many bonfires that the smoke can be seen from space, and trips to the emergency room for asthma and other pulmonary conditions spike? Law professor and humorist Jay Wexler travels the globe in order to understand the complexity of these problems and learn how society can best address them. He feasts on whale blubber in northern Alaska, bumps along in the back of a battered jeep in Guatemala, clambers down the crowded beaches of Mumbai, and learns how to pluck a dead eagle in Colorado, all to answer the question "Can religious practice and environmental protection coexist?"

The Dirty Dozen

Author: Robert A. Levy
Publisher: Cato Institute
ISBN: 1935308327
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Alexander Hamilton wrote that “the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution.” If only that were true. The Founding Fathers wanted the judicial branch to serve as a check on the power of the legislative and executive, and gave the Supreme Court the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution in a way that would safeguard individual freedoms. In some cases, like Brown V. Board of Education and United States V. Lopez, the Court fulfilled its role, protecting us from racial discrimination and the heavy hand of the federal government. But sadly, the Supreme Court has also handed down many destructive decisions on cases you probably never learned about in school. In The Dirty Dozen, two distinguished legal scholars shed light on the twelve worst cases, which allowed government to interfere in your private contractual agreements; curtail your rights to criticize or support political candidates; arrest and imprison you indefinitely, without filing charges; and seize your private property, without compensation, when someone uses the property for criminal activity—even if you don’t know about it! This is not a book just for lawyers. It’s for all Americans who want to understand how the Supreme Court can affect our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This paperback edition includes a new preface, “Guns, Bailouts, and Empathetic Judges,” which highlights new and critical issues that have arisen since the book’s initial edition was published in 2008.

Threading My Prayer Rug

Author: Sabeeha Rehman
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 1628726660
Format: PDF, Kindle
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ONE OF BOOKLIST'S TOP TEN RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY BOOKS OF 2016 ONE OF BOOKLIST'S TOP TEN DIVERSE NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2017 Honorable Mention in the 2017 San Francisco Book Festival Awards, Spiritual Category This enthralling story of the making of an American is also a timely meditation on being Muslim in America today. Threading My Prayer Rug is a richly textured reflection on what it is to be a Muslim in America today. It is also the luminous story of many journeys: from Pakistan to the United States in an arranged marriage that becomes a love match lasting forty years; from secular Muslim in an Islamic society to devout Muslim in a society ignorant of Islam, and from liberal to conservative to American Muslim; from student to bride and mother; and from an immigrant intending to stay two years to an American citizen, business executive, grandmother, and tireless advocate for interfaith understanding. Beginning with a sweetly funny, moving account of her arranged marriage, the author undercuts stereotypes and offers the refreshing view of an American life through Muslim eyes. In chapters leavened with humor, hope, and insight, she recounts an immigrant’s daily struggles balancing assimilation with preserving heritage, overcoming religious barriers from within and distortions of Islam from without, and confronting issues of raising her children as Muslims—while they lobby for a Christmas tree! Sabeeha Rehman was doing interfaith work for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the driving force behind the Muslim community center at Ground Zero, when the backlash began. She discusses what that experience revealed about American society.