By Ben FalikYear, 1925: “It is unfortunate that Uncle Sam has to be made to look like a jackass before the civilized world by reason of the antics of the Secretary of State who evidently is on the side of Admiral Horthy of Hungary.”

Indeed! Now that the William Davidson Digital Archive of Detroit Jewish History stretches back to 1916, thanks to the digitization of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, (1) I know “jackass” appeared in the publications (22 times) prior to my recent use (six times); and (2) I have a longer, wider, clearer lens on 2015 as it becomes history.

Aug. 29, 1969.
NCJW to Aid
TV Program
Members of the National Council of Jewish Women will provide a number of volunteer services to help implement an $8 million experimental television series this fall designed to provide preschool children in poverty areas with skills they need to start school on a par with other children.

Mrs. Joan Cooney, director of the NCJW project, said the Children’s Television Workshop program, Sesame Street, will telecast, starting Nov. 10, on 160 stations of the National Educational Television network. The series will consist of 26 hour-long programs, she said. The project is being funded by the United States Office of Education, the Carnegie Corp. and the Ford Foundation.

Nov. 11, 2015.
Sesame Street Moves to HBO (from CBS Philly)

“More than a thousand studies in the United States have examined Sesame Street, to assess its impact on everything from school readiness to self-esteem to social development and compassion. Teachers who work with children who watch Sesame Street report that they are better prepared for school and their parents are more engaged in school activities.

“Many teachers, parents and children are upset that the show is being cut back because students are increasingly moving away from television to tablets and other digital devices. Additionally, all new episodes will be aired exclusively on HBO, a premium cable channel, for nine months.”

April 12, 1996.
Reform Rabbis Push Gay Marriage Issue
A recent vote by a national Reform rabbinical group in support of civil marriages for lesbians and gays was either long overdue or a needless foray into politically explosive terrain, according to the sometimes divergent views of Reform rabbis in the area.

“My opinion is that if two people are living together and love each other DANNEL SCHWARTZand are life partners, then why deny them medical benefits, why deny them the same benefits that other couples have under the law?” said Rabbi Dannel Schwartz of Temple Shir Shalom.

“If that’s what a civil marriage will grant to them, why would any religion stand in the way of that?”

Orthodox rabbis have consistently condemned homosexuality, citing biblical law that refers to same-sex unions as an abomination. The Rabbinical Assembly, which represents the nation’s Conservative movement, has not spoken on the issue of civil marriage, but has come out against rabbis officiating at same-sex ceremonies.

June 26, 2015.
Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality (from MSNBC)

“The nation’s highest court has found that the U.S. Constitution requires states to license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex, making marriage equality officially — after decades of litigation and activism — the law of the land.

“Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the landmark opinion, which was handed down on Friday, writing that ‘no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.’”

Dec. 7, 1917. Synagogue in Delray
Jewish residents of Delray have formed an organization for the purpose of establishing a synagogue in that district. The number of Jewish families in this part of Detroit is increasing, and it is felt there are sufficient families for the formation of a congregation. The organization is known as the First Hebrew Congregation of Delray.

A banquet and dancing party will be held by the members of the congregation on Sunday evening, Dec. 9, at Peninsular Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. This social has been arranged for the purpose of making all the members and their families acquainted with one another and to discuss plans for furthering the objects of the organization.

Nov. 24, 2015.
removal targets Detroit’s Delray neighborhood
(from Detroit Free Press)
“Detroit officials announced today the planned demolition of 33 homes in the Delray neighborhood that they hope will help stabilize a struggling area and provide its residents with a safer, healthier atmosphere.

“The city’s $750,000 budget for the project stems from the state’s purchase last fall of property in Delray to make way for the Gordie Howe International Bridge to Canada.

“‘We’re happy to celebrate the reinvestment in the Delray community to make sure that as the Gordie Howe is constructed, we have a beautiful international crossing that welcomes people to the city of Detroit and creates a community where industry and residents can coexist in a healthy, happy neighborhood,’ said Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, whose district includes Delray.”

Oct. 16, 1992. Hillary Clinton Meets the Jewish Press
Hillary Clinton, who has been the target of attacks from the GOP’s right wing and from evangelical Christian groups, made her pitch to the Jewish community last week in a tele-conferenced roundtable with a group of Jewish journalists.


Of the ultra-conservative and religious rhetoric that seemed to dominate the GOP convention, Mrs. Clinton said she was “worried about the talk of a ‘religious war’ … This was never repudiated, but was implicitly accepted, by the leaders of the Republican Party and the Bush administration.”

The rhetoric, she said, was “designed to divide Americans, to undermine the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and separation of church and state.” It also “implicitly encouraged people to give vent to discriminatory attitudes that are undergirding a resurgence of hate crimes. I found it very frightening.” *

— By Ben Falik

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