California’s Crime Wave

From Radix Journal: When you enter the Hall of Justice in San Francisco and pass through the metal detectors, you’ll notice a small black and White photo of Dirty Harry on the wall behind the security guards. It serves as a subtle reminder to those who enter that the law is only enforceable insofar as there is a man willing to use force.

Increasingly, however, people of cities like San Francisco are no longer willing to support men like Officer Callahan, opting instead for placing restrictions on their ability to process criminals such as Proposition 47, and supporting politicians who state the need to tolerate the misbehavior of criminals all the while living behind gated communities or high-rise condos with 24/7 security.

The result – at least for those of us who cannot afford to live in such exclusive enclaves – has been a marked increase in petty and otherwise malicious crime. Major cities such as Washington, Chicago, and New York have all seen increases in the murder rate between 2014 and 2015, and San Francisco now has the highest per-capita property crime rate of the country’s top 50 cities.

Yelling into a Hurricane

In my neighborhood, I have witnessed a drug bust, heard gunshots, found hypodermic needles in parks where children play, served on a jury on a case where an illegal immigrant repeatedly stabbed his girlfriend with a screwdriver while she slept, and seen the glass of shattered car windows, including that of my own, on more than one occasion.

Both The Atlantic and The New York Times have published articles in 2016 highlighting the perniciousness of the “smash and grab” thefts on tourists and residents alike.

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Taylor Swift Is Not a Nazi

Some people are easy to troll.

Rachel Shukert writes: Among other stupid and hateful proclamations, a popular white supremacist blogger said Taylor Swift is an ‘Aryan Goddess’ who is ‘secretly a Nazi’

Have you ever looked at Taylor Swift’s Instagram—her ubiquitous social media feed that’s full of her tall, leggy, impossibly blonde and snub-nosed friends (your Jaime Kings, your Karlie Klosses)and thought: Hmmm, they certainly look like they are having a lovely, female-centric, wholesome time, but they also don’t look very—how to put this?—Jewish? Well, you’re not the only one! That’s right, Neo-Nazis, too, have eyes for Swift who is apparently… a Nazi?

“Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess,” white supremacist blogger Andre Anglin, of hate-rag The Daily Stormer, told Broadly in a piece titled “Can’t Shake It Off: How Taylor Swift Became a Nazi Goddess.” The article tracks the rise of this peculiar fanfare, which apparently began with a Pinterest meme in which Hitler quotes were pasted onto pics of T. Swift and vice versa. The Internet, how fun!

According to the article in Vice’s Broadly, whose bloggers have stronger stomachs than I do for investigating the murky depths of the Internet, Nazis and others persons with alt-right political leanings are inspired by Swift whom they believe, once upon the throne, could “commands us to go forth and slaughter the subhuman enemies of the Aryan race.”

Said Anglin, a charmer: “[Swift is] like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn. It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world. Probably, she will be betrothed to Trump’s son, and they will be crowned American royalty.

“It’s incredible really that she’s surrounded by these filthy, perverted Jews, and yet she remains capable of exuding 1950s purity, femininity and innocence. She is the anti-Miley. While Miley is out having gang-bangs with colored gentlemen, she is at home with her cat reading Jane Austen.”

Obviously, these kinds of statement leads to some critical questions, to put it mildly. First of all, hasn’t Taylor Swift already been crowned American royalty? Second, go easy on Miley. Sure she’s hanging out with some questionable company, but who says she hasn’t read Jane Austen. Third, which of Donald Trump’s sons? The two older ones are both already married, and while a marriage between the 26-year-old Swift and the 10-year-old Barron Trump might emulate some of the more cynically dynastic marriages of the great European houses for which many white supremacists yearn, it sounds a bit squicky, not to mention weighted, towards reproductive challenges.

And besides, once you get rid of the Jews, who the hell do they think is going to negotiate the nuclear hellscape of that prenup?

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Jewish Racial Purity

Adam Kirsch writes about tractate Kiddushin, the current portion of the Talmud studied in the daily practice of “Daf Yomi” — a folio page of Talmud a day:

…21st-century geneticists discovered what they called the Cohen Modal Haplotype, a set of genes carried on the Y chromosome, which are carried by a majority of Jewish families that self-identify as kohanim. This suggests that the priestly identity was, in many cases, accurately passed down for a hundred generations.

Strong warnings are issued against high-born Jews marrying low-born Jews: According to Rabba bar bar Chana, “Anyone who marries a woman who is not suited for him [due to her lineage], the verse ascribes blame to him as though he plowed the entire world and sowed it with salt.” Such warnings are only necessary, however, because the temptation to marry “below” one’s station was often irresistible. The reason, of course, was money: It would have taken a rare commitment to lineage to reject a potential rich suitor just because he was rumored to have a mamzer or a slave somewhere in his family tree.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi hints at this dynamic when he says, “Money purifies mamzerim.” The tone of this statement is hard to parse: Is Yehoshua being cynical or sarcastic about social-climbing mamzerim, or is he acknowledging an inevitable fact of life, or is he possibly even praising the power of money to overcome distinctions of birth? At any rate, it’s clear that the rabbis do not believe in scrutinizing people’s family background too closely. “A family that has become assimilated remains assimilated,” says Rabbi Yitzchak: That is, if a family of flawed lineage manages to marry into a family with pure lineage, their descendants are considered pure. This looks like a contradiction of the stated law on the subject, which says that the children of flawed unions inherit the flaw of their parents.

But for the sake of social peace, the rabbis recognize that it’s better to draw a curtain over such questions. Indeed, the amora Ulla asked rhetorically, “Is that to say that we know where we come from? Perhaps we are from those about whom it is written: ‘They have ravished the women in Zion, the maidens in the city of Judah.’” In other words, even a pious and learned Jew might be descended from a woman raped by gentile invaders. In this way, the Talmud marks a transition from an aristocracy based on birth and lineage to one based on learning and piety.

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Forward: The Outrageous Jewish Hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump — Not To Mention Donald and Melania

For Bethany Mandel and those who share her feelings, this election is a train wreck. For about half of America, however, this election is unfolding beautifully.

Different groups have different interests. Bethany has chosen the losing side.

I wonder if Ivanka has a future in politics? Or if her brothers are more logical choices?

Bethany Mandel writes:

>What is it about Ivanka Trump? If Donald’s daughter were the one running for president, there would probably be far fewer Republicans declaring “Never Trump” as we watch the election unfold like a slow-motion train wreck. She is, simply, everything her father is not. Soft-spoken, a thoughtful listener, a self-proclaimed feminist, naturally beautiful and gentle — especially in contrast to her father’s brash, bombastic showmanship.

In The Federalist (where I am a senior contributor) Mary Katharine Ham
puts it best
: “Ivanka is a natural in the art of Kate Middletoning — being damn near perfect and likable, especially to women, even when her immense beauty and privilege have the potential to make such displays grating.”

Which is why so many fans and admirers of Ivanka, myself included, are increasingly wondering: When is it going to be enough for Ivanka? When will it come to a point where even Donald’s daughter can’t defend him any longer?

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Alex Wagner
asks just that
. How can a self-proclaimed feminist stand idly by as her father, a presidential candidate, debases not only women everywhere, but also Ivanka herself? One of Donald’s ultimate “compliments” about Ivanka is that he would date her if she weren’t his own child. If any other father in America made a similar public statement about his teenage daughter, he would (justifiably) be subject to a visit from the local division of Child Protective Services. It’s just not something a father says about his daughter — much like Donald’s compliments about the future breast size of his then-one-year-old daughter Tiffany.

Ivanka’s entire brand revolves around empowering women to be the ultimate multitaskers, taking up the mantle of Sheryl Sandberg and helping women who want to make it in corporate America “lean in.” Wagner writes, “What is undeniably true is that there is no room even in Ivanka’s brand of hyper-efficient, nonconfrontational feminism for the piggish antics and antiquated, un-hashtaggable gender tropes embraced by her father. Put another way: If the tables were turned and Donald Trump worked for his daughter, he would have been fired long, long ago.”

What Wagner wrote of Ivanka’s feminism could just as well be said of her Judaism. How long can Ivanka, herself Jewish and the mother of three beautiful Jewish children, stay silent about the vocal anti-Semitic contingent in her father’s base? Last October, I was one of the first journalists to take note of the phenomenon in these pages, asking,
“Why Won’t Donald Trump Stand Up to His Anti-Semitic Fans?”
Seven months later, I’m still asking.

Since that piece was written, Trump has retweeted more blatantly anti-Semitic accounts and selected a delegate with white nationalist ties to represent his campaign in California. In the run-up to the New York primary, Ted Cruz could be found in Brooklyn baking matzo with some Chabadniks (and me), but Trump was nowhere to be seen making similar outreach attempts to the Jewish community. The closest Trump came were his appearances at events like the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering late last year, when he joked that he wasn’t going to get the support of those present because he wasn’t interested in taking their money. A very unamused crowd eventually booed the then-longshot candidate.

Now that more mainstream and liberal reporters are on the receiving end of the same deluge of tweets, messages and even calls that conservative Jews have been experiencing for over seven months, the wider media is finally beginning to pay attention. The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman was recently subjected to a wave of hate, and before that, Julia Ioffe was targeted for a balanced profile she did of Melania, Donald’s wife, for GQ. Both incidents received a great deal of coverage and finally drew the attention of Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League.

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Why Do Jewish Leaders Keep Ignoring Ultra-Orthodox Education Crisis?

Forward: The New York State Legislature is currently considering two bills,
one introduced by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee in early May
, the other by Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski in January
, to strengthen existing legislation requiring nonpublic schools to meet the state’s minimum education standards. But Jewish leaders and groups who are usually very vocal on issues that directly affect the community’s wellbeing are staying silent, possibly because they fear a backlash from the Haredi groups
that oppose the legislation. This inaction threatens the bills’ future, and could, in time, have severe consequences for the community as a whole.

Although the American Jewish community is well known for its educational achievements, philanthropy and investments in communal organizations and services, it has mysteriously allowed a significant portion of its own community to grow up undereducated, without the skills to earn a basic living. Why?

Jewish elites and organizations in the United States have long worried about demographics. Intermarriage, assimilation and low birthrates may do what centuries of anti-Semitism and persecution have not: threaten the community’s survival. As such, leaders repeatedly express concern over how to reverse the tide — how to reach out to those unaffiliated with Jewish institutions and how to inspire strong Jewish identity in a country so full of equality, acceptance and material comfort. And yet, in the meantime, another challenge has gone unnoticed or ignored: the education of what will become the majority of the community in a couple of generations.

The growing assimilation and shrinking numbers of secular American Jewry have been accompanied by
the immense growth of the Orthodox population
, especially the Hasidim, who have higher birth rates, lower intermarriage rates and little assimilation. Data from the Pew Research Center show that as of 2013, 10% of American Jews identify as Orthodox, including 6% who belong to ultra-Orthodox groups. This population is on a rapidly rising trajectory. The Pew data also show that over a quarter of American Jews under the age of 18 live in Orthodox households
. According to a 2011 UJA-Federation of New York study, almost two-fifths of all Jewish children in New York City are Hasidic
.

Many youth in this community, especially the Hasidim, are ill prepared for employment and likely to struggle with poverty. The problem is most acute among boys, because they receive less secular education than girls. On average, Hasidic boys receive only 90 minutes of instruction in English and math four days a week, until the age of 13. After 13 they receive no secular education at all, because they focus on Judaic studies for as many as 14 hours a day. As a result, these students can be well educated in religious studies but unprepared to find jobs in the workforce. They often do not even speak proper English because of their lack of exposure to it (Yiddish predominates within the community). While students finish the equivalent of high school, few have gained enough secular knowledge to pass state exams, which they don’t usually take.

Hasidic leaders have long resisted any change to this regime, because they fear greater exposure to the world. Yet, Jewish teaching is clear on the need for every adult to work. As the medieval sage Maimonides warns: “All Torah that is not accompanied by work will eventually be negated and lead to sin. Ultimately, such a person will steal from others.”
The marked growth of a Haredi community in which students lack basic work skills will mean that within about two generations, a significant portion of the Jewish population — maybe even a third or more — will be unable to earn a decent living, unable to contribute financially or practically to Jewish institutions, and unable to partake in American life as ordinary citizens. The poverty rate will be higher than anytime since the middle of the 20th century;
studies commissioned by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the UJA-Federation of New York
already show a rising proportion dating back to at least the 1970s. A significant and growing factor in this upward movement is the fact that a remarkable three-fifths of Hasidic households in the New York City area are poor or near poor.

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