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Behind the scenes of Justin Jones’ viral ‘tikkun olam’ encounter with Jewish teens in DC

(JTA) — Sam Rosen and Noah Segal were sitting with their friends on the steps of the Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Monday when they spotted one of America’s most talked-about politicians.

Justin Jones, a Democratic lawmaker in Tennessee whom Republicans kicked out of the state’s legislature in retaliation for a gun-violence protest, was walking by in his signature white suit.

“I remember me and my friend looking at him and being like, ‘Is that him? Is that really one of the Tennessee Three?’” Rosen recalled on Wednesday from his home in Dallas. “To me, he’s kind of the face of upholding democracy right now, so it was very cool to see that.”

Jones waved at their group, this year’s crop of Bronfman Fellows, a prestigious leadership program that aims to empower Jewish teens. That initiated an encounter steeped in Jewish lingo that went viral after a liberal news outlet in Tennessee shared a video on social media.

“Can I shake your hand?” Segal, a high school senior from Ardsley, New York, asked Jones. Several of the other teens introduced themselves, too, and one explained that they were all Jewish teens from across North America.

“This is a Jewish program?” Jones asked after giving a brief pep talk about getting more young people involved in politics, drawing an affirmative response.

“Tikkun olam,” Jones ventured, seemingly testing whether he had correctly named the Hebrew term meaning “repair the world” that has come to signify social justice in progressive circles.

“Yes,” the teens replied in unison, many of their faces lighting up with excitement. “We just talked about that!” Rosen said, with apparent delight. After chatting with the group for a few more minutes, Jones said he had to head off for a White House meeting with President Joe Biden — but he took the time first to pose for a picture with the group.

For many of the people who saw and shared the video, produced and posted Tuesday by the Tennessee Holler news site, the exchange offered an example of cross-cultural solidarity at a time of polarization. The video has been seen well over 2 million times on Twitter and more on other platforms.

“It seems like it resonated because it was a genuine, uplifting moment that showed how impactful it can be to have young leaders showing other young people the way forward — and because it crossed lines. Racial lines. Religious lines. Geographic lines. It shows how essential it is to come together,” Justin Kanew, Tennessee Holler’s founder and editor, told JTA. (The site was the first to report that a Tennessee school board had banned the Holocaust novel “Maus” last year.)

Kanew added: “Also: Justin Jones is the real deal. Sincere, and inspirational. So that helps.”

Jones burst onto the national scene last month when he and another Tennessee lawmaker were ejected from the state legislature after staging a protest over the Republican-led body’s inaction after a school shooting in Nashville. Both men are Black; a third lawmaker who protested is a white woman and she was not ejected. The racial disparity in the lawmakers’ treatment drew widespread criticism, even after local elected officials in Nashville and Memphis reversed the ejections.

The saga has made Jones into a folk hero among progressives, as well as an inspiration to those who want to see young adults — he is 27 – play an active role in shaping the country.

“Thank you for being a role model for the young,” Dan Libenson, the head of a Jewish education philanthropy who teaches in the Bronfman program, tells Jones in the video.

WATCH: “Thank you for being a role model for the young.”

As the #TennesseeThree arrived at the White House a group of Jewish students from across were there on a tour, and they were thrilled to meet @brotherjones_. #TikkunOlam pic.twitter.com/vii89sTsIp

— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) April 25, 2023

Libenson told JTA that it had taken the group a moment to realize that the man in the white suit was in fact Jones, as the group had been sequestered at a Jewish retreat center in Maryland and had not heard about Jones’ visit, or about the backlash from some conservatives against it.

“As you can see from the video, as soon as it registered, we all rushed down to greet him,” Libenson told JTA in an email. “It’s clear that Gen Z has been traumatized by the mass shootings that seem to happen every day, and I think many of the fellows see Justin Jones as a hero for not taking no for an answer with regard to the safety of young people like them.”

Said Segal, “The whole seminar theme was vision and the future, so it was random and funky and cool to see someone who is right there making a change.” About Jones’ invocation of tikkun olam, he said, “I was impressed with him before that and impressed with him after that.”

The Bronfman Fellows program is not partisan, and participants hold a wide range of political views, according to Becky Voorwinde, the group’s CEO. But she noted that applicants for the fellowship must write about a contemporary issue that matters to them, and many choose gun violence. “It cuts across political viewpoints,” she said. “They grew up after Sandy Hook. This is their reality.”

Asked whether the issue was one he thought a lot about, Rosen answered, “How can it not be?”

He went on, “It’s not like it’s one awful shooting a year. It’s every day. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before it’s me. It’s not something that controls my entire life, but it’s always in the back of my mind.”

What the Bronfman Youth Fellows’ group photo with Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones looked like from the vantage point of where they’d been sitting before they spotted the prominent lawmaker. (Courtesy of Becky Voorwinde)

Segal said that he, too, viewed the threat of gun violence, alongside climate change, as one of the widest problems facing young people. In fact, he said, for part of a final project in the fellowship, he’d facilitated a discussion about what it means to fight antisemitism for a generation surrounded by mass shootings.

The Washington trip was a closing activity for the cohort of Bronfman Fellows, who first spent five weeks together last summer before getting together throughout the year virtually and in person. Before running into Jones, the group had been meeting with four Jewish White House staffers; afterward, they broke into small teams to meet with past fellows working in a wide array of jobs in the area.

The day before the viral encounter, the group visited a haredi Orthodox yeshiva in Baltimore. There, too, tikkun olam came up in discussion — but the head of the yeshiva seemed to dismiss it as a meaningful framework for Jewish life compared to the commandments of traditional Jewish law.

Rosen, who belongs to a Reform synagogue in Dallas and is headed to Brandeis University in the fall, pushed back.

“I said, ‘Rabbi, this is an obligation that we all uphold in our community. It’s a core value of Judaism and who I am,’” he recounted. “To me, that’s why it was so cool that Justin Jones said that.”

The entire encounter with Jones, Rosen said, felt authentic and empowering. And that feeling, Kanew said, could be contagious.

“Everything we need to save this country from descending into a dark place was right there in that exchange,” Kanew said. “And the beauty of it is everything that moment represents will inevitably come to fruition if people stay engaged and keep fighting for it. So it’s an incredibly hopeful moment, and hope is what people are looking for right now.”


The post Behind the scenes of Justin Jones’ viral ‘tikkun olam’ encounter with Jewish teens in DC appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 

Conclusion 

If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

JNS.org – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

The post Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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