Just listen to this nonsense from Charles Krauthammer and you be the judge about whether or not he's a political loser: <http://youtu.be/pYPqXwwJecs>
Just listen to this nonsense from Charles Krauthammer and you be the judge about whether or not he's a political loser: <http://youtu.be/pYPqXwwJecs>
The Jews of San Nicandro tells the remarkable story of a group of Fascist-era Italian peasants who became Jews and ultimately made aliyah
The story that John A. Davis has to tell in The Jews of San Nicandro (Yale University Press) falls under the category of “truth is stranger than fiction.” Who would believe, outside of a fable or maybe a joke, that in Fascist Italy, a group of several dozen Catholic peasants would spontaneously decide to convert to Judaism; that they would persist in calling themselves Jews even as Italy introduced Nazi-style anti-Semitic laws; that they would make contact with Jewish soldiers from Palestine, serving in the British Army that invaded southern Italy during World War II; and that finally, after two decades of dedication and hardship, they would undergo ritual circumcision and emigrate en masse to the newly created state of Israel? Yet it all really happened, in the town of San Nicandro in the impoverished, isolated Gargano region of southern Italy.
According to Davis, a professor of Italian history at the University of Connecticut, the Jews of San Nicandro represent “the only case of collective conversion to Judaism in Europe in modern times.” Why did it happen just then, at the darkest hour for European Jewry, and in a region where no actual Jews lived? The answer lies in the religious genius or madness of Donato Manduzio, the founder of the San Nicandro group. Born in 1885, Manduzio grew up in the extreme poverty typical of southern Italy at the time, and he never went to school. Of his childhood, little is known except that his father gave him the nickname “Shitface” (“although to judge from an early photograph,” Davis objects, “he seems to have been quite good looking”). His first exposure to the wider world came during World War I, when he was conscripted into an infantry regiment and contracted a disease that left his legs paralyzed.
After he returned to San Nicandro, Manduzio developed a reputation as a faith healer and seer. It is one of several elements in his story that makes him seem more a figure of the Middle Ages than the 20th century—and in fact, Davis writes, the life of poor southern Italians was in many respects still premodern. (It was not until the 1930s that San Nicandro got a railroad line.) Certainly, the way he discovered Judaism has a pre-Reformation flavor. In the late 1920s, Manduzio read the Bible for the first time. Even at this late date, the Catholic Church in Italy discouraged lay people from reading the Bible; it wasn’t until evangelical Protestants started to distribute an Italian-language edition that scripture became accessible. (These Protestants, Davis writes, were often Italians who had spent time in the United States, where they were exposed to Christian sects like the Pentecostals and the Seventh Day Adventists.)
What Manduzio read in the Old Testament amazed him. He became convinced “that Jesus had been a prophet but not the Messiah” and that the fallen state of the world—so full of poverty and suffering—was proof that the Messiah had not yet arrived. When he read that God had established the Sabbath on Saturday, he could not understand why Christians celebrated it on Sunday. Salvation, he now decided, “lay in following the Law of the God of Israel as it had been given to Moses on Sinai. … Those seeking salvation and comfort must therefore learn to observe the Law of the God of Moses, forsaking other gods and idols, and following the path of the righteous.”
This is exactly the kind of conversion experience that led so many Protestants, in the 16th century, to reject established churches and identify their own sects with ancient Israel. Where Manduzio went beyond them was in deciding that he must actually revive the religion of Israel. For the most remarkable thing about his story is that, when he had these revelations in the late 1920s, he actually didn’t know that any Jews existed in the world. As Davis writes, “Manduzio at first believed that the Jews had all perished in the biblical Flood and that he had been called by the Almighty to revive a faith that had long since disappeared from the face of the earth.”
Accordingly, Manduzio, who now used the name Levi, set about converting a small number of his neighbors—initially, 19 adults and 30 children—to his self-invented Judaism. He told them not to eat pork and not to work on Saturday—rules that, in this time and place, he had much difficulty enforcing—and ordered them to give their children Biblical names: Sara, Ester, Myriam, and Gherson, among others. The question of naming, in fact, led to one of the group’s most serious schisms. When Concetta di Leo, Manduzio’s favorite disciple, gave birth to a son, her husband wanted to name the boy Vincenzo, after his own father; but Concetta insisted that he be given the name of a Biblical prophet. (They compromised on Giuseppe, or Joseph.) This episode gives a sense of how totally Manduzio dominated his little sect. Paralyzed and bedridden—in all the time he led the Jews of San Nicandro, he never left his house—Manduzio relied on visions and dreams to communicate with God and laid down the law in a way that his followers increasingly resented.
The San Nicandro group could easily have remained just a cult of personality and ended up dispersing as such cults usually do. But eventually Manduzio learned from a traveling peddler that there were other Jews in Italy, and he began to write to Jewish organizations in major cities, asking for guidance. Those organizations were reluctant to write back, which Davis calls “not difficult to understand. Anyone reading the correspondence would immediately have been aware of the very humble background of the writers and would probably have suspected some sort of prank.”
Even once Angelo Sacerdoti, the chief rabbi of Rome, entered into correspondence with Manduzio, he remained wary. “You and your companions have often expressed your desire to convert to Judaism,” the rabbi wrote, “and I have always made it clear how much this amazes me. I have asked you many times how you came to this conviction, since you have had no previous contact with Jews and know very little about what Judaism is.” Sacerdoti also referred to “spiritual tendencies that had nothing to do with Judaism,” and it is unmistakable how deeply Manduzio’s language and thinking were infused with Christian concepts. His Sabbath service, for instance, involved reading a passage from the Pentateuch and singing the Paternoster, a Catholic prayer in Latin. How could it have been otherwise, since Catholicism was the only religion he ever knew?
But the sannicandresi were persistent, and in time their sincerity began to win over members of the Jewish establishment. At this point, Davis’ story begins to broaden into a larger portrait of the Italian Jewish community—a small and highly assimilated group, whose relations with the Fascist regime were mostly good until the late 1930s. Prominent Jews took an interest in San Nicandro—especially the small but influential community of Italian Zionists, who found the devotion of these self-made Jews an excellent example for Jews at large. One of their major patrons was Raffaele Cantoni, a brave anti-Fascist whose work on behalf of Jewish refugees before and after the war put him in a good position to help the Jews of San Nicandro. Much of the later part of Davis’ story unfolds through Cantoni’s correspondence with his proteges, as he tries to balance cautious support with impatience at their infighting and demands for help.
The war, which might easily have meant the end of the Jews of San Nicandro, actually turned out to be the making of them. Donato Manduzio’s house happened to be located on a highway used by a transport unit of the British Army, which occupied the region after September 1943. That unit, Company 178, was composed of Jews from Palestine, who had enlisted in the British Army in order to fight Germany. (Their commander, Major Wellesley Aron, is one of several fascinating Jewish figures in Davis’ story.) When their trucks, painted with the Star of David, drove through San Nicandro, the local Jews greeted them with their own Star of David flag.
In this way, Davis shows, the sannicandresi came to the attention of the network of Jewish activists—Italian, Palestinian, and British—who organized throughout Italy to shelter Jewish refugees and smuggle them to Palestine. The Jews of San Nicandro were especially inspired by their meeting with Enzo Sereni, an Italian Jew who was a leading Haganah activist. The photo of Sereni in San Nicandro, surrounded by solemn-looking men holding the Zionist flag, was the last taken of him before he parachuted behind German lines on a mission that led to his death.
What these experiences meant for the Jews of San Nicandro was that their home-made Judaism grew into a passionate Zionism. From 1944 on, the community’s goal was to emigrate and build the Jewish state. This was by no means easy, as the patient Cantoni kept reminding them: The British were intent on keeping Jewish immigrants out of Palestine, and the few available permits were meant for Holocaust survivors, not the comparatively well-off Jews of San Nicandro. Yet in November 1949, after a series of clashes that Davis documents—and after the death of Donato Manduzio, who grew increasingly alienated from his flock—the Jews of San Nicandro did make aliyah. Davis writes only sparingly about their experience in Israel, which was apparently as difficult as that of most immigrants to the new country. But perhaps this very hardship was the best proof that they had achieved their extraordinary goal of becoming ordinary Jews.
Adam Kirsch is a contributing editor for Tablet Magazine and the author of Benjamin Disraeli, a biography in the Nextbook Press Jewish Encounters book series.
Call the Senate Leadership of Rhode Island and ask them to Vote YES on Senate Bill No. 38 that will grant marriage rights for all Rhode Island Citizens.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed : 401-222-6655
Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin: 401-272-3102
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Ruggerio: 401-222-3310
Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere: 401-222-2708
In the January 31 issue of the RI Catholic, in a full page ad, the above names were listed with phone numbers urging people to call these senators. They hoped all who read the ad would urge them to vote against same sex marriage. We can join the majority of Catholics according to polls who support same-sex marriage and the majority of other Christians represented by their religious leaders, the RI Council of Churches, and do just the opposite and urge them to vote in favor of same sex marriage.
Let’s join the President of the United States, the, majority of RI Catholics and the majority of other Christians represented by the RI Council of Churches, all the other New England States, and people of good will worldwide in their support of marriage rights for all by calling these RI senators and urging them to VOTE YES on RI Senate Bill 38.
Technorati Tags: Bishop thomas tobin, cardinal dolan, catholics, democrats, dominicans, franciscans, jesuits, massachusetts, mitt romney, nuns, obama, providence diocese, religious freedom, republicans, rhode island, rick santorum, social security, willie geist, women
Why is Mitt Romney refusing to release but one or two years of his tax records? Maybe he paid no taxes...Maybe his guilty of hiding funds in Swiss bank accounts...Maybe he's hiding the fact that he has off-shore shell corporations to avoid taxes...the list just goes on and on...ALSO, why is he continuing to lie about his involvement with Bain Capital, the venture capital group that outsourced American jobs? All the records point to the fact that he was the CEO or "outsourcer-in-chief" for Bain AFTER 1999...even those "fact-checkers" he says prove him right have reassessed the records...Romney is an archenemy of the American worker and is one of the major architects of a philosophy that sent millions of American jobs oversees to insure greater profits for individuals such as Mitt Romney himself. All he says and all he does proves one thing: he's a major liar and will say and do anything to be President of the United States. He's a big supporter of big corporations, venture capitalists and insurance companies and all at the expense of the average Joe. Why would any average Joe or average Jane vote for a man who works so hard to make money at the expense of the average American worker? Don't vote against your own interests...Don't VOTE for Mitt Romney...as President, Romney will destroy the middle class to insure profits for the monied classes...Don't let him do that!
After Hearing the News
When I look in on myself
I see you with me and no one else
But now you have gone away
We can no longer as in the past play
The game that brings bumps to my skin
That willingness to make sin
Behind that Harvard statue after a date
When the night was long and late
At first we heard others and were afraid
But the urgency grew and we were soon staid
Swelling away against the wall
You experiencing me and protecting me from a fall
I heard your pleasures as they grew
And then I knew
When I look in on myself
I see me with you and no one else
That wondrous sensation on my neck, a breath
Is forever stolen now by your sudden death.
michael vocino, 23may2012
As educators, it is our duty to help direct social policy in the direction of the greatest good and it is the duty of all good women and men. Maureen Dowd, and other social commentators help us do that. Maureen Dowd comes from a faithfully Catholic family and those of us who share her religious experiences and still consider ourselves Catholic are VERY alarmed by the Church's continued attack on women under the guise of protecting religious freedom or as she says: "[What the} ...bishops portray as an attack on religion by the president is really an attack on women by the bishops." She is not the only one saying that, either. Most people in Catholic pews are positing the same! Her article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/opinion/dowd-father-doesnt-know-best.html
Elizabeth Warren, senate candidate in Massachusetts, has long been a champion for consumers especially in their transactions with banks. As was said by Sen. Bernie Sanders: Congress Doesn't Regulate Banks; Banks Regulate Congress. How true, how true...and the last thing we need is a Republican Senator like Scott Brown who always sides with the banks. If you are not a super wealthy citizen of Massachusetts and you want to protect yourself from the predatory practices of the banking industry it is in your best interest, and certainly mine, to see the election of the consumer's champion, Elizabeth Warren, to the U.S. Senate.
VOTE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN to put the interests of the middle class consumer back on the agenda. The Republican agenda, as represented by candidate Scott Brown, is solely to protect the monied interests such as those predatory banks. Like banks? vote for scott brown. Want protection from banks? VOTE ELIZABETH WARREN.
This coming presidential election is basically a choice between 1. taxing the super rich as they should be (President Obama's position) OR 2. cutting social services to the poor, working and middle classes (Mitt Romney and Republican position.) It is interesting to note that most economists tell us that the math of the Republican and Romney position just does not work. The Romney/Ryan budget wants to cut taxes for the super wealthy and also cut social services for the poor, working and middle classes. The math indicates that if the U.S. does that the deficits will only grow and not be reduced. Under Reagan, the deficits tripled. Under George W. Bush they were doubled. Under Obama, the deficit has been halved. The rise in the continuing deficits has historically been because of the Bush tax cuts. To elect Romney or some other Republican like Paul Ryan and give even greater tax cuts to the super wealthy means a return to tripling and doubling deficits even if Republicans coninue to mean-spiritedly cut services to the needy. RE-ELECT OBAMA for the sake of the poor, working and middle classes.
Technorati Tags: catholics, chris matthews, deficits, democrats, george w. bush, mitt romney, msnbc, Obama, president election 2012, rep. david cicilline, rep. jim langevin, republicans, rhode island, sen. jack reed, sheldon whitehouse, willie geist, women
MA Sen. Scott Brown a Republican voted NO on a bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1st.
Can you believe it? Who would vote for this guy, a pawn for Corporate Greed, Banks, Oil Companies and now he slaps college students and their ever-paying parents!
He backs the Republican war on women, and now he tells college students drowning in debt that they will get no relief from him or his Club for Growth buddies...Don't know the Club for Growth? Google it...they are the corporate profiteers who are supporting Brown for the Senate...it's where he gets lots of his money...his vote against students tells you where his loyalties lie...with BIG PROFIT-SUCKING CORPORATIONS...don't believe me...again, just google CLUB FOR GROWTH...they are the rich guys against us, the middle and lower classes...look at their record...Scott Brown = Club for Growth.
Technorati Tags: boston bruins, boston red sox, catholics, celtics, college students, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, msnbc, new england patriots, Occupy Massachusetts, Republicans, Rhode Island, Sen. Scott Brown, student debt, student loans, women
One of the great economic engines of the state of Rhode Island is its
University, and THAT IS US. One of the most attractive reason for
students to come to URI is its faculty. The quality of the faculty is
central to the student population and their future successes. To keep
competitive, to keep RI on the cutting edge of research and
scholarship in so many areas, but especially in the expanding fields
of the sciences and engineering, etc., the University needs to offer
its presently underpaid faculty the salary and benefits that other
institutions of higher education and private industry offer our well
credentialed faculty and staff as a matter of course. Dr. Frank
Annunziato, the executive director of our faculty union, the AAUP,
reports that the Board of Governors of Higher Education, at the urging
of the now infamous Gov. Lincoln Chafee, decided behind closed doors
last night that they no longer want to invest in the future of Rhode
Island by supporting a fairly and long negotiated contract with the
faculty union for a very modest salary increase that virtually only
covers the increases in health care insurance costs that the State is
forcing all employees to pay.
The AAUP bargained in good faith. The contract with Annunziato at the
helm was fairly negotiated over months of long and difficult sessions.
It was accepted by both sides. The board of governors were scheduled
to give its "OK" at a meeting weeks ago. All the signals were
positive. Then, the infamous Gov. Chafee stepped in at the last
minute, long after his representatives had a chance to negotiate
differences with the AAUP, and told the Board to reject the fairly
negotiated contract. The board, being politically appointed by the
Governor, fell right in line with the demands of an unreasonable
politician and voted against the contract last night.
It is my understanding that the AAUP stands firm in the belief that
the board, in rejecting a fairly negotiated contract between the AAUP
and representatives of the board of governors, negotiated unfairly and
certainly not in good faith. We can only hope, and I am sure they
will, that the AAUP and all good people of faith, will do something to
stand up to the Governor and the Board of Governors. Tho I am not a
lawyer, It seems to most commentators that there are legal violations
on the part of the infamous governor and his Board that should be
brought to the attention of the courts. And beyond that, I am with
one of the speakers from the faculty at URI who said that he was up to
any action the AAUP would suggest in an attempt to remedy this just
AWFUL betrayal of "good faith" collective bargaining.
One of the big questions of the night of betrayal was being asked over
and over...."Where is President Dooley?" The BOG went into executive
session to do its damage to the students, faculty and staff of the
University and the state of RI, and there was no "head man" from URI
to support his faculty and the students. He knew of the vital
importance of the issue, yet he was a no show. I, for one, am
terribly disappointed. Leaving such important work to underlings is
not the hallmark of good leadership. He should have been there,
especially since in recent weeks it became obvious that the Gov. was
"out to get" the faculty and graduate students at URI. What was so
important that the President of the University could not be there to
defend his faculty? ...one of what should be among his top
priorities. HE FAILED US. The Governor failed us and certainly, the
Board of Governors failed us and maybe even more importantly, they
failed the University's students and the state of Rhode Island.
Technorati Tags: AAUP, faculty unions, higher education, lincoln chafee, providence rhode island, rep. david cicilline, rep. jim langevin, rhode island, rhode island democrats, rhode island republicans, sen. jack reed, sheldon whitehouse, unions, university of rhode island, wjar