Our book, BEFRIENDING DEATH, is now listed on Amazon, but the book won't be deliverable for a couple of weeks yet. Available in hard copy, soft cover and e-book.
Our book, BEFRIENDING DEATH, is now listed on Amazon, but the book won't be deliverable for a couple of weeks yet. Available in hard copy, soft cover and e-book.
Burger King has come up with this great promotional campaign for Pride Week in San Francisco: "THE PROUD WHOPPER." They say they may bring it nationwide. Because it uses the rainbow colors and "promotes" gay themes, the right wing (the American Family Association) is furious and has started a campaign against Burger King. Watch this video to understand what's going on: LOVE BURGER KING!
I sincerely hope Burger King brings the campaign to my state. I love the uplifting message!
“America’s vast inequality didn’t just happen, it’s been politically engineered.”
-- from Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson in their book, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Anyone in the middle class or working class who votes Republican votes against her/his own interests and against the best interests of the country! NEVER, EVER vote Republican.
The Supreme Court just decided in favor of tightly held companies (family held) and their right to avoid women's health needs like contraception because THE COMPANY'S religious standards are violated. If that is the case, then in order for me to shop at these companies I have to agree with their religious standards even tho they violate mine. Women should have coverage for contraception if they want it. SO, I WILL NOT SHOP OR PATRONIZE A COMPANY THAT SAYS THEY WILL NOT GIVE WOMEN EMPLOYEES ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL INSURANCE COVERAGE AS REQUIRED BY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (OBAMACARE.) FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS. A woman's healthcare should be decided by a woman and her doctor NOT by the woman and her doctor AND the religious views of a company they work for....FREEDOM FOR WOMEN TO MAKE THEIR OWN HELATHCARE DECISIONS!
From Cicilline Post: Cicilline Introduces Bill to Protect Basic Human Rights of
International LGBT Community
Jun 19, 2014 Issues: LGBT Issues
WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline
(D-RI), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-chair of
the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and one of eight openly LGBT
members of Congress, today introduced legislation to protect the basic
human rights of the international LGBT community.
Specifically, the Global Respect Act would require the State
Department to ban foreigners who have committed or incited gross
violations of basic human rights against LGBT individuals from
entering the United States. It also directs the State Department to
report on these violations and related issues in its annual Human
“The United States and the international community have a
responsibility to condemn horrific acts of discrimination and targeted
violence against all individuals, including egregious offenses based
on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Cicilline. “The
Global Respect Act will protect the rights of the LGBT community
across the globe and uphold America’s commitment to defending basic
human rights in all corners of the world.”
"Hate is not an American value, and those who are involved in passing
vicious anti-LGBT laws or inflicting harm on LGBT people should not be
welcome in our country," said David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign’s
Government Affairs Director. "This bill sends a clear message to
those who have championed these serious human rights violations that
the United States government and the American people fundamentally
“It’s important to codify our government’s commitment to human rights
for LGBT individuals globally, as both a reflection of our commitment
to the rights of targeted minority communities everywhere, and as a
pragmatic realization that foreign governments that respect the rights
of LGBT citizens make better diplomatic, economic and security
partners for the United States. By applying targeted visa sanctions
to those who choose to persecute LGBT citizens, and silence the human
rights organizations that would defend their rights, the bill sends a
strong message to the world, particularly during Pride month. It also
makes clear that those who seek to advance their political careers, or
enrich their pockets, with anti-LGBT hate speech are not welcome on
our shores to benefit from the riches of our country and our economy,”
said Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality.
“Our nation has a proud history of protecting the rights and freedoms
of the oppressed. In a time when many nations around the world are
committing egregious human rights violations against LGBT people, we
welcome Representative Cicilline’s leadership to ensure that the
United States continues to promote safety, freedom, and equality of
all people,” said Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa
More than 80 countries have laws that explicitly outlaw same-sex
relations with penalties threatening imprisonment, fines, or, in
several instances, even death. Recently, disturbing efforts to target
LGBT individuals and their families have passed and been signed into
law – most notably in Uganda and Nigeria. In Russia, President
Vladimir Putin’s supporters are considering legislation which would
forcibly remove children from their families if their parents are
suspected of being lesbian or gay. And, in Iran and elsewhere in the
Middle East, LGBT people can even be put to death.
Original cosponsors of Cicilline’s legislation include Representatives
Eliot Engel (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Barbara
Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Sean Patrick
Maloney (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Patrick
Murphy (D-FL), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Lucille
Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), and
Frederica Wilson (D-FL).
The bill is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, the Council for
Global Equality, Human Rights First, PFLAG National, American Jewish
World Service, and Global Rights.
My friends have a Kentucky Derby party every year to note the fact that although they live in Rhode Island, one of them is very proud of their Kentucky heritage. Great party, but unfortunately, none of the guests tempt me as much as these two who celebrated along with other celebs before the actual race, raising money for the BarnstableBrown Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Kentucky. California Chrome ran away from the pack on the stretch to win the 140th Kentucky Derby. My horse, Danza, named after actor Tony Danza, came in third. :-)
Activists may be congratulating the pontiff again as it was reported Wednesday that he’s called for a Vatican meeting to debate the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage, contraception and divorce.
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