Friday, December 25, 2015

WISHING ALL OUR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HOLIDAY AND MERRY CHRISTMAS


                                



Christmas time is a season of great joy. It is a time of remembering the past and hoping for the future. May the glorious message of peace and love fill you with joy during this wonderful season. 
                 



CHRISTMAS GIFTS are not the one that lies beneath a Xmas tree, but are those that we found around it. Our family, our friends, and our kids are our real and best christmas gifts. Their love, compassion and involvement in our lives are what we appreciate the most. Real christmas is celebrated by retaining the actual christmas spirit in our hearts.

                              MAY GOD BLESS US ALL                                       HAPPY HOLIDAY                                                         

Біласовиця 03.05.2015 Благодійний концерт

Monday, December 7, 2015

JOIN THE BRIDGE MULTICULTRAL ANNIVERSARY PARTY AND ANNUAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION DECEMBER 20 20015 5;00PM --- TILL 10:PM


                                                             FREE AND OPEN TO ALL
                                   SUNDAY DECEMBER 20
                                    5:00 PM TILL 10
                                              1894 FLATBUSH AV 
                                              BROOKLYN NEW YORK     
       
                                   FOOD , WINE ,MUSIC  CONTESTS ART EXHIBITS
                                                       LIVE BAND

                                        CARIBBEAN  MIDDLE EASTERN  KOSHER CUISINE

       SPECIAL AWARD PRESENTATION TO BROOKLYN BORO PRESIDENT ERIC ADAMS
                                                         
 
                                                  SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY
                                                              Maayan Shaked

          Maayan Shaked, is a international singer songwriter, born in 1986 
Maayan grew up with great Soul-Pop music artist's sound, such as: Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Steve Wonder, Bryan Adams, Backstreet Boys etc.
                                                   
                                              JAZZ BY DON CHAPMAN
                                                   THE OPEN MIND BAND


                                                                                                                            
                                                                                         



Friday, December 4, 2015

HAPPY CHANUKAH FROM THE BRIDGE MULTICULTRAL PROJECT


https://youtu.be/jmN5mMdJJss?t=5
https://youtu.be/jmN5mMdJJss
Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days. On the secular calendar, Chanukah generally falls out in December

Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew and celebrates two miracles: In ancient Judea, the Maccabees, or leaders of a rebel Jewish army, liberated a temple in Jerusalem from Greek invaders after waging a three-year war and their victory is considered to be the first miracle. The second miracle occurred in the temple itself, where the Maccabees found a small amount of olive oil to fuel the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. There was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new oil. The Maccabees lit the menorah, however, and found that the oil burned for eight days.
                 
     c
What Is The Significance Of The Menorah Today? 
The candelabrum holds oil or candles, and Jews light one branch of the menorah on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The ninth flame, which is the flame in the middle,  is called the Shamash and is used to light the other flames.
How Else Do Jews Celebrate The Holiday Around The World?
There are several traditions associated with the festival, including the giving of "gelt" or monetary gifts to children. Children also play with dreidels during the holiday. Foods associated with Hanukkah include several items fried in oil, like donuts and latkes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS

Thanksgiving 
is the 
appointed time
for focusing on the good in our lives.
In each of our days,
we can find small blessings,
but too often we overlook them,
choosing instead to spend our time
paying attention to problems.
We give our energy
to those who cause us trouble
instead of those who bring peace.
Starting now,
let's be on the lookout
for the bits of pleasure in each hour,
and appreciate the people who
bring love and light to everyone
who is blessed to know them.
You are one of those people.
On Thanksgiving,
I'm thankful for you.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

EMERGENCY SAFTEY ALERT .......................... HEATERS ARE A MAIN SOURCE OF HOME FIRES.... BUY A U.L APPROVED HEATER WITH A TILT SHUT OFF AND OVERHEAT SWITCH

IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION  THAT NYC HARDWARE STORES ARE SELLING HEATERS THAT ARE NOT UL APPROVED WITH NO SAFETY FEATURES
Please call our office at  1 800 621 8551 FOR MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION
DAVID SPIRA  DIRECTOR OF FIRE SAFETY

Features to look for


If you're thinking of buying an electric heater, here are the features to consider.

  • Fan: A fan is an effective way to break up the layers of cold and warm air in a room. While noisy, you don't have to use them continuously. Just switch them on for a few minutes, to warm up the room.
  • Cord storage: This allows you to stow the cord neatly when the heater is not in use.
  • Controls: The controls should be clearly visible, easy to access and easy to use. Markings should be easy to read with good contrast. The more heat settings the better – you'll have more flexibility to control the room temperature.




Safety

Issues to be aware of with electric heaters.

Tilt switch
Tilt switches turn the heater off if it falls over to reduce the risk of fire. They turn off the heater in case of a fall and are essential for any portable heater.
Thermal cutout
All models should have a built-in thermal cutout, to turn the heater off if it overheats.
Oil-filled heaters
The relatively low surface temperature makes oil-filled heaters safer than most other heater types. But some models have narrow exposed fins that get quite

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monday, Nov. 9, marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi hordes ran wild throughout Berlin, as well as in other German cities. Jewish houses of worship were torched and burned





KRYSTALNACHT GERMANY







On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) became chancellor of Germany. However, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse. During World War II (1939-45), Hitler and the Nazis implemented their so-called “Final Solution” to the what they referred to as the “Jewish problem,” and carried out the systematic murder of some 6 million European Jews in what came to be known as the Holocaust.










Soon after Adolph Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in January 1933, he began instituting policies that isolated German Jews and subjected them to persecution. Among other things, Hitler’s Nazi Party, which espoused extreme German nationalism and anti-Semitism, commanded that all Jewish businesses be boycotted and all Jews be dismissed from civil-service posts. In May 1933, the writings of Jewish and other “un-German” authors were burned in a communal ceremony at Berlin’s Opera House. Within two years, German businesses were publicly announcing that they no longer serviced Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in September 1935, decreed that only Aryans could be full German citizens. Furthermore, it became illegal for Aryans and Jews to marry or have extramarital intercourse.






Despite the repressive nature of these policies, through most of 1938, the harassment of Jews was primarily nonviolent. However, on the night of November 9, all that changed dramatically.
In the fall of 1938, Herschel Grynszpan (1921-45), a 17-year-old ethnically Polish Jew who had been living in France for several years, learned that the Nazis had exiled his parents to Poland from Hanover, Germany, where Herschel had been born and his family had lived for years. As retaliation, on November 7, 1938, the agitated teenager shot Ernst vom Rath (1909-38), a German diplomat in Paris. Rath died two days later from his wounds, and Hitler attended his funeral. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), the Nazi minister for public enlightenment and propaganda, immediately seized on the assassination to rile Hitler’s supporters into an anti-Semitic frenzy.
Kristallnacht was the result of that rage. Starting in the late hours of November 9 and continuing into the next day, Nazi mobs torched or otherwise vandalized hundreds of synagogues throughout Germany and damaged, if not completely destroyed, thousands of Jewish homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and cemeteries. Nearly 100 Jews were murdered during the violence. Nazi officials ordered German police officers and firemen to do nothing as the riots raged and buildings burned, although firefighters were allowed to extinguish blazes that threatened Aryan-owned property.
In the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht, the streets of Jewish communities were littered with broken glass from vandalized buildings, giving rise to the name Night of Broken Glass. The Nazis held the German-Jewish community responsible for the damage and imposed a collective fine of $400 million (in 1938 rates), according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Additionally, more than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to the Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps in Germany–camps that were specifically constructed to hold Jews, political prisoners and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state.
On November 15, 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), the American president, responded to Kristallnacht by reading a statement to the media in which he harshly denounced the rising tide of anti-Semitism and violence in Germany. He also recalled Hugh Wilson, his ambassador to Germany.
Despite Roosevelt’s condemnation of the Nazi violence, the U.S. refused to ease the immigration restrictions it then had in place, constraints that prevented masses of German Jews from seeking safety in America. One reason was anxiety over the possibility that Nazi infiltrators would be encouraged to legally settle in the U.S. A more obscured reason was the anti-Semitic views held by various upper-echelon officials in the U.S. State Department. One such administrator was Breckinridge Long (1881-1958), who was responsible for carrying out policies relating to immigration. Long took an obstructionist role in granting visas to European Jews, and maintained this policy even when America entered World War II after the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl HarborHawaii.
The violence of Kristallnacht served notice to German Jews that Nazi anti-Semitism was not a temporary predicament and would only intensify. As a result, many Jews began to plan an escape from their native land.
Arthur Spanier (1899-1944) and Albert Lewkowitz (1883-1954) were two who wanted to come to the U.S.; however, their task was not a simple one. Spanier had been the Hebraica librarian at the Prussian State Library and an instructor at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Higher Institute for Jewish Studies), both located in Berlin, Germany. After Kristallnacht, he was sent to a concentration camp, but was released upon receiving a job offer from the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Hebrew Union College. Spanier applied for an American visa, but none was forthcoming. Julian Morgenstern (1881-1976), president of the college, traveled to Washington, D.C., for an explanation. Morgenstern was told that Spanier was denied the visa because he was a librarian and, according to U.S. State Department rules, a visa could not be issued to an academic in a secondary educational position even if a major American educational institution had pledged to support him.
Lewkowitz, a philosophy professor at the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary, was granted a visa. He and Spanier traveled to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, but were trapped there when the Germans invaded in May 1940. Lewkowitz’s visa was destroyed as the Germans bombarded the city. Bureaucrats at the American consulate suggested that he acquire another visa from Germany. Given the circumstances, this would be impossible. Both men soon found themselves in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Spanier lost his life there, while Lewkowitz was released in 1944 during a prisoner exchange. That year, he settled in Palestine.
Not all those who were impacted by Kristallnacht were practicing Jews. Edith Stein (1891-1942), a German philosopher and nun, was born a Jew but converted to Catholicism. In 1933, she was accepted as an initiate at the Carmelite convent in Cologne, Germany, and took the name Teresa Benedicta a Cruce. She was joined there by her older sister Rosa, who had also become a Catholic.
After Kristallnacht, the Steins left Germany and resettled in a Carmelite convent in Echt, the Netherlands. In 1942, as the Germans began deporting Jews from the Netherlands, Edith Stein successfully applied for a visa that would allow her to move to a convent in neutral Switzerland. However, Rosa was unable to obtain a visa and Edith declined to leave the Netherlands without her.
In August 1942, the Nazis arrested both women and dispatched them to a concentration camp at Amersfoort, the Netherlands. Shortly afterward, they were sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp where they perished in a gas chamber. In 1987, Edith Stein was beatified as a Catholic martyr by Pope John Paul II (1920-2005).

Monday, Nov. 9, marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazi hordes ran wild throughout Berlin, as well as in other German cities. Jewish houses of worship were 
in flames as some night.
shop had been looted and painted with vile Jew-hating slogans. Uniformed Nazis and their sympathizers 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

THE BRIDGE JOINS ALL AMERICANS IN PROCLAMING "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH " OCTOBER IS NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARNESS MONTH

PRESIDENTS STATEMENT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence impacts women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and face tremendous threats to their health and safety. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we reaffirm our dedication to forging an America where no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence causes -- and we recommit to doing everything in our power to uphold the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.
While physical marks may often be the most obvious signs of the harm caused by domestic violence, the true extent of the pain goes much deeper. Victims not only face abuse, but often find themselves left with significant financial insecurity. And children who witness domestic violence often experience lifelong trauma. These heinous acts go against all we know to be humane and decent, and they insult our most fundamental ideals. We all have a responsibility to try to end this grave problem.
Prior to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), many did not view domestic violence as a serious offense, and victims often had nowhere to turn for support. VAWA significantly transformed our Nation -- it enhanced the criminal justice response to violence against women and expanded survivors' access to immediate assistance and long-term resources to rebuild their lives. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is another important piece of legislation that improved our public health response to domestic violence and increased the availability of critical services for victims.
My Administration has worked hard to build on the progress of the past several decades and improve domestic violence prevention and response efforts. We have extended protections and prevention measures to more victims, including in Native American and immigrant communities, and worked to break down barriers for more people seeking help. And the reauthorization of VAWA I signed in 2013 prohibits -- for the first time -- discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity when providing services. Additionally, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must now cover preventive services, including screening and counseling for domestic violence, at no additional cost. My Administration has also sought to secure greater workplace protections by requiring Federal agencies to develop policies that address the effects of domestic violence and to provide assistance to employees experiencing it. And I recently signed an Executive Order to establish paid sick leave for Federal contractors, which enables them to use it for absences resulting from domestic violence.
Though we have made great progress in bringing awareness to and providing protections against domestic violence, much work remains to be done. In that spirit, Vice President Joe Biden launched our 1is2many initiative, which aims to raise awareness of dating violence and reduce sexual assault among students, teens, and young adults. And earlier this year, we reaffirmed our Nation's commitment to addressing domestic violence at all stages of life by holding the White House Conference on Aging, which addressed elder abuse as a public health problem that affects millions of older Americans. These initiatives will help advance our efforts to ensure no person is robbed of the chance to live out their greatest aspirations.
Safeguarding and opening doors of opportunity for every American will remain a driving focus for our country -- and we know that crimes like domestic violence inhibit our Nation from reaching its fullest potential. This month, let us once again pledge our unwavering support to those in need and recognize the advocates, victim service providers, and organizations who work tirelessly to extend hope and healing to survivors and victims every day. I encourage all people in need of assistance to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.TheHotline.org.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

THE BRIDGE WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS LEADER OF OF OVER 70 MILLION CATHOLICS AND APPEALS FOR REFORM IN NEW YORK STATES WEAK LAWS ON SEXUAL ABUSE






         BY ASSEMBLYWOMAN MARGARET M. MARKEY
AUTHOR OF THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT OF NEW YORK STATE       

OUR  PLEA TO POPE FRANCIS
                                       
Please Ask Your NY Bishops to Follow Your Lead on Child Sex Abuse Offences to Show Mercy for Survivors NY is Among the Worst States in all America for How Victims Are Treated and NY’s Bishops are the Biggest Roadblock to Reform of Our Archaic Statute of Limitations 
 Amid the excitement over the momentous U.S. visit of Pope Francis this month, little attention has been directed to one of the most urgent topics of concern among many New York Catholics: the scourge of childhood sexual abuse. One in five American children are victims of this abuse, most by family, acquaintances or others they trust and respect. We read reports from several major U.S. Catholic dioceses that abusers include clergy and others within their orbit. Even though these cases may only be a small percentage of the total, the systematic cover-up and protection of abusers has brought shame to the Catholic Church as notorious examples reveal how church leaders have hidden pedophiles, sometimes even leaving them free to continue their despicable crimes. Those of us in New York who are battling this scourge were encouraged this year by the strong message of Pope Francis to his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. We took particular note of his reminder that there is no place in the ministry for abusers and his call to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for past victims of abuse. Then he created a Vatican Tribunal to hold bishops accountable for cover-ups or failing to prevent abuse within their jurisdictions. His views, backed up by his actions, were warmly greeted here. In New York, as in many states, the fight to address childhood sexual abuse and get justice for survivors has been directed at reform of archaic statutes of limitations (SOLs) that restrict the time for victims to report crimes against them by abusers and the organizations that hid or protected them. Under current law NY victims of child sex abuse must come forward to bring criminal or civil charges within five years after their 18th birthday. Otherwise they forever lose the opportunity. Extensive, creditable research shows, however, that many if not most abuse survivors do not come to grips with what happened to them until well into adulthood, if ever. The U.S. Justice Department says only 10 percent of child sex abuse cases are ever reported. To whittle away at the other 90 percent, a national movement to reform statute of limitations laws, state-by-state, has seen many expanding or eliminating statute of --- continued --- --- page 2 --- limitations codes to give survivors more time to come forward. These include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Delaware and Connecticut. New York however, currently ranks among the very worst states in all of America for how it deals with victims of child sexual abuse crimes --- right at the bottom of all 50 states along with Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Indiana --- according to a survey by Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University. To bring New York out of its bottom ranking, Senator Brad Hoylman and I introduced the Child Victims Act of New York (A2872A/S63A). It will completely eliminate the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse crimes in the future. In addition, it will suspend the civil statute for one year to give older victims an opportunity to get justice. Equally important, it will also expose predators that have been hidden and remain free to abuse new generations of children. Even though the measure has strong support in the Assembly, it faces resistance in the State Senate and the most vocal opponent of this SOL reform is the New York Catholic Conference of Bishops. According to Catholic Whistleblowers, a distinguished group of religious leaders and canon law experts, this opposition directly contradicts the reforms in the Church’s own changes in Canon Law in 2001, 2003 and 2010 relating to statues of limitations and as well as the views expressed by Pope Francis on the subject. Earlier this year I wrote to His Holiness Pope Francis and asked for his help in convincing the Bishops of New York to follow his lead. Reforming the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse will better protect children in the future and bring justice and relief to older victims who continue to suffer from the long-lasting effects of what they endured at the hands of abusers. After Washington, Pope Francis will visit two states in America. One, Pennsylvania, has taken significant steps over recent years to reform its SOL codes to make them better for children and survivors. New York is a very different story. I respectfully plead with Pope Francis to intervene with New York Bishops, to melt their hearts, to convince them to adopt his own message of healing and reconciliation toward survivors of child sexual abuse. With New York as one of the very worst states in America for how it treats victims of child sex abuse, it is the Bishops of New York State who are the biggest roadblock to changing that. There is no limit to what is a lifetime of suffering for many survivors of abuse and there should be no limit on the ability of society to hold abusers accountable. Eliminating New York’s statute of limitations for these crimes will provide justice for victims and expose those pedophiles that have been hidden by institutions like his church. I ask the Holy Father to melt the hearts of his New York Bishops so they can be transformed from opponents into supporters of statute of limitations reform. --- September 23, 2015 --- 000 --- Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth), is the prime sponsor of the Child Victims Act of NY (A2872A/S63A), which would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse offenses. The act has been adopted four times in the Assembly, but has never come to the floor of the State Senate for a vote. For media information: Michael Armstrong, 718-651-3185, 917-279-8437, armmic@earthlink.net

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965....... IT IS TIME TO GET IT RIGHT





           



Fifty years ago, as President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, he said, "Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield."

The analogy  was apt. People had indeed given their blood -- and in some cases even their lives -- fighting for the right to vote.
It was also accurate. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) secured and safeguarded the right to vote for millions of Americans, making it among the most important milestones of the civil rights movement and perhaps its most effective legislative achievement.
For decades before the enactment of the VRA, states had used laws -- including literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and poll taxes -- to prevent African Americans from voting. Although, when challenged, the courts almost always struck down the laws as unconstitutional, it sometimes took years for the cases to make their way through the court system. By the time the courts struck down one law, legislators had passed another discriminatory law to take its place.
The VRA changed the equation. By not only outlawing discrimination in voting around the country, but also requiring the historically worst offenders - both states and local jurisdictions - to "preclear" their proposed changes to voting practices with the federal government before going into place, the VRA opened the door for those previously silenced by discrimination to make their voices heard.
And the VRA's success was clear almost immediately. After 1965, African American voter registration rates skyrocketed. The number of African Americans elected to public office increased fivefold within five years of the VRA's passage. By the early 2000s, there were more than 9,000 African American elected officials in the United States - including the first African American president--and most were from areas required to preclear their laws with the federal government.
In 2013, however, in a case called Shelby County v. Holder, a deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down a critical part of the VRA, essentially gutting the heart of the legislation. Although the court affirmed that the idea of preclearance was constitutional, it struck down the formula used to determine which states and localities would have to preclear their laws, effectively ending the practice of preclearance.
In a powerful dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, "Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away an umbrella in a rainstorm because you're not getting wet."
As Justice Ginsburg and the other dissenters had foreseen, the storms rolled in immediately. Within hours of the Supreme Court's decision, Texas, North Carolina, and other states put into effect discriminatory voting laws that had been previously blocked by federal courts reviewing the policies as part of the preclearance procedure.
Texas, for example, immediately revived a redistricting plan that a federal court had refused to preclear before Shelby County, finding "more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have space or need to address here," and put into effect a voter ID lawthat another federal court had blocked, concluding that "simply put, many Hispanics and African Americans who voted in the last elections will, because of the burdens imposed by SB 14, likely be unable to vote."
Since then, states and localities around the county have passed dozens of laws that threaten to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, disproportionately impacting communities of color, the elderly, people with disabilities, students, and poor people.
When the Supreme Court struck down the formula used to determine which states would have to preclear their laws, it expressly left open the door for Congress to create a new formula.
Recently, Congress has answered that call. A new bill has been introduced in both the House and the Senate - the Voting Rights Advancement Act - which would revive the crucial voting rights protections of the VRA by creating a new formula for preclearance, putting in place additional safeguards for voting, and once more helping to ensure that all Americans can have their say in our democracy.
In 2006, the last year in which Congress voted on reauthorization of the VRA, support for continuing the law's critical safeguards was bipartisan and nearly unanimous. The vote was 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives (including over 150 current Representatives) and 98 to 0 in the Senate (including over 30 current Senators).
That same bipartisan support for the VRA is more important today than ever before. In this moment when our country seems polarized on so many issues and tensions are uncomfortably high, an endorsement from both sides of the aisle for the VRA would be a powerful sign of democratic renewal and national civility at a time when such behaviors are in short supply.
As we gear up for the 2016 election -- the first presidential election since the Supreme Court crippled the VRA's protections -- we need, as President Johnson said, a new triumph for freedom to match any won on a battlefield.
On the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, it is time to legislate, not just commemorate.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

TO ALL OF OUR JEWISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS A HAPPY AND SWEET NEW YEAR 5776


       
The festival of  Rosh Hashanah the JEWISH NEW YEAR —the name means “CELEBRATION OF THE NEW YEAR”—is observed for two days beginning on the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of  Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in  G‑d’s world and making this world a better place for all.
Rosh Hashanah thus emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world. Each year on Rosh Hashanah, “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die . . . who shall be impoverished, and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.” But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d  King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe is dependent upon the  renewal of the divine desirefor a world when we accept G‑d’s kingship each year on Rosh Hashanah.
The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the  shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the  shofar is also a call to  repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of  man’s first sin and his repentance thereof, and serves as the first of the “ Ten Days of Repentance” 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

      TO ALL OUR BRIDGE FRIENDS      

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

LABOR DAY LEGISLATION

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

FOUNDER OF LABOR DAY

The father of labor day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

THE FIRST LABOR DAY

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A NATIONWIDE HOLIDAY

Women's Auxiliary Typographical Union
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.