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AMERICAN DIVERSITY REPORT

Reflections on the Holocaust -- by Deborah Levine

The first time that I agreed to serve on the local Holocaust Remembrance Day Committee was painful, even after almost seventy years since the end of World War II. I agreed to assist in promoting the event beyond our Jewish community and I agreed to participate in the reading of the names of the victims. Given my cyberspace skills, I created an invite to the community on Face book. And I resigned myself to being an usher the day of the event, not my favorite thing. What I didn’t bargain for was a seat on the stage and internal upheaval. << MORE >>

Looted Artwork and Holocaust Restitution -- by Nicholas Dietz

The foremost issue in the field of Art Law today, even more prominent than antiquities looting, is the restitution of artwork looted by the Nazis to Holocaust survivors or their descendants. Many may wonder why this matter has seemingly arisen only recently, decades after the end of World War II. The reasons are primarily political.
 
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Greenpeace, Matriarchs, and Me -- by Deborah Levine

As the editor of the American Diversity Report, I’ve long included Green articles in our Impact section. I focus on the economic juggernaut which Going Green is unleashing and the impact on our world, our workplace and our lives. When I considered doing an article on the iconic Greenpeace movement which started so much of our environmental activism, I thought it would be an intellectual and historical project. Imagine my surprise when my 86-year old Aunt Polly informed that my Green-ness runs in the family and that Greenpeace is closer to me than I realized.

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Going Green Could Mean More Sacrifice than We Imagine - by Deborah Levine

Recent mammoth storms brings me to revisit an article in Wired Magazine entitled, Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green. The article makes the case for 10 ways to turn around global warming that will drive environmentalists crazy. Calling for Greens to unite around the issue of greenhouse gases, the article makes the case for nuclear energy and urban density. The outcry from readers was sharp with outcries about the single mindedness of the article, its lack of supporting data, its in-your-face sensationalism and overall creepiness.

 

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Does the Holocaust Have Ethical Implications for Today? -- by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

The academic study of ethics, in light of the experience of the Holocaust, has witnessed rapid development in the last decade. In addition to research into ethical decision making during the Holocaust itself in such volumes as Rab Bennett's Under the Shadow of the Swastika: The Moral Dilemmas of Resistance and Collaboration in Hitler's Europe, more general reflections on the significance of the Holocaust for contemporary ethics have come to the fore from Jewish and Christian scholars alike. There have also been voices such as Herbert Hirsch who have questioned whether we can learn anything from the Holocaust in terms of the moral challenge facing us today given the sui generis nature of that event as well as the immense complexity of a modern, global society.

I personally stand with those who do find the experience of the Holocaust significant for ethical reflection in today's global society. But Hirsch's pessimism does serve a purpose in reminding us that there is no simplistic transition from the situation of the Shoah into today's complex social situation.

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Before the Witnesses are Gone -- By Dr. Jill Gabrielle Klein

Fifteen years ago, when I set out to write a book about the Holocaust experiences of my father’s family, I knew I didn’t have forever. At that time, my father and his two sisters—all of whom endured Nazi concentration camps—were still alive. It was remarkable enough that three siblings from one family survived the camps; it was even more extraordinary that they would still be living, all with excellent memories and a willingness to talk, more than half a century later. Recognizing this ...

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April's Rogue Destructors -- by Deborah Levine

Every April, I write about domestic terrorism in the U.S. and the neo-Nazi, white supremacist movement. My articles began with the 168 people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing almost twenty years ago. I became the community and media liaison for Oklahoma's Tulsa Jewish Federation shortly after the bombing so that I could see what led to the deadliest bombing, prior to 9/11, on our native soil.  The violent hatred that I saw then has not only continued, but blossomed in recent years with spring surges. In April 2013, the result was the Boston Marathon bombings. April 2014 has been marked by shootings at a Jewish Community Center and Jewish Seniors Home in Kansas City by a former KKK Grand Dragon and White Supremacist. Here in Chattanooga, the most prominent neo-Nazi group in the US is planning its 40th anniversary rally on the steps of our Court House on April 26, the weekend of Holocaust Memorial Day. Where was their most recent rally just months ago? Kansas City. We cannot, and should not, overlook past lessons, current momentum, and future consequences.

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Creativity, Words, and Branding in a Diverse World -- by Deborah Levine

It’s not easy being catchy, creative and on-target when branding yourself. Projecting our uniqueness into the loud, busy, multicultural market place is a challenge. Many of us don’t see that every detail, like the words we choose, contribute to our brand, even when we think no one’s paying attention. The trick is to make our choices consciously, rather than randomly, as entrepreneurs are trained to do.  Ask me how I know that and I’ll share my story, as well as some tips I learned along the way. << MORE >>

Gay marriage, religious freedom and the need for civil dialogue - by Charles C. Haynes

In recent months, legislators in more than a dozen states — from Hawaii to Georgia — have attempted to enact laws they describe as necessary to protect religious freedom.  Some are broad “religious freedom restoration acts” very similar to laws already on the books in many states. Others are amendments to existing laws aimed at allowing businesses to deny wedding services to gay couples on religious grounds.

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Abandoned Music -- Poem by Jyothsna Phanija

Every evening that house sings in suffocation.

They welcome the night with worships.

Their memory is a big city to relocate hundreds of scales and intricate rhythm combinations.

They have a tempo meter.

The wind heavy with that chanting reaches the garden,

Hits his tumbler filled with water for the plants,

Compels him to pick up some lines,

Some difficult words, and some more notes.



...
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The Passover and Easter Cross-cultural Dilemma -- by Deborah Levine

Passover is the root story of Judaism. It is a story of religious freedom reliving the Exodus from Egypt, and the struggle to emerge from slavery to freedom. The quest for religious freedom, for the right to practice Judaism, is an ongoing struggle that the Jewish people re-live each year at Passover as Christians re-live the story of Easter.

Passover and Easter come at roughly the same time every spring. Some of the rituals and symbols of the two celebrations overlap: the Seder table, the egg, the wine and the wafer-like matzo. The Jewish heritage of Jesus is especially apparent at this time.

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Voyeur -- Poem by KB Ballentine

A haze hovers around the border of the valley,

smoke trees blazing into bloom, a line of cherry

blushing in between. Pollen lazes on bridges, cars.

 


A brown thrasher lingers on the gate outside my house

        Here I am       Here I am       haha   hahaha

and a nuthatch widens his wings and sways

his ruffled body, warning an uncertain squirrel

from flung crumbs.

 


Access denied, the squirrel nips across the porch,

acorn husks scattering under bony feet.

Nuthatch and goldfinch reclaim the feeder,

beaks wide, new song rising.

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What Broken Bones and Breaking Ground Have in Common -- by Deborah Levine

Yes, I shared my story at the Women Ground Breakers event holding my broken arm. I had a kerfuffle with a department store floor and the floor won. Lying on that floor, all that went through my mind was, “How am I get everything done for our Women’s History Storytelling celebration?”  Part of me muttered,“We’re doomed!”  But part of me said,  “Ah, the Broken Bone Factor! This isn't a disability - this is diversity at work! ”

 

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How Talking About Racism Can Close the Gap Between Ethnicities-- By John H. Davis

Human beings are generally fearful of the unknown, the strange and the unusual. We rightfully warn our children to be aware of and avoid strangers. We place things of an unfamiliar nature in boxes labeled beware, dangerous, harmful or not to be trusted.Thus, a stranger is to be feared. This sets the stage for hatred. To a large degree, people of all ethnic groups tend to be xenophobic, very often without really recognizing it. Xenophobia causes fear, and sometimes fear naturally generates hatred.

 

 

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Unconsciously Biasing Children -- by Susan Popoola

I recently found myself watching the “Doll test” An experiment where children, black and white are shown two different dolls at the same time and asked questions such as which one is pretty, nice, bad and ugly.  Most of the children, black and white alike point to white doll when it comes to the positive attributes and the black doll when it comes to the negative attributes.

Doll Test

I’ve watched experiments several times before – they’re probably just as old as me!  This time though, ...

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