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2013 Year End Letter

Stephen L. Naman
2013 Year End Letter

Dear Associates,  
I am deeply saddened to report that our friend, mentor and fellow Board member Robert L. (Bob) Steiner of Washington, DC, and previously Cincinnati, OH, passed away after a brief illness. Bob had recently celebrated his 90th birthday. Bob was a navigator in the European theater during WWII; an imminent economist, entrepreneur and fly fisherman extraordinaire; for some six (6) decades a stalwart of the Council; and a true American patriot. His leadership, wise counsel and friendship will be sorely missed and we extend our sincere sympathies to his family.  
On a positive note we are pleased that the first American Council for Judaism Fellowship, under the auspices of the American Jewish Archives, has been awarded to Ms. Roxana Elena Ghita, a Ph.D. student in Philology at West University of Timisoara in Romania. Her research focused on Jewish women refugees in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s and their suffering due to extreme poverty and discrimination both as women and Jews. Ms. Ghita has an impressive CV, we are honored to have her as the first recipient of the ACJ Fellowship, and we wish her continued success in her education and career endeavors. We also extend our appreciation to the AJA.  
Another notable event this year was a series of excellent interview articles that Allan Brownfeld did with Joseph Cotto, which can be found on the web site of The Washington Times.  
Regrettably, within segments of the organized Jewish community, censorship rather than free and open speech, and a stress on Israel and the Middle East, rather than religion, seems to characterize a disproportionate share of activity.  
Recently the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which declares itself as “the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all” complained to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority about ads demonstrating the loss of Palestinian lands in Israel, which were taken down until confronted by an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union expressing the view that this was “pure censorship of political speech,” after which the ads were returned.  
Further the ADL has published a list of its ten most anti-Israel / anti-Zionist organizations, several of which are made up of Jewish constituencies and are listed because their positions on Middle East peace, human rights, democracy, and free speech, differ from those of the ADL, other mainstream Zionist organizations and Israel. One of these Jewish organization’s had the “radical” idea to try and coordinate open dialogue within Hillels on college campuses, whose guidelines are so strict as to impede the potential for free discussion. One must question the objectivity of the ADL in these matters and whether it is truly living up to its stated mission and historical standards, or is in fact in contradiction of its own supposed principles.  
As we have always maintained, Judaism is a religion of universal values and those who claim to represent American Jews have a mandate to serve the religious and spiritual lives of their members, not become political special interest groups with regard to Israel and the Middle East.  
For those of you who have already made your 2013 contributions to the Council we are of course grateful as always. If you have not contributed this year we hope you will find the Council worthy of your financial support. Please note our mailing address has changed and is now, Post Office Box 888484, Atlanta, GA 30356-0484. Credit card donations can be made only via PayPal which may be accessed via the Donations page http://www.acjna.org/acjna/donations.aspx  
of our web site, www.ACJNA.org. We thank each of you for your continued interest in and commitment to the American Council for Judaism.  
Stephen L. Naman  
Stephen L. (Steve) Naman, President  
American Council for Judaism, Inc.  

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