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25 Tevet 5770 /January 11, 2010
Contact: Jewish Women Watching

Jewish Women Ask: Who is Taking Heat from the Jewish Community?

As students return to school for the new semester, Jewish Women Watching, the anonymous collective of feminist rabble rousers, has released its latest project. This time around, these renegades are critiquing the Jewish community's hypocrisy in responding so unevenly to the opening this past fall of the Hebrew Language Academy (HLA), a Hebrew language public school, compared to the opening of the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), an Arabic language public school, in fall 2007. Now that the buzz about the schools has settled down, JWW forces the community to confront its double standards. Thousands of mailboxes will be bombarded this week with thermometer bookmarks that are specially calibrated to measure the heat each school has taken from the Jewish community.

KGIA was lambasted in the mainstream Jewish press for "proselytizing for Islam" and judged as inherently anti-Zionist. "Major Jewish leaders used their influence to attack KGIA, which contributed to the City's decision to forcibly remove the principal," Gertrude Weil commented. In contrast HLA, funded heavily by Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, faced only reasonable questions about separation of church and state. Its approach to foreign-language education was welcomed.

"Just two years ago Khalil Gibran International Academy dealt with such disgustingly racist opposition from the Jewish community," Ruth the Moabite said. "And now people are barely batting an eye when a Hebrew version of KGIA opens."

"Could it be that HLA is modeling itself on KGIA?" Reb Bruriah wondered. "I look at the mission statements of both schools and I must ask 'Mah Nisthanah?' What is the difference? I see no difference!" Given the similarity of the schools, JWW demands that the Jewish community apply the same principles of reasoned critique when discussing each school. They encourage recipients of this bookmark to use it as a reminder to call out Jewish racism when it next appears. Anti-Arab racism has no place in our community and - like sexism - is a sin.

Jewish Women Watching is an anonymous activist collective that aims to rouse the public to challenge and change the sexist and other discriminatory practices in the American Jewish community. Since 1999, JWW has been criticizing the Jewish community's narrow-minded priorities through online, print, and street actions. For more information, visit JWW's web site at To arrange an interview, write to .

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