The Wrong Advice to Give to a Mother Whose Children Are Subject to Proselytizing in School

In a recent Slate column, Emily Yoffe offers far-too-cautious advice for a mother whose child is dealing with religious proselytization in the classroom.

Here’s the setup:

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Because You Can Never Have Too Many White People in Your Church…

Makeda Pennycooke, executive pastor of operations at Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, sent an email to church members this week introducing a new policy regarding which people she wanted to welcome newcomers at the front door.

White people.

Only white people.”

Carmen Thomas, a volunteer at the church for two years, couldn’t believe it:

“I was floored. Like it was a jaw dropper. You can put a white face all over the front door. But when you come through those doors, you’re going to see African Americans, you’re gonna see Asians. You’re going to see people of color.”

The justification for Pennycooke’s new policy was that “first impressions matter.” Her email explained that she wanted “the best of the best on the front doors.”

Apparently the non-white parishioners didn’t make that cut. One has to wonder if skin color was the only criteria for being “the best.” What about attendance levels? Volunteer frequency? Personality traits?

Complicating this story even more is the fact that Pennycooke herself is black.

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Bar Mitzvahs Could Use a Makeover

In yesterday’s New York Times, Laurie Goodstein had an interesting article about how bar/bat mitzvahs were getting a “new look” of sorts because — can you believe it?! — a lot of young Jews would just go through the motions without really caring much about the teachings of the faith:

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The 30-Day Jail Sentence Wasn’t This Judge’s First Bad Decision

You may have heard the story of a Montana judge who sentenced a teacher to only 30 days in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide. (The judge has since ordered a retrial.)

Well, reader Zack pointed out to me something that has gone unnoticed by the media.

Judge G. Todd Baugh wears a power bracelet:

So this guy has a history of poor judgment[Read more...]

What’s It Like To Be a Woman in an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Environment? It’s Not a Pretty Picture

Two days ago, I wrote about Israel’s education authorities censoring science textbooks — specifically, removing information about female sexual organs and human reproduction.

A friend then sent me a link to a mindbending 2012 interview with Deborah Feldman, who grew up in the Satmar sect among Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jews. She was forced into marriage at 17, but, encouraged by college friends, mustered the courage to leave that deeply misogynist culture some three years ago. Feldman wrote a riveting book about her experiences: Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

In this post, I’ll simply do some prodigious quoting from the interview — or you can read the complete exchange between Feldman and interviewer Sara Stewart for yourself, here.

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