Robert Slayton

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    When Did Jews Become White?

    September 12, 2017Robert Slayton

    by Robert Slayton   A RECENT Washington Post article began, “Jews and non-Jews are drawn to debates about whether Jews are white. It’s the sort of question that captivates academics and activists, roping in everyone from Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ actress Gal Gadot to African American literary luminary James Baldwin.” When I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s, my Lithuanian-born mother always told me that Jews were different, that we weren’t like other Americans, that we should be wary of goyim...

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    Jews and Police Abuse in the Early 20th Century

    March 27, 2017Robert Slayton

    by Robert Slayton LAST SUMMER, before election fever took hold, the big headlines concerned accusations of police abuse and police killings.  Jews weren’t making these claims -- but a century ago Jews were among the first "white" minorities to undergo this kind of treatment, and to protest it. Rabbi Jacob Joseph was a leading figure in the Jewish world, a sage in Vilna, one of the cultural and academic capitals of Judaism. In 1888, a network of Orthodox New York Jews, hoping to grow their pres...

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    America's First Illegal Immigrants

    November 21, 2015Robert Slayton

    by Robert A. Slayton RABBI MARTIN ZIELONKA of Temple Mount Sinai in El Paso, Texas, had to deal with a growing problem, one he expected would worsen: Four Jewish immigrants appeared on his doorstep, coming from Eastern Europe to Mexico (by way of Spain or the Netherlands) and then entering the United States in total violation of the law. Nine more landsman were interned in an El Paso jail; meanwhile, there was a shipload of Jews in Mexico, waiting to make the clandestine journey, usually using ...

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