News for Sociology of Religion--Fri Feb 14 07:34:17 EST 1997

    DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Past the gallon jars of matzo ball soup, around the corner from the cans of gefilte fish sit jars of sun-dried tomatoes. Beyond those is a freezer case with veggie

    Why are Communist and militant Islamic dictatorships persecuting Christians? Why are Western democracies reacting so passively—or not at all? What can be done to ease the repression? (New York Times) (*)

    WASHINGTON—The story appeared to have the elements of another Washington scandal: a long-guarded secret, a coverup, a front-page revelation.  (*)

    WASHINGTON—Controversial author John Sack, disinvited by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on short notice, rented a room Thursday to talk about his contention that Jews killed thousands of  (*)



    c. 1997 Cox News Service

    DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Past the gallon jars of matzo ball soup,around the corner from the cans of gefilte fish sit jars ofsun-dried tomatoes. Beyond those is a freezer case with veggieburgers and frozen cheese tortellini dinners. An aisle away is ashelf of spicy salsa and pasta sauces.

    Think you're shopping in a regular supermarket?

    Think again: Everything at the Oriole market in Delray Beach iskosher.

    From caviar to salsa to cannoli, today's kosher products have adistinctly gourmet look.

    ``In five years, (kosher) business has grown tremendously. Thetrend seems to be in more upscale products. For so long, kosher waschicken soup and gefilte fish,'' said Chana Kaufman, owner of TheKosher Connection, a California mail-order firm that sells koshergourmet foods.

    ``There has been a definite trend coming back to kosher. Theshoppers are younger, too,'' said Robert Katz, owner of the OrioleKosher Market.

    It's the younger crowd that's created the demand forcontemporary products, Katz said. ``Today, you go to a kosheraffair, you'll have 30 or 40 different kinds of crackers. It usedto be saltines and Tam Tams—that's it.''

    Menachem Lubinsky, president of Integrated MarketingCommunications in New York, has watched the boom in kosher foodsfor more than a decade. His group sponsors Kosherfest, a kosherfood show that began in 1992.

    ``We've gone from 69 exhibitors five years ago to 259 exhibitorslast year. There were more than 600 new products in last year'sshow alone,'' he said.

    There are more than 28,000 kosher products on the market today,he said, selling to an estimated seven million buyers. Whileobservant Jews have boosted sales, other groups contribute to thegrowth.

    ``There's the group that perceives kosher as more healthful orof better quality. There has also been an increase in the use ofkosher foods by Muslims who find kosher foods an easy way toeliminate pork from their diets,'' he said.

    Steve Greenseid, kosher caterer and owner of Steve GreenseidCatering in West Palm Beach, couldn't be happier about the broaderselection of products.

    ``The most exciting foods for me are the different sauces, pastasauces in particular, and the better quality wines. We can getbalsamic vinaigrette, salsas, and even kosher gumbo,'' he said.

    Convenience foods are becoming more contemporary, as well:Frozen bolognese ravioli, boxed curry dinners and pre-bagged saladsnow come with a kosher seal.

    ``It's nice to be able to eat like everybody else,'' saidJeanette Levine, of Hollywood, Fla. The 38-year-old has kept akosher home throughout her marriage, and said she has a reputationfor being the first on the block to spot new kosher products.

    ``What's great are all the store brands that have become kosher.Publix has its own brand of pie crust that's kosher. It'sconvenient and it's cheaper, too.''

    ``Kosher'' refers to a set of dietary laws, originating in theOld Testament, that govern the selection and preparation of foods.Jews and many Muslims follow these rules; Seventh-Day Adventistsand other religions observe parts of the rules as well.

    Many of the kosher laws apply to meats, which must come fromanimals that have been slaughtered and handled in a rituallyprescribed way.

    Certain foods are forbidden in kosher diets. They include pork,shellfish, fish such as squid and eel, products that contain bothmeat and dairy (they may never be served together), products madewith certain parts of an animal (the hindquarters of the cow arenot used); fermented foods and those containing alcohol. DuringPassover, any leavening agents are forbidden.

    Rabbi I. Harold Sharfman, head of the Kosher OverseersAssociates of America, oversees a group of specially trained rabbiswho go to the food production sites to inspect ingredients andcertify that every step of the food's production is handled in amanner that meets the standards.

    Today's technology has added to the foods that can be consideredkosher—imitation lobster meat is an example—but that samescience has presented problems of its own, Sharfman said. ``Theimitation products—cheeses, surimi—these are made with enzymesand preservatives we've never seen before. They all have to bechecked out.''

    But being able to put imitation goat cheese on his pizza, andeat something that looks and tastes remarkably like crab issomething that Oriole owner Katz finds awesome.

    ``I never thought I'd see cannolis, filled with cheese—weweren't allowed to eat the soft Italian cheeses like mascarpone orParmesan—they're made with rennet, an animal product,'' he said.Mixing meat and dairy products is forbidden in the dietary laws. Arennet from the laboratory, or an all-vegetable rennet is used tomake it kosher.

    He estimates he carries about 25,000 kosher items in his storesin Delray Beach and Sunrise. The Delray Beach store is under thesupervision of Rabbi Lester Hering, of Temple Emeth. The store, tobe considered kosher, is under the same inspection process that thefoods are.

    The updating and mainstreaming of kosher is simply good businesssense, Greenseid said. ``The big companies that cater buffets andhire the hotels to do their foods figure everyone can eat kosher _it will please everyone.''

    Meanwhile, Sharfman, whose organization is the oldest kosherendorsing association in the United States, and his associates keepbusy flying around the country and abroad to oversee the many newfoods trying to get the kosher blessing. Not all foods win thecoveted kosher symbols—``K'' or ``U'' inside a circle—on theirlabel, however. . .


    ``The strangest food lately to come under consideration for anendorsement is a company that has fortune cookies,'' Sharfman said.But this time, it's not the food that's troublesome, he said.``It's the fortune. Jews aren't supposed to be fortune tellers.''He doesn't know yet if it will get the endorsement.

    Here are recipes that use contemporary kosher products. None areintended to be kosher for Passover.

    Mexican chicken tortillas

    1 16-ounce can black beans, drained, rinsed

    1 garlic clove, peeled

    1 teaspoon vegetable oil

    kosher tortilla shells

    3 teaspoons vegetable oil

    2 small green or red peppers, cut into 2-inch long strips

    1 small onion, halved, cut into thin rings

    1/2 pound chicken, skin and bones removed

    2 teaspoons chili powder

    1 small head lettuce, shredded

    1 10-ounce jar salsa

    In food processor, process beans and garlic clove together; add1 teaspoon oil. Set aside.

    Heat tortilla shells in medium oven; turn off oven to keepshells warm while finishing dish.

    In skillet over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil and cookpeppers and onions just until tender. Remove from pan and setaside.

    Add remaining oil to pan. Sprinkle chicken with chili powder andcook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring often.Return peppers and onions to pan and heat through.

    To serve, remove tortilla shells from oven. Top each with alayer of black beans, shredded lettuce, chicken, cooked peppers andonions and a dollop of salsa.

    Makes 4 servings.

    (Recipe adapted from Pepperidge Farms.) California pizza

    1 boxed pizza crust mix, or refrigerated dough to make 1 crust

    Cornmeal for dusting pan

    Olive oil for brushing crust

    1/3 cup, approximately, pasta sauce with mushrooms and garlic

    2 ounces (kosher) goat cheese

    2 ounces (kosher) Parmesan cheese

    1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

    Pine nuts, if desired

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Roll out crust as directed on package. Lightly oil a pizza pan,and dust with cornmeal. Stretch pizza dough over pan; let restbefore completing recipe.

    Lightly brush crust edges with olive oil. Spread pasta sauce towithin 1 inch of crust edge. Add small bits of goat cheese overtop; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    Add sun-dried tomatoes, and sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.

    Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until crust is brownedevenly and goat cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

    Makes 1 14-inch pizza. (Recipe adapted from California CulinaryInstitute chefs.)

    Imitation shrimp and angel hair pasta

    1/2 pound surimi (imitation shrimp)

    1 pound angel hair pasta

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 dried hot chile pepper

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

    1 cup finely diced green pepper

    1/2 cup green peas, cooked

    2 16-ounce jars garlic and herb pasta sauce

    1 bay leaf

    Heat sauce with bay leaf; set aside.

    In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add chilepepper and cook until pepper turns dark. Discard pepper.

    Add surimi to the oil and saute briefly. Season with salt andpepper, reduce heat; add garlic, parsley, green pepper and peas.Toss mixture and cook for 2 minutes without letting garlic burn.Immediately add pasta sauce and heat mixture. Taste and correctseasoning; keep warm while pasta boils.

    Boil pasta until just al dente; drain and return it to pot.

    Add shrimp (surimi) and tomato sauce mixture. Toss well withforks.

    Add generous grinding of hot pepper and serve immediately.

    Makes 6 servings.

    Serve with a kosher chianti.

    (Recipe adapted from Perla Meyers in Time-Life's The Good CookPasta cookbook, 1980, Time-Life.)

    (Jan Norris is food editor of The Palm Beach Post.)

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    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service=@

    Why are Communist and militant Islamic dictatorships persecutingChristians? Why are Western democracies reacting so passively—ornot at all? What can be done to ease the repression?

    Every government knows Protestants and Catholics are persecutedin a score of countries. For trying to worship openly and as theirreligion teaches, Christians are arrested and tortured by thethousands—and many killed.

    Among countries with the most vicious records is the one thatthe West courts most lustfully, China. Also on the list areAmerican ``allies''—like Saudi Arabia, where U.S. troops helpingthe monarchy survive or American workers making it richer cannotworship openly or display symbols of their religion.

    Just this week, Reuters reported that 1,000 Pakistani Christianfamilies were driven from their homes by Muslim rioters—villagelooted and churches set afire.

    But the obvious questions above are never answered by Westerngovernments and persons of power—nor asked. The hounds of Heavenpursue with the answers.

    Dictatorships, for all their brutish swagger, are terrified byfree thoughts and minds. They threaten the control without whichdictators fear to govern. By definition, free worship is an enemy.

    Freedom of worship is proclaimed in international agreements onhuman rights. The West has eliminated the support of those rightsas a foreign policy. The overriding policy, suffocating all others,now is trade.

    Freedom is not a menu. Democracies cannot convince dictatorsthat political persecution is permissible but that it will struggleagainst religious persecution—or the reverse.

    Dictatorships do have a human rights policy. Act against anyvariety of our oppressions and we will punish you with loss oftrade. The West answers forthrightly: Yes, master.

    Much can be done to ease oppression, and not long ago was.During the Soviet empire, U.S. ambassadors and visiting officialsregularly met in Moscow with dissidents. The oppressed knew, and sodid the Kremlin, that they had a powerful ally.

    Beijing has cowed Americans into fleeing from Christians andothers it imprisoned for crimes of the mind. The United States,which denounced the Soviet gulag, now gives military honors to thekillers of the Chinese gulag.

    The new U.S. policy of betrayal of religious and politicalrights was shaped by companies doing business with thedictatorships. They turned President Clinton right around—hisback now to his own promises.

    An American movement for persecuted Christians is justdeveloping. An administration advisory committee on religion metfor the first time Thursday. Tremble, Beijing.

    Why has there been no powerful U.S. constituency for persecutedChristians as there was for Soviet dissidents and South Africanblacks? The answer is in our stars—our business, political andintellectual leaders—and in ourselves.

    American businessmen supported Soviet Jews and evangelicals whenno big trade deals were at risk. Liberal American intellectuals andpoliticians also supported them—and the boycott againstapartheid.

    Now intellectuals and some religious organizations find themovement for Christian religious freedom too conservative on othermatters; all together now, wrinkle noses. Do we really need apolitical litmus test for supporting religious freedom?

    Members of the movement for Christian oppressed tell of otherproblems. They say that Christians do not often enough seethemselves in oppressed Christians far away, as a Jewishindustrialist remembering the Holocaust might see something ofhimself in a persecuted Jewish sweeper in Yemen. And ministers inthe movement are sometimes lectured that the blood of the martyrsis the seed of the church.

    Christian theology is not my specialization. I only know allprisoners for freedom are intertwined in their chains. Who canbelieve that their sufferings will not ease if the chairmen ofBoeing, General Motors, Morgan Guaranty and Microsoft, and U.S.presidents and secretaries of state past and present, rise to saythat the altar must stand higher than the cash register, and pledgeto make it so?

    And if they fail in their duty to do this, where is it writtenthat the rest of us are absolved from doing ours?


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    c.1997 The Boston Globe


    WASHINGTON—The story appeared to have the elements of anotherWashington scandal: a long-guarded secret, a coverup, a front-pagerevelation.

    But in the week since Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albrightsaid she had discovered that she was of Jewish ancestry, and thatthree grandparents and other relatives had been killed in theHolocaust, the story has sent her into unfamiliar terrain. Thereaction of Albright and others has prompted speculation about howthe news has affected her and whether it will have an impact on howshe plays her role as the country's top diplomat.

    Friends insist that the revelations will not make a differencein the way Albright conducts foreign policy. Even to ask about thatis considered inane and insulting.

    ``Any imputation that somehow this affects her in a policy realmis offensive,'' said Robert Lieber, who worked with Albright duringMichael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign and now is a professorof government at Georgetown University.

    But others point out that Albright has long said her view ofpolicy was shaped most directly by her personal history. Because ofa hatred of Communism that stretches back to her childhood, forinstance, she has been a vigorous opponent of Fidel Castro. Theyask whether in that context this monumental new fact in herpersonal history will influence her world view.

    Albright, who left Czechslovakia as a young girl and was raisedas a Catholic, has been clearly moved by the discovery, made by areporter from The Washington Post. But she has said little inpublic about how she has absorbed the news or why, given her highprofile, it was not releaved until now.

    ``Clearly this is a very bittersweet time for me,'' she toldreporters last week, and asked for privacy to delve into herbackground. ``She understands she is a public figure, but this is avery emotional issue for her and she prefers to deal with itherself,'' State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said.

    Washington analysts are eager to see how Albright is receivedwhen she makes her first trip to the Mideast as secretary of state,probably sometime this spring. Not only is she a woman in a regiondominated by men, but for months some in the Arab press have saidshe had Jewish roots as a way of discrediting her.

    But many experts in the Mideast say Arab leaders will focus onwhat Albright says and does, not what is said about her background.After all, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is Jewish, asis President Clinton 's Mideast negotiator, Dennis Ross. Both areknown for forging peace accords.

    ``Since the main American negotiator is clearly Jewish, thedegree of Jewishness of Madeleine Albright obviously won't play arole in this,'' said Antony Polonsky, chairman of Near Eastern andJudaic Studies Department at Brandeis University.

    Still, if there is any hint that Albright is being soft onIsrael, ``some Arabs will say, `We told you so,''' said AllanNadler, research director for the Yivo Institute for JewishResearch in New York.

    Even before last week's news, Albright has in a sense alwaysbeen defined by her biography. The story of her upbringing, hermarriage and divorce, her success at raising three daughters whileteaching and traveling—all have been hashed over in public foryears.

    ``Albright is not like Warren Christopher,'' said Polonsky ofAlbright's reserved and relatively colorless predecessor. ``Heridentity is defined by the fact that these Catholic—not Jewish _immigrants came from Eastern Europe and made it.''

    Polonsky knew Albright's father, Joseph Korbel, and neverthought he was Jewish or of Jewish ancestry. But Polonsky thinksAlbright must have had an idea of her background, at least aftershe received letters from her hometown.

    ``This was an element of her past that she was trying to escapefrom and that was perfectly understandable,'' he said. ``The pointis that it's possible she suppressed that and it only came back in'94.''

    Albright, who arrived in America as a refugee in 1948, says herparents never told her that they had been raised as Jews and thatthree of her grandparents were killed by the Nazis. The story iscomplicated by the fact that Albright's cousin and the mayor of thetown where she was born have told reporters this month that theywrote her letters in 1994 sharing family anecdotes but did notreceive a response.

    In Sunday's Jerusalem Post, Dov Burt Levy, a former politicalscience professor, wrote that Albright, like many Americans,focused on the present instead of searching through her past.

    But others, like Nadler, openly question whether Albright wasaware of her ancestry.

    ``There's a very well known phenomenon called denial,'' he said.``There's no doubt in my mind that Albright has known for yearsabout her Jewish ancestory. She made a choice, which I cannotjudge, not to deal with it.''

    He added, ``It's traumatic in midlife or later in life toconfront a very painful past. It's easier not to confront it.''

    An aide^@to Albright said, ``People have to understand that shewas the most famous woman in Prague after January 1994, when shestepped off of Air Force One there with President Clinton . She gotlots of mail from that part of the world, some of it obviouslywrong, some of it threatening, some of it interesting.''

    He paused. ``Now, can we get back to conducting foreignpolicy?''

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    c.1997 Hearst Newspapers

    WASHINGTON—Controversial author John Sack, disinvited by theU.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on short notice, rented a roomThursday to talk about his contention that Jews killed thousands ofGermans in postwar internment camps in Poland.

    ``The Holocaust museum is doing wonderful things, not just aboutthe Jews and what the Germans did to them,'' said Sack. ``I hate tothink that the one topic that the Holocaust museum is not willingto talk about is genocide when it's committed by Jews.''

    Sack was originally invited to talk at the museum by MichaelBerenbaum, who until recently was director of the museum's ResearchInstitute.

    However, Sack's talk was canceled last Monday by the museum'sdirector, Walter Reich.

    ``The invitation to give your lecture was issued without myknowledge,'' Reich wrote to Sack. ``Having had the opportunity toexamine the matter, I have determined that holding the presentationwould not be compatible with the museum's programs.''

    Berenbaum said Thursday in a telephone interview that he hadinvited Sack to appear before a small audience of scholars at themuseum's Research Institute because ``he raises a very interestingissue that has been under-discussed, which is the nature of Jewishbehavior in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the efforts ... forrevenge.''

    ``I think he would have come out of there with an education,''he said.

    Berenbaum went on to criticize Sack's scholarship as``intellectually weak,'' ``deeply problematic'' and based on ``slimevidence.''

    Berenbaum is now president of the Survivors of the ShoahFoundation for Visual History in Hollywood, Calif.

    After his talk was canceled by the museum, Sack paid $301 to theNational Press Club for the use of a small meeting room, whereabout 30 people listened to his remarks, entitled ``Revenge andRedemption.''

    Sack told his audience about his years of research on the topic,saying he had collected 300 hours of taped interviews and studiedthousands of documents.

    He described a postwar prison at Gleiwitz, Poland, which he saidwas run by a Jewish woman who survived the Auschwitz death camp butlost 14 relatives there.

    Sack said about 20 German soldiers and 1,000 German civilianmen, women and children held at the Gleiwitz prison were torturedand were worse off at that prison than the warden had been atAuschwitz.

    Mary E. Morrison, a spokeswoman for the Holocaust museum whoattended the talk, later told a reporter that Sack's remarks showedthere were ``lots of obvious reasons'' why he was disinvited.

    Morrison strongly condemned Sack's reference to Auschwitz, andsaid comparing Auschwitz with Gleiwitz is ``mind-boggling.''

    She also bristled at Sack's use of the term ``genocide.''

    ``I would characterize his characterization of the treatment ofsome limited number of German prisoners by an even more limitednumber of Jews as genocide as absolutely outrageous,'' she said.``To act as though that was part of some well conceived andthought-out attempt at extermination is just outrageous.''

    Sack, who said he is Jewish, is the author of ``An Eye for anEye,'' a 1993 book in which he writes that 60,000 to 80,000 Germansdied between 1945 and 1948 in camps and prisons set up by thePolish Office of State Security. The camps' operators included manyJews, Sack said.

    His book, which prompted criticism from historians and scholars,was published by Basic Books and sold about 17,000 copies inhardcover and paperback. It is now out of print.

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