Reform movement, ADL slam Trump rollback of protections for transgender students

(JTA) – The Reform movement, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other Jewish groups denounced the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to rescind regulations allowing transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Trump on Wednesday rejected the Obama administration’s order that public schools allow transgender students to choose which bathrooms to use.

Leaders of the movement’s congregational arm, the Union for Reform Judaism, along with its rabbinical group, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and policy arm, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, joined in a statement Thursday against the action.

“Far from protecting girls and women from men in women’s bathrooms, decisions such as this imperil transgender youth,” the statement reads. “Transgender men and boys may appear threatening and come under attack if forced to use women’s restrooms. Transgender women and girls risk becoming victims of violence if forced to use men’s restrooms.

“The administration has overturned a rule that was sound public policy and endeavored to uphold ‘pikuach nefesh,’ saving life, the very highest of religious injunctions.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the ADL, called the decision “cruel, tinged with prejudice and unnecessary” in a Thursday statement.

“This action sends a deeply disturbing message that the federal government is abdicating its responsibility for a student’s health and well-being and deferring to states and local school districts in establishing educational policy. It also suggests the administration will not support or defend LGBT-inclusive policies,” Greenblatt said.

The National Council of Jewish Women noted that Trump made the decision just weeks after the White House said the president was “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”

In a statement Thursday, CEO Nancy Kaufrman wrote that her group was “disgusted by this betrayal, which puts transgender students at risk for bullying, harassment, and violence.”

The social justice group Bend the Arc Jewish Action also denounced the decision, calling it an “assault on freedom and human dignity.”

“Jewish and American values demand that we defend and support the marginalized and oppressed and that we treat everyone equally,” CEO Stosh Cotler said in a statement. “By withdrawing these protections for transgender youth, the Trump administration is turning its back on these fundamental principles.”

Trump’s order will not have an immediate effect because a federal judge in August blocked Obama’s order, which said transgender students’ rights were protected under nondiscrimination laws. Individual schools can allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.


ADL headquarters in N.Y. hit with bomb threat

(JTA) – The national offices of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York received a bomb threat from an anonymous caller.

New York City Patch reported that the threat was called into ADL’s Manhattan headquarters at about 11:08 a.m. Wednesday, according to police. Neither the report nor the ADL said whether the building was evacuated. [Read more…]


New York commuter who led cleanup of anti-Semitic subway graffiti to receive ADL award

(JTA) – The New York commuter who led several others on a Manhattan subway to clean away anti-Semitic graffiti with hand sanitizer is being honoured by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Jared Nied, 37, will receive ADL’s Stand Up New Yorker Award, which recognizes city residents for taking immediate action to help those being singled out for bigotry, or initiating efforts to denounce hate. Evan Bernstein, director of the ADL New York region, will present Nied with the award on Wednesday. [Read more…]


Jewish groups praise court for upholding stay on Trump’s travel ban

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jewish groups welcomed a federal appeals court ruling upholding a stay on U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of refugees and of travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“We applaud the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, and hope that it sends an important message to the nation and the world that the United States is a nation that does not exclude people based on their faith and welcomes those seeking refuge,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement it posted on Twitter just minutes after the court ruled on Thursday. [Read more…]