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Male circumcision is a deplorable act with an archaic founding
and should not be allowed to continue. Jews believe in circumcision
because of God's discussion with Abraham in Genesis. Abraham — who
by the way was 100-years-old at the time — was told that any
uncircumcised child will have his soul "cut off from his people"
(Genesis 17:14). Similarly, Passage 16:123 in the Quran states that
Allah wanted the Prophet Muhammad to live according to Ibrahim's
faith. Noting that Ibrahim circumcised himself — with an axe, by
the way — the prophet decided to continue the tradition. The fact
that Jews, Muslims and followers of other religions believe in
circumcision does not mean that it should be accepted. Some pious
followers believe that AIDS was created to punished homosexuals or
that women who have extramarital sex should be stoned to death.
Just because these beliefs come from a religious background does
not mean that they should be tolerated. Religion is a poor excuse
for genital mutilation.
Before the enactment of hunting laws, the Maasai tribe of Kenya
and northern Tanzania sent boys as young as 12-years-old out into
the wilderness to slaughter a lion with only a spear in hand and a
thundering heartbeat. It was a right of passage. Now look at
college students, most between the ages of 18 and 24, still being
monitored under juvenile class attendance policies. I was naïve in
believing that college was a place where the emergence of adulthood
dissolved pesky paternalism. This realization gives me the uneasy
feeling that college is less about education and more about playing
by the rules. But if the rules are inefficient and burdensome, then
they must be reformed.
We are Bahaa Hashem, Will Eastman, and Jane Vorkunova of the
Rutgers Shalom/Salaam e-board. Our organization aims to bridge the
gap between Jews, Arabs and Muslims through community service,
cultural exchange and mutual respect. Rutgers Shalom/Salaam is a
non-political organization that focuses on bringing people who
might otherwise never speak and encouraging them to work together
toward common purposes. We believe that by being united by shared
causes, like charity, we are able to better see the humanity in one
another and take a step forward rather than backward.
There are places where you have no expectation of privacy, such
as a public sidewalk or a crowded bus. There are security cameras
throughout the campus that are probably being viewed at this moment
by some person you have never met. But surely you can feel solitude
when in a bathroom or shower stall. According to certain members of
the media, though, this is apparently public space, too.
At a time in history when the American economy has been
stagnant, our leaders must make tough decisions in all aspects of
society. As a University student studying economics and history, it
is relieving to me to have received an important e-mail message on
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, from President Richard L. McCormick
addressing his opinions on the 2011-2012 New Jersey State Budget
Proposal. The message was sent to all University students and staff
explaining the implications the budget proposal will have on the
University community. McCormick starts his address by stating Gov.
Chris Christie's proposal will reduce spending by 2.6 percent and
follows with this statement: "Among the cuts are reductions in most
of the executive departments of state government. It is gratifying
that, against this backdrop, the governor counted funding for
higher education as a ‘core priority.'"
I attended a lecture recently in which Cornel West, a longtime
champion for the civil rights movement, offered a compelling
definition of courage: "The great enabling virtue that allows one
tot realize other virtues like love, hope and faith." He continued
to say that courage is the ability to "muster the will to overcome
the fear … so that fear does not have the last word or so that fear
pushes one into conformity, complacency or cowardice."
One of the most convincing arguments against public-sector
unions I've heard relies on the principle that private-sector
unions and public-sector unions are inherently different creatures.
It goes something like this: Private-sector unions provide
individual, private-sector workers a means of organizing to
represent their interests, in order to even the otherwise
overwhelming odds at the negotiating table with powerful
executives. Public-sector unions, on the other hand, deal with a
government monopoly. A lot of the same pressures that help workers
and managers in the private sector come to a mutually beneficial
agreement simply don't exist in the public sector. As a result,
public-sector unions act on behalf of government employees in a
capacity much more akin to lobbyist groups than negotiators,
advocating for an ever-growing share of government revenue and an
almost absurd level of job security for its constituents, without
regard to the efficiency or effectiveness of government as a whole.
And since the taxpayers have no lobby to represent them at the
negotiating table — unlike in the private sector, where business
executives are capable of representing themselves — the end result
is that public unions give government employees disproportionate
power in determining the allocation of government revenue. In a
democracy, voters should have more control over such things than
any one interest group. Thus, public unions themselves are
abhorrent to democracy, and need to be checked or eliminated
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — established in
2006, the name alone invokes a sense of justice, of doing the right
thing for all people, regardless of race or gender. As the
abhorrent killing of innocent protesters continues in Libya, with a
death toll breaching the thousands and the quelling of recent
protests and basic freedoms continuing in Iran, one would expect
this council to enact resolutions condemning these acts. U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay's challenged the council
— the council is independent of her — on Tuesday to live up to its
calling and take urgent action to help stop bloodshed.
We at Rutgers University Students Against Sweatshops are calling
on everybody on campus to stop supporting sweatshops. How can you
do this? You can help by joining our campaign to get the University
to disaffiliate from the Fair Labor Association (FLA). This may
seem counter-intuitive at first blush, but read on.
It is absolutely impossible to deny that our planet's ecosystems
are being threatened by the global harvesting of natural
resources. There have been movies made and countless statistics
published in support of the existence of this energy crisis. The
natural world as we know it is governed by the transformation of
energy. We use energy to heat and cool our homes, to run our
vehicles, to light our buildings and to run factories that create
products we have the luxury of purchasing. The root of this energy
crisis is the usage of natural resources such as coal, petroleum,
oil and timber to meet our energy demands faster than these
resources can be replaced by nature. Also, humans' use of such
resources increases the greenhouse effect on the Earth, heating the
atmosphere and disrupting ecosystems that have been around for
years before our existence. Obviously, if this situation continues
on a steady pace — even without an increase in resource use because
of the demand of an ever-increasing world population — the Earth's
resources will be on track to an inevitable total depletion. Many
countries, such as the United States and China, which have enough
capital to begin switching to an alternative and renewable energy
solution, have been taking initiative to find ways to convert our
main energy sources to renewable ones. The main sources that cannot
be depleted in the foreseeable future are geothermal energy, solar
energy, wave energy and wind energy. The problem is we are still
dependent on nonrenewable energy sources.
Through this esteemed newspaper, The Daily Targum, we are
honored to express our concerns about the increasing number of
people affected by hunger and homelessness. We are the New Jersey
Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) Student Chapters, the
on-campus nonprofit organization. We have partnered with Feeding
America to provide emergency food assistance throughout the
I meant to sit down to write about President Barack Obama's
budget plan — and its accompanying $100 billion cut to Pell Grant
funding. Instead, I can't help but muse on the nature of hope.
In response to the letter published in The Daily Targum on
Sunday entitled "Establish peaceful, respectful discourse on
campus," the author gave examples of justice that BAKA: Students
United for Middle Eastern Justice stands for put forth by the
Charter of the United Nations, International Court of Justice and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are many facts
omitted by the author, which I think are important for readers to
be fully informed about the issues in the Middle East.
After reading about the disputes between Rutgers Hillel and
BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice in The Daily
Targum over the past few weeks, I propose the following question:
Instead of arguing about the faults of each group's mission and
actions, why can't the groups come together and try to make a
peaceful resolution on campus?
Academy Bus, the vendor which has provided the New
Brunswick/Piscatway campuses with bus service for the last 10
years, will be replaced next year by another outside vendor First
Transit of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, if University
President Richard L. McCormick and others in the University
administration are allowed to continue their race to the
Many people on campus have heard about the ongoing conflict
involving student groups and the situation in the Middle East
between Israel and Palestine. So much information has been
circulated, and many students have been left feeling angry and
confused. The struggle for justice, peace and home is complicated
and for some, very personal. I have had the pleasure and privilege
of working with both sides on campus, and I have seen the heart and
passion that every person involved holds.
On behalf of BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, I
would like to address points raised in Tuesday's letter in The
Daily Targum from Rutgers Hillel.
Author Michael Pollan came to the University advocating a diet
of "conscientious omnivory," or picking those foods obtained in the
most humane way possible and making them healthy for us. The
student body at the University has a chance to make this happen by
supporting the sole use of cage-free eggs in dining halls on
In celebration of Valentine's Day, the members of the Rutgers
University ONE Chapter are going to reveal our secret crush. I
mean, if you can't say it on Valentine's Day, when can you, right?
The object of our affection isn't so much a person per se, but
rather an instrument that could save four million lives in five
years: childhood vaccines.
BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice wrote that they
deserve an apology in yesterday's issue of The Daily Targum. We
agree. Rutgers Hillel sincerely apologizes for those individuals
who used our peaceful protest as a forum for voicing their
prejudice. We do not endorse this type of behavior, and we call out
the members of our community who were out of line. In fact, every
e-mail and vocal announcement about the rally that went out from
Hillel stated, "This protest will be peaceful and civil. We
respectfully request that there be absolutely no verbal or physical
altercations of any kind ... Those who cannot respect these
guidelines are asked not to participate in our protest."