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Nothing very honorable about chosen honoree

(02/11/14 5:00am)

I often look back with fondness upon my years at Rutgers. The education I received from professors such as Steve Bronner, Eric Davis and James Livingston played an important role in my academic and professional development, and my eventual ability to earn a doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center. Because of the lessons I learned at Rutgers, I specialized in human rights and democratization.


Politics should not be completely demonized

(02/11/14 5:00am)

The subject of commencement speakers is always contentious, and this year’s choice of Condoleezza Rice is no exception. However, I was disappointed to see the Daily Targum’s editorial board perpetuate an inordinately cynical view of politicians and the political system shared by many college students and the millennial generation as a whole. The editorial board seems to write off public service as a noble pursuit altogether. While they acknowledge that Rice has achieved international success in her career, those achievements are rendered somehow less admirable because, “the fact is that her entire career revolved around politics — it is a major part of who she is and what she’s recognized for.”


Activism should not be criticized

(02/07/14 5:00am)

I find the recent sentiments in a Jan. 31 letter to the editor, “Israel should not be the only target of boycotts,” troubling. Who is to say that people involved with the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel aren’t involved in other boycotts and causes as well? I, personally, am involved in myriad causes, and I boycott an endless number of companies and entities for various reasons. I’m a human rights activist, period. I stand up against any form of injustice, inequality or oppression that exists, as do many of my colleagues. According to Human Rights Watch’s 2013 world report, serious violations of international human rights have occurred in Israel/Palestine, and I believe this fact warrants the increased attention and pressure it’s receiving.


Spiritual retreat offers uplifting experience

(02/07/14 5:00am)

It’s time to reflect. Whether you have been at Rutgers for one semester or eight, think back at all of the weekends you have spent here in New Brunswick. I know that I have enjoyed a couple great ones. But how many do you wish you could forget? How many of them can you not even remember? Whatever the ratio of happy to hazy weekends you have had, there is an opportunity for all Rutgers students to experience a weekend that they will always remember.


Coca-Cola commercial sheds light on bigotry

(02/05/14 5:00am)

Of the many noteworthy Super Bowl commercials, Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful” has received the lion’s share of attention. In the commercial, the song “America the Beautiful” is sung in eight different languages to depict the melting pot of ethnicities in the United States. This act of singing in multiple languages has caused uproar on Twitter and Facebook, where many found it difficult to comprehend that a patriotic song could be sung in a language other than English. But not only has the bigoted sector of our society come out against this commercial, but I too have come out against this commercial. I, unlike the bigots, have little or no interest with the language aspect of the commercial, I simply disagree with the message “America the Beautiful” portrays. I believe America is not beautiful, and there are statistics to back my claim. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, the U.S. is ranked 34th out of the 35 most developed nations in the world in terms of child poverty. The Program for International Student Assessment, based on math, reading and science test scores, ranks the United States’ student body in comparison to the student bodies of all other nations as the 36th. According to the Palma ratio, the U.S. is ranked 44th out of 86 nations in terms of income inequality, making it much worse than the rest of the world’s developed nations as well as many underdeveloped nations, such as Nigeria. However, America doesn’t lag behind in all areas. According to the IHS Jane’s Defence Budgets, we account for 58 percent of the total defense dollars paid out by the world’s top 10 military powers. These numbers and many more are ugly — thus singing “America the Beautiful” does not make this nation beautiful. We, collectively, have a long way to go before we can even begin discussing beauty.


Animals deserve more respect

(02/05/14 5:00am)

In the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ “Ethics in Science” colloquium, students learn about today’s issues and work toward affecting society in a positive way while working on specific issues on subjects we chose and are passionate about. I learned about how our companion animals are considered property and not living, breathing creatures. Imagine that. Animals should not be considered inanimate objects! As a consequence of being labeled as property, animals and their owners are denied of many rights.


Israel should not be the only target of boycotts

(01/31/14 5:00am)

To paraphrase a certain rather famous seventh religious leader, “I shall not be convinced of that which you are convinced, nor will you be convinced me of that which I am convinced. Unto you your convictions, and unto me my convictions.” I am certain that Syjil Ashraf passionately believes in every word she writes, and I am under no illusions as to my power to sway others’ deeply held beliefs.





Hillel demands more than just an apology

(01/29/14 5:00am)

We are embarrassed for you. We are embarrassed that you disgraced yourselves and the entire Rutgers community last Thursday, publishing the commentary in your Opinion section entitled “Can Hillel’s funding be put to better use elsewhere?” by Ms. Colleen Jolly. We are embarrassed for you because you chose to publish a commentary that was of such poor writing and such impoverished thought, that it’s incoherence almost overshadowed its gross bigotry. Almost.


Students’ needs must be met, not ignored

(01/27/14 5:00am)

When I attended Rutgers College 40 years ago, the Rutgers Hillel “building” was a second-floor walkup on George Street, midway between the Rutgers and Douglass College. Religious services were sometimes held in the rabbi’s home due to a lack of space. There was no Jewish presence on the main campus. It does my heart good to finally see the needs of Jewish students being properly addressed with a new Hillel building. Colleen Jolly is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” trying to veil her anti-Semitism, as bigots often do. If she feels so strongly about the urban renewal of New Brunswick, let her personally raise funds for the purpose — I would applaud the effort. My response to her commentary will be to increase my contribution to Rutgers Hillel.


Commentary ignores positive goals of many religious organizations

(01/27/14 5:00am)

Last Thursday’s Daily Targum published a commentary that questioned Hillel’s use of its funds. This piece was factually inaccurate and perpetuated Jewish stereotypes about money in a revolting way. As members of the Alliance to Advance Interfaith Collaboration at Rutgers University, we are writing in response to this hateful piece.



Author of commentary uneducated about Hillel

(01/27/14 5:00am)

Last Thursday, I read one of the most factually inaccurate, as well as plain meanest and rudest pieces of commentary I’ve ever come across in The Daily Targum — which says a lot. Colleen Jolly, who authored the commentary piece “Can Hillel’s Funding be Put to a Better use Elsewhere?” not only managed to mix up the idea of public and private funds but also found space for hurtful anti-Semitic remarks in the small-word limit. I guess the Targum’s commenting rules of conduct — stated on the website — doesn’t apply to pieces in print, because Jolly violated both number four, “Be Truthful,”  and number five, “Be Nice.”


Criticism of Hillel funding baseless and inaccurate

(01/24/14 5:00am)

I am a Rutgers alumnus and former member of The Daily Targum’s board of trustees and still try to check in with the Targum online as often as possible. I read an article in the opinions section today that I found problematic on multiple levels. On the most basic level, the article was poorly written and did not by any stretch of the imagination meet the level that is expected by the Targum. Beyond the writing level, this article was not legitimately researched, a fact that is at times a question in a letter to the editor. This was beyond inappropriate to be published due to lack of research. The author wrote:


Student voices must also be heard in faculty protests

(12/10/13 5:00am)

Last year I nervously made my way to organic chemistry, the class that all science and pre-med students dread. This is the class that all students have been told will determine whether they are cut out to follow their dreams. A few moments later, a cheerful Professor John Taylor walked in and eagerly greeted his new group of budding chemists. The tension in the room was palpable, every student terrified that they may be goners by the time the withdrawal period rolled around.


Targum must stay consistent with its own community standards

(12/09/13 5:00am)

I was wondering if The Daily Targum’s editors are aware of the content on their website. Specifically, below every article, a comment section has thoughtfully been provided in the interests of enabling students and other members of the Rutgers community to share their views on the content they have just read. The Targum quite understandably maintains a helpful list of guidelines to ensure that productive, respectful dialogue occurs. Rule number one on the list is “Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.” Imagine my surprise at reading immediately above those words, the following: “We fucking apologize for all of the fucking cursing that we’ve done. But this shit was just really damn aggravating. We don’t really give a flying fuck about our ranking on a damn list compiled by a bunch of assholes. One thing’s for sure — this mothafuckin’ bullshit ain’t got nothin’ on our Jersey roots.” The dichotomy between the Targum’s own language and that which it requests its readers to use is striking. It seems that the confidence and flippancy in which the editors dismiss the sorry state of New Jersey’s language is only skin deep. ?


Yule Log ceremony embodies traditions of Douglass women

(12/04/13 5:00am)

Douglass Residential College, above many other characteristics, is known for its commitment to honoring old traditions and customs. Among many of those time-honored traditions is “Yule Log,” which takes place close to the start of the holiday season. This event has been a part of the college’s history since its opening in 1918, although it was not until 1927 that it was held in the chapel. The event began when students at Douglass, approaching their first holiday/winter season, were asked to burn a Yule Log and illuminate a tree in front of College Hall. Over the years, this tradition has adapted and changed, but we still stay close to the traditions of the Douglass women before us.