Author Archives: Cortney Geare

Honorable Subject

Last July, attorney Marlene Trestman spoke with the Baltimore Jewish Times about her work on the first biography about Bessie Margolin, a prominent New Deal era and U.S. Supreme Court advocate whose impressive and prolific career included oversight of the court’s enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards and Equal Pay acts, which both celebrate milestone anniversaries (75 and 50 years, respectively) in 2013.

Trestman was inspired by Margolin’s professional accomplishments. But her devotion to Margolin went beyond the professional sphere. The two also shared a personal history. Although Margolin grew up about 50 years before Trestman, both were educated at the Isidore Newman School of New Orleans and both were wards of the Jewish Orphans’ Home, also in New Orleans. The women met and became friends when Trestman was a student at Goucher College.

In 2011, Trestman received a grant from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and a stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities that enabled her to take a leave from her position as a special assistant to the Maryland Attorney General to work on the biography.

In August 2012, Trestman got word that the prestigious Louisiana State University Press was awarding her an advance contract to publish her work.

Additionally, Trestman learned that her article, “Fair Labor: The Remarkable Life and Legal Career of Bessie Margolin (1909 to 1996)” — published in the Journal of Supreme Court History — had earned the Hughes-Gossett Prize for best journal article of 2012.

On June 3, 2013, in a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court Building, Justice Samuel Alito presented Trestman with an award of $1,500 and a piece of marble from the Supreme Court.

“Six of the justices were there. … I [met] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Trestman. “She is my kind of star. [She] said, ‘we are all indebted to her [Bessie] as women and women lawyers.’”

Trestman was also invited to deliver the U.S. Department of Labor’s annual Donald S. Shire Lecture on June 28.
Learn more at marlenetrestman.com.

Atlantic Seaboard NCSY Taps Heideman

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Moshe Heideman, 23, says giving teens proper space is a key to successful recruitment and engagement. He recently joined his fiance, Shira Beleck, on the NCSY leadership team.

Rabbi Jonah Lerner, the regional director of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, said that he’s customarily very picky when evaluating job applicants.

However, when the position of Baltimore chapter advisor opened up, Rabbi Lerner already had an ideal candidate waiting in the wings. In late June, NCSY named Moshe Heideman, 23, to the position.

“He’s very confident and very organized and always looks to the future,” said Rabbi Lerner of Heideman, an Edison, N.J., native. “He’s always looking at what he can do better, how the program can do better and how we can inspire the teens to see our vision and reach for higher goals.”

Heideman’s core responsibilities are directing and implementing local programming, integrating Baltimore’s chapter into regional programming and spearheading teen recruitment in the area.

Having been active in New England NCSY as a teen, Heideman’s passion for the youth organization is practically overflowing. He acknowledges that although there are other jobs that garner more money and higher prestige, his role enables him to feel rewarded on a daily basis.

“You see kids maturing, you see them latching on to mentors and you see them accomplishing things and overcoming challenges,” Heideman said. “That is the most meaningful type of inspiration. … The end goal is, where do I want to see a kid in four years? And, what can I do in this minute to help him take a baby step toward that point.”

He said he works to build trust with his students.

“People with super passion and drive to change people sometimes go at it little too fast,” he said.

After starting his college career at Yeshiva University, Heideman transferred to University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he is set to complete his English degree next spring. Following the move, he became active in Baltimore NCSY where he met his soon-to-be wife, Shira Beleck, NCSY Atlantic Seaboard’s regional board advisor.

“They are a power team of advisors,” Lerner said.

No Doubt

Overlooked in the discussion about Messianic Jews (“Fusion Of Faiths,” June 21) is the most politically well-connected Messianic Jew of them all: Ron Cantor. He is the beloved cousin of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va).  Born in America, Ron Cantor, according to his website, “has been privileged to passionately share on the Jewish Roots of Christianity and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel in the U.S., Brazil, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, Russia, Hungary, Israel, Germany, Argentina and, most recently, Uganda and Nigeria.” Cantor now lives in Tel Aviv, where he operates Messiah’s Mandate (messiahsmandate.org).  That’s right, this apostate, who has a family connection to the highest levers of power in Washington, is actively working to turn the Jewish state into a Christian one. No doubt Barry Rubin (“Have The Conversation, July 5) is kvelling.

Talk about chutzpah!

Roy Amadeus
Annapolis

Betrayal Of Torah

Barry Rubin (“Have The conversation,” July 5) boasts that Messianic Jews “follow Torah … celebrate the [Jewish] holidays … [hold] services on Shabbat. …”  In that case, they are being bad Christians. Messianic Jews are Protestant fundamentalists, nothing less.  As such, they believe that Jesus, in his death and (alleged) resurrection, “fulfilled the Law/Torah,” thereby abolishing any need to
observe the commandments. They believe that the Lord’s Day (Sunday) has replaced Shabbat, that baptism has replaced circumcision and that the dietary laws are annulled. Rubin said, “Our children have bar/bat mitzvahs.” But as a matter of theo-logical consistency, what purpose is served by  being called up, as a rite of passage, to read from a document whose mandatory provisions were thrown out by Christianity a long time ago? Lastly, in affirming the Trinity, Messianic Jews engage in idolatry, a major betrayal of Torah and Jewish observance. …

On another issue, Rabbi Yaakov Menken (“Continue in Honest Dialogue,” July 5) notes that “Jews should know that relations with someone of the same sex is forbidden by Jewish law, the same way they know that pork is not kosher.” This is an extremely important point: namely, that homosexual activity, according to the Torah, is a ritual, not a moral, transgression. It falls in the same category as Sabbath desecration, eating treif and mixing fibers (shatnez).

Baruch Shaw
Clarksville

Not A Rabbi

The Jewish community must continue to disclose Jewish misrepresentation by missionary movements speaheaded by their deceptive leaders. The JT was wrong to designate Barry Rubin as “Rabbi” given his role with a Christian congregation that misrepresents itself by its name and intent. … I had attended Emanuel Messianic “Christian” Congregation in Clarksville, as an observer, on four occasions in the last nine years. I had shared my impressions with the leaders of the Howard County Jewish community on each occasion. I take offense when this congregation, under Rubin’s leadership and supported by well-funded Christian sources, uses our Torah, holidays, prayers, songs, rituals and symbolic objects. His congregation has a right to organize as a faith community in a location of its choosing based on the protections of our constitution and common law. It does not have a right to misrepresent itself as Jewish or have its leader designated as rabbi. … The Jewish community must continue to create excellent edu- cational opportunities and productive conversations to combat missionary efforts. As for Rubin, he and I have nothing to talk about. My energies to support the Jewish people and community would be better placed elsewhere.

Cantor Alan Rubinstein
Cantor Emeritus
Bolton Street Synagogue