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Voices in Focus: Jews and Latinos Connect Politically and Culturally

June 20, 2012 12:26 pm Leave a comment By  | Via , , , A+ / A-

Queens Latino lists events planned for this weekend to celebrate Andean culture in New York. (Photos by Javier Castano/Queens Latino)

In today’s rundown of stories from the ethnic and community media: The Jewish Daily Forward examines Jewish vs. Latino political clout, while the Jewish Star looks into Jewish eating disorders; The Irish Voice celebrates its 25th anniversary; and Queens Latino celebrates Andean culture in New York.

* With primaries and elections looming in the next few months, The Jewish Daily Forward examined the respective political clout of Latinos and Jews in America, and found some commonalities despite differences in the size of the two communities and the average age of the two groups.

Latinos, who today comprise the largest minority community (16.3%) within the United States, with some 50 million residents, are described as a political force in ascendancy. In turn, Jews are among the smaller ethnic-religious communities (1.7%) and at this point are in fact poised to lose some of their numerical and political clout. This reality can be seen in various congressional districts and state Assembly and Senate races in New York and California, where Latino candidates are likely to replace Jewish officials. Will these communities challenge each other for political power?

Still, Latinos and Jews are share the distinction of being among the most important Democratic voting blocs, writes Steven Windmueller, and as various South and Central American communities have established themselves here in the United States, some have shown curiosity about how American Jews maintain their connections — philanthropic, political and cultural — with Israel.

When speaking about Jews, Latinos are particularly interested in how we have organized ourselves and whether our communal models could effectively serve their constituencies. They also want to understand how we sustain generational continuity. Aligned with that concept, Latinos will often ask how we employ symbols, myths and rituals in preserving our identity.

* The Jewish Star noted a recent increase in Jewish women seeking treatment for eating disorders at The Renfrew Center, which runs facilities for treating eating disorders in several states. In a recent seminar, The Jewish Star reported, doctors discussed the underlying reasons for disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, and coping mechanisms to address them.

In one case, a charedi woman’s eating disorder was triggered by her baking challah, a weekly event in large proportions for her 13 children. After much suffering by the mother, a married daughter insisted on taking over the baking, freeing her mother from the trigger of her disease.

Despite the reported increase in Jewish women seeking treatment, a recent study does not show a significant difference in the incidence of eating disorders between Jewish and non-Jewish women, The Jewish Star reported.

Among the general population of adult non-Jewish women, 12-17% have eating disordered behavior, said Dr. Marjorie Feinson. Feinson is conducting an ongoing study in Israel, begun in 2001 and funded by Hadassah, surveying women between the ages of 21 through 80 for eating disordered behavior. Her findings to date across the board regardless of Jewish orientation, from secular through charedi, is that 15% of Jewish female adults exhibit eating disordered behavior.

* In The Irish Voice, Senior Editor Debbie McGoldrick used the paper’s 25-year-anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate its history and achievements since its debut in 1987.

* And lastly, Queens Latino ran an announcement of 2012 as  Año Andino, or Andean Year, in New York. The release lists events planned for this weekend, including Saturday’s “Soy Andino” event in Flushing Park and a walk to oppose racial profiling and hate on Sunday.

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