Why the Somali community in the Twin Cities is so much more politically successful than the one in Columbus, Ohio
The latest study on Somalis in the United States supports a theory that nearly everyone in the community has heard before: that Somali-Americans in the Twin Cities are better integrated and more influential than their counterparts anywhere in the country.
It was a theory that Stefanie Chambers, an associate professor at Trinity College in Connecticut, first heard in anecdotal form in 2012 when she was conducting fieldwork in Columbus, Ohio, for a book chapter about minority mayors in majority-white cities.
Chambers, who studied at Ohio State University in the 1990s, had noticed a radical demographic change in Columbus, which has drawn tens of thousands of Somali-Americans in recent decades, making the city — behind the Twin Cities — home to the second-largest Somali population in the country.
“The change was so interesting and visible,” Chambers told MinnPost in an interview. “I could recognize the Somalis and I could see that there was a change. So, I got very interested in when that happened and why.” …

Black-Jewish Relations Intensified And Tested By Current Political Climate
NPR Berlin
When Jewish couple Mikey Franklin and Sonya Shpilyuk hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner from the window of their condominium, they hoped to voice their solidarity with the social justice movement. Instead, the backlash to their small act of resistance was swift. Two days later, their car was egged and toilet paper was strewn across a tree in front of their property. A handwritten message, carefully spelled out in block letters, admonished Franklin and Shpilyuk for their banner and warned the couple to “enjoy the mayhem.” At the bottom of the letter was a yellow Star of David and the word “Jude,” German for Jew. … Not all Jews view this golden age of black-Jewish relations as old allies reconnecting. Ma’Nishtana, a Brooklyn-based African-American Orthodox Jewish author and educator, believes this common narrative is a “romanticized and inflated revisionist history of how involved the Jewish community was during the civil rights era.” Cheryl Greenberg, a history professor at Trinity College, also holds the view that Jewish support for civil rights wasn’t entirely noble. “The meeting of the minds regarding the civil rights agenda emerged from a clear, explicit self-interest. Jews realized that their self-interest rested in making sure that the United States didn’t discriminate against anybody. History showed them that if anybody went first, Jews were sure to come next.”
The closeness of the black and Jewish groups was not only a product of common moral and ideological beliefs, but also a function of proximity. Today, the term “ghetto” is used to refer to a poor, urban black community, but at the turn of the 20th century, ghettos in places like Harlem and the Bronx were also home to immigrant groups and American Jews…

Israel vs. America: What Jewish Millennials Think About God and the Occupation
eJewish Philanthropy
…In their study, Professor Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University, a leading international authority on Jewish demography, and Ariela Keysar of Trinity College, analyzed data found in two landmark surveys Pew Research Center – one on American Jews in 2013 and the other on Israelis in 2015. The key findings were presented at a recent academic conference in California.
Jewish-Israeli millennials, according to these findings, tend to align themselves with the political right and are less likely to engage in causes that promote justice and equality outside their own community than their American counterparts.
DellaPergola and Keysar’s assessment is based on responses provided by close to 600 Jewish millennials aged 18-29 in America and Israel, divided into three subcategories by age group (18-21, 22-25 and 26-29). The study also looked at the responses of more than 5,500 American and Israeli Jews over 30 for comparison purposes.
To gauge attitudes on Israeli settlements and the prospects of a two-state solution, DellaPergola and Kayser looked at whether respondents agreed with the following three statements: 1. Settlements help Israel’s security; 2. God gave the land of Israel to the Jews; and 3. I do not think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully.
Thirty-five percent of Jewish Israelis between the ages of 18 and 21 said they agreed with these statements. Among Jewish Americans in the same age group, only 7 percent did…

Revolutionary Techniques, Incendiary Image – By Mary Tompkins Lewis
The Wall Street Journal
In his brilliant first decade of painting, the French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) captured many of his era’s most evocative themes: the rise of the dandy in bourgeois culture, the novel appeal of contemporary literary subjects, the piteous plight of Greece in its struggle for independence from Ottoman rule. Though he proclaimed himself a classicist, the young Delacroix was already a worthy antagonist to the older and archly conservative Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Numerous public commissions and praise in the liberal press for his imaginative compositions and exquisite color sensibilities established Delacroix as a prodigy, an heir to both Michelangelo and Rubens and the ostensible leader of an emerging Romantic school in French painting.
After continued successes at the Paris Salons, however, the painter shocked critics and supporters alike with his submission to the second 1827-28 exhibition of his now famous (and infamous) “Death of Sardanapalus,” singled out by one commentator as the worst work on view. A macabre fantasy of sadistic slaughter marked by voluptuous beauty, a luminous palette and a loose, painterly technique, it was Delacroix’s only early history painting not to be purchased by the state. The monumental and magisterial canvas languished for years in his studio and was rarely seen before finally entering the collection of the Louvre in 1921. Even today it elicits impassioned critical responses…
Ms. Lewis teaches art history at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.

Ghosts of Hartford’s past power brokers hover over insurers’ $50M pledge
Hartford Business Journal
The recent $50 million pledge to Hartford from three major insurers headquartered in the city recalled a time generations ago when the civic, economic and cultural interests and future of the city and region were in the powerful hands of a few business leaders.
Known as the “bishops” or the “bosses,” those dozen or so men — and a handful of women who also played a role — intervened as necessary, either through their businesses or the then-influential head of the local chamber of commerce and local and state politicians, to bring to or get done whatever the city needed.
The financial pledge from The Hartford, Aetna and Travelers, to be spread over five years, comes as the city struggles to close deficits in its current and future budgets. With the state also grappling with financial pressures, the three major regional employers’ gift to the city, which would help fund, among other things, the Hartford Public Library, public safety and recreation centers, would appear to be timely.
However, the insurers haven’t said precisely what they expect in return for their pledge, other than being “part of a comprehensive and sustainable solution for Hartford,” which the CEOs declared in a published op-ed.
That, says Andrew H. Walsh, a Trinity College professor/historian who has tracked Hartford’s history, raises skepticism in some as to the companies’ motives.
“I read in the newspaper that Aetna’s headquarters might leave and go to Louisville [Ky.], or might go to Boston,” said Walsh, who is associate director of Trinity’s Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. “At a certain level, what everybody worries about is that the insurance companies are slowly withdrawing from the scene. They don’t have to stay.”
“But it is true that it’s in their best interests that Hartford not be an empty shell,” he said. “They’re trying to recruit workers. They own property here. But that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be here forever.” …