How Amazon Has Transformed the Hasidic Economy

How Amazon Has Transformed the Hasidic Economy – The New York Times



Slavery, black history, DNA genealogy: Learnings from a trip to Africa

In a land that had tried to rob their people of dignity, strip them of their identity and steal their labor, the Tuckers knew they were somebody.

As she grew up, Wanda came to realize that history was an ever-changing story, and it depended on who was telling it.

…Two Angolans named Anthony and Isabella, along with 20 or so others, staggered off a ship into Point Comfort in what is now Hampton, Virginia. They’d been taken from the Ndongo kingdom in the interior of Angola and marched to the coast. They’d endured months packed in the bottom of a ship named the San Juan Bautista. When raiders attacked in the Gulf of Mexico, the captives were rerouted to Virginia aboard the White Lion, changing the course of a nation.

Anthony and Isabella probably weren’t their real names. Their Angolan names were likely subbed out by whichever Catholic priest baptized them for the journey.

The reason they are remembered and other Africans are not is the anomaly that someone bothered to record their names at all. A 1625 census noted that they belonged to the household of Capt. William Tucker and that they had a child named William. Wanda and her family believe they are descended from William, the first named African born in what would become America. An American forefather most history ignores.

…Anthony and Isabella came from the powerful Ndongo kingdom, whose descendants still lived in the Angolan interior near the Lukala and Kwanza rivers. Many from the kingdom were skilled iron workers and farmers.

…Angola was barely mentioned in most histories of the slave trade, but this was where it had begun. Historians had learned fairly recently that the first Africans had been captured here.

…In the time of Anthony and Isabella, Wanda also learned, the slave trade had been dominated by the Portuguese. The Portuguese would stoke tensions between African tribes and reap the captives from those battles. The English were not yet as involved – they were plundering gold and silver from Ghana.

…Father Gabriele Bortolami, an Italian Capuchin priest and professor of anthropology ….took a thick book from a wooden cabinet. The cover barely clung to the binder, but the words – in Italian – were bold against the white pages. “Istorica Descrittione De’ Tre Regni Congo, Matamba Et Angola.”

Historical description of the three kingdoms of Congo, Matamba and Angola.

It was written in 1690.

…Njinga, queen of the Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms, fought to defend her people from Portuguese conquerors in the 1600s.

Njinga, who came to power five years after Anthony and Isabella were captured, is the most awe-inspiring of the Angolan ancestors.

…Njinga demanded the Portuguese treat her as an equal. When they showed up to a meeting with chairs only for themselves, expecting her to sit on the floor, she had a servant kneel on all fours and used his back as a stool. She made the Portuguese look her in the eye.

But even Njinga has seen her legacy questioned. She submitted to baptism by the Portuguese – a political move some saw as weak. She gave up prisoners of war to placate the Portuguese, who betrayed her.

…The elders spoke a mix of Portuguese and Kimbundu, the Bantu language Anthony and Isabella likely spoke. They told of villagers captured and sent away. They told her they had a word for the sea: kalunga – death. No one who crossed those waters ever returned.

“We suffered a lot,’’ said the soba, whose name was Antonio Manuel Domingos. The slave trade devastated communities, and many never recovered.

Wanda asked what she should tell fellow African-Americans back at home.

“You have relatives here,” he replied.

Slavery, black history, DNA genealogy: Learnings from a trip to Africa


This week in Mormon Land

Women can act as witnesses to temple sealings and that any baptized member (starting as young as age 8) can serve as a “witness of the baptism of a living person.”

In addition, any temple recommend holder (male or female) can act as a witness at a “proxy baptism for a deceased person” in a Latter-day Saint temple. This change also extends to holders of so-called limited-use recommends. These are often teenage girls and boys. 

…He discussed “kinship” relationships, pointing to the various types of marriages in church history, such as plural, proxy, convenience and successive sealings. Many of these kinships didn’t focus on reproduction, meaning it hasn’t always been seen as essential for a relationship.

This week in Mormon Land: A pre-General Conference crush of stories; so long, ‘James the Mormon’; new debate about family proclamation – The Salt Lake Tribune


Congress and candidates, take note: Anti-Muslim sentiments are unpopular | TheHill

An elected official’s support for this policy scores them few points with most voters, our organization has found. And, in fact, the sentiment that fuels such support is bad for both our nation’s security and freedom. 

,,,Majorities in all major faith and non-faith groups say support for the Muslim ban would either decrease their support or make no difference in their support for a candidate for office.

…We weren’t surprised when we found low support for the ban, because our data also show that most Americans (86 percent) want to live in a country where no one is targeted for their religious identity. Moreover, the majority (66 percent) think negative rhetoric about Muslims is harmful for America. 

…Those who endorse anti-Muslim stereotypes were more likely to support suspending checks and balances and limiting freedom of the press in the wake of a terrorist attack.  

Ironically, those who hold Islamophobic views, while claiming Muslims are prone to violence,  also were more likely to say targeting civilians with lethal force is “sometimes justified,” both by the military and even by non-state actors. Bigotry is a danger, not only to its target group but to the freedom and safety of our entire nation. 

After learning what Islamophobia is tied to, you may be relieved to know that our data show that only about 15 percent of Americans harbor anti-Muslim sentiments. 

Congress and candidates, take note: Anti-Muslim sentiments are unpopular | TheHill