Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rabbi Hershel Schachter explains the laws of mesira pertaining to sex crimes.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter explains the laws of mesira pertaining to sex crimes.
December 3, 2006 - Teaneck, N.J. -- Rabbi Hershel Schachter explains the laws of mesira pertaining to sex crimes.  Rabbi Schachter is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University.  There are several things he is saying that is inaccurate.  One example is regarding the percentage of times in which adults and children make up stories of sex crimes. 

A few studies have found that less than 2 percent of abuse reports made by children and 6 percent of those made by adults were judged false, suggesting that false allegations are rare. In one study, all but two children who revoked claims of abuse later disclosed new incidents of abuse. These researchers view revocation of abuse reports as part of the disclosure process rather than an indication of false claims.

Regarding Mesirah

Editor's Note: the following is a follow-up article to the shiur available here.
The prohibition of mesirah is well known among religious Jews. The severity of this issur becomes ever so clear when we read in Shulchan Aruch that a mosser is dino ke’akum with respect to writing a sefer Torah (Yoreh Deah 281:3) and with respect to shechitah ( Remah ibid 2:9). Even if the mosser is otherwise an observant individual, and is meticulous in fulfilling his religious duties, because he demonstrates his rejection of the unity of all of Klal Yisroel (by his act of mesirah), he is treated as an akum (see Rambam, Hilchos Teshuva 3:11 and Nefesh Horav pg. 235).

If, however, one is guilty of a crime, and according to the law of the land deserves a prison sentence, or will be put to death, even though according to Jewish law his punishment would not be as severe, this is not mesirah (see Ritva to Bava Metsia 83b; Dvar Avraham vol. I pg. 8). One would still not be allowed to hand this individual over to the civil authorities because this is the equivalent of returning aveidas akum, which is usually not allowed. In an instance of avoiding a chilul Hashem, just like we would be obligated to return the aveidas akum, so too we would be obligated to hand over this individual (see Rama, Choshen Mishpat 388:12).

If the non-Jewish governmental authorities know that one Jew is concealing information about another Jew in order to save him from punishment, the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 28:3) considers this a situation of chilul Hashem. Similarly, for many generations it was the practice that if a gneiva had occurred, and suspicion had fallen on the Jewish community, rather than allow that suspicion to hover over the entire community, the roshei hakehol, with the permission of the rabbonim, would inform the non-Jewish authorities who might possibly be the real ganav (Be’er Hagola, Choshen Mishpat 388:12).

Even if one is guilty of a crime and deserves a punishment according to the laws of the land, but due to anti-semetic attitudes he will probably suffer more than if he were a non-Jew; or, the (state) prison conditions are such that he will suffer at the hands of the other inmates (or at the hands of the guards) in a manner that is not proscribed by law, then turning the offender in would constitutemesirah, since his added suffering will be shelo kadin. However, mesirah is permitted in situations where one is a public menace (see Shach to Choshen Mishpat 388, 59), or if one is physically or psychologically harming another individual (for example, in instances of sexual abuse of children, students, campers etc., or spousal abuse) (see Shach to Choshen Mishpat ibid, 45).

The Jewish community does not have the ability to investigate these types of cases. Wherever there are raglayim ladavar that there seems to be a problem, the proper government agencies should be contacted to investigate.
Just as in other areas of halachah, one should consult a competent moreh horaah when faced with such a shayla. Just because one is knowledgeable in Yoreh Deah vol. I or one delivers a goodpilpul 

shiur on sugyos in Nashim or Nezikin, it does not necessarily follow that that individual will be qualified to pasken on hilchos mesirah – lehakel or lehachmir.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rabbi Baruch Lanner Off Sex Offender Registries?

by Hella Winston
Special to The Jewish Week

Baruch Lanner, a former yeshiva high school principal and religious youth group counselor who was convicted in 2002 in New Jersey of sexually abusing two teenage girls, appears no longer to be on the New Jersey, Florida or national sex offender registries.

Lanner, 59, an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was sentenced to seven years in prison, but did not begin serving his sentence until 2005, after his conviction was upheld on appeal. He was released on parole in January of 2008. According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Lanner’s parole ends next month.
 Rabbi Baruch Lanner
Lanner’s arrest and conviction were prompted by reporting in The Jewish Week, beginning in June 2000, based on allegations made over a period of three decades by dozens of young men and women who had been under his charge at the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), the Orthodox Union youth group he directed, as well as at the Hillel yeshiva high school in Deal, N.J., where he was principal for many years.

According to information posted online by Vicki Polin, the founder of The Awareness Center, Lanner’s name appeared on both the New Jersey and Florida registries as recently as 2008. He lived in both states following his release from prison.

However, an online search of these registries this week by The Jewish Week did not include Lanner’s name.

A call to the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office, which tried the case, was not immediately returned. But a spokesman for a prosecutor’s office in another New Jersey county told The Jewish Week that information about why someone may have been removed from the sex offender registry is “confidential” and not a matter of public record, though she did indicate that it is possible for an offender to apply to the court to be removed from the registry.

The point of the registry is to make public known sex offenders.

Based on information posted on the Web site of the New Jersey Attorney General, it seems unlikely that Lanner would have been able to make a successful application to be removed from the registry. According to the site, “All sex offenders subject to Megan’s Law must register for the remainder of their lives. Sex offenders may apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they committed only one offense, have not committed another offense for 15 years, and prove that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. Juvenile sex offenders may also apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they were under the age of 14 at the time of their offense but are now over the age of 18.”

None of these criteria appears to apply to Lanner.

The Jewish Week contacted the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, which is looking into the matter.

In a Jewish Week article from Jan. 4, 2008, on the occasion of Lanner’s release from prison, Elie Hiller, a former NCSY assistant director under Lanner who helped lead community opposition to him in New Jersey, said: “I expect some of the victims will have a bit of anxiety, but I hope they realize that his release does not change the fact that he has a criminal record and remains on the Megan’s Law list.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Orthodox Jews Relying More on Legal Prosecution of Sex Abuse

Orthodox Jews Relying More on Legal Prosecution of Sex Abuse

For decades, prosecutors in Brooklyn routinely pursued child molesters from every major ethnic and religious segment of the borough’s diverse population. Except one.
Of some 700 child sexual abuse cases brought in an average year, few involved members of the ultra-observant Orthodox Jewish community — about 180,000 followers of Hasidic and other sects who make up the largest such cluster outside Israel.
Some years, there were one or two arrests, or none.
But in the past year, there have been 26. District Attorney Charles J. Hynes has brought charges against a variety of men — yeshiva teachers, rabbis, camp counselors, merchants and relatives of children. Eight have been convicted; 18 await trial.
If the sudden spike in prosecutions is startling, even more surprising is the apparent reason: ultra-Orthodox Jews, long forbidden to inform on one another without permission from the rabbis who lead them, are going to the police and prosecutors on their own.
These Jews, who refer to themselves as the haredim, meaning those who fear God, reject modern secular culture and for centuries have kept strict control over what they consider internal affairs.
Allegations and disputes involving children, marriage and business have been decided by rabbinical courts called beth dins, which conduct their own inquiries and do not report their findings to the secular authorities, even when they judge someone guilty of a crime. Taboos codified centuries ago during periods of anti-Semitism discourage observant Jews from informing on other Jews; violations can result in ostracism.

Now, a growing number of haredi Jews in Brooklyn say they do not think they can get justice from the rabbinical courts, which in several high-profile cases have exonerated people who were later criminally convicted of child abuse. And although some advocates for victims contend that the district attorney has been too accommodating of the rabbinical hierarchy — a charge Mr. Hynes denies — families are increasingly turning to his office for help.
Prosecutors say that since last year there have been 40 minors prepared to testify in court about abuse. And Mr. Hynes’s office has been asked for advice by prosecutors with jurisdictions that include other large haredi enclaves in the Northeast .
”What we have witnessed in the past year is completely unprecedented,” said Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the Brooklyn district attorney’s sex crimes bureau. “This would be inconceivable just a few years ago.”
Children in haredi families are no more or less likely to suffer sexual abuse than others, according to several recent studies. But Ben Hirsch, founder of Survivors for Justice, a New York group whose members include ultra-Orthodox Jews molested as children in communities nationwide, said the clandestine handling of molestation cases had kept leaders from dealing with the problem and made it easier for predators to operate.
Mr. Hirsch credits the Jewish press, therapists and rabbis in the Orthodox population itself, and organizations like his, with bringing the issue to light. Jewish blogs like and, he said, have also been “a major catalyst,” giving abuse victims their first opportunity to vent and connect without fear of being identified.
“People are rising up,” he said.
The father of a Brooklyn 10-year-old said in an interview that the mishandling, as he viewed it, of sex abuse cases by rabbinical courts had persuaded him to contact the police immediately when his son told him last year that a neighbor had abused him.
“I’m not one who believes rabbis are capable to handle this,” he said.
The rabbis themselves voice a wide spectrum of reactions. Many say change is needed. Many more defend their internal courts. But almost all concur with what one Orthodox rabbi, Yosef Blau of Yeshiva University, recently called a dawning revelation about child molestation, which was once dismissed by the hierarchy as inconceivable among a people who embrace an all-consuming religious devotion:
“Now,” he said, “it is seen as possible.”
In April, after bringing most of the recent criminal cases, Mr. Hynes began an initiative called Project Kol Tzedek, or Voice of Justicewhich has enlisted Orthodox social workers to encourage more victims to step forward, and has dispatched trained staff members to schools and community centers to talk about sexual abuse.
Hailed by many as an innovative approach, the program has been criticized by some victims’ advocates for its links to an ultra-Orthodox social service agency, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, to which beth dins have referred men accused of sexual abuse in past years. Critics say that the treatment provided by Ohel has been inadequate and poorly supervised, a charge that the agency has vigorously denied.
Mr. Hynes walks a fine line. He has cultivated ties with Orthodox leaders since he was first elected in 1989. In an interview, he said he did so partly because they represent a major constituency, and partly to address jurisdictional tensions between his authority and theirs. In an editorial last year, The Jewish Week said those relationships had hampered abuse prosecutions, describing his approach until recently as “ranging from passive to weak-willed.”
Yet no prosecutor in the country has as many sexual abuse investigations and pending cases against haredi suspects. “We were able to break through because we have worked to establish credibility in the community,” Mr. Hynes said.
Some ultra-Orthodox leaders said they had no quarrel with Mr. Hynes’s project. Yet one Brooklyn rabbi mentioned frequently on blogs cites ancient doctrine that justifies killing someone who informs on a fellow Jew.
David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, a group representing many Orthodox factions in Brooklyn and nationwide, offered the moderate view. “A broad consensus has emerged in the last few years,” he said, “that many of these issues are beyond the ability of the community to handle internally.”
But he added that prosecutors should recognize “religious sensitivities in the community” by seeking alternatives to prison, to avoid depriving a family of its breadwinner, or by finding appropriate Orthodox homes for children removed from abusive families.
“The district attorney should be careful not to be seen as making a power grab from rabbinic authority,” Mr. Zwiebel said.
Rabbi Meir Fund, who leads a synagogue known as the Flatbush Minyan, said that child molesters should be prosecuted, but that victims should consult with a rabbi before going to the police. Connections among the Orthodox are too entangled to discount the damaging ripple effects of accusations on the accused person’s family, Rabbi Fund said.
Advocates for victims say similar views have informed some of the Brooklyn rabbinical leadership’s worst judgments, allowing prominent rabbis who were repeatedly accused of abuse to keep their jobs and reputations.
In 2000, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, a charismatic youth leader and yeshiva principal who was the focus of students’ abuse claims for more than 20 years — and was exonerated by a beth din — became the subject of an expose in The Jewish Week, which found more than 60 accusers. The story led to a criminal investigation and a seven-year prison term for Mr. Lanner.
Another rabbi, Yehuda Kolko, a grade school teacher at a Flatbush yeshiva, was accused of sexually abusive behavior by parents and former students numerous times over 30 years. The complaints were dismissed by rabbinical authorities, however, until New York magazine wrote about them in 2006.
Shortly afterward, the district attorney’s office filed sex abuse charges against Mr. Kolko. But Mr. Hynes’s decision last year to recommend probation in exchange for Mr. Kolko’s guilty plea to lesser charges of child endangerment incensed many Orthodox Jews. Partly because of that disappointment, some Orthodox leaders began taking steps they admit they would not have earlier.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents a predominantly Orthodox section of Brooklyn, began devoting his Saturday night radio shows on WMCA (570) to what he called “the epidemic” of unreported sex abuse. For six months, starting in July 2008, he invited victims to call him. Hundreds did, he said, adding that 10 of the criminal cases originated with those calls.
That same summer, Asher Lipner, an Orthodox therapist and vice president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, persuaded a Brooklyn yeshiva to open its doors for what he said was the first forum of its kind for Orthodox Jews in the borough — where not just rabbis, but also victims, therapists and laymen examined the problem of sex abuse.
“The good news is that 100 people showed up,” Mr. Lipner said. “The bad news is that we had to keep the meeting secret. We could not advertise it, and we had to agree that no one would discuss the fact that the meeting ever took place.”
As sensibilities evolve, one father seems to have found a middle ground between traditional and secular systems of justice.
When his 6-year-old son told him one day that Rabbi Kolko had sexually abused him, the father said he resolved to go to the police because he knew that the Brooklyn hierarchy had protected the rabbi in the past.
But first he made a detour. “I booked a flight to Jerusalem,” he said. “I made an appointment to speak with a very prominent rabbi” who had written sympathetically about abuse victims.
“He told me it would be O.K. to report this teacher to the police,” the father said. “He told me that if I reported him I would not be committing a sin.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WARNING: Ohel's Support Group for Frum Survivors

The Awareness Center was made aware of a support group for frum woman who are victim/survivors of sexual abuse in Manhattan that is scheduled to begin on today (October 13, 2009).  Unfortunately The Awareness Center does not support this group.  One of the issues is that the group is under the direction of David Pelcovitz, who is a strong supporter David Mandel, CEO of Ohel.  

Over the years The Awareness Center has received countless complaints regarding this dynamic duo (Pelcovitz and Mandel).  Out of respect of those who complained, The Awareness Center is sending out this warning in hopes that no one else will be psychologically harmed by individuals who self proclaim themselves to be experts in the sexual trauma field.  The complaints were made by both survivors and parents of survivors who at one time utilized their services.  

Back in Sept. 2008 David Pelcovitz and David Mandel spoke at an event put together by the Vaad of Baltimore.  During this event David Pelcovitz is seen alluding to David Mandel as an expert in cases of child abuse/neglect.  Mandel does not have a degree or license in the mental health field. Mandel's education is in the business realm.  Mandel also does not believe in making hotline reports.  Instead he's a supporter the rabbonim of the ultra orthodox world, who believe these cases should be handled quietly and internally, often placing the blame on the victims in hopes of allowing the sex offenders to continue earning a living for their families.

The Awareness Center has no information regarding Ellen Labinsky, PhD nor Bronya Shaffer on their experience in the field.  They are unknown  to our organization.

There are several other support groups for women in New York. Including those conducted by agencies connected to the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.  These agencies will do their best to be sensitive to the needs of frum survivors.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Case of Dr. Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter

Case of Dr. Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter
(AKA: Nusia Jakub Puchtik, Jack Nussan Porter, Jack N. Porter, Key Vester Rebbe) 

Researcher / Professor - Harvard University - Cambridge, MA
Resides - Newtonville, MA

Former Researcher / Professor - Boston University, Boston, MA
Former Researcher / Professor - University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
Former Student - Norhtwestern Univeristy, Chicago, IL
Former Student - University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI
Former Rabbi - Temple Emanuel, Marlboro, MA
Former Rabbi - Temple Emanuel, Chelsa, MA
Former Rabbi - B'nai Israel, Key West, FL
Received Ordination - Academy for Jewish Religion, New York, NY
Milwaukee, WI
Rivine, Ukraine

As of July 1, 2013 Jack N. Porter is back working at Harvard University.

September 30, 2009 –– Dr. Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter of Newton, MA was found guilty on the charges of second degree assault and forth degree sexual assault in a court room in Baltimore, MD. The assault occurred on July 13, 2009. 

According to the official transcript of the trial, Porter was offered a plea bargain, yet turned it down.  During the trial Jack N. Porter continually told the judge how beautiful the victims breast were, at that point the assistant states attorney asked Porter if he said anything that night about the victims face, he answered no.  The ASA continued to ask the defendant if in the night in question if he touched or grabbed the defendants breasts.  Rabbi Jack Nussan Porter testified that he "may have touched the victims breasts accidentally when he reached over to give her a hug and a kiss but to do his advanced age (64) his memory does not always serve him well and was sometimes fuzzy."  
Rabbi Dr. Jack N. Porter

The judge responded "I am not much younger than you and my memory is fine."

Porter is a retired college professor who had affiliations with Boston University, Harvard and Massachusetts University.  According various confidential reports, there have been several allegations of sexual misconduct made against Dr. Porter for nearly forty years.  One alleged survivor of this college professor stated that after Jack Porter assaulted her on a university campus, she reported the attack to the college's administration.  After investigating the claims, the survivor stated she assured by the university that they would take care of the situation by suspending him from teaching.  The survivor went on to say that over the years she had known of other victims who also made complaints against Porter, instead of making police reports -- the survivors complaints were filed with the various  university administrators.  Each time an allegation was made and he was suspended, Jack N. Porter would circulate to another university.  The first criminal charges made against Porter were made in 2009 where he was found guilty of second degree assault, forth degree sexual assault.

Back in 2007, rumors started circulating that Jack Nusan Porter may have murdered his second wife, Rona Vogel. They were married for 9 days when she suddenly died in a hotel room in Manhattan. Her family members believe that she was murdered.  The couple was married at City Hall in Newton, MA.

In mid-life Porter was ordained a rabbi by an Orthodox Vaad in New York City, attending the trans-denominational Academy for Jewish Religion in Manhattan in the late 1990s; after which he served congregations in Marlboro and Chelsea, Massachusetts and most notably in Key West, Florida.

On January 1, 2012 Rabbi Dr. Jack Nusan Porter married his third wife.

Jack Porter was born in Rivne, Ukraine, yet grew up in Milwaukee, WI. He currently resides in Newtonville, MA.

If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted or harassed by Dr. Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter, please contact your local rape crisis center or Dr. Michael J. Salamon, PhD.  Dr. Salamon can be reached at:  516-596-0073 


Table of Contents:

  1. Should Sociologists Run for Public Office  (09/17/2003)
  2. Cabaret Nights: Tales of One Rabbi's Short-Lived Pulpit in Paradise  (12/19/2003)
  1. Rona (Webber) Vogel Obituary (11/02/2007)
  1. Homage to Rona (03/15/2008)
  1. Sexual Assault - Court Documents / Order of Protection (07/13/2009)
  2. Porter receives award from ASA (09/22/2009)
  3. Thirty-three Days (11/14/2009)
  1. Dr. (NAME REMOVED) and Dr. Jack Nusan Porter  (01/01/2012)
  2. Jack Porter for Congress  (01/01/2012)
  3. RABBI DR JACK PORTER Running For Congress - Newscast  (02/08/2012)
  4. Jack Porter's Run for Congress (New Yorker Magazine)  (04/09/2012)
  5. About Jack Nusan Porter, Ph.D.  (05/01/2012)
  6. Porter election bid noted in New Yorker  (05/01/2012)
  7. Convicted sex offender Jewish Rabbi running for U.S. Congress seat  (08/08/2012)

  1. Porter accepted at Harvard to research Jewish resistance (06/01/2013)
  2. Jack Nusan Porter: Endorsements cause divisions among Newton Democrat (11/14/2013)

Also see:

Sexual Assault - Court Documents / Order of Protection
 District Court of Maryland For Baltimore City - July 13, 2009




Case Information
Court System:
Case Number:
2B02031304Tracking No:091001689892
Case Type:
District Code:
01Location Code:01
Document Type:
SUMMONS Issued Date:  08/16/2009
Case Status:
PROBATION Case Disposition: TRIAL

Defendant Information
Rabbi Dr. Jack Nusan Pote

Sex:M    Height:508    Weight:200    DOB:12/02/1944

(Newtonville, MA)
BALTIMORE    State:MD    Zip Code:21209 - 0000

Charge and Disposition Information
(Each Charge is listed separately. The disposition is listed below the Charge)
Charge No:
001    Description: ASSAULT-SEC DEGREE
CR.3.203    Description: ASSAULT-SEC DEGREE
Amended Date: CJIS Code:1 1415    MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X

Incident Date From:  07/13/2009   To:  07/13/2009

Victim Age:  (Removed)


Disposition:  PBJ UNSUPERVISED    Disposition Date:09/30/2009

Fine:$0.00    Court Costs:$22.50    CICF:$35.00
Amt Suspended:

Fine:$0.00    Court Costs:$22.50    CICF:$35.00

PBJ End Date: 09/30/2010    Probation End Date:Restitution Amount:$0.00

Jail Term:  Yrs:    Mos:    Days:
Suspended Term:  Yrs:    Mos:    Days:
Credit Time Served:

Charge No:
Statute: CR.3.308    Description:    SEX OFFENSE FOURTH DEGREE
Amended Date: CJIS Code:4 3600    MO/PLL:    Probable Cause:X
Incident Date From: 07/13/2009  To:  07/13/2009
]Victim Age:

PBJ UNSUPERVISED    Disposition Date:09/30/2009

Fine:$0.00Court     Costs:$0.00    CICF:$0.00
Amt Suspended:
Fine:$0.00    Court Costs:$0.00    CICF:$0.00
PBJ End Date:
09/30/2010 Probation End Date:    Restitution Amount:$0.00
Jail Term:
Suspended Term:
Credit Time Served:

Related Person Information
(Each Person related to the case other than the Defendant is shown)
1123 W 36TH STREET
City:  BALTIMORE    State:MD    Zip Code: 21211 - 0000

Event History Information
SUM ISSUED 090816 AGENCY:    AD 5906
The complete case file must be obtained from the District Court in which the case was last heard.



Should Sociologists Run for Public Office?
Upcoming national election inspires sociologist to contemplate the merits of bringing sociological imagination to elected office  
by Jack Nusan Porter, University of Massachusetts-Lowell 
    Jack Porter, Leslie Schneider KO’d in prelims – Newton Tab Newspaper (September 17, 2003)

    “Alderman Candidate Jack Porter and School Committee Candidate Leslie Schneider were eliminated in Tuesday’s preliminary election, clearing the way for the other four alderman candidates and two School Committee candidates, and at-Large Alderman from Ward 3 was Leonard Gentile who got 2,425 votes. He was followed by Ted Hess-Mahan, with 2,364 votes, David Donahue with 1,582, and Paul Snyder with 1,172. . . . Porter only received 454 votes, and Schneider received 971 votes.”
Dr. Rabbi Jack N. Porter
This Newton Tab synopsis captured last fall’s local preliminary election results of an affluent suburb west of Boston called Newton, a city with 85,000 citizens. Of course, about four times as many people voted in the final election in November, but the rankings were the same—Gentile and Hess-Mahan, both fine candidates, won. I lost. It was my second time running. I had run for School Committee three years earlier and garnered over 2,000 votes. 

Running for Public Office
Did I learn anything from all this? Did my PhD in sociology help or hinder me? Should other sociologists run for office? The answer is “yes.” Personally, I learned a great deal about American politics. My PhD both helped and hindered me but in unexpected ways. And, yes, more sociologists should run for office. 

A small ad in an issue of Footnotes last year, in which I solicited information from other sociologists who had run for office, yielded only one phone call. It was from sociologist Richard Hill of San Diego State University who ran for U.S. Congress in 1982. Yet, I know others who have run. Mike Malec, Boston College, ran successfully for a similar Newton aldermanic seat a decade or more ago. 

How can sociology help or hinder a political campaign? The problem is the Millsian sociological imagination itself; it is a powerful lens that when aimed at our society presents an unfamiliar picture to which we are not prepared to respond.. Moreover, it implies a leap of understanding and a need for cooperation and involvement for which U.S. citizens are only at times able to accept. 

This lack of sociological imagination is what makes U.S. politics so frustrating for energetic agents of change. Let us examine the components of what I mean by the sociological imagination. 

As regards turning personal problems into public issues, the best political candidates do this well. For example: To an audience of the unemployed, the skilled politician asks, “What is President Bush doing about it?” To the parents of a son who died in the Iraq war the strategic politician demurs, “Did our government lie to us?” “You cannot afford medications? Why?” 

C. Wright Mills’ “big picture” presents a more difficult challenge for Americans, with their anti-socialist history and their abiding trust in business and government to comprehend. For example, I tried to have my Newton constituents understand that the traffic and parking in Newton—a major problem confronting most suburbs—were caused not simply by drivers cutting through Newton streets to avoid tolls, but by inadequate promotion of public transportation. We need to get more people taking the T, our subway system, and leave cars on the periphery parking lots. (Interestingly, the late visionary architect Louis Kahn said the same thing 40 years ago in Philadelphia in the recent documentary, My Architect, by his son Nathaniel Kahn. While his idea was totally rejected by the city powers, L. Kahn was right.) 

Too often, politicians piecemeal solutions to problems, and eschew the “big picture.”
Personal Involvement 

Mills was not a Howard Dean, and to my knowledge wrote little about actually organizing the masses, but this country needs more personal responsibility and involvement by its citizens. Take the case of traffic, again. My sociological training taught me to understand that maybe we have too many cars on the road because the family structure has changed. This is a large leap for politicians to make and a dangerous one. It implies “blaming the victim,” so to speak. What it meant for me on the stump was to tell audiences to give up a car and perhaps to get a smaller car. 

The reasoning went as follows: 20 years ago, when my wife and two kids moved to Newton, we had two cars, one each for my wife and me (we could have had only one car, since I took the T or I could have driven her to work and picked her up). But today, our kids are grown up and each of them wants a car, so we have doubled the number of cars from one or two to three or four or even five cars in a matter of two decades. Plus some of these are SUVs, much larger than my former cars. 

“Blaming the victim” did not sit well with Newton’s “yuppies.” This sociological “leap” was too much for them. They wanted government to “fix” things for them and immediately. They do not consider themselves part of the problem nor do they want to give up any “comforts,” such as their huge cars. As Pogo said, “We have confronted the enemy, and it is us!” 

But it wasn’t for these issues that I lost the preliminary election. In fact, it made my campaign more interesting and more useful. I ran not simply to win but to create a platform for my ideas, and the real challenge was to put sociological and political and economic ideas into practice. It is easy to theorize and sermonize, but to practically build something that helps people is infinitely harder. Try it sometime, and then criticize your local pols, as you will have earned the right. 

To win in America, you need three things: money, organization, and ideas. You might win with two of them, but ideas are definitely needed in every campaign, and you definitely need organization or money, preferably both, although one can win a campaign with superb organization. Money alone will not win an election, but it certainly helps.

I had great ideas but little money and not an effective organization. I also was inexperienced in running for office and made a lot of mistakes. I had to learn to ask for money, but it got easier as I went along. I will run again, especially if the right position opens up. If Barney Frank decides not to run for U.S. Congress, I will run. But for these races one needs at least $100,000. But heck, if Howard Dean can raise $41 million for the presidential race, one hundred grand should be easy to raise.


Cabaret Nights: Tales of One Rabbi’s Short-Lived Pulpit in Paradise

By Jack Nusan Porter 

The Jewish Daily Forward -  December 19, 2003

Rabbi Dr. Jack Nusan Porter
For a month before and a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks, I was the southernmost rabbi in the continental United States or, as my brother liked to say, the “Key Vester Rebbe.”

My memories of those days resurfaced recently when I read “Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret” (University of Chicago Press, 2003), by two University of California at Santa Barbara sociology and women’s studies professors, Leila J. Rupp and Verta Taylor.

The 801 Cabaret — at 801 Duval St., on Key West’s main drag, excuse the pun — is a place whose inner walls I once knew well.

It all began when I answered an ad — interestingly enough, it had appeared in the Forward — that announced “Rabbi Wanted in Paradise.” For a rabbi with only three years of experience, it was a great opportunity, especially in light of the ennui that ensconced me then, a side effect of my divorce. Key West did indeed sound like “paradise,” especially when one factored in the $50,000 salary — and the free apartment.

I was hired by the nondenominational Bnai Zion synagogue to do outreach to Key West’s citizens, be they Cuban exiles, “snowbirds” from the North, Jews who “immigrated” from Miami, gays, lesbians or drag queens.

While I had briefly attended the interdenominational Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City, I was ordained by an Orthodox rabbinic court in Manhattan. Basically, I’m a Conservative rabbi with nondenominational feelings, that comes from an Orthodox family background. All of this means that I’m a fairly radical rabbi, maybe even too radical for Key West, but forgive me for getting ahead of myself.

Known alternately as the “Conch Republic” (after those fibrous mollusks), “the Rock” (as in “I need to get off the Rock”) or simply “Paradise,” Key West is closer to Cuba (90 miles) than to Miami (154 miles). For years, it has provided a haven to writers, kooks, smugglers, artists, intellectuals and tourists.

It’s not perfect, of course, but it does come pretty close. Even so, I only lasted two months there.

My mandate from the synagogue board was to try to increase shul membership, and one great untapped source — the synagogue and I agreed — was the gay and lesbian community. One way to reach out was to do kiruv to the heroes of that community — the drag queens.

To Rupp and Taylor, drag queens are not simply gender benders; they are social protest personified. Every night, on stage at the 801 Cabaret they educate the public about what it means to be a man or a woman in our society. To be a drag queen is not for the fainthearted; as some say, it takes “balls.”

My goal was to reach out to these men, or at least to the Jews among them — and to get them into synagogue. As jobs go, it wasn’t unpleasant. It was certainly colorful.

At the 801, there were Inga (Roger), Kylie (Kevin), Sushi (Gary), Milla (Dean), TV (Timothy), Scabola (Mathew), Gugi (Rov), Desiray (Joel) and Margo (David). Other Key West favorites include Lady V, Mama Crass, Baby Drag, Krystal Klear, Raven, Mr. Randy Roberts and the Bitch Sisters. Of them, only Margo, Mr. Randy Roberts and possibly the Bitch Sisters were Jewish.

At first, there was some confusion on my part. But the folks at the 801 were more than happy to clarify for me.

“Jack, I could go to shul as Margo,” David told me, “but what would be the purpose? It would be a bit of a shock at first, and Bnai Zion would accept me, but I would most likely go to shul as David, not Margo. Margo is my stage act. It would serve no purpose except for entertainment value to go as her. I’d go as David.” But in the end, he never came.

I got into trouble with Mr. Randy Roberts when a Boston Globe reporter writing about my outreach efforts ended up calling him a “cross-dresser” in the article. He is an entertainer and a female impersonator, he told me, and don’t you forget it.

I was told that I was the first rabbi to come to a drag show. While that is not entirely true, I was pleased and honored. At one show, I was a “victim” of Randy’s humor, no matter that I was a rabbi. I had gone to the bathroom during his act; when I returned, he asked me in front of the entire audience: “Did you wash your hands, rabbi?” Dutifully, I responded, “Yes, I did.”

While dressing in drag goes against the halachic prohibition of men dressing in women’s attire, drag queens could certainly bring some much-needed energy and spirit to synagogues and schools. Plus, they could teach lessons about tolerance, diversity and sexuality.

However, it would take a very liberal congregation indeed to have drag queens teaching Hebrew school. Despite its tolerance, I doubt even Bnai Zion would allow men in drag to teach Sunday school, although out of drag would be a different story — albeit one that never came up.

Well, this rabbi may have been too radical or simply just too “inexperienced” for Key West; I was fired after two months. It turns out I’d become too involved in Key West’s nightlife, neglecting my duties. Among the side projects I poured myself into instead was a screenplay: “Key West Rabbi.”
That’s Key West for you.

Jack Nusan Porter is the author of “The Jew as Outsider” and “Sexual Politics in Nazi Germany,” and editor of “The Sociology of American Jewry” and “Jewish Radicalism,” among other books, and an adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.


Rona (Webber) Vogel
Boston Globe - 2007

Of Newton, MA, Entered Into Rest November 2, 2007.  Dear daughter of the late Melvin and Charlotte (Mendelsohn) Webber. Survived by her devoted companion Jack N. Porter, sister Lori J. Wolf; another sister, niece Erica Wolf, nephews Joshua Wolf and Michael Lowenstern, and many friends. Graveside Services at Hand in Hand Cemetery, Centre St., West Roxbury, MA Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 at 11 AM. Memorial Observance will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Congregation Kehillath Israel, 384 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446 or to CJP. Stanetsky Memorial Chapel 1668 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 0244


Homage to Rona
Rona J. Vogel (Feb. 22, 1945 - Nov. 2, 2007) 
The Armenian Weekly; March 15, 2008

Rona Vogel, my wife, died in the service of the Armenian people. This may sound hyperbolic but it is true. A bit of a back-story. Rona was born in  Newton, Mass., to Melvin and Charlotte Webber. They were an affluent family in the furniture business but through a series of embezzlements, her father lost his money and the family became a working class;. Rona worked as a bookkeeper for her father and later for John Hancock insurance for 30 years. She married Sydney Vogel but they divorced after 20 years.

Rona was a "preemie," born premature and with many ailments-heart, kidney,
etc.-and was of small stature, just a shade over five feet tall, but she was resilient. She never wanted to be side-lined but mainstreamed, as they say, by being put into regular classes and graduating with her high school just like any normal girl.

I met her about three years ago at a party at her sister's house, where she was living when she divorced Sydney. She did need some supervision, someone to drive her to doctor's offices and hospitals, but she did a lot herself. A problem was that the sister was not honest. So, she wanted desperately to leave and I helped her to leave the house and move into my home.

She knew she would not be able to live a long life or even an "average"
lifespan. I, for one, thought that she had beat the odds and had lived long after others in her condition had died. I attribute this to her sense of humor, her faith in God and a powerful determination to live.

I learned several things from her: one is not to complain, or as they say in Yiddish, to kvetch. First, no one cares any way and two, no one can do anything about it. Life serves you a dish, and that is the way it is. True, once she said to me Jack, you don't know how lucky you are to be healthy, but that was not kvetching.

Second, she did everything. If I said, let's drive to New York, she said; If I said, let's catch a movie tonight, she said; True, she was retired and we had no children to care for (I have two grown children), but still it is a good bit of advice for couples: Be spontaneous, do it.

Because if you kvetch too much and do not act spontaneously, your marriage
or relationship will not be a happy one.

And the last lesson I learned from Rona is that "life is what it is;-the good and bad, take it in stride. We try to raise perfect children in perfect marriages; there are no such animals. Life is imperfect and tragic and sad
and hurtful. It is what it is.

Rona attended every single meeting last fall in 2007 in New England towns fighting the Foxman; and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Everyone who met her was impressed with her self-composure and her smiling generosity. She died in a New York City hotel room, the day after we traveled to New York to picket Abe Foxman and the ADL. She was too sick to attend the picket line. She died in peace, with me and a rabbi attending. She died happy.  –– Jack Nusan Porter

Dr. Porter is treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).


Porter receives award from ASA
American Sociological Association - September 22, 2009

Jack Nusan Porter of Newton was the recipient the Robin Williams Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship, Teaching and Service at the American Sociological Association’s annual meetings Aug. 11 in San Francisco. Professor David Meyers of the University of California-Irvine, chairman of the Selection Committee, compared Porter to Jane Addams for his combination of social activism and writings, especially his research into comparative genocide, the sociology of the Holocaust and conflict resolution, and commended him for opening up a brand new field of study in genocide studies.

Porter, born in Ukraine and the child of Holocaust survivors, has written or edited more than 30 books and 600 articles and essays, including “Genocide and Human Rights: A Global Anthology,” “The Genocidal Mind” and “Is Sociology Dead? Social Theory and Social Praxis in a Postmodern Era.”


An Autobiography of Jack Nusan Porter
December 2009 - Volume 1 Number 2 

Jack N. Porter and Rabbi Michel Twerski
Jack Nusan Porter, 63, in July of 2007 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina was elected treasurer of the nearly 400-member International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the world's largest organization of inter-disciplinary academics, diplomats, activists, artists, genocide survivors, journalists, jurists, policy makers, and community leaders dedicated to the understanding and prevention of genocide. 

This milestone capped a forty year career fighting for human rights and crimes against humanity. This Newton, MA-based activist began his work in the 1960s in the anti-war and civil rights movement with his classic book Jewish Radicalism; later in the 1970s he edited the first anthology on genocide-- 

Genocide and Human Rights: A Global Anthology. In the 1980s he recognized the gay genocide with his book Sexual Politics in Nazi Germany, and most recently it all culminated in his work: The Genocide Mind (2006). 

Born in the Ukraine in 1944 to two Soviet partisans, fighters against Nazism, Irving and Faye Puchtik, Porter came to America in July 1946 on one of the first two ships to leave Europe after the Holocaust (interestingly USHMM leaders Miles Lerman and Benjamin and Vladka Meed were also on board that same ship, the Marine Perch). They had spent a short time in a DP camp in Bindermichel, Linz, Austria waiting for a boat to Palestine but the Arab-Israeli war was soon to break out and conditions were gauged too dangerous to go.

He grew up in the Midwest, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, active in Habonim-Dror, a Labor Zionist youth movement where his mentors included Ivan and Malke Frank, Sam Bergman, and Label and Zelda Fein. He left for Israel soon after high school and worked on Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and in Jerusalem, where his mentors included Haim Avni, Amnon Hadary, Muki Tzur, Mikey Duvdevani, and Max Langer. 

He returned to Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where his teachers were Professor Allan Corre, Rabbi David Shapiro, and Professor Irwin Rinder as well as Rabbi Michel Twerski and Rabbi Isaac Lerer in Milwaukee. He just missed Professor Jacob Neusner by a semester. Majoring in sociology, he was accepted in 1967 to the prestigious sociology program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he studied under such eminent scholars as Howard S. Becker, Bernard Beck, Charles Moskos, Jack Sawyer, Don Campbell, and Ibrahim and Janet Abu-Lughod. 

Jack Nusan Porter
In the late 1960s, he was an active leader in the moderate wing of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, and in the civil rights movement, where he was mentored by such black leaders as James Turner, James Pitts and Eva Jefferson. In Chicago, he befriended several defendants of the famous Chicago Seven (actually Eight) trial---Lee Weiner, Jerry Rubin, and Abby Hoffman. However, in response to the growing anti-Zionism emanating form the black and white left, he and others at Northwestern founded in 1970 the activist Jewish Student Movement, a forerunner to all the Jewish "renewal" groups, and long before Michael Lerner's Tikkun movement. 

Porter has always been ahead of his time: his Jewish Radicalism came out in 1973; his recognition of Jewish resistance was reflected in his 1981 two-volumes called Jewish Partisans; Jewish "deviants" from Lenny Bruce to Magnus Hirschfeld were discussed in his 1981 book The Jew as Outsider; new religious movements in his Kids in Cults in 1978; the plight of the agunot, Jewish women unable to get a divorce, in his 1986 Women in Chains; comparative genocide and the roots of evil in his 2006 The Genocidal Mind; and the debate over the future of sociology in his most recent book Is Sociology Dead? (2008). Future books will tackle sex and Judaism, the political struggles of American Jews, and anti-Semitism. 

In mid-life, Porter was ordained a rabbi by an Orthodox Vaad in New York City; attended the trans-denominational American Academy for Jewish Religion in Manhattan in the late 1990s, and served congregations in Marlboro and Chelsea, MA and in Key West, FL. where he led a controversial outreach to conchs (native Key Westers), northern Jewish "snowbirds," Miami Jews, Cubans, transvestites, gays, and lesbians. 

Porter's brother, Rabbi Shlomo Porter and Shlomo's wife Shushy, along with her brother Moshe Unger, are leaders in the Jewish outreach movement in Baltimore and Philadelphia, while his sister Bella and her husband Mitch Smith are active in NCSY and frum circles in Minneapolis.

His former wife, Miriam Almuly Porter,  stems from the "grandees", old Sephardic families like the Alcalays, Almulys, Davicos, and Benaroyos, harking back to 1492 Spain, and from there to Turkey and the Balkans. The family has many artists, teachers, businessmen, and especially diplomats both in Europe and in the USA. For example, the painter Albert Alcalay of Harvard University; teachers Gingy and Mishko Alcalay; Leon (Lonny) Davico of UNESCO; Oscar Davico, famous writer and intellectual in the former Yugoslavia; Sven Alcalay, Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Zarko Kalmic, former Vice-President of Serbia and now leader of an important opposition party there. Miriam and Jack produced two children, (NAME REMOVED), and (NAME REMOVED). Porter's second wife, Rona Vogel, passed away recently. 

Dr. (NAME REMOVED) & Dr. Jack Nusan Porter
Boston Globe - January 1, 2012 

Dr. Jack Nusand Porter and his new wife
Dr. (NAME REMOVED) of Kiev, Ukraine and Dr. Jack Nusan Porter, of Newtonville, MA were married Friday morning, November 18, in a civil ceremony at Newton (MA) City Hall. City Clerk David Olson performed the ceremony. Another ceremony and reception was held December 4, 201l at the Women's Club in Newton Highlands, MA.

Mr. Porter, 66, is the son of the late Irving and Faye Porter (Puchtik), both Soviet partisans during World War II. Mr. Porter senior was a scrap metal dealer in Milwaukee and his wife was a housewife.

Ms. (NAME REMOVED), 51, is the daughter of the late (NAME REMOVED), a pharmacist in Kiev, and (NAME REMOVED), an economist, living near Kiev.

Mr. Porter is an internationally known sociologist, writer and human rights activist. He
is the former treasurer and presidential candidate of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the largest organization of genocide scholars in the world. His many books include 'Genocide and Human Rights", 'The Sociology of American Jews" and 'The Genocidal Mind".

He is a former Research Associate at Harvard University's Ukrainian Research Institute and a former professor of social science at Boston University's College of General Studies. He attended Northwestern University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in sociology, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.He is also Director of The Spencer School of Real Estate in Newton and a real estate consultant in the Greater Boston area. Porter met (NAME REMOVED) a few days before her birthday, October 4th, 2011. They were fixed up by her girlfriend, (NAME REMOVED), Porter's next door neighbor.

Porter turned out to be her 'birthday present". It was instant love and admiration. She is a tall, green-eyed blond, and a former doctor and Porter is a slightly shorter, balding sociologist, and though born in Rovno, Ukraine, was raised
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jack Porter for Congress  
Daniel Cross - Campaign Manager
January 2012Present (8 months) Newton
Daniel Cross (campaign manager for Jack Porter for Congress), Mrs. Porter and Jack Nusan Porter

Jack Porter is running for Congress in Massachusetts Fourth District. Porter identifies himself as a new kind of Libertarian Progressive Democrat influenced by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Democrat and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Porter runs the Spencer School of Real Estate located in Newton. He has helped thousands of Massachusetts residents find employment in the fields of real estate, mortgage brokerage, property Management and real estate development. He has formerly been affiliated with Harvard and Boston University.

Porter received his doctorate form Northwestern University. He is a world renowned human rights activist. Porter is also a Holocaust survivor who has written numerous books on social issues, family matters, genocide and human rights, as well as on religious cults. Porter was ordained a rabbi by an Orthodox Vaad in New York City, attending the trans-denominational Academy for Jewish Religion in Manhattan in the late 1990s; after which he served congregations in Marlboro and Chelsea, Massachusetts and Key West, Florida.

About Jack Nusan Porter, Ph.D.
AMEINU: Liberal Values:  Progressive Israel
Contributor Archives: Jack Nusan Porter, Ph.D.
May 1, 2012

Jack Nusan Porter, Ph.D., of Newtonville, Mass., is the former treasurer and executive board member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the largest such body in the world, a sociologist, and a human rights activist. His latest book is The Genocidal Mind. He can be contacted at or (857) 636-2669. Also, look his full name up on Wikipedia.


RABBI DR JACK PORTER Running For Congress
January 5, 2012

Newton News: Jack Porter for Congress
Produced by NewTV
Hosted by Jenn Adams
Programming on Comcast Ch. 10, RCN Ch. 15, Verizon Ch. 3
February 8, 2012

Dr. Jack Nusan Porter of Newton has thrown his hat into the democratic race for the 4th Congressional District from Massachusetts seat.  Making his announcement this week, Porter joins me in the studio to talk about how he thinks his new kind of democrat approach may help him win but perhaps more importantly, move the Democratic Party towards the center.

Go to 28.59  to see the report on Jack Porter. Or click here and it will take you directly to it:  CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO


Porter election bid noted in New Yorker
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle - May 1st, 2012

Former Milwaukeean Jack Nusan Porter, 67, is running for the Democratic nomination to the Massachusetts congressional seat to be vacated by Barney Frank after 32 years.

The April 9 issue of the New Yorker magazine printed a brief profile of his run, written by Ben McGrath. McGrath quoted Porter as noting that because one of the contenders is the heavily favored Joseph Kennedy III, “the rest of us are just chopped liver.”

Nevertheless, Porter — a sociologist, real estate consultant, and author of books on Nazi Germany, genocide, and his Milwaukee memories (see December 2010 Chronicle) — believes he may attract some voters. He calls himself a “radical-libertarian-progressive,” and added that some Republicans are “independents and people who are really quirky,” and therefore “Maybe they’ll vote for Jack Porter as a protest vote.”


Candidates line up for Frank's seat 
By Emily Cataneo 
Wicked Local Needham 
Jan 05, 2012

The Fourth Congressional seat was held for 17 years by Rep. Barney Frank, who announced at the end of November that he was retiring from Congress, citing the new district configurations caused by redistricting and a changing political climate in Washington. The redistricting plan moves Needham, which has been represented by Rep. Stephen Lynch, to the Fourth district.

Since Frank’s announcement, Brookline Democrat Jules Levine and Newton Democrat Herb Robinson have declared their candidacy for the seat. Levine, a Brookline resident and faculty member at Boston University School of Law, has run for public office five times but never held a seat, most recently running for the Brookline Board of Selectmen in 2007.

Levine said in a press release that he worked with the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square and that he believes campaign finance reform would lead to the election of politicians who would advocate for policies that would benefit the middle class.

“Income inequity in our society has become indefensible.  The middle class and working people, whether unionized or not, deserve a realistic chance to attain the American Dream,” said Levine in the press release. “Economic unfairness by the 1 percent and the onslaught against collective bargaining must stop.   I will do all in my power to protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare so that income inequality does not crush the most vulnerable among us.”
Herb Robinson, a Newton engineer and anti-nuclear power advocate, dropped out of the U.S. Senate race to throw his hat into the Fourth Congressional District ring. He told the Newton TAB in mid-December that although he’s never held public office, he thinks he could apply his 30 years working in the private sector to solving the energy crisis.

“I’m an outsider and I’m not a career politician [and] career politicians are at an all time low approval rating these days,” he told the TAB. He also said if he got elected, his first priority would be to fix the economy through stimulus spending.

Although Levine and Robinson are the only Democratic candidates to officially announce their intention to run, a host of others from the Newton-Brookline area have said they are considering running, including State Sen. Cindy Creem, State Rep. Ruth Balser, City Year Co-Founder Alan Khazei, Newton sociologist Jack Porter, former Brookline selectman and lieutenant governor candidate Deb Goldberg, Boston City Councilor Mike Ross and Brookline Selectman Jesse Mermell. Others who have said they are considering running are Sen. Mike Pacheco of Taunton and Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter of Fall River.

Joe Kennedy III, a Middlesex County assistant district attorney and the son of former Congressman Joe Kennedy II, annouced on Thursday he was resigning from his position with Middlesex County and was forming an exploratory committee for the seat.

The only Republican candidate so far is Brookline School Committee member Elizabeth Childs, who said at a Needham Republican Town Committee meeting in November that her campaign is centered around three issues: education, the federal deficit and America’s overseas presence.

At that meeting, Childs stressed the importance of addressing the deficit across the board, not just in defense spending.

“Representative Frank was saying that if we took the money out of defense, we wouldn’t have to do anything else. That’s not true,” said Childs, referencing Frank’s recent push to encourage Congress to limit military spending.

Newton TAB assistant editor Chloe Gotsis and Brookline TAB reporter Teddy Applebaum contributed reporting. 


Convicted sex offender Jewish Rabbi running for U.S. Congress seat
Your Jewish News - August 8, 2012

A convicted sex offender Jewish Rabbi did not let his criminal record get in the way of his political career.
Dr. Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter, of Newton, MA was found guilty on charges of second degree assault and forth degree sexual assault in a courtroom in Baltimore, MD. The assault occurred on July 13, 2009.

This didn’t prevent Dr. Jack Nusan Porter, of Newton from throwing his hat in the Democratic race for the District 4 Congressional seat from Massachusetts, the vacated seat of long time gay Congressman Barnie Frank. Making his announcement this week,
Porter joined a talk studio to talk about how he thinks his new type of approach can help Democrats win, but perhaps more importantly, he talked about moving the Democratic Party toward the center.

"It is outrageous that a convicted sex offender has the nerve to run for a U.S. Congress seat, to represent the people of the state," an angry voter said.

This U.S. Congress seat became vacant, as long time Congressman Barnie Frank retired, after marrying his very young boyfriend recently in a gay marriage ceremony.


Porter accepted at Harvard to research Jewish resistance
Jewish Chronicle - July 1, 2013

Former Milwaukeean Jack Nusan Porter, Ph.D., recently has been accepted as a research associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies, according to an email Porter sent to The Chronicle.
His research has focused on comparative resistance to genocide, sex and gender issues during the Holocaust, and the role of the Jewish partisans. His latest book is “Jewish Partisans of the Soviet Union during World War II.”
Porter will be traveling to Moscow and other parts of Europe to promote the book, culminating in a paper to be given at the Ninth International Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, where Porter was a former treasurer. The paper compares instances of Armenian and Jewish resistance to genocide.
Porter was a former research associate in Ukrainian studies at Harvard and has published numerous books and articles on these subjects. He presently resides in Newton, Mass. His website is 

Jack Nusan Porter: Endorsements cause divisions among Newton Democrat
By Jim Morrison
Wicked - November 14, 2013

In a follow-up to my earlier letter, I learned a lot at the statewide Democratic meetings in Waltham a few weeks ago. First of all, I learned that almost all town Democratic committees do not endorse during primaries. For example, a leader in the Lexington Town Committee told me "On principle, we do not endorse any candidates in a primary."

James Roosevelt (a grandson of FDR and a top official of the State Democratic Committee) told me that there are two routes to change this: one, to vote on the issue at a citywide Newton meeting or to have a "charter amendment" at the annual state convention in June.

I will go via the citywide meeting in November or whenever. My resolution will read: “No chair or co-chair shall endorse any candidates during a primary race. This includes op-ed pieces, yard signs, or any other public endorsements.”

A chair is like a rabbi or minister; he or she must be neutral when Democrats run against each other. One argument the other side says is that the aldermanic races are “non-partisan.” This is a moot issue. Everyone knows who is and who is not a Democrat or an Independent. It still divides the Democrats. There are even some who want to leave the party, either to the left or the right.

I am trying as a Democratic activist to keep people in the party. Endorsements only divide us.  --Jack Nusan Porter, Walnut Street


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