Local Religious Leaders Condemn Jewish Cemetery Vandalism

Mount Carmel Cemetery

Image via Google Street View

Almost 200 local religious leaders gathered this afternoon for an interfaith press conference denouncing the vandalism of the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia. The Jewish cemetery is the second in about a week to be vandalized, following the vandalism at a suburban St. Louis cemetery the previous weekend.

“When we are all one, we are stronger,” said Rev. William Worley, head of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ. “What happened in the cemetery, in the dark of night to defenseless people who are remembered there, was an act of cowardice.” Read more »

Can Teresa Carr Deni Convince Voters to Look Past a Controversial Legal Case?

Teresa Carr Deni

Teresa Carr Deni | Photo courtesy of Tommie St. Hill

“Philly Judge Criticized for Rape Decision.” “Judge Criticized for Considering Gang Rape on Prostitute ‘Theft of Services.’” “Judge Who Thinks Rape is ‘Theft of Services’ Up for Retention in Philly.”

Those are some of the headlines that pop up when you Google Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni’s name. Back in 2007, the Democrat dismissed sexual assault charges against a man who allegedly raped a prostitute at gunpoint, which drew ire from local women’s groups. She let robbery charges stand, telling the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, “She consented and she didn’t get paid. I thought it was a robbery.” Now, Deni says the media “misconstrued” the case, and that “the situation was corrected, and everyone was pleased with the result.” Read more »

Bad News for Sixers on Injury Front

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Star Sixers center Joel Embiid is out indefinitely, the team announced today.

Embiid, who suffered a knee injury in January and has a torn meniscus in his left knee, has played just one game since January 20th. Last week, the Sixers said he would miss the next four games. Now he’s listed as out indefinitely with swelling in his knee. Read more »

Judge: Cosby Jury Won’t Come From Montco

Bill Cosby - Norristown

Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown this morning | AP Photo: Matt Slocum

Update, 11:45 a.m.: Judge Steven O’Neill ruled today that the jury for Bill Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault will not come from Montgomery County — but the trial’s venue will remain in Norristown.

Cosby’s attorneys wanted a complete change of venue. Instead, jurors will come from a neighboring county, but the trial will remain in Montgomery County. Jurors will be sequestered after they’re selected.

Earlier: Bill Cosby is back in court again today.

The entertainer, charged with felony aggravated indecent assault, is in court today asking a judge to bring in jurors from outside Montgomery County. The decision to not charge Cosby when the allegations against him originally surfaced, in 2004, became part of the race for District Attorney in 2015.

As a result, Cosby and his lawyers say jurors from outside the county should serve on the jury for his trial. The AP reports prosecutors don’t oppose the motion. Read more »

Hundreds of Headstones Vandalized at Northeast Philly Jewish Cemetery

Headstones overturned at local Jewish cemetery

Photo via Ari Fornari, rabbi at Kol Tzedek Synagogue

Hundreds of headstones at a Northeast Philadelphia Jewish cemetery were vandalized over the weekend. Police are investigating.

The vandalism was discovered on Sunday morning at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery at Frankford and Cheltenham avenues in the Wissinoming section of the city. A local rabbi told NBC 10 he counted 460 headstones that were toppled or otherwise damaged.

The Mizel Family Foundation, in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the vandals. FOP Lodge 5 head John McNesby says the union is offering a $3,000 reward as well. “Bring them in tonight and you are paid tomorrow,” he tweeted. Read more »

How Trump’s Election May Have Changed the Future of Philly Politics

Illustration by Gluekit (protesters: iStock; City Hall: C. Smyth/Visit Philadlephia)

Illustration by Gluekit (protesters: iStock; City Hall: C. Smyth/Visit Philadlephia)

Something is happening in this city.

For years, many Philadelphians took democracy for granted. A pathetic 27 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2015 primary race. Only 89,000 people — out of the city’s roughly 1.2 million voting-age citizens — picked our current district attorney. The fact that voters don’t even have a choice in many City Council and state legislative races, thanks to one-party rule, has long been met with a shrug. Then came November 8th. Now, protests spontaneously break out in the streets and at the airport. Every Tuesday, a group founded by seven local women airs grievances outside Senator Pat Toomey’s Center City office. If that doesn’t convince you the wind may be blowing in a different direction, consider the fact that 800 people packed a downtown church in January to talk about gerrymandering. Gerrymandering! Read more »

How Matt Klentak Plans to Rebuild the Phillies

Klentak in the team’s under-construction analytics department. Photograph by Chris Crisman

Klentak in the team’s under-construction analytics department. Photograph by Chris Crisman

Matt Klentak agrees to meet me at Citizens Bank Park at two o’clock on a bitterly cold January afternoon. I show up early and kill some time in the lobby. A receptionist cheerily informs me that Klentak’s secretary will come to get me in eight minutes. Not “right away” or “soon” — in eight minutes.

It’s quirkily precise, and I can’t help but ask Klentak about this when I reach his second-floor corner office overlooking the charcoal runway that’s Pattison Avenue. The Phillies’ 36-year-old general manager breaks into a small smile. We’d said we’d sit down at two o’clock, he explains, so it made sense to stick to that plan. And Klentak is all about sticking to plans, particularly the one he and other members of the team’s evolving brain trust have developed to right a ship that lost its way in the wake of the most successful era in franchise history. Read more »

The Best Thing This Week: Marriage Equality Helps Lower the Teen Suicide Rate

Photo by nito100/iStock

Photo by nito100/iStock

Nothing is as heartbreaking as a young person’s suicide, which has become the second-leading cause of death for teens in the United States (after accidents). And yet a new study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics offers hope. It traces recent downturns in teen suicide attempts in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry. In the 32 states that passed such legislation, teen suicide attempts overall fell by 7 percent — and by twice that rate, 14 percent, among gay kids. Rates were unchanged in states in which no such legislation was passed. Read more »

The Sixers’ Ben Simmons Won’t Play This Season

Ben Simmons

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Another big man will miss the entire season for the Sixers.

Ben Simmons, the overall number-one pick last summer who broke his foot in the preseason, will not play this season. Sixers president Bryan Colangelo announced the news at a press conference this morning. Read more »

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