Happy Hanuka 2018!

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Happy Hanuka! Today’s column is part two of a 2-part message, the first of which comprised last week’s entry. I wrote about my recent visit to Washington DC’s Newseum, where I came across an exhibit enshrining our Constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Religion. The exhibit included two kippot, artifacts from a 1986 Supreme Court case which tested the US military’s ban on soldiers wearing head covering indoors, which the Court upheld 5-4. My column provided a rationale for the Court’s upholding of the standard. This week, I enclose the photo I snapped that day, which, if your device will provide a large enough version, you will notice displays not only the kippot, but a brief paragraph describing their symbolic significance in terms of American Freedom of Religion. Here, the other shoe drops.

 

What I mean is that I composed last week’s column solely in the context of the Supreme Court decision, which, in effect, upheld the military’s ban. The rest I left for this week, which is crucial indeed for establishing a clear understanding of the current American legal standard. Yes, the Court upheld the ban, in legal terms; but as you can see from the verbiage in the photo, the Court also passed the final decision to Congress — which in turn passed a law permitting head covering. A classic instance of Checks and Balances. The court made a decision and asked Congress to check it out, which upon doing so reversed it. American Democracy at its finest, in my opinion.

A brief PS: Chronicle readers may have noted last week’s issue included a page 2 story about an impending effort to overturn an almost 2-century old rule banning members of US Congress from wearing head covering during official assembly. Will it succeed? By the logic of what’s good for the gander is good for the goose, probably.