BGE rate hikes, gay rabbi, Harvey Weinstein and more
BGE proposes hiking rates
Regional utility Baltimore Gas and Electric has filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to bump up its rates and bring in an additional $133 million—translating to roughly $8.53 more per month for the average household, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. In its application, filed May 24, the utility wrote that its current base rates for gas and electric service “are neither just nor reasonable and do not yield a reasonable return on the fair value of BGE’s property devoted to electric delivery or gas service.” The company noted this is its first rate-increase request since 2015. That resulted in a monthly bump of about $5.40 that took effect this past winter. BGE noted its rates would still be 10 percent lower on average than a decade ago, thanks to households boosting their energy efficiency, as well as company-provided credits and other incentives and reduced commodity prices.
1st gay rabbi ordained
A gay rabbinical student denied ordination by a liberal seminary in New York was welcomed into the rabbinate in Jerusalem, breaking a longstanding taboo against homosexuality in the Orthodox community. Daniel Landes, a prominent American-Israeli rabbi, granted semichah, Hebrew for ordination, to Daniel Atwood alongside a mixed group of men and women at the Jerusalem Theater on May 26 during a ceremony attended by more than 200 guests. Atwood was informed earlier this year that he would not be ordained after completing his studies at New York’s Yeshivat Chovevei Torah despite the school previously saying it would ordain him. While there has been a significant increase in empathy for LGBT Jews in recent years within the Orthodox community, inclusion has rarely reached the level of communal leadership, and same-sex marriage is universally prohibited. Atwood became engaged to another man last fall.
- We Orthodox Jews desperately need gay rabbis
- Liberal Orthodox Yeshiva Says it Will Not Ordain Gay Student
Where Jewish Congress members stand on impeachment
If the Jewish delegation in the House of Representatives were to vote on opening impeachment proceedings today, President Donald Trump would probably be safe. A tally by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency shows that only five of the 25 Jewish House Democrats support launching an impeachment inquiry at this point. Nine are on the record against impeachment (at least for now) and eight appear to be on the fence. Three — one veteran Congress member and two freshmen — have somehow managed to keep mum. It’s safe to say that the two Jewish Republicans — Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee — do not support impeachment. Zeldin called the Mueller report into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and how it intersected with the Trump campaign a “witch hunt.” Kustoff said Democrats “can finally move on” following the report’s release. Across the entire House Democratic caucus, and among some presidential candidates, there’s a chorus of progressives calling for impeachment. They say the Mueller report, which probed 10 episodes of possible obstruction of justice by the president without reaching a judgment, plus the administration’s defiance of subpoenas make impeachment the best way to investigate alleged misdeeds by the administration. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi is so far urging caution, pointing to the other investigative tools Congress has at its disposal as well as the near certainty that the Republican-controlled Senate would vote to acquit Trump.
Harvey Weinstein to pay $44M in settlement
Harvey Weinstein and his former studio’s board members have reached a tentative settlement deal for $44 million with women who accuse him of sexual misconduct, The Wall Street Journal reported. The disgraced film producer, who is Jewish, has denied sexually harassing or abusing more than 75 women. He will stand trial in New York in June on criminal charges brought by two women, including rape. In October 2017, The New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, who founded the Weinstein Co. with his brother after splitting from Miramax in 2005. It triggered the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the first women to come forward. Weinstein issued an apology acknowledging he had “caused a lot of pain,” but denied allegations that he harassed female employees over nearly three decades. Weinstein, 67, is one of Hollywood’s most famous producers and has worked on a number of award-winning films, including “Shakespeare in Love,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” In 2017, Quartz wrote that Weinstein had become so powerful in Hollywood that he had been thanked as many times as God in Oscar acceptance speeches, the BBC reported.–JTA
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