In Nashville TN, the Gordon Jewish Community Center has canceled a rental agreement with the Planned Parenthood to hold a fundraiser on its premises. According to The Tennesseean newpaper, the decision by the center came as a response to “apparent pressures from some of the center’s members.” Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee had scheduled a fundraising cocktail party at the JCC on October 1. Nashville Mayor-elect Megan Barry and her husband were to be featured guests.
A synagogue is to be the venue for the event instead. Members of The Temple on Harding Pike in Belle Meade will hold the Planned Parenthood's Amuse-Bouche cocktail on October 1.
Teague said leaders of The Temple on Harding Pike - the oldest and largest synagogue in Nashville — agreed to hold the event after learning of the Jewish Community Center's decision not to rent their space for the fundraiser. Planned Parenthood officials told The Tennessean that officials at the Jewish center said several Catholic members had pressured for the cancellation.
“We’re disappointed that they pulled out on such short notice,” Jeff Teague, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood chapter said. “A huge number of our major donors are members of the JCC. They’re very upset, obviously, that the community center did that with such short notice. We’re disappointed that they didn’t take a stronger stance. Basically, they’ve caved to a bunch of bullies.”
Planned Parenthood has been under attack from Republicans and pro-life activists for allegedly profiting from the sale of fetal tissue for supposed medical research: a claim the nonprofit denies. At stake is the approximately $500 million the organization receives from the federal government in taxpayer funds.
After learning of the cancellation,a Facebook group called Protest Planned Parenthood Nashville wrote on its page: “Due to much prayer and a coordinated effort by GJCC members, the Jewish Pro-life Foundation and Protest PP Nashville; the Gordon Jewish Community Center has canceled the October 1 Planned Parenthood fundraiser at their facility!!! This is incredible news!” Among other groups, the Pennsylvania-based Jewish Pro-life Foundation called on JCC to deny the space to the Planned Parenthood event. The JCC, which is funded in part by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, allows membership to people of all faiths. It has a gym and other recreational facilities, and also offers arts and cultural programming and has a preschool and senior activities.
Leslie Sax, a spokesperson for the JCC, would not comment.
Jews in the United States are the only religious group where a great plurality believe abortion should be legal in all or nearly all cases. Most sects of Judaism permit abortion if the life of the mother is in jeapordy, or if some abnormality is detected in her unborn child.
Laura Clawson, a feminist writing at DailyKos, said that she once attended preschool at JCC, as well as summer camp. She wrote “And in a city that, even as it grows more progressive, is still known for its people being strongly and publicly religious, it was a refuge from the constant reminder that as Jews we were "different." So if they're not going to stand for the beliefs of the Jewish community, then what the hell is the point?” Clawson counts as her heroines Emma Goldman (who wrote the inscription at the Statue of Liberty), feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, as well as politician Bella Abzug.
“Perhaps the Jewish feminist tradition comes from the intersection of a history being treated as the "other, " she wrote, "and a culture that encourages argument and debate, but that's the history I embrace.” Calling for readers to contribute to Planned Parenthood, she continued, “American Jews are pro-choice. Jewish women have led the fight to make sure that choice means something. To bow to pressure from extremist liars who would let women die before they'd let them have full rights dishonors that history.”
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