Community Briefs: Hong Kong Protest Gets Sixers Fan Ejected and More

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Hong Kong at night
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Hong Kong Protest Gets Sixers Fan Ejected From Exhibition Game

76ers fan Sam Wachs, who works at Reconstructing Judaism, got ejected from a preseason game after he and a friend held up signs supportive of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, WHYY.org reported.

The protest picked up some national publicity, including a mention on The Daily Show.

Wachs, 33, was escorted out of the Wells Fargo Center during an Oct. 8 exhibition game against the Chinese Guangzhou Loong Lions.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey recently sent — and deleted — a tweet in support of the protests, stirring tension between the Chinese government and the National Basketball Association.

Wachs, who lives in Philadelphia, once spent two years in Hong Kong and “is dismayed by what he considers a tepid NBA response to the conflict,” WHYY.org wrote.

Seeking to publicize the issue, Wachs and a friend bought seats behind the Chinese team. They wore face masks banned at the ongoing protests and also held up signs that said “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK.”

The signs eventually were confiscated and, after Wachs began chanting “Free Hong Kong,” he and his companion were escorted from the arena.

Wachs recorded video while he was being removed. Some fans clapped and fans of the Chinese team shouted obscenities at him, but he said some fans did thank him for the protest.

Both the 76ers and Wells Fargo issued statements saying Wachs and his companion were removed for “disrupting” other fans.

Gratz Announces Archival Partnership

Gratz College said it will partner with Gesher Galicia, a nonprofit that conducts Jewish genealogical and historical research on Galicia — a former province of Austria-Hungary now divided between southeastern Poland and western Ukraine.

Gesher Galicia will provide access to its database of Jewish records. That includes indexes of vital records and census books, tax records, land and real estate documents, Holocaust-period records and records of Galician medical students and doctors.

Gratz will make its collections available to Gesher Galicia in return.

“This will enable students to use primary documents from the Old Country for their research on rich and multiethnic Central-European heritage,” said Monika Rice, program director of Gratz’s Holocaust and genocide studies programs. “Short of visiting Eastern European countries, this archive is the next best thing for researchers.”

In addition, the organizations will partner in public education programs and other projects relating to Galician history. Gratz will offer active members of Gesher Galicia a tuition discount to those admitted to its online degree programs.

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Andy Gotlieb is the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent. He holds 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. Prior newspaper stops include the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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