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My Name Is Rachel Cohen

My younger daughter is named Sophie, and my husband never ceases to give me a hard time whenever we, as we frequently do, encounter another little Sophia/Sophie/Sofia.

“I warned you that you were condemning her to a lifetime of being known as Sophie M!” he says. His preference was “Sage,” but hey, I won the coin toss. (Yes, the hotly contested name was really determined by a coin toss — Ellie, then 2, did the honors!)

Notes on a Dysfunctional Peace Process

 What a crazy, dysfunctional peace process.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinian statehood is his number one goal, but he apparently doesn't want it bad enough to accept some kind of compromise on a settlement moratorium that will allow talks – the only route to his goal- to continue.

Politics Aside, Is Barack Obama A Good Person?


News Item - AP 10/06/2010 -- 
The presidential seal fell off President Barack Obama's lectern and clattered to the stage as he delivered a speech to a women's conference. "That's all right, all of you know who I am," the president joked to laughter from the audience when he realized what had happened.

The Curious Case of Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Laureate 2010

Mario Vargos Llosa, the Peruvian writer who today won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was not Jewish. But he nevertheless often wrote about them: in "The Storyteller," (1989), about a Jewish anthropoligist in Lima who shacks up with a  tribe deep in the Amazon; as a contributer to the Commentary; and, recently, as an outspoken critic of Israel.

Given his not infrequent association with Jews, it is worth asking what he actually thinks of them. 

More on Tea Parties and the Jews: new survey data complicates things

My story this week on Jewish Republicans and the Tea Parties is generating a lot of talk. And some of it is about stuff I missed, or didn't get to because of space.

A number of correspondents challenged the claim by Tea Party activists that this is all about fiscal responsibility, not at all about the “values agenda” issues that have traditionally made most Jewish voters nervous.

A new poll supports their contention; according to the Public Religion Research institute, rank-and-file Tea Partiers are pretty much indistinguishable from the Christian right core constituency.

Love Advice on the New Jersey Transit

I didn’t mean to tell the lady sitting across from me on the NJ Transit to Newark Airport my whole love story, but maybe that’s what happened.

All I said was I was headed back to Israel and perhaps mentioned that I came to New York to test out a romance.

And, well, is it my fault that when I told her how I had spent a lovely and intense five days with a certain someone, that even though it was very sweet and nice, in the end he could not tell me whether he felt we should continue.

"Brooklyn is a city?"

If you lived in Brooklyn in the 70s, or visited, you'll recall the famous sign that greeted motorists coming off the Verrazano Bridge onto the Belt Parkway welcoming you to "America's 4th Largest City." Yes, Brooklyn was once a city, but what the sign, posted by then-Borough President Sebastian Leone, was really saying, in Brooklynese, is "If Brooklyn was a city, it'd be bigger than all them other cities, except four."

Iconic Brooklyn sign

Ohio's (Jewish) Chief Justice in Washington, New York

Funny, his name doesn't sound Jewish.

But maybe that's one of the reasons Ohio Supreme Court Justice Eric Brown did a swing through Washington and New York this week – to get the word out to the Jewish political community that he's running for reelection next month and could use some support.

Brown, a Democrat, could have a tough go of it, since the rest of the Court is a solid wall of Republicans; hence the need for a jolt of political money.

Lazy Bloggers And Mark Zuckerberg's (Gasp!) Non-Jewish Girlfriend

Mea culpa, al chet and all that. Among my other shortcomings, I’ve been one lame blogger lately, posting nary a word for a whole week. And my sole flimsy excuse is the fact that I am, like other Jews, just now emerging from a month-long orgy of holidays.

Admittedly, the more observant Jews – the ones who spend the evening and morning of each yom tov in synagogue while refraining from electricity, driving and hundreds of other offshoots of the 39 melachot – have a better case for using the Jewish holiday excuse. Especially since most (unlike me) work for companies and organizations that remain open on said holidays and who, when not doing the aforementioned malachot-refraining and synagogue-attending, have had to scramble to build a sukkah, do laundry, cook and so forth.

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