Blogs

Gen. Jim Jones and fast and easy charges of anti-Semitism

 I can't quite get my mind around the fierce reaction to an allegedly anti-Semitic joke told by Gen. Jim Jones, the Obama administration national security adviser,  during a recent appearance before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel think tank.

Those reactions range from ADL national director Abe Foxman's relatively sedate label of “inappropiate” to emails I've received (the usual chain emails, suggesting Obama-inspired pogroms are just around the corner) calling his joke “outrageous” and “anti-Semitic.”

Will Smartphones & Handhelds Lead to an Educational Revolution?

In a recent blog post, my colleague and teacher Rabbi Hayim Herring writes about the Fast Company article that questions whether the introduction of smartphones and handheld computers into classrooms worldwide will be the start of an educational revolution. Anya Kamenetz, author of the book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education wonders "How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher."

Is an Educational Revolution Ahead?

Another poll on Obama and Israel that should worry Jewish Democrats

 Another poll is out looking at public opinion on Obama administration's handling of the Middle East and U.S.-Israel relations, and despite the small Jewish sample (see JTA's Ron Kampeas, who loves analyzing poll methodology; I defer to him, since I barely passed graduate statistics) there's

One Plus One Equals Old Maid

For someone who has never been very good at math – and, as a result, not very fond of it – I sure have been doing a lot of calculations lately.

How else to explain my nimble mathematics on the flight from Tel Aviv to Newark when I promptly figured out that I am over two decades older than the adorable Israeli teenage girls seated next to me, the ones who helped me figure out how to use the tv screen and remote control because I am such an old lady?

Israel Lifts iPad Ban

It was reported this morning by the Associated Press that Israel has lifted the ban on Apple's iPad, which ends the restrictions on importing the tablet computer to the Jewish State. The concern was that the iPad didn't comply with the European wireless standards that Israel follows and could disrupt other wireless devices.

Closing RCA Conference To The Press Sends Wrong Message

The Rabbinical Council of America, on the eve of its three-day annual convention, starting Sunday, has decided to make all of it off limits to the press.

The group, the rabbinic arm of the Orthodox Union, will be meeting at the Young Israel of Scarsdale through Tuesday afternoon, grappling primarily with the issue of boundaries for women's leadership roles in the synagogue and community. The participants are expected to pass a resolution that the majority of the more than 900 members can embrace dealing with which roles are permissible under halacha and which are not.

Israel's Intermarried MK

Thanks to the Jewish Outreach Institute and L.A. Jewish Journal for informing me about Einat Wilf, an intermarried member of Israel’s parliament. Part of the somewhat beleaguered left-wing Labor party, Wilf joined the Knesset in January.

I’m assuming that Wilf, whose husband is German, is not the first Jewish MK married to a gentile. Nonetheless, she seems to be the first to speak out publicly about it, telling the Jewish Journal, “Long before I married, I thought the Jewish world was making a big mistake in counting intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews as minus one, not plus one.”

Siddur It Yourself: BBYO's Build a Prayer Site

When it comes to Jewish prayer, there are two schools of thought: keva and kavannah. Keva means "rote" and refers to the fixed prayers that are set forth in the siddur (Jewish prayer book), while kavvanah is the free and spontaneous inner devotion of the individual.

Jewish groups silent on finance regulatory reform, and an interesting dilemma for the Tea Partiers

Isn't it interesting how Jewish groups with a lot to say about almost everything have been so conspicuously silent about the politically charged debate in Washington on regulatory reform intended to prevent a recurrence of the financial meltdown whose impact is still being felt – by many Jewish organizations, as well as countless individuals?

Report from Haiti: Jews making a difference

This is one of those Jewish organizations that's still pretty much under the radar, but ultimately may be as important  to our communal future as all those communal powerhouses with fancy their acronyms and megabucks contributors.

Repair the World was created last year to "inspire American Jews and their communities to give their time and effort to serve those in need," according to its Web site "We aim to make service a defining part of American Jewish life."

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