Blogs

RLUIPA, religious freedom and the New York Islamic center

It's pretty interesting how some of the Jewish groups that have been so hot over the years to prevent local governments from impinging on the right of Jews to build synagogues without government interference are now silent in the face of the effort to block the “ground zero” mosque in lower Manhattan.

Obama Is A Muslim If Disraeli Was A Jew

Benjamin Disraeli was born of a Jewish father but was baptized and had a Christian upbringing, joining the Church as an adult. The prime minister didn't practice Judaism.

Barack Obama was born of an Islamic father but, after some grade-school Islamic education, had a Christian upbringing, joining the Church as an adult. The president doesn't practice Islam.

Yes, Obama Is A Muslim (by non-halachic standards and Lenny Bruce)

As an Orthodox Jew, I believe that membership in a religion is not casual but legal, something like American citizenship (if you support the good people of Arizona). You can't just cross the Rio Grande and vote in Phoenix. There is a rigerous citizenship process, a conversion process, or there is Judaism's singular qualification -- being born to a Jewish mother.

Israeli-Palestinian talks may be resuming, but does anybody care?

 For weeks there have been murmurings in the Israeli press about the likely resumption of direct Israeli – Palestinian peace talks, and yesterday there were reports both sides will be invited to Washington in early September to start negotiations under the auspices of the Mideast Quartet.<

Why Does a Single Gal Still Think She's a J.D. Salinger Character?

Does it say something about me that I love Franny Glass as much today as I did when I first dipped into her existential suffering back when I was a mere high school girl?

I mean, it is somehow immature, or revealing of a certain arrested development on my part, to still identify so strongly with Franny’s struggles, with her absolute breakdown in her quest for grace?

For Truth in its highest order?

Israel’s UN Ambassador Leaving When Needed Most

The government of Israel will be losing a key and effective diplomat in New York just when it needs her most.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, highly praised for her low-key, thoughtful and compassionate work these last two years, is returning to Israel and her academic life at the end of this month on the eve of what some Israeli officials here are already predicting will be a “Black September” for the Jewish state at the UN.

David Mamet: Before He Was Conservative, He Was Jewish. Discuss.

Now that he is an established potentate of American theater, David Mamet has had no trouble saying what he really thinks.  Jews may remember his 2002 essay in The Forward, where he lambasted Jews for over-sympathizing with Palestinians.  They will probably remember better his 2006 book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish Self-Hatred and the Jews," where he took it further, arguing that liberal Jewish antagonism toward Israel was simple self-hate.

Obama the 'Muslim' and a scary new Pew poll

 There are plenty of horrifying aspects to the new Pew poll showing that 18 percent of Americans now believe – against all the evidence – that President Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent in March, 2009.

Unfit For The IDF

One reason the American military has resisted calls to reinstate a draft is that conscription often forces armies to deal with soldiers who not only don't want to be there and aren't committed to the cause but can be unfit for duty. While the Abu Ghraib affair shows that even volunteers can be unfit, for the most part it's the men and women who choose to defend their country and are committed to the skills and discipline of military life that contemporary commanders prefer to have on the front.

The Jewish Classroom, More Wired Than Ever

Also published in the Jewish Week's Fall Education supplement.

Many 30- and 40-year-olds will remember when a cart with a computer and monitor was wheeled into the classroom and students formed a single line waiting for a chance to use the device for a few minutes. Perhaps it was typing out a few lines of code in BASIC to move the cursor several inches along the screen, or perhaps it was creating an elementary art design.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade students at the Jewish Academy of Orlando will have new iPads this year.
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