Weiner - Abedin nuptials: the headline says it all

What does the Jewish religious community think of Rep. Anthony Weiner's marriage to longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin?

Weiner, after all, is one of the most outspoken defenders of Jewish causes on Capitol Hill, while Abedin is a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia. The two were married on Saturday by former President Bill Clinton.

How, exactly, Clinton was able to perform the ceremony remains unclear. A mail-order ordination, perhaps?

The Presbyterians, Israel and the value of community relations

In a world where Israel has fewer and fewer friends, Jewish groups here increasingly face a choice: do they treat Israel's critics as implacable adversaries? Or do they look for ways to work with some critics and perhaps change their mind on some issues?

Increasingly, muscular pro-Israel groups take the first approach; the second, which defines  the whole Jewish community relations movement, is in disfavor in many Jewish circles.

The last word on the Netanyahu - Obama summit: what we don't know

What we know after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Washington visit this week: both the Israeli leader and President Obama have decided that for various reasons it's best not to be quarreling, especially in public. Both have a strong vested interest in restoring the public trappings of the “special” U.S.-Israel relationship.

The problem is what we don't  know; the pomp-rich visit leaves us with more questions than answers:

The Book of Love

You know the Elvis Costello song, Everyday I Write the Book?

I could listen to that song every minute of every day and never get bored.

Even if I can't quite make out his words, there is something about that song that gets under my skin and I think it has everything to do with his…glasses.

You know what I'm a talking about: those big, black clunkers that take over his face with all the subtlety of a jet bomber.

Frank Gehry's Genius = Gefilte Fish

When Vanity Fair released the results of its poll for the best piece of architecture built in the last 30 years, Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao Museum had the most votes by far. Twenty-eight of the 52 people surveyed--most of them leading architects, academics and critics--voted for the Bilbao museum, compared with the next best thing, Renzo Piano's Menil Collection museum in Houston, which got nine.

Gehry's lopsided victory inspired a lenghty piece in the magazine by Matt Tyrnauer, a Vanity Fair editor who oversaw the survey. The piece does an excellent job explaining Gehry's artistic evolution, from his first inspired moment seeing the Chartes Cathedral, to his later influences like seeing the combines of Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.  But perhaps most interesting, Tyrnauer notes the importance of fish. Gehry's fascination with the species lend his mature work their nautical, silvery and often bulbous shape.  Often, you see their shiny curves, and think, salmon! Or if you're Jewish, lox!

Gehry is of course Jewish (ne Goldberg). So you can't help but wonder whether his fascination with fish actually has something to do with lox. That's what I was thinking when I read Tyrnauer's essay, but I was wrong.  Lox has nothing to do it.

It's actually gefilte fish.

Michael Steele: right on Afghanistan, sort of?

The whole Michael Steele controversy – the latest in a long series for the foot-in-mouth-prone Republican National Committee chairman – must be making Jewish liberals very uncomfortable.

Steele is getting savaged by fellow Republicans for saying the Afghanistan war is a “war of Obama's choosing,” and that the one thing the President should know is that you “don't ... engage in a land war in Afghanistan... because everyone who's tried over a thousand years of history has failed."

Dancing Soldiers In Hebron

The strange and amusing tale of six IDF soldiers featured on YouTube dancing to a cheesy pop song while on patrol in Hebron seems to have played itself out, now that an spokesman for the army has said they will not investigate the matter further. But it says a lot about the uniqueness of Israel's army.

The ADL, Arizona and anti-immigrant craziness

Some of the nastiest email I get is on the issue of immigration reform. To read these missives, you'd never know that Jewish groups have been at the forefront of the effort to overhaul a badly broken legal immigration system and offer a path to citizenship for those here illegally.

W. S. Merwin Speaks!

Last week the big poetry news was W.S. Merwin's appointment as the U.S. Poet Laureate.  It's a largely symbolic honor, but an incredibly big one all the same. And yet it was hard not to fall upon the easy story-line, which most in the press did: why him?

What Not To Do On A Dating Sabbatical

Technically, I'm on a dating sabbatical.

Which means the next couple of weeks are all about getting in touch with the inner me. The "me" inside the "me," if you know what I mean. The "me" that is wearing a very teeny-tiny pair of glasses.

So, to be technical, I wasn't really breaking my sabbatical when a girlfriend called to update me on the set-up she had orchestrated.  I mean, she was the one who called me!

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