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Is Kagan’s Jewishness Being Used Against Her?

Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.

06/30/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.

Elana Kagan

Broader Gun Rights: Bad For The Jews?

With NRA, after Court ruling, targeting city’s gun control laws, could Jewish institutions face heightened terror threats?

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

Defenders of broadly defined gun ownership rights announced this week, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that limits states’ right to regulate firearms, that they will further challenge the power of municipalities like New York City and New York State to keep guns out of owners’ hands.

The gun lobby will probably miss its target, some experts say.

Ten Republican Questions For Kagan

 Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is scoring points for grace with her witty comeback during confirmation hearings to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's oddly non-sequitur question "Where were you last Christmas?"

To her credit, the solicitor general defused the situation by saying she was likely eating at a Chinese restaurant, to which Graham answered "Great answer."

She has also had to contend with questions that stress her Upper West Side origins and her admiration of an Israeli jurist.

Expect more fireworks.

Jewish-Muslim Friendship Bus: Preaching Coexistence In France

06/29/2010

Another summer, another chance to take Jewish-Islamic dialogue on the road in France.

This time, the road is Route E 54, headed southeast from Paris toward Besancon.

A unique experiment in interfaith dialogue recently pulled into the city in eastern France with its message of trust and tolerance.

The Jewish-Muslim Friendship Bus, a five-year-old project of a French Jewish-Muslim Friendship group known as AJMF, travels the country each summer, preaching coexistence to members of the religious communities that have been riven by violence and hatred in recent years.

Photo By Sue Fishkoff/JTA

Ten Commandments, 613 Laws, Six Million: What is it with Jews and Lists?

Earlier today I came across a listing for an upcoming reading in Bryant Park with the poet Wayne Koestenbaum. (July 6, 7 p.m. Free.) He's a local New York treasure--a CUNY Graduate Center English professor--and not in the least peevish about his Jewishness.  "Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films" is the title of one of his better known collections.

Koestenbaum's poems tend toward the ribald and profane, both wickedly funny and equally smart. You can find some of the poems in "Jewish Porn" online, and one in particular, "John Wayne's Perfume," got me thinking about our timeless fascination with lists.  Among poets, it's something of an in-house game to make list-poems, and "John Wayne's Pefume" certainly plays it well. Koestenbaum structures this particular list poem around seven stanzas, each three lines deep. The length of the lines within each stanza diminish as the list unfolds, giving the poem a comfortable rhythm.

Mike Huckabee loves Israel, but will Jewish voters love him?

The Jewish political world is buzzing ...well, it's a pretty quiet buzz, more like a murmur ... about the New Yorker profile of former Arkansas governor, Fox news commentator and 2012 GOP presidential Wannabee Mike Huckabee.

Israel’s Black Panthers Remembered

BAM film documents Mizrahi civil rights movement of the ‘70s, though inequities still resonate for Jews from Arab countries.

06/29/2010
Staff Writer

Shortly after Israel’s victory in the War of Independence, the Jewish state took in a mass exodus of Jews from Arab lands, first in 1949, and then again in 1956. 

Jews from Arab lands, called Mizrahim, came to Israel not because they were ardent Zionists, but because their host Arab countries, angered by the establishment of the State of Israel, had turned against them. 

A scene from “The Black Panthers (In Israel) Speak” shows a Mizrahi protest from the early ‘70s.

Aliyah Journal: Two Second Acts In Full Swing In Israel

A musician and a tour guide, both with N.Y. ties, are overcoming odds to rewrite their life scripts in Jewish state.

06/29/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: With the numbers of those making aliyah from North America on the rise, much of the attention has been focused on Orthodox families making the move. Last week, we reported on a pilot program for college students and recent graduates considering moving to Israel. This week, meet two people — both young singles — who each left New York to move to Israel alone.

Ben Soloway is persevering as a tour guide despite walking with difficulty. Rivka Oppenheim

Is It Ethical to Read My Husband's Email?

06/29/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q. Is it ethical to read my husband’s email? I don't have reason to think he's cheating, but I' m the nervous type…

If you have no reason to suspect him, you would be putting far too much at risk by invading his privacy.  You in fact would be the one guilty of betraying trust.  Let it go.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Engel slams Chavez for Calling Israel 'Genocidal'

06/29/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Latin American subcommittee slammed Venezuela's president for calling Israel a "genocidal" state.

Hugo Chavez, this week hosting Syrian president Bashar Assad, described their countries as having "common enemies": "The Yankee empire, the genocidal state of Israel."

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Chavez needed to distract attention from his own problems.

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