Walking the streets of Manhattan, it’s not uncommon to hear snippets of Hebrew conversation every few blocks or so — a young dad pointing out the “kelev gadol” [big dog] to his toddling son — or to witness an Israeli waitress serving hummus to pay for her university studies.
Was the new ‘crisis’ manufactured to tie settlement issue to holy city?
This week’s U.S.-Israel diplomatic dustup over building additional Jewish housing in east Jerusalem may have as much to do with domestic politics in the Jewish state — and a desire to mobilize American Jews to oppose additional U.S. pressure — as with any shift in Obama administration policy.
Publicly raising its disagreement over Jerusalem may “focus the American Jewish community, which is mostly opposed to settlements, on the fact that when the U.S. demands Israel cease building settlements that includes Jerusalem,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman.
And touching the Jerusalem nerve may help galvanize Evangelical Christians, many of whom have a growing commitment to preserving Jerusalem as Israel’s unified capital, to oppose new administration peace pushes.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Like many in our community, I’ve been transfixed by the dramatic FBI arrests in New Jersey that netted prominent rabbis as well as mayors, city council presidents and other officials.
It’s both titillating and scary; first Bernie Madoff, now this. There haven’t been so many high-profile Jewish baddies since Leopold and Loeb.
And this one looks huge, involving as it does some of the leading figures in the Syrian Jewish community, money laundering and trafficking in human organs.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
Pretty much every Jewish reporter was focused this week on President Barack Obama’s meeting with 16 Jewish leaders at the White House – a presidential performance described as masterful even by some participants uneasy about his evolving Middle East policies and his determination to speak bluntly to Israel about issues such as settlements (read the Jewish Week story on the meeting here).
Monday, July 13th, 2009
Here’s Steve Lipman’s visit to the Orthodox Bunaglows Baseball League. Sheldon Silver was a player but not Pedro Espada.
And here’s a terrific piece by Andy Silow-Carroll, editor of the New Jersey Jewish News, on the many virtues of Jewish bungalow life, and his own bungalow memories:
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
So Ponzi king Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years, and the blogosphere is aflame with the outrage and anguish of the victims of this record-breaking swindler. While significant recovery seems unlikely for most, there’s a degree of satisfaction that he didn’t get away with the usual wrist-slapping white collar sentence.
But to me some of the case’s most important questions remain unanswered.
It’s a refrain I’ve heard regularly over years of covering the Jewish community: why do all those silly liberal Jewish groups keep involving themselves in issues not central to Jewish life, like immigration reform and genocide in Africa? Why don’t they focus instead on specifically Jewish issues, like anti-Semitism and Israel?
In Phoenix recently to help move my mother into assisted living, I got a graphic lesson in how shortsighted that view is.
Sunday, June 21st, 2009
Some Jewish leaders were initially uneasy about pressing for homeland security money from the federal government to protect Jewish schools, synagogues and other institutions, but that unease has largely evaporated - in part because of the incredible success of the effort to make sure Jewish groups get their fair share - and then some - of the money, in part because of recent incidents involving such institutions.
Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Over at Foreign Policy, the diligent Laura Rozen has an interesting blog item on Barack Obama’s Jimmy Carter problem.
Rozen cites a Fox News report that the former president will press the administration to take Hamas off the U.S. terrorist list; whether or not the report is true, it’s not news this administration wants to hear as it walks multiple tightropes in its intensifying Middle East diplomacy.