Religion

NJ Mayors, Rabbis and the BBC

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.

Grim study on recession’s impact on Jewish life

Monday, July 20th, 2009 It’s not happy reading, but studying it should be a mandatory assignment for  every Jewish activist. Steven Windmueller’s  paper on The Unfolding Economic Crisis: Its Devastating Implications for American Jewry, lays out a crisis that will continue to impact the Jewish communal world for many years even if the economic downturn ends soon.

White House Jewish outreach on steroids

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).

Hey, Bungalow Bill

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:  

Did we learn the real lessons of the Madoff ripoff?

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.

A lesson in why Darfur and Immigration ARE Jewish issues

Friday, June 26th, 2009

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.

More homeland security money for Jewish institutions?

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.

Jimmy Carter, Hamas and the Obama administration

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.

A Loss And A Gain For Tribeca Jews

06/10/2009
Staff Writer

In yet another sign of the toll the economic downturn has exacted on the Jewish community, the trendy Tribeca Hebrew school — which helped re-energize Jewish life downtown after Sept. 11 — has closed its doors and merged with its neighbor, the Jewish Community Project.

Obama’s Cairo speech, friendship with Israel and finding the right balance

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 There will be plenty of commentaries about President Obama’s speech to the Islamic world in Cairo today, and Jewish groups were weighing in even before he finished speaking.  There was lots of meat to chew on, and the Jewish world is going to sate its appetite on the stuff for a long time. Despite Obama’s strong and unequivocal statement against settlements, it was the first time an Arab and Muslim audience heard a strongly pro-Israel speech from a major leader.
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