Social Issues

Pride of PLACE

05/20/2009
Staff Writer

In San Francisco, the Castro district teems with gay life — there are drag shows, gay-run boutiques and the signature of the gay rights movements — the rainbow flag — seems to be everywhere.

Etai Pinkas

‘The Great Neck Of Tel Aviv’

05/20/2009
Staff Writer

You can play the national pastime — the American national pastime, that is — on a baseball diamond in Ra’anana, one of the few fields of dreams in all of the country.

In this affluent Tel Aviv suburb, you can get Gatorade there, too, and American candies can be had on the grocery store shelves. And you can join the Penn Club and reminisce about the old college days in Philadelphia.

Ahuza Street, the main thoroughfare in Ra'anana.

Anti-gay, anti-Semitic group targeting Holocaust Museum, ADL, synagogue

Thursday, May 7th, 2009 Washington area Jewish institutions are about to be visited by the wandering group of religious activists who believe they are winning friends and supporters by picketing the funerals of dead U.S. servicemen and women with their message that America is damned because of its tolerance of homosexuality. The response by the Jewish institutions?  To deny the demonstrators what they want most: publicity.

Good news for Jewish groups on the domestic front: Hate crimes, immigration reform, budget

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 It’s been a good week for Jewish groups active on the domestic front. On Wednesday the House passed by a 249-175 vote a hate crimes bill Jewish groups have had as a legislative priority for more than a decade.  For the past eight years former President Bush promised to veto it, but the strong Democratic majorities in both Houses and a new president who supports the measure have dramatically improved its chances, and backers are moving quickly to take advantage of the altered political landscape.

Hate crimes bill: could 2009 be the year?

Monday, April 27th, 2009 You have to give this to major Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League: they’re persistent.  A bunch of them have been lobbying for a major new hate crimes bill for more than a decade, and even though it has passed numerous votes in both Houses of Congress the measure never quite makes it into law.

Election 2008: Jews part of dramatic political realignment

Sunday, April 26th, 2009 University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, possibly the most quoted political scientist on Planet Earth and maybe beyond,  has published a new book on the 2008 election, which he sees as one of a rare species:  transformational elections that change the landscape of American politics for years to come.

For German Converts, A New Home for the Soul

04/14/2009
Staff Writer

Trekking through ice-coated fields in a brutally cold Russian October, Lt. Arthur Wollschlaeger pressed on, as he and his swastika-emblazoned companions conquered the western Russian city of Orel — another victory for the unrelenting German Werhmacht infantry. He had earlier taken part in invasions of Poland, Holland and France — a World War II military career that began when he first entered the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland, in 1938.

Bernd Wollschlaeger, carrying the Torah, broke from his parents to become a Jew.

“Waiting for Armageddon,” Israel and the Jews

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Reading Gary Rosenblatt’s interesting column about the film Waiting for Armageddon, I was struck by how much we don’t know about the beliefs and motives of the evangelical Christians who ardently support Israel.

Obama Meets the press, calls for “persistence” in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 James Besser in Washington There was plenty of Mideast news this week, starting with the dramatic decision by Labor Party leader Ehud Barak (this Barak v. Barack business is going to hard on journalists who trust their spell checkers)  to join a new government led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu.  But you’d never know it by listening to President Barack Obama’s prime-time press conference last night.

Jewish Groups united on budget proposal — well, almost

Thursday, March 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Jewish groups are pretty much united on wanting more government spending for critical health and social service programs as part of the federal budget for the next fiscal year. But as Congress began chewing on next year’s budget proposal,  a letter signed by more than 100 local and national organizations, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), was conspicuous in the lack of any Orthodox support.
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