We've read a lot in the last few days (see this JTA story in the Jewish Week) about President Obama's Jewish charm offensive, which reached a kind of peak with yesterday's White House visit by Elie Wiesel, who proclaimed himself satisfied that the president does not have it in for Israel.
What we don't know: what does this all-out effort to ease the concerns of pro-Israel voters signal about administration policy?
Why, oh why, did Gary Rosenblatt feel it necessary to mar an otherwise comprehensive column on the British chief rabbi’s appearances in the United States and the status of halachic leadership of Modern Orthodoxy with the unnecessary and erroneous parenthetical comment that “many prominent rabbis have been brought down by scandal?” (“Hail to the Chief,” April 23).
Jewish leaders expect no breakthroughs from Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy, but say they could bear modest fruit.
James D. Besser
Rarely have peace negotiations started with such low expectations — but that doesn’t mean the indirect “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinians, due to begin as early as this week with new rounds of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, are doomed to failure.
While suggesting that major breakthroughs are unlikely, many analysts say the talks could prove fruitful, but only if the Obama administration understands the limitations of what the parties themselves can reasonably be expected to do.
To transform Mother’s Day from a greeting-card holiday to one that nurtures the Jewish neshama (soul), here is practical advice on how parents can inspire and cultivate a Jewish life for their children. We are hopeful that our Mother’s Day gift will keep giving and possibly impact future generations.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When Elie Wiesel says it's all kosher, it's good.
For now, anyway.
President Obama capped an intensive two weeks of administration make-nice with Israeli officials and the American Jewish community by hosting Wiesel, the Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust memoirist, for lunch at the White House.
"It was a good kosher lunch," was the first thing Wiesel pronounced, emerging from the White House to a gaggle of reporters.
Q: This may sound weird, but I think my neighbor is cruel to his pet beagle. I know that if this was a person we were talking about, Jewish law would obligate me to go to the authorities. But this is a DOG. What's my obligation here?
A. You need to pursue this. I say this not merely because I am life-long pet-o-phile, a vegetarian with two cuddly standard poodles. I say this also because it is the right thing to do. Jewish culture has long championed animal rights.
Here is the list of the countries whose delegates walked out when Ahmadinejad ascended to the UN podium (at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference) and started his usual anti-Israel, anti-US diatribe. Most interesting and hopeful, is that one delegate from an Arab-Islamic country -- Morocco -- walked out, as well. For all those who continue to link modern German and Poland to the crimes of yesterday, it should be noted that Germany and Poland also walked out on the Holocaust denier and threat to Israel.
You gotta feel a little bad for Jewish leaders here, who were sandbagged by last week's announcement that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York on Monday for, of all things, the UN's nuclear nonproliferation talks.
The last-minute announcement by the Iranians meant there wasn't enough time for the customary debate over the best communal response, inevitably followed by the various Jewish organization going their own way, anyway.
And when you come down to it, what can Jewish organizations do?