Larry Cohler-Esses

Satmar Succession In Limbo

04/07/2006

Editor At Large
The grand rebbe of the Satmar chasidic sect, who presided over its huge expansion and its split into two factions, lay near death in Mount Sinai Hospital this week with his two contending sons at his bedside. Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, who assumed leadership of the world's largest chasidic sect in 1980, was rushed to the Upper East Side hospital on March 30, according to Satmar sources.

Not So Fast On Gay Vote

03/10/2006
Editor at Large
"Conservative Rabbis To Vote on Gay Issues," trumpeted The Forward last week, inaccurately, about a meeting this week. More correctly (though still less than completely) The New York Times followed Monday with a story headlined: "Conservative Jews to Consider Ending a Ban on Same-Sex Unions and Gay Rabbis." In truth, it will almost certainly be many months before the Conservative movement decides whether to allow gay rabbis and gay unions, according to Rabbi Sue Grossman, head of the rabbinic subcommittee that has been wrestling with the issue.

The Loneliest Man In Journalism

03/03/2006

Editor At Large
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first questioned whether the Holocaust had taken place, in a speech last December, much of the Arab world (convinced that Israel exploits the tragedy to compel international support) cheered. But in the pages of the London-based, Saudi-owned Arab daily, Al Hayat, senior columnist Hazem Saghiyeh once again assumed the mantle of a lonely Cassandra.

Wanted: True Believers Only

11/18/2005
Editor-At-Large
Anne Lown, a Jewish woman from Boston, had worked nearly 25 years for the Salvation Army's children's services arm in New York when she was thrust into the world of faith-based initiatives. Lown, associate director of the local Salvation Army's government-funded Social Services for Children, was one of 18 employees to leave or be dismissed in 2003-04 for allegedly refusing to sign forms swearing loyalty to the group's Christian principles.

Talk To Syria Now, Says Syrian Jewish Maverick

11/24/2006
Editor At Large
In a surprising move, a leader of Brooklyn's large, generally hawkish Syrian Jewish community has lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for refusing to talk with Syria, as pressure built on multiple fronts on Washington and Jerusalem to dialogue with Damascus. Jack Avital, a longtime confidante of Ariel Sharon and chairman of the Sephardic National Alliance, told The Jewish Week last week he planned to publish an open letter to Olmert laying out his case against Israel's rejection of such talks to the Syrian Jewish community.

Christian Right Agenda In Shambles After GOP Defeat

11/10/2006

Editor At Large
For a man witnessing a debacle in real time, Rev. Louis Sheldon, a leader of the Christian Right political movement, sounded amazingly sanguine Tuesday night: even as an early AP exit poll indicated that almost one-third of white Evangelicals chose a Democrat for Congress. "We know that in America the people are with us," insisted the founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, one of the largest groups in the Christian right. "They're just confused."

Israel's War Performance Comes Under Microscope

10/27/2006

Editor At Large
The earliest of what promises to be a cascade of post-mortems on Israel's military performance in Lebanon last summer are starting to come in. And the picture they paint is far from pretty. They depict military and political leaders sending soldiers to war against the Shiite guerrilla force Hezbollah with ill defined, constantly shifting goals. They speak of commanders who failed to lead their soldiers personally, in the time-honored Israeli fashion, instead staying behind the lines to monitor their units' progress on video screens.

L'Affaire Judt Rattles ADL; High-Brows Snub Foxman

10/20/2006

Editor At Large
Representatives for a powerful roster of academics and writers this week rejected the Anti-Defamation League's invitation to meet and discuss their charge that the ADL applied pressure to shut down a prominent critic of Israel's New York lecture. Professors Mark Lilla and Richard Sennett, organizers of a protest letter to ADL signed by 113 intellectuals, rejected ADL's denial that it had not, in fact, threatened or pressured the Polish Consulate to deny a platform to New York University historian Tony Judt.

Off Limits? Talk By Israel Critic Canceled

10/06/2006
Editor At Large
New York University historian Tony Judt sought to claim new ammunition this week for his charge that pro-Israel groups use their influence to stifle debate about their activities. Less than three hours before he was due to give a talk about the Israel lobby at the Polish Consulate Tuesday night, Poland's consul general abruptly canceled the event after being contacted by Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. But the question of whether Jewish groups (in particular, the Anti-Defamation League) pressured Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk remained in sharp dispute.

Pro-Israel Money Will Stick With Joe

08/11/2006

Editor At Large
Pro-Israel money will help give Joe Lieberman the ability to run a serious race if he sticks with his vow to make an independent bid to keep his Senate seat, according to political insiders and some pro-Israel donors themselves. This support, they said, will counterbalance the evaporation of political backing Lieberman will now likely experience from his Democratic Party colleagues with the victory Tuesday of his primary opponent in Connecticut, Ned Lamont.
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