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King Hussein’s New Middle East

03/20/1998
Staff Writer
Jordan’s King Hussein, addressing rumors about his sickness, declared himself to be “in good health, thank God,” and pledged to spend the rest of his days trying to transform the warring Middle East into a region of peace and economic cooperation that includes Israel.

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.

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."

Orthodox Come To Rubashkin’s Defense

As liberal groups hope bank fraud conviction leads to better business practices, Orthodox ones question zeal of prosecution.

11/18/2009
Associate Editor

Sholom Rubashkin, the manager of the now-infamous Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa, has only completed one of two federal trials, and already — barring a successful appeal — he is looking at a life in prison.

The prospect of such severe punishment — for a man who many credit with making affordable kosher food available in previously underserved markets and for contributing generously to tzedakah, particularly to the Chabad community — has some Orthodox Jews complaining that the kosher meat tycoon is more victim than criminal.

At the same time, liberal Jewish groups that have been critical of the company’s practices — particularly its alleged mistreatment of workers — are hoping the conviction prompts better business practices in the kosher industry and Jewish nonprofit sector.

Different actors, same script in latest Jerusalem building controversy

Haven't we seen this movie before?

The script goes like this: Washington objects to Israeli settlement  construction; there are some angry words on both sides, and then an apparent coming together around some vaguely defined, transparent face-saving compromise. Both sides insist there's no crisis in the relationship.

Post-Carter Showdown At Brandeis Over Speakers

02/23/2007

Editor At Large
A free speech dispute over campus speakers has continued to roil Brandeis University in the wake of controversy over its hosting of former president and Israel critic Jimmy Carter. Brandeis’ president waded personally into it this week, voicing hope that right-wing Middle East policy advocate Daniel Pipes would soon lecture there — but issuing no such statement for Norman Finkelstein, a left-wing academic students have also invited.

Hikind’s Anti-Olmert Cash Raised Via Tax Cheat’s Charity

01/12/2007
Editor At Large
Tax experts this week sharply questioned a New York State Assembly member’s use of a religious charity run by a convicted tax evader to fund a campaign to get Israel’s prime minister to resign. Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind raised some $40,000 to run full-page ads in Jewish newspapers last month calling on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to quit and urging supporters to back his cause by writing tax-deductible checks to a charity called Yad Moshe. Both pre- and post-ad contributions were channeled through Yad Moshe.

Evangelical Split Over Israel Batters Bush

08/03/2007
Editor At Large
Evangelical Christians, long seen as a monolith in lockstep support of Israel, publicly fractured last week as two significant evangelical factions lobbied President Bush with criticism of Israel from opposite points of view. For the first time, Christians United for Israel, a major Christian Zionist group with strong ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, lobbied President Bush against the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — a solution advocated by Israel, the Bush administration and the pro-Israel Washington lobby itself.

Lauder’s Challenge: Where To Lead WJC?

06/15/2007
Editor At Large
Seizing the reins of an historic organization riven by bitter feuds and charges of wrongdoing, cosmetics heir and philanthropist Ronald Lauder faces an array of daunting decisions to make about the World Jewish Congress.
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