(JTA) — Orthodox and Reform Jewish groups are backing a letter circulating in the House of Representatives asking President Obama to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for passing classified information to Israel.
U.S. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bill Pascrell (D- N.J.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Weiner (D- N.Y.) are circulating the letter among their colleagues and plan to submit it to Obama in the coming days.
WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter is circulating among U.S. senators urging President Barack Obama to keep the Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.
The letter, initiated by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), thanks Obama for restarting direct peace talks and notes the threat to their success from what it calls “enemies of peace” Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
As another summer comes to an end, what is also coming to an end is dairy farming in the Catskills. There was once a time when a trip on Route 17 was one in which the mom or dad would tell the city child, "Look at the cows!" Those days are almost over, killed by a combination of thoughtless legislation, poor regional leadership, and economic deflation that has forced one farmer after another in the region to sell the family farm, or relocate.
Here's a great cartoon from Steve Kelly at the New Orleans Times-Picayune (download and enlarge for best viewing). The cartoon shows Obama saying of Imam Rauf, "I support the right of religious groups to build on their property..." In the next panel, Obama adds, "Sometimes," holding his "Freeze Settlements" edict while standing next to Israel's Netanyahu.
As an Orthodox Jew, I believe that membership in a religion is not casual but legal, something like American citizenship (if you support the good people of Arizona). You can't just cross the Rio Grande and vote in Phoenix. There is a rigerous citizenship process, a conversion process, or there is Judaism's singular qualification -- being born to a Jewish mother.
In 1938, Vladimir Jabotinsky, who advocated an “iron wall” of Zionist self-defense, warned European Jews that they “were living on the edge of the volcano,” but those Jews were essentially helpless. Now Jabotinsky’s spiritual grandchild, Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose father worked for Jabotinsky, says, “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany.” The difference this time, says Netanyahu, is Israel isn’t helpless.
There is much I admire about Barack Obama, including his intellect, vision and ability to connect with people, personally and globally. Rarely have I seen a public figure so comfortable within his own skin, regardless of its color.
Perhaps for the first time since the dust storms of the 1930s became a bigger story than “the gathering storm” overseas, the weather is becoming a bigger story than, well, the gathering storm overseas.
It was a New York wedding like all others, and no other. The veil was about to cover the bride’s face, evoking the time Jacob was snookered, expecting Rachel, getting Leah.
“What do you think?” said one guest to another.
About the bride?
His voice was low, conspiratorial. The joy and sport of last year’s campaign (even heated campaigns can be fun) has given way to cold calculation. The guest, who voted for Barack Obama, now feels like Jacob in the dead of night.