Three years ago, singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman officially joined the faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music in New York. Now, that same school, which ordains Reform cantors, will bear her name.
It is understandable that Israeli leaders and citizens alike are watching the fast-moving events in Egypt — and possible reverberations in Jordan — with great trepidation.
Peace with Egypt, formalized in 1979, has been anything but warm, but it has been real and enduring, and it has allowed Israel to focus its defenses on other threats, including Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism and the terrifying prospect of a nuclear Iran.
We have received several letters in recent weeks complaining that our coverage of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), victim of the tragic shooting in Tucson, makes reference to her as Jewish, when in fact, they point out, she is not.
Giffords’ father is Jewish; her mother is a Christian Scientist. So according to halacha, she is not Jewish. One letter-writer insists it is “intellectually dishonest” to suggest otherwise.
The “Palestine Papers,” leaked documents purportedly revealing the inner workings of the Palestinian delegation in negotiations with Israel during the government of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have triggered an avalanche of spin by advocates on both sides of the Middle East conflict.
The revolution in Tunisia of recent days has sparked hope among some who believe that the era of the autocratic old guard among Arab rulers is coming to an end, to be replaced by a trend toward democracy.
It’s still far too early to tell how even the immediate chaotic situation in Tunis will be resolved, much less the region, after the fleeing of corrupt dictator Ben Ali. But it is far more likely that old regimes will fade than that human rights and freedoms soon await tens of millions of citizens of Arab states.
With the kind of surprise that was his military trademark, Defense Minister Ehud Barak shook up Israeli politics on Monday with his surprise announcement that he is abandoning the Labor Party he led and creating a new faction, Atzmaut (Independence), which will remain in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.