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Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

04/07/2016 - 10:55 | | Opinion

Last week I found myself sitting in a hip, subterranean Jewish bar listening to a dynamic young man who founded a successful, international Jewish arts festival. He apologized that his voice was a little weak—not because of an early-spring cold, but because he had just undergone brit milah.

04/06/2016 - 11:39 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

In what has been a troubling, even worrying U.S. election season, we have reason for optimism and an excellent choice. Amid all the inflammatory rhetoric that has characterized this election, former Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has consistently offered rational, productive, achievable answers to the serious problems our nation faces. It is time to set out on a path on which we can address difficult challenges rather than vent anger and cast blame.

04/05/2016 - 17:17 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

There is a saying in Israel: “Ein li achot” — “I don’t have a sister.” It’s a Hebrew cousin to Groucho Marx’s question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Like that classic, it describes the anatomy of a smear. Somebody impugns the virtue of your sister. Soon, word has gotten around about her loose morals, and you and your family are guilty and shamed by association. Problem is, you don’t have a sister. But it’s too late, and the truth doesn’t matter.  The smear has succeeded, the damage to your reputation has been done.

04/05/2016 - 10:44 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

South by Southwest (SXSW) is in perpetual beta mode. Experimentation is at the core of the festival’s DNA. Eighty-five thousand people from the worlds of music, film and interactive media have been converging in Austin in mid-March for 30 years. SXSW is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, as each participant makes a unique contribution to the experience. This year’s attendees ranged from President Obama and the first lady to film director J.J. Abrams, chef-adventurer Anthony Bourdain and former Wikimedia Foundation exec Lila Tretikov.

03/31/2016 - 10:05 | | Opinion

On July 1st, 2015, Faith and Jon Leener set out to build their home. They were newly married, about to finish graduate school, and only had a few boxes of books, some clothes, and a poster of the Beatles’ yellow submarine. That same day, in a different borough, their best friends, Avram and Yael Kornfeld-Mlotek set out to build their home. The Mloteks unpacked all of their instruments, Yiddish books, and placed a signed copy of Judy Chicago’s “Rainbow Shabbat” on the wall. Within weeks, both couples were hosting dinners, teaching classes, running support groups, cooking for the homeless, and collaborating with local institutions to run High Holiday services — all within the four walls of their Brooklyn and Manhattan apartments. This was not your typical first home.

03/30/2016 - 13:56 | | Opinion

The month of March is not an easy one for pro-Israel activists around the U.S. and the world. It is usually marked with a variety of anti-Israel events on campuses, as activists and members of the BDS boycott movement against Israel take to the stage to paint the complex shades of the Middle East and Israel with a one-colored brush, mainly blaming the State of Israel for all of the region’s malaise. This movement, opposed to the very existence of a Jewish state and to the mere idea of a peaceful co-existence between Israel and the Palestinians, makes heavy use of the South African experience and narrative in order to smear Israel’s reputation by employing simplistic portrayal of the current situation.