Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

05/16/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Our community has seen astonishing shifts around what kind of conversation is “allowed” when we talk about Israel. Last month, over 300 students gathered at the first ever J Street U Student Town Hall to discuss this shifting landscape. We invited Eric Fingerhut, Hillel International’s CEO, to join us. Though he originally committed to attending, he canceled due to scheduling issues.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

In the effort to win the growing political war against those seeking to delegitimize Israel, unity and coordination among diverse groups is essential -- just as in a shooting war involving guns, tanks, missiles, and terror. On university campuses, among church groups (the Presbyterians are voting on an anti-Israel divestment resolution in June), labor unions, and other venues, these attacks are multiplying. A divided Jewish community, fighting over the definition of “pro-Israel,” is not what we need now.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court eroded the high wall of church-state separation in the U.S.

In Town of Greece vs. Galloway, a 5-4 majority ruled in favor of allowing the town council to begin its meetings with a prayer conducted by clergy, who — given the local population — are almost always Christian.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Last month’s vote to exclude J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella group representing the American Jewish community’s interests in Washington and abroad, has shone a bright light on the dangerous direction some of our community’s leaders seem determined to take us.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

After the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations voted not to accept the membership application of J Street, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, published a statement critical of the vote. He acknowledged that Conference procedures, which he could have questioned long before the J Street vote was held, were properly followed. Rabbi Jacobs seems to allege that a cabal of small right-wing members excluded a major Jewish organization because that organization espouses disagreeable views. Rabbi Jacobs seriously miscategorizes both the vote on J Street’s admission and the issues underlying the vote.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has been making headlines with an essay demanding that his peers stop dismissing his opinions with a glib “check your privilege” retort. Relating his grandparents’ Holocaust history, he objects to his classmates’ writing him off as a white male who doesn’t understand the struggles of the less fortunate. Originally written for a campus journal, Fortgang’s essay was quickly picked up by a host of Internet sites and Fox News, and even garnered the attention of The New York Times. The essay’s popularity in conservative outlets reflects some very real problems with a common discourse on college campuses. But the essay is so unreflective that Fortgang ends up embodying the very anti-intellectualism he condemns. More importantly, the essay serves an excellent case study in the poverty of modern political discourse and the vanity of the American Jewish community.