by Debra Nussbaum Cohen and Michele Chabin |
Staff Writer and Israel Correspondent
A long-awaited agreement between America’s centrist Orthodox rabbinical group and Israel’s chief rabbinate on standards for conversion to Judaism remains fragile and may still be scuttled. Even the leading players involved contradict each other as they dispute the exclusive right to certify rabbis as fit to perform conversions in the U.S.
Israelis returned to work after the Passover holiday to learn of a failed terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, contradictory information regarding a prisoner swap, unconfirmed reports that an Israeli Arab Knesset member has fled the country to avoid arrest, and of Iranian boasts of nuclear progress. And the thread tying together all four seemingly unrelated events is Iran and its quest to control the Middle East.
by Michele Chabin |
Jerusalem — For a single day in mid-March, the parking lot at Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement’s Jerusalem campus, was packed with boxes, not cars, as more than a hundred young volunteers participated in the mitzvah of kamcha depascha, providing food for the needy on Passover.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s dramatic invitation Sunday to “all Arab leaders, including the Saudi king” to come to Israel to negotiate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict followed what some analysts viewed as positive signs coming from last week’s Arab summit. But others dismissed Olmert’s invitation as less than substantive and argued that the Arabs did nothing more than restate an earlier ultimatum to Israel.
Saudi Arabia was seen this week as the key to a future peace agreement between Israel and the rest of the Arab world.
“The Saudis are trying to find a [compromise] between the Israelis and the other Arab parties in which all are satisfied,” said Yitzchak Reiter, a fellow of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “I’m not sure they will succeed.”