American Jews would like to see former President Bill Clinton named a special Middle East peace envoy, and they support an active United States role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — even if it means publicly pointing out U.S. differences with Israel and the Palestinians.
Those were some of the findings from a post-election national survey of 800 Jews by independent pollster Jim Gerstein for the liberal pro-Israel lobby group J Street. (J Street favors an active U.S. role in the Middle East peace process.)
In winning re-election Tuesday, President Barack Obama beat back a strong challenge from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who tried to woo Jewish voters by painting Obama as an untrustworthy ally of Israel.
Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Md., is a classic suburban Conservative synagogue, boasting a membership of 1,100 households and such varied programming as a Yiddish film festival, tallit-making workshops and an adult education institute. A sprawling building, newly enlarged, contains all this bustling activity.
Large congregations like Beth El offer much, yet they sometimes suffer from a reputation for lackluster services that contrasts with their crowded preschools and the abundant activities on offer.