I have often said, only half-kiddingly, that I tend to return from Israel a bit more confused about the country’s major issues than before I left. Reading the news about Israel from my perch in New York, things tend to seem black and white. But when I’m there, it’s the gray that is most evident. That’s certainly true of my just completed month-long experiment in a “working vacation.” (My wife said I was working; I maintained we were on vacation.)
In 1982 when I was in first grade at Hillel Day School, a Jewish day school in Metropolitan Detroit, my father brought in our family’s Apple II computer for show-and-tell. There were no computers in the school at that time so it was a seminal technological moment for the school. I’m sure my father figured he would blow my classmates minds by showing them how to type a few lines of the LOGO programming language and get the turtle cursor to turn and move across the screen. However, my peers didn’t have any mind-blowing experiences that day -- it was only the beginning of what our generation would come to expect from computers and technology.
This past April, my granddaughter, Eliana, and her eighth-grade class at the Solomon Schechter School in Manhattan spent two weeks in Israel. This is something Schechter graduating classes throughout the country do, and it is a wonderful trip.
Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.
Except Power, a former White House National Security Council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, also has directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.
Thousands of haredi Jews, including members of both rival factions of the Satmar chasidic sect, crowded into Foley Square in Lower Manhattan Sunday to protest Israel's plan to include the ultra-Orthodox in the army draft.
The protesters carried signs reading "The Israei Draft Law is an attack on religious freedom" and "Orthodox Jews willproudly go to jail rather than serve in the Israeli army."
At AJC panel in Westchester, taking note of a dichotomy in how the Jewish state is perceived.
Jewish Week Correspondent
Story Includes Video:
Still marveling over what he saw and heard, Ido Aharoni, Israel’s consul general in New York, told an audience in Westchester last week about the Israeli theater group he hosted three months ago — a troupe whose entire cast is deaf and blind.
Israel has been much in the news lately, and a good portion of the coverage over the past months has been good. That in itself is news.
A recent Bloomberg survey showed that the Israeli shekel is currently among the strongest of 31 major currencies, a result of the booming economy. Also in May, after decades of Israel importing every drop of fuel, natural gas began to flow from the Mediterranean.