If the Arab Spring were to fulfill its revolution, what would happen? An anti-Christian “genocide,” fears Christian Solidarity International, a human rights group. Those who know the situation firsthand say that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly fearful and have been the victims of church bombings and street-beatings. If this were a real reformation it would entail not only democratic elections in countries like Egypt (where the repressive Muslim Brotherhood leads the pack), but tolerance for differences and dissent.
Imagine if during the emigration of Soviet Jewry, in the 1980s and ‘90s, it became known that Israel chose to slow the pace, for no convincing reason, of those coming out of a land of persecution and hardship seeking new lives in the Jewish state.
There would have been an outcry throughout the diaspora, accompanied by highly charged demands for speeding up the process, or at the very least, calls for an explanation for the change in plans.
We have a long history of defending The New York Times in the face of criticism from many in our community that the paper of record has an anti-Israel bias. We have decried boycotts against the Times as foolhardy and ineffective, and in public panels and lectures we have sought to point out the distinctions between reporting that doesn’t conform to Jerusalem’s version of events and outright bias.
We apologize for publishing an Opinion column last week by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman entitled “My Problem With Tim Tebow,” the Denver Broncos quarterback who is an Evangelical Christian. The column, in fact, violated our own standards calling for civility in posting comments on our website. The policy statement notes that “name calling in any form will not be tolerated, and comments that denigrate any religion or Jewish religious stream will always be rejected.”
The column was removed from our website the day it was posted.
Chanukah is the festival brought to us by Jewish zealots. It was the military victory of guerrilla fighters and rogues against Greek-Syrian repression. In victory they were rehabilitated by history. Time has a way of sanitizing and forgiving inappropriate actions in the pursuit of appropriate goals. Pass the latkes.
What are we to make of Newt Gingrich’s assertion that the Palestinians are an “invented” people?
In an interview on cable TV’s The Jewish Channel the other day, the Republican presidential candidate, asked if he was a Zionist, responded: “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people, and they had the chance to go many places.”
Recognizing that there are no magic bullets in alleviating the financial, emotional and other burdens on parents seeking to provide a quality day school education for their children at a time of economic recession, the leadership of the Orthodox Union sought this week to address the problem pragmatically.
Sometimes it can seem, or we’d like to think, that the Jewish community is a Lake Wobegon of sorts, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” Of course, we know that so many of us are hardly that, and too many of our children, despite all our love and prayers, are special or unique in ways that can be more difficult, and more demanding of parents. Ideally, the community would respond to those with special needs.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who will be completing his 16-year tenure as head of the Reform movement at the end of the year, has never been afraid to speak his mind. He has been an advocate for greater Torah study and observance of Jewish ritual within the Union of Reform Judaism, taken President Barack Obama to task for publicizing his disagreement with Israel over settlements, called on a major Muslim American group to engage in more dialogue with Jews, and chided J Street members, at their annual convention, about some of their criticisms of Israel.