Editorial

Oil Spill Reveals Crude Conundrum for Jewish Groups, Nation

05/25/2010

Jewish groups have always recognized the importance of breaking our nation’s crippling dependence on foreign oil, much of it from unstable and sometimes antagonistic countries in the Middle East. And many regard the protection of our increasingly fragile planet as a reflection of core Jewish values.

Saluting Israel

05/18/2010

For all of the impassioned, if not overheated, debates about Israel, it is worthwhile for us, for whom Zionism means so much, to sometimes step back and connect again to the idea that the return to Zion — in the words of the Psalmist — is not just about the latest headlines but about laughter and song, dreams and joy.

Beinart’s Blast

05/18/2010

Some Jewish leaders are already dismissing former New Republic editor Peter Beinart’s harsh treatise on American Jewish leadership because of its venue: the New York Review of Books, a high-toned outpost for the Israel-is-always-wrong crowd.

That would be unwise. Even while we disagree with some of Beinart’s analysis, his essay points to critical challenges facing Jewish leaders as our community, like the nation as a whole, becomes more bitterly polarized and as Israel faces growing pressures, both internal and external.

Taking Wiesel’s Advice

05/11/2010

Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel came away from his private White House lunch with President Barack Obama last week with “a good feeling” about the administration’s commitment to Israel, he told The Jewish Week the next day in an exclusive interview. (See the full story on our Web site.)

“There was no small talk; it was all substance,” he said of the meeting, with just the two men in the room. “I spoke about what Jerusalem means to me. I said the Muslims have Mecca and we have Jerusalem.”

The Kagan Nomination

05/11/2010

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s qualifications for the Supreme Court — she was appointed by President Barack Obama this week to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens — will be judged by the Senate as part of the confirmation process. No doubt Jewish groups with very different positions on church-state questions and issues such as abortion and homosexual rights will weigh in when deliberations begin.

Toward A Jerusalem Of Unity

05/04/2010

While some (too few) American Jews will celebrate Jerusalem Day next Tuesday night and Wednesday, the 28th day of Iyar, marking the reunification of the holy city during the 1967 War, Israel’s capital remains the subject of controversy among the nations of the world, and much closer to home.

Give Proximity Talks A Chance

05/04/2010

If you believe the conventional wisdom, nothing good is likely to come out of the Israeli-Palestinian “proximity talks” that will begin as soon as this week under the auspices of U.S. special negotiator George Mitchell.

There’s some solid logic behind that perception, but there is also a danger: in the Middle East, hopelessness is a contagion that can only result in more bloodshed and misery to populations that have known too much of both for generations.

One Step Forward

04/27/2010

The leadership of the Rabbinical Council of America expressed great pride in passing a resolution this week among hundreds of member rabbis, without opposition, on the delicate and contentious issue of women’s leadership roles in the Orthodox synagogue and community. One could attribute the achievement to the two months spent by the committee in laying the groundwork for consensus; a cynic might argue the resolution was approved overwhelmingly because it was so pareve. There’s truth in both points of view.
 

What About The Arab States?

04/27/2010

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the Obama administration’s push for indirect “proximity” talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with special envoy George Mitchell serving as facilitator, referee and cheerleader, and about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reluctant agreement to participate.
 
You hear much less about how the Palestinians and the Arab states haven’t been much help to the administration’s faltering efforts.
 

Cracks In Bipartisan Israel Support

04/20/2010

American Jews, and Israel, have long taken pride in the fact that support for the Jewish state is a bipartisan issue among political leaders in this country. Whether a Democrat or Republican was in the White House for the last three decades, Israel was viewed as a strong ally in every sense of the word.

But there are cracks in the façade of late, perhaps inevitable in an age of increasing partisanship in Washington, yet troubling nonetheless and in need of attention.

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