Gary Rosenblatt

Of Politics And Prayer

Editor and Publisher
On first blush, there seems to be little connection between the two seasons foremost on our minds these days: the presidential campaign and the High Holy Days. Indeed, one seems driven by aggression and cynicism, forsaking openness and honesty for twisting the facts in a way to make one’s opponent seem wrongheaded at best, evil at worst. And the other appears to be about inner reflection, stepping away from the everyday world to reconsider our actions in light of our deepest values and faith.

Thanks To Olmert, Mideast ‘Solutions’ Come Full Circle

Editor and Publisher
While many of us have focused our attention in recent days on the presidential campaign and the frightening economic meltdown at home, Israel has been undergoing yet another political and diplomatic upheaval, further splitting the electorate and making Tzipi Livni’s job of putting together a ruling coalition that much more difficult.

On Denying and Defending God

Editor and Publisher
My earliest memory of doubt regarding God was as a kid of about 10. As the son and grandson of Orthodox rabbis, my existential moment was not about whether there was a God, though, but rather why He wasn’t doling out more punishment. As I recall, one of my less observant friends was visiting my house on a Shabbat afternoon, and while we were playing in my room he flicked on the light switch. Having long been taught that such acts were forbidden on the Sabbath, I immediately cringed, waiting for a bolt of lightning to come down from the heavens and strike him.

Mind The Gap

Editor and Publisher
Jerusalem — How do you explain to an American Jew who hasn’t visited Israel how safe one feels being there? Or that many Israelis really do enjoy their lives, despite the constant tensions they live with every day? And how do you make an Israeli who has not spent much time abroad understand what “Jewish identity” means to an American Jew? It’s an alien concept to large numbers of people in the Jewish state who have no need to parse the Jewish and Israeli aspects of their DNA, and see themselves simply as Israelis.

Racial Comments ‘Shock’ Principals

Editor and Publisher
Last Wednesday, the day after the elections, Elliot Prager, the principal of Moriah, a Modern Orthodox day school in Englewood, N.J., was approached by a 9-year-old student in the hallway, who asked him if he was afraid. “Afraid of what?’ I asked,” Prager recalled the other day. “Afraid of Obama,” the child replied. “My Mommy and Daddy told me that he doesn’t like Jews and is dangerous.”

Hits And Misses When Israeli And Diaspora Jews Meet

Editor and Publisher
Just back from Israel and reflecting on the Israel-diaspora relationship, and in particular the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, held in Jerusalem last week, I am thinking of how we Israeli and Americans keep missing each other.

In Defense Of Followers

Editor and Publisher
‘Leadership” is the mantra of our times. Countless books, articles and lectures have been devoted to the theme of developing leaders in the world of business, politics, communal life and virtually every other endeavor. And surely the dramatic election of Barack Obama has only spiked interest in the notion of leadership as the key to success, a message that resonates particularly in a Jewish community buffeted by reports in recent years that it is shrinking, in numbers and commitment, as well as growing older and rudderless.

Israel’s First Woman UN Ambassador, Under Fire

Editor and Publisher
As Israel makes the case for its military actions in Gaza, international attention is focused on the United Nations, where a newcomer to the world of diplomacy has been thrust front and center.

Merkin Said To Have Misled Investors, Groups

Editor and Publisher
Bernard Madoff is not the only trustee of Yeshiva University who resigned in shame last week. While international attention continues to focus on Madoff, who faces charges for his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, some leaders in the Jewish community, particularly within Modern Orthodox institutions, are expressing shock and anger at the role played by J. Ezra Merkin, a prominent investment guru and philanthropist, who appears to have misled at least some investors.

Can Federations Seize The Moment?

Editor and Publisher
This is the moment, in the midst of philanthropic crisis, for Jewish federations to reclaim their status as the primary and central address of the American Jewish community.
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