Igniting Community Through The Home

03/31/2016 - 10:05

On July 1st, 2015, Faith and Jon Leener set out to build their home. They were newly married, about to finish graduate school, and only had a few boxes of books, some clothes, and a poster of the Beatles’ yellow submarine. That same day, in a different borough, their best friends, Avram and Yael Kornfeld-Mlotek set out to build their home. The Mloteks unpacked all of their instruments, Yiddish books, and placed a signed copy of Judy Chicago’s “Rainbow Shabbat” on the wall. Within weeks, both couples were hosting dinners, teaching classes, running support groups, cooking for the homeless, and collaborating with local institutions to run High Holiday services — all within the four walls of their Brooklyn and Manhattan apartments. This was not your typical first home.

Tamara Mann Tweel, Ph.D.

South Africa And Israel: Some Positive Signs

03/30/2016 - 13:56

The month of March is not an easy one for pro-Israel activists around the U.S. and the world. It is usually marked with a variety of anti-Israel events on campuses, as activists and members of the BDS boycott movement against Israel take to the stage to paint the complex shades of the Middle East and Israel with a one-colored brush, mainly blaming the State of Israel for all of the region’s malaise. This movement, opposed to the very existence of a Jewish state and to the mere idea of a peaceful co-existence between Israel and the Palestinians, makes heavy use of the South African experience and narrative in order to smear Israel’s reputation by employing simplistic portrayal of the current situation.

Shahar Azani

The Smear With The Hebrew Accent

03/30/2016 - 13:42

There is a saying in Israel:  “Ein lie achot” – “I don’t have a sister.”  It’s a Hebrew cousin to Groucho Marx’s question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”  Like that classic, it describes the anatomy of a smear.  Somebody impugns the virtue of your sister.  Soon, word has gotten around about her loose morals, and you and your family are guilty and shamed by association.  Problem is, you don’t have a sister.  But it’s too late, and the truth doesn’t matter.  The smear has succeeded, the damage to your reputation has been done.

Daniel Sokatch

What We Lose As The Diaspora Shrinks

03/30/2016 - 13:19

Back in my lithe teenage years, I used to Israeli dance with the best of them – that is, whenever I wasn’t nursing a sprained ankle caused by my congenital flat-footedness.  OK, I admit it; while I thought I was pretty good, I reminded people less of Rudolph Nureyev than those dancing hippopotami in “Fantasia.”  In fact, it was my stirring rendition of a gushing water sprinkler in Hora Mamtera that convinced the Israeli government to go all-in for drip irrigation.  But I loved Israeli dance nonetheless.

Joshua Hammerman

Taking On BDS: ‘It’s The Narrative, Stupid’

03/29/2016 - 10:35
Special To The Jewish Week

Israel’s strategic affairs minister, Gilad Erdan, recently convened a group of 150 Jewish leaders from 20 countries to plan, and begin to coordinate, the Jewish world’s response to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which has targeted Israel in the economic, academic and professional spheres for 10 years. On its surface, this leadership from the Israeli government is welcome news. For the most part, BDS opposition globally has been largely uncoordinated and inconsistent. 

David Eisner

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

03/28/2016 - 14:37

The leadership in the United States Senate has indicated that it will block any vote on filling the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy — a move that makes it clear that our elected officials are more concerned about delaying justice than delivering justice to the people they claim to represent.

Nancy K. Kaufman

Why I Walked Out Before Trump Spoke

03/22/2016 - 17:23

I was at AIPAC Policy Conference, only eight rows from the stage when the Republican candidates spoke to the delegates on Monday. I listened to Governor Kasich and House Speaker Ryan before Trump came in (and returned to hear Senator Cruz following). When Trump entered and stood on the podium, I stood up, turned my back to him ... and walked out.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2015 Policy Conference, March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

Do We Need Another Modern Orthodox Organization?

03/22/2016 - 15:26
Special To The Jewish Week

I read with interest about the formation of PORAT, an organization dedicated to making the Orthodox community more modern and inclusive (“Giving Voice To Inclusive Orthodoxy,” Editor’s column, March 11).

Rabbi Shalom Baum

You Should Be Scared Of Islamophobia

03/22/2016 - 13:24

All strongmen seduce, and Donald Trump is no exception. He enchants his supporters with his virility, his endless references to his success, his oversized and gilded ego. Because I am great, he promises, you will be too. America will be great. Even if you disagree with him, he holds you in thrall. He doesn’t obey the laws of political physics, or any basic social conventions either. 

Haroon Moghul.

For Ethiopians Left Behind, Another Wrongful Delay

03/22/2016 - 13:16

Last November 15, the Israeli government unanimously decided to bring to Israel approximately 9,000 Ethiopians, 70 percent of whom have first-degree relatives in Israel.  Left behind because they were only paternally linked, these people returned to Judaism years ago. All will undertake a full conversion, like the more than 50,000 Ethiopians who arrived after Operation Solomon. Even ministers from the charedi Shas party voted for the resolution.

Operation Solomon was a covert Israeli military operation to airlift Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991. Wikimedia Commons
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