Opinion

Witnessing The Liberation Of Slaves In Sudan

01/25/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

On Jan. 15, the people of southern Sudan completed a weeklong vote that will likely break Sudan, Africa’s largest country, in two. Why?

The Perils Of TMI

01/18/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Some years ago, I wrote a book about marriage, and the theme I heard again and again from people I interviewed was the importance of communication. “Communication” was the buzz word of the times. In contrast, if there’s anything we have plenty of these days, it is communication. People are on their cell phones and iPads constantly — talking, texting, e-mailing or connecting through social networks.

The Media And The Mideast: Power And Responsibility

01/18/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

For reasons as straightforward as job security, journalists covering the Arab-Israeli conflict may have an interest in prolonging the standoff. That was the wry observation of one seasoned Middle East reporter during a recent conference for Israeli, Palestinian and Spanish journalists in Alicante, Spain. I was the only American participant.

Reporters based in the region must decide each day what to cover. Editors, some far away, may give directions on which developments to focus on and even how to shape the coverage. Journalists are not always disinterested bystanders.

Claims Conference Needs An Ombudsman

01/18/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

As chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, commonly known as the Claims Conference, and in many other positions of lay leadership, Julius Berman has given years of dedicated service to the Jewish community. I worked closely with him for several years in the Manhattan law firm of which he was a senior partner, and thus can speak with some authority about both his commitment to Jewish issues and his fundamental decency.

A Picture of Leadership

01/17/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

I’m always fascinated by what art we take with us when we move. and what art says about personal identity. That’s the clinical psychologist in me speaking. But if I had to analyze myself (which is never a good idea), I’d look at one picture which has traveled with me from office to office and which recently got a new location here in New York City. It’s a copy of a painting that I bought for a hundred rubles in 1993 on the banks of the Neva River. Significantly, I bought it on the first trip I made back to the FSU after I left permanently for the United States.

My Memories Of Debbie Friedman, And Her Memorable Words

01/12/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

I wish Debbie Friedman had been alive to hear what was said about her at her funeral.

A similar thought occurs to me when I attend other people's funerals but never did I feel it so acutely as I did this past Tuesday as I watched the live-streaming of Debbie's memorial service on-line along with seven thousand other people who, like me, were singing and crying at their desks, on their iPhones, in their living rooms, and sending messages to each other simultaneously of sorrow, comfort, and gratitude for her life.

Needed: A New Jewish Civics Course

01/11/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

If 2000-2010 was the decade of delegitimization, when Palestinian attacks on Israel’s existence gained renewed traction, 2010 was the year of delegitimization-lite.

More and more Jews responded to the relentless criticism of Israel by internalizing it.

True, most rejected the radical caricature of Israel as a racist or apartheid state deserving destruction. But absorbing the anti-Israel poison in the atmosphere, increasing numbers, especially among liberal Jewish elites, attacked Israel as fundamentally broken, caricaturing Zionism as a right-wing enterprise.

King And Heschel: A Politics Of Prophecy

01/11/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthdays we recall next week, shared far more than the political partnership on behalf of civil rights immortalized in the iconic 1965 photograph of them marching side by side in Selma, Ala. Their biographies show astonishing parallels. Their theologies of prophecy and providence were closely allied. And the self-images they bore as religious and societal leaders were remarkably similar.

Achieving a More Perfect Union: An Agenda for the New Congress

01/05/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

The newly elected leaders in the House of Representatives plan to open the 112th session by reading the Constitution into the record. That's not a bad beginning - this Congress must dedicate itself to addressing fundamental problems in order to keep alive the promise of our constitution's preamble: "to...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Nancy Ratzan

Treating Anti-Israel Bullying

01/04/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

A neighborhood boy calls my daughter a “fat pig” and I end up thinking about anti-Israel bullying on campus. Maybe that’s the way it goes when you’re the founder of a nonprofit that goes to bat for Israel.

Here’s what happened: Recently my wife and I learned that a neighborhood boy had threatened to punch my daughter in the face while using the aforementioned “fat pig” insult.

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