The RosenBlog

Bibi And The U.S.: More Confusion, And A Correction

My last blog, posted on Tuesday, posed the question of what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strategy is regarding peace talks with the Palestinians. That question remains, even more so today, but I stand corrected on one conclusion I drew.

I noted that Mideast experts are baffled by the Israeli leader’s seeming willingness to press ahead in negotiations, including the possibility of ceding West Bank land, while at the same time holding fast on the right to build in the settlements, and quickening the pace of construction.

What Is Bibi Thinking?

What Is Bibi Thinking?

Does Bibi really want a deal with the Palestinian Authority?

That’s the question Mideast observers, here and in Israel, are asking more and more these days, and they are baffled.

There are those who feel the Israeli prime minister genuinely is interested in negotiations that would include ceding territory to the Palestinians, as long as there were security talks for Israel as well. At least, they say, that’s what Netanyahu told President Obama this summer during White House talks that seemed to go well.

Could Latest Conversion Flap Bring Down Israel’s Government?

The Knesset’s passage today of a preliminary reading of a bill that affirms the legitimacy of conversions performed by rabbis of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) seems benign on the surface.

After all, the IDF rabbis are chosen by the Chief Rabbinate, and the vote was an overwhelming 74-18.

What Belongs In A Jewish Newspaper?

I’m often surprised when people express an interest in how newspapers work, from the inside. How stories get assigned and edited, Letters to the Editor chosen, editorial decisions made, etc.

For those of us in the business, I guess we take that all for granted, and seem more focused these days on how newspapers can survive at a time of economic trauma and free content online.

Debate On Women’s Roles In Orthodoxy Yields Dramatic Moments

The dramatic highlight of a debate held Saturday night in Toronto on “The Changing Role of Women in Judaism” – really, Modern Orthodox Judaism -- came when Rahel Berkovits, a Talmud scholar in Israel, tearfully recounted the utter failure of her efforts to engage several leading Israeli rabbinic authorities in discussing with her halachic issues of female participation in wedding ceremonies and other rituals.

My Shmooze With Rabbi Steinsaltz

I got the feeling that my extended hour with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, late in the afternoon last Wednesday, was going to be more shmooze than interview when his assistant, on entering my office with him, asked if I would mind if the prolific scholar and author ate the chocolate rugelach she brought for him during our chat.

In that spirit, I prepared hot tea for them, and switched mental gears, relishing the opportunity to have a relaxing talk with one of the great Jewish minds of modern times rather than posing deep questions, especially since The Jewish Week’s Steve Lipman had written a major piece on the Jerusalem-based rabbi on the occasion of his having just completed a monumental, 45-year project to translate the entire Talmud into modern Hebrew, complete with vowels, punctuation and his own original commentary. (‘The Longest Translation,” Nov. 5)

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, JTA

Are We Doing Enough For Poor Blacks? TV’s David Simon Spars With Federations

Not surprisingly, David Simon’s recent and highly public remarks critical of the funding priorities of Baltimore’s Associated Jewish Charities did not go down well with that Federation or its parent group, The Jewish Federations of North America, which gave the TV writer and creator a platform at its recent General Assembly in New Orleans.

Surprising Element Of Opening GA Plenary Didn’t Come From Biden

New Orleans -- Vice President Joe Biden was the ideal Administration representative to address the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America at its opening plenary here on Sunday, and he handled the role with enthusiasm.

The speaker who followed him didn’t fit the Federation-cheerleader mold, offering a careful blend of support and critique in his presentation.

The Compassionate Side Of Our Readers

The communal impact of The Jewish Week and the compassion of our readers make for a story worth sharing.

Jewish Innovation Not Confined To U.S.

 Conventional wisdom has it that young American Jews are leading the trend toward innovation in Jewish life through entrepreneurial start-ups. There is also the widespread belief that European Jewry is on its last legs, the victim of an aging and shrinking population, and the rise of anti-Semitism, primarily from Arab Muslim immigrants.

But a survey of new Jewish initiatives in Europe concludes that per capita, young Europeans are even more active than their American counterparts in these social, educational, cultural and historical ventures.

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