The JW Q&A

A weekly interview with notable figures and names in the news.

Keeping An Eye On PA Hate Messaging

12/16/2014
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Itamar Marcus is director of Palestinian Media Watch, a nonprofit that examines Palestinian ideology and policy. He founded it in 1996, and three years later the Israeli government appointed him its representative in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on incitement. Born in New York and now a resident of Efrat on the West Bank, he was interviewed here while on a speaking tour for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs. This is an edited transcript.

Itamar Marcus: Monitoring the Palestinian media indicates what will happen on the Palestinian “street.”

Contemporary Pilgrims’ Progress

12/09/2014
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Bestselling author, New York Times columnist, writer-host on PBS, Bruce Feiler is back at what he does best — traveling the world looking for a spiritual message, then sharing the results. “Sacred Journeys,” a six-part series that documents the paths of “contemporary pilgrims,” premieres on PBS on Dec. 16. Feiler spoke with The Jewish Week by email. This is an edited transcript of the interview.

Bruce Feiler: Brings his worldwide pilgrimages to PBS audience. Via Brucefeiler.com

The Line Between Anti-Israel And Anti-Semitic

Professor Phyllis Chesler says anti-Semitism is no longer viewed as racism, but as politically correct.

12/02/2014
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Phyllis Chesler, a retired professor of psychology and women’s studies at City University, has since 9/11 focused on anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel. She is a best-selling author and feminist who has just updated her 2003 book, “The New Anti-Semitism” (Gefen Publishing). She is a co-founder of the International Committee for Women of the Wall and a fellow at both the Middle East Forum and at the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy. This is an edited transcript.

Phyllis Chesler: Anti-Semitism is now “politically correct.” Joan Roth

Challenging Teens To ‘Slam’ Poverty

11/26/2014
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Poetry slam, sure. But poverty slam?

Borrowing a phrase from the spoken-word contests where verse-makers recite original poems before a panel of judges, UJA-Federation of New York is trying to spark teens’ interest in combating rising levels of poverty here.

Two of the poverty slammers at last week’s event. Courtesy of UJA-Federation

Trying To Make Vegetables Sexy

11/18/2014
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Janna Gur’s “The Book of New Israeli Food” has sat on my kitchen counter with my other favorite cookbooks for years, and I frequently pull it out for friends and family who are unfamiliar with Israeli cuisine, saying, “This is the book you need to buy to understand food in Israel.”

Janna Gur: “For us, vegetables are not a punishment, they are something exciting.” JTA

Coming To Terms With ‘Reality’ Of Jerusalem

Expert on Israeli-Palestinian relations analyzes rising tensions in the City of Gold.

11/12/2014
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Daniel “Danny” Seidemann is founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, a non-governmental organization launched in January 2010 that monitors Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem. Regarded as a leading expert on contemporary Jerusalem, he was born in upstate Syracuse and made aliyah in 1973. A lawyer, he was interviewed by phone from his home in Jerusalem. This is an edited transcript.

Terrestrial Jerusalem’s Daniel Seidmann: Jerusalem not a united city.

4,000 Years, 10 Jokes

Jewish history is like the waiter who asks the table full of retired ladies, 'Is anything all right?'

11/04/2014
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Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor-in-chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, is a veteran of the Jewish community’s communications world, with previous stints at The Forward and CLAL. He’s also a maven on Jewish humor. He’ll talk about “The History of the Jews in Ten Jokes” at Temple Emanu-El’s adult education Skirball Center on Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and 10. The Jewish Week interviewed him by email. This is an edited transcript.

Andrew Silow-Carroll: “There’s Jewish humor, and there’s Judaism humor.”

Muslim Bridge Builder Takes Post At JTS

Yasin Meral, assistant professor of history of religions at Ankara University, is the seminary's first visiting Muslim scholar.

10/28/2014
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The Jewish Theological Seminary last week appointed its first Muslim visiting scholar. Yasin Meral, assistant professor of history of religions at Ankara University, will conduct post-doctoral research at JTS this year. Meral, whose Ph.D. dissertation was on “Islam and Muslims in the Writings of Maimonides,” has done post-doctoral work on end-times issues in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. The Jewish Week interviewed him by email. This is an edited transcript.

Yasin Meral, scholar from Turkey, brings rich history of ties with Jews to his work this year at JTS.

Hoping To Sell The Hebrew U. Brand

10/21/2014
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Beth Asnien McCoy was appointed national executive director of American Friends of The Hebrew University in May, becoming one of the only women to head a major Jewish organization in the United States. McCoy sat down with The Jewish Week to discuss the challenge of reaching a new generation of philanthropists, how fundraising differs in various organizations and her advice to other female professionals about how to get to the top.

AFHU’s Beth Asnien McCoy: One of only a few women to head a major Jewish organization.

Teaching Young People To Get To Know Israel

10/14/2014
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Tuvia Book, the new core educator for Write On For Israel, The Jewish Week program that educates students about modern Israel in advance of their college years, has lost count of how many teen and young adult tours to Israel he has led. He may well be the longest-serving Birthright Israel tour guide, dating back to the pilot program in December 1999. And as part of his work in Jewish education, both formal and informal, he has climbed Masada more than 200 times. It’s never routine, though, because “I get to see it each time through the eyes of those who are there for the first time,” he says.

Tuvia Book: The key to countering anti-Israel propaganda on campus “is to be proactive, not reactive.”
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