The JW Q&A

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

Kerry’s Framework: Key To Mideast Peace

Former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon is stateside to promote the two-state solution.

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel’s internal security agency, is a founder of Blue White Future, a nonpartisan political movement committed to a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace. He was here this week for a town hall meeting organized by J Street’s $1 million national “The 2 Campaign” to build the “great constituency” Secretary of State John Kerry has called for to promote a two-state solution.

Ami Ayalon: Former Shin Bet head favors two-state solution.  Gili Getz

A River (Of Ethics) Runs Through It

03/03/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

The Graduate School of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America announced last week that is establishing a new academic program — a master’s degree in Jewish ethics. The program, to be headed by Alan Mittleman, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the school, will focus on such area as bioethics, business ethics and legal ethics. The Jewish Week interviewed Mittleman by e-mail. This is an edited version of the transcript.

JTS’ Alan Mittleman: “Many of the laws of the Torah have an overt ethical dimension.”

Partners In R&D

Ann Liebschutz heads the United States-Israel Science & Technology Foundation, which supports collaboration between the two countries.

02/24/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Ann Liebschutz is executive director for the United States-Israel Science & Technology Foundation (USISTF), a Washington-based nonprofit that facilitates research and development collaboration between the U.S. and Israel. It has just released its first U.S.-Israel Innovation Index, which measures and tracks America’s relationship between Israel and 15 other nations in innovation-related activities.

Ann Liebschutz: New study confirms Israel’s “strong” high-tech ties with the United States.

A Leap Of Musical Faith

Beloved singer-songwriter David Broza recorded his new CD at a studio in Jerusalem's only refugee camp.

02/17/2014 - 19:00
Managing Editor

The latest project from the acclaimed Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza involves a leap of faith, both culturally and politically. For his new CD, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem,” Broza, 58, crossed over into the Arab part of the city to record at a studio in east Jerusalem’s only refugee camp. He recorded the ambitious session with both Israeli and Palestinian musicians (including Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad and the Palestinian hip-hop duo G-Town), along with alt-country rocker Steve Earle and Wyclef Jean. The CD, Broza’s attempt to bridge cultures, also includes the Jerusalem Youth Choir, a group comprised of Israeli and Palestinian teens.

David Broza: Breaking musical, cultural boundaries. Michael Datikash/JW

Telling Immigrants’ Tales, The Old And The New

Born in Kazakhstan, Morris J. Vogel knows firsthand the immigrant experience conveyed in the expanded Tenement Museum.

02/10/2014 - 19:00
Culture Editor

Morris J. Vogel, a social historian, has been president of the Tenement Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 2008. A first-generation American, like many of the people whose stories are told in the museum’s exhibitions, he was born in Kazakhstan; his parents escaped there during World War II to avoid the Nazis. After living in a displaced persons camp in Poland, the family moved to the United States in 1949.

Morris Vogel: Will lead expansion of Tenement Museum. Courtesy of Tenement Museum

Bar-Ilan’s New Push For Overseas Students

The new president, Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, wants to make his school 'the university of the Jewish people.'

02/03/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, who assumed the presidency of Bar-Ilan University in October, is a former Israeli minister of science and technology who is also a mathematician and a community rabbi. The son of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Hershkowitz said he wants to strengthen Bar-Ilan’s focus on Jewish identity by attracting Jews worldwide in order to make it the “university of the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz: His goal is to open most of Bar-Ilan University’s programs to English-speaking students.

One Small Step For Israel…

A group of Israelis headed by Daniel Saat are determined to land a spacecraft on the moon by the end of next year.

01/27/2014 - 19:00
Assistant Managing Editor/Online Editor

Why are a group of Israelis spending $36 million on a bid to win a $30 million prize from Google? There’s more at stake than cash and bragging rights, says Daniel Saat, director of business development for SpaceIL, which hopes to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon by the end of next year to win Google’s Lunar XPrize. The nonprofit, heavily supported by Israeli universities and foundations, is also hoping for an “Apollo effect,” encouraging more students to pursue scientific careers, as did America’s lunar landings. Saat, 31, a Rochester native and NYU alum now living in Israel, spoke to The Jewish Week about aiming for the stars.

Daniel Saat: A moon landing by an Israeli spacecraft will put Israel in “a very exclusive club of superpower nations.”

Misson Connection

The head of the Museum of the Jewish People -- once the Museum of the Diaspora -- talks about the name change and his goals.

01/20/2014 - 19:00
Editor And Publisher

Dan Tadmor left a distinguished career in Israeli media — 20 years as an editor and manager at the daily Yedioth Achronot, followed by several years as a television executive — to become the CEO a year ago of Beit Hatfutsot, formerly known as the Museum of the Diaspora and now the Museum of the Jewish People. During a recent visit to New York he sat down at the offices of The Jewish Week to discuss the significance of the name change, reflecting the reinvented institution and what about the position enticed him to leave journalism. This is an edited transcript.

Dan Tadmor: A career in journalism prepared him to lead Israel’s Museum of the Jewish People.

The Skinny On ‘From Scratch’

01/13/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Correspondent

Former New York Times reporter Allen Salkin interviewed more than 200 people for “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network” (Penguin Group). The book, which was ranked among the top 10 of 2013 by NPR, makes juicy revelations about controversial stars such as Emeril Lagasse; Paula Deen, who cooked fatty foods without disclosing she had diabetes and then later fell from grace amid reports of racist comments; and Chef Robert Irvine, who was replaced for a season of “Restaurant Impossible” after questions emerged about his resumé.

Allen Salkin: Not popular at the Food Network for his behind-the-scenes book.

Academic Boycotts ‘Different’

Hebrew U. President says scholars harm themselves by closing their gates to new ideas, updated work.

12/23/2013 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Menahem Ben-Sasson has been president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2009 after having served for four years in the Knesset, where he chaired its Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. A historian of the heritage of Oriental Jewry, he has written some 40 books and scholarly articles on a range of subjects, including Jewish communities in Muslim lands, the relationship between religion and economics and law and spirituality as sources of authority in Medieval Oriental Society. The Jewish Week caught up with him last week in the wake of the vote by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities.

Ben-Sasson: We have partnerships all over the world. JTA
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