The JW Q&A

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

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.

Assistant Managing Editor/Online Editor
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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.

Editor And Publisher
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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’

Jewish Week Correspondent
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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.

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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

Energy Promise In The Promised Land

Houston-based Noble Energy's CEO says its operations in Israel are based on solid business principles.

Staff Writer
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The old joke about Moses leading the Children of Israel to the only place in the Middle East without natural energy resources is no longer quite true.

Charles Davidson: Houston-based energy firm saw potential in natural gas fields off Israel’s shore.

Opening More ‘Portals’ For Reform Jews

Temple Emanu-El's new senior rabbi says his congregants want to be engaged on topics that matter.

Managing Editor
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When Joshua Davidson, 45, is installed as Temple Emanu-El’s senior rabbi this week, he will formally be taking over one of the country’s largest and highest-profile Reform synagogues, located on Fifth Avenue. The son of Rabbi Jerome Davidson, who served Temple Beth El in Great Neck, L.I., for more than 40 years, he most recently led Temple Beth-El of Northern Westchester. Rabbi Davidson succeeds Rabbi David Posner. The Jewish Week caught up with him last week via e-mail.

Rabbi Joshua Davidson: Taking over at Temple Emanu-El. Will Star

Vows To Serve The Young In Young Israel

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell vows to return the movement to its roots, and live up to its name.

Staff Writer
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Rabbi Perry Tirschwell became executive director of the National Council of Young Israel on Aug. 1 and vowed to revitalize the organization after an upheaval that saw a motion of no confidence in the leadership and threats by congregants to withhold donations.

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell: Wants to return movement “to its roots.”

JFK For A New Generation

Kennedy viewed American leadership as a 'moral imperative,' says the author of a new book.

Contributing Editor
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Believing that young people can benefit from President John F. Kennedy’s legacy of service and citizenship, Scott Reich, 30, an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in midtown, authored “The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation” (BenBella Books).

Scott Reich: Fresh look at Camelot.

Masorti's FIght For Religious Pluralism

A lawyer and colonel, Yizhar Hess is head of the Conservative movement in Israel.

Staff Writer
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Yizhar Hess  has been executive director and CEO of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel since 2007 and is known as one of the Israel’s leading voices promoting Jewish pluralism.

Yizhar Hess: Orthodox monopoly is a deterrent to many Israelis’ embrace of Judaism.
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