The JW Q&A

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

‘Jewish Public Square’ Undergoing Changes

Stephen Hazan Arnoff is the new CEO of the JCC Association, an umbrella organization in New York.

03/09/2015 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Stephen Hazan Arnoff, former executive director of the 14th Street Y in Manhattan, was recently named the CEO of the JCC Association, the New York-based umbrella organization for more than more than 350 JCCs, YM-YWHAs, and campsites in the U.S. and Canada. He succeeds Allan Finkelstein, who served two decades in that post. Arnoff was also the first director of the Office of Culture, Community and Society at Shalem College in Jerusalem. The Jewish Week interviewed Arnoff by email. This is an edited transcript.

New JCC Association CEO Stephen Hazan Arnoff: JCCs are a laboratory for “what’s next in the Jewish world.”

A Serious Study Of Jewish Humor

Both God and Linda Weiser Friedman's books have got funny stuff in them, she says.

03/02/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

There’s a lot of laughter at Baruch College this year, and it’s coming from the classroom of a professor of statistics & computer information systems. The new course is “Jewish Humor,” which attempts “to walk the fine line between scholarship and playfulness.” The teacher is Linda Weiser Friedman, co-author — with her husband, Heshy Friedman, a professor of business at Brooklyn College — of “God Laughed: Sources of Jewish Humor” (Transaction). On the eve of Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates humor, The Jewish Week caught up with Friedman by email. This is an edited transcript of the interview.

Linda Weiser Friedman: The roots of modern Jewish humor can be traced back to the Torah.

Anti-Semitism Expert On Europe, U.N., Obama

A conversation with Hebrew University's Robert Wistrich.

02/23/2015 - 19:00

As one of the world’s foremost authorities on anti-Semitism, Robert Wistrich appeared at the recent daylong conference on the subject hosted by the United Nations General Assembly — a first in that body’s history. That came on the heels of his participation at a Berlin meeting hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Wistrich is chairman of Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and author of numerous books on the subject including “Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred” and “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel.” Wistrich spoke to The Jewish Week during a recent visit to New York and by phone from his home in Jerusalem. This is an edited transcript.

Hebrew University’s Robert Wistrich: U.N. as “major purveyor of anti-Semitism.”

Three Israeli Pals Take Shakshuka To City Streets

02/16/2015 - 19:00

About a year ago, Israeli friends Josh Sharon, Solomon Taraboulsi and Gabriel Israel moved to New York to pursue professional dreams: Sharon and Taraboulsi to prove themselves in real estate, and Gabriel to attend the Culinary Institute of America in upstate Hyde Park.

Josh Sharon, Solomon Taraboulsi and Gabriel Israel with The Shuka Truck in Midtown.  Courtesy of The Shuka Truck

Iron Dome Ready For Future

The system was built to 'cope with changes in technology,' Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Daniel Gold says.

02/09/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Daniel Gold was awarded the Israel Defense Prize in 2012 for his role in inventing and managing the development of the Iron Dome anti-missile/rocket defense system that is credited with protecting much of Israel during last summer’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He is CEO and founder of Gold R&D Technology and Innovation Ltd., and headed R&D at the Israel Ministry of Defense and at the Israel Defense Forces. He was interviewed in connection with his receipt here Sunday of the Protector of Israel Award from the Times of Israel online news organization. 

Daniel Gold: Designer of Israel’s Iron Dome defense system says it is never truly finished.

N.Y. Phil Puts Israeli Classical Music In The Spotlight

The program displays the richness of the contemporary creative scene of Israel as well as Israeli composers living abroad, says Hanna Arie-Gaifman of the 92Y.

02/02/2015 - 19:00
Managing Editor

In what is being described as a first, the New York Philharmonic will present a program of contemporary Israeli classical music by some of that country’s leading composers. The “New Music From Israel Program,” which takes place Monday, Feb. 9 (7 p.m.), is a co-presentation with the 92nd Street Y and is part of the N.Y. Phil’s CONTACT! series. The composers on the program are Josef Bardanashvili, Yotam Haber, Shulamit Ran and Avner Dorfman. The Jewish Week discussed the program with its brainchild, Hanna Arie-Gaifman, director of the 92Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts. The interview was conducted via email.

Hanna Arie-Graifman: “Richness” in Israeli classical scene. Joshua Bright

Pulpit Rabbi To Lead Interfaith Group

Rabbi Jack Moline will head the D.C.-based Interfaith Alliance.

01/26/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Rabbi Jack Moline, who served as spiritual leader of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Va., for more than two decades, was recently named executive director of the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance, a progressive, ecumenical organization that “celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights.” His appointment follows his short-lived stint as director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Rabbi Jack Moline: From pulpit to political organization to Interfaith Alliance.

Giving NY Jazz A Mideast Accent

01/19/2015 - 19:00
Calendar Editor

Much like real estate, security and sales of holiday knick-knacks, New York’s jazz scene has acquired an unmistakable Israeli accent — so much so that JazzTimes magazine stated that “no foreign country’s citizens are playing a more visible or essential role on the New York scene these days.” How did this happen? Acclaimed bassist and composer Omer Avital was among the first wave of Israelis to land here in the early 1990s. The Jewish Week caught up with him last week fresh off a gig at the Jazz Standard, which marked the release of his new CD, “New Song” (Motema Music). This is an edited transcript.

Bassist Omer Avital: Stretching jazz’s boundaries. Courtesy of Red Cat Publicity

Tourism Going Well, But ‘Not Back To Normal’

01/05/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Uzi Landau, who has served as the Israeli minister of tourism since March 2013, has been in Israeli politics for almost three decades, since 1984. He started in 1984 and announced Dec. 28 that he plans to retire from politics. A former senior member of Likud and now a member of the nationalist Israel Beiteinu party, Landau, 71, has served as minister of public security, a member of the security cabinet, and a minister in the prime minister’s office overseeing Israeli intelligence, secret services and the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. The Jewish Week caught up with him after his recent trip to the United States. This is an edited transcript.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau: Bookings “starting to pick up again” after Gaza war.

Taking America’s Pulse On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

12/29/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. An American of Israeli Arab heritage who moved to the United States at the age of 19, Telhami earned his doctorate in political science at the University of California at Berkeley and taught at such universities as Cornell, Princeton and Columbia. He has served as adviser to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Trilateral U.S.

Shibley Telhami: Two-state solution seen as less “realistic” these days.
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