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Is Bibi's Snub A Payback?

Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to reject an invitation from the President of the United States to meet at the White House, and he didn't do it through diplomatic channels but by a leak to reporters.

The move was seen widely in Washington and Jerusalem as a personal expression of contempt for this president and very much in character with this prime minister. It is hard to see what he thinks he would achieve by insulting Israel's most important ally and the leader of the world's only superpower.

Reimagined Jewish Folk Art At The Ukrainian Institute

When was the last time you were at a gallery or museum opening where a featured wine was Manishewitz Concord?  Better—when was the last time you were at an opening at the Ukrainian Institute of America of a Jewish-themed exhibition?

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern at the Ukrainian Institute of America.

What Surprises Await Biden In Israel?

The Israeli government is touting tomorrow's visit by Vice President Joe Biden as an expression of the "strong relations" between the two countries.

This will be Biden's second trip to Israel since 2010 when he was blindsided by the announced of major settlement construction in annexed east Jerusalem at a time when the Obama administration was seeking a settlement freeze and trying to revive the peace process.

Unlikely Allies In WWII Poland

In 1939, when Anna Liana’s father, a linguistics professor, is taken away in the Nazi round-up of intellectuals in Krakow, Poland, the seven-year-old girl, whose mother is dead, finds herself on her own -- until a tall, mysterious stranger notices her plight.  Their story unfolds in Gavriel Savit’s “Anna and the Swallow Man” (Knopf).

Courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Readers

Meet 5 Israeli Companies Driving Disability Tech

TEL AVIV (JTA) — After a missile strike during the 1973 Yom Kippur War left Omer Zur’s father paralyzed from the chest down, his dad vowed to continue life as normal. But there was one Israeli pastime he couldn’t enjoy: hiking.

“He’d say, ‘I’ll go in the car and meet you on the other side,’” said Zur, a certified Israeli tour guide. “I said, ‘Why can’t he do this with us?’”

In 2008, Zur decided that he and his wheelchair-user father would complete a 300-mile trek in southern Turkey. With the help of dozens of friends who joined them on segments of the hike, Zur and his father were able to complete the trail, sleep in tents and cook meals over an open fire.

Paratek makes wheelchair hiking possible. Courtesy of JTA

Running Scared

With the GOP congressional leadership's "hope and prayer" strategy for dumping Donald Trump having collapsed, they've moved to the public handwringing and clumsy plotting phase.

USCJ Receives Continuing Support On Inclusion Initiative From Ruderman Family Foundation

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) will build on the successful launch of the Ruderman Inclusion Action Community initiative to transform Conservative congregations into truly inclusive communities for people with disabilities, thanks to continuing support from the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) in the form of a $375,000 three-year grant.

Through the grant, USCJ will continue to provide expertise and consulting to its affiliated congregations to develop comprehensive visions and action plans on inclusion. 

The Ruderman Inclusion Summit. Courtesy of the Ruderman Family Foundation

“Shulamit,” Opera Based On The Song of Songs, Returns

Operas set in ancient times are rare, but Russian-Israeli musician Dina Pruzhansky has created “Shulamit,” whose story is based on the Song of Songs.

Russian-Israeli musician Dina Pruzhansky has created “Shulamit,” whose story is based on the Song of Songs. Image/Youtube

Special Needs Or Disabilities? What’s The Difference?

Nearly sixteen years ago my synagogue hired me as our Religious School’s Special Needs Consultant. Within a year that title changed to Special Needs Coordinator. A subtle shift, but one that we believe demonstrated our commitment to the permanence of our program.  Today I serve as a full-time Education Director with oversight of our inclusion efforts. But if anyone asks me what I do for a living, my reply is typically that I am a Jewish Educator and a Jewish Inclusion Expert.

Have We Made Advances? Courtesy of Lisa Friedman
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