Blogs

Bibi, Barack and the Big Chill

 Okay, I confess, I missed the AIPAC policy conference this week, the first I haven't attended as a reporter in 23 years. But it's okay, I had a note from my editor because I was working on the new Jewish Week Web site, which you're now reading and I hope you're liking.

But you didn't need to be on the floor of the Washington Convention Center to know there's something afoot in the U.S.-ISrael relationship that worries the leaders of mainstream pro-ISrael groups and has given new hope to groups that favor a more robust U.S. peacemaking effort in the region.

Senta Berger Casts A Giant Shadow

Once upon a time, before Tel Aviv filmmakers invented the Israeli thumb-sucking depressive anti-war movie filmed in a cloud of cigarettes, being a liberal in Hollywood meant being more Zionist than the Stern Gang.

Seder Liturgy Too Provocative?

Have you heard that President Obama, in his private meeting at the White House on Tuesday, urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to call on Jews around the world to refrain from singing or reciting “Next Year in Jerusalem” at their seders next week? 

Apparently the administration views such prayers as “unhelpful” to the peace process, and even “provocative,” given the political sensitivities of the moment. 

Passover For Gentiles

 With Passover coming, I wanted to point out a few interesting articles about non-Jewish guests at the seder.

This humorous essay on Tablet chronicles one man's attempt to prepare an appropriate seder appetizer. My favorite part:

Looking For A Seder In Baghdad?

"I happen to be in Iraq and am looking for a place to spend Passover," read the e-mail message I received Monday night. That got my attention.

It was from a Jewish woman from Washington, D.C., who said she had arrived in Baghdad two days earlier as a consultant for USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). She wrote she had come on short notice and had "no time to plan for Passover, aside from bringing a couple of boxes of matzah ball soup mix. No one else who is here is Jewish."

The Shabbat Scooter

The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.

Advice For Obama From Menachem Begin

With Benyamin Netanyahu coming to the United States, so soon after the tantrum by Hillary Clinton and Jeremiah Wright’s 20-year congregant, we’re reminded of Menachem Begin’s response back in 1981 when a previous administration tried to slap Israel like a dog one time too often. Check this out from Begin.

One take on AIPAC policy conference, a fake press release and some flaky demonstrations

You can't turn around today without reading blogs and news items about the AIPAC policy conference, underway in Washington cavernous Convention Center; one of the most interesting comes from the Atlantic's prolific Jeff Goldberg.

The Making Of Passover Heroes

When I was a kid, I'd  often spend the Sunday before Passover with other yeshiva kids packing up boxes full of matzah, eggs, grape, juice, gefilte fish and other staples to help the needy observe Passover.

Yossi Klein Halevi: Obama vs. Jerusalem

 Excellent piece by Yossi Klein Halvi in The New Republic on the crisis in Israel-US relations. Jerusalem “feels like a war zone” again. Was Obama’s confrontation with Israel premeditated?

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