Blogs

Obey retiring, don't expect any tears from some pro-Israel groups

You can bet some pro-Israel hardliners won't be weeping salt tears over today's announcement by Rep. David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and the dean of the congressional appropriations process, that he will be retiring.

But a lot of pro-Israel lobbyists who have worked with him over the years say his departure after 41 years in the House will be a big loss for the nation – and possibly for Israel.

Obama's Jewish charm offensive: what does it signal about his Israel policy?

We've read a lot in the last few days (see this JTA story in the Jewish Week)  about President Obama's Jewish charm offensive, which reached a kind of peak with yesterday's White House visit by Elie Wiesel, who proclaimed himself satisfied that the president does not have it in for Israel.

What we don't know: what does this all-out effort to ease the concerns of pro-Israel voters signal about administration policy?

Gag Rule For Gentiles

Interfaithfamily.com has published a very disturbing personal essay by a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak from the bima at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

The essay by Debbie Burton doesn’t say how long ago the incident occurred, but the gag rule for gentiles remains in place at her Chicago congregation, which she describes as an independent lay-led minyan that relies on “Conservative legal opinions.” (To learn more about independent minyanim, which vary tremendously in their overall outlooks as well as their approaches toward interfaith families, read my colleague Rivka Oppenheim's excellent recent article or go to the Mechon Hadar Web site.)

Here we go again: Israel's Palestinian incitement index

Earlier this week Jewish Week editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt broke the story of a new Israeli plan to create an “incitement index” to document Palestinian incitement and the failure of West Bank leaders to extirpate anti-Israel hatred from the schools, the media and even street names.

On Schlemiels, Shlimazls, Shmendriks and Schmuks

One hopes that the New York Times story today on Jay Roach's upcoming film, "Dinner for Schmucks," starring Steve Carell, will inspire us all to brush up our Yiddish.  Critics have started to question the appropriateness of the title given to Roach's new film, a comedy of manners in which Carell plays a hapless idiot.  Given the premise, "schlemiel" or "shlimazl" -- Yiddish words that more closely translate into "idiot" -- should be in the title.&nbs

Only In NYC: A Terror Scare, And A Smile

Not again, I thought, as I saw police gathering on 40th Street and Seventh Avenue yesterday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the bungled (fortunately) car bomb on Times Square, a block from my office.

Texas Gov. Perry: Gulf oil spill could be 'act of God.'

 Can you believe this guy?

According to Politico, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, is now arguing that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may have been an “act of God.”

Finding A Rabbi Who Does Interfaith Weddings

When Joe and I got engaged 13 years ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., I was sure we’d have trouble finding a rabbi to perform our wedding.

As it turned out, the rabbi at the local Reform temple was willing and available. When we arrived for our first meeting, I came expecting a lengthy interrogation about exactly how we planned to raise our children. I was prepared to commit to taking an Intro to Judaism class together and ready to solemnly pledge we would hand over our future children to The Jewish People, never ever have a Christmas tree in the house and so on.

The Mysterious Tale of Three Stray Cats

 

Let's begin with a Stray Cats niggun.

Once upon a time there were three cats.

The first cat had a strange mystical power, slinking around a nursing home, able to sense the Angel of Death, and this cat cuddled up only to the patient who'd be the next to die.

Looking Up: 24 Countries Walk Out On Iran

Here is the list of the countries whose delegates walked out when Ahmadinejad ascended to the UN podium (at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference) and started his usual anti-Israel, anti-US diatribe. Most interesting and hopeful, is that one delegate from an Arab-Islamic country -- Morocco -- walked out, as well. For all those who continue to link modern German and Poland to the crimes of yesterday, it should be noted that Germany and Poland also walked out on the Holocaust denier and threat to Israel.

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