Blogs

Netanyahu in Washington, Part 1

 U.S.-Israel summits are generally pretty predictable affairs, but today's Barack Obama – Benjamin Netanyahu meeting takes the honey cake.

A kiss-and-make-up session, we learned weeks ago. A chance for Netanyahu to demonstrate all the “unprecedented” things he's done to advance the peace process, to use a word that pro-Israel groups here can't seem to get enough of. An opportunity for Obama, chastened by the intense political reaction to his earlier dealing with Netanyahu, to show he's a nice guy who really likes Israel and can get along with Netanyahu.

Why Israel Surrenders: The Blackmailer's Paradox

Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann, the 2005 Nobel Prize winner in economics for his work on "game theory" analysis (see his excellent accceptance speech here), was born in Germany only to have emigrated two weeks before Kristallnacht. He has often applied game theory to the Israel-Arab conflict, exploring the reasons why Israel seems to be negotiating its surrender rather than a serious and lasting peace.

A Jerusalem Love Story, Minus the Love

I finally finished the A.B. Yehoshua novel I was reading, which freed me up to read the Meyer Levin novel I found at my favorite used bookstore in Jerusalem. Titled, The Spell of Time: a Tale of Love in Jerusalem, its subtitle was inspiring, if you know what I mean. 

In other words, I was hoping this tale of love in Jerusalem would rub off on me.

Beyond that, Meyer Levin was a Chicagoan, or, as Augie March would say, he was an “American, Chicago born.”  Me, too! Or rather, I am an American, Waukegan, Illinois, born.  But why split hairs?

Presbyterian Church working to undercut Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts?

If the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is meeting in Minneapolis this week, really cares about peace in the region it will soundly reject the latest report by its Middle East Study Committee.

This isn't about the frustrating search for some way to end the Middle East conflict; it's about a handful of determined Church activists with a serious grudge against the Jewish state, who don't much care that their churlish activism in the guise of religious morality is just making peace harder to attain.

The Tally: My Love Life, Date by Date

Forty-eight hours into my dating sabbatical. Or is it more? I’ve never been very good with numbers.

With no romantic possibilities lined up, there is nothing for me to do but look backwards. And with the movie of my romantic life playing in an endless loop before me, I have a chance to review all of my past likes and loves, mess-ups and near misses.

What went wrong? I ask myself. What can I do better?

Or more specifically, have I made a career out of rejecting men?

The Virtual Simcha

The first time I heard about a "virtual simcha" was in the late 1990s. Detroit was hit with a massive snowstorm and the 8-day old baby boy's aunt who was to play the role of rabbi was stuck at the airport in New York. The rabbi improvised and she officiated at her nephew's bris via speaker phone.

Of course, if this happened in 2010 and not in the late 1990s the bris would have been officiated by the rabbi through Skype, and she would have seen the simcha and been seen by the attendees.

Using technology to add people to a simcha is becoming more common. An increasing number of grandparents and great-grandparents are attending their grandchildren's wedding in the virtual world.

Just last month I officiated at a wedding that was being streamed live to Israel so that the bride's elderly grandparents could "be there." Through Ustream.tv, the grandparents felt like they were at the wedding even if it meant staying up late into the night in Israel.

 

Live Streaming Wedding Allows Relatives in Israel to "Attend"

J Street announces fundraising totals, 2010 recipients

J Street announced yesterday that its political action committee has raised $650,000 so far this year and that it's doling out dough for some 61 candidates, including 10 Jewish incumbents.

That puts the dovish pro-Israel group ahead of its fundraising totals for 2008, the last major election year; J Street officials say they're on track to raise over $1 million by the end of 2010.

A Jew-y July Fourth: Or, What Did Jews Do in the American Revolution?

In comparison to their fate in Europe, Jews always had an easier time in America.  But on this Fourth of July weekend, it's worth asking how different life really was for America's earliest Jews, and what role, if any, they played in forging its freedom.

Saudi - American 'friendship': are you kidding?

Ha'aretz ran this headline the other day: “Saudi king assures Obama of commitment to two-state Mideast solution” – and I was happy, since I needed a good laugh.

Bruce Blakeman Vying for GOP Senate Nod

Jewish Week assistant managing editor Adam Dickter interviews Republican Senate contender Bruce Blakeman

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