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Happy Birthday To The Greatest Jew That Ever Lived

The first day of Shavous is the 250th birthday of one of my best friends, the most spectacular Jew that ever lived, Yisroel Ben-Eliezer. Most folks know him as the Baal Shem Tov, but today I'm calling him Reb Yisroel since that's what his mom and dad called him at the dawn of his life.

(They didn't say "Hi, liitle Besht, I love you, Baal Shem Tov!" They called him Yisroel when they cuddled him and put him to bed at night. I just wanted to send some love to his parents, Eliezer and Sarah, since they gave us so much, and they died when their son was so young.)

Wisdom and foolishness as Israel bars Noam Chomsky

The best line on the Noam Chomsky affair?  It comes from Atlantic blogger Jeff Goldberg, who came up with this gem:  "Real democracies aren't afraid of ridiculous men like Noam Chomsky." 

The Jerusalem Gambit, The Presidents Conference And Peter Beinart

The more I think about it, the more I see why left-of-center pro-Israel groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now are bouncing off the walls about last week's ad on Jerusalem by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Peter Beinart on the Failure of American Jewish Organizations

Before heading to bed last night, I logged onto the New York Review of Books Web site.  On the front-page was a powerful article by former New Republic editor Peter Beinart that lambasts American Jewish organizations -- AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and so on -- for letting their steadfast support for Israel trump the liberal ethos that informs broader American Jewish identity.  I was sure this would cause a storm.

Shavuot: Cracked Eggs, A Gradual Convert And A Supportive Jewish Mother-in-Law

Last night, in anticipation of Shavuot, which starts Tuesday night, my daughters and I made noodle kugel.

Yes, I know blintzes and cheesecake are more typical fare for this holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah, but noodle pudding shares their status as dairy-laden traditional Jewish food — and it’s considerably easier to prepare.

Too Many Jews On The Court?

Too many Jews on the Supreme Court? Heck, there are too many Jews on my local Beit Din. We can use some Protestants there, too.

The Case for a Jewish Snopes

Note: Rabbi Jason Miller is traveling.  Filling in is Daniel Sieradski, former Director of Digital Media for JTA News and founding publisher of the pioneering blog Jewschool, is a web strategist and designer serving the Jewish non-profit sector.

Libya elected to UN Human Rights Council; you can't make this stuff up

A year ago, the Obama administration decided to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council, the ridiculous panel that seems to believe Israel is the only human rights problem in the world, on the theory that it could reform the group from the inside.

Some reform; last week Libya was elected to the Council.

I Love Pastor Hagee Because He Loves Me

On May 23 -- which just so happens to be the day of the Salute to Israel Parade, a day that most Jews don't give a damn about and never have, except for primarily the Modern Orthodox and Conservative Zionists -- in more than 1,500 churches, most of them evangelical, the spiritual leaders will be speaking about their love for Israel, and their support for the Jewish State. That support is based on the verse in Genesis where God promises to bless those who bless the Jews.

The "Half-Jewish" Glass: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

 Jews in All Hues, a new-ish “peer-led program that provides a safe space for people from interfaith families to explore their identities as mixed heritage Jews,” is holding a conference in San Francisco on Sunday, May 30.

I attended their conference last year in Philadelphia and came away with mixed feelings, a no doubt appropriate emotion for an event focusing on the state of being mixed!

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