Blogs

Israel’s UN Ambassador Leaving When Needed Most

The government of Israel will be losing a key and effective diplomat in New York just when it needs her most.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, highly praised for her low-key, thoughtful and compassionate work these last two years, is returning to Israel and her academic life at the end of this month on the eve of what some Israeli officials here are already predicting will be a “Black September” for the Jewish state at the UN.

David Mamet: Before He Was Conservative, He Was Jewish. Discuss.

Now that he is an established potentate of American theater, David Mamet has had no trouble saying what he really thinks.  Jews may remember his 2002 essay in The Forward, where he lambasted Jews for over-sympathizing with Palestinians.  They will probably remember better his 2006 book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish Self-Hatred and the Jews," where he took it further, arguing that liberal Jewish antagonism toward Israel was simple self-hate.

Obama the 'Muslim' and a scary new Pew poll

 There are plenty of horrifying aspects to the new Pew poll showing that 18 percent of Americans now believe – against all the evidence – that President Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent in March, 2009.

Unfit For The IDF

One reason the American military has resisted calls to reinstate a draft is that conscription often forces armies to deal with soldiers who not only don't want to be there and aren't committed to the cause but can be unfit for duty. While the Abu Ghraib affair shows that even volunteers can be unfit, for the most part it's the men and women who choose to defend their country and are committed to the skills and discipline of military life that contemporary commanders prefer to have on the front.

The Jewish Classroom, More Wired Than Ever

Also published in the Jewish Week's Fall Education supplement.

Many 30- and 40-year-olds will remember when a cart with a computer and monitor was wheeled into the classroom and students formed a single line waiting for a chance to use the device for a few minutes. Perhaps it was typing out a few lines of code in BASIC to move the cursor several inches along the screen, or perhaps it was creating an elementary art design.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade students at the Jewish Academy of Orlando will have new iPads this year.

Saudi Editorial: Iran Ignoring "Advice, Warnings And Requests"

An editorial in Saudi's Al-Madina (Aug. 15) gives some insight, from within the Arab world, to the news that the activation of the nuclear facility in Bushehr, expected to happen in the next week. The Saudi edit states:

On the Road to Love, Keep Your Eyes Ahead (And Don't Look Back)

"So, Avigail, how long have you been driving?" the Israeli driving instructor asked me, peering around his shoulder to look at me in the back seat.

The 17-year-old with the tzizzit and pimples was behind the wheel.

"Oh, only 22 years," I said, adding it up on my fingers.

"What are you saying?" the instructor asked.

I'm shocked, too. Believe you me. Because I first learned to drive in 1988 at Highland Park High School. (Highland Park, Illinois, people!)

If Christopher Hitchens Met Primo Levi, Would They Agree About God?

Yes. That's the answer given by Damon Linker in a fascinating essay at TNR.com. To play a bit of catch up first: last week, writings by (and more important, images of) Christopher Hitchens ripped through the Internet relating to his recent diagnosis of cancer.  The discovery earlier this summer forced the author to abruptly cancel the book tour of his new memoir in order to undergo treatment. 

But he emerged last week, first posting an essay about his bout with the cancer and radiation treatment at VanityFair.com; then later in a video-blog interview with The Atlantic Monthly's Jeffrey Goldberg.

Much of the media chat since then has turned to the question of whether Hitchens, an outspoken atheist, would show a little mercy and perhaps accept God.  His answer has been an emphatic "No."  And even if he did at some point in the future pray to God, it could only be taken as bestial ravings of a man who's clearly lost his mind; a man whose central feature distinguishing him from all other beasts--his intellect--had left him.

Social Media's Role in Religion

Yesterday's Detroit Free Press ran a cover story detailing how social media is being used by religious leaders. In his article "What Would Jesus Tweet?," religion editor Niraj Warikoo looks at how houses of worship are using Facebook and Twitter to reach out to its membership and potential members.

Synagogues Look to Twitter for Outreach
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