A revered Jewish agency closes

When the Jewish Education Services of North America, or JESNA, closes its doors at the end of the month, it will be a quiet end for an agency that loomed large in the field of Jewish education for more than three decades. Founded in 1982, the New York-based JESNA was the Jewish federation system’s central… Read More

Need for civil speech

The verbal and physical attacks last weekend on Rabbi David Stav, the modern Orthodox candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, demonstrate the effect of hateful words, and how religious leaders must exercise moderation in their public remarks. They also show the depth of disdain some in the ultra-Orthodox community show for other Jews, even… Read More

What does moderation mean?

Iran’s new president-elect, Hassan Rowhani, says he seeks a “dialogue with the world.” And the 64-year-old cleric says his country should show “greater transparency” in its nuclear program and promote “mutual confidence” with its adversaries, including the United States. So far, so good. But what can we reasonably expect from Mr. Rowhani? Mr. Rowhani’s moderate… Read More

The unclear message in telephone data

Reaction to revelations that the U.S. government is secretly collecting data from an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day, as well as from nine major U.S. Internet providers, has been of two general varieties. One has been a shrug, that the same information has long been gathered by Internet companies to enrich their coffers,… Read More

What peacekeepers are – and are not

On June 6, when the Syrian army retook the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights from anti-government rebels, it crossed into the demilitarized zone that has separated Syrian and Israeli forces since 1974. When that happened, Israel threatened to strike Syrian tanks, according to a leaked U.N. document. In response, Syria promised to fire solely… Read More

Frank Lautenberg

Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) was honored by Hillel at its annual dinner in New York City. He was cited for a lifetime of work on behalf of the Jewish people, both inside the Senate and in the broader community. The five-term senator was too ill to attend the celebration, so his wife, Bonnie,… Read More

The search for truth in the Argentina-Iran commission

On May 29, Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran of infiltrating South America and setting up sleeper cells, similar to the one that carried out the deadly attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Iran’s foreign ministry rejected Nisman’s accusation with the dismissive statement that “due to the prosecutor’s background… Read More

When public prayer crosses the line

It is a longstanding American custom to begin public meetings with a prayer. For some participants, the ritual serves as a reminder of the solemn work about to be undertaken. Others do so because their faith teaches that prayer can affect outcomes. And still others may find it a disturbing formality for a number of… Read More

Leading when things go wrong

Much of the current controversy surrounding the 15-year, $57 million fraud against the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany is focused on the responsibility of the organization’s leadership, which apparently didn’t discover or stop the theft even after receiving allegations about it. Jewish organizations typically have a dual-leadership structure, in which paid professionals work… Read More

The new Orlando magic

Many American universities share the common problems of insufficient student housing and inadequate funding for their Hillel student centers. As recently reported by JTA (see Page 4), supporters of Hillel at the University of Central Florida in Orlando have come up with an approach to address both problems, which combines entrepreneurship with philanthropy. The Orlando… Read More