Beit Shemesh mayor’s bigotry

For more than 18 years, the town of Beit Shemesh has been the sister city of Greater Washington’s Jewish community through a “twinning relationship” with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. During that time, the Federation has invested millions of communal dollars in social service and educational programs to benefit the citizens of Beit Shemesh…. Read More

Preserve the less expensive funeral option

Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that it is precisely the worst time to plan a funeral. With emotions raw and little time to make decisions, the pressure is on to skip comparison shopping or bargaining for a better price. For Jewish families, with particular funeral observances and requirements, there is almost always… Read More

Nasser’s heir?

Will Egypt’s military strong man, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, become the country’s next president? And will the Egyptian leader he most closely resembles be Gamal Abdel Nasser, the army officer who established an aggressive, nationalist military-backed regime that sought to establish Egypt’s pre-eminence in the Arab world? There are good reasons to think… Read More

Taking aim at a trial balloon

The recent Pew study on American Jews has lent a sense of urgency to those who want to see Judaism flourish and affiliation rates rise in this country. In a recent op-ed in the Forward, that also appeared in the Huffington Post, two leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America, the umbrella group for… Read More

Mayor Bloomberg, Jewish hero?

On Monday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was named as the first recipient of the Genesis Prize. When plans for the prize were first announced, the Genesis idea seemed promising. According to the group’s mission, the prize is designed to “recognize individuals … whose actions … in addition to their achievements, embody the character of… Read More

The value of sanctions on Iran

In the long, frustrating history of dealings with Iran over its nuclear development program, the meetings that took place earlier this month between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) were described as the most serious and candid to date. Those meetings have led to optimism that progress might be… Read More

Dude, don’t boycott Israel

For the current crop of Jewish college students, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS, is a major stimulus for pro-Israel activism. BDS is wrong, and it is a challenge that deserves an answer. Yet most arguments in favor of Israel, despite their good intentions, seem tired and familiar. Two weeks ago, Orthodox rapper… Read More

Conservative Judaism at 100

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism just observed its 100th birthday. And, even according to its most ardent supporters, it is suffering serious signs of old age. At its Centennial conference this week in Baltimore, the movement’s leaders sought to play up Conservative Judaism’s strengths and energize the faithful, while using new language in an… Read More