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

Tyranny of the minority

The government shutdown, which is now in its second week, is an outrage. And the continued dysfunctionality of the legislative branch of our federal government is an embarrassment. With accusations, threats and sound bites being exchanged by frustrated leadership on both sides, one sometimes loses focus on the real culprits in this sad story. The… Read More

Who is an Israeli?

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder, may have inadvertently complicated things when he gave the name “Israel” to the Jewish state. Had he chosen “Judea” instead, the citizens of the country would have been known as “Jews,” and their connection with their kin in the Diaspora would have been obvious. As it is, Israel’s population registry lists… Read More

Read all about it

Like everything else on this season’s Jewish calendar, Jewish Book Month comes early this year. Tied as it is to the Chanukah gift-giving season, Jewish Book Month celebrates — and promotes — the still strong ties between Jews and books. Although the official start to Jewish Book Month is Oct. 26, we bring it up… Read More

A questionable religious freedom envoy

Last month, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 301 with bipartisan support. The bill calls for the establishment of a special envoy to promote religious freedom for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. The bill has yet to be considered by the Senate, where a similar measure died in 2011. On its… Read More

Be good while doing good

Two high-profile cases involving American Jews in high community positions again shine an accusatory light on Jewish communal leadership, and  raise the question of whether a person’s good deeds are canceled by the bad they have done. William Rapfogel, the CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, turned himself in to the police… Read More

Security or provocation?

The separate murders of two Israeli soldiers last weekend has led to an outpouring of grief. On Sunday, Sgt. Gal Gabriel Kobi was killed by a Palestinian sniper while on patrol in Hebron. That followed the killing Friday of Sgt. Tomer Hazan, who was lured unarmed to a West Bank village by a Palestinian co-worker…. Read More

A voice for Jewish culture

Have you ever heard of the Foundation for Jewish Culture? It is a New York-based organization that was founded some 53 years ago and is dedicated to the advancement of Jewish cultural life and creativity in the United States. Since 1960, the foundation is credited with channeling some $50 million to Jewish scholars and artists…. Read More

We’ve seen this before

We mourn for the 12 victims of Monday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, and wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured. And we thank the police officers who ended the killing spree before the number of casualties grew even higher. But for the individual lives lost and the particular location of… Read More