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

Russian roulette in Syria

Over the last two weeks, Russia has demonstrated again that it considers Syria’s government a vital ally, a strategic asset and a regime worth saving, notwithstanding the country’s two-year-old civil war. Russia’s shipment of advanced weaponry to the government of Bashar al-Assad could make it more difficult for the West to impose a no fly-zone… Read More

Our community’s gem in its Diamond Jubilee

When our Washington-area Jewish community needs a voice in Annapolis, Richmond or before the D.C. Council, or when we need representation in broader organizational or faith group gatherings, or when we need to present in an organized fashion on any number of social or political issues, we rely on the Jewish Community Relations Council of… Read More

A tragedy made in Bangladesh

In the Jewish imagination, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City is a kind of slavery in Egypt story: We all were there. One hundred forty-six workers – most were Jewish and Italian immigrant women between 14 and 43 years old – died in the fire because the managers had locked them… Read More

Hawking’s other choice

Stephen Hawking isn’t the first big name to announce he is boycotting Israel. And he won’t be the last. But as one of the world’s most famous and revered scientists, his decision to withdraw from speaking at a prestigious academic conference in Israel next month is a bigger blow than the posturing of a rock… Read More