Fixing injustice could pay spiritual dividends

It wasn’t easy leaving my wife and three young daughters to do miluim (reserve army duty) twice a year in my 30s and 40s. But like most secular and modern Orthodox Jews living in Israel in the 1970s and ’80s, I understood that the Jewish state couldn’t exist surrounded by enemies sworn to its destruction… Read More

The do-less Congress

If Harry Truman thought he was dealing with a “Do Nothing Congress” in 1948, he’d think that one was actually hyperactive compared to the one we have languishing on Capitol Hill today. Not only is this the least productive in history, it may be the one to have taken the most vacation days as well…. Read More

In peace talks, watch what Bibi does

In Israel’s history, hawkish leaders have often ended up advocating tough concessions for the sake of peace. Think Menachem Begin at Camp David, Yitzhak Rabin and the Oslo Accords and Ariel Sharon who at the end of his career found himself mulling a withdrawal from the West Bank. Add Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizmann to… Read More

A partial goodbye

“Avoid eye contact”, my friend said as he met me at JFK and heaved my tattered suitcase into the trunk of his blue Pontiac. It was September 1984 and I was dispatched to our UN Mission in New York. He meant well. I was a rookie in a city well known for its street gangs… Read More

The Helen Thomas cover-up

Obituaries for Helen Thomas, 92, the first woman to work as White House bureau chief for a news service and first female officer of the National Press Club, minimized her final quarter century as an anti-Jewish bigot. This included The Washington Post’s magazine-length, Page 1 “From front row, pioneering reporter pressed for truth” (July 21)…. Read More

… has a Jewish problem

  NEW YORK — The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, has a Jewish problem. In a painful affront to the Jewish community, it recently defeated a government initiative to reinstate the legality of kosher slaughter of animals. This prompted Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, to threaten resignation and triggered sharp criticism of… Read More

Poland: Wants good Jewish relations …

  SAN FRANCISCO — For the past decade, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and I myself, as Poland’s honorary consul in the Bay Area, have been involved directly in furthering the renaissance of Jewish life in Poland. The renaissance is viewed as a “miracle” in Poland and around the world. At my… Read More

An ode to books

To me, books are like special packages — to be handled with care, opened eagerly and eventually put away in safe places. I need to make a book confession: I have not made the transition to books online, books on tape, even rented books from the library.  I want to own my books forever despite… Read More

What time is minyan?

On Tuesday July 2 at Mincha (afternoon service) I completed 11 months of saying Kaddish for my mom, Janice Hiller z”l.  Although I will still be in mourning until the end of the month, my obligation to say Kaddish on a daily basis will be completed. Since her passing, I have attempted to honor her… Read More

The next chapter for JCADA

It is truly a privilege to be the incoming president of the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) as it enters its 13th year. Domestic abuse is everywhere. It affects one in four women and one in nine men. Sadly, just like the rest of the country, it happens in the Jewish community — in… Read More