For peace, if not now, when?

by Alan Elsner One of my favorite quotations from Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers) is attributed to Rabbi Hillel who said: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” This maxim on the urgency of now… Read More

Federation and USHMM: Strengthen both

by Dottie Bennett Sunday, April 28 was a special day which involved two organizations I feel strongly about, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. As unlikely as it seems, these two community pillars presented very different programs yet there were many common threads.

Affirming our common destiny

The JFNA 2013 Rabbinic Cabinet mission of 32 rabbis to Kiev, Ukraine, and Israel offered the rabbis representing all denominations from across the country a chance to see first-hand the inspiring work the American Jewish community does on behalf of Jews around the world through our overseas agencies, the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish… Read More

Happy Passover

Every erev Passover, I sit down with a number of different Haggadot, or with various pieces of information from the Internet. I try to make the seder better and more meaningful. But usually, just having my family and close friends nearby is what I look forward to the most for seder.

Obama’s Message of Hope

I found the President’s speech to Israelis inspiring and filled with hope. The line impacting me the most was when he said peace begins “not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people, not just in a carefully designed process, but in the daily connections that take place among those who… Read More

New way to speak about Israel

For as long as I can remember, supporters of Israel have complained about how poor Israel is at hasbara (literally “explanation,” but in this context, “public relations”). To those of us who love and support Israel, it has always been especially frustrating because it appears so obvious that objective analysis by any rational person would… Read More

The last first day

I have been thinking a great deal about the significance of this day, for it marks the end of a 29-year-streak. It is the last time I will bless one of my children as they go off for the first day of school. Since September of 1983 when my oldest son left the house to… Read More

Rabbis lobby for Israel at U.N.

The old adage about the weather is applicable to the United Nations. Everyone complains about it, but no one seems to do anything about it. A group of more than 60 rabbis, at the annual meeting of the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, decided to try to do something, if not about… Read More

Dealing with our Jewish generation gap

I am, as I write this, about to depart for a lecture tour to the United States. While I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the Jewish scene across the Atlantic, this time, I am going with some trepidation because there is a new Jewish reality in the Diaspora. Most audiences I will address will be… Read More