Proposed law to probe Israeli rights groups prompts fierce criticism

Knesset legislation calling for an investigation of Israeli human rights groups has sparked a fierce argument over who is doing more to hurt Israel’s reputation: Human rights organizations critical of the Israeli government and army, or the politicians who want to investigate them for allegedly going too far. By… Read more »

Did heated rhetoric play a role in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords?

The 8th District in southern Arizona represented by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords comprises liberal Tucson and its rural hinterlands, which means moderation is a must. But it also means that spirits and tensions run high. Giffords’ office in Tucson was ransacked in March following her vote for health care… Read more »

Generous and quiet leadership: Remembering Evie and Shaol Pozez

When Evie Pozez died last month, I had the sense that this was another major milestone in the passing of what Tom Brokaw coined “The Greatest Generation.” Evie, who was dynamic in her own right, was, in the context of our Jewish community, “joined at the hip” with her… Read more »

Challenging orthodoxies, Shas maverick wants to put haredim to work

Not so long ago, few Israelis had heard of Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, a soft-spoken Shas backbencher in the Knesset. Over the past few weeks, however, Amsellem has emerged as a maverick in Israeli politics. Having broken ranks with the Orthodox-oriented Shas and its haredi leaders, he is talking about… Read more »

Brazil and Argentina recognize Palestinian state — why now?

Many in Latin America and around the world were asking one question following the news that Brazil and Argentina had recognized the state of Palestine in the West Bank: Why now? Among the answers, PLO envoy to Washington Maen Areikat told JTA, was the frustration with the stops and… Read more »

Op-Ed: Risk aversion is risky business

Sylvia Barack Fishman (Courtesy of the Avi Chai Foundation)

WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA) — “Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” Robin Marantz Henig asked in The New York Times Magazine (“The Post-Adolescent, Pre-Adult, Not-Quite-Decided Life Stage,” Aug. 22). Lori Gottlieb urged reluctant single women to “Marry Him: The Case for Settling… Read more »

Eye on Iran, Obama pitches Jewish groups on START treaty ratification

The campaign to curb Iran’s nuclear program just acquired a new deadline: the end of the 111th Congress. The Obama administration has made a priority of ratifying the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia before the Senate’s lame-duck session finishes at year’s end. A number of Republicans, citing… Read more »

Op-Ed: Take a stand against boycotts this holiday season

Ethan Felson

NEW YORK (JTA) — What’s old is new, and unfortunately this holiday season, wrapped in a bow, is a boycott of things Israeli and Jewish. The relics of the past boycotts — from Nuremberg to Damascus — are back. Uninterested in reconciliation, the extremist and myopic fervor that undergirds… Read more »

No more mud: America needs civil discourse, end to knee-jerk hostility

The election season has finally ended. Victors have celebrated, the defeated have conceded and we are left to clean up the detritus: direct-mail fliers, defunct posters — and the scorched earth left by one of the least civil election campaigns in memory. American political culture has always been spirited… Read more »

Fund protection of land and water

WASHINGTON (JTA) — With a tradition thousands of years old, Judaism informs us on taking the long view — the Divine view, as it were, since God is concerned even to the thousandth generation in the future (Exodus 34:7). So with environmental policy, we consider not only our own… Read more »

For Jewish federations, decline in donors dwarf’s recession woes

An all-time high of 600 college students took part in the 2010 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America held in New Orleans, Nov. 7, 2010. (JFNA)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (JTA) – After three days of schmoozing, sessions and feel-good speeches, the 3,000 or so Jewish federation officials who came to the annual General Assembly may have left New Orleans feeling invigorated. The view expressed by many top officials was that after two years of a… Read more »

First sign of the new U.S. political reality — Bibi’s swagger

Randy Altschuler, a Republican who holds a slim lead in his suburban New York congressional district, campaigning this summer with Rep. Eric Cantor, currently the only GOP Jewish lawmaker in the Congress. (Courtesy Randy Altschuler for Congress)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The sharpest signal of what last week’s elections meant for Jews came not from Washington but from New Orleans, Nova Scotia and Australia. In New Orleans, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech Monday calling for moving beyond sanctions to mounting a “credible military threat”… Read more »

Palestinian gambit for statehood could force Israel up against a wall

With talks at a stalemate and no agreement from the Israelis to reinstate a settlement freeze, the Palestinians are playing a new card: an end game to statehood through an appeal to the international community. The card hasn’t actually been played, but the mere threat that the Palestinians would… Read more »

There’s no place for bullying in God’s world

Rabbi Steven Burg (OU)

NEW YORK — I was saddened to hear of the death of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old college student driven to suicide by bullying over his sexual orientation. While Clementi’s case has grabbed national headlines, it sadly is far from unique. Last September alone, no fewer than six boys in… Read more »

Trick or Treat: Seeking a sign from Houdini

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — On Halloween, the anniversary of his death, Harry Houdini will be back on stage. The Jewish Museum in New York is opening a new exhibition, “Houdini: Art and Magic,” on Oct. 29, and curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport says the entrance gallery will feature a replica… Read more »

Israel, Iran, court, entitlements — what would a GOP Congress mean?

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The likely prospect of Republican control of at least one chamber of Congress has triggered broad speculation about the remainder of President Obama’s time in the White House, Republican bids for the presidency in 2012 — and the very course of the nation, if not the… Read more »

What drives the Jews? Your opinion wanted

I opened the e-mail from my daughter Lauren, who has been living in Guatemala for almost a year. I cherish the “conversations” we have in cyberspace because they give us a chance to share differently than we do in our phone calls, where we tend to discuss more immediate… Read more »

Israel’s settlements are not the real problem, only a red herring

With each passing year, the Arab-Israeli conflict seems to get an additional facelift in the media headlines. Many notable news sources seek to demonize Israel in the most “objective” manner possible, concentrating on angles irrelevant to the real conflict. Subsequently, when foreign journalists come to Israel with their notebooks,… Read more »