Opinion

First Things First helps Arizona children succeed: vote no on Prop. 302

Are you as tired and frustrated as we are at seeing Arizona ranked at or near the bottom on state rankings of education and the well-being of its children? First Things First was supported by the voters of Arizona in 2006 to provide the opportunity for high quality early… Read more »

Why Israel allowed settlement freeze to expire

In the four weeks since direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed, settlement construction has been identified widely as the most immediate obstacle to the survival of negotiations. In media accounts about the diplomatic standoff over the issue, Israel’s decision not to extend its self-imposed 10-month freeze on settlement building has… Read more »

Changing high court and a blueblood’s family prejudices

Eve Pell

I am a WASP, the five-times-great-grand­daughter of John Jay, first chief justice of the United States and one of our founding fathers. When Jewish Elena Kagan takes her seat at the Oct. 4 opening of the Supreme Court, no Protestant will be left on that exalted bench. As a… Read more »

Untruths about claims conference will hurt survivors

NEW YORK (JTA) — At Rosh Hashanah 5706, 65 years ago, World War II had just ended. For those few European Jews who had survived the Holocaust, the end of the war meant a slow and painful process of beginning anew and trying to rebuild shredded lives. While at… Read more »

Facing confluence of diplomatic events, Israel taking wait-and-see stance

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu were all smiles at their meeting in the Oval Office, July 6, 2010. (Amos BenGershom/GPO)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Heading into a period of intense diplomatic activity, Israel and the pro-Israel community are taking what may appear to be an atypical wait-and-see approach. That sentiment and the Jewish holidays explain the relatively muted tone. This week, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in the Egyptian resort… Read more »

The peace talks — and their obstacles

President Barack Obama holds a working dinner with, clockwise from left, President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, George Mitchell, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and Tony Blair, the international Middle east envoy and former British Prime Minsiter, in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Peace in a year? Try getting past Sept. 26. Or is it 30? Direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis have barely begun and already the sides are facing their first major hurdle — the end of Israel’s partial moratorium on settlement building. Several issues might beset… Read more »

Understanding the lost art of repentence and its urgency

Louis E. Newman (Courtesy of Jewish Lights Publishing)

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (JTA) — In the past several months I have had some version of the following exchange several times. I tell a friend that I’ve just finished a book on repentance, and they respond that they find the subject of forgiveness very interesting. It’s psychologically so much healthier… Read more »

Op-Ed: Holidays remind us of what we still need to do in Haiti

American Jewish World Servce President Ruth Messinger, shown here on a visit to Chad, says it's time to step up what we're doing in Haiti (Mia Farrow)

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, many of us are haunted by the ubiquitous liturgical refrain asking “Who shall live and who shall die?” As I sit in synagogue and hear these words chanted over and over again, I can’t help but question whether the… Read more »

Will talks be about appearance or substance?

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It’s a peace conference where nothing is off the table — or on it, for that matter. The Obama administration’s invitation to Palestinian and Israeli leaders to launch direct talks on Sept. 2 attempts to reconcile Israeli demands for no preconditions with Palestinian demands that the… Read more »

Article fuels speculation, debate over possible Israeli strike against Iran

If the United States doesn’t attack Iran’s nuclear facilities within the next eight months or so, Israel probably will. So says journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in the September issue of The Atlantic magazine in an article that is fueling debate and speculation among many Middle East experts. Goldberg bases his… Read more »

On conversion in Israel, Nativ program created for IDF shows there is a way

As the controversy over the conversion issue reached a fever pitch recently, a group of Israeli soldiers shuffled past flowerbeds into classrooms at the Jewish Agency’s Kiryat Moriah educational center in Jerusalem. Four hundred soldiers, many of them immigrants, come together from every army unit for 14 hours a… Read more »

Is a one-state solution, without Gaza, an answer to Greater Israel dreams?

In one of the more curious twists in Israeli politics, prominent figures on Israel’s right wing have begun pushing for a one-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians as equal citizens with full voting rights. The one-state solution previously had been the preserve of the post-Zionist left, Palestinian hard-liners and… Read more »

Op-Ed: The long arm of Iran endangers Israel and the West

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran targeted Argentina’s Jews in a horrific car bomb attack 16 years ago. Now, as Tehran infiltrates Latin America, its aim is broader — the Western Hemisphere. Iran, tahe world’s largest and most successful state sponsor of terror, has gotten away with one of its most… Read more »

Op-Ed: What the American Jewish Congress gave American Jews

Jerome A. Chanes (Courtesy of Brandeis University)

NEW YORK (Forward) — With the American Jewish Congress apparently closing its doors, there won’t be many mourners saying Kaddish. Instead, the prevailing communal sentiment will probably be: “We have too many agencies; one less will not matter.” The serious financial problems that had plagued the AJCongress over recent… Read more »

Direct talks are needed to advance peace

NEW YORK (JTA) — In the history of the State of Israel, never have there been preconditions for face-to-face peace talks. While it was not obligated to do so, the Israeli government last November ordered a 10-month freeze in new building projects in the West Bank. This sign of… Read more »

Toward a broader Israeli-Diaspora relationship

Danny Ayalon (Israel Foreign Ministry)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — “Every Jew, no matter how insignificant, is engaged in some decisive and immediate pursuit of a goal,” the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote nearly 200 years ago. Throughout history, Jews have numbered disproportionately among Nobel Prize laureates, acclaimed scientists, philosophers, economists and in many… Read more »

Overcome denial in Israel advocacy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Some people see the world not as it is but as they would like it to be. Psychologists have a term for this: They call it living in denial. Sadly, denial colors the way too many leaders of established institutions in the American Jewish community look… Read more »

Faisal Shahzad, jihadi, undercuts Obama, president

Jaw-dropping court testimony by Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, singlehandedly undermines Obama administration efforts to ignore the dangers of Islamism and jihad. Shahzad’s statements stand out because jihadis, when facing legal charges, typically save their skin by pleading not guilty or plea bargaining. Consider a few examples:… Read more »

Lamenting the gulf on Tisha B’av

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Alas, this year on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av, when we darken our mood and grieve our losses, should we add a lament for what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico? On a day when we acknowledge by chanting kinot, laments, the Jews… Read more »