Opinion

Israeli Chief Rabbinate is thwarting religious expression, democratic principles

Rabbi Steven Wernick

We are saddened by the contempt that Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, expresses for Reform and Conservative Judaism at this High Holidays season. The Reform and Conservative movements in Israel are small but vibrant, and growing rapidly. This growth comes despite longstanding Israeli government policy… Read more »

In opposing conversion bill, U.S. Jews practice hypocrisy and hurt Israel

Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The media has reported the vehement opposition of the American Conservative and Reform movements and Jewish Federations of North America to the conversion bill proposed by Knesset member David Rotem. I find their opposition puzzling. Within the framework of halachah, or Jewish law, the Rotem bill expands the scope… 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 »

Lerner opinion disregards Israeli wrongdoing

I read the opinion of Rabbi Pesach Lerner in the September 3 issue of the AJP with incredulity. When I started reading this article, I was encouraged by the implication that reflection and self-examination are necessary to the work for peace in the Middle East. But for me, the… 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 »

L’chaim to the JCC’s Marty Johnston and his bride

I was delighted to see the wedding announcement of Marty Johnston and Sarah Ann Pruitt (AJP 8/6/10). Marty is indeed a righteous gentile and has enriched our community mightily in his 10 years at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. May he and Sarah have a long and happy life… 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 »

Lebanon points to flaw in one-state solution idea

The argument for a one-state solution where the West Bank, excluding Gaza, becomes part of Israel is no solution at all. In his opinion article in the AJP, Aug. 6, 2010 (“Is a one-state solution, without Gaza, an answer to Greater Israel dreams?”), Leslie Susser correctly notes the combined… Read more »

Lederman “trash can-diving” story is on the money

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Amy Hirshberg Lederman’s article, “Epiphany of small change inspires big changes” (AJP, 6/18/10). As a homeless advocate, I especially appreciate it. At Temple Emanu-El during Operation Deep Freeze I encourage meal providers to plan a meal as if they were… Read more »

Ground Zero Islamic Center deserves encouragement

As a Jew, I’m appalled at the xenophobic reaction of the Anti-Defamation League to the plans to build an Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero (“Jewish positions on proposed Ground Zero mosque reveal ambivalence,” AJP 8/6/10). The center has the support of Mayor Bloomberg, the New York interfaith community… 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 »

Dershowitz ‘yes’ on two states really a ‘no’

Alan Dershowitz wants in — to the “Community of Yes,” J Street’s new campaign to rally broad-based American support for meaningful presidential leadership to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that a major presidential effort will be required to achieve our goal — ensuring Israel’s security and future as… Read more »

J Street’s Israel TV ad smacks of McCarthyism

J Street, the leftist lobbying organization that claims to be pro-Israel, is running a television ad that divides the world into two groups: the good guys who support the two-state solution, the end of the occupation and peace; and the bad guys who oppose these results and instead favor… 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 »