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 »

Book sheds light on Hungarian Jewish history

Regarding “Emotional journey for Tucsonans on mission to Hungary, Israel” (AJP 10/1/10): For a comprehensive review of Jewish life in pre-World War 11 Hungary and the incredibly important role played by Jews who escaped from that country and made huge contributions to the worlds of science, art and literature… 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 »

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 »

Israel, a fall guy unto the nations?

Let’s not be fooled. The opening weeks of the United Nations General Assembly feature numerous side meetings between Jewish organizations and dozens of visiting dignitaries. Many of the Europeans, and possibly some Arab delegates as well, will be expressing sympathy if not encouragement for Israel’s potential need to attack… 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 »

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 »