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My late mother, Shirley Friedberg Neustein, was a childhood friend of Herman Wouk. In the 1920s and ’30s Wouk attended the boys division of a Zionist camp (Keeyuma/Carmelia), which was picturesquely situated on Lake Champlain in Milton, Vermont. They kept up until my mother died in 2001. 

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As part of my executive MBA curriculum, I had the option to travel to one of three international sites — Israel, Brazil, or Colombia — for a weeklong, global business immersion. Wanting to venture where I had never been, I chose Israel. It turned out to be one of the most important and inspi…

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It is a sunny Friday morning and I am visiting Al-Tuwani, a small Palestinian village in the West Bank. Around us some children are playing, others are moving sheep and goats to graze, and women are hanging laundry to dry. If you knew nothing about the conflict occurring here you would descr…

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Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in the history of the state of Israel. And if he has his way, he may never give up his post.  

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There is a clear national consensus on the need for immigration reform. And there is hope that, even in the highly politicized environment of Capitol Hill, serious people will engage on the issues and work toward a solution with the give and take inherent in any meaningful negotiation — keep…

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According to the World Health Organization, suicide remains among the leading causes of death for teens. When I became a teacher, I never envisioned the emails to attend funerals for former students. I received one recently regarding a young man who was enrolled in my eighth-grade class just…

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I ran into an old friend about three weeks after the Tree of Life massacre, a former Pittsburgher, who wanted to talk about the events of Oct. 27, when a white supremacist gunman murdered 11 Jewish congregants during Shabbat services. In particular, she wanted to know about one of the surviv…

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Fifty-six years ago, the Israeli Knesset established Yom Hazikaron as the Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers. It is poignantly observed the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut — Israeli Independence Day — to make clear how intertwined personal sacrifice is with the existence of the state. Over time, …

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Last week, around the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Iran announced it would restart a portion of its halted nuclear program. The Trump administration responded by announcing “new” sanctions. 

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In the face of another murderous attack on a U.S. synagogue, Jewish Americans are again reeling. Six months after the slaughter of Shabbat worshipers in a peaceful community in Pittsburgh, our community was struck again. We are now mourning Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was shot dead in her synagog…

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There are no words for the experience of commemorating the horrific death, together with Holocaust survivors, on the sacred grounds of the Birkenau extermination camp, where more than 1 million Jews were sent to the gas chambers and crematoriums just 75 years ago.

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In a free society like the one in which we are privileged to live, there is often a need to find a balance between individual freedom and public security. Our community got its first taste of that tension after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when bollards went up around Jewish institu…

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The April 26 cartoon in the New York Times International Edition showing a blind kippah-wearing President Trump being led by Prime Minister Netanyahu in the body of a dachshund seeing-eye dog was plainly anti-Semitic. That was really bad. And then, just three days later, as the Times was str…

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There are only two countries in the world that currently have a Jewish prime minister and a Jewish president. The fact that Israel is one is no surprise. But the fact that Ukraine is the other is a remarkable piece of news.  

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In coming out forcefully at a rally against the kind of anti-Semitism that appears to have motivated last Saturday’s deadly attack at Chabad of Poway outside San Diego, President Donald Trump did the right thing. And the president further demonstrated sensitivity in the aftermath by speaking…

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Do we need a Congressional Jewish Caucus, a group of Jewish legislators in the House and Senate who meet to discuss issues of importance to American Jews? 

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At Passover, Jews mark the beginning of the journey. On Friday, the seventh day of the holiday, we read Shirat Hayam and reenact the crossing of the Reed Sea. This iconic moment, after the Exodus from Egypt with Pharaoh’s forces on one side and the raging sea on the other, is the moment of t…

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Last week, the New York University Chapter of the pro-BDS and anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine received NYU’s President’s Service Award. According to NYU, the annual award goes to selected campus clubs and individuals to honor them for “commitment to civic engagement and s…

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While it’s no longer news that anti-Semitic acts are on the rise in this country, the Pew Research Center has found that awareness of anti-Semitism is increasing, as well. According to a new Pew study released last week, 64 percent of Americans say Jews face at least some discrimination. Tha…

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It is ironic that for a contest whose results promise more of the same, the balloting numbers in Israel’s election last week suggest a potential  break with the past.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a decisive electoral victory at the polls despite tying with main rival Benny Gantz.While both the ruling Likud Party and challenging Blue and White Party are each scheduled to receive 35 mandates in the 21st Knesset, the results are not nearly a…

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What is it about sanctuary cities that has prompted such heated exchanges between supporters and opponents, and why is President Donald Trump threatening to send detained immigrants to sanctuary cities represented by Democrats?  Are the two sides engaged in a legitimate debate, or is this mo…

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Despite pending corruption indictments and a formidable opposition party of three former chiefs of staff, Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection for the fourth time in a row and is likely to become the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel. He demonstrated again magical capabilities in politic…

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Measles — the childhood scourge that many believed was largely relegated to history — has made a significant resurgence both in Israel and in the United States. While there are pockets of concern around the country, much of the press concerning the troubling uptick in reports of the virus ha…

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In recent years, the national conversation regarding identity and rights has brought a number of old myths about transgender individuals back to the forefront. From bathrooms to the military to high school proms, these myths continue to haunt the discussion, turning those who don’t fit a pro…

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The return of Israel Defense Forces Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Baumel’s body for proper burial in Israel 37 years after his death was a poignant piece of positive news last week.

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Mid-March was filled with a great deal of excitement and energy for Jewish day school educators, and I’m not simply talking about the festivities associated with Purim. Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools held its biannual conference in Atlanta, and I attended with my Jewish Education Inn…

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, has a tumultuous history.  It is a law that most Republicans and many Democrats love to hate, but upon which an ever-increasing number of Americans rely for essential health care coverage.  

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President Trump’s March 21 tweet that “it is time … to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty” over the Golan Heights may have been timed to help the reelection efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it also set off a flurry of debate about the issue. That debate only intens…

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Long before social media, texting and phone calls, we had regular face-to-face conversation. The stakes were high with face-to-face conversation because substantial disagreement could lead to physical altercation. Those involved in conversation would attempt to measure their words and strive…

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When word got out about the horrific March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand that left 50 dead and 50 more injured, the reaction in the United States was predictable. Messages of condolence were issued, mixed with healthy doses of anger, emotion and righteous proclamations that…

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There is little question that AIPAC has an extraordinary record of success in promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship. And the rising number of participants of all ages, colors, faiths and political stripes in AIPAC’s yearly Policy Conference — more than 18,000 gathered this week in Washingto…

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Last week, President Trump continued his assault on decency and honesty in our political discourse by falsely claiming that American Jews are leaving the Democratic Party. He tweeted a quote from a new group called “Jexodus,” which is nothing more than a political front for Republicans aimin…

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In a society that seems to grow coarser by the moment, word last week that a number of rich and famous people were being charged in a bribery and cheating scheme designed to get their children accepted into elite universities still caused quite a stir.

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In the run-up to the April 9 elections in Israel, there are several issues that are drawing public attention. In addition to the traditional focus on security, potential peace plans, economic issues, settlements, political posturing and coalition building, there is the lingering issue of Isr…

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Israel’s political system is actively preparing for the general elections expected to take place on April 9, 2019. The campaign for Parliament is underway, and the Israeli political system is starting to look like a boxing arena, with large parties viciously attacking one another, and small …

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Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the Somali-American politician who made history last fall by becoming one of just two Muslim women to ever be elected to Congress, bemoans that she’s misunderstood. Who can blame her?

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In largely Roman Catholic countries, Carnival bears a superficial resemblance to the upcoming Jewish festival of Purim. It is a raucous time of merrymaking and frivolity, where pieties are overturned and authority has its pants pulled down. The “celebration” comes immediately before the aust…

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During a recent visit to Paris, I walked over to Place du Trocadéro, the large plaza so familiar to tourists seeking the best views of the Eiffel Tower. However, rather than view the Eiffel Tower, I walked a few steps to the south and ventured into the large Passy Cemetery to see the elabora…

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Everyone knows about Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. Israel’s invincible leader, soon to be the longest-serving prime minister in history — except, apparently, Benny Gantz didn’t get that memo, since Benny has just pulled ahead of Netanyahu in the latest polls.

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In Jerusalem last week, the Jewish Agency’s board of governors was presented with an idea for taking the desire of young Diaspora Jews to do good in the world and channeling it into service to the Jewish people. Through service projects, young Jewish adults will be able to enhance their Jewi…

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had a most impressive run. He will soon be the longest serving prime minister in the state’s history. He has led the country to extraordinary economic growth, legendary military and intelligence status and impressive foreign policy achievement — …

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Israel’s political system is actively preparing for the general elections expected to take place on April 9th, 2019. The campaign for Parliament is underway, and the elections are in nearly all headlines and debates in the media. The Israeli political system is starting to look like a boxing…

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Throughout my career, I have been a practitioner of public diplomacy. I did so as a press officer for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, directing media and public diplomacy outreach across a five-state region during the Second Intifada and Gaza Disengagement. More recently, I…

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