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With the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump beginning in the U.S. Senate this week, our country enters a solemn process under the Constitution that requires care, seriousness of purpose and fairness. The Senate is obligated to get it right. All 100 members of the Senate have the …

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As leaders from more than 40 countries gathered in Jerusalem this week for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is worth reviewing the changes to Israel’s role in the fight against global anti-Semitism over the past half century. It…

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I was a 30-year-old part-time proofreader without a journalism degree when I was offered my first job as an editor at a weekly newspaper. It was 1998, and our paper was one of the largest alternative newsweeklies in the U.S.  

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According to a recent report, the majority of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area — nearly two thirds of them — have been carried out by young people. Within the dark cloud of the distressing increase in such attacks, there are those who see a ray of hope — the possibility of sensitizi…

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Very few people in the Western world mourned the recent targeted assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief mastermind of Iranian aggression and terror efforts. But there was widespread questioning in the midst of bellicose finger pointing and threats, seeking to understand where…

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The fires that have been raging through Australia are devastating. And they have been the focus of much discussion about climate change and the need for vigilance, careful planning and an increased focus on ecological issues. Nonetheless, there are still those who refuse to acknowledge the e…

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These last weeks of continuous attacks on Jewish communities left me feeling somber, overwrought, scared. But not surprised. In many ways, this seems like the inevitable continuation of a wave we have been riding for the past years. Nationalist and anti-Jewish rhetoric, whether blatant or im…

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I reserved the siyum tickets on day 2,637. The 13th worldwide siyum, or completion, of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud, the oral commentary on the written Torah, was scheduled on Jan. 1, 2020, at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, and my husband was studiously poised to complete his fir…

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The assassination last week of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief mastermind of Iranian aggression and terror efforts, caused little sorrow among those who have watched Iran’s expansion and its heated threats against Israel, the U.S. and Western allies. But after learning that Sol…

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On Sunday, Jan. 5, a huge crowd responded to the call from UJA-Federation of New York to march against anti-Semitism. The sense of threat is so pervasive at this moment that Jewish Federations and other organizations bused thousands from other states and locales to march in solidarity with t…

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My husband and I have been watching them for several years, a small but growing Chasidic community living in one of the grittier parts of Jersey City, New Jersey. On the rare occasions when I pass Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in my car, I see young mothers pushing their strollers.

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We recently visited Israel, accompanying four members of Congress — Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), Peter Welch (Vermont), Andy Levin (Michigan) and Deborah Halland (New Mexico) — and 11 J Street leaders. Our goal was to see and hear a wide range of views on the political relationships between Is…

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Jews often observe that “our” New Year comes in the fall, not on Jan. 1. But Jan. 1, 2020, became a very special day of Jewish celebration — not of the Earth’s annual trip around the sun, but of something that goes to the core of Jewish culture and identity. At MetLife Stadium in New Jersey …

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Within our tradition, there are a number of ways of looking at Judaism. It’s founded, of course, upon a belief system with religious components, but it’s also composed of social, cultural, intellectual, political and national characteristics. Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan pulled them all together w…

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The Washington Post recently published The Afghanistan Papers — hundreds of interviews collected by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction and obtained by the Post after a three-year court battle. The bottom line, according to Richard Boucher, an assistant secretary of …

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Not long ago, if one were to have denied chicken-matzah-ball soup, meat-based cholents or kibbeh their due place on the Jewish table — not to mention Passover’s boiled eggs — they might have been dismissed for having no respect for Jewish cuisine or culture. This has changed in recent decade…

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It was an off-the-cuff comment during the Q&A portion of a recent Jewish leadership program. The event featured a panel discussion on media and narrative, but the opening question to the panelists was "How has anti-Semitism affected you?" In the course of the discussion, panelists talked…

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My grandmother, Nonna Anny, was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924. When Austria was annexed by Germany and Kristallnacht occurred in 1938, she was 14 years old. Nonna Anny was the second-oldest of five siblings. They did not have the means to escape Austria and​ needed a financial sponsor to …

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Next week, Jews across the world will celebrate one of the most improbable triumphs against anti-Semitism in our history. The miraculous victory of the Maccabees illustrates that, when Jews stand together, there is no threat too great for us to overcome.

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The executive order that President Donald J. Trump signed at the White House Chanukah party last week is designed to protect students from an increasing number of disturbing acts of anti-Semitism on campus by withholding federal funds from colleges and universities that do not prevent or inv…

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Last week, two gunmen killed four people, including two Chasidic Jews, at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, continuing the onslaught of horrific anti-Semitic events that have victimized and traumatized our community. Shortly after that targeted shooting, The Atlantic published a pi…

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The end of December is fast approaching, and with it comes the thrill of a new year starting. For some people this brings concerns for what may be: an increase in hate incidents and/or crimes and in hate speech both online and on the streets.  

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Israel’s secular founders believed they were making the state more inclusive when they ceded authority over religious observance issues to the new state’s small Orthodox community. As the country’s haredi population has grown, however, and its control over religious rules in the state have t…

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We subscribe to the view the justice must be tempered with mercy. That holds true for decisions made by judges, by government and by each of us. And it means looking carefully at the collateral impact of decisions that affect people’s lives, and taking those consequences into account.  

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When the Jewish world cycles back to our founding generations, we find in the Torah behavior by the patriarchs that is awkward as well as disturbing. Three times the Torah presents a story about a husband and wife traveling as strangers through an alien culture. Each story involves the husba…

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The Holocaust not only took the lives of millions of Jews, it also took their assets. More than 70 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, many survivors have still not recovered what they are owed under their families’ insurance policies that covered property, accounts and tangibles which w…

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Our Jewish community has focused heavily in the past several years on safety and security issues. With the rise in anti-Semitic incidents here and abroad, and mounting concerns about the reach and influence of purveyors of hate and discrimination, we need to be vigilant and proactive, and pr…

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In overt and in subtle ways, so many of our Jewish institutions and communities have let dominant narratives dictate who is a Jew. Too often, Jews of color enter Jewish space that has been shaped by assumptions of whiteness that transform safe, communal and warm spaces into places fraught wi…

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As we go to press on Monday, four days after Israel’s attorney general indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption, Netanyahu remains defiant, calling the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust an “attempted coup.“ And now, Israel’s longest-serving leader is searching fo…

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When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week a pivot from the international consensus that Israeli settlements violate international law, we got another indication that the Trump administration’s still-secret Middle East peace plan will not promote a two-state solution. Official r…

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The Department of State under President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has corrected U.S. Middle East policy in an important way.

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Poland’s government won an important victory on the battleground of history last week. It succeeded in persuading the entertainment-streaming service Netflix to amend a newly released World War II-based documentary that implied, through one of its maps, that the six extermination centers bui…

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When the House of Representatives voted to sanction Turkey for its recent military operation in Syria, the bill targeting the country’s leaders, financial institutions and its military’s access to financing and arms passed by a veto-proof and bipartisan majority of 403-16.

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What’s behind last week’s European Court of Justice ruling that Israeli goods produced in settlements on the West Bank must be labeled that they are from occupied territory and not from Israel itself? We ask this question because the ruling reflects a disconcerting bias against Israel and gi…

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The Jewish Chronicle in London (the leading Jewish newspaper in the UK) had an unusual front page last week. Atop the page was a bold banner headline: “To all our fellow British citizens,” followed by a sub-headline which read “This front page is addressed not to our usual readers — but to t…

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The depth of the Tree of Life tragedy hit home immediately. I knew within minutes that morning I would know some of the victims, having been to the synagogue for events for over 20 years and knowing friends who belonged to three congregations. I spent that week with as many of the victims’ f…

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For 50 years, Sh’ma was a journal that asked questions and promoted discussion about Judaism and the Jewish world, exploring ideas that challenged conventional, mainstream Jewish thinking. When it was announced last week that the next issue of the publication — which migrated in recent years…

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What has been marketed as a “rebranding” of the 90-year old Jewish Agency for Israel is more than the cosmetic change than the word suggests. At its board of governors meeting in Jerusalem last week, the venerable quasi-governmental body adopted a new focus and direction, but not a name change. 

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I have been the rabbi of the New Light Congregation in Pittsburgh for nine years. This year, at Kol Nidre services on Yom Kippur, I preached about calm.

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When Israel’s Kachol-Lavan party leader Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff but a political “newbie,” accepted the mandate to form the next government in Israel, he was lauded for “looking prime ministerial” and touted by elements of the media as a refreshing change from Prime Minister …

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Jews in America are afraid. Or at least they’re profoundly anxious about their security. Whereas stories of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic violence were once upsetting memories of a distant past, today’s reality seems to be that American exceptionalism hasn’t snuffed out anti-Semitism. And in t…

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The deaths last week of two prominent men — with very different backgrounds, career paths and areas of involvement and interest — were a significant loss to our local, national and international communities. 

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We continue to search for the direction and focus of the Trump administration’s policy objectives and goals in Syria. Up until the beginning of this month, we thought we understood things — opposition to the Assad regime’s brutality and use of chemical weapons, the defeat of ISIS, al-Qaida a…

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Bernie Madoff is certainly the most infamous of the residents at North Carolina’s Butner Federal Correctional Facility, but, scanning the congregation at the outset of the Kol Nidre service, we realized that he likely wouldn’t be making it to minyan this year. This elicits an audible sigh of…

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