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Almost two decades into the 21st century, few people — and they’re getting fewer with each passing day — deny that the scourge of anti-Semitism we so triumphantly relegated to the pages of the 20th century has reared its ugly head once more.

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Ever determined to get his wall, which he repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for, President Donald Trump has decided to “redirect” $3.6 billion from the Defense Department budget in order to build 170 miles of his “magnificent” border wall. That breaks down to $21 million and change p…

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Even more than Jerusalem, the city of Hebron, 17 miles to the south on the West Bank, is a captive of its history, to the detriment of many of its residents and to Israeli-Palestinian peace. To friends of Israel, the story of Hebron began when the patriarch Abraham purchased the Cave of Mach…

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Earlier this year, my wife attended a program on Jewish education. The presenter made a seemingly harmless joke: “A couple stopped having children after their fourth, because they read a study that said that every fifth child born in America is Asian.”

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According to the Republican Party in New York’s upstate Rockland County, a storm is brewing. In a Facebook video, with ominous music to set the mood, the GOP warned that “they” will “change our life.”

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Is it possible to overcome one’s sense of outrage and trauma in order to empathize with the suffering of another? And what if the “other” is not your friend, and may even have been complicit in bringing you pain? These are just two of the questions the new HBO series “Our Boys” presents to I…

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Last week the Trump administration proposed an expansion of the exemption that allows federal contractors who claim to be acting under principles of religious practice to hire and fire employees based upon their religious beliefs. The proposed regulation has generated significant comment fro…

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Last week President Donald Trump bemoaned the state of the Democratic Party, saying, “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Given that roughly 80% of the Jewish population votes Democrat, the remark quickly…

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As an Ashkenazi Jew, I grew up with an inherent nostalgia for an Eastern European diet. It was not that long ago that our grandparents and great-grandparents wrestled with starvation, migration, the Holocaust. And heavy, hearty fare sometimes meant the difference between life and death. We c…

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It’s hard to take Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seriously. And he hasn’t done much in the past several years to convince anyone that he deserves different treatment. Yet political leaders from around the world who visit Israel regularly meet with him to pay appropriate respect to the t…

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Finding the proper balance between politics and policy can be difficult. But for seasoned politicians, it is usually second nature. Except when it isn’t. That’s what played out last week when Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his administration bumbled, stumbled and fumbled th…

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I travelled to Israel alone this past spring as part of my sabbatical. My goal was to meet with organizations and leaders modeling collaboration between peoples otherwise cast in conflict. I came to experience a different, more hopeful reality between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, one we’re…

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What is it going to take for President Donald Trump to recognize the need for reasonable gun control policies and to say the words and take the actions necessary for appropriate federal legislation to be enacted? And why is he having such difficulty serving as the “comforter in chief” when a…

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The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (“UNRWA”) was created in 1949 as a relief and human development agency to support Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes during Israel’s war of independence. Although originally crea…

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During last week’s second round of Democratic debates, we got to spend more time with the 20 highest scoring competitors for the party’s presidential nomination. Each tried to cram detailed policy positions and “attack zingers” into one-minute answers to moderator questions, and 15-second re…

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Last week the Senate confirmed Kelly Knight Craft as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That position has been vacant since the popular and successful Nikki Haley stepped down last December. While we hope that Craft is up to the task of continuing the Haley legacy — as she pledged during…

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A divided country greeted the Trump administration’s decision last week to revive federal executions. The five death row inmates now slated to receive an injection of pentobarbital, an acutely toxic barbiturate, in December will be the first men put to death on federal charges since 2003.

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President Trump’s nasty attack on the city of Baltimore last weekend, calling it a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" where "no human being would want to live," hit hard for anyone who’s been offended by his numerous recent attacks on people of color and those who cherish America’s m…

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Given that I’m a Republican, you’d think I’d be supportive of the federal government’s decision to reinstate capital punishment.

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As Av approaches, and with it the Nine Days, we are drawn to the Kotel — in our souls, with our bodies or, for some, both. We recall destruction that arose from sinat chinam, baseless hatred, and we wonder, as is exclaimed in the Book of Eicha (Lamentations): “Eicha? How? How did hatred amon…

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As a liberal Manhattan writer and teacher, I applauded the House vote to condemn President Donald Trump’s comments that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar should “go back” to where they came from.

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It is in the social DNA of most Jewish Americans to support liberal causes. Unlike other American groups, Jewish Americans have remained loyal to the Democratic Party even as their affluence has increased. Operating under the mandate of tikkun olam, Jews have been at the forefront of almost …

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In a ruling last week, Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court made clear that DNA testing cannot be used to answer the religious and politically sensitive question of who is a Jew. The court recognized that DNA testing results are vague and don’t identify a flashing Jewish gene that would nail do…

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In Israel’s April elections, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s New Right party — the product of a political partnership with former Education Minister Naftali Bennet — was not able to achieve the election threshold, and evaporated. Now, three months later, Shaked seems to be more popul…

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President Trump did what seemed nearly impossible this week, sinking to a new low in demanding that four Democratic congresswomen “go back” to their countries of origin. The president’s racist attacks on sitting members of the House of Representatives were awful enough at first blush. And th…

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Israel’s education minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, has only been in his job a month, and already he has made headlines for disparaging LGBTQ people, Diaspora Jews and the Holocaust.

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Jeffrey Epstein is a bad man. But he’s not bad because he is a billionaire who lives large; he’s not bad because he is Jewish; and he’s not bad because of his famous friends, political buddies and philanthropic partners — although, from the breathless press reports about him over the past we…

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To be quite frank, I am not exactly sure where I should start. This year on the Aardvark Gap Year Program has been full of long nights, unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships, all while being in the beautiful Holy Land of Israel. This past year I can definitely tell you that God has…

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During our recent board of governors meeting of the Jewish Agency for Israel, our new executive, Yitzhak Herzog, reminded us of our history that began in 1929 before pre-statehood Palestine. The original purpose of the Jewish Agency was to coordinate the activities of the various organizatio…

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Soft power describes how communities and countries exert influence through persuasion. Soft power is how countries and communities use the attractiveness of their culture, values and institutions as a means to enhance their strength and standing. By contrast, hard power implies compelling ac…

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For as long as any of us can remember, our country’s Independence Day observance has been marked by traditional patriotism: barbecues, flag-waving, fireworks, local parades and all manner of family and community gatherings. It has been a warm, unthreatening, self-satisfying celebration that …

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Jewish-organization watchers were surprised last week by the apparent collapse of The Israel Project, more often known as TIP, which describes itself as “the only organization dedicated to changing people’s minds about Israel through cutting-edge strategic communications.” First came reports…

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In the view of some ardent defenders of the separation between religion and state, there was no doubt that a war memorial in the form of a 40-foot-tall cross should not be allowed to stay on state property in Bladensburg, Md. Some Jews saw the presence of the so-called “Peace Cross” on land …

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The point of remembering the Holocaust is not to say that it was an utterly distinctive event in human history. Every historical event is distinctive in some ways, but systematic genocide of a people has, sadly, been found at many times and places in human history.

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Last week’s Democratic “debates” — featuring 20 contenders in four hours of Q&A over two successive nights of prime time broadcast — introduced the country to a number of formidable, experienced, intelligent and passionate presidential contenders. And while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth W…

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Last week, Gary Rosenblatt, the editor and publisher of the New York Jewish Week, announced his retirement. In the world of Jewish journalism, the news was significant. It marked the beginning of another chapter in the development of our industry.

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A 2017 UNICEF report revealed that Israel has the third-highest children’s poverty rate in the developed world, behind Mexico and Chile. One-third of Israeli children reside in poverty. The government has failed to aggressively aid impoverished Israeli citizens. According to a 2016 report, t…

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In contemporary usage, the phrase “concentration camp” means one thing: the place the Nazis and their allies sent Jews and others they considered undesirable for forced labor and mass execution. Although there are historical uses of the words that relate to other mass detention situations, t…

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One of the strange consequences of the recent changes in U.S. tax law is the imposition of an obligation to pay taxes on otherwise tax-exempt organizations. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act requires nonprofits — including synagogues, social service agencies and day schools —to pay a business i…

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On grocery store checkout lines around the country this month, amid the candy bars and zany tabloids, shoppers will find a glossy 96-page magazine called “Anne Frank: Her Life and Legacy.” The publication, compiled by the staff of Life magazine, is filled with photographs of Anne and her fam…

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Only in Israel can you be gay, a government minister and — most revolutionary of all — right-wing. This new, good kind of “intersectionality” is a strong indication that we are not merely “the only democracy in the Middle East,” but one of the most advanced democracies in the world.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is viewed by most as a stalwart, rational and articulate friend of the state of Israel, who is laser-focused on maximizing the mutual benefits of the U.S.- Israel relationship. As one of the vocal supporters of Trump administration policies, he is known to have t…

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Jewish umbrella organizations are not the same as the individual groups they represent. As such, the relationship between the organization and its members can be complex — depending on the sensitivity of leadership and how far the membership is ready or willing to go.

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So now it’s come to this. Proving yet again that despite the unlimited creativity of human ingenuity and the equally unlimited potential of the human spirit, we are unfortunately powerless to stop the destructive power of nature and human ignorance, we have managed to rewind the clock to the…

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