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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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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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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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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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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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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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Among key issues that have collapsed the 21st Knesset before its ministers have even been sworn into their positions is the enlistment, or lack of, haredim serving in the military. As part of legacy agreements established and signed at the creation of modern-day Israel between leading rabbis…

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Abortion again. The never-ending legal struggle goes on. Unfortunately, it is a struggle that tends to suppress the possibility of reasoned moral conversations. Consumed with the issue of rights (on both sides), there is little patience for more nuanced ethical concerns.

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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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When I was born with cerebral palsy, my parents knew that I would encounter obstacles that neither they nor my peers had to navigate. Aside from the frustration that inevitably results from navigating an inaccessible world, having a visible disability means I also feel a constant need to pro…

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The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix accepted ownership of the Jewish News in 2016, out of our commitment to serve and support a vibrant local community. We are not publishers by training or trade, but we took on the risks and challenges of ensuring that the Valley’s oldest Jew…

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Filmmaker Steven Spielberg told NBC News he thinks society must take the possibility of genocide more seriously now than it has in the past generation. In an interview marking the 25th anniversary of “Schindler’s List,” Spielberg referred to the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogu…

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This week the national press has continued to keep the heat on Saudi Arabia as more details about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have made it clear that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman probably ordered the killing. The outrageous slaying of Khashoggi, a resident of the United Stat…

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I had the honor of speaking last month at Pittsburgh’s Women’s March. While the national leadership was under intense scrutiny, many felt it important that the local march embraced two Jewish speakers: Rebecca Glickman, a 17-year-old who mentioned the names of every victim of the Tree of Lif…

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In Phoenix, indeed nationally, the Jewish and Muslim populations are not known for their closeness. Most often, geopolitical events and a mutual suspicion are at the root of this condition. As humble figures only looking to build and heal the rifts within our communities, it is significant t…

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The Torah portion of this week has a mitzvah that teaches us to lend money to the poor and needy. The words used in the Torah are “im kesef talve,” which typically translates to “if you lend money.” Rabbi Eliezer teaches that there are four times in the Torah that the word “im” translates to…

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The lead up to the Women’s March held two weeks ago exposed yet another rift in the American Jewish body politic. In the face of the controversy over March founders Tamika Mallory’s and Linda Sarsour’s associations with Louis Farrakhan and their various pronouncements on Jews and Jewish issu…

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