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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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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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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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Ten years ago, the Bridgestone Group, a nonprofit consulting firm, conducted a survey of nonprofits, and found that many  were operating without sufficient infrastructure. They found that many of the organizations had “nonfunctioning computers, staff members who lacked the training needed fo…

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The Kurds, who are the abused stepchildren of the Middle East, have been abandoned, once again, by an erstwhile ally — and this time, it is us.  

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There are a number of Jewish organizations around the country that focus their effort on pure Jewish engagement. They strive to help unaffiliated Jews identify with Judaism and find comfort with their Jewishness. They aren’t membership organizations, and don’t seek to enhance religious obser…

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We wish Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a full recovery from his heart attack last week. Remaining true to the relentless pursuit of his campaign themes, the 78-year-old tried to turn his sudden medical emergency into a plug for his Medicare-for-all policy. 

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With its win of 13 Knesset seats, the Arab-led Joint List doubled its size in September’s parliamentary election and became Israel’s third largest party. This represents a significant breakthrough for Israel’s 2 million-strong Arab minority, and could presage the blossoming of a new 21st-cen…

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Last last month, the United Nations issued a report on anti-Semitism that was characterized in the press as “unprecedented.” Titled “Combatting Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief,” the report was authored by Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. Special Rappor…

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The one thing we know for sure about last week’s Knesset elections is that, at least as of press time, no one knows the final configuration of Israel’s next governing coalition. But that doesn’t stop anyone from prognosticating about it in reaction to an Israeli electorate that has created a…

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Just ahead of this week’s elections in Israel, two personnel moves within the Trump administration raised concerns about possible effects of those developments on the “bromance” between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   

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The third time appears to have been the charm, as the Democratic Party was finally one of the winners in the continuing marathon of prime time debates among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. That result came none too soon. Party faithful were beginning to question the w…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Although we know what Israelis who oppose haredi Orthodox control of the chief rabbinate and other state bodies are against, it isn’t clear why are they against it and what they are trying to accomplish. In a penetrating column last week, Michael J. Koplow, policy director of the Israel Poli…

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One would think that the organizers of last Friday’s Dyke March in Washington, D.C., would have been anxious for support from participants of all stripes who wanted to join the march and carry a gay pride rainbow flag. But it turns out that if the flag also had a large Star of David displaye…

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It turns out that Prime Minister Netanyahu didn’t win Israel’s April Knesset elections after all. When the clock ran out last week, he was unable to form a parliamentary majority to lead a new government. Reports indicate that, at the 11th hour, he tested a number of different alliance and j…

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“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Robert Mueller declared last week, as he resigned as special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

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When 19-year-old American-born Michaela Levit died in Israel by her own hand this month, she became another lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces to die by suicide this year. The death of Levit, who made aliyah in 2017, has raised more questions about how the IDF treats its lone soldiers…

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In assessing the threat of rising anti-Semitism posed to Jews in Germany, the country’s commissioner on anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, was honest and forthcoming, even if his response to the problem was incomplete and unsatisfying. 

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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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