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Qatar tries the Jewish angle

A strange consequence of the anti-Semitic belief that Jews have undue influence in America is that countries who want to influence the U.S. government try to ingratiate themselves with American Jews, or somehow show support for Israel. This may be behind Qatar’s courting a number of prominent American Jews, as reported by Hannah Dreyfus and Dan Friedman in Mother Jones. The writers detail how a Qatari diplomat and a Jewish restaurateur in New York worked together to court “conservative Jewish Americans who viewed the Arab state located on the Persian Gulf coast as a threat to Israel.”
Wednesday 06/20/2018
A change in the NoKo narrative
Posted: June 20, 2018

“If I have to say I’m sitting on a stage with Chairman Kim and that gets us to save 30 million lives — it could be more than that — I’m willing to sit on the stage.” It’s hard to argue with President Donald Trump’s logic regarding his summit last week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Certainly, smiles and photo ops are much better than saber rattling. So we congratulate Trump on his historic meeting.

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Wednesday 06/13/2018
Supreme Court decides narrowly
Posted: June 13, 2018

There was a slice for both sides in last week’s Supreme Court’s cake shop decision. Those who are concerned with government infringement on religious expression took heart — and even claimed victory — in the court’s conclusion that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed religious bias when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips, who turned down a gay couple wanting to order a wedding cake.

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The secret to unity
Posted: June 13, 2018

Here’s the secret to fostering unity in a Jewish community and for attracting people who have never been involved before: Bring all the rabbis together — all of them — for regular lunches and build among them a sense of trust and friendship. Then, have them get their congregations to drop their annual Purim carnivals and instead pool their resources for a massive community-wide carnival.

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Wednesday 06/06/2018
Poor choices for religious freedom commission
Posted: June 06, 2018

In a nod to his conservative evangelical base, President Donald Trump appointed longtime activist Gary Bauer to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom — an independent body that tracks religious freedoms overseas. Bauer will join fellow commission member Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, who has drawn criticism because of his past controversial statements about Muslims and the LGBTQ community.

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Tefillin rage
Posted: June 06, 2018

Fifteen years ago, anyone viewing the strange encounter between three Israelis, one of whom was putting on tefillin at Ben-Gurion Airport, would have had grist for an amusing story at dinner. But this is 2018. So last week’s confrontation between University of Maryland professor Pnina Peri, Chabad Rabbi Meir Herzl and business traveler Gad Kaufman drew much more attention, as it was recorded on a phone, posted online and spread virally.

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Wednesday 05/30/2018
So close, and yet so far
Posted: May 30, 2018

Anew study commissioned by the UJA-Federation of New York has concluded that a majority of Israelis believe that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not take into account the views of U.S. Jewish leaders with regard to religious pluralism issues such as prayer rights at the Kotel and the recognition of non-Orthodox conversions. A supermajority also says the Netanyahu government should ignore American Jewish attitudes on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Fraternities in trouble
Posted: May 30, 2018

Amidst a national conversation concerning the value and possibility of harm posed by the Greek fraternity and sorority system on college campuses across the United States, it may be time to reevaluate the utility of historically Jewish fraternities like Alpha Epsilon Pi and Sigma Alpha Mu.

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Wednesday 05/23/2018
Is it worth the gamble?
Posted: May 23, 2018

In a 6-3 ruling last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning gambling on sports, and made the choice to permit it a matter to be determined by each state. Given the power of the gaming lobby, the apparent human proclivity for gambling and the nearly irresistible pool of taxable wealth that legal gambling produces, it’s hard to imagine that states will not be welcoming of sports betting.

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