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What is the proper role of the federal government in local law enforcement activity? Two different programs being pursued by the Trump administration highlight the potential benefits and some real concerns that can come from such involvements.

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Since Israel’s emergency government was formed in May, the problems have only gotten worse. Last week, there was talk of another national election by the end of 2020 — the fourth in the span of two years.

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“Beloved” is an apt word to describe John Lewis. He was more than a member of Congress, more than a civil rights leader and more than a friend of the Jewish people. Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who died July 17 at the age of 80, possessed an unusual combination of strength, courage, modesty, …

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Once you get past the schadenfreude, one could almost feel sorry for the New York Times. With the very public and searing announcement by op-ed staff editor and writer Bari Weiss of the reasons for her resignation from the paper, the curtain has been pulled back from the Gray Lady, leaving t…

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Peter Beinart, the journalist and political columnist, asks in an essay published last week in Jewish Currents: “What makes someone a Jew — not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing — today?” He answers: “In haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftis…

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July 1 has come and gone. That was the date Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set for moving ahead with Israel’s annexation of 30% of the West Bank. Perhaps it was a ploy to rally his base. Or maybe it was perceived as an opportunity to execute on a lifelong dream, which was sidetracked by t…

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Four months ago, all of our schools were forced to close. That unexpected development required area educators to adapt their efforts to teach our children in ways they may have thought about, but never expected to invoke in the middle of the school year. Distance learning became part of our …

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A state does not have to fund private schools. But if it does direct public funds to private schools, it may not discriminate against private religious schools. That’s the essence of last week’s common-sense 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

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Rep. Eliot Engel’s loss last week in a New York Democratic primary after 31 years in office is perhaps the most visible sign of the generational and ideological changes the party is undergoing. It also suggests that 2020 may be the year of Black candidates, as 2018 was the year of the woman.…

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which was particularly brutal in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prohibited overnight camps from opening this summer. The theory is that the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks outweighs the need for children to get away to camp after months of lockdown at home. But n…

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For more than 30 years, charismatic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has spewed hatred and vitriol against Jews, white people and the LGBTQ community. And while he appears to be an equal opportunity hater, there is clearly a special place in his arsenal of blasphemy reserved for the Je…

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Why is food rotting in farmers’ fields while millions of Americans are facing food insecurity? Why are we forcing vulnerable people to line up for hours and place themselves in unsafe conditions to receive vital nutrition assistance?Why are policymakers hesitating to use every tool at their …

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will put the question of Israel annexing about 30% of the West Bank to a government vote as early as July 1. As that date draws closer, critics are struggling to understand why a unilateral move is necessary, and supporters are struggling…

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There is no constitutional requirement that a president be the country’s consoler in chief, but there is a long history of presidential empathy.

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Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon recently made an awkward but admirable attempt to address his own perceived acts of racism and, in contrition, focused nearly his entire show on interviews with prominent African Americans and civil rights activists. He asked his guests what whites can …

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It may be hard to believe, but it was once considered unseemly for a U.S. presidential candidate to be seen campaigning for the job. Instead, a candidate would sit on his porch at home, welcoming supporters and collecting endorsements. While we have moved away from that more passive approach…

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The coronavirus has shaken the world. It has brought us worry, fear and helplessness. While sheltering in place, we have been searching for a better understanding of the virus, and anxious about prospects for resolution. These concerns have heightened our need for leadership, guidance and a …

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It almost sounded like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message to the Israeli people was something like: “Be careful what you wish for.” Instead, what he said in his Knesset speech as Israel’s 34th government was sworn in was: “The public wants a unity government and this is what the pub…

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The first jolt of the coronavirus pandemic hit young people just as the country was learning the scope of the danger. Schools were closed. Malls were closed. Extracurricular activities were canceled. And kids were forced to distance from their friends.

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Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty. The promise of religious liberty and religious freedom. American Jewish history begins with these images and concepts.

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The coronavirus pandemic has prompted serious review by governments, businesses, organizations and communities of various aspects of their day-to-day operations, as each seeks to innovate or adjust in an effort to protect public health and safety.

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There’s a good reason why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank is being criticized by friends of Israel on the left, right and center. That’s because it’s a bad idea. As described in a New York Times op-ed by Daniel Pipes, one of Israel’s more forceful rig…

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India has been called the world’s largest democracy. With its billion-plus citizens, it was founded as a secular democracy to be shared by a multiplicity of groups, languages and religions.

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Joe Biden, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, has a problem. Those competing in the vice-presidential sweepstakes to join the Biden ticket as his running mate have a problem. Most of all, the Democratic Party has a problem. What the Democratic Party has touted in t…

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The emergency government agreed to last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz promises to free Israel from the political paralysis it has endured for more than a year. With no majority coalition achieved by either leader after three elections, and with COV…

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None of us has ever seen anything like COVID-19 before. So we have no handbooks to tell us how we should respond to something so debilitating that demands intense initiative and creativity. Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals within our communities that have responded with e…

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The London Jewish Chronicle used to bill itself as “The Most Widely Read Jewish Newspaper in the World.” That was true. The Chronicle was founded in 1841, and was the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper anywhere. After the advent of the internet, it struggled like other publicatio…

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In the last several days, noisy demonstrators appeared in various state capitals, including Phoenix and Annapolis, calling for governors to lift stay-at-home orders and allow people to go back to work. The underlying sentiment is understandable. Everyone wants to get out of lockdown. And we …

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Frida Wattenberg led an extraordinary life before her death in Paris on April 3 at 95. She was a teenager when Nazis invaded her homeland of France, and not even 20 when she began the dangerous work of smuggling Jewish children out of France into Switzerland. After World War II, she served a…

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With the breakdown in coalition negotiations last weekend between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, Israel faces another period of political uncertainty. But no matter how things play out, it is clear that Israel’s historic founding L…

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While there are encouraging signs of international cooperation in dealing with strategies to contain and efforts to treat COVID-19, there is no clear international leadership orchestrating the global defense effort. Instead, it falls to each country to assess the situation, learn from the ex…

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It’s hard to believe that just four weeks ago, as we celebrated Purim, our schools were working through a particularly rough flu season and synagogues were running full programs and services. We knew a little about the novel coronavirus, but not much. And we certainly didn’t know what to expect.

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The unity government being negotiated in Israel is both a response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to avoid a fourth national election in the period of a year. And while the political partnership between rivals Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party …

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It is often said that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They include hair salons, restaurants, dry cleaners, convenience stores, accounting and law firms, and many businesses in

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Over the past several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our lives. With schools, houses of worship and most retail shuttered, and with so many cities and states on lockdown, we all look for new routines and rituals that can approximate a sense of normalcy. That’s not easy to…

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Benjamin Netanyahu — Israel’s caretaker prime minister who has now been through three elections in less than a year, and still presides over a fractured governmental structure — ended last week with an offer to opposition Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to join in a national unity deal wit…

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At the beginning of last week, Jews were celebrating the festive holiday of Purim — with only limited COVID-19 concerns. But by week’s end, things got a lot more serious. State and local governments and the CDC issued edicts restricting communal gatherings; schools and synagogues announced t…

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The coronavirus — or COVID-19 — is an equal-opportunity villain. The medical world doesn’t yet know how lethal the flu-like virus is, nor is there a vaccine to prevent or mitigate it. The virus continues to spread, and the worldwide death toll rises. While every life is precious, it is still…

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Last week, the World Health Organization raised its global health assessment of the spread and impact of COVID-19, or coronavirus, to its highest alert level. New cases are confirmed every day, the stock market is struggling, and dust and surgical masks are sold out. As of press time, the de…

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Three months ago, Benny Gantz turned down an offer to join a unity government with Likud, under which Benjamin Netanyahu would be prime minister for three months, followed by Gantz as prime minister for the following two years. Had he accepted, Gantz would have been the prime minister of Isr…

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It’s still too early to know whether either Bernie Sanders or Michael Bloomberg, two Jewish candidates in the Democratic primaries, will win the Democratic nomination or whether one of the other candidates will, but at this point having a Jewish candidate for President is a realistic possibi…

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Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas make an odd couple. One hasn’t been prime minister of Israel since 2009, the other is still president of the Palestinian Authority even though his term of office ran out that same year. 

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In some circles, the name Leslie Wexner has been synonymous with uniquely generous philanthropy in support of the development of Jewish leadership and learning. The Wexner Foundation has, for years, underwritten a suite of fellowships focused on the development of Jewish professional and vol…

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February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), a time that allows us to explore the complexity  of the Jewish belief that every person was created in God’s image. Although each of us is clearly different from one another, we all resemble the Creator, and no one is great…

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The tragedy in Syria has reached another milestone, as the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad advances on the rebel-held territory of Idlib in the northwest. Most of the rebel fighters belong to the extremist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a former al-Qaeda affiliate. But the 3 million civilians living…

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As we go to press on the eve of Wednesday’s expected Senate vote for acquittal of President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, we can’t help but reflect on the deeply unsatisfying process that has been the singular focus for so many members of Congress and the press, even as it has been …

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When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the word “peace” has largely lost its meaning. Nonetheless, we hope that the Peace to Prosperity Plan that President Donald Trump unveiled on Jan. 28 with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side will move the parties toward a mutually …

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A strong argument can be made that the center of the Yiddish world is on West 16th Street in New York City. That’s where the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is located. It is one of the jewels of the Jewish world, with some 23 million items. Its library has nearly 400,000 volumes and cont…

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When the plans for last week’s World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem were first announced, they were met with great excitement. Linked to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, the event at Yad Vashem was viewed as an opportunity for serious discussion and meaningful introspection,…

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