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In another sign that the Trump administration is moving toward greater stability and more traditional governance, the president last week signed an executive order removing White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council. Bannon’s appointment to the council and to its principals committee was roundly criticized as the infiltration of a radical nationalist political operative into the national security system – a toxic mixture. His removal solved that problem, and is seen as a sign of the growing influence of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general.
We were as surprised as anyone else by the arrest of a suspect in the bomb threats against JCCs and other Jewish institutions in the United States and abroad, even as we counseled three weeks ago that “at least until we get a better idea of who did what, and why, we need to be careful not to impugn one political side or the other for incubating the perpetrators.”
In selling the new administration’s astonishingly thin budget proposal last week, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said that it “represents a president who is beholden to nobody but the voters.” “He is following through on his promises,” Mulvaney went on. “We did not consult with special interests on how to write this budget. We did not consult with lobbyists on how to write this budget. The president’s team wrote this budget, and that’s what you’ll see in the numbers.”
It is a rare day when the entire U.S. Senate speaks with one voice. That day was March 6, when a sixth wave of bomb threats were phoned in and emailed to Jewish institutions across the country. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and FBI director James Comey, all 100 senators called for “swift action with regard to the deeply troubling series of anonymous bomb threats.”
Last week, at its annual conference, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs did something commendable in our highly charged political environment. The group, whose member agencies advocate primarily from the left of the political center, welcomed and listened politely to a presentation from a pair of more conservative pundits: Noah Silverman, congressional affairs director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Noah Pollak, a conservative political writer and consultant.
What’s Linda Sarsour’s angle? The American activist, who was a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign and an organizer of the Women’s March that brought half a million people to Washington in January to protest Donald Trump, last week helped start a crowdfunding campaign to repair more than 100 gravestones that vandals toppled in a St. Louis Jewish cemetery.
In his month in office, President Donald Trump has challenged several long-standing American policies, only to back off later. The result has been to leave unclear exactly what American policy is toward China, Russia or NATO, among other things.
Until modern times, the Talmud was a major Jewish preoccupation. This sprawling compendium of the law, lore and commentary of successive generations of early rabbinic scholars provided Jews with a human map for following the law of the Hebrew Bible and the six books of the Mishna.
The Israel Video Network has announced the winner of the "Inspired by Israel" contest sponsored by The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.
The “Inspired by Israel” video contest has started its 10-day period of online voting to determine which 10 video entrants will move on to the final phase of the contest and be evaluated by an elite panel of judges.
Between the challah bake, the Shabbat Project and conferences in Washington, D.C., it's been a busy week.