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With the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump beginning in the U.S. Senate this week, our country enters a solemn process under the Constitution that requires care, seriousness of purpose and fairness. The Senate is obligated to get it right. All 100 members of the Senate have the …

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According to a recent report, the majority of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area — nearly two thirds of them — have been carried out by young people. Within the dark cloud of the distressing increase in such attacks, there are those who see a ray of hope — the possibility of sensitizi…

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Very few people in the Western world mourned the recent targeted assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief mastermind of Iranian aggression and terror efforts. But there was widespread questioning in the midst of bellicose finger pointing and threats, seeking to understand where…

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The fires that have been raging through Australia are devastating. And they have been the focus of much discussion about climate change and the need for vigilance, careful planning and an increased focus on ecological issues. Nonetheless, there are still those who refuse to acknowledge the e…

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The assassination last week of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief mastermind of Iranian aggression and terror efforts, caused little sorrow among those who have watched Iran’s expansion and its heated threats against Israel, the U.S. and Western allies. But after learning that Sol…

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Jews often observe that “our” New Year comes in the fall, not on Jan. 1. But Jan. 1, 2020, became a very special day of Jewish celebration — not of the Earth’s annual trip around the sun, but of something that goes to the core of Jewish culture and identity. At MetLife Stadium in New Jersey …

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Within our tradition, there are a number of ways of looking at Judaism. It’s founded, of course, upon a belief system with religious components, but it’s also composed of social, cultural, intellectual, political and national characteristics. Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan pulled them all together w…

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The Washington Post recently published The Afghanistan Papers — hundreds of interviews collected by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction and obtained by the Post after a three-year court battle. The bottom line, according to Richard Boucher, an assistant secretary of …

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It was an off-the-cuff comment during the Q&A portion of a recent Jewish leadership program. The event featured a panel discussion on media and narrative, but the opening question to the panelists was "How has anti-Semitism affected you?" In the course of the discussion, panelists talked…

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The executive order that President Donald J. Trump signed at the White House Chanukah party last week is designed to protect students from an increasing number of disturbing acts of anti-Semitism on campus by withholding federal funds from colleges and universities that do not prevent or inv…

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Last week, two gunmen killed four people, including two Chasidic Jews, at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, continuing the onslaught of horrific anti-Semitic events that have victimized and traumatized our community. Shortly after that targeted shooting, The Atlantic published a pi…

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Israel’s secular founders believed they were making the state more inclusive when they ceded authority over religious observance issues to the new state’s small Orthodox community. As the country’s haredi population has grown, however, and its control over religious rules in the state have t…

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We subscribe to the view the justice must be tempered with mercy. That holds true for decisions made by judges, by government and by each of us. And it means looking carefully at the collateral impact of decisions that affect people’s lives, and taking those consequences into account.  

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The Holocaust not only took the lives of millions of Jews, it also took their assets. More than 70 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, many survivors have still not recovered what they are owed under their families’ insurance policies that covered property, accounts and tangibles which w…

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Our Jewish community has focused heavily in the past several years on safety and security issues. With the rise in anti-Semitic incidents here and abroad, and mounting concerns about the reach and influence of purveyors of hate and discrimination, we need to be vigilant and proactive, and pr…

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As we go to press on Monday, four days after Israel’s attorney general indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption, Netanyahu remains defiant, calling the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust an “attempted coup.“ And now, Israel’s longest-serving leader is searching fo…

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When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week a pivot from the international consensus that Israeli settlements violate international law, we got another indication that the Trump administration’s still-secret Middle East peace plan will not promote a two-state solution. Official r…

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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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