You will be excused if you have not been following the debate over proposals to demand that sources of funding for political parties and activist groups be revealed.
As I see it, in the current battle for public opinion Sarah Palin has defeated her harsh and unfair critics. After the January 8 shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others in Tucson, Arizona, some television talking heads and members of the blogosphere denounced her and held her in part responsible for creating a climate of hatred that resulted in the mass attacks.
The world likes to believe that threats to Israel's security by its neighbors are the country's greatest concern. The narrative of two ancient peoples in one Holy Land fighting for their place in the world is a great story and leads to an uncanny number of headlines, the expenditure of a relatively large percentage of the UN's energy and resources, and more divisive discussions and actions than are devoted to other - much bloodier - conflicts, such as those in the Congo and Sudan.
The White House was misled by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And that does not surprise me. Publicly, the White House is saying that nothing in the relationship between Barak, who just this week left the Labor Party to form a new political faction, and the administration has changed. Privately, the White House is expressing disappointment, frustration and even anger.
"Whoeverhas mercy on cruel people will in the end act cruelly to merciful people." So the Midrash deduces from the story of Shaul HaMelech - King Saul. When commanded to kill out the wicked nation of Amalek, the king had mercy on its monarch, Agag, sparing his life. As evidence that Saul eventually acted with cruelty to merciful people, the Gemara quotes the Navi that years later Saul showed no such compassion when he killed out an entire city of Kohanim because they had given shelter to his nemesis David.
The shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, along with federal judge John Roll (a Republican appointee) and numerous others, including a nine year-old constituent of the Congresswoman, resulting in the deaths of six (including the judge and the little girl) and brain injury to the congresswoman, prompted the usual ruminations.
What is it about Tu B'Shevat?There are four "Roshei Hashanah." The First of Tishrei we all know about. That is the day we blow the shofar.The First of Nissan and the First of Elul come and go in our times without much notice.
There is a serious threat facing Israel's long-term standing in this country resulting from a prolonged campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state on campus. But it's probably not what you think.
The source for Tu B'Shevat is the opening Mishnah of the Talmudic tractate Rosh Hashanah: "The Academy of Hillel taught that the 15th of Shevat is the New Year for the trees." What does that mean, "New Year for the trees"?
In my Nov. 26 op-ed article, "The Clarifying Truths of Chanukah," I explored how clarity, purity and joy bring us close to God and to living a meaningful life. If they are so essential, their potential must exist within our spiritual DNA. I suggest it does; we inherited that potential from our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Hashem said to Moshe, "Write this for a memorial in a book, and recite it in the ears of Yehoshua; for I will completely...
Back in 2003 I wrote an op-ed for The Jewish Press titled "You Just Might Be an Assimilated Jewish Liberal," based standup comic Jeff Foxworthy's "You just might be a redneck" routine. It's time to revisit that theme, focusing on Israeli leftists rather than American liberals.
Mordecai Bienstock's Dec. 24 front-page essay - "Death of the Blue-Hat Jew?" - was an interesting, important, and for the most part accurate assessment of what is happening today in Jewish America.
I have always fashioned myself a wordsmith. No longer. Dr. Ivan Mauer was Naomi Mauer's husband and Mrs. Irene Klass's son-in-law, and both Irene and Dr. Ivan died virtually simultaneously. And I must confess: Ivan was not only my good friend and our family doctor, but also a congregant who respected me and loved me - and consistently squabbled with me. Yet I could not find a single word in the entire thesaurus that would suit him.
The recent episode of "The People's Court" featuring an Orthodox couple suing a laundry service for washing and ruining the woman's wig has once again put Torah Jews in a negative light. In addition to the show's regular viewers, countless others have seen a video of the trial and decision on the Internet.
'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except, of course, Henry Kissinger's publicists and strategists who decided that the slowest news day of the year was the perfect time for him to apologize, sort of, for telling Richard Nixon in 1973 that "if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern."
When I entered college, many of my classmates viewed me as an anomaly. I was a (mostly) observant Jew, and I was firmly entrenched in the school's creative arts community. As my religious friends prepared for careers in law or accounting, they were continuously astonished by my immersion in English literature - a course of study they considered a thoroughly impractical and esoteric subject.
Have you noticed? Some journalists, commentators and academics have a peculiar habit. When they wish to refer to the Israeli government, they do so by employing the term "Tel Aviv."
Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat recently expressed concern that Israel will launch a new large-scale attack on Gaza, following escalated rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas.
The tapes from conversations recorded in the Oval Office during the presidency of Richard Nixon have provided historians with a treasure trove of material giving insight into the character of one of the most reviled figures in American political history.
Israel is a Jewish country - but can it continue to be so when Judaism threatens to destroy the state? The unfair longstanding attacks on Israel's legitimacy are a permanent stain on the international community. For over 60 years, Israel has valiantly grown under hostile conditions while fighting lies and half-truths in the international arena. Israel suffers doubly, however, when its very essence, its Jewish character, supports its opponents' narrative.
In recent days, one of the most important domestic controversies in Israel has revolved around rabbinic opinions. The media are representing this as a great debate over "racism." In reality, it is a great debate over freedom of speech and the rights of Israelis to express opinions disliked by its increasingly anti-democratic Left.
In our day, when news events do not always portray the Jewish community in the most favorable light, it is imperative that we have role models we can emulate. The recent passing of a famous legal scholar brings to mind two individuals who personify this description.
When the shrill sound of the telephone ringing shattered the silence in our home at 5:30 in the morning on Monday, October 18, I got out of bed and answered the call with great trepidation and a sense of dread. I realized that if someone was calling our house that early in the morning, it was in all likelihood not good news. The voice on the other end of the line belonged to my father-in-law, who, in a trembling voice, told me my sister-in-law had passed away suddenly. I then had to turn to my wife and gently tell her that her sister was gone.
The WikiLeaks revelations, if it is not sacrilegious to suggest, were a godsend to the Jewish state. They demolished the mantra of Israel's critics, President Obama conspicuous among them, who have incessantly proclaimed that the cornerstone of peace in the Middle East is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.