As Israel's leadership digs in its heels in the face of escalating Palestinian demands for statehood, the Jewish state faces a new, rapidly changing dynamic. The Palestinian Authority's intent to seek United Nations recognition of a new Arab state based on pre-1967 borders, coupled with reconciliation between the PA and Hamas, further complicates the issue.
There was a lot of attention given to a Gallup poll last week showing Jewish approval for President Obama has remained fairly steady at around 60 percent since the beginning of the year (though it has also dropped by 20 points since 2009).
The ongoing Turkish request for an Israeli apology over the killing last year of nine pro-Palestinian flotilla activists has been a major hindrance in efforts to improve Israeli-Turkish relations.
Many reviews already have appeared of "The Undefeated," the soon-to-be-released documentary about Sarah Palin's tenure in Alaska. Yet none of them - even in The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post or Politico.com - mentions that nearly all of the film's many pro-Palin media talking heads are Jews.
It was the first of the intermediate days of Passover 2010, and my two older sons decided to wake up really early - around 5 a.m. - and head out with me by car in the expectation of getting in a full day seeing the country around Phoenix, Arizona, specifically the Sedona and Grand Canyon areas.
A recent piece posted on Matzav.com signed by "A Crying Bas Yisroel" chillingly lamented the plight of a young single woman, with fine personal qualities but without any family money or yichus, who sits forlornly waiting for her phone to ring with calls from shadchanim. Alas, the phone never rings, and for her, the shidduch system is an ongoing nightmare.
The assault on freedom of speech in Israel by the leftist establishment continues, manifested in a series of arrests of rabbis merely for expressing opinions.
Anthony Weiner is the latest in a long line of public figures caught by surprise at the unveiling of their own closet misdeeds. Weiner (and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the still-presumed-innocent Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and so many others before them) lived in a bubble of false security, created in part by their own hubris. Perhaps their biggest mistake, however, was believing their personal lives were somehow sacrosanct, impermeable, separate and apart from their public lives.
As a synagogue rabbi I try to keep my eyes open to see how or if I can incorporate personal experiences into my weekly Shabbos sermon. Recently, I represented my shul at the Orthodox Union's (OU) annual mission to Washington, DC (June 14-15). On my way to one of the first events, I joked with a rabbi friend from Charleston, South Carolina that I was hoping to return with some good material for that week's sermon.
Reflecting back on the experiences our AFSI Chizuk group shared on its 31st mission to Israel, opposing words, thoughts and images come to mind.
When Glenn Beck's upcoming Jerusalem rally was first announced, he saidit would be called "Restore Courage" - modeled on his "Restoring Honor" rally last year in Washington that drew half a million. Or as Beck put it: "Last summer, we set out to restore honor in Washington, DC. This summer, it's time to restore courage. It is time for us to courageously stand with Israel."
Most critics of The New York Times are well aware of the liberal bias on its news pages that is as pronounced as the leftward slant on its opinion pages. But the Gray Lady's sports section is just as bad.
When Sarah Palin burst upon the national scene and the liberal media attempted to destroy her, I observed on my blog, Seraphic Secret, that she was being transformed into a hated Jew. Each rhetorical bombardment against her was and is reminiscent of the Arab strategy to demonize Jews and Israel.
My late father was a special man - scholarly, pious, wise.A man whose eyes spoke of understandings unfathomable to me when I was young and whose strength and full impressiveness only come into clearest focus as I myself have gotten older.
It is almost ten years since the UN-sponsored World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, inaugurated a new stage in the history of "anti-racist" anti-Semitism.
Recently, while doing research for a news article I was writing for The Jewish Press, I found myself watching a YouTube clip concerning Jewish homosexuals. About two minutes into the clip, my heart suddenly dropped. There speaking on my computer screen was a young man I had once known as a sweet frum boy. Today - as I discovered from the YouTube video - he is an open homosexual.
A massive fly-in of pro-Palestinian activists into Ben Gurion Airport is the most recent anti-Israel provocation to be announced. It is yet another ostensibly non-violent act by some of Israel's enemies for which the Israeli authorities will have to find an adequate answer.
I have witnessed a revolution. On a recent lecture tour that took me to Australia and South Africa, I hardly found a major mainstream synagogue without a Chabad rabbi. Shuls that once swore they would not invite in Chabad are now attracting large numbers of new members under the helm of young and charismatic Chabad rabbis. Many of them are the biggest shuls in their respective countries.
There is an urgency in the two Torah commandments whose obligation is constant and ever-present: to learn Torah and to repent. The Torah is clear about this urgency in the Shema: "These words, which I command you this day, make them as a sign upon your heart and between your eyes "
Having walked through the Valley of Death, I feel I can understand Shavuos better. My wife and I just returned from Auschwitz and other tragic sites in Poland. We were never there before and I had thought we never would be, but an opportunity arose and we took it. What does this have to do with Shavuos? Everything.
The enthusiastic response Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received when he addressed Congress on May 24 came from both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans both took part in the numerous standing ovations.
Berachah - blessing - says the Gemara, is found only in things that remain unwatched and out of sight. Hasbara - the way Israel explains itself to the world - might be in better shape taking a cue from that Gemara.
The New York Times got it right. In an editorial published on Thursday May 19, the Times castigated the Vatican for issuing "flimsy guidelines" for combating the sexual abuse of children by the clerical hierarchy.
On Shavuot we celebrate God giving us the Torah, represented by the Ten Commandments. We will explore them here through a broad lens, showing how they apply to our daily lives. We will focus on the First Commandment, the foundation, and the seven commandments phrased in the negative, which tell us what not to do, discussing both sides: the negative (avoiding what God hates) and the hidden side, the positive (doing what He loves).
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally left the U.S. after a week of exhausting, and surprising, diplomatic highs and lows, a number of unsettling questions were left in his wake.