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Next Year In ? – An Open Letter to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod

3 Nisan 5770 – March 17, 2010
Dear Rahm and David, I'm writing this as I sit and watch, live via the Internet, the ceremony marking the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem, in the area you would classify "east Jerusalem," or "disputed territory," or perhaps "occupied territory."

Where Were Our Leaders?

We gathered on Manhattan's Park Avenue, diagonally across from the Waldorf Astoria hotel, on a balmy evening last week to serve as a counter-protest against those who would defame and denigrate the IDF.

Homosexuality And Halacha: Five Critical Points

This short essay will develop five critical points for responding to the voices within the broader community that seek to accept and legitimize homosexual conduct, an activity that directly contradicts the dictates of halacha.

A Long Memory

When the next U.S. presidential race kicks off in earnest in a year or so, we will remember today. When the Jewish electorate will be inundated with speech after speech iterating and reiterating what great friends Barack Obama and the Democrats have been to Israel, we will remember today.

A Jewish Call For Employee Rights

26 Adar 5770 – March 11, 2010
Last May, our organization, Uri L'Tzedek, officially launched the Tav HaYosher - "ethical seal" - to certify kosher restaurants that uphold three basic employee rights: the right to fair time, the right to fair pay, and the right to a safe work environment.

Memories Of A Beautiful Jew

He was a beautiful Jew. Anyone - Jew or non-Jew, religious or secular, chassidic or yeshivish, man or woman - who encountered or exchanged words with Rabbi Chaskel Besser came away with a smile, feeling a little more pleasantly disposed about the topic at hand or the world at large.

A Jewish Call For Employee Rights

Last May, our organization, Uri L'Tzedek, officially launched the Tav HaYosher - "ethical seal" - to certify kosher restaurants that uphold three basic employee rights: the right to fair time, the right to fair pay, and the right to a safe work environment.

Quit Stomping On Moderation

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Pluralism Is Not One-Dimensional

"Pluralism" has a reassuring tone. "Live and let live," people tell each other, and many religious groups - including Orthodox Jews - have flourished in America as a result.

Jewish Heritage Under Siege

Purim zaniness came early to Israel this year. Speaking at a conference in Herzliya at the beginning of February, Prime Minister Netanyahu called for the rehabilitation of Jewish heritage sites in the Land of Israel.

Shul, Faith, And Lollipops: Childhood Memories of My Family’s Rabbi

18 Adar 5770 – March 3, 2010
After receiving a recent e-mail, I found myself awash in a sea of memories. In the course of corresponding with a friend, I realized that the fourth yahrzeit of my family's rabbi - Doniel Schur, z"l - was rapidly approaching (21 Adar/March 7, 2010).

Tony Judt And The Velvet Genocide

In the New York Review of Books back in 2003, Tony Judt published his view that the Jewish state should be deleted. This was the predicate of his proposal to reanimate the corpse of the one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Steeped in academic authority and writing during the overlap of the second Intifada with Bush's invasion of Iraq, Judt argued that Israel was a harmful anachronism. He was not the first to express an abolitionist anti-Zionism, but his prestige and timing led him to become the celebrity spokesman for the internationalist case against Israel.

Contrary to statements by the White House, the natural growth of Gilo, a popular suburb on the outskirts of Jerusalem, is in no way a political statement or a land grab on the West Bank.

So, How’s Bibi Doing?

The words are from Ari Shavit, journalist for Israel's left-wing daily Haaretz, directed to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu (who took office, actually, last March 31 and has been prime minister less than a year) naturally responded by denying the charge, saying "My vision is of an Israel that is a world technological superpower, anchored in values, reaching peace from strength . we are working to jump-start the economy, to augment our security and to strengthen Israel through inculcating basic national values."

We’re Losing The Campus Debate

It's been five years since I attended a symposium at Columbia University discussing the David Project's documentary "Columbia Unbecoming," a film that highlighted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements by faculty in the Middle East Arts Language and Culture MEALC program. The film ignited a debate over the prevalence of anti-Zionism on American campuses and the dangers of advocacy teaching at universities, much of it fueled by Arab funding.

An Immigrant’s Tale

10 Adar 5770 – February 24, 2010
A friend of mine came to this country from China back in the eighties. China had little opportunity for people like him he tells me, especially after Chairman Mao had destroyed the country. To get anywhere you had to know people and pay them off. Everything, he adds, was corrupt and there was no freedom. America looked better and so he emigrated, married and raised a family here.

Rabbi Porush’s Noble Legacy

The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend...

Let’s Not Give Haman The Last Laugh

Purim is the "topsy-turvy" day of the Jewish calendar - the day of v'nahafoch hu. Boys and girls wear costumes, and we expect children to make noise in shul. It is a festive and happy day. But Purim may also be the day a Jewish boy or girl takes his or her first drink and the first step toward alcohol abuse.

A Taxi Driver, A Flaming Sword, And Purim’s Redemption

"Mishenichnas Adar marbim b'simcha" - with the coming of Adar simcha increases. What is the biggest simcha? When God saves us.

Purim And Yom Kippur: An Odd Couple?

On their face, there could not be two more unlikely holidays to wed than Yom Kippur and Purim. Even the youngest child knows that Purim is a holiday meant for fun and celebration, for costumes and parties. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, is the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, calling on us engage in deep, somber introspection as we search for forgiveness and atonement. How different they are!

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