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When Jewish Leaders Meet Presidents

30 Sivan 5769 – June 22, 2009
On the eve of President Obama's meeting with American Jewish leaders last week, a prominent Jewish journalist urged the White House to take the unusual step of providing a transcript of the conversation.

Listening To The Great Orator

26 Sivan 5769 – June 17, 2009
Did you hear the speech President Obama delivered in Cairo week before last? I don’t mean just the words but the sound, the tone, the delivery – the way he actually articulated his sentences, the cadences, the pauses and the breaks for applause.

Chill Political Wind Threatens U.S.-Israel Relations

For decades, the bedrock of the relationship between the United States and Israel has been an unbreakable bond built on trust and a mutual respect for the ideals and practices of democracy. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, Israel has always known it could rely on its powerful ally to support and stand with it in times of need. Similarly, in dealing with a region characterized by strife and turmoil, the U.S. has always known it could rely on its sole democratic ally in the Middle East.

The Obama Speech That Never Was

President Obama would have better reflected American values in Cairo recently had he spoken with blunt honesty regarding recent Middle East history. Here’s the speech he might have delivered:

The Tide Turns

A news item appeared a few weeks ago detailing the refusal of an Austrian hotel owner to rent a summer apartment to Jews. The owner of the Haus Sonnenhof apartment hotel in the village of Serfaus in the Austrian Tyrol reportedly told a Viennese Jewish family the facility was no longer accepting Jewish guests. This is shocking and distressing, but according to my close relative who moved to Zurich 25 years ago, it is hardly newsworthy. As a matter of fact, it's almost routine in Switzerland.

Litmus Test For Nakba Law Opponents

The Israeli media and the Israeli Left (but I repeat myself) have been hysterical in recent weeks over a proposed bill that would make it illegal to hold anti-Israel "mourning" events on Israel's Independence Day, events that would declare Israel's very existence a "nakba" (or catastrophe in Arabic).

A Morally Unserious Speech

19 Sivan 5769 – June 10, 2009
President Obama spoke with his usual charm, polish and eloquence in Cairo on June 4. But the speech was, like so many of his utterances since taking office, tarnished by a desire to be all things to all people.

Why Markey Deserves Our Support

The planets are not typically aligned. The Modern/Centrist Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America is for Markey, as is the haredi Igud HaRabbonim (Rabbinical Alliance of America). Meanwhile, the equally haredi Agudath Israel of America and Torah Umesorah are against Markey.

Addressing The Tuition Crisis

When discussing the current economic woes as they relate to Jewish education, it is important to note that there are two distinct crises, and that each of them requires its own strategy for solution.

Don’t Interfere With The Divine Process, Mr. President

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Time To Start Worrying About Obama’s Mideast Vision

President Obama’s long-awaited speech in Cairo on U.S.-Muslim relations met expectations. It was passionately read and delivered (except for one stumble: calling a “hijab” a “hajib,” an understandable error), touched all the rhetorical bases and – typical Obama – actually said much less than it read.

Time To Start Worrying About Obama’s Mideast Vision

President Obama's long-awaited speech in Cairo on U.S.-Muslim relations met expectations. It was passionately read and delivered (except for one stumble: calling a "hijab" a "hajib," an understandable error), touched all the rhetorical bases and - typical Obama - actually said much less than it read.

Identity Crisis

12 Sivan 5769 – June 3, 2009
I’ve long maintained that the large number of people having a difficult time getting and staying happily married is only a symptom of deeper problems in the community. Consequently, efforts to get more singles to go out on more dates will be largely unsuccessful unless the deeper problems are addressed. This thesis has been validated in recent years, as more attention to the “crisis” and various schemes to create shidduchim have yet to result in meaningful change or much cause for optimism.

Will U.S. Jews Stand With Israel – Or Obama?

American Jews overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama, the Candidate of Change, despite credible warnings and ample evidence that he would obsessively seek to create a Palestinian state at Israel's expense and "engage" nuclear-arming, Islamist Iran.

Markey 2.0: Improving Legislation to Provide More Gain and Cause Less Pain

The debate over the Markey Bill has been framed in the starkest terms on the Internet and in the street: If you are for the bill, you are for children; if you are opposed to it, you are a horrible person who is protecting child molesters.

The Interview Netanyahu Didn’t Give

While in the U.S. last month, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a number of interviews. The following is one he did not give, though I wish he would have.

Shield Of Avraham

5 Sivan 5769 – May 27, 2009
Why is an egg an integral part of the Pesach Seder? I heard a beautiful answer from the beloved rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, shlita.

White House Meeting Changed Nothing – For Now

It happened because it had to happen, because history dictated that it happen. Barack Obama, the newly elected president of the United States and Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly resurrected prime minister of Israel, were fated to meet.

Three Approaches To Remembering: A Meditation

“Why is it,” Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was asked, “that Shavuot is also referred to as Atzeret? After all, the Torah uses the term atzeret only in association with the festival of Shemini Atzeret, not Shavuot.”

Pope Embodies Historic Shift In Jewish-Catholic Relations

On May 12 I was privileged to be a witness to history when Pope Benedict XVI visited the Kotel. Earlier, while standing on Mount Nebo, Jordan, the spot from which Moses viewed the Holy Land, Benedict spoke of the “inseparable bond” between Catholics and Jews.

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