Beef and quinoa meatballs

Quinoa is a grain that is kosher for Passover. It is also a complete source of vegetarian protein and full of fiber and B-vitamins. If you aren’t a red-meat eater, feel free to substitute the groundsirloin with lean ground turkey instead.

1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 lb. 93 percent lean ground sirloin
1/2 cup diced shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place quinoa with 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Take the saucepan off heat and allow quinoa to cool.

While quinoa is cooling, add all remaining ingredients to the bowl. Using a spoon or your hands, mix all ingredients (including quinoa) until they are well combined. Form small meatballs, about 1 heaping Tablespoon each. Place them in even rows on the lined baking sheets.

Place the sheet in the oven and cook the meatballs until they are slightly browned and crispy on top, about 12-15 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce, on top of some wilted spinach or as appetizer bites.

Hillel’s Fingerhut Addresses Israel on Campus

WASHINGTON — A sparse crowd gathered at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night to hear from Hillel International CEO and President Eric Fingerhut. The talk, titled “Israel on Today’s Campus” was streamed online and is part of a series on Zionism sponsored by Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

Noticeably absent was any direct reference to the J Street U student protest the day prior, which sent hundreds of students marching down to Hillel International’s headquarters to demand an audience with Fingerhut. They were miffed that he backed out of a speaking engagement at the annual J Street conference, a mix-up he attributed to the presence of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at the gathering.

At Gallaudet, Fingerhut also didn’t mention the email he sent to Benjy Cannon, president of J Street U’s student board, agreeing to an on-the-record meeting with the group sometime in the future.

“Israel programming at Hillel is as broad and diverse as are the campuses on which we serve and the students that come to those campuses,” Fingerhut said in his opening remarks at Gallaudet. In an attempt to elaborate students’ diversity of opinions, he praised Hillel students at Cooper Union College for attending a speech made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Although a moderator fielded questions posed online, he did not answer this one: “How can you be proud of Cooper Union Hillel for attending the Abbas speech, when that speech could not happen inside a Hillel, since Abbas doesn’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state?”

Earlier this month, students at Swarthmore College, an elite liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, voted to reject Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership against welcoming those it deems are anti-Israel, anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist.

Questions from the in-person and virtual audience were submitted on notecards to the conversation facilitator, Samuel Morris, a student from nearby George Washington University. But the questions that made it into the final 40 minutes of the hour-long program treaded on extremely familiar territory: A parent wanted to know if his child should or should not attend a college tinged by anti-Semitism, while another participant wanted to know if Zionism for today’s students differs from their parents’ generation.

Multiple online viewers asked questions that referenced the J Street U protest outside of Hillel International headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Monday, but those questions were not shared.

“You reportedly said at NYU today that you look forward to working [with] J Street U, but ‘we have to know where the line is.’ What is this ‘line’?” asked one viewer. “Are you referring to Hillel’s Standards of Partnership?”

The complete session can be viewed online at

Israeli Innovation Takes Center Stage

Windward CEO  Ami Daniel

Windward CEO Ami Daniel

Israeli innovation was showcased throughout the three-day AIPAC Policy Conference with presentations given on the main stage and breakout sessions highlighting the successes of Israeli startups.

Windward CEO Ami Daniel took to the main stage to show off his company, which seeks to “analyze and organize the world’s maritime data.”

Windward analyzes hundreds of millions of maritime data points to give a more accurate depiction of where ships are positioned globally. The company, he explained, has numerous government and trade applications, such as pinpointing exactly how many barrels of oil are being shipped from Persian Gulf states or identifying ships that may pose a security threat.

Data manipulation and inaccuracy, Daniel continued as a graphic appeared behind him on the big screen, is rampant.

Following a Startup Nation presentation in the AIPAC Village on the basement level of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Daniel outlined some of his goals for the company. It currently has 30 employees, three of whom are new immigrants, and has raised $7 million in funding, including a significant investment from the venture capitalist firm Aleph.

Gaining security clearance for Israelis with significant military experience — Daniel served in the Israel Defense Forces naval branch and is in the reserves — can pose a challenge in trying to capture U.S. government contracts. While Windward has clients in Asia and Europe, it’s yet to breach the U.S. market.

In a year’s time, said Daniel, he wants five people working in a U.S. office and within the next two years 15 to 20 people stateside. Daniel, originally from Haifa, estimates that he flies to the United States every month and a half.

“We want to totally dominate the maritime ecosystem,” said Daniel. “[The industry] has been totally changed by technology.”

Also featured on the main stage was Rami Parham, CEO and founder of MUV Interactive, and Yael Vizel, CEO of Zeekit and the first woman in charge of the technology track in the Israel air force officers’ course, among other glass-ceiling shattering accomplishments.

Raise Hell Instead of Money

Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Monday that she will not seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate.

There was “nothing gloomy about the announcement,” she said. “There’s no health problem,” and “I’m not frustrated with the Senate; the Senate will always be what the Senate is.”

But, she said, “I had to ask myself who am I campaigning for?  Am I campaigning for me, or am I campaigning for my constituents?  Fighting for my job or fighting for their job? Do I spend my time raising money or raising hell?”

By the end of her current term, on Dec. 31, 2016, she will have served more than 30 years.

In an emotional announcement, Mikulski thanked the people of Maryland for “the trust that they have given” her and thanked Sens. Ben Cardin and Paul Sarbanes for their support and strong partnership over the years.

“First and foremost I look at this an opportunity to celebrate an incredible record of a remarkable person who has made a permanent positive mark on our political system,” said Cardin, who was at the announcement. “But I must tell you, this is bittersweet for me. It will leave an incredible void because she’s been a real powerful force for our state.”

When asked what was her proudest moment serving the people of Maryland, she said there was “no job too big or too small,” whether it was removing stigmatized language in reference to special-needs children or listening to the financial needs of firefighters and ultimately engaging Republicans to create a national funding program. “My best ideas have come from the people –listening to the people, knowing what their needs are, responding to that need and trying to turn it into national policy,” she said.

Congressman John Sarbanes, the son of Paul Sarbanes, called Mikulski a political force in Maryland and on Capitol Hill.

“Breaking glass ceilings and fighting for working families, her career is nothing short of historic,” he said. “I am among the many Marylanders who feel privileged to have benefited from her outstanding service. We wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.”

On Jan. 5, 2011, when she was sworn into the 112th Congress, Mikulski became the longest-serving woman in U.S. Senate history.

“Though I’m turning a new page.” said Mikulski, “make no mistake, we’re not writing the last chapter.”

Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen

Triple chocolate hamantaschen would make a wonderful treat in coffee-themed Purim baskets.

Triple chocolate hamantaschen would make a wonderful treat in coffee-themed Purim baskets.

1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brewed espresso or coffeepinch of salt

1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Nutella or milk chocolate chips chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional)
espresso powder, instant (optional)

❖ Dough: Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk and vanilla until mixed thoroughly. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated. If the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by 1/4 cup until firm. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
❖ Mocha Cream Cheese: Mix cream cheese, espresso, sugar and pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Allow to chill 1 to 3 hours.
❖ White Chocolate Drizzle: Place white chocolate and vegetable oil in a small glass bowl. Heat in the microwave at 30-second intervals until melted. Mix until completely smooth. Use right away.
❖ To Make Cookies: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dust your work surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut. Fill cookies with Nutella, milk chocolate chips or mocha cream cheese filling. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely. To assemble the mocha chocolate hamantaschen, top with crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans or a dusting of instant espresso. To assemble triple chocolate hamantaschen, use a fork or a small plastic squeeze bottle to drizzle white chocolate sauce back and forth on cookies. Allow to dry completely on a cooling rack before serving or packaging.



PA and PLO Found Liable

A federal jury in New York found the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) liable in a civil lawsuit over terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel during the second intifada more than a decade ago.

The jury at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan found the PLO and the PA liable to compensate the plaintiffs, American victims of Palestinian terror, $218.5 million in damages. The award will likely be tripled to $655.5 million because of the unique terrorism law under which the case was brought.

The lawsuit before Judge George Daniels was filed in 2004 under the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 that gives American courts jurisdiction to try acts of terror that harmed Americans while they were abroad. The suit covers six specific terror attacks that killed 33 and wounded more than 450 civilians between 2002 and 2004.

Check back to for more on this developing story.

Congregational Evolution Synagogues refocus to remain vital in Jewish life

Congregants at Beth Tfiloh Congregation take part in a Havdalah service. (David Stuck)

Congregants at Beth Tfiloh Congregation take part in a Havdalah service. (David Stuck)

Temple Emanuel of Baltimore moved into a brand new building in Reisterstown in 1995. By the early 2000s, the synagogue was approaching 400 memberships and expanded its footprint by building a two-story education wing.

As time went on, the Reform synagogue’s numbers slowly shrunk to its current 218 memberships. (A membership can be an individual or a family.) With a diminishing revenue base, the congregation made the decision to sell its building and move to a smaller space. Come July 1, the congregation will rent from and share space at Beth Israel Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Owings Mills, becoming Temple Emanuel at Beth Israel in the process.

Although a unique arrangement, the situation is hardly an anomaly for the Baltimore area or the nation. Non-Orthodox segments of the Jewish community such as the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements have experienced declining affiliation in recent years, with experts putting the decline at 10 to 15 percent over the past decade. Some say it began during the Great Recession, but others point to millennials’ low institutional involvement, the cost of synagogue membership, intermarriage, the growing number of Jewish communal options outside of synagogues and the synagogues’ failure to adapt to changing needs and interests of members and potential members as contributing factors.

“It used to be that people weren’t worried … but that’s no longer the case. This isn’t just a Jewish phenomenon, and it’s not just a religious phenomenon, it’s really an American cultural phenomenon,” said Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, which works with unaffiliated and intermarried families as well as the organized Jewish community to help welcome these families. He is also co-author of forthcoming book New Membership and Financial Alternatives for the American Synagogue. “We have to turn our institutions inside out and become community institutions that aren’t as worried about membership as we are engagement.”

While some congregations, such as Temple Emanuel, are selling their buildings, others are renting space to other organizations or changing their membership dues and offerings. With the current landscape of the Jewish community, it’s nearly impossible to find a congregation that isn’t re-evaluating its structure and looking for new ways to engage the community and maintain, or perhaps revive, its relevancy.

By the numbers
According to the Pew Research Center’s October 2013 study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” 31 percent of respondents belonged to a synagogue. Thirty-nine percent of those who identified as Jewish by religion were members, and 4 percent of those who don’t identify religiously were members. In the Orthodox community, synagogue membership was at 69 percent; the Conservative community was at 50 percent and the Reform community 34 percent.

022015_coverstory2Olitzky’s numbers match up to the studies, with synagogue membership at 46 percent in the early 2000s, according to the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey, which was conducted by the United Jewish Communities (now the Jewish Federations of North America).

Experts keeping tab of these numbers say at least one factor is the free market economy of Jewish life in 2015.
“There’s synagogue competition in a way that the Jewish world has not seen, the American Jewish world has not seen,” said Rabbi Dan Judson, director of professional development and placement for the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. “For a long time, you needed a synagogue for Hebrew school, for a rabbi to do lifecycle events and for a general sense of Jewish community. Now there’s independent Hebrew schools, rabbis in the community willing to do lifecycle events and bar mitzvahs, there’s online Jewish education. … I think what we’re experiencing now is hyper-competition.”

The membership figures in Baltimore are slightly higher than the national Pew numbers, with 46 percent of Jewish households belonging to a synagogue, according to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s 2010 Baltimore Jewish Community Study. While the statistic was at 52 percent in 1999, the study noted that the actual number of synagogues members has essentially remained the same since the number of Jewish households (42,500 in 2010) has increased 16 percent since 1999. Ninety percent of Orthodox households reported synagogue membership.

Changes In Baltimore
Renting out space has become the norm for some congregations in Baltimore whose memberships aren’t swelling.

In December 2003, when the Bolton Street Synagogue moved to its Roland Park location, it had more than 200 memberships. The synagogue now has between 130 and 150 memberships, according to Marc Hartstein, the congregation’s president.

What made Bolton Street unique, Hartstein said, in addition to being unaffiliated, was its openness to interfaith families as well as same-sex couples. He doesn’t think these aspects are as unique in the community anymore, but he sees the low numbers as only temporary setbacks. With its eclectic events, such as its Saturday night Israeli film series, and vibrant, diverse community, Hartstein thinks Bolton Street will thrive in the long run.

“When you come to Bolton Street, you’re coming to a very eclectic group, which makes us an enormous amount of fun,” he said.

While the synagogue has been in discussions with schools and other organizations in the past, an ongoing suit with the Evergreen Community Association is preventing the synagogue from entering into lease agreements. The association says any lease would mean the property is being used commercially, which is prohibited in an agreement the synagogue signed.

At Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills, space is rented out for b’nai mitzvah parties, family parties, Shabbat dinners and even, for the past two years, New Year’s Eve parties. Community theater group Pumpkin Theatre also has space at Har Sinai. The building has a number of advantages: a space that can accommodate up to 350 people for a sit-down dinner, a large parking lot, a dance floor that can be built and broken down, a kosher-style kitchen fit for caterers and rooms for brides and grooms.

“We’re looking for leasing, rentals, all that, but not without an ethical mission we can all buy into,” said Melanie Waxman, the congregation’s director of programming and membership.

When the congregation moved from its Park Heights location to a newly constructed Owings Mills building in 2001, following the migration of its members, membership was around 600 families; Waxman said the new facility was meant for 800 families. Today, the synagogue has 375 memberships.

Waxman said the congregation is retaining its current membership numbers, which has meant flexibility and openness on Har Sinai’s part.

“Membership, I don’t think it’s a buzzword,” Waxman said. “I don’t think it speaks to where the community is going. Engagement does.”

To that end, Har Sinai has tried to meet the needs of its congregants and connect with their values in other ways. For example, the congregation has gone green, no longer using paper or plastic, and started an executive professional networking group, so that congregants prosper “not just spiritually at Har Sinai,” Waxman said.

Tight budgets for synagogues are nothing new, according to Chizuk Amuno Congregation executive director Glenn Easton.

“Every synagogue could use more members,” he said. “It’s just always tight. It’s just the economic makeup of synagogues.”

When historians write about this period of time, they will name this ‘The era of Transition.’

Like Chizuk Amuno, whose membership has hovered around 1,200 for the last few years, not all synagogues are seeing plunges in their membership.

At Beth El Congregation, there have been about 1,650 memberships for the last 12 to 15 years, according to its president, Jerry Schnydman. With what he calls a “dream team” of clergy who are active in the community, a top-notch religious school, brotherhood and sisterhood groups and a volunteer group, Schnydman said the congregation appeals to all of its members.

“We’ve come close to meeting everybody’s needs and we hope there’s something for everybody,” he said.

Beth Tfiloh Congregation recognizes the diverse needs of the Jewish community, Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg said. On Shabbat, congregants are welcomed at the door and invited for coffee before they choose one of eight services.

“The bottom line is, it’s my feeling today that if all a person is coming to [synagogue] is three times a year, they may very well decide it’s not worth their money, so we have to give them a reason to come more often and get their money’s worth,” Wohlberg said.

Associated Partnership
Ever since The Associated’s 2010 study shined light on low affiliation rates in Baltimore, the community has been looking for ways to address those figures.

Through a partnership with the Kolker-Saxon-Hallock Family Foundation, The Associated launched a pilot project with three synagogues to find ways to deepen the engagement of their members.

“This is a great opportunity to … be more relevant to [their members],” said Debs Weinberg, executive director of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Development Institute. “We’re also looking at ways, of course, to bring in people who are not affiliated with our congregations in the Jewish community.”

Those three synagogues in the engagement partnership are Temple Oheb Shalom, Beth Am Synagogue and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Although Temple Oheb Shalom is experiencing an increase in members, the congregation is re-examining how its members engage.

“It’s not necessarily how many people are showing up for a program,” said Maxine Lowy, director of development and special programs, “[but] how many people feel the synagogue is important to them, it’s relevant to their lives.”

As the congregation’s population has gotten younger, something staffers say is due to their Hebrew school and students reeling in their parents, the synagogue has focused on programming for young families. Through The Associated partnership, Oheb Shalom is going to focus on meeting the needs of its baby boomers.

Each congregation involved in the partnership will undergo a “listening campaign” in which they will reach out to members of the congregation to gauge their engagement and find out what they want out of synagogue life. Oheb Shalom is in the process of determining how it will do that — how many people it will speak with, what kind of personal information will be taken and how to measure people’s engagement.

“What we’re doing is the same adaptation that has kept us alive, in our case, for the past 160 years,” said Executive Director Ken Davidson. “We’re just doing it faster and more visibly than we once did.”

Baltimore Hebrew Congregation will begin its conversations with congregants this month. The synagogue has named its listening campaign “Congregational Conversations: Our Path Forward.”

“The engagement partnership has encouraged us to have a more strategic eye towards engagement and it has helped us facilitate our own discussions of how to strengthen our community,” said Andy Wayne, director of communications and engagement. “The shift is really a step back and saying, ‘What is important to us? What do we value? What makes this congregation relevant to our lives? What does that mean for us in the future?’”

In addition to the engagement partnership, BHC has fostered engagement through programs such as Rosh Hashanah Under the Stars, which began nine years ago and attracts thousands to Oregon Ridge Park each year. The synagogue is also redesigning its website to be more dynamic and user-friendly and examining its dues structure, although dues may not change, Wayne said.

Beth Am has a bit of a different situation, being located in Baltimore City’s Reservoir Hill neighborhood, according to executive director Henry Feller. For them, it’s not about just engaging members, it’s about engaging the surrounding community. Community members sit on a synagogue committee charged with bringing in programs, the congregation’s Eutaw Place concert series has brought non-religious concerts to Beth Am for more than two years and Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg, along with community members, actively
engage with the surrounding community.

“I believe all Jewish organizations are looking at how we can make ourselves more open and available to the community,” Feller said.

While engagement is the focus, there are still financial factors at play.

“Locally, I think we’re dealing with a number of different things: more liberal congregations than there once were, more options in Jewish life than there once were,” said BHC Rabbi Andrew Busch. While the congregation has more than 1,200 memberships, he said there may have been as many as 1,800 in “living memory.” “Our building is bigger than we would build it if we were to build it today.”

That challenge is exciting to Weinberg in light of the new engagement

“I really do believe that people are searching for Jewish learning and are searching for being inspired and searching to be part of the Jewish community,” she said. “To me, the challenge is how do we do that within the current buildings we built?”

The Future
“I think that when historians write about this period of time, they will name this ‘The Era of Transition,’” Olitzky said. “The Jewish community will look nothing like it did when it began.”

While he is optimistic about the Jewish future, he said he is scared for what he has seen as a lack of adaption is leadership in some Jewish communal institutions.

“They have to be mission driven,” he said. “There has to be a clear, articulated mission for the individual institution. It’s no longer enough to say a denomination.”

Lisa Colton, founder and president of Darim Online, an organization that helps Jewish organizations adapt and change with the digital age, said people are and will continue flocking to synagogues for different reasons than in the past.

“We will start to see much more differentiation and specialization across different synagogues that will attract people for particular things,” she said.

Locally, some synagogues simply look at the future as a part of continual evolution and adaption. At least Ken Davidson of Oheb Shalom does.

“As we progress along this continuum, we’re going to continue to improve the agencies and organizations and Jewish life in Baltimore,” he said. “That can never be a bad thing.”

Fighting Words

WASHINGTON — In a blow to Israel’s efforts to contain the controversy over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, Vice President Joe Biden announced that he would not attend the address.

Biden’s office informed the media on Friday that the vice president would be out of the country and would not fill his role as the president of the Senate during the joint meeting of Congress on March 3.

The announcement came as leading black and Hispanic Democrats indicated that they also would not attend. A Jewish lawmaker, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), said that blacks in his district were asking him not to attend because they saw the speech as disrespecting President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in an interview with the Forward on Friday urged Netanyahu not to follow through with his plans to address Congress, saying the fracas had devolved into a “circus.” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, made the same call in an interview with the paper.

Administration officials had already said that the president and other senior officials would not meet with Netanyahu, ostensibly because the March 3 speech is just two weeks before the Israeli election. But until Friday it was not clear whether Biden would abjure his role of presiding over the Senate during the session.

Congressional Democrats say the speech is unacceptable because Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House of Representatives speaker, invited Netanyahu to rebut Obama’s continued backing of nuclear talks between the major powers and Iran. Netanyahu, like most Republicans, believes the talks are headed for a bad deal that will leave Iran on the threshold of a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu has phoned senior Democrats and Ambassador Ron Dermer has met with many of the rank-and-file in an effort to smooth over their differences. Netanyahu and Dermer have said the speech will emphasize bipartisan support for Israel and praise Obama for his backing of the country at critical times. They also said that Netanyahu is determined to keep the date because he believes he must urgently convey his warning about a nuclear Iran ahead of a March 24 deadline on achieving the outline of a deal.

Democrats, however, have grown more adamant in opposing the speech, with a growing number of prominent minority Democrats saying they will stay away. Party leaders in both chambers say they will attend but are warning that the speech might backfire.

Among the black lawmakers, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranked House Democrat, joined Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights hero, and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in saying he will not attend. The Hill newspaper has also reported that Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a prominent Hispanic lawmaker and the chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will not attend.

Jewish lawmakers have met with Dermer and expressed their displeasure with the timing of the speech. Cohen, who is circulating a letter among colleagues urging Boehner to postpone the speech until after Israeli elections and congressional votes on an Iran sanctions bill, told Dermer on Thursday that African-American leaders in his Memphis district were asking him not to attend.
“It’s become less and less attractive” to attend, Cohen said after the meeting. “My district is majority African-American and a lot of people see this as dismissive of the first African-American president.”

Cohen said Dermer told him that Netanyahu is determined to go ahead with the speech.

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, suggested that Boehner misled the Israelis about the invitation, which Boehner said was made in the name of both parties. Within hours of Boehner announcing the invitation on Jan. 21, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader, and the White House said they had been kept out of the loop.
“It appears that the speaker of Congress made a move in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one-sided move and not a move by both sides,” Reuters quoted Hanegbi as saying Friday on an Israeli radio station.

A slate of 48 GOP House members signed on to a letter countering the one circulated by Cohen asking for a speech delay. The GOP letter, initiated by Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), thanked Boehner for organizing the speech, saying “it is necessary now for Congress to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu, and welcome his expertise on Iran’s regional designs.”

Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, suggested on Twitter that his party would use the issue against Democrats in elections.
“Dems have a choice — stand w/PM Netanyahu and the Jewish com against Iran or w/Pres Obama,” he said. The RJC “will make sure people know what they choose.”

Vegemite Australia

Australian children cry for this caramelized spread made of brewer’s yeast and vegetables as American tots do for peanut butter and jelly. Spread on buttered toast or bread as a snack or a sandwich or on biscuits as a special treat at teatime, Vegemite may not be pretty, but it is one of the world’s most iconic foods and definitely worth a try.

More information about the book can be found at

By being a little more adventurous with what goes on your dinner plate, you can expand your horizons and explore the whole world.