A Matter of Transparency

Numerous “American friends of” organizations exist in the Jewish communal firmament to help direct funds to worthy causes in Israel. That’s what most people thought was the case with an organization known as Aish International — it was generally assumed to be the American fundraising arm of Jerusalem-based Aish HaTorah, the haredi Orthodox outreach group… Read More

A Call for Thoughtful Dialogue

The human capacity to devise new ways to disrupt, terrorize, injure and kill appears limitless. And so it was on June 14 that James T. Hodgkinson, armed with a semiautomatic rifle, turned the congressional Republican team’s practice for the next day’s baseball game for charity into a bloodbath. Hodgkinson, who was shot and killed by… Read More

The Trump Soap Opera, Continued

In his June 7 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, fired FBI director James Comey dropped no new bombshells. Instead, he darkened some of the clouds surrounding the question of Russian interference in last fall’s U.S. presidential election. And his testimony that President Donald Trump attempted to quash an investigation into deposed national security advisor… Read More

Our Frenemy Qatar

The oil-rich sheikdom Qatar is much like its neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula — undemocratic, ruled by a minority clan, both a U.S. ally and an active sponsor of extremists. Much the same can be said of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the other countries that last week severed relations with Qatar and… Read More

Reunited Jerusalem at 50

The celebrations of 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem have been going on in that city since last month’s Jerusalem Day. This week, with the anniversary of the Six Day War on the secular calendar, there was another opportunity to think about the significance of Israel bringing the entire capital city under its control… Read More

Save Planet Earth

While it makes us nervous that the United States is now “aligned” with Syria and Nicaragua as the only other country that is not a member of the Paris climate accord, the real significance of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nonbinding agreement is that it essentially decouples our country from the world… Read More

A Nastier, More Brutish Budget

National Jewish organizations are notoriously prolific when it comes to issuing press releases. So the near silence that followed the issuance of President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget on May 23 was surprising. In general terms, the budget raises defense spending at the expense of social programs and argues that it will pay for itself… Read More

Recipes for Disunity

For decades, haredi-Orthodox authorities have sought to tighten their control over Israel’s already strict interpretation of personal status questions, such as who may marry and whose conversions are kosher in the eyes of the state. The latest attempt comes from the Sephardic haredi party Shas, which last week submitted a bill to the Knesset that… Read More

The Toxic Brew of Politics and Religion

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine your rabbi dedicating his Yom Kippur sermon to why he will be voting for Candidate X come Election Day and why you should as well. Now suppose the rabbi made that endorsement because your congregation’s biggest donor asked that he do so in exchange for an unprecedented gift to the… Read More