Red Lines, Green Lights And Mixed Messages

President Bashar al-Assad has threatened to retaliate against Israel if the U.S. strikes Syria with missiles. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The past week has been witness to a dizzying array of political brinkmanship, even in a town like Washington, D.C., where changing strategy can be as commonplace as changing shoes. More than a year ago, President Obama dec-lared that if Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons to attack his own people, he would be… Read More

Hamas’ Sudden Vulnerability

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The chaotic changes in the Middle East have had at least one positive result at the moment: the weakening of Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. Because of alignment decisions made by the Islamist group in both Egypt and Syria, Hamas has emerged as a big loser. (See related story, “The Mideast… Read More

Do Jews Need A White House Liaison?

When Matt Nosanchuk was appointed associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement for Jewish Outreach last month, the former defense department staffer became the fourth in a series of President Obama’s “Jewish liaisons.” It is a role that goes back officially or unofficially to FDR and Harry Truman. The Jewish liaison is… Read More

A Seat At The New Year’s Table

This is the time of year when even the unaffiliated feel the pull of prayer, and many of them seek to join with other Jews to usher in the New Year. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — the World Series of Judaism — is also when seats in synagogues are at a premium. Increasingly, congregations… Read More

Another Syria?

An injured supporter of deposed Egyptian 
President Mohamed Morsi is carried into the Fatah Mosque at Ramses Square in Cairo. 
Ed Giles/Getty

With the death toll in Egypt at now more than 1,000, and through its ongoing deadly security sweeps targeted at supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian military has ended the pretense that it is supporting a civilian government and a return to the rule of law. Among the victims of the chaos in… Read More

More Than A Timeout Needed With Russia

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With the cancellation of President Barack Obama’s meeting early next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the administration’s hoped-for political reset with the Russians has suffered a further setback. Obama canceled the planned bilateral meeting in Moscow shortly after Putin granted political asylum to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. The grant of asylum to Snowden was… Read More

National Night Out Block Party For Safety

Neighborhood security comes from several sources. It comes from the absence of crime, of course, and from good relations between neighbors and the police when problems do occur. And safety is strengthened when neighbors know each other and look out for each other. These last two components were emphasized at last week’s National Night Out,… Read More

John Kerry’s Accomplishment

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Many thought that in taking on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, Secretary of State John Kerry was embarking on a fool’s errand. But after investing significant time, effort and his own reputation in the process, he was able to bring the parties to the table last week. By achieving that result, Kerry confounded the doubters, at least in… Read More

Beyond The Press Release

National Jewish organizations are famous for their press releases. But while they have mastered the email blast favored by older Jews, a provocative op-ed piece in the Algemeiner gives the organizations poor marks in managing the social media tools — Facebook, Twitter and others — favored by younger Jews. “The organizations have minimal knowledge of… Read More

‘Everyone’s Rabbis’

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The recent election in Israel of Rabbi David Lau as Ashkenazi chief rabbi, and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef as Sephardi chief rabbi, may seem like a victory for the status quo. Indeed, many assume that the new chief rabbis are unlikely to make any meaningful changes in the Rabbinate’s approach and attitude toward the increasing number… Read More