The Political Olive Branch

Merrick Garland (The White House/Public Domain)

In nominating federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama has met Republican senators at least halfway. The 63-year-old nominee does not appear to present an ideological challenge to the Senate majority, so there appears to be little for them to fear. But… Read More

Is ‘Separation’ a Step toward Peace?

Will a wall around Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem help protect Jewish  Israelis from the violence that has plagued the city since last fall? Haim Ramon, a former government minister who spent much of his career in the Labor Party and later joined the Kadima Party, made that assertion on a tour of the city last… Read More

Pew’s Portrait of Israel

The 2013 Pew Research Center’s “Portrait of Jewish Americans” touched off discussions, head scratching and soul searching about where American Jewry was headed. Even those who saw no revelations in the findings attested to the report as a particularly clear snapshot of Jewish reality. Pew’s serious reputation as a research center, plus its status as… Read More

Chris Van Hollen for U.S. Senate

In the years since Democrat Chris Van Hollen won Maryland’s 8th District U.S. House seat in 2003, he has risen to leadership roles on Capitol Hill and within his party. He was once reportedly being groomed to be the next Democratic Speaker of the House should the party  regain the majority. Now, Van Hollen, 57,… Read More

The Perils of Social Media

An email exchange between the head of a pro-Israel organization and a “Voice of America” producer that appeared to degrade an Israeli-Palestinian journalist is a reminder, even now, that what you put into social media never goes away. The exchange between former AIPAC official Josh Block, now CEO and president of The Israel Project, and… Read More

Trump’s Reality Candidacy

With mounting vehemence and desperation, Republican and conservative politicians and pundits are denouncing Donald Trump and his appeal to what is characterized as the lowest instincts of the American electorate. From Mitt Romney (“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud”) to columnists George Will (“Trump is a presidential aspirant who would flunk an eighth-grade civics… Read More

The Vanishing NJDC

Has the National Jewish Democratic Council run out of steam? The once vocal and visible lobbying organization that represented Jewish interests in the  Democratic Party and Democratic interests in the Jewish community has virtually vanished. Since its last full-time director, Rabbi Jack Moline, left the organization in 2014, the NJDC has been led by its… Read More

Unnecessary Provocation

Controversy over the massive, bipartisan customs bill that President Barack Obama signed into law last week has boiled down to the question of “conflation.” The law, which deals with international trade  enforcement, includes language opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and also applies restrictions against entities  employing the practice to those… Read More

How to Answer Strange Questions

When strangers come to your synagogue, how should they be treated? At least one congregation in the Miami area has put that question to the test, and it turns out that the answer isn’t so simple. According to reports, two women wearing hijabs and identifying themselves as Muslim twice visited a North Miami Beach synagogue…. Read More

What Is Disability Inclusion?

February is Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. Which prompts the question: What is disability inclusion? Is it not “inclusion” when a program is organized for people with disabilities around the time of the Jewish holidays so they can learn about their heritage. But it is “inclusion” when a mitzvah program is developed in which teens… Read More