Order in the Court

It is one of Israel’s paradoxes that, while the country accepts any conversion made abroad for purposes of aliyah, not even many Orthodox conversions made abroad are sufficient to render a future Israeli Jewish for personal status purposes. That’s because only Orthodox conversions made in the country under the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate —… Read More

Symbols Matter

The Confederate battle 
flag flies outside the South Carolina State House

The racially motivated shooting of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston has added new focus to the national conversation on the question of what it means to be an American. That we are inheritors of dual legacies of freedom and slavery makes this Independence Day weekend a good time to consider issues… Read More

One for the ‘Nones’

First the good news. The American Jewish population has stabilized in size after decades of decline. That’s the positive glimmer from the recent Pew Research Center survey that found American Christianity is shrinking, but that the number of those who identify as Jewish in the United States is growing slowly. But Steven M. Cohen of… Read More

Oren’s Un-Diplomacy

Michael Oren’s op-eds haven’t been kind to President Obama.
(Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

American-born oleh Michael Oren, author of the critically acclaimed “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” removed his historian’s hat in 2009 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him ambassador to Washington. Upon returning to Israel in 2013, Oren donned a politician’s hat and was elected a… Read More

A Mega-Million Gamble on BDS

Somewhere between $20 million and $50 million is reported to have been pledged at the recent Campus Maccabees Summit convened in Las Vegas by billionaire Sheldon Adelson to fight against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses. The exact size of the pledges is unknown, and precisely what transpired at the two-day… Read More

Diane Rehm’s Loyalty Oath

Diane Rehm, National Public Radio host 
(BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/Newscom)

Public radio host Diane Rehm is known for running a genial, intelligent and well-informed talk show. But during her interview with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week, something went very wrong. Prompted by a listener’s post on Facebook, Rehm stated that Sanders, who is Jewish, had dual citizenship with Israel. “No, I do not… Read More

Rabbi Riskin Under Fire

101014_riskin_sholmo_rabbi

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin is a well-respected and accomplished modern Orthodox rabbi. In the 1960s and ’70s he was among the leading voices in the Soviet Jewry movement and led the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a hub for the area’s young modern Orthodox population. He made aliya in 1983 and became… Read More

The Crowning Glory of American Pharoah

It’s not often that an American Jewish publication chooses to comment on a horse race. And we certainly claim no expertise regarding the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing. But American Pharoah is a rare hose. Having won the Kentucky Derby and Maryland’s Preakness Stakes last month, the thoroughbred stands to be the first Triple… Read More

Tony Blair’s Mideast Exit

Tony Blair was the so-called Quartet’s Middle East envoy.
(FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA/Newscom)

Tony Blair stepped down last month as the Middle East envoy of the so-called Quartet — the group comprised of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. To the extent Blair’s assignment was the achievement of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, he clearly didn’t finish the job. But,… Read More

A Birthright for Evangelicals?

A new program to bring young evangelical Christians to Israel on an 11-day subsidized trip has been dubbed “Birthright for evangelicals” because it was inspired by the successful Birthright Israel program open to Jewish young adults. And it’s a testament to that success that other groups seek to copy it. But comparisons between the two… Read More