People of the Book Chekhov Aleichem

In interviews, Amos Oz often talks about the revelations Chekhov gave him. When he first read Chekhov, he realized he could write about the people he knew — their disappointments, failures, thwarted aspirations (and Chekhov, the great poet of the disappointing life, knew how to write differently about all three). Chekhov writes about rural Russia, but… Read More

Can Trump Survive Abbas?

There was something of a motivational speaker about President Donald Trump as he welcomed Mahmoud Abbas, the geronto-crat at the helm of the Palestinian Authority for the last 12 years, to the White House on May 3. At their joint appearance, Trump was confident and beaming. Abbas, in turn, came across as eager and respectful…. Read More

Proud, Strong Israel — Forever

As I write this, it is 10 a.m. Krakow time (4 a.m. in Baltimore), on Friday, April 28, and we are aboard IAF 002, our flight from Krakow to Tel Nof Air Force Base in  Israel. IAF stands for Israel Air Force. We will be the very first civilian group of passengers ever to fly… Read More

People of the Book How AIPAC Lost the Israel Debate

Talking about AIPAC is nearly impossible. So many contradictory statistics proliferate about AIPAC that nobody can quote them reliably. Nevertheless, one thing remains obvious. We all know AIPAC’s nowhere near as powerful as its opposition alleges. Whether AIPAC has a $25 million endowment or a $100 million endowment, conspiracy theorists would have us believe this… Read More

What Sean Spicer Must Do Next

Passover is a holiday of blood and fire, of sacrifice and Exodus, of when the Jewish people sit around the dining room table to celebrate the violent triumph of our Israelite ancestors over our ancient Egyptian oppressors. Some holidays are raucous, like Purim, and some are somber, like Yom Kippur. But not Passover. This is… Read More

Journey from Slave Laborers to Displaced Persons

The online Virtual Jewish Library states with an encyclopedia-like certainty that the last day of the Holocaust was May 8, 1945. You might recognize the date as the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies. This is inaccurate. We’re not just splitting hairs here. The British liberated Bergen-Belsen, for example, on April 15, 1945…. Read More

We Can Start by Listening to Immigrant Leaders

Jews everywhere have been horrified to see the beginnings of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, which threatens to shatter families and communities and send people back to the dangerous circumstances they fled. This was happening under President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump has set in motion a massive expansion of the deportation machine,… Read More

Full Steam Ahead

It’s hard to believe it was more than 25 years ago when a group of Baltimore’s Jewish community leaders and business executives sat down to talk about how to absorb the influx of Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel. It was the late 1980s, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, and unemployment hit double… Read More