For Maccabees, Goal Was Power

In “Chanukah and the Holidays” (Dec. 19), Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Druk characterizes the message of Chanukah as “the victory of freedom over tyranny.” This is factually incorrect.   Commenting upon the common belief that Judah Maccabee was a crusader for freedom of religion, Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser points out that this “statement is true only if you… Read More

Israel: Democracy Despite Its Faults

I think it’s ludicrous to spend time and money polling people on whether Israel should be a democracy or a theocracy. Surely, they’re not mutually exclusive. For those who are concerned that Israel will become “too Jewish,” fear not. One need only remember that Israel was founded by secular Jews and is home to an… Read More

Bag (Ac)counting

Here’s a quick mental exercise: How many reusable bags do you own? Do they make it into the store with you on your various shopping excursions? For many years, my family had a small supply of reusable bags that we had divided between our cars so that we would have them on hand when running… Read More

On Being a Member of the Tribe

I spend a great deal of time traveling as a scholar-in-residence, speaking primarily on the topic of sustainability as refracted through the prism of a Torah lifestyle. Venues typically include synagogues, Hillels and Chabad Houses, JCCs and various environmental conferences. Several years ago, I was asked to participate in the Tribal Lands Climate Conference sponsored… Read More

North Korea’s Lump of Coal

Reactions have been mixed to the unfolding story regarding the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the reported threats that were made by the hackers and the company’s cancellation of the planned Christmas Day release of” The Interview,” a comedy centered on the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Did Sony react properly? Was… Read More

Welcome Home, Alan Gross

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It became clear last week that the release of USAID contractor Alan Gross from Cuban imprisonment was a piece of a complex international puzzle involving nothing less than the restoration of U.S.-Cuban relations after a break of more than a half-century. We now understand that Gross’ release was far more than what we were led… Read More

Changing Times

Things are much different today (“United Stand,” Dec. 5). Police now have guns to protect themselves, and major crimes are worse than ever, as most offenders have guns. People who riot are idiots. If a black officer were to shoot and kill an unarmed white man, President Obama would never go on the news. Think… Read More

City College’s Nobel Prize Connection

This is in response to the articles regarding the special anniversary of Baltimore City College and its well-known alumni (“Baltimore City College Celebrates 175 Years,” Oct. 10; “City College Made Me,” Oct. 31). I’m sure there are very few high schools in the country that can boast a Nobel Prize winner among their alumni. City… Read More

No Doubt, Maryland Is a Southern State

Morris N. Saks (“Your Say,” Nov. 21 ) clearly is not a native Marylander and lacks a substantive knowledge of American history. Roy Amadeus (“Your Say,” Nov. 14) is correct: Maryland is very much a Southern state. Saks seems to be unaware of the scurrilous reference to President Abraham Lincoln enshrined in our state song,… Read More

A Safe Haven? We’ll Take Baltimore

When the Parti Quebecois took power in 1976, threatening to separate Quebec from Canada, more than 100,000 Anglophones left the province, mostly Jews because of the long history of anti-Semitism in Quebec (“A Safe Haven,” Dec. 5). My husband and I were one of the many who left Montreal in 1978 and never returned. Baltimore… Read More