Yad Vashem and Its (Orthodox) Jewish Problem

Since the opening of its state-of-the-art New Wing in 2005, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has been deluged by well-deserved accolades from the millions of tourists and Israeli citizens who visit each year. And it is considered by many to be the gold standard against which all other Holocaust memorials are measured. Why, then, has a… Read More

My Federation Journey

In early 2000, I got a call from an old friend, Toby Knopf, who at the time was president of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, an organization to which I was an annual donor.  She told me that her treasurer had just resigned, and she asked me if I would consider filling in for… Read More

Hamas has to change

The Palestinian unity government that was sworn in Monday has been denounced in Jerusalem and met with an official wait-and-see in Washington. To soften the effect of his partnership with Hamas, President Mahmoud Abbas filled his cabinet with lawyers, businessmen and academics — none of whom proclaim to have direct connections to Abbas’ Fatah or… Read More

It sure isn’t art

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Everything in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have two narratives. Even in art. Even in Pittsburgh. That’s the lesson of the exhibit of Israeli, Palestinian and American artists, which was to have opened Sunday at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory museum but was canceled at the last minute. “Sites of Passage: Borders, Walls & Citizenship” was to… Read More

Aspire to Educate

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Looking back at the just-concluded holiday of Shavuot, it’s hard not to remain in awe at the magnitude of the event it commemorates. The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai is remarkable not just because it embodies a link between the physical and supernal realms. What stands out when contemplating this seminal moment in… Read More

My Personal Response to Israel’s 66th birthday

I am not normally supportive of new Jewish/Israeli-based organizations, as we seem to have more than our share. Yet, the time has come for a new effort that will restore the greatness and vitality of the Zionist movement. The time for change is here. Israel and the Jewish people are under attack from the outside… Read More

JNF editorial: ‘shoddy journalism’

Your editorial, “Bringing openness to JNF” (May 16), demands a response from us and a clarification (apology) from you to your readers. Your editorial purports to describe certain recent political and legal issues in Israel relating to what you misleadingly identify as the “Jewish National Fund.” In fact, the Israeli debate is all about Keren… Read More

Pope in the Holy Land

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Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank was not merely a religious event. He is, after all, the head of a state. And even more than the charismatic John Paul II, Francis is everyone’s pope. He came, as one commentator put it, “mostly to do what he does best — project… Read More

Rabbi Wohlberg Cares

In contrast to letter-writer Richard B. Crystal, I have found Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg’s posted sermons not only profound and inspiring but timely (Your Say, May 16). While Crystal may object to Wohlberg’s support of John McCain and more recently giving Dr. Charles Krauthammer a venue, both have a long record of being pro-Israel, a position… Read More

Finding Balance in Life

At first Parshat Naso seems nothing more than a disassociated combination of random laws. The adulterous sotah must drink before the Beit Din, while the spiritual nazir must refrain from shaving and drinking wine. The laws of the sotah, an accused adulterer, and the laws for a nazir, one who seeks to live an ascetic… Read More