The Pain of Our Elders

I remember my first history teacher in junior high invoking a famous aphorism in defense of her claiming an hour and a half every other day of a roomful of rambunctious adolescents’ time: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For the immediate purposes of that class, the inability to remember… Read More

First Amendment Provides the Muscle

The University of Missouri community and millions of YouTube viewers got a painful civics lesson last week as the campus was convulsed by protests against racism, leading to the resignation of two top university officials. While all that was going on, a  student journalist was prevented from photographing a temporary encampment by a group of… Read More

Smaller Numbers, Steady Engagement

When delegates to the biennial  convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative  Judaism met last week near Chicago, they sought a way forward for a movement challenged by numerical decline but holding steady in Jewish engagement. These are the main overall trends that emerge from a comparison of two national studies of American Jews  conducted… Read More

A Tale of Israeli Bureaucracy

I remember taking my brother to the DMV in Seattle to get his driver’s license. We arrived early in the morning, took a number as we walked in, sat down in the orderly bench seats and quietly awaited our number to be called. The rowdiest the DMV got was when my brother said to me,… Read More

It Could Be Worse

A key consideration is being overlooked in the recent outbreak of what is being called the “Stabbing Intifada” (Opening Thoughts, Oct 23). For all the killed and wounded, the casualty count would be much worse, if guns instead of knives were the weapons being used. Clearly, the reason that knives rather than guns are being… Read More

Joke’s on Us

I’m pleased that Mara Atrash was taught in Hebrew School about the consequences of “baseless hatred” (Your Say, Oct. 30). However, one wonders whether her teachers would approve her current alliance with instigators such as Gideon Donnelly, a JCPOA proponent (Your Say, Sept. 25) who, like Steve Weissman (Your Say, Oct. 23), impugns the respectability … Read More

What Would You Hold Onto — At Any Price? Parshat Vayetzei

The show “Pawn Stars” is a runaway hit on the History Channel. It tells the story of three generations of the Harrison family and their Las Vegas pawnshop. There’s Richard, the patriarch (affectionately known as the “old man”); Rick, the son (who really runs the business); and Rick’s adult son, Corey (who wants to become… Read More

The Power of Now

One of the more memorable presentations to come out of the recently concluded 2015 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America had nothing to do with politics or the fate of Israel. It didn’t come from the likes of Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, who on Monday gave an impassioned defense of ethnically… Read More

Thank God, Sanders Doesn’t Want to Talk Religion

At a campaign event in Virginia last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders invoked his Judaism in response to a question about Islamophobia in the media. The exchange drew widespread attention, in part because Sanders has mostly avoided discussion of how his religion informs his politics. The contrast between his approach and that of other… Read More

A Low Bar for Netanyahu’s Visit

In a conference call with reporters last week, aides to President Barack Obama set fairly low expectations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House on Monday. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, it appears that much was accomplished — from the prime minister’s declaration that Israel would always be committed… Read More