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Jewish Journal

David Suissa

  • The honesty of war

    4 days ago

    There’s something about war that can make intelligent people look foolish. I’m thinking right now of all those smart people in Tel Aviv who analyzed the subtleties of peace at the Haaretz Peace Conference—only a few hours before Jew-hating terrorists from Hamas began firing rockets...

  • For murdered teens, revenge is not enough

    2 weeks ago

    When I first heard the tragic news that the three kidnapped Israeli boys had been murdered by Palestinian terrorists, my immediate instinct was to cry out for revenge. What other sentiment could I have? How else to respond to such cruelty? Should we not punish the murderers and...

  • Arab Spring: Where are the women?

    3 weeks ago

    Every time I see something in the Middle East that disgusts me, it’s usually associated with men. It’s not that women can’t be violent and evil, or that men can’t be compassionate and kind. It’s simply that the vast majority of evil in that part of the world — or, for that matter,...

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  • Mort Klein on peace vs. hate

    June 18, 2014 | 12:51 pm

    A few days before we heard the horrible news of the three boys who got kidnapped in Israel, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) leader Mort Klein visited the Jewish Journal offices to speak to our editorial staff.

    He said a lot of things over the course of a lively one-hour...

  • Money and meaning in Omaha

    June 11, 2014 | 2:51 pm

    I fully expected to be immersed in the intricacies of money-making when I attended the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting last month in Omaha, Neb. Actually, calling an event that attracts close to 40,000 raving fans a “meeting” is ridiculous. As a friend of mine says, it’s...

  • Theodore Bikel: A man in full

    June 4, 2014 | 11:31 am

    In theory, I was supposed to meet the great Theodore Bikel because of the tribute concert celebrating his 90th birthday coming up on June 16 at the Saban Theatre. But while I was interested in the concert, which will feature a cast of musical and theatrical stars who have shaped...

  • Anatomy of a scandal

    May 28, 2014 | 11:20 am

    Recalling the story of an 89-year-old South Carolina veteran who committed suicide after being repeatedly denied access to health care, the candidate bellowed: “How can we let this happen? How is that acceptable in the United States of America? The answer is, it’s not. It’s an...

  • Can Elan Carr split the
    blue sea?

    May 21, 2014 | 10:54 am

    The last word I would use to describe my friend Elan Carr, an Iraq war veteran and criminal gang prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, is “dreamer.” For the many years I’ve known him, Carr has struck me as Mr. Reality— a straight shooter who sees things...

  • J Street’s real failure

    May 14, 2014 | 10:52 am

    Just when J Street’s reason-for-being, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, fell into a deep coma, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations gave the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” group new life by rejecting its bid to join the umbrella...

  • Paralyzing narratives: Why peace keeps failing

    May 7, 2014 | 11:44 am

    We're so used to seeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fail that we often overlook this simple question: How is it possible that so many can try so hard for so long and still fail to make any progress? How can it be that the United States, the most powerful country on Earth,...

  • Donald Tokowitz Sterling:
    A Jew minus

    April 28, 2014 | 2:48 pm

    [UPDATE, May 2] My conversation with Donald Sterling


    My head is spinning from watching the horror show of Donald Sterling’s racist rants and his subsequent lifetime banishment from basketball. In case you’ve been on Mars the past week, Sterling is the billionaire owner of the Los...

  • Killing it in Mexico

    April 24, 2014 | 8:39 am

    I confess that I’ve felt a little guilty luxuriating in a Mexican resort during this Passover holiday instead of finding ways to connect with the long and painful journey of my ancestors. But I did spend the first part of the holiday in freezing Montreal, so maybe that compensates...

  • My Jewish-African Seder

    April 14, 2014 | 12:50 pm

  • Passover: Touching Liberation

    April 9, 2014 | 2:44 pm

    As we were developing the cover story for this year’s Passover issue —“Are we e-slaves?”— I couldn’t help thinking about a little girl in Israel, Amit, who suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett syndrome.

    According to academic literature, Rett syndrome is...

  • Obama needs a better job

    April 2, 2014 | 11:36 am

    I feel bad for President Barack Obama. Here is a decent, intelligent, articulate man who had all the qualities to be a brilliant candidate but somehow ended up in the wrong job.

    As I see him running out the clock on his second term, gamely trying to appear in control but clearly...

  • Tribal and human

    March 26, 2014 | 10:21 am

    I was born and raised a tribal Jew, which basically means putting your “Jewish family” first. In the Jewish ghetto of Casablanca where I grew up, you didn’t hear words like “social justice” or “tikkun olam.” There were no Jewish protests for the rights of Arab janitors, or Jewish...

  • Why Shavit struck a nerve

    March 19, 2014 | 11:08 am

    It's rare to see a passionate critic of Israel resonate with so many passionate defenders of Israel. And yet, Ari Shavit seems to have pulled that off with his new book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.”

    In my right-wing circles, many people are talking about...

  • Women and Torah: Masking words

    March 12, 2014 | 12:32 pm

    Especially during this time of year, when many of us disguise ourselves for the holiday of Purim, the idea of masks is usually associated with people. Even in politics and everyday life, we talk of people masking their real intentions or hiding behind a façade.

    But in Judaism,...

  • Charedim should start with ‘thank you’

    March 5, 2014 | 10:37 am

    Put yourself in the shoes of an Israeli mother whose son was killed while serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). On television, you watch close to half a million Ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrate last Sunday against a bill that would force some of them to serve in the IDF, which...

  • Bibi Forgot the Most Important Word

    March 4, 2014 | 4:05 pm

  • And the Oscar goes to ... Israel?

    February 26, 2014 | 2:48 pm

    There’s a good chance that when they announce the winner in the Best Documentary Feature category at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, it will be the Egyptian film “The Square.”

    It’s one of my favorite movies this year. Throughout the film, which follows the uprisings in Tahrir...

  • Replace Foxman with Seinfeld

    February 18, 2014 | 6:18 pm

    It’s not easy being the head of an organization like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), where you’re faced daily with this paradox: The more anti-Semitism and examples of bigotry you uncover, the more money and support you raise. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means...

  • California needs water –
    and Israel

    February 12, 2014 | 11:46 am

    While the leaders of California universities have been busy discussing whether or not to endorse an academic boycott of Israel — and generally weighing in against it — they are overlooking a much more productive way to single out the Jewish state: 

    Invite Israel to help solve...

  • Why I love AIPAC

    February 5, 2014 | 11:45 am

    It’s one of the odd quirks of history that Israel’s No. 1 diplomatic enemy — the United Nations — is located not far from Israel’s best friend, the United States Congress. These two bodies are arguably the most influential political entities in the world.

    This has the...

  • The post-wandering Jew

    January 29, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    What does it mean to be a nomadic people? For most of our long history, Jews have been nomads. It’s only recently that we’ve started to settle down. But have we lost something in that process? Has Judaism lost some of its vitality in the absence of movement, which has defined so...

  • Jonathan Pollard case is about America

    January 22, 2014 | 9:52 am

    America is far from being an anti-Semitic country. In fact, it might be the first country in Jewish history where it’s actually “cool” to be Jewish. That’s one reason I’ve been so reluctant over the years to weigh in on the Jonathan Pollard affair — I’m so in love with this country...

  • Expose the enemy: Say yes

    January 15, 2014 | 11:04 am

    I’m worried about Israel. I’m always worried about the terror forces in the region that want to destroy the Jewish state, but these days, I’m even more worried about the evil forces around the world that want to annihilate Israel through other means.

    These forces are out to...

  • The Limmud way: My journey to the future of Judaism

    January 8, 2014 | 11:16 am

    Two distinct visions of Judaism played in my head at the 33rd annual Limmud Conference in England, which I attended during Christmas week. The first vision was alive and kicking at the conference itself, where, under cold and gray skies, 2,600 Jews gathered on a university campus...

  • A Jewish wish list for 2014

    December 31, 2013 | 1:26 pm

    In no special order, here are 10 wishes for our community for the coming year:

    1. A sukkah for every Jew. Seriously, is there any Jewish holiday cooler than Sukkot? And yet, most non-Orthodox Jews don’t build a sukkah to commemorate the desert journey of our ancestors. In recent...

  • Why won’t liberals defend Israel?

    December 18, 2013 | 11:53 am

    As I was reading about “engagement” — the new buzzword regarding Israel that came out of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial this past weekend in San Diego — I wondered: Did anyone at the convention notice the other hot word circulating regarding the Jewish state?

    This...

  • ‘Don’t take my daddy’: When the immigration debate hits home

    December 11, 2013 | 4:23 pm

    No matter where you sit on the immigration debate, it’s hard not to be moved by what happened to little Adam, an 8-year-old Jewish boy from the San Fernando Valley who watched his father being taken away on the morning of Oct. 18.

    Adam was holding his father’s hand as they...

  • Rabbis against balance

    December 4, 2013 | 1:28 pm

    You can abuse people, and you can also abuse values. Take two great Jewish values: self-criticism and caring for the stranger. How would one abuse such values? By lifting them up at the expense of other great Jewish values — such as fairness and balance.

    A striking example can be...

  • With Iran on the one-yard line, Obama caved

    November 26, 2013 | 2:44 pm

  • ‘Thanksgivukkah’? Not quite

    November 25, 2013 | 6:22 pm

    It’s taken American Jews a good century to fully absorb the miraculous idea that this country is unlike any other that Jews have experienced. After 2,000 years of feeling insecure no matter where we pitched our tents, the people of Moses finally found safe harbor in the land of...

  • U.S. suckers on the loose

    November 20, 2013 | 3:38 pm

    When I see the earnest and eager John Kerry globe-trotting the world in his sharp business suits trying to convince mullahs not to build a nuclear bomb, I can’t help but have these politically incorrect thoughts that are loaded with stereotypes.

    The most obvious stereotype is...

  • Obama: Lies and Consequences

    November 13, 2013 | 12:23 pm

    We teach our kids two things about honesty: One, that “honesty is the best policy,” which means that, ultimately, it’s in one’s interest to be honest. An honest reputation is good for business, telling the truth will keep you out of trouble, and so on.

    Parents who aim even higher...

  • Best. Site. Ever.

    November 6, 2013 | 1:06 pm

    It’s common these days to micromanage what information we receive. Many of us have a list of favorite Web sites and blogs we regularly go to, as well as Facebook pages and mobile apps that reflect our individual tastes and ideologies. It’s a way of maintaining some level of control...

  • Obamacare: Glitches or death spiral?

    October 30, 2013 | 11:27 am

    It’s not easy to wrap your mind around a program as complex as Obamacare, which features 381,517 words in its actual bill and 11,588,500 more words in added regulations.

    Thankfully and mercifully, in trying to understand this migraine-inducing puzzle, I found some relief in one...

  • Judaism vs Americanism: An oasis of ideals

    October 23, 2013 | 2:59 pm

    In the great, century-long love affair between America and the Jews, it’s tempting to assume that Jewish and American values are perfectly aligned. 

    While there’s certainly some truth to that idea — especially with values such as the striving for human freedom — it’s also true...

  • Open Judaism

    October 16, 2013 | 2:05 pm

    There’s a nasty food fight going on right now in the Orthodox world between the stringent groups and the more open ones.

    This latest brouhaha was ignited when the “open Orthodox” Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) yeshiva invited non-Orthodox rabbis and scholars to a roundtable...

  • Can common sense save Judaism?

    October 9, 2013 | 1:34 pm

    It’s funny how the American Jewish community has a way of getting all breathless and excited when a new study comes out, as is happening right now with the new Pew survey.

    As if we needed all this sophisticated evidence to remind us that Judaism in America is in trouble, and that...

  • Raheel Raza’s Jihad

    October 3, 2013 | 11:00 am

    If the religion of Islam ever succeeds in eradicating its extremist and violent elements, it will be because of devout Muslim women like Raheel Raza, a long-time human rights activist from Pakistan.

    I came across Raza’s name on a piece she wrote last week on the Gatestone...

  • We should shut down the hysterics

    October 1, 2013 | 3:32 pm

  • Yossi Klein Halevi’s dream

    September 24, 2013 | 4:36 pm

    Too many books about Israel try to tell us what to think or feel. Whether from the left or right, it seems that the subject of Israel brings out the emotional partisan in many of us. We feel strongly one way or the other, so we like to read books or articles that support our...

  • Good News: We’re All Humans

    September 22, 2013 | 12:31 pm

  • Is beauty a Jewish value?

    September 17, 2013 | 11:01 am

    When we talk about Jewish values, we usually refer to things like justice, compassion, generosity, humility, honesty, faith, wisdom and so on. We rarely talk about beauty.

    Beauty is vain and superficial, we’re so often told.

    And yet, the word “beautiful” is prominent on this...

  • Scroll of a lifetime

    September 11, 2013 | 1:59 pm

    “Imagine your congregation gathered to witness the first strokes of the Scribe’s quill on new parchment ... Feeling a real connection to the shape of the letters, the texture of the parchment, the concentration of the Scribe, holding his quill, preparing to write the name of G-d.”

    ...