Posted by JewishJournal.com
Matisyahu "Happy Hanukkah" (New Song)
All Proceeds through the End of Hanukkah will be donated to Hurricane Sandy Relief. For more info visit: http://bit.ly/MatisyahuHanukkah
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November 20, 2012 | 12:12 pm
Posted by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Rabbi Sharon Brous, leader of Ikar, a spiritual and social activism community in Los Angeles, and her colleague and friend of many years, Rabbi Danny Gordis, locked horns this week in a passionate and personal exchange of articles in the Times of Israel about what it means to support Israel in a time of crisis.
Gordis, who writes frequently about Israel and recently published a book about Israel, is senior vice president and Koret distinguished fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and a founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism, now American Jewish University, in Los Angeles.
In an article in The Times of Israel, Gordis attacked Brous for a letter she wrote to her congregants that affirmed Israel's obligation to defend its citizens and called for empathy for both Israelis and Palestinian civilians.
Why can we not simply say that at this moment, Israel’s enemies are evil? That they’re wrong? Why cannot someone as insightful and soulful as Rabbi Brous just say, without obfuscation, that whatever fault one finds with Israel, it is the Jewish State that for seventy years has sued for peace and the Arabs/Palestinians who have always refused…
… my friend left me heartbroken. If people as wise and as deeply Jewishly knowledgeable as Rabbi Brous (whom I told that this response was forthcoming) cannot come out and say that at least at this moment, we care about Israel more than we care about its enemies because we care about the future of the Jews more than almost anything else in the world, then her Jewish world and mine simply no longer inhabit overlapping universes.
In an article posted at the Times of Israel the next day, Brous said Gordis brought the conversation on Israel to a new low:
What is shameful is that Gordis knows what many of his readers do not. For years my teacher and friend, he knows precisely what is the character of my Judaism, he knows just how deeply Jewish traditions and texts run in my blood. But it is far easier to cast aspersions on a straw man than engage in discourse with a real live colleague who shares his concern for Israel, the Jewish people and its future but nevertheless sees things differently than he does. So he follows the disturbing pattern he established years ago – pinpoint one voice, publicly eviscerate, hit send and reap the rewards of the resulting publicity. This may be a fine strategy to keep Gordis’s agenda on the radar of the American Jewish community, but it does not actually serve the interests of the Jewish people, his ostensible concern.
David Myers, chair of the history department at UCLA, came to Brous' defense in another post, characterizing Gordis' attack as stemming from a romanticized version of Zionism:
Rabbi Daniel Gordis’s critique of Rabbi Sharon Brous induces in the reader a certain fatigued response. On more than a few occasions, he has seen fit to anoint himself as the guardian of a fixed moral boundary line, insisting that one either stands with him – or against the Jews. In his latest pronouncement, he issues his own “J’accuse” against one of the most promising leaders to be found in American Judaism (who, in the name of full disclosure, happens to be a friend), Rabbi Sharon Brous. The crime? Nothing less than betrayal of the Jewish people. That the accused has inculcated a love of Judaism, Jews, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel in thousands of young people is of little moment to Rabbi Gordis.
November 16, 2012 | 2:05 am
Posted by JewishJournal.com
On Nov. 15, at approximately 4:30 p.m., more than 100 people took to the streets in West Los Angeles to express their solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The protest was a response to the escalation of recent attacks between the Palestinian militant Hamas group and the Israeli military.
A small group of pro-Israel protestors gathered across the street, on the northwest corner of Wilshire boulevard and Granville avenue, to express support for Israel.
Meanwhile, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel denounced Hamas’ attacks on Israel and said Israel must defend itself. “We’re in a situation that is becoming more and more untenable,” he said.
Video by Jay Firestone and Ryan Torok.
November 15, 2012 | 1:13 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) made the following statement condemning the recent Hamas missile attacks on Israel and standing up for Israel’s right to self-defense:
“With our deepest concern and strongest support, the United States stands firm with our ally Israel, currently under fire from an onslaught of Hamas rockets. I reject Hamas’s relentless violence, and commend President Obama’s unwavering commitment to our ally, including his fundamental support for the Iron Dome missile defense system. As the days unfold, we remain united in our support of Israel’s sovereign right to self-defense and ever hopeful for a return to calm and peace. My thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Israel in these uncertain times.”
November 9, 2012 | 11:40 am
Posted JTA and JewishJournal.com
Nate Silver, the 34-year-old whiz who created a system in 2003 that uses statistics to accurately forecast baseball matchups, may have changed political predictions forever. In 2008, he applied his baseball model to the presidential election and accurately predicted the winner in 49 states and the District of Columbia (he got Indiana wrong.) The New York Times picked up his FiveThirtyEight blog -- named for the number of electors in the Electoral College – and Silver quickly became a lightning rod for critics and a guru for admirers. But his predictions in recent weeks that President Obama had an 80-plus percent probability of winning earned him derision from both the right and left. On Election Day, however, Silver correctly predicted the victor in all 50 state contests plus DC. On Wednesday, even Silver's detractors were doffing their hats.
November 6, 2012 | 8:31 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
“I have kids who got laid off from their jobs. I have a grandchild who just graduated college who’s having a tough time finding a job, and I just hope things change for the better.”
- Muriel Perry, who cast her ballot at Sinai Temple this morning
Dennis Kahan said he voted Libertarian this morning at Sinai Temple. He voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and left the spaces for Senate and Assembly candidates blank.
On the ballot measures, Kahan voted against any that raised taxes or increased government intrusion into the private sphere – so thumbs down for both Prop. 30 and 38, which would raise taxes to pay for education as well as for Measure B, which would require condom use on the sets of adult films shot in the city of Los Angeles.
“Surprisingly,” Kahan added, “I voted no on Prop. 32,” the ballot measure that would restrict the ability of Unions and corporations to use monies deducted from payroll to pay for political activities.
“I don’t like unions, because they restrict the rights of individuals to work,” Kahan explained, “but I voted against the measure because I don’t want the government telling unions what they can and can’t do.”
Robert Rosenberg wouldn’t hint at who got his vote, but he did have this to say about what needed to change in the American system of elections.
“Shorter campaigns,” he said, “and one six-year term for President instead of two four-year terms.”
November 6, 2012 | 1:17 pm
Posted by Jay Firestone
Jeff Hensiek and Adam Wills contributed to the post.
1) Star Wars, Episode VII:
Han Solo casts the ceremonial first ballot in the first free elections since the fall of the Empire.
2) Harry Potter
Voting by Owl accounts for most accurate election results in history of the magical world.
3 ) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Oompa Lumpas rally to oppose Prop. 32 which they believe may weaken labor union campaign contributions.
4) Being John Malkovich
Voter I.D. laws cause massive confusion inside the latest Malkovich vessel.
5) Back to the Future
Mayor Goldie Wilson campaigns for reelection in downtown Hill Valley. Proposition to fund clock tower restoration falls short of the necessary votes.
6) Chronicles of Narnia
Long lines extend far beyond household wardrobes.
7) Lord of the Rings
Middle Earth voters carefully cast their ballots into the Crack of Doom at the highly active, volcanic Mount Doom in Mordor. Everybody gets a free sticker.
Widespread election fatigue across Pandora appears to have been caused by an overwhelmingly high number of campaign contributions and advertisements from rival Super PACs: "Citizens for Unobtainium" and "Navi for Eywa."
9) The Matrix
Cautious voters succumb to Machine voting. Absentee voters choose either Red or Blue pill.
10) The Wizard of Oz
Munchkinland sees moderate election turnout as Mayor of Munchkin City in the County of Oz faces massive smear campaign for “glorifying the name” of an illegal alien. Exit polls looking good for the incumbent coroner; pundits calling it the "Witch Bump."
Bonus: Video Game - Super Mario World
Mario/Luigi ticket tops polls and has star support from Princess of Mushroom Kingdom. Pundits suggest he may squash opponents, but faces backlash from PETA protesters. Opponents say he has received questionable campaign contributions, both from anonymous sources and grass roots efforts. Favors: Public transportation via pipes, whistles. Opposes: Slow moving terrorists.
November 1, 2012 | 12:54 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
The man who could walk away with the Jewish vote is giving his to Barack Obama.
In a column in today's Bloomberg News, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his endorsement to President Barack Obama.
Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Independent, cited the President's policies on climate change as the primary reason for his decision.
"We need leadership from the White House -- and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption," wrote Bloomberg. "including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year."
Bloomberg pointed out that as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney supported the science of climate change and pursued policies to address it, but as a presidential candidate has backed off both positions. He writes:
Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long- lasting and enormous -- benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.
He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.
Bloomberg stacked up some other reasons for his endorsement: Obama's record on women's rights, abortion, and gay rights, as well as his Race to the Top education initiative:
Nevertheless, the president has achieved some important victories on issues that will help define our future. His Race to the Top education program -- much of which was opposed by the teachers’ unions, a traditional Democratic Party constituency -- has helped drive badly needed reform across the country, giving local districts leverage to strengthen accountability in the classroom and expand charter schools. His health-care law -- for all its flaws -- will provide insurance coverage to people who need it most and save lives.
When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.
One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
When and how did the mayor make up his mind? In a long interview with Atlantic magazine this month, Bloomberg declined to endorse either candidate. In fact, he criticized Obama for failing to engage the Wall Street community, for using polarizing language and for failing to work across the aisle. He still has those criticisms:
In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.
But it seems the fury of Hurricae Sandy, whose Ground Zero has been New York and New Jersey, has reinforced in the mayor's mind the critical need to recognize and address climate change. "One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet," wrote Bloomberg, "one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
The big question is how a Bloomberg endorsement, coming just days before the election, will influence independent voters, and Jewish ones. Bloomberg is enormously popular among Jews-- notwithstanding a smaller percentage of Orthodox Jews riled by his stand on the practice of metzizah b'peh in circumscision. In Bloomberg Jews find a leader whose politics and positions are fiscally prudent and conservative, but socially liberal. It's these same qualities that led Bloomberg to believe he didn't stand a chance in a Republican primary. When speaking to Jewish groups about politics, I always find a wide concensus that Bloomberg is the politician who they most admire.
So, question one is how will that translate into Jewish votes in crucial swing states like Ohio and Florida?
Question two is what led Bloomberg to endorse at all. He told the Atlantic that as mayor he will have to work closely with whoever wins, so why risk alienating the wrong guy? Maybe Bloomberg, a savvy investor, has decided to play his hunch.