A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Mitt Romney will officially accept the Republican nomination on Thursday evening at the GOP convention in Tampa. For some, though, the spotlight is on the location as much as the man. The chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County recently said he was “very optimistic” that Romney could win the state with a big push from his county. Republicans have been eyeing the Florida vote for some time. But polls tell a different story, as many of the locals remain Obama supporters. And Romney’s VP pick may not have earned him new fans. “Efforts that do disproportionate harm to the elderly, the poor and the needy conflict with our tradition’s commitment to worldly justice. Ryan clearly does not share our values,” wrote three women in a Jewish Week editorial.
Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik was privileged with the giving of the invocation at the opening session of the convention on Tuesday. Not everyone was supportive of the selection. Aryeh Cohen in The Daily Beast said, “Rabbi Meir Soloveichik’s vision for modern Orthodoxy seems to be to embrace the literary and philosophical tools of intellectual discourse in the service of a program which ultimately oppresses the poor, marginalizes women, erases gay and lesbian people, and criminalizes undocumented immigrants.” Still, he earns his defense form others. “But despite his staunch conservative views, Soloveichik does not present himself as a fiery ideologue. Instead, he is known for making his arguments affably, with a disarming sense of humor and wry self-awareness at the controversial nature of many of his stances,” said Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg.
Michigan State hate crime?
Over the weekend, teenage college student Zachary Tennen was beaten unconscious and had his mouth stapled by two assailants, according to reports. After the men discovered that Tennen was Jewish, they reportedly raised their right arms in a Nazi salute and proceeded to beat him. But police said on Tuesday that the incident probably isn’t a hate crime. “Anti-Semitic violence — if it turns out that’s what this was — is always abhorrent. The fact that these attacks happen rarely in the U.S. can’t be much comfort to the families of the victims. Every single incident is one is too many,” said Alana Goodman at Commentary.
An Israeli court this week rejected accusations that Israel was at fault for the death of activist Rachel Corrie. Corrie died in 2003 after an army bulldozer pummeled her at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gaza. The court called Corrie’s death a “regrettable accident”, but labeled it an accident. The verdict inspired outrage. “In a country where the military is considered sacred and investigates itself, and where the judicial system has enabled occupation for over 45 years, could one have seriously expected a different outcome?” asked Ami Kaufman in The Guardian. “The ruling in Ms Corrie’s case epitomises the neglect of the Israeli state in dealing with its rulings fairly and in a manner that critically examines reasons for both the Israeli military and Ms Corrie to react in the ways they did,” said an Express Tribune editorial. “The tragedy of the Corrie case is not only that Corrie’s parents have lost their daughter, but that they now fan the hatred and racist anti-Semitism that was the cause of her death. How sad is that,” said Jonathan Danilowitz at The Propagandist.
The kipah-wearing Jewish day school student continued his inspiring run in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesday night. Edon Pinchot got a standing ovation, and judge Howie Mandel called Pinchot “the best singer of the competition.” The winner of the competition will receive a $1 million prize. During his run, Edon has picked up quite a following. “We at the Shmooze are dreaming of being able to wrestle with 14-year-old girls to get tickets to hear Pinchot sing live,” said Hannah Rubin at The Jewish Daily Forward.