A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
"What should Barack Obama, who is to visit Israel next Wednesday for the first time in his presidency, do about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" asked Rashid Khalidi in The New York Times. "In short, if the objectives of the entire peace process are not ending the occupation, removing the settlements and providing for real Palestinian self-determination, then what is the purpose of pretending to restart it?" Others are focused on the President's agenda for the week. "And then Obama is off to Ramallah, a visit that signifies his continued commitment to a two-state solution. Interestingly enough, the time allotted for the Ramallah trip – where he will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – is the same as the time allotted for his meeting with Netanyahu: five-and-a-half hours," wrote Herb Keinon in The Jerusalem Post. Stay tuned next week.
A documentary about Egypt’s Jews that was scheduled to screen this week in the country was suspended after security officials "delayed the renewal of its authorization," said reports. "Jews of Egypt" may yet air, but censorship stand in the way now. "There is no excuse for this except delay and obstruction," said the film's producer in a post on the film's Facebook page. "I announce the delay of the screening of Jews of Egypt until a solution is found for this inexplicable problem, inherited from long years in the parlours of the Egyptian state securities and which aim to terrorise thought and repress creativity." He is also threatening to take legal action for financial losses incurred due to the delay.
New York Times' columnist David Brooks took a trek to an Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn and lived to tell the tale in a much-discussed op-ed. "As someone who has spoken out about the crisis in marriage among the non-Orthodox, I appreciate and indeed envy the devotion to marriage and children exemplified by the large families and countercultural values that Brooks so lovingly describes," said Jane Eisner in The Jewish Daily Forward, but it's only half the story. Other bloggers were even more aghast over the overlooking of key facts. "The people who shop at Pomegranate voted with their tuition dollars and sent their daughters to Brooklyn schools that emphatically and purposely do NOT prepare their students for careers as US attorneys. If Brooks was attempting to be a journalist rather than a publicist he might have discovered this," said DovBear.
SXSW: Jewish edition
The annual tech and music festival South by Southwest began last weekend in Austin and attracted all kinds of people, including those looking for a religious experience while staying there. Chabad couldn't really sit out such a festivity, could it? "#openShabbat is like any of the umpteen other events put on throughout the week, except for one rule: no technology," wrote Adrianne Jeffries at The Verge. "All told, the reviews were positive. Some even waited until after Shabbat ended to share their love on Twitter," joked Tablet's Adam Chandler about the event. Some savvy Jewish entrepreneurs attended the conference to gain momentum for their products and services as well.
There's a new Haggadah in town this Passover season. And it omes from a familiar source, Edgar Bronfman, the businessman and Jewish philanthropist. What do people think of “The Bronfman Haggadah” so far? "No Kiddush, no Four Questions, No Dayenu. Not only is this not your grandfather’s Haggadah, it’s not your father’s," wrote Steve Lipman in The Jewish Week. "Their Haggadah, they say, is meant for people like them: committed to Jewish life but not committed to strict Jewish observance. Based on several years of research, it evolved from notes Bronfman used at the seders he led for friends and family." For the more historically-minded, this Haggadah could be just the right fit.