A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
The Eastern seaboard got walloped by Sandy early this week resulting in tremendous amounts of damage, and some reports of synagogues being decimated by the powerful storm. "The greater New York area, home to the largest population of Jews in North America, took a harsh hit as severe winds and flooding toppled trees, triggered electrical fires and flooded public transportation systems. The result: mass evacuations of apartments and dormitories, widespread school closings and damaged homes and community institutions," reported JTA. Through it all, though, there were also some stories of hope and courageand brotherhood. Others took the opportunity to consider what impact Sandy would have on the upcoming election...
The long road to the White House will reach its due ending on Tuesday with the arrival of the presidential election. "When I was filling out my absentee ballot, with every circle I filled in I was not actively thinking about my Jewish identity but I know that my politics and my Judaism do go hand in hand, consciously or subconsciously," said Sarah Brammer-Shlay at MinnPost. "Let each of us make sure to vote his or her conscience and may we all feel passionately about the privilege that we have to vote in a democratic country and about the views we hold on the candidates running for election, but let us remain united as people who love each other and respect each other regardless of our differences," added Rabbi Haskel Lookstein in The Jewish Week. Which way will you go?
"Last week’s surprise announcement that Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party would merge their candidate slates — but not their parties — in the upcoming election offers some signs that the smart money is on the right-wingers," reported JTA. What's it mean, asked Karl Vick at Time Magazine: "Even if Likud and Israel Beiteinu gather fewer total votes as a single list than they might have separately, the amount will surely be more than the Likud would have gained alone, and hence all but assures Netanyahu will emerge from the election atop the faction with the largest number of seats in the Knesset, likely assuring he will return as prime minister." Others looked more into the future when making their assessments. "The fusion of Bibi and Lieberman may promise Netanyahu another term, but it does not solve the problems that afflict Israeli society," said Yacov Ben Efrat in +972Mag.
A poll and a correction
The AP released a poll this week that seemed to suggest that 18 percent of Americans believed President Obama is Jewish. But they later corrected that to say that the results got mixed up, and that less than 1 percent of Jews believed that to be true. "Although the poll was in error, it is not unreasonable that some might assume Obama is Jewish. He does, after all, share a name with Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak. And he did celebrate Hanukkah at the White House last December," said Howard Portnoy at The Examiner.
Mindy's empty seat
Brooklyn's favorite young candidate, Mindy Meyer, made local headlines this week when she was a no-show to face off with her opponent on The Jewish Channel. Meyer said she was busy with midterms. "The Jewish Channel gave the Meyer campaign every opportunity to try to schedule the debate to accommodate the candidate, but never received any communication from the Meyer campaign indicating a time at which she could or would appear," said anchor Steven I. Weiss. Democrat incumbent Kevin Parker did participate, "alongside an empty chair, Clint Eastwood-style," according to reports. "There was also a reality-television film crew, but not for Meyer, exactly — the show focuses on the catering company working the event," said New York Magazine's Joe Coscarelli. When will Mindy defend herself? Stay tuned.