Jewish Journal


July 10, 2013

This week in power: Oren resignation, London security, Wolpe article, WoW pushback


A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Dermer in
Israel officially announced that Ron Dermer will become the country’s next ambassador in Washington. He will replace Ambassador Michael Oren, who is due to end his term this fall. "In contrast to many of the charming and utterly ineffective persons who have represented Israel abroad, Dermer gets it when it comes to dealing with attacks on his country and the justice of his cause. His eloquent advocacy for Israel’s rights may upset some who see it as always in the wrong, but it’s doubtful that Netanyahu could have made a better choice for this important position," wrote Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. Others have questions: "Can Dermer adjust his hard-hitting style to the constraints of diplomacy? Does Netanyahu appointing such a close adviser to the ambassadorial post indicate a growing closeness in U.S.-Israel ties, or a desire to align with the Congressional GOP? We’ll soon find out," said Tablet's Yair Rosenberg.

London beefs up security
The British government is giving the London Jewish Federation much-needed assistance to "fend off hate crimes they say are still too common in the community," according to reports. “We’ve been fortunate over the years to have had minimal hate crimes locally,” a proponent said, “but across Canada and internationally hate crimes are increasing dramatically and there’s a sense amongst our congregants at each of the synagogues and here at the centre that this will increase within London itself.”

Wolpe stand
Just after the Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California, Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, a conservative congregation of 2,000 families, sent a letter to the entire synagogue community stating that gay marriages would be performed at the synagogue. The decision was reportedly mostly supported, but it did lead to some Persian families to exit. "Kudos to Rabbi Wolpe for opening the door to same sex couples and closing it on bigotry," said one blogger. Some are warning to keep the conversation diplomatic and calm. "Whichever side of the debate you're on, don't fall into the trap of getting coarse and angry and blocking out other views," said David Suissa at the Jewish Journal.

WoW blocked
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox women and girls flooded the Western Wall on Monday to force the Women of the Wall group further away from their desired location next to the Western Wall. Two ultra-Orthodox men were arrested and one ultra-Orthodox woman was also arrested for entering a cordoned-off area while they posed resistance to the liberal group. "To my mind, Women of the Wall would do better to issue a rallying cry to world Jewry to show up en mass each month, in mixed prayer, by the thousands, and insist on doing so *at* the Western Wall," said Rabbi Andy Bachman at Haaretz. "It’s not sustainable that each month there will be a race to the Wall. Will women start pitching tents the night before like kids lining up for concert tickets? The police will inevitably need to find a way of managing tensions by the Wall and allowing both groups of women to approach at the same time," wrote Nathan Jeffay at The Jewish Daily Forward.

Lawsuit filed
Nineteen former students at Yeshiva University High School for Boys have joined together to file a federal lawsuit this week claiming that two former rabbis were allowed to sexually abuse student during the 1970s and 80s, while administrators knew about it and did nothing. Chancellor Norman Lamm apologized last week in his resignation letter for not taking further action: "At the time that inappropriate actions by individuals at Yeshiva were brought to my attention, I acted in a way that I thought was correct, but which now seems ill conceived."

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