To Read: The Atlantic's James Fallows explains why he would vote against a strike in Syria if he were a member of congress-
From what I can tell, approximately 100% of the pro-strike arguments have been devoted to proving what no one contests. Namely, that hideous events are underway in Syria, that someone (and most likely Assad) has criminally and horrifically gassed civilians, and that something should be done to reduce the ongoing carnage and punish the war crimes. And approximately 0% of the argument has addressed the main anti-strike concern: whether U.S. military action, minus broad support, any formal international approval, or any clear definition of goal, strategy, or success, is an effective response.
Quote: "There are a number of countries, in the double digits, who are prepared to take military action", John Kerry commenting on the possibility of an international coalition in Syria.
Number: 223, the number of House members who were in the 'no/leaning no' column as of Friday afternoon (about Syria of course).
To Read: Jodi Rudoren examines the Israeli perspective on Obama's Syrian strike proposal (and supplies some interesting quotes)-
After years of upheaval in the Middle East and tension between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the two leaders are now largely in sync on how to handle not just Syria, but also Egypt. Mr. Obama has not withheld American aid to Egypt after the military-backed ouster of the elected Islamist government, while Israel strongly backs the Egyptian military as a source of stability.
On Syria, in fact, Israel pioneered the kind of limited strike Mr. Obama is now proposing: four times this year, it has bombed convoys of advanced weapons it suspected were being transferred to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that Israel considers a major threat.
Quote: "not impressed", PM Netanyahu's reaction to the much talked about Iranian Rosh Hashana tweets.
Number: More than 30 Palestinians were detained Saturday after a firebomb attack on an Israeli military outpost near Hebron
The Middle East
Headline: Syrian refugees find hostility in Egypt
To Read: The Washington Institute's Mehdi Khalaji describes the Syria debate in Iran as a struggle between President Rouhani and extremist hardliners-
If he holds out, Iran is less likely to be proactive in responding to U.S. military action. Although it is unclear to what extent Rouhani can refashion Tehran's Syria policy, U.S. intervention against Assad might strengthen his position against his critics. Yet hardliners would interpret U.S. inaction as a sign of weakness, and as a signal that their defiant attitude and "resistance" policy had succeeded. In other words, U.S. military intervention would keep Rouhani politically relevant, likely boosting his chances of becoming a central player in Iranian diplomacy. It would also reinforce the seriousness of Western pressure on Iran and serve as effective leverage in nuclear negotiations.
Quote: “We jointly welcomed the fact that France has decided to wait for the presentation of the United Nations report. We have also made clear our expectation toward our American partners that one should follow the example of France before capitals decide on taking further measures”, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle commenting on his country's position on Syria.
Number: 9, the number of militants killed by the Egyptian army in another operation in Sinai.
The Jewish World
Headline: Religious schools balk at sex ed
To Read: Rabbi David Frankel takes a look at Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's interesting interpretation of the Bible's two somewhat contradictory accounts of the creation of man-
Soloveitchik sees the Torah as offering us two contradictory perspectives on the place of humankind within the economy of God’s creation that correspond to the contradictory modes of existence within each of us. He sets up a strong dichotomy between the Adam of the first creation story, “Adam the first,” who is bold, socially oriented, and creative in his dealings with God and man, and the Adam of the second creation story, “Adam the second,” who is highly conscious of his mortality, questions his own worth, and longs for intimacy with God and fellow.
Ultimately, Soloveitchik seems to think that a complete synthesis between these two contradictory modes of existence is impossible. We are destined to move back and forth between these two modes of existence, each of which has its legitimate place, at different points in our lives. A life that is totally enveloped in only one of these modes, he believes, is a life that is lacking in the fullness of existence. At the same time, Soloveitchik shows clear preference for “Adam the second.” He is sharply critical of Adam the first, attributing to him an overly esthetic and utilitarian sensibility, and an emotionally shallow orientation to life.
Quote: “He was a wonderful boss. I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him … we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night”, Hitler's bodyguard, Rochus Misch (who just died at 96).
Number: 11, Here's a HuffPost list of African American celebrities you didn't know are Jewish.