To Read: The University of Chicago's William G. Howell believes that Obama's decision to go to congress on Syria was entirely political-
Obama's decision does not usher in a new era of presidential power, nor does it permanently remake the way we as a nation go to war. It reflects a temporary political calculation -- and in my view, the right one -- of a president in a particularly tough spot. Faced with a larger war he doesn't want, an immediate crisis with few good options, and yet a moral responsibility to act, he is justifiably expanding the circle of decision-makers. But don't count on it to remain open for especially long.
Quote: "Instances of Russian citizens' detention in various countries of the world at the request of US law-enforcement bodies, with the aim of their extradition and prosecution in the US, are becoming more frequent", the Russian government continues to taunt the US as the tension between the two countries continues.
Number: 3000, at least 3000 people have been killed by US drone strikes over the past decade.
To Read: Jeffrey Goldberg discusses the dilemma Netanyahu faces when it comes to endorsing Obama's Syrian move-
Netanyahu and his aides aren’t interested in feeding the narrative, advanced by such conspiracy theorists as John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt and Mel Gibson that Israel is behind all of America’s wars.
But here comes the exquisite dilemma: Obama, who has had a difficult relationship with Netanyahu, needs Netanyahu’s friends on the Hill, and at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to help advance the message that an American intervention in Syria would also represent a reminder to Iran that the president enforces his red lines.
Quote: "[The renewed Israeli Palestinian negotiations] are not dealing with the evacuation of [West Bank] settlements”, Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, talking to settlers.
Number: 63, the percentage of respondents to a ma'ariv poll who voted for Yair Lapid as the most disappointing politician this year.
The Middle East
To Read: Former Nixon, Ford and Reagan aide, Aram Bakshian, writes about Turkey's Erdogan as 'the Anti-Ataturk'-
He has also denounced raki, an anise-based liquor similar to the Greek ouzo—Turkey’s alcoholic beverage of choice for centuries—declaring ayran, a drink made from diluted yogurt, the new national beverage. He has even declared war on white bread, his personal preference being the brown variety. On the brighter side, unlike the unhinged Latin American dictator in Woody Allen’s comedy classic Bananas, he has yet to order everyone to wear their underpants over rather than under their trousers.
Quote: ""Neither ourselves nor the people of Turkey expected the stance of the Turkish government, which shouldn't have reacted based on the perspective of one faction. We hope for better relations with Turkey, but we do not accept interference in our internal affairs…We are strategically reviewing our foreign relations to differentiate between our real friends and those who should not be classified in that category anymore", Egypt's interim President, Adly Mnsour, in his first televised interview since being put in power.
Number: 49, the number of people killed in a deadly series of bombings in Baghdad.
The Jewish World
To Read: Nachum Klafter tries to explain a Jewish New Year's tradition created in order to "confuse Satan"-
This rather obscure reason for not sounding the shofar in synagogue on the day preceding Rosh HaShana (“in order to confuse Satan”) is well known among observant Jews, and it has led many scholars to raise numerous questions and objections. Are we really to understand this rationale as a literal belief that Satan, the angel assigned to prosecute against the Jewish People, will become confused because there is no shofar blown in synagogue on the morning of Rosh HaShana? Why does Satan fall for this simple “trick” every year? Has he not learned from our behavior every year for so many centuries? Why does neglecting to sound the shofar cause him to forget which day is Rosh HaShana? Can he not look up the date of Rosh HaShana on a calendar, as we do every year? Perhaps a more serious question is the following: If Rosh HaShana is designated as the day when the Almighty judges the entire world, does it make any sense that this little “trick” would really cause G-d to change his verdict based on Satan’s absence at the trial?
Quote: "It's no secret that many of the passengers are yeshiva students who are not allowed to fly because of the IDF or criminals who are getting closer through Breslov, and the competition was created for them", a Breslove Hassidic source commenting on a raffle which gives away tickets to the annual high holiday event at Rabbi Nachman's tomb in Uman.
Number: 76, the percentage of American Jews who have reported making a charitable contribution in 2012.
* There will be no Headlines & Reads on Thursday and Friday due to Rosh Hashanah. (Happy holidays!)