Peter Beinart is no stranger to the accusation that for a self-proclaimed passionate supporter of Israel, he treats the Jewish state too harshly.
On Rosh Hashanah in 1992, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis stood before his Conservative congregation at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino and declared that despite the words of Leviticus, homosexuality is not an abomination. He argued that the same understanding and compassion Jews afford all human beings should be extended to those attracted to others of their own sex, and he told his congregation:
These are tough times for people hoping for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Jan. 3, in the first mayoral debate of 2013, Congregation Beth Jacob hosted five candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Los Angeles.
When Governor Mitt Romney talked about ending funding for PBS – and Big Bird – during his first debate with President Obama, he was describing only one of the deep cuts in Romney-Ryan budget.
Is it the individual citizen who is more important in a free society, or is it the government? It’s easy to see this as the philosophical choice during this election season: One side seems to favor the liberty of the individual, while the other favors the primacy of the government.
Spending a week in Florida on the eve of a presidential election has become a habit for me — one I cherish. Meeting the elderly women who suddenly become interested in politics; attending synagogues, to which the candidates flock in droves to speak.
Leaders of Israel's major political parties accepted an invitation to an American-style debate, except for Likud leader and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel, a heated issue throughout the campaign, finally took center stage at the final presidential debate. It was mentioned a total of 29 times by President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney at Monday night's foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
Israel had a starring role in the third and final presidential debate last Tuesday night. How big? China, a country of 1 billion people to which America owes $1 trillion and whose military and economic decisions will affect us for years to come, rated 32 mentions.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney face off in front of the cameras for a final time on Monday as opinion polls show their battle for the White House has tightened to a dead heat.
If you watched any of the debates on CNN, you saw two worms at the bottom of your screen. Well, they looked to me like worms, or maybe caterpillars, scrunching and stretching throughout the 90 minutes.
I concede that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama love Israel, are committed to its security and survival and they don’t want Iran to get nuclear weapons.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan clashed over Iran’s nuclear program during their televised debate.
One of the reasons I love sports is that I can indulge my primal instinct for combat without feeling any guilt. I’m a huge Lakers fan, and I can easily spend hours poring through analyses of how the team will clobber the competition this year with the addition of two fearless warriors.
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, faced off against conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly, in a political debate.
A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote a “Romney Wins First Debate” column, I didn’t think I was going out on a limb. Obama’s re-election was looking increasingly likely, but audiences don’t show up to watch paint dry.
President Obama and Mitt Romney focused on revenue and spending, with an emphasis on health care, in their first presidential debate.
The British Economist is conducting a public debate on the following: “Is Israel succumbing to Jewish fundamentalism?” You can vote (I’d expect Economist readers will largely vote yes), you can read the ongoing debate between Avraham Burg (the “left” — voting yes) and Daniel Gordis (the “right” — voting no). You can read the background material, including the special report on the state of Judaism and the Jews, written by my former boss, former colleague and current friend David Landau.
One of the more brazen initiatives in the Jewish world today is Peter Beinart’s call, in his book “The Crisis of Zionism,” to boycott anything produced in the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank). In his view, the settlements must be stopped because they are encroaching on a future Palestinian state that is necessary for the survival of a Jewish and democratic Israel.
When Peter Beinart's new book, "The Crisis of Zionism," was published earlier this year, it was met with a tsunami of responses -- from reviews, to op-ed pieces and a fury of blogging.
Can you “sell” Judaism in a few minutes? This question came up in a piece in The Forward by Leonard Fein, who was commenting on a recent debate in New York City between Daniel Gordis and Peter Beinart. In the debate, as Fein quotes, they were asked this question: “Both of you have written about the tragedy of young American Jews who have no connection to Judaism and the fate of the Jewish state. So let’s say you were stuck in an elevator with one of the people from that demographic, and you had two minutes to sell them about why they should re-engage with Jewishness and Zionism and the Jewish people. What would you say?”
In 2001, the last time the lines of congressional districts were redrawn, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) so hated the way that the San Fernando Valley was sliced into districts that he reportedly said that Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) “stabbed me in the back.”
"The Palestinian people does not exist,” exclaimed the politician. The audacity of the statement shocked me, because it came from the mouth of Zahir Muhsein, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, in a 1977 interview with a Dutch newspaper.
Did you see how Newt Gingrich kept winking during the Dec. 10 Republican debate? I’ll bet you $10,000 I’m the one he was winking at.
Israel was the foreign policy topic most often raised by viewers ahead of a Republican presidential debate.
Reacting to recent efforts to advance ballot measures banning circumcision of underage males in California cities, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) is set to introduce a bill that would prevent municipalities nationwide from prohibiting the procedure.
Israel was nowhere to be found as a topic during the first Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire.
The launch of JCall has brought the debate that American Jewry has seen over J Street to Jewish Europe: Outside of Israel, how critical in public should you be of Israeli government policies you believe are not in Israel’s best interests?
As Israel prepares to celebrate its 62nd birthday, the weather outside is chilly. The climate at home is not wonderful either.
Barack Obama's campaign has decided advisers and representatives of the Democratic nominee for president will no longer debate officials from the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
In recent weeks, John McCain's advisers have said that Israeli-Palestinian talks would not be a priority, but in Thursday's debate Sarah Palin sounded a different note.
Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." I think he had it half right.
Several years ago, Rabbi Shlomo Levin hit on a new way to attract students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to classes at his nearby Orthodox synagogue. Instead of spending money on eye-catching advertising, Levin reasoned it would be simpler just to give the money directly to the students in exchange for attendance
The Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church will hold back-to-back public conversations this Saturday, Aug. 16, with the two presumptive presidential
candidates, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. The conversations, on the topic of "Compassion and Leadership," will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on CNN
Thank you. That's the profound message of this column: Thank you. The instigators, organizers and volunteers who brought Limmud to Los Angeles last weekend deserve our gratitude for challenging one of the long-held orthodoxies of the L.A. Jewish community: There is no Jewish community.
After months of contentious back and forth over the scheduling of the statewide high school debate tournament on the first night of Passover, Jewish leaders and tournament organizers have reached a half-hearted detente that will not change the date but will ensure such a scheduling snafu will not happen again.
This is especially true for Jews who study biblical texts. Over the millennia, Jews have never stopped dissecting and debating the multiple layers of meanings of the written and oral Torah to arrive at deeper truths.
The vision of a chevruta -- two Jews, sitting across from each other, arguing over minute details -- is an icon of the Jewish intellectual experience. There is one thing, however, that is rarely challenged or debated: the sitting position.
There's a famous story in the Talmud about a smart aleck who asks the sages Hillel and Shammai to teach him all of Torah while he stands on one foot. Hillel's response is well known: "What is hateful to you, do not do unto others All the rest is commentary."
Jeffrey Blitz was a chronic stutterer who in high school won his state's debating championship. The 37-year-old writer-director admits that this background is ripe for Hollywood humor, so it should come as no surprise that his latest film, "Rocket Science," spotlights a teenage stutterer's attempts to become a debater.
With California's early primary bringing unusual recognition to the Golden State, the Republican candidates are heading out West. They met in debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley on May 3. Do these Republicans have a shot at winning Jewish voters over in 2008?
If globalization wasn't going to cure the Middle East, what would? Obvious, said the neoconservatives: democracy. The root cause of the problems in Middle East, they said, is the absence of democracy and the continued rule of dictators.
Even as the Catholic Church has been rocked by a massive pedophilia scandal in recent years, the Jewish community also has been buffeted by high-profile cases of sexual impropriety involving rabbis and other authority figures.How extensive is the problem of clergy sex abuse in the Jewish community? It depends on which criteria are used as a yardstick.
Within Jewish circles, much of the focus on sexual predators has centered on the Orthodox community, particularly its more ultra-religious precincts, where some contend that clergy sex abuse is more hidden -- and possibly more widespread -- than elsewhere. Whether or not those contentions are true, the problem in that community was spotlighted by two recent episodes in the fervently Orthodox, or haredi, community.
Even Borat, the bumblingly anti-Semitic comic character, could not have contrived a more absurd and utterly offensive assemblage: David Duke, erstwhile Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, alongside Robert Faurisson, the French pseudo-academic who argues that the Holocaust never happened, accompanied for dramatic effect by a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews whose anti-Zionist fanaticism motivates them to desecrate the memory of millions of murdered Jews.