The differences between the U.S. and Israeli positions on Iran’s nuclear program are about to become very clear, and the Obama administration is reassuring the Jewish community that the divide is not so vast.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said chances that Iran will give in to pressure to stop its suspected nuclear program are low, and that the dangers of a nuclear Iran outweigh the dangers of action to stop it.
President Obama called for keeping up international pressure on Iran amid news reports that Israel may be preparing for war with the Islamic Republic.
In Washington and abroad, longstanding Jewish organizations added their voices of protest against the genocide in Darfur.
But guess what: It's not enough.
"I have the great good fortune to have an ear to the ground and a great many wonderful colleagues," Kahane said of his network of music-world sources, mostly fellow musicians with whom the conductor has formed strong bonds.
For some of us, a "problem" is getting seven presents for Chanukah, not eight. However, 70 years ago, these so-called "problems" would have been luxuries for the millions of Jews and other minorities living, and dying, during the Holocaust.
By many measures, Jewish girls are thriving. They are leading extracurricular activities, bettering the world around them, excelling in sports and studying at elite universities. At the same time such success often comes at a cost for girls.
As my son's bar mitzvah day inched closer, I began to see the world in a whole different light -- a disco ball light, to be exact -- for as my child grew, so did his friends, officially putting us both on the b'nai mitzvah circuit.
Israel is now stuck between Iraq and a hard place; those in the administration who most uncritically support Israel don't know what they're doing, and those who have better ideas are more critical of Israel.
Political impasses are unstable. So is ours. Sooner or later, the volatile situation will erupt, and a new reality will be created.
"I have been told not to touch the Torah and to go back to my own religion" she relayed to me matter-of-factly.
"Wasn't there anyone you could confide in?" I asked.
"I could confide in some more than others, but when it came down to it, no one really cared whether I converted or not."
Proponents of gay marriage were "pursuing a deliberate plan of litigation and political pressure which will not only redefine marriage, but will follow from that to threaten the first freedom enshrined in the First Amendment -- religious liberty," said Nathan Diament, the director of the Washington office of the Orthodox Union.
The trip was a rare group visit abroad by Iranian Jews, who live in an Islamic community whose government is virulently opposed to the State of Israel. The Iranians -- ages 14 to 30 -- came to Russia thanks to diplomatic efforts by Arkady Gaidamak, a Russian Jewish leader and businessman, who helped obtain a special permit from Iranian authorities.
It's not that glitz, glamour and secular themes at b'nai mitzvah are inherently problematic, like in the soon-to-be-released one-upsmanship film, "Keeping Up With the Steins," but when they're inadequately balanced with Jewish values we can be left with an empty shell of a party that undermines the entire point of these meaningful milestones.
Boteach enters the picture on a mission, although we are not sure from the outset what it is. He introduces himself as having counseled thousands of families and being the author of a best-selling book on family life.
Tendler's resignation comes shortly after his nephew, Rabbi Aron Tendler, resigned under pressure as rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation in Valley Village.
Ehud Olmert, Kadima Party head and prime minister-elect, has proposed an Israeli withdrawal from almost all of the West Bank -- facilitating, he says, the creation of a Palestinian state. He also called on Palestinians to compromise on their dreams in order to live next to Israel in peace.
After a visit to Moscow, Hamas leaders claim "the wall" of diplomatic isolation Israel is trying to build around the newly empowered organization is collapsing.
But Israeli government officials say they are still confident that the international community will cut off funds to a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority and back Israeli moves for a second unilateral pullback from Palestinian territory.
Unnerved Danish members of the European Parliament refuse to comment on the violent protests in the Arab world and even normally chatty European analysts said in interviews that they are withholding speculation for fear of fanning the flames.
The timing couldn't have been worse. I was happily toting a batch of homemade bread and a broccoli quiche to a pot-luck birthday party, eager for some good fun and good eats. But I had barely crossed the threshold, when Sandy, the hostess and erstwhile birthday girl, announced that she had lost another 10 pounds on the Atkins plan.
The diplomatic reprieve that followed Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip appears to be over, with Ariel Sharon feeling political pressure both at home and from abroad.
The question before voters is whether the drug companies should regulate themselves, as laid out in Proposition 78, or whether the state should be granted authority to pressure drug companies into providing discounts, as specified in Proposition 79. If both initiatives pass, whichever receives the most votes becomes law.
This month House Republicans will try to wrap up work on proposals aimed at slowing the hemorrhage of red ink from federal budget ledgers while finding a way to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars of hurricane relief and for two wars that don't seem about to end anytime soon.
Cheating: The dreaded problem that faces every school across America -- and not just the obvious sneak-a-peak-at-your-neighbor's-quiz cheating. With thousands of essays, articles and book summaries at their fingertips, American students have discovered the Internet, expanding the opportunities both to cheat and plagiarize.
Israeli officials are expecting such massive resistance to the disengagement that they have developed a detailed plan of operation to carry it out.
Any slaughterhouse, whether kosher or nonkosher, is by definition a disconcerting, blood-filled and gruesome place. Torah law, however, is most insistent about not inflicting needless pain on animals and in emphasizing humane treatment of all living creatures.
A few months ago, I scribbled out a Web site, bought a camera, hired a director, raised $42,000 and embarked on a journey across
the United States.
"I'm looking for true love," I told my father, "even if she's husking corn in Iowa."
Often I find myself staring at walls or lying on my bed staring at the ceiling, blank-minded. But I am not one who has the luxury to be blank-minded. There is too much to do -- not by will, but by force.
I'm always surprised at how many of my dreams are set on the rooftop yard of my elementary school.
"Did you book the Lakers cheerleaders?" asked Rabbi Steven Leder, referring to a notorious bar mitzvah party in Los Angeles, where he is rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
"You shall not eat anything abhorrent," the Torah (Deuteronomy 14:3) tells us. And while the Torah is referring to camels, rabbits, badgers and pigs, I would today include foods that that are high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value. Foods that have been injected with hormones and antibiotics or treated with pesticides. Foods with a shelf life longer than the average life span.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), who claimed the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Boston last week, is almost certain to win a substantial majority of Jewish votes on Nov. 2. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have Jewish problems.
"Iam thrilled that there is justice in this world," said a jubilant Maria Altmann, after celebrating her victory with a family dinner outing.
The State Bar of California, yielding to an eight-month lobbying effort, will excuse observant Jews from taking the bar examination on the mourning and fasting day of Tisha B'Av on July 27.
Few days have haunted me like April 15, 2002. It was the day Time magazine screamed out from its cover that women cannot have it all.
"When they hear Blanche's story, they get it," Tenaya Wallace said. "She was so sick; it was an absolute transformation."
Israeli leaders were heartened in late December, when Egypt's foreign minister announced that he would come to Jerusalem for talks on promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace.
At the same time, however, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was moving in Cairo to galvanize international pressure on Israel to dismantle the nuclear weapons it is presumed to possess.Â
These seemingly contradictory thrusts in Egyptian policy highlight the deep ambivalence that has characterized Egypt's attitude to Israel since the two countries made peace in 1979.
The radical outsiders in Sacramento are the moderates and pragmatists, a strange truth that was brought home dramatically this month, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature compromised on a ballot measure to refinance the state's huge debt and hem in future
spending excesses by the Legislature.
Israelis have a long score to settle with Saddam Hussein: The former Iraqi dictator promised to destroy the Jewish State, fired 39 Scud missiles at Israeli cities during the Persian Gulf War and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
Sobered by what they see as past policy errors, Israeli, American and Palestinian leaders are determined to help the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, succeed where his predecessor failed.
Increased pressure from officials of American Jewish organizations is driving preliminary talks on a new deal to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel before famine takes a heavy toll on the community remaining in Ethiopia.
Coming on the eve of a federation-sponsored trip to Ethiopia, federation leaders, advocates for Ethiopian Jews, representatives of Jewish humanitarian groups and Israeli government officials met recently in Jerusalem to discuss new ways of expediting the emigration process for thousands of Falash Mura left in Ethiopia. The Falash Mura are Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity, often under social pressure, but who have resumed practicing Judaism and whose Jewishness is accepted by all three major Jewish religious denominations, including Israel's chief rabbinate.
The recent clamor over Howard Dean's demand for U.S. "evenhandedness" in the Middle East was sweet music to the ears of Jewish Republicans, who hope 2004 will be a watershed in their long but frustrating effort to rally Jewish voters to their cause.
"Her plays have always dealt with strong, diverse Jewish women," said Olivia Cohen-Cutler of the MorningStar Commission, founded by Hadassah.
Unlike disappearances in the United States, which are often a case of runaways or kidnapping by criminals, disappearances in Israel are often feared to be a case of terrorism.
Israel launched a string of targeted strikes against terrorist leaders, warning that it would no longer distinguish between political and military echelons of any organization waging terror, including Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian Authority counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, each will seek to persuade the American leader to lean on the other side to move faster -- and Bush will be ready to lean on both, Israeli analysts believe.
There are no easy answers, but there are plenty of reasons to be worried.
As Israel and the Palestinians begin a long-awaited truce, both sides are holding their breath -- and wondering what the United States will do next to advance the "road map" peace plan.
Last week, a group called Justice for Jews from Arab Countries published a report documenting the human rights crisis facing Jews in that part of the world following the creation of Israel.
A week ago, the path to peace seemed bright following the formal launch of the "road map" peace plan at a summit in Aqaba, Jordan.
Hardened by past failures, Israelis and Palestinians alike recognize that there is still a long way to go, and a lot that could still go wrong after President Bush's Wednesday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.
There is much skepticism about what will transpire in the coming weeks and months, with fears that Israel will be forced to make too many concessions or that Palestinians will get a state without first cracking down on terrorism.
With Abbas in office less than a month, members of Sharon's inner circle already are expressing doubts about whether the Palestinian can deliver.
It is instructive to look at two prominent Jewish columnists for The New York Times, William Safire and Tom Friedman, to realize that one can be Jewish and of two different minds. Here are two very Jewishly committed men with two very different views of the world and of the Middle East. Neither one represents a monolith that some of the "Lieberman-scared" Jews fear exists.
Opponents of the recently released Mideast "road map" are reassuring themselves that presidential politics will keep the Bush administration from pressuring Israel too hard to accept the plan, which proposes a diplomatic sprint to the creation of a Palestinian state by
With a new strategic balance in the Middle East and pressure building to implement a U.S.-backed peace plan, next week's meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush could be their most important to date.
Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, says he is committed to stopping violence against Israel and resuming peace talks, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he wants to crown his career with a major peacemaking achievement.
Budget cuts are inevitable. The deficit is huge.