Why I Support Open Hillel

Gili Getz.

After years of sitting on the “right-of-center” when it came to Israel (I called myself a “security dove”) I have moved to the left. And not a little.As I’ve slowly drifted to this position, I’ve come to realize just how much the right likes to shut down open discourse in the Jewish community. The BDS*-monster is the boogey-man invoked to shut down opportunities to even engage the other side.When I worked in Hillel we certainly supported Israel, but we also sponsored all kinds of dialogue … [Read more...]

J Street U Picks Muslim Leader, Jews Freak Out

Amna Farooqi address J Street U Conference

The new president of the campus arm of the liberal Zionist organization J Street was elected last week at the J Street U summer leadership conference.After taking a class at the University of Maryland, where she is a senior, she “fell in love with Zionism,” noting that Zionism is about taking ownership over the story of one’s people.” She also spent a semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem to get a better idea of what Israel was all about.Could there be anything more wonderful for a g … [Read more...]

340 Rabbis Come out in Support of Iran Deal

Iran talks

September is a busy month for the Jews this year. As is usually usual, the “high” holidays fall in the middle of the month. As is most definitely unusual, so does the vote in Congress about a certain nuclear arms deal with Iran.I imagine that many rabbis will use the first occasion to comment on the second. It’s harder to gauge where American rabbis stand (outside of the Orthodox) on this issue than where American Jewry does (see my previous post).I have joined 339 other American rabbis w … [Read more...]

Iran Deal: Leaders Out of Step with American Jewry

By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As I wrap up my vacation, it’s time to return to blogging. A few weeks ago I received an email message from the local Detroit Jewish Federation announcing that it has decided to explicitly oppose the Iran nuclear deal. I thought this would be an anomaly. I predicted that only a small number of Jewish federations would take a position while the vast majority would exercise better judgment by facilitating debate while remaining neutral. I was wrong. Many others have done the same, including the fe … [Read more...]

Jewish Reaction to Gay Marriage Decision

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 9.35.40 AM

So how has the Jewish community responded to the marriage equality decision?My own Facebook page demonstrates 100% approval. But that’s not really so scientific. Nevertheless, it does reflect the actual American Jewish consensus. The last poll of the community indicated that 83% supported marriage equality.The Forward provided a breakdown of Jewish celebrities. We Jews do love bragging about our celebrities. The 83% support of American Jewry combined with Hollywood’s nearly 100% approval … [Read more...]

Sheldon Adelson, Maccabee Warrior

The Maccabees...Not The Greatest Role Models

The Adelson-Saban Republicratic (So-Called Mainstream) Jewish Summit Meeting to Eradicate the Menace of BDS Jew-Hatred has concluded. Fifty million dollars was pledged to slaughter the BDS-monster, though they seemed to have no plans or strategies for how to do that. The one thing that we did learn from the big Vegas get-together is that the effort now has a name. The Forward is reporting that it will be called the Campus Maccabees project or effort or some such term.This is a most … [Read more...]

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Allies

By Pete Souza (White House (P032013PS-0320)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

President Obama gave a pretty important interview last week to a major news channel. You probably didn’t hear about it because the interview was with Israel’s Channel 2 News. More on this below. Meanwhile, this week the Treasury Secretary of the United State, an Orthodox Jew named Jack Lew, was booed and jeered and heckled by attendees at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. This happened when he told the audience that the president remains enormously committed to the security of Is … [Read more...]

Easy as ABC: Adelson, Antisemitism, BDS & Campus

By Takver [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago I hosted a forum at my congregation. The topic was whether American Jews can have a civil conversation about Israel given the enormous divide that has developed between left and right. One of the organizations that I tried to recruit into the conversation immediately put forth its red line. Its representatives would not sit on a panel alongside advocates of boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel (aka BDS). Due to a variety of reasons, we held the forum without them. … [Read more...]

Being Clueless about Being Jewish in a Polite Society

Twitter Bird by Joao Lima Jr [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is an entertainment writer who contributes to GQ, The New York Times and, on Jewish issues, to Tablet.com. The latter, by the way, now charges readers to comment. This is either an interesting way to avoid trolls or one really stupid business model.Speaking of stupid, let me get back to Ms. Brodesser-Akner, specifically her recent piece for Tablet, “I Probably Won’t Share This Essay on Twitter:  Some thoughts on being Jewish in contemporary polite society.”Not sharin … [Read more...]

“The Feast of Weeks” Is Here Again!

Moritz_Daniel_Oppenheim_-_Shavuot_(Pentecost)_(Das_Wochen-_oder_Pfingst-Fest)_-_Google_Art_Project

Last night we celebrated Shavuot (archaically known as "The Feast of Weeks") at our congregation.Talk about a difficult holiday for Secular Humanistic Jews! This one’s got almost nothing to offer. There are very few rituals that merit any kind of modern application or re-interpretation. The main theme of “receiving the Torah at Sinai” is not exactly inspiring for people who openly acknowledge that no Torah was received at any place called Sinai (or Horeb, for that matter).The Torah has t … [Read more...]


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