With Chanukah’s approach, I’ve been giving thought to the true origins of the holiday, and how they mirror the challenges we face as a society today. The holiday hoopla of dreidels, jelly donuts, latkes, and presents masks the dark secret of the holiday’s history. While it is true that the Maccabees restored Jewish sovereignty to Judaea and cleansed Jerusalem from foreign cultural subjugation, the actual catalyst for losing Jewish independence and religious freedom was an out of control Jewish civic debate on religious/cultural identity and loyalty. Talk and debate turned violent. Senseless internal hatred tore the community apart and led to civil war.
My beloved Jewish family — we must talk!
Thanksgiving break offered me the reprieve to reflect on the most arduous two weeks of my 22-year Hillel career — the weeks prior to the BDS vote at the University of Maryland. I entered these weeks on a high: It was Sunday, Nov. 5, and Maryland Hillel had just pulled off the largest family weekend in our history. We served 2,100 meals and held multiple learning sessions; celebrated with a large-scale Jewish art showcase, including a sermon slam and performances by Hillel’s three a cappella groups and its Israeli dance troupe; and we welcomed a brand-new Torah, all in one weekend.
With every new technological innovation, thousands of new jobs are created and new skills are needed. As a co-founder of AboutWeb, an information technology (IT) government contractor based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, I became increasingly concerned over the years that people in economically-challenged areas were getting left out of the ongoing technology boom. IT jobs were filled by foreign workers, and I wondered whether these IT jobs could be filled by unemployed Americans with a little bit of training; many of these IT positions don’t even require a degree.
Incentives for terror include having your house rebuilt after its demolition. Best real estate deal in the Middle East.
On Nov. 17, an Arab teenager used his family car to ram 70-year-old David Ramati just outside of Efrat, Israel; Ramati was moderately injured. The driver sped on to ram another Jew at the Gush Etzion Junction, this time mauling Even Ezer Holaring, a 35-year-old father of five children, who remains in a coma. Ramati’s first response to the media was to comment on the big, wide smile that the Arab teen sported as he tried to kill him.
Almost every day in the past year, I have spoken to people across the country about the Singles Uniting Network (SUN) initiative, which brings single men and women together on a monthly basis to facilitate matches for themselves and their friends. The aim of SUN is to empower singles by helping them capitalize on their personal networks to propose potential matches for their single friends, people whom they’ve dated in the past but were not for them, and so on.
I had the pleasure of attending the IAC (Israeli American Council) conference in DC this past week. I love their mission to engage Israeli Americans with American diaspora Jewish life and to engage them along with their children in identity building, learning, and Israel advocacy. As a Jewish professional and as a Jewish mother, I was forced to think about the cultural differences between the Israeli American community and the established Jewish American community and institutions. IAC has changed my perspective on Jewish engagement and how these two community identities are disconnected while having common goals. That is a powerful take away.
Israel's Syria policy seems to have finally turned a corner. Last week, Israeli warplanes struck the Assad regime and Iranian proxies in Syria with record intensity, hitting five bases in just 72 hours. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer similarly intensified the rhetoric, telling Politico, “If Iran is not rolled back in Syria, the chances of military confrontation are growing ... by the week.” Privately, Israeli military officials even bemoaned to Al-Monitor that Israel did not work to overthrow Assad years ago.
Originally published Nov. 20 in The Forward and republished here with permission.
I’m a non-Jewish Latina who works at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
I love this work. I’m proud of this work. I’ve taken up the cause of fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry because, as a Latina, I can’t simply be concerned with anti-immigrant or anti-Latino hate. To be effective in building a more equal and just society, I believe deeply that I have to fight all forms of hatred. And that includes the hatred of Jews.
Readers over a certain age will remember a distinctive series of television commercials that ran during their favorite TV shows in the 1980s. Featuring impoverished children — their suffering visible on their little bodies or by their dire surroundings as a celebrity voiceover urges viewers to donate 70 cents a day or $20 a month to sponsor food, medicine, etcetera etcetera — these commercials became so prolific that they were parodied on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “In Living Color” and the organizations they represented drew scrutiny from investigators and journalists who looked into their management and funding.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a propaganda tool being utilized by Israel’s Arab neighbors to do what they haven’t been able to accomplish through multiple wars of aggression and decades of terrorist atrocities targeting Israel’s civilian population — destroy Israel.
The United Nations (U.N.) was founded in 1945 upon the loftiest of principles. The U.N. Charter, among other things, resolves to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”
However, anyone who has observed the behavior of the U.N. is aware that the institution has descended far from these magnificent goals. There is one small nation, Israel, which is constantly singled out for excessive and disproportionate condemnation.
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