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.
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.
A recent study from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that the daily number of American veterans who commit suicide has decreased from 22 to 20 a day — a small improvement, but a step in the right direction. The leading cause of veteran suicide is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder where the person has intense and sometimes disturbing thoughts about a traumatic event that can lead to severe psychological suffering. It is very common in veterans that have combat experience, and after almost two decades of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have a lot of veterans with combat experience and many with PTSD.
Ed. Note: The following is a response to “The Menendez Trial and the Future of Bipartisan Support for Israel” by Shep Gerszberg (September 14 issue).
Even if staunch Israel-supporter Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is found guilty of corruption, bipartisan support for Israel will still remain at historic highs.
Over the past month, Jerusalem has been flooded by young men and women arriving from the United States, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom to begin a year of study in yeshiva or seminary. These students come to Israel for a year of learning, growth, and personal development. For many of them, the year will be a turning point in their lives.
The Mishna in Ethics of Our Fathers teaches that a 70-year-old has reached a “ripe old age” (“seiva” in Hebrew), a term used in the Book of Chronicles to describe King David, who died at age 70.
Jewish communities have survived slavery, persecution, poverty, and mass expulsions. Despite the existential threats over the millennia, Jews have found a way to sustain Judaism for more than 3,800 years.
Comparatively, Jews today thrive throughout the world. We have a strong homeland, robust Jewish philanthropy in America, and a continuum of ultra-Orthodox through secular Jewry living in freedom on six continents.
Imagine Israeli men and women shopping in the bazaars and souks (marketplaces) of Al-Taif and Al-Riyadh, mingling with Saudis and other Arabs. It is entirely possible that friendly interaction between these nations can occur.
On Monday, September 25, an embattled and persecuted people democratically voted for their independence. Voter turnout was high, approximately 72 per cent of the 8.4 million-strong population taking part. On Wednesday evening, election officials in Irbil, the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)'s capital, announced that the Kurdish people voted overwhelmingly in favor (93%) of the creation of an independent Kurdistan.
“We need to defund the PA.”
“You’re preaching to the choir, sir.”
This was a snippet of a conversation with Senator Ted Cruz (Tx. – R) about the status of the Taylor Force Act during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2017. The act would defund U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as long as it continues paying the families of terrorists.
I am fascinated by the spirituality of hearing. Hearing requires an intrinsic connection between the source of the sound and the one who hears. The dynamics of hearing are emphasized throughout the Tanach, Talmud, and our liturgy. It focuses on us hearing G-d and each other, as well as G-d listening to us. Ultimately, our acts of listening and responding will bring redemption.
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