Our Consumer Protections Are Under Siege

Written by Ariel Levinson-Waldman on . Posted in Opinion

Now, more than ever, strong consumer protections are critically needed. Americans have taken on more debt than at any time since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Predatory lending and debt-collection lawsuits are disproportionately directed at our communities of color, raising civil rights issues that are exacerbated by the dramatic wealth gaps across racial lines. Lawsuits and other predatory tactics by debt collectors often lead to disastrous consequences for low-income families, including wages being garnished, bank accounts frozen and drained, credit reports (and thus future employment and housing prospects) impaired, and driver’s licenses suspended. But one year into the Trump administration, protections for vulnerable Americans are under siege.

Keeping Children Safe — Our Sacred Mission

Written by Dr. Michelle Friedman on . Posted in Opinion

Jewish community is built on a code of moral and ethical action. This fundamental principle understands that human beings are flawed and will commit bad, harmful acts. It follows that a functioning society requires rules and oversight to protect vulnerable members. Straightforward as this may seem, we all want to believe that our communities are intact, wholesome places where terrible things do not happen.

Shutting Down the Neighborhood Bully

Written by Meir Buchnick on . Posted in Opinion

The Destruction of Israel Movement (DIM) is a disruptive movement dedicated to the propagation of vicious lies about Israel, portraying the Jewish homeland as a country of war crimes and apartheid. DIM also receives financial support from anti-Israel terrorist groups; in 2016, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked even referred to the movement as “the new face of terrorism.”

Be Careful Whose Side You Are On

Written by Phil Jacobs on . Posted in Opinion

Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, and Yemen.

One of these nations is considered an existential threat to Israel. Another used poison gas on its own citizens. Still another is testing the world’s sense of security as a rogue nuclear threat.

A Look in the Mirror

Written by Avrum I. Ashery on . Posted in Opinion

In the Greater Washington area, I’ve identified an estimated 95 congregations, five Jewish day schools, three JCCs, a number of national Jewish organizations, and one Jewish cultural center at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Locating even one Judaic fine arts gallery, however, has proven impossible. While there are a handful of art galleries with the potential to be high-level, serious Judaic art galleries that could sell to any Jew (or, for that matter, non-Jew) who shows an interest in Judaic art, my findings reflect that these few Jewish cultural facilities will tell you their priorities are: one, Jewish artists creating any art; and two, no Judaic themes.

Let’s Focus on The Positive

Written by Rabbi Ari Israel on . Posted in Opinion

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.

Israel is Wrong to Ban BDS Groups From Entering

Written by Jackson Richman on . Posted in Opinion

As of Jan. 7, 20 organizations that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are banned from entering the country they love to demonize. However, such a move sets a dangerous precedent, especially in terms of freedom of expression.

The Rohingya Crisis: Behind the Headlines

Written by Jonathan Praff on . Posted in Opinion

The images are disturbing, the stories startling. The military of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and many of its civilians stand accused of committing mass murder, rape, and expulsion of the Rohingya people. Since 2016, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. The western media does a valiant job at portraying the current plight of the Rohingya, but it misses several key aspects of the conflict — namely, the history of Buddhism and Islam in Myanmar, Britain’s colonial legacy, and the connection between Rohingya militants and jihadist extremism.

Who Will Lead the Islamic World?

Written by Jonathan Praff on . Posted in Opinion

The Quran teaches that Muslims are a nation (ummah in Arabic), and the Muslim ummah has traditionally been led by caliphs, regarded as the successors of Muhammad. The caliphate existed continuously from Muhammad’s death until 1924: After the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I, Kemal Atatürk decreed that Turkey become a secular, European-style republic and abolished the caliphate, which was then based in Istanbul.

Civic Discourse, Not Civil War: A Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

Written by Editor on . Posted in Opinion

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.

Israeli Strikes on Syria: Too Little, Too Late?

Written by Shlomo Bolts on . Posted in Opinion

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.