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Why Jews Should Celebrate Juneteenth

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On an intellectual level we understand that as less than two percent of Americans and as a shrinking proportional population in the larger tri-state region, it is critical for the Jewish community to embrace its neighbors and seek to forge natural alliances with other like-minded communities. Taking the leap in learning what...

The ‘Palestinian’ Lie

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In the early 1990s, the Government of Israel took what remains as the single greatest risk for peace and security since the State’s independence in 1948. The gamble failed miserably. Israelis—and Jews around the world—continue to pay the price—perhaps most spectacularly in the rise of the international BDS movement specifically, and more broadly, in the rebirth of a virulent, open Jew hatred of a kind not seen since the decade leading to the Holocaust.

The risk was Israel’s willingness to abide by a lie. It happened in September 1993, when Israel acknowledged the existence of a “Palestinian people” in the Oslo Accords. Any attempt to understand why so many people slander...

Modern Orthodoxy Derailed—Time to Return to the Station

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The train has derailed, but no one knows why. Far too much time and effort have been invested trying to hoist the railcars back up and onto the tracks, but it is not really helping.

The train is called Modern Orthodoxy, and it is clear that it has partially derailed. Disaffected and disillusioned constituents, confused messages, significant and frequent “defection” to “Traditional Orthodoxy” or to non-Orthodoxy, and overall lack of palpable inspiration on the part of many of Modern Orthodoxy’s adherents have prompted interesting solutions to get back on track: Carlebach minyanim, independent minyanim, Neo-Chassidus, Tikkun Olam–centered Orthodoxy, liberal intellectual...

Standing in Unity With Israel, Flaws and All

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Israel’s Yom Ha’atzmaut—Independence Day—is particularly meaningful to my family. My uncle brought his family to the country from Poland in 1936, and he and my aunt fought on the streets of Tel Aviv in the War of Independence in 1948. My grandmother’s sister and her husband escaped the Nazis, making aliyah in the 1930s. My brother, sister, first cousin and their families all have made aliyah. Two nephews and a niece are now serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

As I was growing up, Israel was an ever-present part of my life, and my father consistently spoke of the Jewish state from his pulpit. I’ve visited the Jewish state more times than I can count and have seen...

Preparing the Next Generation for Jewish Communal Advocacy

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I was a lucky one. While I had little if any substantive knowledge of the forces that drive public policy matters that any Jew would be concerned about, I did have a burning desire to somehow make a difference. I was 21, a Brooklyn College junior, who believed that he was a political maven, and compared to my contemporaries I might very well have been. The summer before, I had simply walked into the office of a major congressional campaign, offered to volunteer and was placed into the finance office to find that three days later the entire fundraising team was fired, leaving the candidate to offer me a staff position due to my sudden seniority in organizational memory.

That position...

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