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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...

Who Is Really Endangering the Future of Judaism in Israel?

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Every Friday night, I help run a “Carlebach” service in Beit Shemesh. It’s a unique service that brings together Jews from all backgrounds to pray, sing and dance on a weekly basis. While closing up the synagogue this past Friday night, a Hasidic man in his early 30s who was at this service for the first time approached me and introduced himself.

“Before you were elected to the Knesset, I was in kollel (religious seminary for married men), and could not support my growing family,” he began. “So I went to work. But I felt like a second-class citizen when I did so, and was made to feel that way by those around me who were still in kollel. It got so bad that when I saw someone...

An Historic Opportunity: Why I Support Senator Ted Cruz for President

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On September 9, 2015, hundreds of Orthodox rabbis from throughout the country assembled on Capitol Hill, less than a week before Rosh Hashanah, to protest the nuclear deal with Iran. While the official White House website states, “The Iran Deal blocks the four pathways to a nuclear bomb,” those opposed to the deal were not as optimistic. In his address to a joint session of Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the deal, saying, “We know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran. The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb.” Netanyahu...

Foreign Affairs: The War Ahead of Europe

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"You cry like a woman because you couldn’t defend like a man," said Muhammad XII’s mother as the weeping emir left the Alhambra Palace for the ceremony in which he surrendered to Spain Islam’s last West-European realm.

That was in 1492. Now the pendulum has swung. As Muslims this week again sent Christian Europe running for cover, the one shedding tears was European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

The attackers’ affiliation, motivation and aims became clear shortly after they murdered dozens and wreaked havoc in the EU’s capital: They were activated by Islamic State, which in turn explained through its news agency that it was out to attack "the cross-bearing...

The Finer Things in Jewish Life

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This week, when I was teaching a class of continuing education students, we touched on some of the people I have encountered throughout my career. My wife and I owned Kossar’s, a well-known bialy bakery on New York City’s Lower East Side for 15 years, and a handful of celebrities used to walk in and buy our product. One of these people had a particular interest in my wife. Abe Vigoda, who died on Jan. 26, 2016, used to come in, but would not buy unless my wife dropped whatever she was doing, including baking the bialys, and took care of him personally. I mentioned him with some sadness, as his recent death brought fond memories of our business to the forefront, and is fresh in my...

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