Friday, March 24, 2023


What’s “Orthodox”? A New Taxonomy

What is “Orthodox”? Is it “Haredi”? Is it “Mod­ern”? Is it “Ultra” (ugh)? Is it “Yeshivish”?

A conversation with Alan Cooperman of the Pew Research Center, who headed up the re­cent Pew survey of American Jews, suggested to me once again that the Orthodox world is a confusing place. I ask not, “Who is a Jew?” but “Who is an


The Lessons of the ‘Lavon Affair’

Sitting around the Shabbat table, mourning once again a peace process gone bad, I casually mentioned, “This is not the first time this has happened. Sixty years ago, almost to the day, a ‘peace process’ was torpedoed by the Lavon Affair.’”

“The ‘Lavon Affair’? What’s that?”

Few remember the Lavon Affair, the cause célèbre in Israel


A Jewish Holiday and a Civic Dilemma

According to Jewish tradition, the period between Passover and Shavu’ot, during which we count the 49 days of the Omer, is marked by solemnity and quasi-mourning over past Jewish tragedies, particularly the death of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva in the 2 ndcentury. Over the centuries, and for reasons shrouded in mystery, the


There Was No “Good” Hitler

In an article recently printed in a pro-Kremlin newspaper, Andranik Migranyan, head of a pro-Russian organization in Manhattan, suggested that had Hitler stopped in 1939 he would be considered a “good Hitler.”

“One should distinguish the difference Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939,” said Migranyan, who argues that if Hitler had stopped after the


Jewish Students to University Administrators: Time to Stop Hiding

As soon as an African American student at San Jose State University who was racially harassed and bullied by his dormitory roommates came forward, university, county, and state officials began an investigation. Within days, prosecutors labeled it a hate crime, battery charges were filed against three of the roommates, and the university had suspended them.


Crossing The Line: Five Lessons From a Nonprofit Professional's Excursion into Volunteerism

After ten years of working professionally in the nonprofit sector, I decided to take a short sabbatical to refocus and align my daily activities with my long-term professional goals.

But this article isn’t about that.  It’s about an unintended luxury of circumstance that embarking upon this journey provided me:  time to volunteer.  When I made this


The Exclusion of J Street and the Denial of Ourselves

In a 2012 article I relayed what I described as “a real life midrash”:

Early in my career, I worked at the Memphis Jewish Federation. At the time the most beloved community volunteer was Lewis “Red” Kramer, a secular Jew, regional Vice President of the Workman’s Circle and yet the membership chairman of what was then the


Odd Man Out

I feel like the odd man out this week. But don’t feel sorry for me, I often feel like the odd man out. On four major timely issues in the Jewish community, I find myself in dissent. Let me explain.

Last week in a meeting with Rabbi Marc Schneier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas unequivocally stated that the Holocaust is “the most heinous crime to have


Why BDS is Dangerous

What Is BDS?

With thanks to my friend Joe Hyams, CEO of “HonestReporting,” for his guidance, the following is a primer on the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement, which has been toiling for over a decade to undermine Israel’s legitimacy by equating the country to South Africa.

The BDS movement’s stated claim is to end the


Meet Eric Brauer: Teaneck Town Council Candidate

The Teaneck Council Election is on May 13, and while it may be hard to believe, that is less than a week away, so JLBC grabbed an opportunity to sit and talk with Eric Brauer, one of the candidates for the Council.

Eric, who recently retired from a career in sales, has been a Teaneck resident for more than 30 years, making him a witness to how the


Donald Sterling is Pathetic, But He Doesn’t Speak For All Jews

My husband isn’t a sports fan, so I was surprised when he started talking basketball. He was the first person to tell me about Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling and the nasty comments he made about black people.

“It gets worse,” my husband said.

How so?

“Sterling is Jewish,” he said. “This is bad. This is really


Torah u-Madda and the Academic Study of Judaism

When I was a student in Yeshiva College during the Middle Bronze Age, the university’s watchword Torah u-Maddawas generally understood as the study of both traditional Torah and secular disciplines with the overarching goal of establishing a “synthesis” between the two.

In the hard sciences this objective had

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