Saturday, March 17, 2018


Great Leaders Take Great Risks

We are not the first Jews to live with enor­mous uncertainty about the future. Uncer­tainty, however, can be both paralyzing and liberating. When the Jewish people have great leadership, times of great uncertain­ty have become times of opportunity and transformation.

The biblical narrative we read this week (Numbers 13:1-15:41) tells a dramatic story about

The Limits of Students’ Love for Israel

Although Israel has been at the heart of day-school curricula for decades, we have known little about how schools teach and students learn about Israel—at least until last month, when the AviChai Foundation released its study of Israel Education in Jewish day schools and high schools across America. The report explored the following questions: What do schools hope to

One Nation Under God

(originally printed in the Times of Israel, reprinted with permission of the author)

Oh, I wish I could write a love story about my people, the Jewish people. After all, I do love them and apparently, according to the Bible, so does God. So, who am I to argue? They have contributed so much to humanity on all fronts in such unfathomable abundance that even the

Iran’s Plan to Destabilize Egypt

The Iranian regime’s new en­emy, it seems, is Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Iran’s mullahs apparently fear Sisi’s secular stance against Islamist movements, and see him as an obstacle to Iran’s fu­ture influence in the Middle East.

According to the Jordan-based media outlet Al-Bawaba, Iran is de­termined to put an end to

Birthright Needs to Show Everything

Recently, two articles appeared in Haaretz that should have come as no surprise to those working in Israel engagement. In one, Chemi Shalev discusses the ever-growing gap, at risk of reaching crisis proportions, between staunchly left-wing American Jews and an ever rightward-moving Israel (see page 31 of JLBC Issue #36) In another, Arnon Ment­ver, CEO of the Joint

“Billions For Education?”

Should Israel Be a Funder of Day-School Education in the Diaspora?

“Don’t worry America, Israel is behind you.” The popular t-shirt bearing this slogan usually features a print of an F-16 jet and is ubiquitous at souvenir shops along Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street. How’s this for a new slogan, “Don’t worry overburdened

How to Move Mountains: Questions for North American Jewry

Challenging assumed norms: how should it be done and how should it be received? These are among the questions of the hour for our North American Jewish communities, and they have a whole host of applications— generational divides, changes in the commu­nal structures of Jewish life, relationships to the State of Israel, etc., etc., etc. One portrait in

In Defense of the Tuition Tax

A few weeks ago, Ely Rosenstock wrote a wonderful piece about the “tuition tax” and the need for parents to make sound financial decisions based on the affordability of a neighborhood and a day school. His piece, like my own previous essay, “A Transparent Proposal,” was inspired by Moriah Day School’s Tuition Assistance Program.

Rosenstock’s thesis

From D-Day to Today: US Foreign Policy is at a Turning Point

As President Obama looks across the beaches of Normandy for the ceremony commemorating the D-Day landings, he could be forgiven for feeling ambivalent. Certainly, these are sites of great tragedy and a reminder of times when the threats were truly impending. Yet, as President Roosevelt might have reminded him, they also were simpler times, when Europe yearned

A Deal On Iran’s Nuclear Plans Could Kill Crucial New Alliances

The conventional wisdom holds that a deal with Iran over its hotly disputed nuclear program would be a good thing. As Syria continues its meltdown and other unstable neighboring countries show little sign of improvement, it seems obvious that stopping the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is central to the Middle East’s future security and stability.

American Jews and the Israeli Right: The End of a Beautiful Friendship?

The unexpected election of Menachem Begin as prime minister in 1977 shocked American Jewry. Begin, the Revisionist and “terrorist,” with his Eastern European mannerisms and his Middle Eastern supporters, was the ideological rival of Zionist icons such as Ben Gurion and Golda and looked nothing like mythological heroes Moshe Dayan or Paul Newman’s Ari Ben Canaan.

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