Friday, March 18, 2011

In Honor of Purim

    Click on the video to view.

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Political Cartoon -- Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich,
Washington Post, March 15, 2011

Political Cartoon -- Steve Sack

Steve Sack, Washington Post, March 6, 2011

IDF, Settlers Save Arab Baby

Saving life after massacre: IDF troops, paramedics save life of Palestinian woman giving birth in settlement where Fogel relatives sitting Shiva. Soldier: It felt amazing to hold girl in my arms, know we did something good‬‬.
IDF Corporal Haim Levin, 19, and Palestinian baby, Jude
To read the complete article, click here.

Growing Up Jewish in Cheyenne

Nathalia Rap, 16, helps Zoey Brown, 5,
sound out a letter in Hebrew on Sunday, Feb. 27
at the Mount Sinai Congregation in Cheyenne.
James Brosher/staff

Being a Jewish teen in a city where few people share her faith is hard at times for East sophomore Nathalia Rap. But she's found a way to make it work.
-- Josh Rhoten, Wyomming News

Crossword Buddies

The Jerusalem Scrabble Club is the largest weekly Scrabble club in the world. Members have been connecting letter tiles together for nearly 30 years.

You might think the largest weekly Scrabble club in the world would meet in, say, London. Or maybe New York. But you’d be wrong. With 50 loyal members coming every Tuesday night for the past 28 years, the Jerusalem Scrabble Club takes the title.

These players take their word games quite seriously. Like chess, the matches are limited to 50 minutes, with penalties for going over individual allotments of time.
One of the longest-running players calls the weekly competitions “my recipe against Alzheimer’s.”  -- Israel Ministry of Foreign AffairsTo view the accompanying video, click on the image below.

Incident Aboard Flight Shows Need for Education on Jewish Prayer Rituals

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the incident aboard an Alaska Airways flight, in which flight attendants issued a security alert after three Mexican Jews began praying with Tefillin, illustrates the need for the better education of airline personnel about rituals involving traditional Jewish prayer items.

The League wrote to the heads of all the major U.S.-based airlines, including Alaska Airlines, in January 2010 following a similar incident aboard a U.S. Airways flight, calling for training of airline personnel to become more knowledgeable about ritual items and religious customs "so that they may appropriately respond if presented with similar situations."

"In today's atmosphere of heightened security concern, it is understandable that passengers might be alarmed upon noticing fellow travelers bearing unfamiliar or seemingly strange objects," said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director.  "The incident aboard Alaska Airways Flight 241 is a reminder that many people, including airline personnel, are unfamiliar with religious ritual items and practices."
-- ADL

In a related article: Alaska Airlines Responds to Tefillin Incident
Alaska Airlines has apologized for the incident [a security alert after three Mexican Orthodox Jews began praying with tefillin] and has asked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to help the airline "incorporate awareness training of Orthodox Jewish religious practices into our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts." The statement follows below.

Alaska Airlines deserves some leeway here. Aside from the honorable way they're handling the tefillin incident, let's not forget this is the airline that helped rescue tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews in airlifts to the nascent State of Israel from 1948 to 1950 in Operation Magic Carpet. -- Uriel Heilman, JTA

To read the complete article including the statement from the airline, click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Massacre of the Innocents

Last weekend Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the Samarian hills, terrorists infiltrated the home of Udi and Ruth Fogel and perpetrated a massacre of the innocents....

What explains such unspeakable evil? What sort of human being deliberately butchers a sleeping baby, or plunges a knife into a toddler's heart?...

The civilized mind struggles to make sense of such savagery.

There are those who believe passionately that all human beings are inherently good and rational creatures, essentially the same once you get beyond surface disagreements. Such people cannot accept the reality of a culture that extols death over life, that inculcates a vitriolic hatred of Jews, that induces children to idolize terrorists. Since they would never murder a family in its sleep without being driven to it by some overpowering horror, they imagine that nobody would. This is the mindset that sees a massacre of Jews and concludes that Jews must in some way have provoked it. It is the mindset behind the narrative that continually blames Israel for the enmity of its neighbors, and makes it Israel's responsibility to end their violence.

But the truth is simpler, and bleaker. Human goodness is not hard-wired. It takes sustained effort and healthy values to produce good people; in the absence of those values, cruelty and intolerance are far more likely to flourish. -- Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe

To read the complete article, click here.

Panel: Don't Treat Fliers like Terrorists

Travelers at Denver International Airport line up at a Transportation Security Administraton checkpoint.
Calling for an airport screening process that maximizes security but cuts down on passenger hassles, the U.S. Travel Association on Wednesday recommended key changes to the current system.

The group, along with a panel of experts, suggested creating a trusted traveler program that would allow fliers who volunteer certain information about themselves to go through less rigorous security before their flight.

It also proposed allowing each traveler to check one bag without a fee to reduce the amount of luggage going through security checkpoints. -- A. Pawlowski, CNN

To read the complete article, click here.

Japan Disaster and Itamar Killings Put Jewish Giving on the Spot

An aerial view of debris from the earthquake
and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan,
March 11, 2011. (Alexander Tidd, US Navy)
Almost as soon as the catastrophe in Japan began unfolding last Friday, Jewish groups scrambled to figure out how to get help to the area.

In Israel, search-and-rescue organizations like ZAKA and IsraAid readied teams to head to the Japanese devastation zone. In Tokyo, the Chabad center took an accounting of local Jews and began organizing a shipment of aid to stricken cities to the north. In the United States, aid organizations ranging from B’nai B’rith International to local and national federation agencies launched campaigns to collect money for rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts in the Pacific.

But then Shabbat came, and with it the news that a suspected Palestinian terrorist had brutally murdered five family members in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Itamar, and the focus of the Jewish community for a while seemed to shift.

“Not sure who to think about first,” Nadia Levene, a British-Israeli event planner living in Jerusalem, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “The devastated remaining members of the Fogel family from Itamar, Gilad Shalit -- 5 years in Hamas captivity -- or the survivors of the Japanese tragedy and the dangers they may be facing.” -- Uriel Heilman, JTA

To read the complete article, click here.

Give If You’ve Got It: Which Jewish billionaires are the most philanthropic?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Commenter “Richard Marcus” offered a swell suggestion to yesterday’s list of the world’s richest Jews: “Perhaps an interesting follow up article might be, to what degree are these Jewish billionaires using their wealth to embrace or ignore Tikkun Olam....

The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 50 is the standard; the Slate 60 tracks it pretty well. Business Week’s list is a little different. (All apply only to Americans.) Together, they offer a picture of who is giving what they have.

George Soros and Michael Bloomberg—the Chronicle’s top two givers overall (46th and 30th in wealth, according to Forbes)—come out looking the best. But young Mr. Zuckerberg, the 52nd richest person and tenth biggest giver, represents the Millennials well: $100 million isn’t pocket change even when you’ve already got $13.5 billion. Sheldon Adelson, who makes Business Week’s list, also acquits himself nicely, as do Larry Ellison and Donald Bren. -- Marc Tracy, Tablet

To view the list of the most phlanthropic according to the Chronical of Philanthropy, click here.

To view the Slat 60 list, click here.

To read the complete article, click here.

Expectations, Not Money, the Challenge Facing Education Says New York State Regent’s Chancellor, Merryl Tisch

“I come from a tradition that values education. I come from a tradition that values the book. I come from a tradition that is steeped in literature. I come from a tradition that is steeped in intellectual curiosity and those are the essential elements, I think, that need to be embedded in our system,” said Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents, the governing body for the State Education Department. She reports that her Jewish roots gave her the background needed for her position.

Tisch, nee Hiat, grew up in the 1950s and ’60s in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. “I came from a fairly traditional Jewish home. I grew up as basically Orthodox. To this day my home is still kosher. I maintain kashrut outside the house as well.”

Her formative years led her to believe that poverty is not a stumbling block to success. -- Marc Gronich, Jewish World of NE NY, Vermont, Western MA

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Jews Mobilize to Raise Funds for Relief Efforts

The Jewish community in Japan on Tuesday scrambled to raise funds and distribute aid to the beleaguered north-western part of the country which had been devastated by an earthquake and tsunami on Friday, and is now under serious threat of radiation contamination from three faulty nuclear reactors in the region.

"The Jewish community in Japan is doing all that it can to assist in relief efforts," Philip Rosenfeld, treasurer of the Jewish community in Tokyo, said. "The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee just gave a very generous grant of 10,000 dollars. Our efforts at the moment are towards fund raising from our own members and overseas."...

The situation has gone from bad to worse in Japan in recent days after severe radiation leaks were detected in three nuclear power plants in the Fukushima region north of Tokyo. Israel's ambassador to Japan advised Israelis who are not there on urgent business to leave the country after radiation levels jumped to six times their normal rate in Tokyo on Tuesday. -- Gil Shefler, Jerusalem Post

To read the complete article, click here.

Israelis Observe Five Minutes of Silence for Shalit

The country came to a halt Tuesday [March 15] morning as Israelis observed one minute for every year that Gilad Shalit has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

Cars on the street and people walking on sidewalks stopped; all work in the Knesset also halted. President Shimon Peres paused in the middle of an address to the Negev Conference in Eilat.

"For the past five years, the entire nation has been united in its hearts in the hope that Gilad Shalit will be here with us, healthy and whole," Peres said at the conference. "Shalit family, we feel like a part of your family. Gilad is a soldier in the IDF, and the entire country will not rest until he comes home."

Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid between Israel and Gaza in June 2006.

Hamas has demanded the release of 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including some directly responsible for the deaths of Israelis.

In October 2009, Hamas released a one-minute videotape of Shalit. Hamas has not allowed the Red Cross to visit Shalit. -- JTA

Einstein’s Archives to Go Online

Albert Einstein will go digital in the coming months, as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem begins a project to digitize the German-Jewish physicist’s archives.

The digitization is expected to take around one year and then the over 80,000 documents will be available on the Albert Einstein Archives website.

News of the initiative, which will be made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Polonsky Foundation of London, was announced on Monday, the 131st anniversary of Einstein’s birth in the town of Ulm in what is today southern Germany.

The university said Monday that the project will safeguard and provide access to more than 80,000 documents in Einstein’s archives for future generations. Einstein was one of the founders of Hebrew University in 1918 and sat on its first board of governors. -- Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post

To read the complete article, click here.

Union That Grew in the Triangle Fire’s Ashes Is Now Nearly Gone a Century Later

Shirtwaist factory workers preparing for a strike
The 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, to be commemorated later in March, also marks a milestone in the history of the tangle of unions that have represented the interests of garment and textile workers in America. The garment union movement, long identified with the legacy of the Triangle fire, is quickly fading, as manufacturers have fled the country and the industry has shrunk. -- Josh Nathan-Kazis, The Forward

To read the complete article, click here.

Op-Ed: A Changed Poland Is Israel’s Good Friend

The historic, first-ever joint session of the Polish and Israeli governments in Jerusalem last month underscored the importance that Poland attaches to its ties with Israel....

The new Poland’s advocacy of Israel and the Jewish people has fostered something remarkable: a full-fledged Jewish cultural renaissance in Poland. A country once perceived as the so-called cemetery of the Jewish people has given rise to a vibrant, unprecedented renewal of Jewish life in a flourishing democracy.
-- Tad Taube, JTA

To read the complete article, click here.

Lost city of Atlantis, Swamped by Tsunami, May Be Found

A US-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.

"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a University of Hartford, Connecticut, professor who lead an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis. -- Reuters via Jerusalem Post

To read the complete story, click here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Galliano Perfume Pulled from Canada Stores

"Speak to me of love," Galliano's perfume
Photo: Sharon Gotfried
Not only was the chief fashion designer fired from Christian Dior for his drunken anti-Semitic and racist rants, but John Galliano’s saga continued last week with his new perfume, "Parlez-moi d’Amour," being pulled from Canadian stores.

The Bay released a statement last week saying it “immediately suspended sales of Galliano products from our stores,” and Holt Renfrew said that the “fragrance has minimal presence on the floors and there are no plans to market the fragrance going forward,” the Globe and Mail reported.

“(The stores) are taking a stand,” Robert Passikoff, founder of New York-based Brand Keys, which tracks consumer perception of brands, told the Globe and Mail. “This is not something that retailers take lightly.” -- Danielle Kubes, ynet News

To read the complete article, click here.

Rodin Sculpture Stolen from Israel Museum

One of Rodin sculptures at Israel Museum
Photo courtesy of Israel Museum
French sculptor's nude bronze of French novelist Honore de Balzac robbed during Jerusalem facility's recently completed renovation.

The statue is probably worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but an expert worried that it might be sold for scrap. -- Associated Press

To read the complete article, click here.

Did Anne Frank Really Have An "Infinite Human Spirit?"-- The problem with universalism.

The concentration camps are a dangerous topic to handle,” the British critic A. Alvarez once wrote. “They stir mud from the bottom, clouding the mind, rousing dormant self-destructiveness.” This has perhaps never been more true for anyone than for Meyer Levin, the author of middlebrow Jewish-American novels such as The Settlers who is now better known, alas, for an obsession with the diary of Anne Frank that seems to have sent him over the edge of sanity....

The story of the reception of Anne Frank’s diary is a pungent case study of the way works of literature come to be understood as “universal”—which, as Francine Prose adeptly points out in her book about Anne Frank, had come to be used, in the publishing climate of the 1950s, as “the antonym of Jewish.” -- Ruth Franklin, The New Republic

To read the complete article, click here.

Winnipeg University Head Fights Israel Apartheid Week

University of Winnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy, a former Canadian foreign minister, has taken an activist approach in dealing with the presence of Israel Apartheid Week for the first time on his campus this year, by having the university put on a series of programs that counter the delegitimization of the Jewish state.

“It is the responsibility of a university to ensure that an issue [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] that’s as important as this be given a full and fair hearing as opposed to a one-sided hearing,” Axworthy told The Jerusalem Post.

“We felt the most effective way to respond to Israel Apartheid Week was to organize a series of opportunities in March for Arab-Jewish dialogue” that is “respectful, more open and fair” and promotes a greater understanding of the issues involved, he said. -- Rhonda Spivak, Jerusalem Post

To read the complete article, click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011


A collection of ketubot at New York’s Jewish Museum prompts the Jewish Theological Seminary’s chancellor to consider marriage contracts from medieval times to our own.
An 1885 ketubah from Isfahan, Iran
The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary
The 30 marriage contracts now being exhibited at the Jewish Museum, on loan from the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, where I am chancellor, repeatedly take me back to the signing of my own ketubah nearly 30 years ago. It remains the most beautiful work of art that my wife and I have on our walls, and the details of the day remain remarkably vivid.

It was a picture-perfect August morning, the sky over northern New Jersey a California shade of blue and the air unusually fresh. My friend Jonathan had finished building the chuppah with at least a half-hour to spare. My best man, Neal, had located the ketubah, which I had managed to misplace. -- Chancellor Arnold Eisen, Tablet

To read the complete article, click here.

United Synagogue Issues Statement on Board Vote Supporting Strategic Plan Draft

Today, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s board of directors overwhelmingly voted to accept a new strategic plan.  Work will begin immediately on forming a committee to lay out its implementation.

The plan was produced by a joint commission representing United Synagogue and Hayom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism.  In February, the group released a draft strategic plan designed to chart a new course for United Synagogue that will change and strengthen the experience in Conservative congregations and in the many kehillot that share their values.  Since making the draft public, Rabbi Steven Wernick, United Synagogue’s chief executive officer and executive vice president, and other members of the strategic planning commission have discussed it with Conservative congregations across North America. The plan accepted Sunday reflected those discussions.

Rabbi Wernick released the following statement:

This is a historic moment both for United Synagogue and for Conservative Judaism.  This vote recognizes that the future requires a different focus and declares boldly that we’re prepared to meet the challenges.

Jews Wearing Tefillin Cause Alarm aboard Airplane

Mexican Jews flying to Los Angeles frighten Alaska Airlines flight crew, prompting them to lock down cockpit, issue security alert.
Photo by AP
An orthodox Jewish prayer observance by three passengers aboard an Alaska Airlines flight on Sunday alarmed flight attendants unfamiliar with the ritual, prompting them to lock down the cockpit and issue a security alert, officials said.

Alaska Flight 241 from Mexico City to Los Angeles International Airport landed safety at LAX and was met by fire crews, foam trucks, FBI agents, Transportation Security Administration personnel and police dispatched as a precaution.

The three men, all Mexican nationals, were escorted off the plane by police and questioned by the FBI before being released to make connecting flights to other countries, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. No charges were filed, she said.

The three passengers had startled members of the cabin crew with what what was interpreted as suspicious behavior shortly after takeoff, airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

"The three passengers were praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing what appeared to be leather straps on their foreheads and arms," she said. "This appeared to be a security threat, and the pilots locked down the flight deck and followed standard security procedures."

It turned out the passengers were engaged in the wearing of tefillin -- small, black prayer boxes containing scripture that devout Jews bind to their foreheads and arms with black leather straps in a daily ritual accompanied by special prayers.

Asked about the authorities' reaction to the alert, Eimiller said: "We're obligated, of course, to respond when the flight calls us to clear up concerns."
-- Steve Gorman and Peter Bohan, Reuters

Op-Ed: Israel’s Revolution for Disabled Needs a Greater Voice

As revolution sweeps across the Middle East at a dizzying pace, cries for freedom, equality and an improved standard of living ring out, touching millions around the world and bringing hope to millions more.  Finally their voices are being heard, progress is being made.

Still, an important segment of the population goes unheard, as it cannot participate in high-profile protests or even voice its grievances and concerns.

The mentally and physically disabled are underrepresented throughout the Middle East, and there are few signs of this changing soon. Progress is at a standstill.

Everywhere, that is, except for Israel. -- Shlomit Grayevsky, JTA

To read the complete article, click here.

McCain Joins Calls for Pollard Release

U.S. Sen. John McCain became the first active Republican politician to join the recent calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

McCain (R-Ariz.), the GOP presidential candidate in 2008, spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Thursday, according to a statement released by Netanyahu’s office and confirmed to JTA by McCain’s office.

Activists seeking clemency for Pollard, who was convicted of espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life, in recent months have garnered the support of dozens of leading Democrats, both sitting and retired, and Republican former officials.

Until McCain, however, they had failed to get the endorsement of a sitting Republican, which is considered critical to establishing broad-based support for clemency.

McCain's voice is significant as well because of his storied career as a Navy pilot. Pollard was a civilian Navy analyst when he was caught spying on behalf of Israel.

Pollard, who has been incarcerated since his 1985 arrest, is said to be ill.

Netanyahu has formerly asked President Obama to grant clemency for Pollard, as have 39 Democratic Congress members, led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). -- Ron Kampeas, JTA

Oracle’s Ellison Biggest Jewish Billionaire on Forbes List

Oracle founder Larry Ellison is the highest Jewish person ranked on Forbes magazine's annual list of world billionaires, coming in at sixth with $28 billion.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the next Jewish person at 17th, with $16 billion, followed by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who were tied for 24th with $17.5 billion each. George Soros landed in 35th with $14 billion.

Other Jews to make the top 100 included Brazilian banking and investment mogul Joseph Safra, at 64th with $10 billion, and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, 73rd with $9.3 billion.

Sixteen Israelis made the list, including shipping magnate Sammy Ofer at No. 79 with $10.3 billion.

Mexican telecom businessman Carlos Slim Helu and his family topped the list with $74 billion.
-- JTA

Pittsburgh Day Schools Offering Free Tuition

Pittsburgh's Jewish day schools are offering free tuition to new students in grades 3-11 for the coming school year.

The initiative is being paid for by the three schools -- the Community Day School, Hillel Academy and Yeshiva Schools, all in the residential Squirrel Hill neighborhood in the east end of the Pennsylvania city -- as well as by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future.

The free tuition program is for local, permanent residents who apply to one of the day schools for the first time and meet admission guidelines. The student must currently be enrolled in any school in Allegheny County and must be enrolled at one of the day schools prior to the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Nearly 900 students combined are currently enrolled in the three schools. Tuition ranges from more than $4,600 to $14,000 per year, depending on the school and the child's grade.

“Pittsburgh Jewish day schools provide the highest quality private school education coupled with a deep and lasting connection to Jewish values,” said Chuck Perlow, chairman of the Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Council. “With a strong connection to this community, Hillel Academy, Community Day School and Yeshiva Schools are working collaboratively to give more children and their families the opportunity to experience all that a Jewish day school education has to offer.” -- JTA

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jewish, Israeli Groups Offer Aid to Japan after Quake

Hours after a 8.9 magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami struck Japan, Jewish and Israeli humanitarian groups on Friday pledged to help relief efforts in the island nation.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) on Friday announced it was collecting funds for relief efforts and has reached out to the Japanese Government to offer its expertise in earthquake and tsunami-related response.

Meanwhile, IsraAID-FIRST, an Israeli umbrella group of relief organizations, said Friday morning it was preparing to send a team of experts to the island nation to assist in relief efforts.
-- Gil Shefler, Jerusalem Post

To read the complete article, click here.

Study: Women Post More on Facebook to Boost Self-Image

In a study out of the University of Buffalo, professor Michael Stefanone examined how gender stereotypes–like women valuing themselves based on appearances and men on achievements– played out online....

Not only did the study show that women identify more strongly with their image and appearance, but the findings also suggested that this image-conscious view was linked with their activity on Facebook. Women shared five times as many photos, had larger social networks and spent more time on Facebook than males.  -- Tara Kelly, Times NewsFeed

To read the complete article, see related video, and see related articles, click here.

Cuba Jails US Aid Worker Alan Gross

Mr Gross's wife Judy has pleaded for his release
on humanitarian grounds
US aid worker Alan Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state in Cuba.

Mr Gross, 61, was arrested in December 2009 accused of setting up illegal internet connections in Cuba under a programme funded by the US government.

His work involved distributing communications equipment to Jewish communities in Havana.

The US has warned that there can be no further easing of relations between the two countries until he is released. -- BBC News

To read the complete article, click here.

Killer Paper for Germ-Free Food Packaging

In the future food packaging may include Israeli technology
that can keep food free of bacteria.
Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
Imagine if all the paper, cardboard, foil and plastic that envelops the food we buy could not only keep it clean and tidy but also free of the bacteria that leads to spoilage.

That scenario is quite possible in the near future, thanks to an Israeli student and his master's thesis supervisors. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21c

Discovered: The Happiest Man in America

Alvin Wong and his wife,
Trudy Schandler-Wong.
The New York Times asked Gallup to come up with a statistical composite for the happiest person in America, based on the characteristics that most closely correlated with happiness in 2010. Men, for example, tend to be happier than women, older people are happier than middle-aged people, and so on.

Gallup’s answer: he’s a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year. A few phone calls later and ...

 To read the complete article, click here.

Gays and the Rabbis who May Harm Them

Rabbi Sacks
There are faith traditions that prohibit medical intervention even when it may result in a decline in health or even in death.  Judaism has no such tradition.  We are told of the Mitzvot, “You shall live by them.” The words "You shall llive by them” ("Va-chai bahem"), as my teacher Rabbi Brad Artson wrote, “reverberate through the ages as a thundering witness both to the central function of Torah, and to the nature of its centrality as a way toward a sacred goal, not as that goal itself. Living itself is a 'mitzvah.'  Without maintaining life, no other 'mitzvot' and no other holiness is possible.

So it comes as a surprise that several prominent rabbis, here in Israel, have backed an initiative by an organization called “Kamoha” – a GLBTQ Orthodox organization – that has set up a fund a charity to pay for "conversion therapy" for religious men aged 18 to 25 who are attracted to other men. -- Rabbi Andrew Sacks, Director of the Masorti/Conservative Movement Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, Masorti Matters Blog, Jerusalem Post.

Click here to read the complete article.

Conservative Movement’s College Kids Mobilize

New coalition fights cuts to campus services, but with little success

A protest by students over the planned reorganization of the Conservative movement’s Koach college program has won an acknowledgement that the program is important — but little else.

“There has been no concrete change,” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, executive vice president and CEO of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism.

He stressed that the planned reorganization never contemplated an end of Koach but rather that it have a “more narrow focus on campus because of [limited] resources.”...

The student protest occurred last month at the 21st convention of Koach in Evanston, Ill., after the 75 attendees were told future conventions were in doubt due to budget constraints. Many of them then took to Facebook and YouTube to extol the virtues of Koach and its importance to them. -- Stewart Ain, NY Jewish Week

To read the complete article, click here.