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The numbers are staggering: 4,202 shluchim (emissary) couples working around the world; 94,650 students interacting with Chabad on campus annually; 37 million unique visitors per year to Chabad.org. On Nov. 23, more than 5,000 people attended the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. Since the passing of movement leader Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson 20 years ago, there has been a 236-percent growth in the number of Chabad emissaries, who work in 80 countries and 49 of 50 U.S. states. A unique aspect of Chabad’s growth in America has been the significant participation of Jews across denominations and levels of affiliation in Chabad institutions—particularly in its schools.
Against the backdrop of growing threats facing Israel at home and abroad, one of the fastest-growing ethnoreligious segments in the U.S. is stepping up its support for the Jewish state. At the forefront of the interests of America’s Hispanic Evangelical Christian population is the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/Conela. Representing more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals in the U.S., NHCLC/Conela is now beginning to wield its considerable influence for the purpose of standing up for Israel. “My job is to convince young Latino people that supporting Israel actually works for the good of all in the Middle East,” said NHCLC/Conela President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez.
The pattern is quite familiar: Palestinian terrorists murder Israelis. The Obama administration condemns the attack. And that’s it. No change in U.S. policy, no penalties or consequences for those who encourage and praise the killers. Bland verbal condemnations don’t make any difference, writes Stephen M. Flatow, whose daughter Alisa was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.
From Tevye the dairyman to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine to “Let It Go” singer Idina Menzel, Jews have always been at the forefront of the music scene. Burt Sugarman and Mark Goodman are no different. As one of the pre-eminent television and film producers in history, Sugarman’s rolodex of connections would make any A-lister blush. Goodman, one of the first on-air personalities for the MTV network, had his finger on the pulse of pop music for years. The two industry icons spoke to JNS.org about the recent release of a collector’s edition DVD set of Sugarman’s pioneering television program “Midnight Special” by StarVista Entertainment/Time Life.
What message is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sending to the Jewish community through its recent selection of White House aide and social entrepreneur Jonathan Greenblatt to succeed longtime National Director Abraham Foxman? While some are praising ADL for thinking outside the box with its hire and trying to appeal to a younger demographic, others are concerned that Greenblatt is too visibly partisan and that his past experience may signal ADL’s de-emphasis of the fight against anti-Semitism in favor of civil rights work.
While reports suggest that Iran and its Western negotiating partners are close to striking a nuclear deal before the Nov. 24 deadline for an agreement, the Iranians find themselves at a crossroads. Iran—which has long promoted Islamic extremism and exported terrorism—must choose between security cooperation with the West against the Islamic State terror group and economic relief, or continuing down its current path towards becoming a nuclear pariah state. That choice comes against the backdrop of a growing push within Iran for a change in the country’s direction, following years of isolation and economic stagnation.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is getting fed up with anything that sounds like a demand from the West in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. But while Iran seems to be saying "shut up and make a deal" before the Nov. 24 deadline, President Barack Obama may not need much convincing. For the time being, then, the main brake on Iran’s further accumulation of power and influence lies in the U.S. Congress, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.
Baseball Hall-of-Famers Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax are household names both in their sport and in the pantheon of Jewish professional athletes. But why has basketball Hall-of-Famer Dolph Schayes not achieved similar recognition? Noted sports historian Dolph Grundman, author of the new book “Dolph Schayes and the Rise of Professional Basketball,” blames demographics and technology. “I think Dolph is not better known because he played in a small city before televised sport became so pervasive,” says the author sharing a name with his biographical subject.
The Ruderman Family Foundation is known for its work to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities, but at the 2014 General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), the foundation’s president used the concept of inclusion to issue a broader challenge to the Jewish community. “[Our foundation is] out there talking to fellow philanthropists, talking to Jewish organizations, [saying] ‘Let’s build a more inclusive community that represents Jewish values of fairness, and in the process going to build a community that’s more attractive to younger generations,” Jay Ruderman told JNS.org in an interview on the stage of the GA’s “press pit” section.
When young independent music enthusiasts descended on the antiquated Jewish resort of Kutsher’s for an international indie rock concert series in 2008, it was “kind of like ‘Cocoon’ meets ‘The Shining,’” Barry Hogan recalls in the forthcoming documentary film “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” The comment by Hogan, founder of the All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival organization, exemplifies the widening generational gap that ultimately forced Kutsher’s to close in December 2013. Yet Hogan observes that the venue still had the right charm for bands and indie rock fans. Similar nostalgia, pride, and humor characterize the other interviews in “Welcome to Kutsher’s,” which is premiering Dec. 6.
Now is the perfect time to turn the page on U.S.-Israel relations. After midterm elections in America, the two governments should use this time to work together as a united front against the challenges facing the free world. While there will of course continue to be areas of disagreement between these allies, they both have much to gain by putting their differences aside and placing the issues that unite them as their top priorities for the remaining two years of Barack Obama's presidency, writes Member of Knesset Danny Danon (Likud).
The U.S. Senate has the right and duty to examine any nuclear deal reached with Iran, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, vowing that the Senate would block a “bad deal” with the Islamic Republic. In Graham’s view, a bade deal is any agreement that permits Iran to enrich uranium. “Today, there are new bosses in Washington,” Graham said in interview with Israel Hayom, referencing the Republican Party’s recent retaking of a Senate majority. “The biggest losers, after the midterm elections, are Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iranian nuclear program.”
The “start-up nation”—a nickname Israel earned due to its population’s knack for innovation—is increasingly exporting its culture of entrepreneurship to America. There are a number of reasons why an Israeli might decide to come to the U.S., but for businesspeople, the move is often based on necessity. The relatively small market of Israel, a country that is roughly the size of New Jersey, leaves Israeli companies thirsting for opportunities outside of the Holy Land. “Israel is great place to nurture new ideas. But when they want to scale up, they have to go to the U.S. or Europe,” Benjamin Soffer, head of the Technology Transfer Office at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, told JNS.org.
As he prepares for a visit to Israel, Stephen M. Flatow feels a twinge of apprehension. The recent vehicular terrorist attacks in Jerusalem inevitably make every visitor to the city wonder who will be the next victim. Yet while the average Israeli can’t do much about Palestinian terrorism, the average U.S. Jew can. Israelis have little choice but to rely on the police and the army to protect them, but Americans can take political action that could make a real difference in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, writes Flatow, whose daughter was killed in an Islamic Jihad bus bombing.
The results of the Nov. 4 midterm elections validate Israel’s policy of courting both Republicans and Democrats when it comes to issues such as Iran’s threats of genocide. Yet the Israelis recently found themselves being berated for wooing both parties—and the criticism came from a U.S. official who, ironically, once argued that intervening against genocide would hurt her party in that year’s midterm elections, writes historian Rafael Medoff.
Umpteen immediate questions remain after a senior Obama administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "chickenshit." Will Obama apologize? Will he publicly name and discipline the official who insulted Netanyahu? But the biggest question of all is a long-term one: What will the strategic map of the Middle East look like once Obama is done as president? That’s what should be occupying the minds of Israel’s leaders, who are painfully aware that Obama’s peace efforts can only lead to more conflict and strife, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.
Amid the ongoing controversy over the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” little has been said about the Palestinian terrorist behind the attack in which Leon Klinghoffer was murdered. Muhammad Zaidan, the Palestine Liberation Front leader who made decision to hijack the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, evaded justice for years until dying of natural causes. President Bill Clinton failed to prosecute Zaidan out of fear of upsetting the “peace process,” writes Stephen M. Flatow, whose daughter was killed in a 1995 Palestinian terror attack.
While anti-Semitism in Europe and anti-Zionism on U.S. college campuses are on the upswing, how is American Christian support for Israel trending? Stronger than ever, says the founder of the country’s largest pro-Israel organization. “I can assure you that the evangelical Christians of America support Israel right now in a more aggressive mood than at any time in my lifetime,” Pastor John Hagee, chairman of the 1.8-million member Christians United for Israel (CUFI), told JNS.org after 5,000 people attended CUFI's 33rd annual “A Night to Honor Israel” in San Antonio.
On Friday afternoon, the Doctoral Students Council of the City University of New York (CUNY) once again failed to pass a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution’s backers claimed they were promoting justice and human rights, and that they were seeking sovereignty and freedom for the Palestinian people. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. We have to empower the campus community to make a meaningful contribution to peace by promoting constructive efforts toward coexistence, and the hate-mongers who want CUNY to boycott Israeli universities are an obstacle to peace, Baime writes.
The so-called “alphabet soup” of American Jewish organizations covers seemingly every communal concern and interest group. Yet despite their direct connection with the Jewish homeland and firsthand knowledge of issues prioritized by American Jews, Israelis living in the U.S. have historically been both neglected and unorganized. Working to change that trend is the fast-growing Israeli-American Council (IAC), which was founded in Los Angeles in 2007 and started expanding nationally in 2013. This year, IAC’s programming has reached more than 100,000 of the estimated 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans. From Nov. 7-9, the organization will hold its inaugural national conference in Washington, DC.