We get so many of our eating habits from when we are children, that it is important to teach them good habits at a young age. It seems that childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. In my granddaughter's school this year, junk food was forbidden with lunch. The rule was a protein, a veggie and a fruit. No chips, pretzels or cookies. Lunches became more difficult when the school became a peanut free zone, and we now had to think harder about lunches. The no snack rule permeated the school and because it was a school-wide, the children learned not to expect junk food. Teaching children these good habits helps them to live a healthier lifestyle. It also helps your children avoid being overweight.
The three Israeli teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month still have not been found.
The Palestinians have been celebrating the kidnapping with "The Three Shalits" campaign, named after the previously-kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in which they picture themselves holding three fingers in the air.
The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s president, Mahmoud Abbas, called for the return of the kidnapped boys, saying that the kidnappers were trying to destroy the PA. And yet, one cannot help but conclude that the sick celebration of the kidnapping, which included this appalling cartoon on the PA's website, is the result of the constant anti-Semitic incitement against Israel that has occurred for decades throughout Palestinian society.
— by Alex Lipton, Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region
Israel is engaged in an intensive operation to return the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank by Hamas terrorists Thursday night: Gilad Sha'er (16), Naftali Frenkel (16), who has dual Israeli-American citizenship, and Eyal Yifrah (19), to their families.
The kidnapping validates Israel's assessment that the pact between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas would strengthen Palestinian terrorist organizations, push peace further away and destabilize the area.
Hamas does not need any reason, excuse or incentive to murder and kidnap Israelis. Terrorist attacks are Hamas' raison d'être. Dozens of attempted kidnappings have been foiled in the last year alone.
In forming this technocratic government, Hamas agreed to conditions it was never previously willing to accept, such as giving Abbas veto power over all ministers and approving the formation of a government in which it has no ministers, which is why this unity government might succeed.
— by Steve Sheffey
The pro-Israel community is concerned about the new Palestinian unity government.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), a lifelong advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, a supporter of a two-state solution, and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement on the subject last week:
I remain deeply concerned that the Palestinian Authority continues to move forward with a reconciliation government that includes the internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas. Hamas continues to advocate violent action against Israel, and its political leadership refuses to recognize Israel.
Hamas' participation in a unity government raises serious doubts as to the Palestinians' commitment to a negotiated peace with Israel and raises significant questions regarding future U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.
While I support efforts by the Palestinian Authority to form government institutions capable of representing the Palestinian people, a unity government with Hamas, without Hamas agreeing to the "Quartet Conditions," which includes renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and honoring past agreements, will hinder the peace process and will not result in a future Palestinian state.
President Abbas must understand the two-state agreement can only be achieved through good faith negotiation with Israel. I hope he and his government will take the steps to further the prospects for peace for his people and the region.
Israel traded more than 1,000 prisoners, many of whom with blood on their hands, for Gilad Shalit, whose conduct prior to his capture was not exactly heroic.
— by Steve Sheffey
Should we have traded five Taliban prisoners for one U.S. prisoner of war? It is amazing that we are even asking this question.
Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is rarely accused of being soft on terrorism, negotiated with Hamas and traded more than 1,000 prisoners, many of whom with blood on their hands, for Gilad Shalit, whose conduct prior to his capture was not exactly heroic.
These are painful decisions, but countries like the U.S. and Israel do not leave their soldiers behind, and certainly not run a character and fitness test before deciding whom to rescue. General Dempsey was right when he said about Sergeant Bergdahl, "Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty."
From its inception in 1995, the composition and repertoire of the Philadelphia-based Chavurat Hazemer, "the singing group," represented the ethnic mosaic of the Israeli society.
The Chavurah performs in different events of the local Israeli community and of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Their musical appearances emphasize the bond between the Jewish people and their land, and the Jewish cultural heritage, history and traditions throughout the ages.
Jews being selected for labor or death in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
— by Yaron Sideman, Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region
Last Monday I participated in the dedication of the Holocaust and Liberators Memorial on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. I participated in this emotional ceremony along with Ohio Governor John Kasich, who spearheaded the project and shepherded it until its completion this week.
The Holocaust is not a matter of opinion. It is an undisputable historical fact. Holocaust denial is, therefore, a despicable practice rooted in one of the most ancient and ugly form of hatred — anti-Semitism. The fact that Holocaust deniers these days are not always overt neo-Nazis parading around with swastikas, but rather so-called academics operating within established university settings, only makes it all the more troubling.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Photo: Richard Chaitt.
— by Richard Chaitt
About 100 congresspersons and legislative staffers participated in the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)'s Annual Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C. last week.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) received the ZOA's Defender of Zion Award.
ZOA's national president, Morton A. Klein, said that Menendez "has done tremendous work in the field of security since 9/11, has given extraordinary speeches about Israel and has been leading with the introduction of the Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2013."
Menendez said that he was "honored to receive this award":
I have had an unwavering view that it is in the national interest of the United States to have a strong relationship with the state of Israel, an island of democracy. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I reject any call for boycotts, divestment or any statement that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state.
Love for food and cooking is in my Greek woman DNA.
There is nothing better than picking earthy ripe tomatoes from the vine and cooking them over an open fire with freshly hatched eggs from the hen house. But since not all of us live on a Greek island, tomatoes and eggs from the grocery store will be just as delicious.
Please note one thing: No real Greek cook ever measures. Ask a Greek for a recipe, and the closest thing to measurements you will get is "a little of this, a splash of that, and some of this too, for taste."
Daylin Leach officiates the marriage between Sarah and Marcia Martinez-Helfman at the Talamore Golf Club in Ambler, Pennsylvania.
— by Kenneth R. Myers, Esq.
The elimination of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the parallel provision on the Marriage Law in Pennsylvania expand gay rights and bestow important benefits on GLBTQ communities. These include the ceremonial and symbolic element of traditional marriage, and the reduction or elimination of economic discrimination in favor of traditional marriage that continues to exist in some public laws and programs.
But in addition, this line of cases has broadened the circumstances in which discrimination will be inferred in facially "neutral" governmental action, and has broadened the application of the doctrine of equal protection of the laws, all to the good.
But last week, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) indicated that he would introduce an amendment requiring Congressional hearings and a vote on a non-binding "joint resolution of disapproval" on any Iran nuclear deal reached by the Obama administration.
This is not a bipartisan effort: Corker does not have a Democratic co-sponsor. This is another Republican attempt to manipulate legitimate concerns about Iran for political gain.
Almost everyone supports the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. Why not let it pass with strong bipartisan support and vote separately on a bill to authorize a joint resolution of disapproval?
Corker wants all or nothing. He is willing to put the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act at risk to gain a talking point Republicans can use against Democrats who oppose his amendment.
(JSPAN) The Elder Justice Act, which provides federal resources to "prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation," became law four years ago. However, Congress has yet to provide any funding.
Federal funding has never been appropriated to establish a national infrastructure for adult protective services (APS), and currently, no national database or national standards are in existence.
President Obama's financial year 2015 budget proposes $25 million for an Elder Justice Initiative, including $13.8 million for APS. It will also provide $11.2 million for evidence-based research, including elder abuse screening, and will establish a better knowledge base about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Camp Gan Israel Philly near Collegeville, Pennsylvania offers fourth- to eighth-grade girls a three-week overnight camp program between June 29 and July 17 for $300 instead of $1230, after receiving a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
This pricing is open to girls from the entire spectrum of the Jewish community who have never been to overnight camp and are not currently enrolled in a Jewish school. Space is limited.
"Living wages" make it possible for workers to raise families and enter the middle class without relying on public funds, enhancing worker self-esteem and productivity.
Allowing businesses to pay low wages essentially subsidizes corporate profits: Corporate executives make outsized salaries, shareholders get larger dividends, and we all pay taxes to support food stamps and other crucial benefits for the underpaid workers.
One after another, adults raising children, some of which trying to find the funds to complete college degrees, testified to the hardships they endure as they bring home between $7.25 and $8.00 an hour, at establishments like the Philadelphia International Airport and fast food restaurants. The workers of the latter are planning strikes in Pennsylvania and across the country to highlight their plight.
Gaining in popularity, kale is an amazing vegetable that is recognized for its exceptional richness in nutrients, health benefits, and delicious flavor.
Also known as borecole, kale is believed to be one of the healthiest vegetables around. Generally speaking, eating a variety of natural and unprocessed vegetables has proven to be beneficial to your health, but eating nutrient loaded kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.
A first grader's major school project is a leprechaun trap, while the hallways in his school are a sea of St. Patrick green. Meanwhile, his kindergartner sibling is learning that St. Patrick cured Ireland of its snakes, their second-grade sibling is receiving only Christmas homework, and the only seventh-grade trip of their other sibling is to see A Christmas Carol, which the principal defends as part of the school's "culture," and the Superintendent of Schools insists is not Christian.
All of these happened to my children in the Bucks County public school system.
We are proud to be Americans. We thrive in our multicultural society. Our challenge is raising caring, committed and connected Jews.
Kerry and Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman.
— by Steve Sheffey
Last Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that it obtained a tape (which it has not released) of Secretary of State John Kerry at a private meeting with unidentified "world leaders," in which he said that if a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not reached soon, Israel will risk becoming "an apartheid state":
A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are right. In 2010, then-Israeli Defense Minister (and former Prime Minister) Ehud Barak said that if Israel does not achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel will become either a binational state or an apartheid state.
Thirty new newcomers to Israel from North America arrived last week at Ben Gurion Airport, and 60 others already in Israel became new citizens through Nefesh B'Nefesh, in conjunction with Israel's Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.
At the same time, at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Tel Hashomer base in the country's central region, 104 "lone soldiers" — those who immigrate to Israel without family and enlist — officially became IDF soldiers as part of the Friends of the IDF/Nefesh B'Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program.
PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas, left, and leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashal.
— by Steve Sheffey
Israel suspended peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) last week following reports that the PLO intended to form a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize Israel.
The Obama administration, AIPAC and many lawmakers highlighted the dangers of the PLO's path. And yet, others noted that a unity government could present new opportunities for reaching a two-state solution.
But it has not happened yet, and we do not know if it will. Similar attempts have failed before. Also, we do not know what the terms will be if it does happen, and whether Hamas will change any of its positions.
Internships are a great way to experience the work environment and explore different options within your discipline of study. Internships provide fantastic on-the-job training and often lead to job offers after graduation.
Many students find themselves stuck when it comes to finding and securing an internship. This is likely their first experience with applying for jobs in this type of environment, and it involves more than filling out an application and talking to a manager in charge.
Tips to find internships aligned with your career goals follow the jump.
Earlier this year, the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) filed an amicus curiae brief, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act's mandate that private, for-profit corporations provide employees with coverage that includes all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.
The key issue in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, now before the Court, is whether for-profit corporations have a right to deny contraceptive coverage to women workers based on religious objections of the corporation's owners. JSPAN argues that it would not be proper to treat the religious views of the corporation's shareholders as an exercise of religion by the corporation.
But the targeted locations, a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish Retirement Home; and an attack fueled by racism and anti-semitism, do not mean that only some of us need worry: Two of the victims were not Jewish — just folks who came to participate in an activity at a place open to and serving an entire community.
Already it is clear that at least two major forces were at play in Kansas City: the shooter was filled with hate, and he had access to guns despite a serious criminal history involving hate crimes, firearms and other weapons.
After many months of gloomy weather and eating winter offerings of potatoes and cabbage, I am ready to welcome my spring crop of fresh herbs. I am especially excited to see the first shoots of dill. Dill originated in Eastern Europe, and has a high tolerance for cold weather. This healthy, aromatic herb is high in iron, calcium, and fiber. It is a very popular addition to salads in Eastern Europe.
For the first Seder dinner, I'll include the dill in an amazingly refreshing Spring Green Salad which combats the heaviness of brisket, potato kugel and the multiple pieces of matzoh. I've made this salad, which has the right balance of crunch and tanginess, for years. It reminds me of a good friend who happens to always be open to new experiences, encouraging others to join in on the fun. And, that's what Passover should be about - a surprising and ever-changing blend of history, tradition, novelty, openness and joy.
Last week, unconfirmed reports indicated that the U.S. might free Jonathan Pollard in return for concessions from Israel on the peace process.
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, for spying for Israel against the U.S. He will be eligible for parole in November 2015. Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and thus far, Obama, have refused to release him.
Some have argued that his sentence was excessive, and may have been motivated by anti-Semitism.
Some, seemingly in a position to know, maintain that the damage Pollard did to our intelligence network was so great that his sentence was not excessive; while others seemingly in a position to know maintain that he has served enough time, and is no longer dangerous.
For the last 70 years our economy has grown almost steadily. Until 1970, this increase in productivity was shared between growth in wages for labor and profit growth for business. Since then, virtually all the growth in productivity has gone to increase corporate profits, while wages have not even fully kept pace with inflation.
Beginning with the film "Inequality for All" starring Professor Robert Reich, and continuing with a panel discussion a week later, JSPAN has initiated its year of focus on the problems of economic inequality. The programs, held on March 9 and 16 (after a one-week snow delay), drew substantial audiences at the host site, Germantown Jewish Centre.
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