Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here are the highlights from their public address:
Netanyahu: Well, John, it's a pleasure to welcome you to Jerusalem. You're an old, personal friend and a longstanding friend of Israel. And that friendship was demonstrated in President Obama's historic visit here in March ... We'll discuss Iran. We'll discuss the terrible harm to stability in Syria. But above all, what we want to do is to restart the peace talks with the Palestinians.
Yesterday, by a vote of 99 to 0, the Senate passed a resolution condemning Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The resolution also supports Israel's right to exist and reaffirms our country's close relationship with the Jewish state. After the votes were cast, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez said in a press release:
Iran's provocative actions threaten not just regional stability, but pose an existential threat to our ally Israel, and clearly are a very real threat to U.S. national security. Iran's leaders must understand, that unless they change course their situation will only get worse. Their economic struggles and international isolation will only grow.
On May 20, Stephen H. Frishberg welcomed the 2013 inductees to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. As Chairman of the Board, Mr. Frishberg recognized each individual's contribution to the field of sports in Greater Philadelphia.
The 2013 inductees include Ellen Barkann, Bob Brooks, Larry Brown, Fred Cohen, Josh Cohen, Ron Cohen, Bonnie Kay, Marc Rayfield and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Jed Margolis. In addition, the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games' Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes received special recognition.
Steven Page, musician, and former lead-singer, guitarist and principal songwriter for the internationally acclaimed pop band the Barenaked Ladies (BNL), grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, feeling like he was the only Jew in the neighbourhood, and thus an outsider. He began his search into his ancestry with the goal of uncovering why his Jewish identity has played such an important part of his life.
In a year of acclaimed documentary films about the Middle East, Yael Melamede has achieved an unusual distinction: she is the first Israeli in the history of the Academy Awards to produce an Oscar-winning movie: Inocenete. The movie, which won the Oscar for best documentary short last February, is not about the Middle East. Its subject is a homeless teenager from San Diego with an outsize personality and an extraordinary artistic talent.
We've seen such extraordinary work out of Israel in the past few years, films like Footnote, The Gatekeepers and Five Broken Cameras, which attest to the creativity and urgency of artistic voices in the region. I'm honored to be the first Israeli producer of an Oscar-winning movie, but I know I won't be the last.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that Ira Forman will serve as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Forman, a graduate of both Harvard and Stanford Universities, previously served as Director of Congressional Relations for the Office of Personnel Management during the Clinton administration. He led the National Jewish Democratic Council for fifteen years. Secretary Kerry made the announcement as he released the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report.
Response after the jump from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) will be celebrating its 16th anniversary by honoring nine new individuals at a reception to be held on Monday, May 20 at the Gershman Y.
The 2013 inductees include Ellen Barkann, Bob Brooks, Larry Brown, Fred Cohen, Josh Cohen, Ron Cohen, Bonnie Kay, Marc Rayfield and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Jed Margolis. In addition, the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games' Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes will receive special recognition.
On Manhattan's Lower East Side, in a series of four nondescript brick tenement buildings, sits the Streit's Matzo factory. In 1925, when Aron Streit opened the factory's doors, it sat at the heart of the nation's largest Jewish immigrant community. Today, in its fifth generation of family ownership, in a rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side, it remains as the last family-owned matzo factory in America. This place is filled with history and tradition, and not only in the sense that the recipe for their product is 3,000 years old.
Thanks to the Vetri Foundation's program, our school's dinning room is no longer a cafeteria. Our new philosophy is to prepare family-style rustic food with good ingredients. Family-style seating, in which teachers and students eat together, has helped encourage a willingness to taste and discover new foods. Conversations around the table encourage manners, tasting, and engagement with both classmates and teachers.
Pennsylvania has become a state with a significant majority of voters registered as Democratic. Yet, our Congressional delegation, state Senate and state House of Representatives are all at least 60% Republican. A substantial part of the explanation to this is an adroit political redistricting: "packing" (squeezing the opposition's votes into a few districts) and "cracking" (splitting pockets of opposition voters into separate districts where they cannot form a majority) to preserve the dominant party.
This quick weeknight pasta dish is a delicious and elegant first course for any occasion. Be sure to use a good quality smoked mozzarella, because it is the main ingredient of the dish. Smoked mozzarella has a lot of advantages, because it lasts for a long time and can be added to sandwiches, soups, stuffing, and pasta. It's a great addition to anything that you'd like to enrich and enliven.
According to an article in eSefarad ,"A decision by the ultra-orthodox rabbi Nissim Karelitz recognizes that the Chuetas of Mallorca, who were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition and remained a distinct group within Mallorcan society until the 1970s, had the right to call themselves Jews." How do Sephardic Jews view this?
Some in the Sephardic community ask themselves, "who is this Ashkenazi rabbi to make that decision?" They believe that the Chuetas of Mallorca never stopped being Jews. Even if they did not practice Judaism, they preserved the Jewish identity by avoiding intermarriage at all. Mallorcan Secret Jews (Xuetas) are halachically Jewish, since they did not intermarry for centuries.
Imagine that you are walking through the desert for 40 years. Day after day, week after week. You and 20,000 of your closest friends and tribe's members move through the wilderness, in hopes for a better life.
You get hot, and then cold, and then hungry, and then tired. Shelter comes and goes. Everything appears to be wide open. The uncertainty of the wilderness seems disorienting, yet exhilarating. To restore some order and structure to the wide-open landscape, you — well, all 20,000 of you — try to build a holy space in the desert using specific measurements and materials, and lots of detail. "Much as we may wish to make a new beginning, some part of us resists doing so, as though we were making the first step towards disaster," explains English Professor Dr. William Bridges in his book "Transitions: Making sense of life's Changes."
On a recent trip to the supermarket, I bought some beautiful ripe, red strawberries. I wanted to make something cold, sweet, creamy, fresh and fruity for Shavuot. I came up with a great combination for a light dessert, or snack.
I washed, hulled and halved some juicy strawberries. Then I opened a container of plain greek-style yogurt, and drizzled in some honey for sweetness.
Throughout its history, Simantov International, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany, has successfully advised and guided thousands of Jewish singles in their quest for a true life partner. Founded by traditional matchmaker Denise Kahn with the goal to help Jewish singles across Europe meet, marry and rebuild European Jewry, the service is today proudly helmed by matchmaker Jose Weber, who is personally responsible for hundreds of successful matches and marriages.
Left to right: Leksey Maltzman, Lev Ziskind, Leah Schatz, David Feinberg, Jesse Bernstein, Maya Kassutto, Anna Lieberman, Ilana Goldstein, and Josh Horowitz
— by Beverly C. Rosen
David Feinberg, a Barrack Hebrew Academy junior, won a Cappie award at the Philadelphia Cappie Award Ceremonies held last Sunday for the best performance by a comic actor in a play, for his performance in the Barrack student production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs." Fellow classmate Maya Kassutto won the Spirit Award.
Cappies, the Critics and Awards Program for high school theatre and journalism students, awarded each year, honor student directors, actors, technicians, musicians, and theater critics in the greater Philadelphia region. Thirty-seven public and private schools in the city and surrounding suburbs participated in this year's program and received nominations and awards from student critics. The critics, themselves, are also nominated for awards.
The Pew Research Center released a new poll on Israelis' views of President Barack Obama. According to Pew's report, which comes after his highly successful trip to Israel, 64% of Jewish Israelis express confidence in the President. In addition, 93% of Israeli Jews characterize U.S.-Israel relations as "good."
This poll is further proof that the more Israelis get to know President Obama, the more their confidence in him increases.
Click here for Pew's full report, which surveyed 504 Israeli Jews.
In a speech at the Washington Institute on Thursday night, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reaffirmed the close relationship between the United States and Israel:
Israel is America's closest friend and ally in the Middle East. During a series of meetings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with a former Washington Institute fellow, Minister of Defense Ya'alon, President Peres, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, I conveyed our continued commitment to enhancing defense cooperation — which has reached unprecedented levels in recent years.
Ahead of Shavuot, I tried out a recipe for potato muffins that my husband found in a local newspaper. Every now and again he shoves a recipe cutting at me to try out (he has a good eye for those). So with nothing on the menu for dinner last night, I decided to give these a go. As with all new recipes I try out, I am very critical and look to see how to improve on them. But as my family was devouring them rapidly, I realized that this recipe works very well as is, and as hard as I tried, I couldn't find too much to change (I have upped the original cheese quantity, though).
While Israelis were preparing for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), marking the unification of the city and renewed Jewish access to the Western Wall, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky met last Tuesday with the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, where he presented an outline of his plan to create a section for egalitarian prayer in the southern part of the Kotel (Western Wall).
— by Yaron Sideman, Israel's consul general, Mid-Atlantic Region
On April 30, 2013, a Palestinian terrorist murdered Eviatar Borovsky at the Tapauch Junction in the northern West Bank. Eviatar, just 31 years old, was a righteous and God-fearing man who loved life. He loved making people laugh and was extremely funny. He had studied to be a medical clown, and saw it as his vocation to make patients smile and laugh. He didn't care if they were Jewish or Arab.
To most of us, Eviatar Borovsky will, unfortunately, soon become a statistic — another casualty in the long list of victims of mindless hate.
Last month, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper visited Israel for the first time. In an interview with the Colorado Statesman, Governor Hickenlooper shared a few thoughts about what he called "the most remarkable" trip of his life:
You know, it was the most remarkable seven-day trip of my life, without question. I wouldn't say it was the most relaxing. You can't travel for seven days and be completely relaxed. But it was the most remarkable [...] on so many different levels. There's so many things that we don't really understand. You can read words in a book, [but] when you actually see it and experience it, especially when you're meeting people [...] I really feel that I went as one person and I came back as a very different, hopefully more improved person.
Glenn Beck's use of disgusting imagery, showing a leading Jewish American as a Nazi, at the National Rifle Association's convention was deeply offensive. The NRA and Republican leaders must stand with the ADL and B'nai B'rith in condemning Glenn Beck — especially those who selected him to give the NRA's keynote address. This isn't only about what Beck said, but the disturbing fact that his stunt was embraced with applause and cheers by attendees at the NRA's national convention. The NRA's crowd is the Republican base and all Americans must take note.
Last weekend, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation presented former Representative Gabrielle Giffords with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In her remarks, Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, praised Giffords for her acts of courage and commitment to public service:
Today, we honor a woman who inspires the entire world, Gabrielle Giffords has turned a personal nightmare into a movement for political change. After an assassination attempt ended her Congressional career and left her with grave injuries, she fearlessly returned to public life as an advocate for new legislation to prevent gun violence. When others would have withdrawn from public life, she has challenged us all to reengage in the political process. When others would have given up hope, Gabby has been unwavering in her belief that politics can solve problems. When others would have looked for excuses, Gabby has inspired action. She perseveres not just for herself, but for Newtown, and Aurora, for Chicago and Tucson.
Over the weekend, President Barack Obama reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself with respect to Syira. President Obama said in an interview with Telemundo:
What I have said in the past and I continue to believe is that the Israelis justifiably have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. We coordinate closely with the Israelis recognizing they are very close to Syria, they are very close to Lebanon.
A year ago today, I was in hospice care at home. For many years I lived with a rare lymphoma and a few other cancers, I've lived at end stage for far longer than anyone could ever have anticipated. I've had extra, and I know that, I've been truly blessed. By August 2011, my time was short,because of the nature of the main lymphoma I have to live with. I had so much tumor activity that I could no longer walk, use my hands, or see. So, hospice it was. My only chance at more time would be a stem cell transplant, and for Jewish people, finding a donor is not easy, since so few of us register. We must run drives and search for our matches, and most often, we do not find them.
Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Aaron Keyak called on former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to retract his inaccurate statement regarding Nazi Germany's conduct during WWII:
Ari Fleischer is a smart man, but even smart people can make ridiculous statements and should admit when they've make mistakes. Fleischer should think long and hard about his claim that Nazi Germany 'followed the law of war,' and retract it.
According to Think Progress, Fleischer said in reference to Nazi Germany:
They [Nazi Germany] followed the law of war, they wore uniforms, and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.
Bonin, a member of the JSPAN Board of Directors, provided an overview of the process by which redistricting is accomplished for state and federal elections in Pennsylvania, what role is played by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission and which Constitutional provisions come into play. He also traced the history of litigation with respect to interpretations of key provisions of the state Constitution and explained how these likely may impact redistricting decisions currently before the Court.
An Arab poster calling for an intifada against Israel, 1990
— by Dr Alon Ben-Meir
There are many impediments to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including historical and current experiences, claims and counter-claims, the lack of trust, contradictory ideological and religious convictions, and the unwillingness to make painful compromises. The one critical impediment that has not been addressed and continues to impede resolutions to the conflicting issues is the perception that each side hold for the other and continuing public narratives that reinforce that perception.
While changing perceptions may not by itself solve every discordant issue — Jerusalem, refugees, national security, etc. — it will dramatically contribute to finding solutions. Thus, unless we mitigate misperceptions about each other, it will be nearly impossible to find a mutually acceptable and lasting solution. The negative perception that has been formed over decades of conflict was nurtured by public narratives promulgated by officials, biased media, schools and other public forums. Both sides have become fixated on what they want to achieve regardless of the other's rights, wishes, and national aspirations.
A perfectly elegant dish for springtime is salmon in pastry. It is easy to prepare and a wonderful crowd pleaser. All you need is good quality salmon and frozen puff pastry.
I buy the best quality salmon I can find. Salmon does not live in the Mediterranean sea, so I have to buy it frozen. I purchase salmon that has been flash-frozen on the fishing boat. I leave it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost, then I prepare my tasty treat.
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