After a frenzy of blogs surrounding the events and excitement of the past month, this week JPost.com bloggers were much more relaxed, calm and pensive – perhaps due the festive holiday atmosphere and the sufganiot!
Kicking off the week was an analysis by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Director Abe Foxman on the organization's annual list of the Top 10 issues facing Jews in 2012.
Topping off the list this year were the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, Iranian sanctions and subterfuge, and the Palestinian UN bid.
What was striking this year, writes Foxman, was that,
"It was immediately apparent that, unlike in previous years where the Jewish community in the U.S. was focused on primarily domestic issues, this year was a year with particular emphasis on events overseas.
For the full list check out his post and be sure to add your thoughts and comments to the mix.
Speaking of hot button topics, Rabbi Eric Yoffie asks us "what happened to discussion of the Iranian nuclear threat?" In his blog, Does anyone remember the threat from Iran? he poses the question, writing:
"For more than 3 years, virtually every meeting that I attended with Israeli officials began with the subject of Iran. The Israelis said—and I accepted it then, as I accept it now—that an Iranian nuclear weapon is an existential threat to the Jewish state and that it must be a priority issue for American Jews...
So where did the issue go in Israel’s election?
Read his blog to find out.
An interesting story this week that might have been out of the headlines but managed to catch the attention of Rabbi Andrew Sacks was the distressing story of "Lee," a Jewish convert from the Kaifeng community in China. In this overtly critical piece, Sacks attacks and accuses the Israeli government for postponing and rejecting aliya for non-Orthodox denominations.
"There is a Mitzvah to make Aliyah. The Mitzvah is known as Yeshuv HaAretz… This Mitzvah is no less an obligation for those who are Jews by Choice than those born into Judaism. The law of the State of Israel, as interpreted by the highest court in the land, has held that converts of non-Orthodox denominations must be given the same rights of under the Law of Return as those who convert through the Orthodox movements and those born Jewish.
Yet our very own Interior Ministry - in the hands of an ostensibly religious political party (SHAS) – has blocked far too many who wish to fulfill their obligation of Yeshuv HaAretz. At a time when Aliyah has slowed to a trickle one would expect that we would welcome potential Olim with open arms. With so many 'religious' men, zealously Orthodox, avoiding military service one might think we would embrace a Jew by Choice seeking to serve in the IDF. But this is just not so.
According to Sacks, Lee, who has studied in a religious high school in Israel, keeps kosher and observes Shabbat, completed conversion to Judaism and "has the recommendation of the Jewish Agency to be granted a visa to make Aliyah" is currently being denied the right of return.
Read the full story in his blog, Aliyah: Converts get the run-around.
Abe Novick reveals another exciting off-the-beat story that is sure to shake you up, in this uplifting post, SodaStream of conscience.
Did you know that "the Israeli company SodaStream will debut a 30 second TV spot on Super Bowl XLVII"? That's right! According to Novick,
"Search 'SodaStream' and the results will be a shaken-up, explosion of recycled BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) hatred aimed at crushing a company that’s actually doing some good for the environment. SodaStream even employs approximately some 450 Palestinians and 400 Israeli-Arabs in its five manufacturing plants in Israel, including Alon Tavor, Ashkelon and one in Mishor Adumim…
Luckily, and above this fray, the world will see a commercial created by ex-Crispin Porter Bogusky adman Alex Bogusky (a wunderkind in marketing circles), that presents the product as the hero out to tackle Pepsi and Coke’s home turf during the NFL matchup.
On another note, I'd like to give a shout out to JPost.com blogger Sarah Nadav who was recently featured in a PBS video on the role of Twitter and how it is affecting journalism.
Check it out here!
Last week we said a sad goodbye to Hilary Leila Krieger and Rebecca Anna
Stoil whose blog National Zoo covered the US Presidential elections.
now we are looking for a new blogger to cover US politics and US-Israel
relations. If you are interested in blogging for the Jerusalem Post
on this topic, or if you have any suggestions for a new blog and have
the relevant expertise send a proposal and writing sample to yours truly
at Jpostblogeditor@gmail.com. (Only shortlisted bloggers will get a response back).
Until next week!
The writer is The Jerusalem Post’s blogs editor