Monthly Archives: July 2008

Obama Kotel Message Follow-Up

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Kotel rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch, has sent Sen. Barack Obama a letter apologizing for the publication of the note the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee left in the Kotel last week:

“As the rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites, I express my deep regret for this despicable act. Many people visit the Western Wall—Jews and non-Jews—and the respect for them and their prayers is of extreme importance to us,” wrote Rabinovitch. “I can only apologize that the holy atmosphere didn’t touch the heart of the yeshiva student as it touched your heart.”

“Your prayer, of course, has not been spoiled and you have not been damaged by this publication,” he stressed. “I wish for your prayers to be answered and may you be a faithful servant to the Almighty and be among those who work for and see the goodness of Jerusalem.”

Photo by beggs.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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Saudi King Promotes Interfaith Dialogue…Must Die?

An Al-Qaeda commander, Abu Yahia al-Libi, said as much in a video released recently.

Saudi King Abdullah did indeed participate in the World Conference on Dialogue earlier this month. From the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding:

Soon after King Abdullah kicked off the conference at the ornate El Pardo Palace with a call for increased dialogue and understanding among followers of all religions, Rabbi [Marc] Schneier and Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, one of the leading experts on Islamic jurisprudence in North America, had a private conversation with the Saudi monarch.

According to FoxNews (via AP), al-Libi said, “Bringing religions together…means renouncing Islam.”

“Equating Islam with other religions is a betrayal of Islam.” He calls for “the speedy killing of this tyrant.”

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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Beijing Olympics Keeps it Kosher

Thanks to JTA today for pointing out where those of the kosher persuasion can find grub in Beijing when the Olympics kick off in less than two weeks.

That would be Dini’s Kosher Restaurant. According to Ynet:

“The days in which Jews had to wander through China with suitcases full of preserved food are over,” said Rabbi Shimon Freundlich, Chabad’s envoy to Beijing. [...]

Rabbi Freundlich, on whom the title “The Olympic Rabbi” has been bestowed, has even received a list of guests from the Olympic Games Committee. He said the kosher meat is already awaiting them in the freezer: 7.5 tons of beef and 9 tons of chicken, prepared by kosher demand.

Dini’s website says they have a wide assortment of food—”Jewish food, Chinese food, Western food, and a spectacular sushi bar”—for visitors. Their menu, which includes gong bao beef, potato knishes and hot pastrami on rye, can be downloaded from here.

Photo by sa_ku_ra.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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Jewish/Latino Relations the Next Issue?

As much as everyone is talking about Jewish/African-American relations these days, The Jerusalem Post blog presents an interesting new angle. Maybe Jewish/African-American relations in fact isn’t as critical an issue this election cycle as everyone believes.

Maybe the real issue is a reconciliation of Jewish and Latino communities.

Before Sen. Barack Obama’s trip to Israel, columnist Samuel Friedman wrote: Continue reading

Washington Post Reports On Arab States’ Unfulfilled Aid

Despite the controversial prisoner swap two weeks ago and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ongoing trial, this has been a relatively quiet summer of Israeli news coverage in American papers.

Surely this is because of the ongoing, if shaky, cease-fire. Although we all have our own opinions of Israeli politics (and it isn’t for us at Moment to editorialize), certainly we can all agree that it is nice to see articles about anything other than acts of violence.

Without having to run around the scenes of bombings or shootouts, reporters have time to write more in-depth, wide-lensed stories. For example, the Post ran diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler’s article about Arab states’ unfulfilled aid to Palestinians. (Also see the graphic that ran alongside.) Continue reading

Sderot and the Negev: The Strength of the Israeli Spirit

Placing his hand on the walls of the Kotel during his short visit to Jerusalem, Sen. Barack Obama shared his hopeful spirits with the people of Israel. In Sderot, the Amar family, the same host family to welcome Sen. John McCain back in March, was impressed by Obama’s optimism and wants to see him as the next president because of a certain promise. “[He] said if he did become president, I would be among his first guests in the White House,” Pinhas Amar said, adding: “Obama has this personal charm, and it looks like it’s going to get him elected.”

Obama reciprocated the warm reception and the gracious remarks of the Moroccan Jewish family, calling them an “example of the resilience of the people of Sderot and the people of Israel.”

The resilience he referred to is unquestionable. Continue reading

World Cup 2018 in Israel-Palestine?

Guardian writer James Montague has done some serious homework in laying out the possibility of a 2018 World Cup hosted by both Israel and Palestine (see video above).

Israeli filmmaker Eytan Heller and the international NGO OneVoice are behind the bid, which proposes games in Ramallah, Tulkarem and Gaza in Palestine, and Haifa, Tel Aviv and Mitzpe Ramon in Israel.

It’s a wistful sort of bid, but its advocates believe it could help push the two sides towards peace. After all, Japan and Korea used to be enemies, and they co-hosted the 2002 World Cup.

Says Montague:

Heller is realistic that a joint Israel Palestine bid for the World Cup is a long shot, but he believes that even the slimmest of chances is still a chance. “The chances are very small, yes,” Heller admitted. “The campaign is more aimed at lighting a match and sparking a different vision. This is the end result of a long-term vision, but there are prerequisites and preconditions. Hosting the World Cup is a dream, but why not? We should be there when the decision is made [in 2011].”

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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