Monthly Archives: May 2009

Could Israeli Settlers become Palestinians?

By Jeremy Gillick

In an interview published today in Ha’aretz, the 72-year-old former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei suggested to journalist Akiva Eldad that Israelis living in West Bank settlements could become Palestinian citizens rather than abandon their homes.

Do you believe Israel would agree to evacuate Ma’aleh Adumim’s 35,000 residents?

Qureia: “[Former U.S. secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice told me she understood our position about Ariel but that Ma’aleh Adumim was a different matter. I told her, and Livni, that those residents of Ma’aleh Adumim or Ariel who would rather stay in their homes could live under Palestinian rule and law, just like the Israeli Arabs who live among you. They could hold Palestinian and Israeli nationalities. If they want it – welcome. Israeli settlements in the heart of the territories would be a recipe for problems… Continue reading

Sonia Sotomayor and the Menorah

By Jeremy Gillick

Among the many decisions made by New York Court of Appeals judge and newly nominated Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor is a 1993 ruling to allow a Chabad rabbi from White Plains, New York to display a large menorah in a public park.

The city had rejected several similar requests by Flamer in previous years, but that didn’t prevent the rabbi from celebrating. From Sotomayor’s ruling:

Shortly around sundown on December 1, 1991, the first day of Chanukah, Rabbi Flamer and approximately thirty other individuals gathered in Tibbits [park] to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah. Rabbi Flamer brought a two and one-half foot menorah, which was not lit. The gathering lasted approximately twenty minutes, during which time the assembled group performed several traditional dances.

Ironically, the city’s ban seemed to stem largely from Jewish opposition. Sotomayor again:

On December 2, 1991, all seven members of the Common Council met in a public meeting attended by Rabbi Flamer, Corporation Counsel Anthony J. Grant, and numerous community residents. During the Common Council meeting, Rabbi Flamer’s proposed menorah display came under strong attack from members of the White Plains Jewish community. Rabbi Mark Weiner of the White Plains Jewish Community Center asserted at the meeting that the “overwhelming majority of the Jewish community” felt that the proposed menorah display should not be allowed. The American Jewish Committee submitted a letter opposing the display which was read into the record. Continue reading

Respond to Ask the Rabbis

May/June coverBy Maxine Springer

Have you read the latest Ask the Rabbis in our May/June issue? This time around, our rabbis sound off on how Jews should treat their Arab neighbors. As usual, we’ve asked rabbis from across the spectrum of Judaism, and their answers are fascinating and diverse.

The contrast between Independent Rabbi Gershon Winkler and Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman is particularly stark.


“…Although we need to take every precaution against fanatical Muslim Arab terrorism in and outside our homeland, we need to cease forcibly displacing peaceful Arabs like Bedouins, destroying their homes (even their mosques!) for the crime of not filling out forms…”


“…The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)…”

Read more from our rabbis, and tell us what you think! Post your thoughts in the comments section.

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Roxana Saberi Released

By Jeremy Gillick

The New York Times is reporting that Roxana Saberi, the American journalist imprisoned in Iran since January on charges of spying, has been released.

An Iranian-American journalist who was sentenced to eight years of jail on charges of spying for Washington was released Monday after an appeals court reduced the sentence, her lawyer said.

Saleh Nikbakht, one of the two lawyers who defended Roxana Saberi in an appeal hearing on Sunday, said the court turned down the original jail term and issued a two-year suspended prison term in its place.

“The verdict was given to me in person today,” Mr. Nikbakht said. “The appeals court has accepted our defense.”

Continue reading

Pigs in Prison

By Jeremy Gillick

Just one week after Egypt began slaughtering its 300,000-strong pig population, Reuters reported that Afghanistan has imprisoned its only known pig.

Afghanistan’s only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu [H1N1].

The pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, and has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm it could spread the new flu strain.

“For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza,” Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. “We’ve done this because people are worried about getting the flu.”

Nicole Matthews, a spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), was critical of the move–“One pig isn’t to blame,” she said–but suggested that factory farms rather than pigs are responsible for the outbreak. Continue reading

May/June issue of Moment is Out!

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

May/June 2009 Issue

May/June 2009 Issue

The May/June issue of Moment is out! Some highlights: