Simeon Kolko


Rules of Engagement

By Simeon Kolko

We are nearing the end of a time many like to refer to dismissively as the “silly season.” But for Jews, some of the antics on display during this year’s campaign should not just be blown off semantically that way, as if they had no wider repercussions for the health of the country, or our own community. American Jews are highly engaged in the political process, both as elected officials and shapers of the public agenda. What is—or should be—the Jewish significance of this involvement?Read More


When Legislation Matches Our Best Impulses

By Simeon Kolko

This Monday marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. This landmark legislation, which remains a stirring case study in the importance of human rights and moral idealism as an instrument of foreign policy, provided the impetus for the mass emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union and helped propel the windsRead More


Political Truth and the Rosenbergs

By Simeon Kolko

Fifty years ago on June 19, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after having been convicted of the crime of transmitting American atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during the 1940s. The Rosenberg case continues to evoke emotions, stir passions, raise disturbing questions and defy easy resolution. The discomfort stirred by this hauntingRead More






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    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
    • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
    • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
    • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
    • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
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