When Max Berger started college in 2004, he didn’t know whether he would finish. His father, uncle and grandfather all dropped out of school to start businesses. As a child growing up in a small town outside Boston, Berger was taught that “you kind of cheated” if you couldn’t achieve success without a college degree.
Every Friday night, Alan Gross pulls out a photograph of a group of friends enjoying Sabbath dinner. Isolated in a Cuban prison cell, he intones the blessing over the bread and wine and stares at the photo of the people, a few families in Maryland that he and his wife used to gather with every week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised that he will “surprise the critics and the skeptics” with his willingness to demonstrate flexibility and to compromise in order to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.4
The clouds gathered over the women’s Zionist group Hadassah began to part on December 9, when the organization announced that it had reached a tentative settlement allowing it to pay back about half the money it earned in Bernard Madoff’s multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.
After more than a year of fine-tuning, the criteria for earning a Magen Tzedek, the “seal of justice” to be awarded to kosher food producers that meet a detailed set of ethical standards, are about to be tested by American food companies. The seal would be added to products that already merit a hekhsher, or symbol certifying that a food item is kosher, to show that the product not only meets Jewish dietary laws, but comports with Jewish moral values, as well.23
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