The home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the left-wing Jewish magazine Tikkun, was vandalized sometime during the night of Sunday, May 2.
A prolonged standoff over how to direct American Jewish funds overseas has led to a serious conflict over the community’s priorities: sustaining poor Jews around the world, or strengthening Jewish identities and ties to Israel? The debate over which of these two needs is more deserving of the dwindling dollars collected by the large umbrella group representing American Jews, The Jewish Federations of North America, has been slowly building over the past two years. In that time, the organization has struggled to renegotiate its historic arrangement, now over half a century old, with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The two agencies have divided the pool of unrestricted overseas funding, with 75% going to the Jewish Agency and 25% going to the JDC.
As millions of people worldwide — celebrities like Madonna among them — turn to Kabbalah in hopes of solving their problems, hundreds of thousands of Israelis are going one step further by appealing directly to the man some consider to be the author of mystical Judaism’s most important text.
When Sarah Palin was asked by Barbara Walters late last year whether she supported a freeze on settlement growth in the West Bank, Palin issued an emphatic no. But her reasoning confounded many: “More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don’t think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.”58
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