Arts & Culture


Testing the Power of the Desert

By Saul Austerlitz

‘God’s Sandbox,” the latest Israeli film to make its way to American shores, depends in large part on the mystery and romance of the desert for its effect. This is evident from its very first moments, when a car, driving slowly along a winding desert road, stops at what appears to be no particular point, and lets out a passenger: aRead More


Conservative Jews In Israel Splitting With Top Leader

By Jennifer Siegel

The Israeli branch of the Conservative movement is set to part ways with its longtime president, Rabbi Ehud Bandel, the Forward has learned.Movement insiders familiar with the situation say that the Israeli branch, known as Masorti, faces a severe budget crisis. In an effort to close the gap, one source said, Bandel is being let go and aRead More


Study’s Claim On Intelligence Of Ashkenazim Spurs a Debate

By Nathaniel Popper

The biological distinctiveness of ethnic groups is fraught scientific territory, but a new study plunges into the debate by theorizing that the high intelligence of Ashkenazic Jews is in the genes.The study, which will be published in the upcoming issue of Journal of Biosocial Science, argues that natural selection favored more intelligentRead More


Iran Sanction Bill Loses Momentum As Administration Presses Diplomacy

By Ori Nir

WASHINGTON — The pro-Israel lobby’s top legislative priority — a bill aimed at tightening sanctions on Iran — is losing momentum in Congress now that the Bush administration is urging congressional leaders to hold off in favor of diplomatic efforts to quell Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.Two weeks ago, at the annual policy conferenceRead More


Restore the American Dream By Addressing the State of Unions

By Andy Stern

My grandfather came to the United States from Austria in the early 1900s and found work as a butcher. Back then, this was a country where if you worked hard, you had a reasonable chance of achieving the American dream.Immigrant workers built a strong union movement that raised living standards — not just for themselves, but for all workingRead More


In Airwaves War, Israeli Army Takes Its Case to Arab Media

By Ofer Shelah

JERUSALEM — Eitan Arusy, the Israeli military’s point man in dealing with the Arab media, earned his paycheck May 19.That day, millions of Arab viewers watching the evening news on Al Jazeera were treated to footage from an Israeli army drone. The 10-second clip depicted a missile strike on a group of Hamas members as they cowered fromRead More


Plan To Revive Biblical Sanhedrin Receives Boost

By Steven I. Weiss

A nascent effort to re-establish the ancient rabbinical body of the Sanhedrin received a significant boost Monday when world-renowned scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz agreed to serve as the body’s president.The original Sanhedrin, the supreme legislative body in ancient Israel, comprised 71 leading scholars who issued rulings on a wide array ofRead More


‘Who Is a Taoist?’ Principal’s Job Hinged on Definition

By Jennifer Siegel

Academic politics are often esoteric and never pretty. But in what appears to be a first, the fate of a middle-school principal in West Orange, N.J., was determined by a rabbinic debate over the definition of “who is a Taoist.”For months, Aaron Kriegel, a pulpit rabbi in West Essex, N.J., has urged officials at Solomon Schechter Day SchoolRead More


A Buried Treasure, Unearthed by Chance

By Chana Pollack

In 2000, Time Magazine asked its Israel photographer, David Rubinger, to help the magazine put together its “Century” issue, dedicated to great images of the 20th century. Rubinger — himself an Israel Prize-winning photojournalist, famed for his image of Israeli paratroopers at the Western Wall during the 1967 War — began workingRead More


Tango: Not Jewish, But Not 100% Not Jewish

By Alexander Gelfand

‘I’m not Jewish — but I’m not 100% not Jewish,” jokes innovative tango musician and sometime klezmer bassist Pablo Aslan. Much the same might be said of the tango itself.The origins of the tango aren’t entirely clear. Some believe that the dance form, born in the slums of Buenos Aires in the 1880s, derived from an Andalusian dance ofRead More


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