When President Obama made public his support for gay marriage on May 9th on an ABC interview, and re-affirmed his belief at an LGBT Leadership Council fundraiser, he garnered a range of reactions from fervent support to avid disapproval. Apparently the president’s announcement has generally not affected people’s opinions of Obama, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, but there was a major discrepancy between the older and younger adults surveyed: 42 percent of people over 65 viewed the president less favorably while 62 percent of respondents between 18 and 29 years old did not.
After finishing my first year of college and returning home happily to see my family and friends, I have been thinking about the level of education given at the university level and the preparation that secondary schooling gives in the United States. The result: we need to change the way we educate children in our country and elevate the standards across all subjects, primarily in middle school and high school. Not only do college courses demand much more time and effort of the student, they also place an emphasis on self-discipline, a virtue that is intrinsic in Russian education. I do not believe that we must give up “room for creativity” in our course schedule, as many supporters of the American system of education advocate for, but I feel that we must put the focus of our educators and parents on stricter studying methods and increasing the level of difficulty of classes.
Every April, in the households of Jewish families, we know that Passover is coming. The holiday that defines our freedom as a people is integral to our history and has become a symbol for our incessant struggle to gain liberty and justice as a free people. Of course those who are religious or are aware of Jewish holidays and traditions know the story of Passover and how it relates to every Jew in one way or another, from our struggles in Persia, survival in Czarist Russia and rebuilding after the Holocaust. But the holiday has struck a chord with the Russian Jewish community more recently.
Recent breakthroughs in Israel’s relations with its neighbors in southern Europe point to a sanguine outlook on the future for its economic relations in the Mediterranean, and Europe in general. Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement on March 4 to develop an underwater electric cable linking Israel’s energy reservoirs to the European continent, with the main cable stretching the 287 kilometers between Cyprus and Israel. The remaining cables will pass from Cyprus to the Greek island of Crete, and then onto the Greek mainland. The cost of the entire project will be about 1.5 billion euros by its expected completion in 2016.
The past few weeks have been filled with events that pushed the limits of diplomacy with the Islamic Republic of Iran, including attacks on Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India and Thailand. No one was killed in any of the attacks, but the secretive operations point to the tension between Iran and Israel. Another bomb plot was unfolded in neighboring Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, where Iranian operatives reportedly planned to take out Israeli targets in the capital of Baku.