The Top 10 Scribe Stories of 2016 by the Forward

The Top 10 Scribe Stories of 2016

2016 is almost behind us — and what a year it’s been for Scribe, the Forward’s contributor network. Since launching in July, nearly 250 contributors from 6 continents have shared their insightful, inspirational, and impactful stories, providing a 360 degree view of the world around us. Our Scribes not only come from all over the world, but from all across the political, ideological, and religious spectrums. Their stories tackle important issues: mental health in the Orthodox community, anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the complicated political realities of the year, just to name a few.

Thank you to all of our writers and readers who have embraced our new platform. If you’re interested in becoming a Scribe yourself in the new year, you can apply here.

Here are the top 10 most-read Scribe stories of 2016:

10: We Are Jews. Because of Iran and Israel, We Are Voting for Donald Trump.

“Trump’s response to the Iranian threat is elemental to his clear-sightedness about the real danger facing America and the free world. He knows it is radical Islam. Clinton refuses to acknowledge that radical Islam is at war with us, she pretends these are people who need better jobs. ISIS proclaims they will be at war with us until we embrace their ideology. Trump names that truth. Clinton’s refusal to see it has made the world a more dangerous place and endangers our children’s future. A vote for Hillary Clinton (or refusing to vote) is to dismiss the importance of America’s security.”

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9: Why the U.S. Presidential Election Matters for Israel’s Environment

“Israelis are interested in the U.S. presidential election. But who ends up in the White House does not only impact the most obvious foreign policy initiatives – military aid, the future of the Iran nuclear deal, a potential two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. I see the future of U.S. environmental policy as the most critical issue to Israel’s interests, as it affects both Israel’s physical climate and economy.”

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8: The Cowardly Reasons Jewish Organizations Won’t Speak Out Against Trump Appointees: And Why We Must Demand That They Do

“Unlike a corporation that has a select group of shareholders to which it must answer, a charitable organization must regard the public as its shareholders. This is why, when a policy or political appointment threatens the very nature of our country’s public good, there are no other organizations as well positioned as 501(c)3 designated ones to issue a protest in the name of the public. The most compelling reason that our political process continues to exempt nonprofit organizations from taxation is to give them the flexibility to speak about and act for the public good.”

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7: I Worked with Keith Ellison. Here’s Why Pro-Israel Jews Should Be Cautiously Optimistic.

“As someone who has worked with him in and out of his office, I believe selecting Rep. Ellison as Chair of the DNC could provide a tremendous opportunity to fight the far-left’s campaign to delegitimize Israel. There is also, however, a strong possibility that Rep. Ellison’s selection will increase alienation of Jews from the Democratic Party and deepen divisions within the pro-Israel community, which are still raw in the wake of the passage of the Iran Deal and the recent election cycle. Given these two seemingly diametrically opposed possibilities, it is worth exploring further why this is so.”

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6: Donald Trump is a Wild Man and a Populist. That is Exactly What America Needs.

“He will succeed because that wild side of his ego will drive him to produce to achieve to receive the acclaim he wants. Mrs Clinton is just too busy lining up the next country willing to donate to her favorite foundation which just happens to be her and her husband’s favorite cause. Having spent many a year sizing up the big chair in the Oval Office, Mrs. Clinton seems to me not to know what to do after she spins around in it a few times.”

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5: Dear Incoming Freshman: Brace Yourself for Insane Anti-Semitism.

“From openly anti-Semitic professors to swastika graffiti, the campus can be a hard place for Jews, and is certainly a hard place for Zionist Jews. The hype is true: anti-Zionism is alive and well. But my experiences at Brown University have taught me there is also hope to be found in pro-Israel activism.

My first serious experience with anti-Zionism on Brown’s campus occurred during my first semester, before I had completely outed myself as a Zionist activist.” Read More…

4: Two Months Ago, My Mother Committed Suicide. This is Why I’m Breaking the Silence.

“I, for one, am sick of the whispering when it comes to this topic. I am not embarrassed. I feel horrible and it shook my universe, but I am not embarrassed. So many people have feelings inside of them, and when we keep suicide and mental illness a secret, people who have not heard of it and feel it inside of them suffer from the silence. They think they are alone, though they are not. I decided to be part of the group of people that speaks about my experience and informs people, and I am not embarrassed to do so and hope that somehow someone can be helped by the experience that my family went through. It is time for us and for the world to start talking about problems that can be addressed. It is time for people to be comfortable seeking for help; not scared of how they will be perceived. I, for one, have had enough.”

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3: I’m a Jew, and I’m a Member of the Alt-Right.

“College was where my awakening began. I majored in Philosophy, and in the mid to late 90’s, concepts such as “white privilege” and “critical race theory” were still part of the free marketplace of ideas, ideas you could debate without fear of sanction. Being acutely aware of rural white poverty, I rejected these concepts in favor of an understanding that privilege was as complex as the human experience, an experience the identity warrior on the left believes is dependent on our racial identity. Politically I called myself a leftist, but this changed as I realized the privilege equation worked against my own community. Watching the left attack Israel in the late 90’s turned me away from left wing politics for good.”

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2: Jews Should Register as Muslims

“The new American president-elect, Donald Trump, whose Islamophobia, misogyny, ableism, racism, and anti-Semitism have brought protesters out into the streets, has also announced a plan to “register” Muslim Americans, just as the Nazis once did the Jews. A database of the sort that Trump has proposed would enable the government to enforce discriminatory laws and to violate the civil liberties of American citizens based on their faith.

Therefore, I am putting out a call for Jewish citizens of the United States of America to commit, right now, to register as Muslim in the event that Donald Trump actually implements such a system, and to encourage other citizens, Jewish or not, to do the same.”

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1: Anti-Semitism in America is Nothing New. Don’t Deny Jewish History and Culture by Calling Us “White”

“Ashkenazi Jews have been the victims of European and Western oppression and violence for centuries precisely because they were perceived as not being a part of the “white” world, beginning with the Roman colonialism of Judea and continuing through the 20th Century with arguably the worst genocide in history based on racial classification, the murder of more than 6 million, primarily Ashkenazi Jews, precisely because they were non-whites. The characterization of Jews as now somehow “white” and beneficiaries of “white privilege” is one of the main fallacies behind the relatively recent identification of some self-identified progressives with the demonization of Israel, a hateful cause to wipe off the map the world’s only Jewish state and to once again destroy the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people.”

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Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s contributing network editor. Contact her at or on Twitter, @Laura_E_Adkins.

This story "The Top 10 Scribe Stories of 2016" was written by Laura E. Adkins.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.


Laura E. Adkins

Laura E. Adkins

Laura E. Adkins is the Forward’s Deputy Opinion Editor and runs Scribe, the Forward’s Contributor Network. She holds a B.A. in Economics from NYU and grew up in Southwest Missouri. She writes about data, orthodoxy, kosher wine and builds interactive maps — though usually not all at the same time. Contact Laura at, like her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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