Tidbits: What the Jewish orgs are saying, plus Rahm, Franken and Coleman (UPDATED)


Jewish tradition teaches that if a person saves one life, it is as if they have saved the world. In a world where poor reproductive health remains the leading cause of death for women, and complications from unsafe abortion result in approximately 67,000 deaths and at least 5 million serious injuries annually, today marks an important step forward.

The appointment of an envoy as trusted as Mitchell, who has the experience of mediating the resolution what was previously believed to be another of the world’s most intransigent conflicts, should hasten a collective sigh of relief among all those of us invested in the peace and security of Israel and the region as a whole.

Mitchell seems unaware that the real issue is not settlements, or Jerusalem, or statehood, but the Arabs refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state.  And that Israeli concessions were not taken as positive signs by the Palestinians but as an indication that Israel is weak and ready to cave in to more demands.

Once again, ongoing wage discrimination will be subject to challenge in our legal system and complaints cannot be dismissed just because the victim did not find out about it within months of its first occurrence.

  • The Jerusalem Post’s Shmuel Rosner checks out the "Obama Promise Tracker" and notes that Obama has made 14 promises regarding Israel.
  • The Kansas City Star talks to Hebrew Union College’s Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman about the inauguration prayer of Rick Warren:

His reference, therefore, to Jesus as the one who had changed his life was clearly intended to allow non-Christians to feel themselves still included on the ground that this was Pastor Warren’s personal testimony,” Hoffman said.

“Nonetheless, I watched the moving procedure at my Jewish seminary with our entire faculty and student body, and when he got to the end, there was a quiet in the room because at that moment he lost us.”

  • Four students who participated in Hillel’s alternative spring break program or went on Taglit-Birthright Israel programs and wrote essays about their experiences won trips to the inauguration. You can check out their essays here.

How will the feisty, bombastic and at times impulsive former congressman blend with the cool, collegial and deliberate culture of Obama World? And one that is trying to foster bipartisanship? This is someone who once wrote in Campaign and Elections magazine that “the untainted Republican has not yet been invented” and who two years ago — according to a book about Mr. Emanuel (“The Thumpin’ ” by Naftali Bendavid) — announced to his staff that Republicans are “bad people who deserve a two-by-four upside their heads.”

It is clear to friends and colleagues that Mr. Emanuel is trying to rein himself in, lower his voice, even cut down on his use of profanity.

  • The trial to decide, once and for all, who wins the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat begins today, writes the Washington Post:

But the legal battle is just one piece of a multi-front campaign that continues three months after Minnesota residents cast 2.9 million votes. Each candidate continues to run a full-throttle public relations effort to make voters believe that he is the rightful victor.

We look forward to engaging with Coleman in our ongoing dialogue over issues and ideas in the American Jewish community. By agreeing to serve in this position Coleman appears to have accepted the inevitable designation of Al Franken as the United States Senator from Minnesota.

  • The Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament urges Democrats to "keep the faith," in Politico:

President Obama and congressional leaders have decided that billions of dollars in school modernization projects will aid America’s ailing economy by creating thousands of jobs to perform the work, and that such projects will also be wise investments in America’s energy independence and improving our children’s learning. They have, therefore, allocated $14 billion of the $825 billion economic recovery package to such “green schools” initiatives.

But the Democrats have, so far, excluded parochial and other nonpublic schools from eligibility in the multibillion-dollar program, even though modernizing these schools would achieve the identical goals of job creation and energy efficiency. It is this unfair exclusion that will rile religious voters.

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