Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: The Iran Empire Strikes

Mar 25, 2015

The clouds of evil surround the Middle East. For decades since 1979, Iran was and remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism. However now, Darth Vader has been converted into Luke Skywalker.

Stephen Gottlieb: Is it Still The Pledge in Arabic?

Mar 24, 2015

You’ve heard that high school administrators in the Hudson Valley apologized for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited in Arabic for one morning during National Foreign Language Week.

Last week, Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Heastie announced an agreement to strengthen New York’s ethics laws.  At that time, the governor touted the agreement as extraordinary, the “most stringent ethical policy in the United States of America.”

Rob Edelman: Focus on Race

Mar 23, 2015

Now that the awards season is history and last year’s top-ten films are yesterday’s news, we now-- cinematically-speaking-- officially are neck-deep in the dog days of late winter and early spring. And the majority of films that come to theatres this time of year are, well, not very good, and certainly not very memorable. They may feature recognizable names, which may or may not be audience draws. Primarily, however, their plotlines are fashioned to attract the maximum number of viewers in the shortest amount of time. In this regard, they are the equivalent of mass-produced sugary confections that will appeal to the most undiscriminating movie-going masses.

Stephen Romano: Balancing Life And Diabetes

Mar 22, 2015

I met Laura Burby the beginning of our freshman year at Western New England University and we started dating. As our relationship grew, I learned more about her diabetes, and I learned what to do in certain scary situations. She’s independent when it comes to her diabetes, but it can be a lifesaving measure to be a caretaker when needed.

One day in the first century, BCE, a young Jewish man left his home in Babylonia, present day Iraq, and made the perilous five hundred mile journey to the holy city of Jerusalem in the land of Israel.  Each day, he would pay the entrance fee to the guard posted at the door of the great academy of Bible study, so he could sit at the feet of the great teachers. One time, being a poor laborer, he had no money, and when he sought entrance to the school, the guard refused to let him in because he could not pay him.   Undeterred as a devoted student of God’s word, he climbed onto the roof and lay down, pressing his ear against the skylight, in order to listen in on the spirited conversations taking place below.  He became so engrossed in the discussions about sacred matters taking place that he took no notice of the snow falling on him.  Soon, the young man fell asleep, and he began to freeze.  As morning approached down below, two of the great sages interrupted their argument when they realized that the room they were in was not becoming light enough as the sun rose.  Looking up, they caught the young man’s silhouette pressed against the skylight.  Rushing to the roof, they brushed him off, dragged him inside the school, helped him to thaw by the fire, and then listened to him tell his story.  The young man became the legendary Rabbi Hillel, one of the greatest sages of Jewish tradition, who was known for his patience, compassion, love and willingness to teach all people, rich and poor.

Karen Magee: About Those Standardized Tests…

Mar 19, 2015

If you’re listening right now, you’ve probably taken a test.

Although it has received little public attention, recently the U.S. State Department granted the New Israel Fund and its social change and political lobbying organization – known as SHATIL – one million dollars under a program designed to promote political change and reform in the Middle East. This government program, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), gives $600 million in grants to “social activists and reformers” in 18 Middle East nations. The list of nations includes Algeria, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen among others. MEPI’s sphere of engagement curiously includes Israel, the only stable democracy in the region.

Stephen Gottlieb: Radicalization

Mar 17, 2015

Identification of Jihadi John as a British citizen and college graduate has given rise to discussion about what radicalizes young people. There is no single answer but one aspect is to provide alternatives to the choice between deep frustration and dangerous radicalization.

Paul Elisha: Defense?

Mar 17, 2015

The Congressional ‘War Hawks’ and their Profit-Monger patrons are at it again.  That most American of Poets, Carl Sandburgh called them the “Hoodlums!”  “This is the hate my father gave me, this was in my mother’s milk, this is you and me and all of us in a world of hoodlums—maybe so.”… he wrote, “…it has always been so, it will always be so, there is nothing more to it.”   “Let us do this now…for our mothers…for our sisters and wives…let us kill, kill, kill---for the torsos of the women are tireless and the loins of the men are strong;” he wrote in 1919, after the first World War.  But in 1936, on a note of hope, he wrote: “Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”