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Do Black Lives Matter?

Plagues that Oppress 42 Million of Our Brethren by the Editorial Board From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents AT PASSOVER, as part of the ritual of connecting to the Jewish spirit of liberation, Jews recite a list of the legendary plagues that marked the days of resistance to slavery in ancient Egypt. The […]

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The Vote Count Will Count

Bernie Sanders & the Progressive Agenda An Editorial from the Summer 2015 issue of Jewish Currents WHILE MANY PROGRESSIVES are already hoping that the ‘inevitability’ of Hillary Clinton will carry her all the way to the White House in 2016, thus sparing the country — and the planet! — the unaffordable cost of having Republican […]

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Divest and Regulate!

Building a “Fence” around Fossil Fuels An Editorial from the Summer 2015 issue of Jewish Currents BUILDING A “FENCE AROUND THE TORAH” (s’yag l’torah) is a rabbinic prescription that urges the creation of a buffer zone between our behavior and the possible violation of what is sacred. In religious circles, this adds up simply to […]

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Memorializing the Victims of Lynching

Lessons from Germany An editorial from the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents NEARLY FOUR THOUSAND African Americans were lynched across twelve Southern states between 1877 and 1950. That’s the accounting done by the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Alabama organization led by civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, which in February reported on its five […]

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Mother of Exiles: Let the Kids In

An Editorial From the Autumn, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents THEY COME ACROSS THOUSANDS OF MILES, across multiple borders, across the ranches of La Arrocera, across La Bestia — clinging to the top as it hurtles along the rails — across jungles and valleys and mountains and desert and then that one final river. They […]

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Black Liberation and Jewish Identity

From the Spring 2014 issue of Jewish Currents The exploitation and oppression of African Americans have been defining features of our country’s history since the first black slaves were hauled ashore in the Virginia colony in 1619. Black servitude was a keystone of our country’s wealth for more than two centuries, and underpaid black labor […]

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Peace NOW

An Editorial From the Spring 2014 issue of Jewish Currents   THERE IS MUCH FOR THE ISRAELI PEOPLE TO GAIN, and only the religious pipe dream of a Greater Israel to lose, by signing onto the two-state solution that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to unveil by the end of April. An […]

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$7.25 Worth of National Shame

An Editorial From the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Jewish Currents   WHEN THE NEW YORK TIMES DEVOTES FOUR ENTIRE “JUMP PAGES” to a cover article about the horrible impact of homelessness on an 11-year-old African American girl and her family in New York, you know that the powers-that-be are at last realizing that a poverty […]

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Peace as an “Existential Issue”

An Editorial From the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Jewish Currents WE ALL KNOW THAT BARACK OBAMA’S 2009 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE was less a recognition of any actual accomplishments than a sigh of enormous relief by the Nobel Committee that George W. Bush and his disastrous “preventive war” doctrine no longer ruled America the Superpower. Yet […]

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Taking Risks to Preserve Our Rights

An Editorial From the Autumn, 2013 issue of Jewish Currents   WHEN THOSE HIJACKED JETS rammed into the World Trade Center twelve years ago, it was more than glass and steel that collapsed — it was our country’s fundamental sense of security. Ever since, the American public has largely accepted a devil’s bargain, the suspension […]

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Brave New (Post-Scarcity) World

An Editorial From the Summer, 2013 Jewish Currents   WE ARE LIVING IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD of technological wonders, with scientific and entrepreneurial creativity unleashed by computers, by the decoding of DNA, by the harnessing of solar power, by the enormous popularity of social media, and by other generative breakthroughs. In the past month […]

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This Is No Time to Say “Dayenu”

An Editorial From the Spring, 2013 issue of Jewish Currents   SEVERAL IMPORTANT PROGRESSIVE ANNIVERSARIES are cited in the current issue of our magazine. Dick Flacks observes in his “Viewpoint” article that President Obama’s second inauguration in January was bookmarked by the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the […]

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Drawing a Red Line Around Netanyahu

An Editorial From the Autumn, 2012 issue of Jewish Currents   HOWEVER MUCH ISRAEL’S PRIME MINISTER HAS TRIED TO INFLUENCE the U.S. presidential election on behalf of Mitt Romney (an old acquaintance from their days as CEOs-in-training with the Boston Consulting Group, in 1976), we have little doubt that two-thirds or more of the American […]

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America's Best Hope: The Gender Gap

An Editorial From the Summer, 2012 issue of Jewish Currents   FROM “HOPE” TO “MOPE” TO “NOPE” seems to be the arc of the Obama presidency: A visionary campaigner has proved to be a politically moderate, less-than-effective executive who may soon be voted out of office. As the campaign gets underway, Mitt Romney is pushing […]

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Turning Away from Militarism

An Editorial From the Spring, 2012 issue of Jewish Currents The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached… must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey…. For if we lose that faith — if […]

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“Occupy” versus Corporate Idolatry

An Editorial From the Winter, 2011-2012 issue of Jewish Currents   “LET EVERYONE WHO HAS ZEAL FOR THE TORAH and who stands by the Covenant follow me!” Those are the words with which a Jewish priest named Mattathias launched the Khanike uprising more than two thousand years ago (according to I Maccabees 2:27). His battle […]

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The Temptations of Libertarianism

“The Pursuit of Happiness” vs. “the General Welfare” An Editorial From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents IT HAS BEEN PARALYZING FOR PROGRESSIVES to spend the bulk of our political energy cheerleading for the Democrats, however dispiritedly, for nearly three years. Yes, we joined Paul Krugman in criticizing their stimulus package as inadequate; we […]

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No to Fracking!

Fossil Fuels Have Got to Go An Editorial From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents WHEN THE NEWS came out in the Forward that four Jewish summer camps in Pennsylvania have signed leases with the Hess Corporation to allow hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) on their land during the past few years, Rabbi Arthur Waskow […]

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A Fire Still Burning

Don’t Mourn, Organize An Editorial From the Summer, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents   ONE CENTURY AGO, IN A FACTORY ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE, 146 lives were lost in flames — “our dear ones, incinerated coals,” in the words of the sweatshop poet, Morris Rosenfeld, (in a Yiddish poem newly translated by Mickey Flacks […]

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Israel Greets the Revolution

What Netanyahu Should Be Saying An Editorial From the Spring, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents   AS PROTEST AND REVOLUTION HAVE SWEPT THROUGH SEVERAL ARAB LANDS and so far overturned regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the Israeli government has been largely quiet about the changes swirling around them. One group of prominent Israelis, including former […]

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On Libya

A War to Oust Saddam Hussein Muammar Qaddafi An Editorial From the Spring, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents   The difference between President Obama’s military campaign in Libya and his predecessor’s war in Iraq comes down to two significant factors: the timing of dictators’ crimes, and the degree of multilateralism. Saddam Hussein’s worst massacres were […]

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They’re Going to Cut What?!

Deficit Cutting as Class Warfare An Editorial “If you rub elbows with a rich man, you get a hole in your sleeve.”   — Yiddish proverb, quoted by Khayim Zhitlovsky in 1921 Bill Clinton left the White House in the first month of 2001 with a surplus in the national coffers and with the gross national […]

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Watering Democracy through WikiLeaks

An Editorial “We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy, error undetected will flourish and subvert.” —J. Robert Oppenheimer Woe to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He has yanked the tails of many tigers, and now he is trapped in their lair. Sarah Palin called for Assange to be hunted […]

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Hypocrisy versus Democracy

The Republican Betrayal of America An Editorial The achievements are compromised but significant: thirty-two million more Americans, including people with chronic diseases, finally to have health insurance; two sensible women added to the Supreme Court; the American auto industry rescued from self-destruction; Bush’s grotesque folly of a war in Iraq being wound down; Israelis and […]

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65 Years Later: The Lessons of World War II

An Editorial Sixty-five years after the defeat of fascism, what have we learned? May 8th marked the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and August 14th  marked its end in Asia. War is a fearsome, terrible enterprise, committed to destruction and killing, and World War II was no exception: some […]

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Corporate Power Running Amok

Update: As BP executive Tony Hayward prepares to step down and “get his life back” (along with an $11 million pension), this week brought the news that the catastrophe in the Gulf is the largest ‘accidental’ oil spill in history. While BP gets down to the hard work of white-washing their reputation, Rep. Ed Markey […]

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The Tenacity of Jewish Liberalism

An Editorial More than three quarters of Jewish voters chose Barack Obama on Election Day. That is one of many achievements wrought by our Community Organizer-in-Chief even before his inauguration. 

No other minority group but African-Americans heeded Obama’s call for change in such resounding numbers. The tenacity of American Jewish liberalism was once again affirmed, […]

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America, Bleeding

“Mission Accomplished” An Editorial It took the “miracle of the oil,” a one-day supply burning for eight days, to resanctify the temple in Jerusalem after the Syrian Greeks ran swine through it during the ancient days of the Maccabees. It will take a far greater miracle than that to restore the United States to sound […]

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Will Jews Be Part of the New Progressive Movement?

An Editorial “To be a progressive . . . means being a partisan — at least for now,” writes the champion liberal economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, in his insightful book, The Conscience of a Liberal (2007). The restoration of an equitable economy and a decent social safety net, the providing of […]

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Party Poopers at Israel’s 60th

An Editorial For American Jewish leaders, the 60th anniversary of Israel is an occasion for piety, patriotism, and paranoia. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, endorses ‘my country right or wrong’ sentiments: “Let us not allow our dissatisfaction with this or that government policy to dampen our support for Israel … […]

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It's Our War Now

An Editorial For nearly five years, many liberal-minded Americans have viewed the war in Iraq as “Bush’s war” — launched on false pretexts at the prompting of neoconservative fantasists, in pursuit of oil and imperial goals, and in defiance of some ten million demonstrators worldwide. “Bush lied, thousands died,” says the bumper sticker. All true. […]

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Israeli Media and Public Opinion

An Interview with Media Watchdog Yizhar Be’er   Israel has always been a news-media-obsessed society. The three major daily newspapers have an estimated combined circulation of 1.2 million, and many Israeli households are also perpetually tuned to television news. The country is simply too intimate, small, and stressed out by years of war, occupation, and […]

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"Pro-Israel" Politics and the Mearsheimer-Walt Paper

An Editorial Judging from the ferocity of reactions to “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” the academic paper by Professors John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Stephen Walt (Harvard’s Kennedy School) that was published in an abridged form by the London Review of Books in March, one might think these two highly regarded foreign-policy […]

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and Human Possibility

An Editorial “When we come to the collective life of man, we see a strange badness,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1961 before the interracial Fellowship of the Concerned in Atlanta. As we approach the Nobel Peace Laureate’s 75th birthday (to be observed on January 17th), that ‘strange badness’ is overwhelmingly evident in […]

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Who the Hell Do We Think We Are?

An Editorial The thousand-plus young American men and women who have been killed in Iraq, dozens of whom are pictured on the cover of this issue of Jewish Currents, did not merely die “in vain.” It’s more tragic than that: They and their tens of thousands of Iraqi counterparts (of whom the Pentagon has released […]

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Defining Terrorism, Reining in Vigilantism

An Editorial “Iraq is a theater of the war on terror,” President Bush declared in his first press conference of the year on April 13th. Iraq’s roadside bombers and anti-occupation militias, he said, were “terrorists” just like the train bombers in Madrid, suicide bus bombers in Jerusalem, nightclub bombers in Bali, and other terrorists around […]

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Candles Raised Against the Darkness

An Editorial IT IS NOT far-fetched to liken the domestic and foreign policies of our radical Republican government to the Greek Syrians’ running of pigs through the Jerusalem Temple in ancient times. The lies told to the public, Congress, and the international community about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and “support for terrorism” have desecrated […]

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Challenging Bush, Challenging Ourselves

There’s a Yiddish proverb (found in Nathan Ausubel’s A Treasury of Jewish Folklore) that applies well to the blanket news coverage of the war in Iraq: “When there’s too much of something, something is missing.” The “too much” in this case is the close-up, overwhelming military reporting, which has flooded America’s senses and emotions. What’s […]

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Pharaoh in the White House

It would be impossible for a bimonthly magazine, only 40 pages in length, to keep up with the outrages of the Bush Administration. While the shattering of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 was a wake-up call for everyone in the U.S. — including those on the left who suddenly recognized that the […]

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