Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

President Obama Speaks at Nuclear Security Summit

President Obama spoke last week at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. They addressed the news conference together, highlighting the importance of both preventing nuclear terrorism and working with other nations with the same goal.  Read more…

Anti-Semitism in Ukraine

In response to several anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine, the site of ongoing social upheaval, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

“The events in Ukraine are deeply concerning for all who value human rights. We pray that the unrest will be resolved in a peaceful and democratic manner and without further loss of life. At the same time, we are also greatly troubled by several recent incidents of anti-Semitism that have shaken the Ukrainian Jewish community. The vandalism including swastikas and graffiti reading ‘Death to the Jews’ on the synagogue in Simferopol in the Crimea region this past Friday is unacceptable and serves as a bitter reminder that anti-Semitism continues to plague too many Jewish communities.  Read more…

Israel Update: Chancellor Merkel’s Visit to Israel and the Peace Process

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet visited Israel for 24 hours on Monday, February 24th.  Chancellor Merkel told reporters, “We have come here with almost the whole of our new government, and we wanted to show you in this way that this is indeed a very strong friendship.”  The visit also kicked off preparations for the celebration of fifty years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, which began on May 12, 1965.  On Tuesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres presented Chancellor Merkel with the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel’s highest civilian award. Read more…

Halting Another Polio Crisis

In 2002, there were 1,600 polio cases in India.  In 2009, there were 741, nearly half of the world’s cases.  On January 13, 2014, India celebrated its third consecutive year of being polio-free.  This momentous accomplishment was marked throughout the worldRead more…

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day: A Big Success!

I spent yesterday on Capitol Hill for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, which is an opportunity to learn about legislative issues of importance to individuals with disabilities and their families and to lobby members of Congress.  People came from all over the country and the day was an inspiring day of learning and advocating as a Jewish community.  The morning started with welcoming remarks from David Feinman, Senior Legislative Associate at the Jewish Federations of North America and co-chair of the Jewish Disability Network.  Following Dave, Rabbi Lynne Landsberg gave a beautiful d’var about the importance of both work and rest in the Jewish tradition.  Rabbi Landsberg explained that “resting” is different than “doing nothing” and that we need to fulfill our obligation to make sure that people with disabilities are able to participate in the workforce and in all aspects of society.  Read more…

Why Foreign Aid Matters

When we think of the word “tzedakah”, we often think of the translation as “charity.”  But the root of the word tzedakah are the three Hebrew letters tzadi, dalet, and kuf, which together mean justice or righteousness, and shine a light on our obligation as Jews is to build a more just world.  Maimonides taught that the highest form of tzedakah is to enable a person to earn his/her own livelihood. Development assistance through foreign aid plays a vital role in the lives of those in the developing world by increasing the ability of families to be self-sufficient, granting them the freedom to create a better, safer and healthier environment for themselves and their children.  Oftentimes, however, people do not believe that foreign assistance helps people or is necessary.  Read more…

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Visits Israel for the First Time

Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Israel for the first time and had the opportunity to address the Israeli Knesset.  In his speech to the Knesset, Prime Minister Harper expressed Canada’s ardent support for Israel and eloquently described the friendship between the two countries. Read more…

Justice Everywhere: The Fight for International LGBT Equality

After celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday, a poignant quote of his rings in my ears: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” While we continue to fight for the civil rights and equality of all people in our own country, we cannot turn a blind eye to our global community and the human rights denied to those outside of the United States.

Last week, the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and relationships. Under this new law, Nigerian gay and lesbians could face up to 14 years in prison for engagement in same-sex relations and even the guests of same-sex ceremonies could be jailed for 10 years.  Further, anyone operating or participating in gay clubs, societies and organizations is liable to 10 years of imprisonment. Read more…

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