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An uncomfortable defense

IT IS easy to say, “free speech.” It can be difficult to accept. Yet, accept it we must. The alternative is Stalinist Russia or, in more contemporary terms, Saudi Arabia, with its beheadings, hand-choppings and lashings for the exercise of freedom of speech in the field of religion.

Feel free to substitute for Saudi Arabia other Islamist regimes in which it is punishable by death to convert from Islam to another religion.

Even under the specter of Stalinist Russia and radical Islam, free speech can be difficult to accept. It means defending the purveyors of obscenity, of insults, of bad taste, of the lowest in human expression.

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Conservative Lens

Pakistan — more legitimate than Israel?

Whenever I have received a call from a listener to my radio show challenging Israel’s legitimacy, I have asked these people if they ever called a radio show to challenge any other country’s legitimacy. In particular, I ask, have they ever questioned the legitimacy of Pakistan? The answer, of course, is always “no.” In fact, no caller ever understood why I even mentioned Pakistan. There are two reasons for this. First, of all the 200-plus countries in the world, only Israel’s legitim...
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View from Central Park

Emergency experts

I keep hearing this phrase: “When the tallest mountain trembles, the smallest mountain comes to help.” As if the friendship between the people of Nepal and the people of Israel was not already so strong. Now it will be stronger. Israelis are no strangers to Nepal. As has become the ritual over the past decades, many IF soldiers travel to Nepal and India upon termination of their service.
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View From Denver

Meditation, exercise, creativity, and...

FOUR. Jewish spirituality, set down by the Prophet Isaiah, comes in fours: delight, honor, freedom from planning daily tasks and freedom from speaking about them. Together, these four gifts comprise the serenity of Shabbos. Together, they call attention to four other human strivings, outside of Jewish spirituality. In an electronically engaged world, even its most successful participants seek a respite from its pressures and quandaries. We want in. And we want out. We want into the producti...
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View from Central Park

Commemoration

They stood side by side, the liberated and the liberators. The formal, brass-decked young uniformed military men and women from Colorado’s National Guard — from the same 157th infantry that, 70 years ago, were among the liberators of the Dachau concentration camp — and the elderly, tattered yet strong and proud Holocaust survivors. One held an accordion in his hands as part of the Colorado Hebrew Chorale. It was the 70th anniversary of the end of WW II, an emotional Holocaust commemoration...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Obama rallies supporters against ‘billionaire’ opponents of Iran deal

Ron Kampeas Obama tells followers that the same folks who brought about the Iraq war oppose the Iran deal. ... [Link]

Woody Allen: I was a ‘paternal’ figure to Soon-Yi Previn

Gabe Friedman The 79-year-old director opened up about his private life to a surprising extent in an NPR interview. ... [Link]

With polls of U.S. Jews on Iran at odds, whom to believe?

Uriel Heilman A close look at how the questions were asked and how the polls were conducted yields some hints. ... [Link]

Israel’s education chief to increase funding ‘dramatically’ for LGBT group

Julie Wiener Naftali Bennett, whose Jewish Home party represents a pro-settler constituency, announced the added money hours after an attack at the Jerusalem gay pride parade that wounded six marchers. ... [Link]

Colorado school district settles church-state case with Jewish teacher

Julie Wiener The settlement stipulates that the district stop allowing the numerous religious activities cited in the lawsuit, notably by one particular church. ... [Link]

Why Trevor Noah will make the ‘Daily Show’ 75% less Jewish

Gabe Friedman The new “Daily Show” host is planning some significant changes to Jon Stewart’s Jew-y comedy program. ... [Link]

Knesset passes law allowing force-feeding of prisoners

Julie Wiener The law, approved by a 46-40 vote, comes in response to several hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in recent years. ... [Link]

Actor Jason Segel opens up about childhood as Jewish outsider

Andrew Tobin Like David Foster Wallace, who he plays in his new movie, Segel said he long felt unsure of his place in the world. ... [Link]

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