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Last week, I travelled to Washington D.C., to attend the fifth annual J Street National Conference. I attended the conference because J Street represents my values of a democratic Jewish state, which is committed to pursuing a two-state solution.

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Must Israel become racist? The article by Rabbi Mark Levin (March 26) starkly reveals the views of uber-left wing J Street, whose positions he advocates at every opportunity. They hurl the word “racist” indiscriminately, the idea being to cow into silence and force onto the defensive anyone who disagrees with them.

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It’s been a very difficult few weeks, culminating in a most disappointing election process in Israel. I have wanted to believe that the Jewish people are “A kingdom of priests and a holy people.” (Exodus 19:6) Many antagonists to my personal aspirations for Israel have claimed that Israel is a demon state. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned to overt demagoguery and racism to win last week’s election I was crushed. “How could a Jew do that?” The Babylonian Talmud says that when a Jew does not act with compassion we should suspect he is not Jewish, and that compassion is one of the three essential Jewish qualities. (Yevamot 79a)

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Todd Stettner

Half truths are annoying; they are a way of claiming legitimacy with something by only telling part of the story. While there are facts involved and things that can be verified, they may only be part of the story. Such is the case I found last week when I attended (along with a small group of other Jews) a lecture sponsored by a group called Citizens for Justice in the Middle East (CJME).

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“We have saturated our market and no one has the time to commit to weekly study, especially parents of young children because they are just too busy!”

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Rabbi David M. Glickman

Legendary campaign manager James Carville coined the phrase “The economy, stupid,” in the war room of Clinton’s 1992 campaign reminding his team of the only issue that mattered to their staff.

On the left and the right, in the White House and in the Knesset, we have all become distracted.  

One may falsely think the largest foreign policy issue is whether or not Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking before Congress. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}This is not the real issue.

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The Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation recently received a grant from the Community Legacy Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City to help implement and improve its facility safety and security plan. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}This grant will be utilized to address such issues as improved interior and exterior security measures; tornado emergency improvements and planning; fire safety improvements and development of an enhanced safety and security plan.

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In response to Rabbi Mark Levin’s column, “Must Israel become racist?” published in the March 26 issue, I understand his reaction to Natanyahu’s election day political blunder. I winched when it was reported. Rabbi Levin says he was saddened and angry and I believe he over reacted. The Israeli democracy process worked and 13 Arab Israelis were elected to the Knesset. Yes, I know that prejudice exists in Israel. In spite of that, Israel has taken in Ethiopian Jews, Yemenites, Jews from India and elsewhere. Columnist William Safire wrote that it was the first time in history that Africans were taken to freedom, not slavery. 

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“The New Passover Menu” by Paula Shoyer (Sterling Epicure Publishers, February 2015)

Recipes reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress.

A “fifth” question for Passover might well be, how is this cookbook for Passover different from all other Passover cookbooks? Paula Shoyer answers that, “ ‘The New Passover Menu’ features updated traditional dishes that provide the nostalgic pleasure of family favorites, along with a raft of contemporary recipes developed to please creative cooks who do not want to compromise their taste for sophisticated recipes during the holiday.”

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This has been a very interesting month in American politics. First there was the upstaging of the office of the president, with Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing a joint session of Congress. The next upstaging was when the newly elected Sen. Cotton (R-Ark.), after only 60 days in office, gets 47 senators to sign a letter to Iran’s government, trying to crash the negotiations on the nuclear discussions. Then Sen. Cotton makes the claim that Irani leaders do not comprehend the U.S. Constitution.

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I would like to respond to Rabbi Nemitoff’s open letter to “Bibi,” published in the Feb. 19 edition of The Chronicle. 

The rabbi is very concerned about the investigation of Israeli corrupt politicians. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}The country is a democracy and holds its leaders accountable for their behavior. Those actions have been publicized in Israeli and world media. As investigations are either underway or have not been concluded, it is inappropriate for any of us to arrive at conclusions, let alone casting aspersions on the country’s prime minister.

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