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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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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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Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff

Mr. Prime Minister:

I just returned from eight days in Israel. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}As always, it was a remarkable time, made even more incredible when I awoke each day knowing that I was in a place in which my ancestors (literally ... my grandfather, my great-grandfather, my great-great grandfather) lived, a place that hundreds of generations of my ancestors prayed for and prayed to see, a place that percolates with new and ancient ideas side by side, figuring out how to make this spit of land on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean a place worthy to be called “ha-tikvah” (the hope).

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“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share it.” Tolstoy

One strikingly poignant article, and an opposing view to the Page 1 article published in The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (Feb. 12, 2015) entitled “Analyzing the high-stakes game of Netanyahu’s Congress speech,” is a commentary by Ruthie Blum. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}(“Right from Wrong: Anti-Semitism denial and smug Jews,” Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2015)

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Netanyahu will speak to Congress, and the front page of the Chronicle reports that some Jewish organizations and Jewish members of Congress are in a snit. The White House is outraged. 

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Valentine’s Day — much like Halloween — is a holiday that has begun taking over our stores for more and more time each year. As it looms larger in our cultural landscape — and many of us are decades removed from premade valentine cards and candy hearts — it is worth looking at how Valentine’s day is in sync (or out of sync) with our Jewish values. 

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Nikki Multer

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 7, 20 students from KU Hillel travelled to Israel through KU Hillel’s Israel Leadership Mission (ILM). ILM is a high-level immersive experience in Israel for students that demonstrate a commitment to serving a leadership role within the Jewish community upon their return. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}The trip is intended to help students gain a deeper understanding of Israel’s economic and social issues that it faces on a daily basis. The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City has been funding ILM for the past seven years. Throughout the trip, students interacted with Jewish community leaders, peers and children while volunteering at many of the projects that the Jewish Federation supports. ILM is a way for students to see the issues first hand that Israeli’s are facing and then bring back what they have learned to KU.

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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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The White House’s announcement of its conference on “Countering Violent Extremism” names Boston as one of the pilot cities where law enforcement officials have developed partnerships with Muslim community leaders. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}Unfortunately, to counter “violent extremism,” federal agencies are working with the Islamic Society of Boston and its political arm, the Muslim American Society.

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Did you know that volunteers for the Audio-Reader Network read The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle every week? Your local newspaper is available for free, in audible format, via a closed circuit radio and on the Internet to anyone who has difficulty reading print due to a disability. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}My mother, Petey Cerf, started Audio-Reader 43 years ago. She was dedicated to providing the visually impaired and print disabled with free access to printed material. Four decades later, Audio-Reader now has 350 volunteers who provide 24 hours of programming each day to thousands of listeners in Kansas, Missouri and beyond.

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Beginning on Page 1 of the of The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle of Jan. 29, 2015, Ron Kampeas criticizes Speaker John Boehner for his invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

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Many of you know that from 1998 to 2003 I served as chair of the Committee on Conversion for the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the international association of all Reform rabbis). {mprestriction ids="1,3"}As chair of that committee, I oversaw the creation of a document to provide guidance for Reform rabbis who work with prospective converts. During the past 30 years I have spoken frequently on the topic of conversion to Judaism, as well as lead many workshops for prospective converts and their families. As I have renewed my work in this area here in Kansas City, I have been reminded of many facts and perceptions that I believe are important to keep before us.

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