The Old Country

Is Judaism an operating system or an app?

July 23, 2017

Is Judaism more like an operating system or an app? The answer could help solve problems such as the recent Kotel and conversion crises in Israel.

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Why I’m voting for Donald Trump

April 1, 2016

Yes, you read that right. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally come around. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has won me over. And come November, if he’s still in the race (and if this election year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is mandated from heaven), he’ll have my vote. He says he’s […]

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Anti-Israel sentiment is PC at Oberlin College

January 18, 2016

Oy, what has happened at my alma mater? Oberlin College was in the news in December when its students declared that the campus dining department was guilty of a litany of offenses, in particular “cultural appropriation.” Trigger warning here: if you are uncomfortable with young people acting ridiculously, stop reading now. Still with me? OK, […]

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Standing up to the online bullies

July 22, 2015

When I was growing up, I was frequently bullied. I had all the stereotypical markers for bullies to pick on: I was overweight, socially awkward, a klutz in sports and inevitably last to be picked, bespectacled and brainy. It didn’t help that my first name could be twisted to spell out the very insult that […]

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USY language change on interdating not a yiddishkeitastrophe

January 9, 2015

The headlines screaming across Jewish newspapers worldwide were an Orthodox kiruv professional’s wet dream. For a Jew whose job it is to bring other Jews closer to Orthodox observance, the dopamine rush of delight must have been overwhelming. Because if it’s your business to convince wandering Jews to become frum (religious) and one of the […]

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Why’d You Want to Live Here, Anyway?

July 25, 2014

An article a few weeks ago in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz questioned why someone would ever want to make aliyah from a comfortable country like the U.S. Especially these days – with the murders of the Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Shear and Eyal Shach still on our minds, the revenge killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khaider stinging at our […]

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Telecommuting No More at Comverse (and Yahoo)

March 21, 2013

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was in the news last month after she announced that the company she heads will no longer support telecommuting. Starting June 1, employees who work from home, all or part of the time, will be asked to report to the office. If they don’t, too bad. The company is even discouraging […]

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Troubles at my Alma Mater

March 13, 2013

My alma mater was all over the Jewish news last week, but not for good reasons. Oberlin College, which I attended as an undergraduate some 30 years ago, has inexplicably seen a number of racist and anti-Semitic incidents in the past month. On February 15, students found a note reading “Whites only” tacked above a […]

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“Nice Jewish boy” Launches Playboy in Israel

March 8, 2013

When I was growing up, my father always kept a stack of Playboy magazines in the living room, next to the stereo. They were there for anyone to read, and despite the public potential for teenage titillation, I’m sure that my father really did intend that we read them. But just in case there were other reasons they were […]

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New Israeli-Made Documentary Takes Us to the “Fringes” of Jewish life

December 19, 2012

The most remarkable thing about Paula Weiman-Kelman’s new documentary, “Fringes,” is how unremarkable it is. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Rather, the Jerusalem-based filmmaker’s latest movie, which opened to a sold-out theater at the Jerusalem Cinemateque’s Jewish Film Festival last week, presents the lives of three communities on the “fringes” of Jewish […]

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