Pregistration for J Street’s 2011 conference is now open. The theme for this one, which will take place at the Washington Convention Center from February 26th-March 1st, is “Giving Voice To Our Values.”
Preregistering is free, and allows you to receive information about early registration specials. Whether you made it to the last one or not, you should definitely think about coming this time around. Who knows, maybe you’ll even meet one of us Jewschoolers?
“I love Israel.” What exactly does that mean? I know what it means to love my child, my family, my partner, my parents, even my dog. Love is relational, it is reciprocal, it is personal. What exactly is Israel as an object of love? Is it the state? Its people? The land? The idea? How can I love the people, most of whom I don’t know? From what I know of them I can say with some confidence that I don’t love Baruch Goldstein, or Yigal Amir, or Meir Kahane, or Moshe Levinger (and I am quite sure they don’t love me either).
Full article here.
One of many surprises for me at the J Steet conference was the role intermarriage played in both J Street’s self-concept and the efforts to criticize other organizations. I was ready for challenges to my identity as a leftist, but as a product of intermarriage? Really, it is all interconnected!
So for those of you joining us late, J Street had its big roll out in the New York Times Magazine September 9, in a mostly positive portrayal. To illustrate their youthfulness, J Street’s staff is listed as being an average age of 30. What’s more, “They’re all intermarried,” Ben Ami says. “They’re all doing Buddhist seders.” The Buddhist seders comment was perhaps exaggeration. (And why must Eastern faiths be the intermarriage ad absurdium?) None of the published letters to the editor addressed intermarriage. Their characterization seems to be bolstering J Street’s youthful, cosmopolitan, non-ghettoized bonafides.
Fast forward to the interview in the New Yorker with Ben-Ami on the eve of the conference. Here Ben-Ami is called out by Jeffrey Goldberg to affirm this or repudiate that. He adopts what Goldberg rightly calls a Seinfeldian tone to dispute his quote, and Goldberg makes the old joke about improving the gene pool as a peace offering. Tablet helpfully corroborates that indeed “at least one [staff member] is married to a rabbinical student.”
Also in the run up to the conference, Masa, of the infamous “Lost” video, became sponsors without visible controversy. So are J Street cosmopolitans seeking enlightenment from their charoset or are they hunting lost Jews? Read more »
The J Street conference was one of the most intellectually and physically taxing experiences I’ve ever had. I learned an incredible amount, met amazing people, and feel compelled to keep educating myself on the issues.
I had an idea for a post near the beginning, and ended up not being able to write it until now because of how tired I was at and following the conference. So this post represents a thought that matured throughout the conference, undergoing numerous changes in perspective as it did so.
The core question I want to ask is: What’s the relationship between a Jewish identity and a political identity?
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I suspect we direct our most bruised anger at those most likely to be our supporters…who don’t. That “self-hater” is such a cutting insult is part and parcel of that emotion. And it’s why it’s taken me a couple days to come down from the anger I felt towards Rabbi Eric Yoffie following his speech at J Street.
On Tuesday, he spoke strongly and provocatively. He did not shy from controversy and never wavered. He has the prophetic instinct to make himself unwelcome in his own house, which I support and commend. It’s a talent I value, admire and aspire to. Kol hakavod to him.
Most of his speech was right on the money, leading me to applaud many times, but two moments left me seething, ready to verbally skewer him and decry him as a traitor. Thanks to Noam Shelef of Americans for Peace Now, I now have a term for my eagerness to briefly disown Yoffie: the narcissism of small differences. I have since cooled off my anger and I wish to give Yoffie a second chance. Read more »
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