Author: Avi Shafran

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A Mid-East Inconvenient Truth

Yes, yes, I get it. “Ethnic cleansing” conjures images of Nazi expulsions and murders of Jews, or the 1990s Bosnian war, when Serb and Croat forces intimidated, forcibly expelled or...

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Tempest in a Tallis

The image was, to be sure, jarring: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump being draped in a tallis. By an African-American pastor. In a Detroit church. To resounding applause. Bishop Wayne...

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Conservatism in Crisis

If the phrase “alt-right” puts you in mind of a computer keyboard, you are (blessedly) not following the presidential campaign. Even if you are aware of the phrase, though, you...

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Unrighteous Indignation

And here, all this time, we thought Auschwitz was a Polish death camp. It was, of course, at least in the sense that it was a place in Poland where...

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Illusions of Objectivity

Some American journalists assigned to the political beat are having a hard time. Their dilemma is named Donald Trump, a man they don’t feel they can cover objectively. Those troubled...

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Summer Camps and Summer Camps

There are all sorts of summer camps. Most familiar to most of us are summer youth experiences like Camp Agudah’s various branch-camps and the broad assortment of others like them....

Khizr Khan addresses delegates on the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Khizr Khans son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the US Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Silence Can Be Golden

What’s omitted from a discussion can sometimes speak quite loudly. And sometimes quite disturbingly. That’s true, I think, about the national conversation about the Khizr and Ghazala Khan/Donald Trump contretemps....

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The Enemy

In December, 2014, after a driver shouting Islamic slogans mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians in Dijon, France, the city’s chief prosecutor called the attacks the work of an...

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Trump and the Jewish Question

“The anti-Semitism that is threaded throughout the Republican Party of late goes straight to the feet of Donald Trump.” That, according to Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, erstwhile chair of...

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Abortion Distortion

With the Democratic and Republican platforms offering more polarized planks on abortion than ever, the issue of “reproductive rights” is, once again, well, birthed into the glare. Also in the...

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Shock Treatment

It’s a truth not universally acknowledged that good can come from bad. As Iyov said, “Who can bring purity from impurity, not the One?” (14:4; see Targum Yonasan). An untruth...

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Subway Poles/Snakes on Poles

Subway riders in standing room-only cars try not to think too much about what organisms might be happily residing on the poles they grasp during the lurching trip. To obtain...

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Torah Vs. Egalitarianism

The “Kosel Controversy” – whether “nontraditional” prayer services should be accommodated at the Kosel Maaravi – blazes on, fanned by the winds of politics, courts and “activists.” Respect for the...

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Taking Aim at Massacres

What does the word “magazine” bring to mind? A glossy periodical or, perhaps, a news program? To many Americans, the word would more readily conjure a metal receptacle holding up...

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The Power of a Place

Somewhere on earth there may be a more fractious, violent, convulsed and combative place than the Iraqi city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. But it’s not likely. Currently, Fallujah is...

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When “Right” is Wrong

There is a social media page titled “Justice for Harambe,” Harambe being the gorilla that was shot to death in the Cincinnati Zoo after dragging around a 3-year-old boy who...