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Articles written by andrew silow carroll

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  • Yes, anti-Semitism is a problem again-no, it is not 1939

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Nov 23, 2018

    By Andrew Silow-Carroll (JTA)—My father, whose own father changed his unpronounceable last name to Carroll when he came to America, would often tell a story about job hunting in the late 1940s and 50s. It was only after the interview that the men across the desk would ask, “And all we need now is a recommendation from your clergyman.” “I knew what you are asking,” Dad would tell them. “And yes I’m Jewish” He suspects he lost out on a lot of jobs, although somehow he became what he thinks was the first Jewish high school principal on Lo... Full story

  • Deportation of Nazi ignites a fight between right and left-you're surprised?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Aug 31, 2018

    (JTA)—In the Trump era, even the deporting of Nazis can’t bring Americans together. A number of Jewish organizations and lawmakers were quick to thank the Trump administration for deporting Jakiw Palij, a former SS guard at the Nazis’ Trawnicki concentration camp in Poland. But they weren’t as quick as the administration itself, whose news release Monday announcing the deportation was explicit in commending President Donald Trump for making Palij’s expulsion a priority while noting that “past administrations were unsuccessful in removing Palij.... Full story

  • The non-misogynist, non-hypocritical case for Jewish continuity-with music

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Aug 17, 2018

    (JTA)—This is Leonard Bernstein’s centennial summer, and the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires is staging a series of outdoor performances to celebrate its favorite son. I’m not saying that everyone who goes to Tanglewood is Jewish, although I always think a typical evening there is what the High Holidays would look like if the Israelites had enjoyed picnics and white wine. Last month I had lawn tickets when the Boston Symphony performed Bernstein’s score of “West Side Story” live while the film was shown on large screens. The effect... Full story

  • How I learned to stop worrying and love an Israeli dance company

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Aug 3, 2018

    (JTA)-In the quiet opening of "Naharin's Virus," an hour-long dance piece by the famed Israeli choreographer Ohed Naharin, an onstage narrator tells you what the evening won't be about. You the audience will not receive its due. Your curiosity will not be satisfied. You won't agree on the meaning of what you are about to see. OK, fair enough. You don't go to modern dance for the plot, at least not in the conventional sense. You go for the pleasure of seeing bodies in motion, to see how the dance... Full story

  • Is 'non-Jew' an insult?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Jul 13, 2018

    NEW YORK (JTA)—A few months ago I wrote a humor piece titled “Don’t eat off the seder plate, and other tips for non-Jews attending their first seder.” It drew a miffed response from a rabbi friend who often works with interfaith families and suggested “it’s time to drop terms like ‘non-Jew’ and gentile.” At the time I scoffed. Yes, it is a little weird that a people who represent less than 0.1 percent of the world’s population define everybody else as “not us.” It’s like someone with lactose intolerance saying he doesn’t eat “dairy ice cr... Full story

  • How Holocaust comparisons are muddying the immigration debate

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Jun 29, 2018

    (JTA)—Let me start by stating what should be obvious: Holocaust comparisons are lazy and more often than not hysterical. They diminish Nazism and genocide by making them synonyms for “very bad things.” You may regard the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance stance at the border, and its policy of separating parents and children, as inhumane and un-American. But if you think that’s Nazism, you don’t know Nazism. But wow, was Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reply weird when Laura Ingraham asked him about the Nazi comparisons. Here’s the Ju... Full story

  • The ADL's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

    Andrew Silow Carroll|May 11, 2018

    (JTA)—Last week, Shabbat couldn’t come soon enough for the Anti-Defamation League. On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that the Jewish group’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, seemed to have been demoted from top adviser to a supporting role in the coffee company’s day of diversity training. And on Thursday, the ADL apologized for the way it tweeted about an anonymous group, Canary Mission, that publishes the names and personal information of campus anti-Israel activists. I can’t make you care about the travails of a Jewish institution, but I’ll try:... Full story

  • 'Nobody is talking about anti-Semitism.' You're kidding, right?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Mar 30, 2018

    NEW YORK (JTA)—Slate podcaster Mike Pesca has a theory that whenever President Donald Trump says “everybody” it means “almost nobody,” and when he says “nobody” or “anybody” it means “almost everybody.” Try it: When Trump said, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated”—well, nearly everybody disagreed. And when he says, “Everybody knows there was no collusion,” he means, “I insist there was no collusion, but am worried that nobody else, including Robert Mueller, agrees with me.” That kind of verbal irony has become a way of arguing o... Full story

  • Does the Obama-Farrakhan photo matter? Does anything?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Feb 9, 2018

    (JTA)—“Nothing matters.” You hear that a lot these days. You hear it when The Wall Street Journal reports that the president’s personal lawyer paid a porn actress $130,000, at the height of the presidential campaign, so she would stay silent about an alleged affair she’d had with Donald Trump. Or when the president uses a vulgarity to refer to African countries. Or when the president is credibly reported to have demanded the firing of the man investigating obstruction of justice claims concerning the president’s firing of another man investi... Full story

  • How do you define anti-Semitism? It's complicated.

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Jan 12, 2018

    NEW YORK (JTA)—JTA doesn’t give out Person of the Year honors, but if we did I’d be tempted to nominate Michael Kadar, the Israeli-American teenager accused of making hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in early 2017. As I wrote soon after his arrest: “[T]he JCC bomb threat hoax wasn’t just an isolated swastika daubing—it was an ongoing story affecting Jewish institutions in nearly every American Jewish community. It shaped a communal narrative that something ugly and insidious was happening out there. And it fueled a po... Full story

  • What we talk about when we talk about Jerusalem

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Dec 22, 2017

    (JTA)—E.B. White famously wrote that there are “roughly three New Yorks”: the one of the native New Yorker, the one of the commuter, and the New York of the “person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.” To which a resident of Jerusalem might respond, “Only three? Lucky you.” Jerusalem is messy, in the best and worst sense of the word. It’s a city of secular intellectuals and insular haredim. It’s the seat of Israel’s government and flypaper for the dreamers, fanatics, seekers and tourists from three major re... Full story

  • NY Times article shows how not to write about neo-Nazis

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Dec 8, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—Did The New York Times just normalize an American neo-Nazi? That’s the charge being flung at The Newspaper of Record over its Saturday profile of Tony Hovater, 29, a “polite,” “low key” Ohio man who is a “committed foot soldier” who helped start one of the white nationalist groups that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. The article, titled “In America’s Heartland, the Nazi Sympathizer Next Door,” depicts Hovater cooking pasta for his sympathetic wife and pushing a shopping cart through his local grocery, and as... Full story

  • Jews make news, but when is it Jewish news?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Dec 1, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—“Is So-and-So Jewish? How Jewish is she? Find out if she’s Jewish.” I often joke that JTA reporters and anti-Semitic bloggers write the same stories, only with different headlines. We proudly search down Jewish celebrities to show the diverse ways that Jews are contributing to the wider culture. The Daily Stormer uses the same names to prove that Jews are taking over. The problem for us, of course, is when the Jews we report on do bad things. Very bad things. The last few months have seen a deluge of stories about Jews in trou... Full story

  • Federations rally around pluralism-but wish they didn't have to

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Nov 24, 2017

    LOS ANGELES (JTA)—Leaders of North America’s Jewish federation movement kicked off their annual conference here Sunday with a tribute to the 1987 march on Washington that brought out hundreds of thousands of people in support of Soviet Jews. The film and testimonials by refuseniks were moving, but felt a little like those perennial tributes by the New York Mets to their 1986 championship team: a reminder not only of what was, but what’s gone. The rescue of Soviet Jews and their resettlement here and in Israel was a high point for the netwo... Full story

  • Larry David's Holocaust joke was an offense against comedy

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Nov 17, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—In a famous episode of “Seinfeld,” Jerry is upset that his dentist, a recent convert to Judaism, is already telling Jewish jokes. He complains to the dentist’s former priest. “I wanted to talk to you about Dr. Whatley,” Jerry says. “I have a suspicion that he’s converted to Judaism just for the jokes.” “And this offends you as a Jewish person,” the priest says “No,” Jerry says. “It offends me as a comedian.” Larry David, the co-creator of “Seinfeld,” did a Holocaust bit on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, and a lot m... Full story

  • Why we waited before publishing that story about Elie Wiesel

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Nov 3, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—If a woman called the JTA office and said she wanted to tell her story of sexual harassment by a prominent community figure, we’d have questions. Would she put her name to the accusations? Can she corroborate them? Can she provide specific dates and descriptions of when and where the alleged abuse took place? Are there other people who could confirm her story? We’d also tell her that we are going to seek comment from the other side and she should prepare herself for the response. On Monday, an author named Jennifer Listman publi... Full story

  • Breitbart, racists and the dirty work of laundering the 'alt-right'

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Oct 20, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—Stephen Bannon, whose anti-globalist insurgency at Breitbart News was interrupted briefly by his tenure as chief adviser to the Leader of the Free World, has always been adamant that his right-wing news site and worldview is neither anti-Semitic nor racist. When he referred to Breitbart as a “platform” for the “alt-right,” Bannon didn’t mean, he insisted, that he personally supported the white supremacists and racists who attached themselves to his “populist nationalist” movement. “Are there some people that are anti-Semitic... Full story

  • Conan and 'Transparent' give Israel the normalcy it craves

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Oct 6, 2017

    (JTA)—“It looks just like L.A.” A character in the Amazon series “Transparent” says this as she gets her first glimpse of Tel Aviv, and if you work for the Israeli government, or any of a number of pro-Israel groups, you probably couldn’t be happier. Even if the show will go on to acknowledge the political and human rights mess of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and don’t worry, it will), such glimpses of an extremely appealing and otherwise normal Israel have the feel of “mission accomplished.” The start of the fall TV season has been v... Full story

  • Self-hatred: It's not just for self-haters! 

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Sep 15, 2017

    (JTA)—I used to joke that I am not a self-hating Jew: It’s all those other Jews I can’t stand. Like I said, I used to tell that joke. In the current political climate, self-hatred is no laughing matter. Calling another Jew “self-hating” is pervasive and toxic—so toxic, in fact, that some observers can’t distinguish it from actual anti-Semitism. A lot of liberal Jews label Breitbart News anti-Semitic in part because of an article by right-wing activist David Horowitz that essentially called William Kristol a self-hating Jew. (Horowitz’s actual t... Full story

  • Our president just asked us to be fair to white supremacists

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Aug 25, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—There was a moment in his “neo-Nazi, neo-Shmazi” news conference where you might have found yourself thinking, maybe President Trump is right. On the narrow question of who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, a prosecutor might note that punches were thrown by white supremacists and left-wing activists, neo-Nazis and members of the Antifa resistance. “I think there’s blame on both sides,” is how Trump put it in his news conference Tuesday in New York. It’s the right answer if this is the question: “Who threw pu... Full story

  • American Jews really care about pluralism-but it's not just about pluralism

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Jul 14, 2017

    (JTA)-The Great Jewish Revolt of 2017. The Bar Kotel Rebellion. The Diaspora Strikes Back. Whatever you call it, last week's clash between American Jewish leaders and the Netanyahu government felt louder, angrier and more significant than previous clashes over pluralism in Israel. That may be because it wasn't only about pluralism. That's not to say that pluralism isn't important in its own right. The non-Orthodox Jewish groups who fought hard for a space and a say at the Western Wall-only to se... Full story

  • Tel Aviv is the 'home of Judaism.' So is Boston, Sao Paulo, Marseille...

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Jun 2, 2017

    (JTA)—Donald Trump and his staff may have left Israel feeling pretty friendly to the Jews, but man, we don’t make it easy for them. Flying with reporters from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that they were “[o]nto the second stop, Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Critics were not kind. Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review noted that because Tel Aviv does not have the religious significance of Jerusalem, Tillerson “managed to insult the people of Israel—and Jews worldwide.” Washington Post columnist Jen... Full story

  • Jewish life, like college campuses, could use more free speech

    Andrew Silow Carroll|May 26, 2017

    (JTA)—Sunday night in Teaneck, New Jersey, Daniel Kurtzer and Ruth Wisse spoke at separate synagogues, roughly at the same time, about a quarter mile apart. Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton, supports the two-state solution and doesn’t think the Israeli government is heading in the “right direction.” Wisse, a famed Yiddish scholar at Harvard, regards Jewish support for the peace process as “self-delusion” and planned to speak on the topic “Are American Jews their own worst enemies... Full story

  • The last Passover countdown checklist you will ever need

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Apr 7, 2017

    (JTA)-The 30-day period between Purim and Passover is often fraught, especially for Jews-especially if, against all sound advice, they insist on hosting a Passover seder. To ease the challenging process of planning and preparing the festive meal, we offer this handy Passover countdown checklist: 30 days out (the day after Purim): Begin going over your invite list for the seder. Parents, siblings and their kids, check. Widowed Aunt Fay? Of course. But Cousin Eric? A nice guy, but how did he... Full story

  • Is Trump owed an apology after the JCC bomb threat arrest? Is anybody?

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Mar 31, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)—Literally within seconds of the news of the arrest in Israel of an Israeli-American teenager for the bulk of the JCC bomb threats, Twitter lit up with Jewish anxiety. “[I] fear the inevitable backlash from haters who we whipped [into] a frenzy for our own nefarious political aims” is how someone responded to the JTA story about the arrest. A colleague’s friend wrote, “And now people will have another excuse to not take anti-Semitism seriously.” The shock and anxiety inspired by news of the arrest were understandable. After all,... Full story

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