Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Jeffrey F. Barken

Sorted by date  Results 1 - 7 of 7

  • Pro-Israel voices tackle the war of ideas on college campuses?

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|May 29, 2015

    Recent ordeals for Jews on college campuses include being probed on their religious identity in student government hearings, seeing swastikas sprayed on fraternity houses, and the presence of a student-initiated course accused of anti-Semitism. Pro-Israel voices are fighting back, but who is winning this war of ideas? An episode at Columbia University, a historic hotbed of anti-Zionism, illustrates the complex dynamics at play. Last month, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), America’s largest pro-Israel organization with more than 2 million me... Full story

  • Portraits of Irish Holocaust survivors present nation with a teachable moment

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|May 1, 2015

    When Irish artist Diana Muller first presented her works in progress-paintings of some of her country's few remaining Holocaust survivors-to the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin City, museum vice chair Yvonne Altman O'Connor sensed a teachable moment in the making. "We consider it very important to teach about the Holocaust, especially as Irish people were somewhat removed from the experience. [Some even] refer to World War II as 'the emergency,'" an obvious understatement, O'Connor tells JNS.org.... Full story

  • Kutsher's documentary captures the eclectic legacy of a Borscht Belt relic

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|Nov 21, 2014

    When young independent music enthusiasts descended on the antiquated Jewish resort of Kutsher's for an international indie rock concert series in 2008, it was "kind of like 'Cocoon' meets 'The Shining,'" Barry Hogan recalls in the forthcoming documentary film "Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort." The comment by Hogan, founder of the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival organization, exemplifies the widening generational gap that ultimately forced Kutsher's to close in December 2013... Full story

  • A clear-eyed analysis of 21st-century anti-Semitism

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|Jul 4, 2014

    "Some of My Best Friends, A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism," by Ben Cohen. Edition Critic (May 2014). 230 pages. JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen's new book, "Some of My Best Friends, A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Anti-Semitism," is a collection and analysis of previously published essays, reporting, and commentary that meticulously capture the current climate of anti-Semitism around the world. Throughout a turbulent, modern decade dominated by war and economic... Full story

  • University of Haifa, Ruderman Family Foundation launch pioneering 'American Jewish Studies' program

    Jeffrey F. Barken and Jacob Kamaras|Aug 23, 2013

    HAIFA—Jay Ruderman has observed for years that when American Jewish leaders visit Israel or when Israeli leaders visit the United States, the conversation is “always about Israel” and how the Jewish state relates to Iran, Syria, the Palestinians, and others. “What’s happening in the American Jewish community?” and how those events impact future support for Israel never seem to enter the conversation, according to Ruderman, who worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in... Full story

  • Formula One race a part of acceleration past regulation for Israeli motorsports

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|Aug 23, 2013

    There is something different about taking a ride from Shlomi Bakish. Not only can he get from Haifa to Tel Aviv in half the time, but passengers also don’t feel the road. The car accelerates without strain. Unlike many Israeli drivers, Bakish doesn’t express rage when a slower car cuts him off. He sees his opportunity and easily passes on the right. It’s as though he’s driving in a race. For the past decade, talented Israeli drivers like Bakish were stranded in traffic by an unpopular law reg... Full story

  • For Germany and Israel, a textbook case

    Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org|Aug 9, 2013

    Almost 70 years after the Holocaust and 50 years after Germany and Israel established diplomatic relations, a textbook commission is shedding light on how the two countries are promoting their sustained cultural and historical connection. Dirk Sawdowski, chairman of the German-Israeli Textbook Commission, describes that there is a fundamental difference between the German education system and the Israeli education system that “finds expression in each country’s secondary and high school textbooks.” “Although both systems try to impart western... Full story