News & Politics


The German Chancellor and the Crying Refugee

In the midst of a very eventful summer for the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently found that she’d unexpectedly gone viral on YouTube. During Merkel’s otherwise pedestrian TV appearance on Good Living in Germany, a 13-year-old Palestinian refugee named Reem asked a heartbreaking question about facing deportation from Germany to her native Lebanon. When Merkel noticed the girl cry, she reached out to console her, saying that she’d done well. But the moderator took exception, saying this was not about doing well, but about Reem’s anxiety. Merkel insisted she was......

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Is Negotiating Without a Deal Productive?

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: In life, we all know the ends shouldn’t justify the means. But let’s not invert that, either. In Vienna, as we pass another deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. officials are praising their productive negotiations – with little to show for it: “The reason to successfully come to some arrangement between the various countries is not to validate the process and justify the expenditure of time; it’s to create peaceful relations between potentially warring nations.”? Watch my video for more insight and......

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An American Struggle: Rebuilding Trust

Our money may bear the words “In God We Trust,” and almost 90% of Americans may claim belief in God (or a higher power). But when it comes to government, organized religions or most other large institutions, a very different picture emerges. According to new polling by Gallup, trust in our big institutions is, well, in the toilet. As a panel guest on The Daily Wrap recently, I addressed the issue: “I think what we’ve gotten really good at is appreciating what people can and must do for themselves, but we’re going......

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Dignity Above All

That morning, they lined up outside the College of Charleston’s arena, a diverse crowd taking time to be present, knowing the emotions they felt transcended the moment and were inseparable from a greater historical struggle, far from over. The gathering took shape at the very same moment the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to reveal its landmark ruling, affirming the dignity of men and women regardless of who they love and how they live. Thousands attended the church viewing and the overflow service to pay last respects to the Honorable Rev. Clementa C.......

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I Am an Orthodox Rabbi Who Doesn't Perform Gay Marriages, But I Celebrate Supreme Court Decision

This opinion piece appeared on washingtonpost.com on June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court made history on Friday, that much is clear. What may be less clear, especially for those who do not support same-sex marriage, is that the 5-to-4 majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, merits celebration even by those who don’t agree with the conclusion reached. And to be totally transparent, I write those words as an Orthodox rabbi who does not officiate at same-sex marriages. So why am I celebrating today? Didn’t my side lose? Didn’t the court strike......

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In Charleston, Nine 'Worlds' Ended

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: When is the time to ask the questions I have about Charleston? Such as: “Why is it when a Black person commits murder we talk about them as thugs when a Muslim commits murder we call it terrorism when a White guy does something like this, we immediately start talking about mental illness?” Today, if we are truly one human family, we can certainly agree on one indisputable fact – each of the good people slain this week in church was a......

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Why an Antigay Church Supports a Clinton Health Philanthropy

Hats off to Hillary. Yes, that Hillary – is there any other on the public’s radar? Love her, or truly dislike her (lots of people fall into one of those camps), there’s no arguing that Hillary Clinton has achieved full rock-star level fame – think Bono, Kanye, etc. – and is recognized across the country, if not the world, by first name alone. Like all household names, people are quick to judge her every move. And not always fairly, as was the case recently, when it came to light that an HIV/AIDS......

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Can Peace Be Bought and Sold?

Just about everything wrong with American/Western diplomacy in the Middle East in general, and with Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy in particular, is embodied by the study in this New York Times report, “Profit as an Incentive for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.” The Rand Corporation (a nonprofit that researches public policy, with clients including the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) actually spent two years and $2 million compiling a 228-page study on the “opportunity costs” that would come with an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Their conclusion: If an independent Palestine was to emerge tomorrow,......

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Wisdom on Kids, Music and Loss: Must-Read Links

As another new week begins, make time for the thought-provoking pieces linked below – from the heartbreaking to the hilarious – with the excerpts that moved us to highlight them here on The Wisdom Daily. Whether or not you’ve grieved the loss of someone dear,?Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg’s writing tops our list because of her universally valuable insights. Whatever’s transpiring in your life, may you find the words of wisdom you need.   1. On the Front Lines of Grief “Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay,......

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A Marriage Equality First in Ireland

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: For the first time in the world, a nation has voted as a people to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry in their country. While the majority in Ireland identify as Catholic, a majority of voters there are clearly comfortable disagreeing with the church on who should have access to marriage rights under the law. “What’s happening now is not a breaking with faith, but a profound engagement with faith, that has the capacity to allow people to use the traditions......

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