The Washington Jewish Week looks at the identity struggles of would-be converts to Judaism who have Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers. “I felt the decision to convert would have been a rejection of myself,” one eventual convert recalled. “‘Why couldn’t Judaism accept me and my commitment to it without a conversion?’ I would ask myself.” The paper also found that local rabbis from the Conservative movement — which does not accept patrilineal descent — say they treat such candidates differently than they do other prospective converts.
New York Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt speaks with philanthropist Edith Everett, who is angry that the Israeli government is relying on donors to meet basic social needs. “Israel has become a nation that seeks help in areas where it should be providing services itself. And if this trend continues, it makes Israel a weaker country,” she told the Jewish Week. “It’s a sickness at the core.”
A recently released Pew survey found that a quarter of young American Muslims, ages 18 to 29, said that, in at least some instances, “suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies” (15% said “sometimes” or “often,” and 11% said “rarely”). The L.A. Jewish Journal tracked down one young Muslim who seems to feel this way: Ahmed Billoo, outgoing president of the Muslim Student Association at California State University, Long Beach. “Muslim or not Muslim, we all fear death. Blowing yourself up is not something everyone can do or something that everyone has the courage to do,” the 22-year-old Billoo told the Journal. “But don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying we should all go around America doing that; Palestine is a different situation. There is a huge difference between saying we should do it and saying I’m going to be a suicide bomber. I just think it is something that Islam justifies.”
The Chicago Jewish News has a lengthy report on Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz’s efforts to prevent anti-Israel firebrand Norman Finkelstein from getting tenure at DePaul University. Dershowitz told the newspaper that he considers it “very likely” that Finkelstein will be given tenure, but vowed not to give up the fight. “I will continue to be involved,” Dershowitz said. “I will urge students not to go to DePaul University. Right now I’m exposing Finkelstein; if he becomes a tenured faculty member at DePaul, I will expose DePaul.”