Ripped From The Headlines

An Open Discussion on the News with Rabbi Charlie!

Second Thursday of the Month @ 10:00AM

Next Meeting Date: June 6 ON SITE

This event is free for Or Hadash members. Non-members are welcome, and donations to support our programs are appreciated.

Discussions From Previous Meetings:

May 9:

Needless to say, there is much to discuss: the on-going hostage negotiations, the beginning of a Rafah offensive, the chaos on campus, the continuing rise of Antisemitism. Since our session is an open discussion, you are welcome to bring up any of those topics!

At least for the beginning of our discussion, we will listen to a Shalom Hartman “For Heaven’s Sake” podcast (and you are encouraged to listen ahead of time to have time to reflect on what is discussed):
Israel at War: The Third Front.” In conjunction with the podcast, you should read:

1.  “Antisemitism surging, report finds, prompting fear for future of ‘Jewish life’ in West” 

2.  Yossi Klein Halevi’s blog post in the Times of Israel: The War Against the Jewish Story” 

3.  You may also want to review an article we examined previously, The Golden Age of American Jews is Ending

We must also touch on the situation at Rutgers. I hope you all read carefully the emails we forwarded to you from our Federation, and that you have sent the appropriate letters to State leadership and Rutgers administration. Certainly those of you who are Rutgers alumni (or have children/grandchildren who are alumni or current students) should definitely make your voices heard! 

1.  Statement of President Jonathan Holloway to the Board of Governors

2.  Response to requests presented by protestors of the Gaza Liberation Zone

April 11:

This week we will listened to and discussed a Shalom Hartman podcast: 

For this discussion on the “The Six Month War,” I recommend:

A Times of Israel Podcast with Micah Goodman, one of Israel’s most insightful and challenging thinkers (whether or not you agree with him):

March 14:

This month we explored an important, if unsettling, article from The Atlantic, “The Golden Age of American Jews is Ending”, by Franklin Foer:

Of course, it is impossible to talk about the unease we feel as Jews today without talking about a major cause: Antisemitism. Thus, a second important article by Noah Feldman, that appeared in Time:

You may also want to read a response to Foer’s article in the Times of Israel Blogs by Stephen Arnoff,, and an editorial (again in the TOI) along the same lines by David Horovitz,

February 8, 2024

This week we will discuss an important newsletter of the Focus Project, “a joint initiative from a broad coalition of U.S. Jewish institutions.” This was shared from Mercaz U.S.A., the Zionist Organization of our Conservative Movement. The newsletter covers a number of subjects of concern to the Jewish community.

We will, in particular, discuss its lead story, “Hatred Against Jews Flows Down From Campuses to Kindergartens.” It seems that not only a college campus but also a local school board can be a dangerous source of Antisemitism. A few other articles on this subject:

January 11, 2024

It is difficult to narrow down a topic when there is so much happening in the Jewish world. It is a difficult and frightening time, and sadly, will likely get worse.

This week we will listen to a Hartman Institute podcast, “Israel At War – The Hague.” (  Even as Israel seems to be entering a new stage of the war in Gaza, the threat from Hizbollah in the north continues, The United States (and its allies) confronts the threat from the Houthis in Yemen, and commentators around the globe warn of a spreading conflict, Israel faces yet another, perhaps even more serious threat than its military challenges: hearings in the International Court of Justice in the Hague on South Africa’s accusation that Israel is committing genocide. I encourage you to listen to the podcast ahead of time so that we can have a fuller discussion during our session. I want to hear your thoughts!

Here are some related articles that you may wish to read as background:

December 14, 2023

There is so much to discuss! The on-going war in Gaza raises so many issues: the horror of the Oct. 7th attack, the inability/failure of so much of the world to acknowledge Jewish pain & suffering and to condemn the brutality and sadism of Hamas, the strength, heroism, and unity of the Israeli people, the very real suffering of the people in Gaza as their home becomes a battlefield (and the suffering they have endured under Hamas), the future of Netanyahu & his government, and what will happen “the day after.”  However, I have already shared many resources, we do have a page of resources on our website, and the situation is constantly changing. I’m sure we will be discussing the situation for some time.

I would like to do something a little different and look at who we are as a Jewish community in the United States on how we understand our Jewish identity in general and in America specifically. Therefore, we will be listening to a podcast on this subject during our session, but I strongly recommend that you listen to it ahead of time, to reflect on it, so that we can have a deeper discussion. Here is the url:

Lest you think that I am ignoring the elephant in the room – the disappointing, disturbing, and frankly unbelievable testimony of the three university presidents before Congress and its fallout – let me recommend Bari Weiss’s column: (the piece, “How to Really Fix American Higher Education”) . It is important to read all the articles she references. I also recommend the story of my colleague David Wolpe’s resignation from Harvard’s Antisemitism advisory (the story is found on a number of outlets, including video clips of interviews). Both Bari Weiss and Rabbi Wolpe point out that many of our universities have serious culture issues that go beyond the foolish and ill-conceived testimonies of the university presidents.