From the Editor

By Epstein, Nadine | Moment, September-October 2010 | Go to article overview

From the Editor


Epstein, Nadine, Moment


The debate over whether a proposed Islamic community center and its mosque should be located two blocks from Ground Zero gives me pause. Not because I oppose the project--I do not--but because of the way phrases such as "the Jewish community feels" and "the Jewish community thinks" have been tossed around.

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The key question is this: Which Jewish community are people talking about? The truth is that historically Jews have rarely spoken with unanimity on anything. And with today's 24/7 news cycle and instant opinionating via the Internet, American Jews, more than ever, do not speak with that illusory, single voice.

If your family is anything like mine, you probably need look no further than your dinner table to know just how much Jews disagree. My family members and friends hold different opinions about who is a Jew, how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved and, yes, whether or not this particular community center and house of worship should be built near Ground Zero.

My opinion? Jews have thrived in the United States because of the protection afforded by the right to freedom of religion. Some of the allegations hurled at the proposed center sound to me like what Daisy Khan, the wife of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf--the executive director of the Cordoba Initiative, who is heading the project--has called "metastasized anti-Semitism." While these charges may stem from fear and not hatred, they remind me that anti-Semitism has often been cloaked as fear of Jews. This is my view, not Moment's, and I certainly do not claim that it is the view of the entire Jewish community. How could I? Some of the people I hold dearest disagree!

Our September/October issue is ample proof of die American Jewish community's diversity. In its pages, opinions span the political and religious spectrum. We bring you provocative commentary from Eric Alterman, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, David Horowitz and Marshall Breger. I interview the influential Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer about America's foreign policy. Why such a range? I believe it is important to understand the odier, including the other among ourselves.

Speaking of the other, our series on Israel's Arab citizens continues. In this second installment, New York Times contributor Dina Kraft takes a comprehensive look at the state of Arab public education in Israel. Many of Israel's young Muslim and Christian Arabs--who make up 26 percent of all elementary and high school students--attend low-performing segregated schools. It makes for fascinating reading because what these students learn and how they integrate into Israeli society could have a major impact on Israel's future.

The diversity of the Jewish community is well reflected in this issue. …

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