In the Aug. 19 New York Jewish Week, the president of Zionist Organization of America voiced disappointment that "the only major Christian Zionist leader who spoke out unequivocally was Pat Robertson. The others were too worried about their relations with the Bush administration."
Three days later, on Monday, Aug. 22, Robertson proclaimed on his television show "The 700 Club," "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Robertson's threat against Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, shocked even staunch Republicans and by late Wednesday, Aug. 24, Robertson apologized.
In the same vein, President Bush's aides disassociated themselves from Robertson's statement by contending that he is "a private citizen."
Of course, this has nothing to do with the Virginia a highway interchange planned where there is no road onto which to exit - and Congress has earmarked $10.8 million for the interchange as one of the many pork projects covered by the $286 billion package which President Bush signed in August.
The interchange will be located at the site of a 500-acre parcel where Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network intends to develop a real estate project, reports The New York Daily News.
So let's get this straight: We're spending nearly $11 million so that Robertson can spread the word.
Child Abuse at Gush Katif?
As a former social worker who removed children from their homes and placed them in foster care, I could not help noticing how Israeli soldiers frequently carried children from their homes during the Gaza and West Bank evacuations.
It raises questions as to whether the settlers violated child-welfare laws before and during the pullout, at least by our standards. You bet they did.
The settlers endangered their children when they refused to leave quietly. Because the troops had to drag out children themselves and separate them, temporarily, from their parents, then anything could have gone wrong and the children could have been injured.
At Philadelphia's Department of Human Services, a caseworker might have concluded a child-abuse investigation by listing them as perpetrators by omission, meaning that they placed their children in a potentially dangerous situation. In addition, police could have charged them with endangering the welfare of children.
Comparable questions can be raised that they chose to live in communities where some of their neighbors tried to kill them and their children on an ongoing basis. That's another issue.
The associate-rabbi-to-be, Rabbi David Steinberg, was joined in civil union with his partner, Peter Blackmer, who works at the University of Vermont, in June. "It was a big Jewish wedding," said the rabbi, a 1983 University of Pennsylvania graduate, in a profile published in Seven Days, a Burlington weekly newspaper.
His synagogue biography states that his new duties encompass not only leading prayers and reading Torah but also overseeing the overall direction of education and organizing holiday events.
Rabbi Steinberg e-mailed us a letter chronicling his strong Philadelphia ties, starting with his student years from 1979 to 1983. He lived on campus except for his junior year in Scotland on the Penn - University of Edinburgh exchange program. He received a B.A. in music from Penn in 1983 and went on to graduate Harvard Law School and practiced as an attorney in Portland, Me., where he was active at Temple Beth El, a Conservative synagogue.
He played viola and sang with the Casco Bay Tummlers Klezmer Band and helped found Am Chofshi, a chavurah serving the Jewish GLBT community in southern Maine.
He returned to Philadelphia to train at the Reconstructionalist Rabbinical College in Melrose Park. He served first as student rabbi and then rabbi (1997-98) at Congregation Sons of Israel in Chambersburg in central Pennsylvania after his ordination at RRC.
Rabbi Steinberg was Hillel director for Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges under the aegis of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia in 1998-99.
He served as rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh, N.Y., a Reform congregation, from August 1999 until his appointment as associate rabbi at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.
He told Seven Days that he avoided "the gay rabbi" spotlight while in Plattsburgh.
Ohavi Zedek has a number of gay and lesbian congregants, and Rabbi Joshua Chasan was officiating same-sex unions long before the advent of civil unions, according to Seven Days.
Rabbi Steinberg said in the article the he enjoys helping people "find meaning, and their own sense of who they are, their place in the universe. It's part of my job to be developing my own spirituality. They pay me to do that. It's pretty cool.