Category Archives: Op-Ed

The Seventeenth Of Tammuz

Op-Ed Contributor

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Five really bad things happened to the Jewish people on the Seventeenth of Tammuz. Which is why we fast then from dawn to dusk. This year the seventeenth is on Shabbat, but we fast on Sunday. Shabbat is reserved for happy days.

What happened? According to the Mishnah, Moses broke the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai after the people made the Golden Calf. The daily sacrifice called the tamid could not be offered up because the Babylonian siege cut off supplies to the Temple in 586 BCE. The walls of Jerusalem were breached. A Roman (or Greek) military leader Apostomus burned a Sefer Torah. An idol was placed in the Temple (either by the Babylonians or by the Roman Emperor Titus).

On every one of these reasons, the rabbis and the sources disagree. Either as to the date or the people involved. For example, the Babylonian Talmud places the second and fifth tragedies in the First Temple period. But the breach of Jerusalem’s wall came in the Second Temple period. The First Temple breach, according to Jeremiah, was on the 9th of Tammuz. And the prophets Zechariah, Haggai and Ezekiel all disagree on dates too.

As for who Apostomos was, some say he was a Syrian Greek of the time of the Hasmonean revolt. Or the renegade Jewish priest Alcimus. Josephus denies he was the Roman procurator Cumanus as some claimed because Cumanus reacted to any Roman desecration by siding with the Jews. Josephus offers another candidate. During the campaigns of the Emperor Hadrian against the Jews (during and after the Bar Cochba uprisings in the second century) a Roman soldier called Stephanos, burnt a Torah on the Temple site before the city was razed. He says the scribes recorded his name incorrectly. The Talmud refers to Chanania ben Teraydon being burnt alive wrapped in a Torah in Jerusalem and Apostomus might have been the man who lit the fire. The Jerusalem Talmud refers to the atrocities including the burning, not Jerusalem but near Lydda.

There are Similar disagreements over placing an idol in the Temple. The Jerusalem Talmud puts it in the reign of the idolatrous Judean King Menashe.  Others claim it was Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century BCE. Some blame the Emperor Caligula or Hadrian again. They did not like Hadrian very much. And others say setting up of an idol in the sanctuary should refer to the dedication of a temple of Zeus on the consecrated ground of the Temple. To complicate matters, even more, the Mishnah referred to above, conflates the burning of the Law with putting an idol in the sanctuary.

Are we really fasting because of these events? It is obvious that history is a very unreliable basis for determining what actually happened and when. Humans record things in very different ways and indeed see events differently. As we know, history is often written by the victors. Besides, trying to reconstruct something hundreds or thousands of years after the events is not very reliable. History is simply the record of historians that sometimes coincide, but more likely do not. Just think of the different ways in our times of looking at historical events or indeed the present conflicts. No two newspapers seem to see current events in the same way.

So, if history is unreliable, why are we fasting over doubtful facts?  Not only but the prophets themselves seem not to have been great fans of fasting when it is for purely historical treasons. Zechariah says (8:19) “Thus says God, the fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the Tenth will all be turned into days of festivities for the House of Judah, days of gladness and festivity.”

Fasts were very popular once upon a time. Probably because very often people did not have much to eat in general and going without food for a day or two was quite common. Unlike our over indulgent society where people often eat three big meals a day and obesity has become the greatest source of ill health.

There is a whole tractate of the Talmud dedicated to fasting whenever anything bad happens or the rains fail. The Talmud and later codes of laws talk about fasting after a bad dream or for the anniversary of someone’s death. And in many communities people fast on Mondays, Thursdays and Mondays after Sucot and Pesach. Officially it’s because of excessive indulgence on the festivals from too much feasting. Something our waist bands tell us in no uncertain terms. This custom seems to have been borrowed from Islam, where such Monday and Thursday fasts were and are common in certain quarters.

There is no logic to fasting for religious religions (Yom Kipur is the exception). Fasting in general strikes me as a rather primitive idea, that one should punish one’s body or make oneself suffer in the hope that the Almighty is more likely to listen to our pain if we all suffer a bit.  Self-denial, mortification of the body plays a greater role in Christianity and Islam than in our religion. We don’t go around whipping ourselves or wearing horsehair clothes. Though some Medieval mystics did. Yet we seem hell-bent on imitating them.

Tradition is tradition and I do not advocate revolution. And yet. Fasting has now become very fashionable. Three days, two days or one, taking water only. It’s the latest fad in high powered techie life.

Fasting is designed to achieve two things. To get us to break our routines in order to think about how we as individuals and as a people, can do better!

We do have a lot to fast about. So many Jews have abandoned Judaism. So many are turning their backs on their tradition and their people. And those within the bounds of Jewish life are at each other’s throats over religion and politics. Much of it is our fault for not presenting a better impression. For not being more welcoming. For not educating our children enough in Jewish life and for being unnecessarily strict.

Perhaps we fast not so much to commemorate the events of the past but rather the disagreements we keep on having amongst ourselves in the present that in effect weaken us! Rolling a series of events together reinforces the continuous stream of failures and divisions. We are quick to delight in our victories and successes. And that’s as it should be. But when it comes to our failures perhaps it does require a fast, a little pain to bring us to our senses. And if it helps our waistlines and our well-being, why not?

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Jeremy Rosen was born in Manchester, England, the eldest son of Rabbi Kopul Rosen and Bella Rosen. He was first educated at Carmel College, the school that his father had founded based on this philosophical orientation. At his father’s direction, he also studied at Be’er Yaakov Yeshiva in Israel (1957–1958 and 1960). Rosen then went on to Merkaz Harav Kook(1961), and Mir Yeshiva (1965–1968) in Jerusalem, where he received semicha from Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz in addition to Rabbi Dovid Povarsky of Ponevezh and Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Shapiro of Yeshivat Be’er Ya’akov. In between he attended Cambridge University (1962–1965), graduating with a degree in Moral Sciences.

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Originally published at JeremyRosen.com

When Men Speak For G-D

Op-Ed Contributor

Bill White

Bill White

In the interests of full disclosure, I am Jewish. I am also an American, which should provide me with the very best of both worlds. Literally, a double lottery win at birth. No such luck, I am afraid. I have lived in the UK since July 1989 but in 2015 I decided to make Aliyah, to immigrate to Israel, a so-called birthright for every Jew.

Not so much a birthright as a privilege conveyed by a few men, who have determined that they and they alone, speak for G-D.

My great, great grandmother Agnes Kiss, was a victim of the Shoah or Holocaust, murdered by the Nazis in Hungary, at the start of the War. My great, great grandfather Benjamin Toth, also died in Hungary and is buried in a Jewish cemetery outside Budapest. Their daughter, my great grandmother Julia, married Michael Simon in New York City on January 8, 1913, and they remained in the United States for the rest of their lives. Michael and Julia Simon’s daughter, my grandmother Helen Agnes Simon, was born in Arcadia, New York on February 28, 1919. My grandmother married William White on November 9, 1936, and my mother Rose was born in Manhattan in February 1938.

My grandmother died on May 28, 2000, in Miami, Florida and her death certificate confirms that she was Jewish.

As a very active member of the synagogue in St Annes, Lancashire, which was then under the guidance of Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag, I wanted to relocate to Israel and so I sought the assistance of certain members of the Community.

Unfortunately, as a child of secular Jews who did their best to deny their heritage, I don’t currently have what the Chief Rabbi’s office in London called “Jewish Documents”. The Chief Rabbi said that Yad Vashem wasn’t a “Jewish source”, which may be news to the people toiling away at that reputable organization.

Similarly, the State of Florida’s confirmation that my grandmother was Jewish, ‘doesn’t mean anything’ according to David Frei, one of the men who apparently speak for G-D in the United Kingdom.

Birth records, death records, burial records, none of which were sanctioned by a Rabbi, are acceptable to the UK-based spokesmen for G-D.

As a result of these shocking decisions taken by the Chief Rabbi’s office in London and the Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) in Manchester, Rabbi Guttentag personally denied my participation in daily prayer for purposes of a Minyan (10 men are needed for certain prayers) and as a result he suggested it would be an embarrassment for me to attend ‘his Shul’ (should the room have 10 men and those prayers were unable to be made since he would not count me). In fact, Rabbi Dr J Shindler had informed Rabbi Guttentag that the ‘benefit of any doubt’ should lean toward acceptance, but Rabbi Guttentag overruled that opinion.

Mind you, at one of the very last functions I attended on behalf of the St Annes synagogue, a funeral, one congregant boasted to me how his son was able to have his Bar Mitzvah, despite the fact that his wife was not Jewish because the retiring Rabbi there “turned a blind eye”.

I take considerable pleasure in knowing that those who have denied me a Right that is mine, will one day answer to G-D, who will hold them accountable for their actions. It also pleases me to no end, knowing that while they are alive, these same men, consider themselves untouchable. It adds insult to the injury.

 

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Bill White is the CEO of WireNews.

Multi-Academy Trusts: Discussing Ofsted’s Research On Their Role And Accountability

Amanda Spielman's commentary on our research into our role and responsibilities in regulating and inspecting multi-academy trusts

Amanda Spielman

Amanda Spielman

Introduction

As an ever-greater number of schools have converted to become academies, multi-academy trusts (MATs) have become a central part of the education system:

  • half of all pupils in England attend an academy
  • over a third of schools are now academies
  • over two-thirds of secondaries and around a quarter of primaries
  • over three-quarters of academies are part of a MAT

However, the role of a MAT is not always well understood. A number of common misconceptions persist.

It’s clear that MATs have taken on a number of the functions previously performed by local authorities (LAs), but it is an over-simplification to see them as merely the new middle tier, replacing the LA for academies.

For starters, their legal role is quite different. It is the MAT itself that is the legal entity, and not the schools that are its constituents. This means that the MAT has responsibility for the governance of its schools, although MATs may delegate specific powers to local governing bodies (LGBs). This makes MATs far more pivotal to their academies than LAs are to maintained schools.

It also makes it particularly important for us as an inspectorate to understand what being part of a MAT means to the schools we inspect. This has become all the more important as individual MATs have grown, sometimes rapidly, over the past few years.

This expansion has been encouraged by government in order to build capacity for school improvement in the self-improving system and to get the greater efficiencies that are possible in a larger MAT.

For MATs themselves, the efficiency argument is important. But their size and structure also allow them to do interesting work around curriculum, continual professional development (CPD) and teacher training on a larger scale.

What we looked at in our research

In our multi-academy trust this research project, we visited:

  • 41 MATs
  • 121 schools

We looked at larger MATs of 5 schools or more. In these MATs, the opportunities for the trust to be a force for improvement in its schools is greatest.

From an inspection point of view, it is in these that we are most likely to see the MAT having a distinct impact on its individual schools.

Potential is, however, not the same as actual impact. The challenge for these MATs is to move on from thinking about growth to fulfilling the potential they have as the main agents of school improvement.

What we found

Our study produced some encouraging findings about the role of MATs in the system.

School leaders feel that MATs generally provide effective back-office support and economies of scale. Scale is also important in providing opportunities for CPD and career development.

There was a feeling that MATs provided an appropriate level of challenge and support. Leaders also appreciated the opportunities for mutual learning across schools.

We also found evidence that many MATS are starting to live up to their potential in developing quality of education in their schools.

The best MATs are driven by a strong and shared central ethos that informs what schools in the MAT do. This does not mean that the MAT necessarily dictates what schools do. Indeed, the more a MAT is able to embed a shared ethos, the less necessary this level of prescription is likely to be. Many MATs have high-level policies on curriculum, teaching and learning, and behaviour. Typically, MAT-wide CPD reinforces ethos and policies.

MAT guidance and networks of middle and senior leaders give schools further support.

Providing this level of guidance and support seems to be essential for MATs to realise their potential in the school-led system. Merely providing back-office functions does not allow schools to fully benefit from being part of a MAT. Having this central role for the MAT will inevitably lead to some loss of decision-making freedom for the individual schools.

However, as many of our interviewees said, this is a price worth paying for better support on the things that matter. The best MATs are particularly strong on developing their workforce, offering opportunities for promotion, learning and leadership across staff levels. Academic research suggests that this can improve retention rates.

The MATs in our study held their schools to account, mostly in a rigorous fashion, although the emphasis on data in some could potentially distort educational practice and unnecessarily increase teacher workload.

One thing that appears to be a blind spot across the system, however, is self-evaluation of the MATs themselves. Few MATs in our study went significantly beyond looking at data on the performance of the individual schools in the MAT. This makes it hard to judge whether the MAT is having a positive impact on the quality of education in its schools.

This is clearly an area for development within MATs.

Accountability and inspection practice

The lack of self-evaluation in MATs also raises questions about Ofsted’s role in the system.

Within a multi-level framework in which schools are constituents of the MAT, accountability has a number of different purposes and audiences.

Accountability needs to inform:

  • government, so that it can take action to ensure universal high-quality provision
  • providers, and in this case in particular MATs as the legal entity responsible
  • parents, so that they can effectively exercise choice

To inform government, accountability should sit at the funded and legally responsible level, in this case the MAT.

To inform MATs themselves, there is a need for information on both the functioning of the MAT, and of its individual schools. Parents primarily need to know about the quality of their particular local schools, because we know school quality varies within MATs.

Inspection practice needs to reflect this multiplicity of purpose

While we have introduced a system of summary evaluations of MATs, the scope of these remains limited. A lack of self-evaluation at MAT level is mirrored by limited accountability of the MAT in the national system.

As the MAT is the legal entity responsible for the education of the pupils in its schools, it seems peculiar that they are not the focus of inspection in areas such as governance, quality of education and efficiency and effectiveness of use of resources.

Next steps

This is, in the end, a decision that lies with the Department for Education (DfE). But we would suggest that if the DfE is going to maintain its view that we should not inspect MATs, it would be helpful if it published a quality framework for MATs to self-assess against that focuses on the impact of MATs on the quality of education.

This could then support MATs in addressing some of the weaknesses in self-evaluation we observed and inform our summary evaluations.

We will make sure our inspectors take the role of the MAT into account when inspecting one of its schools. Inspectors will be asking school leaders about the role of the MAT they are part of, so they can fully understand the context of the school.

Our focus on the ways in which MATS can benefit their schools should not be taken as an invitation to be inward-looking.

No MAT is an island. MATs should work productively with LAs and with other schools and MATs in their local area.

They should participate in local coordinating mechanisms around statutory duties, such as safeguarding. They should work with others to ensure that all pupils in their area receive a high-quality education and appropriate provision, not least the most vulnerable pupils and those subject to exclusion.

Conclusion

Overall, these findings lead us towards optimism about the way the system is evolving. We found a lot of evidence of good practice, support and challenge in the MATs in our study.

However, as we know from this as well as other studies, the variance in practice that we saw is reflected in very varied outcomes between MATs. This suggests that a lot of potential is going unrealised.

Making full use of the support and challenge that can be offered centrally through the MAT, making sure MATs work constructively within their locality, and providing robust accountability for MATS will, we feel, go a long way towards ensuring that this potential is met.

Paper In The Wall

Op-Ed Contributor

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

In 1974 when Henry Kissinger was pressurizing Golda Meir to make concessions in the interest of peace in the Middle East, Golda took him to the Western Wall. Kissinger stood there and was visibly moved. He started to pray. He said, “Dear God I want to thank you for enabling me, a penniless German Jewish refugee to succeed beyond expectations in the free United States of America.” And Golda said, “Henry that is a lovely prayer.”  Kissinger continued “Dear God, please protect my patron Richard Milhouse Nixon and enable him to withstand the political trials he is undergoing.” And again, Golda said “Henry, that’s a really nice prayer.” Finally, Kissinger turned back to the wall and said, “Dear God please imbue Golda Meir and her cabinet with the common sense to make concessions and not be stubborn in the pursuit of Israeli interests.” And Golda glowered at him and said “Henry, remember, that’s only a wall you are talking to!”

I was reminded of that joke in London last week. There were pictures in the press, of a prominent a British born Conservative party politician of Muslim parents, Sajid Javid. The photos were taken of him on a visit to Israel, with a kipa on his head, putting a piece of paper into a crack in the Western Wall.

Sajid Javid is a remarkable, multi-talented man. Thanks to his own hard work and brilliance, has risen high in English political life. He supports Boris Johnson in the race for leadership of the Conservative party. And if Johnson becomes Prime Minister, Javid is hoping to get one of the top jobs. So that I guess he has every reason to follow Kissinger and pray for his patron at the Wall.

I have absolutely no problem with praying. Why, I do it myself! It’s the paper in the Wall I have problems with. The impression is that this is important in Judaism. When it is more often than not, just a simplistic if not superstitious ritual. Furthermore, any notable politician visiting Israel is made or encouraged to carry out this performance of the paper in a crack of the Wall, as if this is what defines Israel as a Jewish State and is crucial to the Jewish religion.

What must any reasonable non -Jew think about Judaism if it promulgates this charade of sticking a piece of paper into a wall as a crucial part of its tradition? And it’s no answer to reply that all religions do stuff like this all the time. I know they do. But I expect better from mine. If people think that this is the way to communicate with God, do they think God actually reads the paper rather than their minds? Or that God has to read a request in order to understand it or responds to it?

Sure, writing charms on wood, stone or paper goes back way before Judaism ever appeared. And although the Talmud rejects superstitious practices as pagan, it is prepared to bend the rules if they work! If you are interested in the origins of such practices, I highly recommend reading Yuval Harari (yes, he of “Homo Sapiens”). His earlier book is called “Jewish magic before the rise of kabbalah.” It you will cure you! But it is indeed Kabbalah and its child Chasidism that has given this paper request act significance and exposure today.

The Kvitel is a piece of paper that you give to your Rebbe or Chacham’s secretary with your name, the names of your family and anyone or anything else you want the holy man to know. The secretary hands it to him just before your audience. He may or may not look at it and then, usually he gives you a blessing. All Chasidic dynasties do this and given their massive expansion and influence on Judaism today, you might even say it has become mainstream.

Lubavitch Chabad make a huge to-do about placing such Kvitelech at the grave of their late much missed Rebbe. I was recently telling an important Chabad figure how much I admired the Rebbe and why I thought he was the most impressive Jew of the last generation. To which he replied, “Have you visited his grave?” And when I said that I was not much of a grave visitor, he offered to put a piece of paper there for me and seemed absolutely shocked when I politely declined.

I have visited the Wall countless times over the years and prayed there often. I recommend Midnight when it is not too crowded. I love the sense of being close to the past, to the very stones my ancestors saw and touched. But I have never ever ever put a piece of paper there. The whole idea strikes me as ridiculous. Although I do not underestimate the importance of the placebo effect or the psychological benefits of symbolism. What I do object to, is that this particular piece of theater has now become the most recognizable face of my majestic religion and that this pantomime is how Israeli leaders or rabbis hope to impress the outside world. And, incidentally I do not understand why we have to treat the whole area as if it were a synagogue.

I can understand visiting Yad Vashem  or graves of notable people and treating them with reverence. Even Karl Marx has one. History is important. Very important. But Judaism has far more significant ways of impressing people than bits of paper. That a marginal, minor ritual should be elevated above all others and that this is what every visiting dignitary is encouraged, if not pushed to perform, is, in my humble opinion, an insult to the grandeur and spiritual integrity of Judaism,

And while on the subject of irrationality. Why does a non-Jew have to wear a kipa altogether even in a synagogue? Let alone a historical site. According to Jewish Law there is no such obligation.  Indeed, why do Jews visiting the Wall have to put one on either? We have elevated minutiae to become accepted norms, instead of interesting phenomena!

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Jeremy Rosen was born in Manchester, England, the eldest son of Rabbi Kopul Rosen and Bella Rosen. He was first educated at Carmel College, the school that his father had founded based on this philosophical orientation. At his father’s direction, he also studied at Be’er Yaakov Yeshiva in Israel (1957–1958 and 1960). Rosen then went on to Merkaz Harav Kook(1961), and Mir Yeshiva (1965–1968) in Jerusalem, where he received semicha from Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz in addition to Rabbi Dovid Povarsky of Ponevezh and Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Shapiro of Yeshivat Be’er Ya’akov. In between he attended Cambridge University (1962–1965), graduating with a degree in Moral Sciences.

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Originally published at JeremyRosen.com

The Psychology Of Jews Who Embrace Their Enemies

Psychiatrist-author Kenneth Levin: "Those of the Jewish community who live and work in environments hostile to Israel, commonly embrace the anti-Israel bias around them. And they often insist they are being virtuous by doing so."

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

A number of Jews and Israelis embrace criticism coming from anti-Semites and extreme anti-Israelis. They have many precursors in the lengthy history of the Jewish Diaspora.

“This phenomenon reveals great similarity, at the level of human psychology, to the response of children subjected to chronic abuse. Such children tend to blame themselves for their suffering. In their helpless condition, they have two alternatives. They can either acknowledge they are being unfairly victimized and reconcile themselves to being powerless, or they can blame themselves for their predicament. The attraction of the latter – ‘I suffer because I am bad’ – is that it serves the desire of being in control, fantasies that by becoming ‘good’ will elicit a more benign response from their tormentors. Both children and adults invariably seek to avoid hopelessness.”

Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist, historian and author of several books, among which is The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege.1 He is a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

In The Oslo Syndrome, Levin explains the attitude of Israeli self-haters: [There is] “a wish to believe Israel is in control of profoundly stressful circumstances over which, unfortunately, it has no real control. Genuine peace will come to the Middle East when the Arab world, by far the dominant party in the region, perceives such a peace as in its interest. Israeli policies have in fact, very little impact on Arab perceptions in this regard, much less than the dynamics of domestic politics in the Arab states and of inter-Arab rivalries.”

Levin adds now: “Popular hatred for Israel, which is fanned by Arab governments, education systems, media and Muslim clerics, runs deep in Arab opinion. This is not a totally isolated phenomenon but fits into a much broader framework. Since the earliest days of the existence of the Arab-Muslim world, there has been widespread animosity against both religious and ethnic minorities in the region. It would be a mistake to attribute, for instance, the pressure on Christian minorities exclusively to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Popular Muslim-Arab hostility has also led to pressures on non-Arab Muslims such as the Berber populations in North Africa.

“In the past and present, a common claim by anti-Semites has been that Jews are interested exclusively in their own well-being. This has led many Jews to focus their energies on broader social causes, even as the Jewish community suffered unique disabilities. Jews who take this course typically do not admit they are doing so to avoid being accused of Jewish parochialism. Rather, they claim to be righteously transcending narrow concerns to address more universal needs.

“During World War II, particularly after the Nazi extermination program was revealed in late 1942, many American Jewish leaders sought to raise public awareness of the plight of Europe’s Jews and promote rescue efforts. Yet they also limited their campaign out of fear of arousing public anger over Jewish concern with a Jewish issue, and they often rationalized their doing so as reflecting devotion to the greater patriotic task of winning the war. It was largely non-Jewish voices which insisted the Nazi extermination program was not only a crime against the Jews but a crime against civilization and all of humanity and therefore should be of concern to everyone.”

Levin observes: “In the last sixty years, the American Jewish community at large has energetically embraced support for Israel. This has been made much easier by the fact that the wider American public has traditionally been sympathetic toward the Jewish state.

“On the other hand, Israel has come under much criticism in certain American media, on many American campuses and in several mainstream liberal churches. Those segments of the Jewish community who live and work in environments hostile to Israel, commonly embrace the anti-Israel bias around them. And they often insist they are being virtuous by doing so.

“The psychological dynamics of communities under attack explain why, both abroad and in Israel, the virtual siege placed upon the Jewish state will continue to lead segments of Jewish communities to support the besiegers and to urge Jewish self-reform as the path to winning relief. Yet the path they advocate is no less delusional than that of abused children who blame themselves for the abuse they experience. All too often such children doom themselves psychologically to lives of self-abnegation and misery. In the case of Jews indicting Israel for the hatred directed against it, the misery they cultivate goes far beyond themselves and ultimately, undermines Israel’s very survival.”

 


1 Ken Levin, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege (Hanover, NH: Smith & Kraus, 2005)

 

Originally published on 3 March 2012 by Arutz Sheva.

 

About Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Dr. Gerstenfeld has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America. He is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

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