Articles by Kenneth Friedman

A Pesach Wine Primer


As many are beginning to discover, the image of kosher wine has evolved past the syrupy-sweet Concords of shul kiddush and your Zaidy’s Seder to one of burgeoning possibilities. Today, there are over 3,000 kosher wines on the open market, and that number is growing. Almost all of the great wine regions in the world are producing kosher wines, including France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, California, and, yes, Israel.

Israel’s Mediterranean climate is perfectly suited for winemaking, with hundreds of wineries now putting Israel on the map as an important wine region. We find in Parshas Devarim that the fruit of the vine was one of the shiva minim, the seven species, of Eretz Yisrael. Tanach is peppered with references to wine and winemaking. So, viticulture is nothing new in Israel. In fact, archaeological digs consistently find ancient wine presses. Some have even been resuscitated into modern wineries. The story of the return of winemaking to the Land mirrors the story of the mass return of the Jewish people to Israel. But that’s another story for another time.

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Election 2016 : Where Do American Jews Turn Now?


These are trying times to be a Jewish voter in America.

For the past couple decades, support for Israel and the Jews has grown increasingly strong among Republicans. This trend has continued in Congress (though there is vast bipartisan support for Israel among senators and congressmen). Assaults on the traditional U.S.-Israel alliance have come more recently from the Democratic Party. This has continued – and worsened – which we will discuss below. But some alarming events have transpired among Republican and their backers, as well, that should cause worry among Jews. The meteoric rise of populist Donald Trump has come with its share of worrisome anti-Semitic incidents and connection to the shady “alt-right,” the Caucasian “anti-left-wing-racism racists.”

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The Presidential Candidates Stake Out Their Israel Positions : AIPAC Policy Conference 2016


Attending my second-ever AIPAC conference, I was privy to a different view this time around. In 2014, I attended as a delegate; this time, I asked AIPAC for – and received – a Where What When press credential to cover the annual major event. As it turns out, members of the press were somewhat excluded from the off-the-record breakout sessions of the conference, but it was very interesting to speak to members of the press – many of whom were Israeli and many of whom were also Orthodox Jews. Journalism is no longer strictly “old media” but now includes prominent online bloggers, talk-show hosts, even people broadcasting and/or publishing their own media.

This year’s AIPAC Policy Conference brought together 18,700 Israel supporters from varying and diverse backgrounds. Present among the huge crowd at the Verizon Center (the conference continues to outgrow its venues) were many minorities: members of the Christian community, labor union leaders, and many politicians, both Israeli and American. Additionally, AIPAC made note (often, and to rousing applause) of the 4,000 youth leaders in attendance, many of them campus activists fighting the good fight against the terrible, growing, on-campus evil of anti-Israel and, in many ways, anti-Semitic radicalism. There was obvious special interest at this year’s conference because of the upcoming U.S. presidential elections and the in-person attendance and speeches of four of the remaining five candidates, with the very notable exception of democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders.

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Wake Up and Roast the Coffee! How to Revolutionize your Cup (and Save Money Doing It)

coffee beans

Many of us wake up to chaos – the morning decibel level in my home resembles that of an airplane on the tarmac – and stagger to the kitchen for our first cup of coffee. There’s nothing like that rich steamy brown brew to restore our sense of calm. And there’s nothing – nothing – like a cup of coffee brewed from home-roasted coffee beans.

Before you say, “Did I hear him right?” let me explain: The primary characteristic of quality coffee is freshness. Fresh is “king.” From shortly after roasting, coffee freshness begins a descending arc, and as with many foods, each step of processing shortens its lifespan. The “rule of 15” states that raw, green coffee beans remain fresh for 15 months, roasted coffee is fresh for 15 days, and ground coffee is fresh for 15 minutes. This certainly isn’t Torah mi’Sinai, but gives you an approximation of the importance of freshness and how quickly coffee loses its key variable.

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At the Forefront of the Fight against BDS: Eleven Questions for Prof. William A. Jacobson


Many of you might be familiar with the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement against Israel and how it has begun to gain a foothold in the United States, particularly in academia. Ironically, BDS violates the very core of academic freedom by prohibiting free speech and equality. BDS singles out Israel – and Israel only – for universal censure. The pages of this magazine have begun to detail the rise of this movement, which is just another veiled anti-Semitic attack on Israel and the Jews. It is imperative for us all to get involved.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Professor William A. Jacobson recently. Jacobson is Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School, and publisher of the highly-regarded blogs “Legal Insurrection” and “College Insurrection.” Jacobson has become well-known in helping to lead the fight against this malicious anti-Semitism.

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Boycotts, the BDS Movement, Israel and You

west bank

You may have heard more and more talk recently about the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement against Israel. This radical, anti-Semitic movement is gaining strength and financial support in the United States. Its purpose is to delegitimize and denigrate Israel and its defenders, to isolate Israel and hold it to double standards, to cast Israel as an exiled pariah, and ultimately to wipe the Jewish country from the face of the earth.

The Notorious Durban Conference

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions began in 2001, at the UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa. A policy was adopted by 1,500 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) “of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state,” and called for “the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation, and training) between all states and Israel.” This is referred to as the “Durban Strategy.” (Canada, the U.S., and Israel walked out as a show of protest against the one-sided anti-Israel charges.)


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