Shalom, 2010; shalom, 2011
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Shalom, 2010; shalom, 2011

The secular year is coming to a close and while it’s not the Jewish New Year, it’s a good time to reflect on 2010 and ponder what lies ahead.

In its final week in session, Congress passed an emergency spending bill that failed to include $205 million for an Israeli missile defense system, Iron Dome. Republicans in the Senate, despite the Democratic majority there, filibustered and threatened a government shutdown if spending levels for the next three months were not kept even with 2010.

We look forward to Congress’ return in January and what the new Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate can put together. In two years of Democrats controlling the executive and legislative branches, we have unfortunately seen more fighting than compromise across the aisle. We hope that in the coming session the parties will find a way to work with each other for the betterment of the entire country, Republican and Democratic alike, and not fall victim to partisanship.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month announced that the United States would cease pushing Israel to extend its settlement freeze and move to other tactics. We hope that this foreshadows a turnaround in U.S. policy that will put less emphasis on Israeli settlements and more focus on serious, unconditional negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The end of December also ushers in the retirement of Howard Charish, executive vice president of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, and Mark Charendoff, president and CEO of the Jewish Funders Network and an Englewood resident. We thank them both for their years of service to the Jewish community and wish them well in their future endeavors.

The past 12 months have also been marked by tragic losses in our own community; first Lawrence Krause and Ovadia Mussaffi of Teaneck, killed during March’s devastating lightning storms, and then last week Dr. Michael Lippe of Mahwah, killed in a plane crash, and Dr. Paul Kudowitz of Englewood, killed in a hit-and-run last Shabbat. We join the community in mourning these and all the other losses throughout the year.

So whether you are counting the seconds until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve or celebrating Shabbat with family and friends (or both), we wish all of our readers brachas and simchas and a hearty gut yohr.

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