Shorts: U.S.

Dershowitz, Chomsky debate at Harvard

boston (jps) | Two noted academics offered vastly different views on the history and path forward in the Israeli-Arab conflict recently as Alan Dershowitz and Noam Chomsky debated each other at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Whereas Chomsky claimed “Israeli rejectionism” was the source of Israeli-Arab tensions, Dershowitz derided the Palestinian rejection of the peace offer made to Yasser Arafat by Ehud Barak at Camp David.

Dershowitz also called on academics to stop demonizing Israel. “At the moment, I am sad to report that many academics around the world are contributing to an atmosphere that makes peace more difficult to achieve,” Dershowitz said. “Thank God Israel has to make peace with the Palestinians, and not with the professors!”

Dershowitz went on to say that peace “will require that both sides give up rights.”

Chabad emissaries gather in New York

new york (jta) | More than 2,000 of Chabad’s worldwide emissaries gathered recently in New York.

The annual International Conference of Shluchim concluded last week with a dinner keynoted by one of Russia’s chief rabbis, Berel Lazar, and addressed by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

Chabad’s force of emissaries, comprising some 4,000 families in 70 countries, is “the most powerful Jewish organization in the world,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, the conference’s director.

The audience gave a standing ovation to Rabbi Yossi Turk, an emissary to Argentina, who along with his wife, Chana, recently adopted three Jewish children who were about to be placed in an Argentinean monastery, although the family already has eight children of its own.

Latkes defeat hamantaschen

new york (jta) | Support for latkes far outpaced backing for hamantaschen in an annual Jewish food debate.

Seventy-two people backed the Chanukah potato pancake, while only 44 people picked the Purim pastry after the annual debate, held last month at the University of Chicago.

“In Jewish tradition, scholarship is serious but is also irreverent,” said Ruth Freedman Cernea, an editor at the University of Chicago Press who attended the event.

Million-dollar day school raffle

A suburban Los Angeles day school is offering a five-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home or a million bucks cash as the grand prize in a fund-raising raffle.

The winner of the home in Oak Park in Southern California will be announced on Feb. 14. Proceeds of the raffle, which cut off sales at the end of November, benefit the Conejo Jewish Day School in Agoura Hills.